Abstract and Keywords
The concept of the digital download has pulled open a seam in the fabric of global intellectual property law. The legal characterization of downloading differs between the United States and the European Union, implicating different rights and different rights-holders in those jurisdictions. While differences of characterization are ubiquitous in the law—since there is usually more than one way to subsume the particulars of life under generalities—different characterizations are supposed to dictate identical practical results. To understand why this is not the case with digital music, we must trace the law’s diverging responses to several generations of change in music reproduction and distribution technologies and the social institutions that emerged as infrastructure for those responses.
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