Article ID: CBB534904848

Telephone Networks, BBSes, and the Emergence of the Transnational ‘warez scene’ (2019)


Wasiak, Patryk (Author)

History and Technology
Volume: 35
Issue: 2
Pages: 177-194

Publication Date: 2019
Edition Details: Special issue: Towards a Telephonic History of Technology
Language: English

This article analyzes how software pirates who formed the ‘warez scene’ appropriated telephone network infrastructures and Bulletin Board System (or BBS) technology to circulate computer software across national borders. This paper is shedding more light on the roots of contemporary internet-based software piracy by investigating how appropriation of international telephone networks contributed to the globalization of digital software distribution. It also highlights the mundane aspects of the organization of media convergence on the junction between analog and digital technologies. Here I argue that the use of telephone networks as a means of transnational software distribution is an instance of actors setting up a convergent media environment driven by the cultural logic of a specific subculture. My paper provides an overview of BBS technology to demonstrate how it linked analog and digital domains and then outlines its cultural significance, ultimately discussing the appropriation of BBSes and their role in transnational expansion of ‘the scene’.

Included in

Article Gabriele Balbi; Christiane Berth (2019) Towards a telephonic history of technology. History and Technology (pp. 105-114). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Sánchez Miñana, Jesús
Ferrer, Bruno
Figueroa, Javier
Giusti, Juan
Sola, Cesar
Collins, Martin J.
History and Technology
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Transactions - Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering and Technology
Journal of Design History
Science Technology and Society
Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
Greenwood Press
Temple University Press
MIT Press
University of Chicago Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Telephone industry
Telegraphs; telephones
Communication technology
Globalization; internationalization
Communications, digital
Bell, Alexander Graham
Time Periods
20th century, late
19th century
21st century
20th century
20th century, early
United States
Manchester (England)
Great Britain
Symantec Corporation
Peter Norton Computing Corporation
United States. Army. Signal Corps

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