Digital Goods Under the Qualitative Theory of Information and Hylomporhism Theory
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Publish date: 2015-02-28
Gospodarka Narodowa 2015;275(1):129–146
The paper seeks to identify the key characteristics of digital goods, or goods – such as digital images, music files and e-books – that exist in digital form and are shipped to the consumer through e-mail or via the internet. The authors start out by carrying out an ontological analysis based on literature studies in different fields, including economics, information theory and philosophy. The two main concepts used in the research are Polish engineer Józef Kossecki’s general qualitative theory of information and Aristotle’s theory of hylomporhism. The paper introduces a distinction between two kinds of digital goods: pure digital goods and converted digital goods. Pure digital goods consist of two levels, the author says, the digital original and the file embedded within the medium. Converted digital goods consist of four levels: the form, the physical original, the digital image, and the file embedded within the medium. Digital goods vary between the different levels and have a specific cost structure, Wieczerzycki says. The producer pays the fixed cost related to the production of digital goods as well as the cost of network infrastructure needed for distribution. The consumer, on the other hand, covers variable costs related to the creation of copies of files embedded within a medium.