Piracy Cultures| Piracy Culture in Greece: Local Realities and Civic Potentials
Departing from a critical perspective on intellectual property rights, this article investigates the popular phenomenon of free online file-sharing beyond its hegemonic framing as piracy. The article focuses on the civic potentials entailed in free and participatory culture of new media and ICT. A “civic” focus, in the context of free sharing, aims at assessing the potential of a democratic culture that scholars (Castells, 2009; Dahlgren, 2009) distinguish to be developing through new media and new ICT uses in the everyday life and communication practices of different people worldwide. Empirical research draws on users’ ideas, practices, and experiences of new ICT and file-sharing, contextualized in the local experience of Greece. The local example aims at foregrounding particularistic, sociocultural variants defining cultural practices, while also addressing the controversies of global IP policies. The analysis shows that civic elements may be developed through P2P practices, but they rely on material social experiences, ideological issues, events, and social and communicative relations that are “external” to the realities developing through technologies and digital networks.