By way of introduction, I am John Martin, ELIME-21 doctoral fellow at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill. I work on a project that develops information and library science educational content and programs to be used in Middle East institutions. My main research focus is information behavior related to media piracy networks and the future of information distribution and intellectual property.
Pursuant to these interests, I have been working on desiging an interview-based study of users of torrent networks, particularly The Pirate Bay, being among the most robust. The study will focus on those users who create torrents and upload media. Text-based content is of particular interest because its distribution may be ideologically motivated in some cases, meaning that piracy networks serve as a medium for agendas and ideas to be expressed, rather than just mere theft of intellectual content. Motivation is the primary focus of my research.
I was very excited to see Benjamin Brochstein's post a few weeks ago about book piracy and have been in touch with the group behind PiracyLab mentioned in the comment. I am hoping to be able to explore some ideas through HASTAC. It seems like this will be a very fertile group for discussion.