Using Attribution Theory to rethink filesharing

First Monday

The accidental criminal: Using policy to curb illegal downloading by Kalika N Doloswala and Ann Dadich

Illegal downloading is a multifaceted social issue. In addition to the loss of intellectual property and revenue for copyright holders, it can implicate perpetrators into the criminal justice system. Despite legislative attempts to curb illegal downloading, lessons to date suggest these do little to reduce the activity. Drawing on psychological literature, this paper offers an innovative approach to address illegal downloading. Attribution theory aims to aid understanding of the causes of human behaviour and highlights the important role of perception. It suggests that illegal downloading might be moderated by increasing opportunities for engagement between the owners and users of intellectual property. Rather than using policy and legislation to restrain access to intellectual property, this theory suggests that policy that closes proximal distances and creates psychological contracts might be effective in curbing these practices. Examples from the music industry are discussed as evidence that this approach can be successful in changing downloader behaviour. To date, public policy informed by attribution theory has not been tested as a way to prevent illegal downloading. The paper concludes that there is a need to examine and critically evaluate non–punitive approaches to curbing illegal downloading from a policy perspective.


Agree completely. Kind of wish they’d read my Popular Communication article about Social Exchange, we’re thinking along very similar lines. 

Roger Ebert’s Facebook Page Taken Down After Ryan Dunn Tweets Cause Ire

Not even Roger Ebert is safe from Facebook. The movie critic’s Facebook page was taken down following comments he made via Twitter about Jackass star Ryan Dunn’s car crash on Monday.

The page was taken down on Tuesday morning, and was restored within the hour. But the incident demonstrates how easy it is for a Facebook page to get shut down for just about any reason, without warning.

Ebert tweeted, “Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks. He then tweeted, “Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”

Just another reminder that “your” Facebook page isn’t really YOURS. It’s theirs.

Kim Boekbinder on fan-funding gigs up front

A few weeks ago I played a concert in Portland, Oregon which was attended by exactly 18 people. After everyone else got paid, I made exactly $12.50 USD. I know that independent musicians all over the world play to empty rooms all the time. I’ve played to quite a few myself. But the thing about me is that: I’m actually famous.

I’m not hugely famous, most people have never heard of me. But I have fans, amazingly supportive fans, all over the world. I raised $20,000 to record my album, then I raised $17,000 to make an animated music video with my collaborators Molly Crabapple and Jim Batt. So I know there are lots of people out there who like what I do. Which is why playing to an empty room on a Saturday in a town that knows who I am is just really sad. So I took my $12.50 USD and bought myself a few shots of whiskey. Luckily the price of whiskey in Portland is pretty low and I managed to get terrifically, yet lucidly, inebriated. In that state I had an epiphany, one that redefines the concept of touring.

The dilemma: I need to play live to have a real connection to an audience but the expense of touring is debilitating.

My solution: Pre-sell the shows before they are even booked. Get the fans as invested as I am in the creation of the art.

The old music paradigm had us musicians rolling around the world in cars and vans and busses, playing to whatever bar would have us on their dingy stages in the hopes that one day we would “Make It”. But the times have changed. “Making It” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

The problem, as I see it, is that we’re living in THE FUTURE (cue theremin!) with ease of communication, downloadable gratification, large networks, and constant information at our disposal, but we’re still acting like it’s the 1990’s and being a musician driving around in circles is going to help you “Make It”.

There is no “Making It” or rather, this is making it. Right here, where I am, with my small but dedicated fan base holding me aloft while I drift through the detritus of an imploding music industry that never did a thing for me yet still manages to get in my way. I’m a modern musician with modern tools trying to navigate an old broken system; a system which declared that all musicians must work for free until picked up by a record label which would either make or destroy them; a system which drove a wedge between fans and their music, musicians and their audiences; a system that forgot that the entire reason it existed was to facilitate the experience of art.

Selena Gomez love/hate and the internet

In the social media universe, Gomez is already a superstar. She has nearly 6 million Twitter followers and 20.5 million “likes” on Facebook. While those numbers are below those of her boyfriend Justin Bieber — 10 million and 28.6 million, respectively — she is the Internet queen of Disney. On Twitter, Demi Lovato is followed by 3.3 million and Joe Jonas by 2 million. On Facebook Cyrus counts 13.9 million likes; the Jonas Brothers, 8.7 million.

“The key to Facebook is ‘like’ and Selena has the highest likability of any artist we have ever worked with. It crosses over into all of her business,” Konowitch says. “It’s a gift. And she has it at a level that is remarkable.” On Vevo, her video for “Who Says,” posted in March, has been watched more than 37 million times. The clip for “Naturally,” the first single of her career, has been viewed 104 million times and “A Year Without Rain” has been clicked on nearly 68 million times.

Gomez also recently lit up the Internet when photos from her vacation with Bieber were posted just days after the couple shared their first public kiss at the May 24 Billboard Music Awards. Compared with the nude shots of “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens and Cyrus’ bong photos, the Gomez-Bieber pictures were child’s play. Gomez takes it in stride.

“I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet,” Gomez says, noting she does all of her own tweets. “I don’t like it in general — it’s vicious. But it’s also incredible that I can connect with fans, because I love to hear their feedback and let them know about my life.”

The challenge now for Fox 2000 and Hollywood Records is to convert those online fans into actual consumers.

Pixie Dust & The Mountain of Mediocrity | gapingvoid

Oh, social media does play a massive role in the success of a product that people love, but it is not the product-to-users “engagement” that matters, it is users-to-users (and users-to-potential-users). If people love what a product, book, service lets them *do*, they will not shut up about it. The answer has always been there: to make the product, book, service that enables, empowers, MAKES USERS AWESOME. The rest nearly always takes care of itself.

Blog – Ownership, access, enjoyment

But despite the changes in how fans and artists communicate and engage with each other, when it comes to monetizing that relationship, we are still stuck in the old fan-as-a-consumer paradigm.  “You’re my fan? Well, good. Now please buy my music, buy my merch, buy my tickets“. The good news here is that the innovation is in place, making that transaction more direct than ever,  creating new packages for different levels of fans, and smart fan-funding pre-sale tools (see Kickstarter, and Pledge Music). The bad news is that by treating fans as consumers, we are limiting the artists’ margins, and ignoring a potentially bigger potential.I think we need to focus more on the fan-as-a-partner, fan-as-a-collaborator, fan-as-a-patronFan-as-a-friend. What does it change, as far as the music business is concerned ?  How am I supposed to monetize a friend? (first hint: you ask.).

Kaiser Chiefs – Create your album

Kaiser Chiefs let fans pick 10 songs of 20, design album cover, pay to download, then resell at profit. Set up site for people to browse each other’s albums. Very interesting outside the box thinking.