The Informal Screen Media Economy of Ukraine

Sivak, Kateryna (2023) The Informal Screen Media Economy of Ukraine. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Kateryna Sivak PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jul 2023_Final Award Oct 2023.pdf - Accepted Version

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This research explores informal film translation (voice over and subtitling) and distribution (pirate streaming and torrenting) practices in Ukraine, which together comprise what I call the informal screen media economy of Ukraine. This study addresses wider issues of debate around the distinct reasons media piracy exists in non-Western economies. There is already a considerable body of research on piracy outside of the traditional anti-piracy discourse, one that recognises that informal media are not all unequivocally destructive nor that they are necessarily marginal, particularly in non-Western countries. Yet, there remain gaps in the range of geographies and specific types of pirate practices being studied. Furthermore, academics often insufficiently address the intricate conditions of the context within which a given pirate activity is undertaken. Finally, whereas many researchers talk about pirates, considerably fewer talk to them. This project sets out to address these gaps.

Specifically, I examine the distinct practicalities of the informal screen media practices in Ukraine through netnographic observations of pirate sites and in-depth interviews with the Ukrainian informal screen media practitioners. I explore their notably diverse motivations for engaging in these activities and how they negotiate their practices with the complex economic, cultural, and regulatory context of Ukraine. I find that, contrary to common perceptions, the Ukrainian pirates do not oppose the copyright law but operate largely within and around it. A more important factor in piracy in Ukraine instead is the economics of the Ukrainian language. This is reflected in the language exclusivity inherent to most Ukrainian pirate distribution platforms as well as in the motives of some informal translators, for whom their practice is a form of language activism. Overall, I argue for a more holistic approach to researching the informal space of the media economy, especially in non-Western contexts, one that recognises the heterogeneity of this space and explores accordingly intricate factors behind its existence. In addition, this project offers a methodological contribution by providing a detailed reflection on the use of ethnographic methods to study a pirate economy in a non-Western, non-anglophone country.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
31 July 2023Submitted
2 October 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Informal media economy, piracy, AVT, voice over, file sharing, fansubbing, pirate streaming, language activism
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2023 11:05
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 11:05

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