2015 – Coventry, Plenary – Ramon Lobato

Plenary lecture with Ramon Lobato (Swinburne University of Technology)
10/04, 16h15, DMLL Seminar Room

One of the challenges involved in thinking seriously about piracy is the wide range of activities, engagements and transactions that fall under this banner. From communitarian filesharing to copyright-infringing political communication to commercial bootlegging, piracy comes in many shapes, sizes and ideological inflections. Consequently, any credible analysis of piracy’s ‘economic effects’ – a topic long characterised by overheated rhetoric about profit leakage on the one hand and new-economy innovation on the other – requires a differentiated vocabulary for thinking about the relationship between consumers, media objects, and distribution networks. This paper, which draws on material from the forthcoming book The Informal Media Economy (Lobato and Thomas), is an attempt to revisit the issue of ‘effects’ from the viewpoint of economic plurality. Moving through a series of contrasting examples – including systems that variously cannibalise, complement, ignore and extend formal media markets – we will consider the diverse ways that pirate systems interact with established distribution models for film, television and digital media. In this way, we can also catch glimpses of something larger: the tango of mutual influence between formal and informal worlds.

Ramon Lobato is Senior Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. His research explores how screen media circulates — legally and illegally. Key publications include the books Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (BFI, 2012) and The Informal Media Economy (Polity, 2015, with Julian Thomas).