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Vol.12 Issue 1 (2016)

The Politics of Pirates: Jonas Andersson Schwarz’s “Online File Sharing”

Gautam Bhatia

The international debate over file-sharing is defined by polarities. Some view this conflict as a battle for internet openness against the efforts of the film and music industry to bring about a second Enclosure Movement, this time against the worldwide digital commons. Others, however, consider it to be a legitimate law-enforcement operation against wilful facilitators of large-scale copyright infringement.
In his book, Online File Sharing, published in early 2014, Jonas Andersson Schwarz argues that this dichotomy is a deeply flawed way of understanding the file-sharing dispute. Using tools from critical theory and political philosophy, Schwarz aims to break down the binaries, and to demonstrate that the reality of file-sharing is simply too complex, and too nuanced, to be captured by way of dualities, no matter which side projects them.


Practising Advocate, Delhi; BCL, M.Phil. (Oxford); LLM (Yale).

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