Everyone knows that just about any digital product you would want is probably available somewhere online. What many people probably don't know, however, is how those products get there. Wired Magazine is running a fascinating article looking at the real distribution process for unauthorized content. It is not about someone buying a CD and ripping songs to their Kazaa-enabled PC. Instead, there's a complex, but amazingly efficient distribution system that operates on a variety levels above the popular file sharing networks, and the content all filters down. If you're familiar with typical warez groups, it appears these are like supersized versions of those -- where everyone involved is doing it to get access to more stuff, but also just for the fun of it. While what's happening in these networks is obviously very much illegal, what's most fascinating is just how incredibly efficient a distribution system it really is. If the entertainment industry was being smart about things, they would stop reacting so badly, and start looking for ways to actually leverage this distribution system. Of course, that would require them to adjust their business models, and, as has become pretty damn clear, the industry doesn't believe in ever changing business models.
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