File Sharing Continues To Grow, Not Shrink

from the hollywood-in-denial dept

The entertainment industry always seems to think that the next thing they do will suddenly kill off piracy. They file lawsuits, they shut down sites, they change laws, they, finally (kicking and screaming), agree to license innovative new services... and then they declare victory over "piracy." To hear industry folks talk about things these days, between the Limewire shut down, the new six strikes plan and the impending approval of PROTECT IP, piracy is somehow on its very last legs. There's definitely a sense of mission accomplished coming from them.

There's just one problem with this. None of the actions taken by the industry appear to have slowed down infringement online. Instead, it appears that it just keeps growing. Yes, some legal services have been growing faster, but in typical fashion, the industry seems to want to make those services worse, not realizing that there's still a viable (if illegal) alternative for many users.

At what point will the industry finally realize that maybe there's a better strategy, one which doesn't treat fans who use file sharing as the enemy, but as a potential opportunity?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    I can answer that in one word!

    "At what point will the industry finally realize that maybe there's a better strategy, one which doesn't treat fans who use file sharing as the enemy, but as a potential opportunity?"
    "Hindsight" sums it up nicely.

    Once the game is over for them, they have no moves to play and the world they once understood has buried them as fossils; some few of them will really start observing the shape of things and then they'll see what jackasses they've truly been.

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    "There's definitely a sense of mission accomplished coming from them. "

    Let them think they won. They'll stop fighting, send the troops (lawyers) back home and we can all move on with our lives... downloading stuff.

     

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  3.  
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    Brendan (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Easier, more flexible, completion.

    The price isn't their main problem -- its that all the legit services suffer from being more complicated, less flexible and having a limited library when compared to file sharing. Many suffer from more than one of those.

    When the legal alternatives are easier (collect less info, work on all platforms, no DRM), more flexible (variety of formats/codec, choice of download vs stream) and have a MORE complete library of offerings than the file sharing networks, it will be easy to get folks to pay a premium.

    Jusy don't ask us to pay without offering better value.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    What the industry fail to understand is most people do pay for content (whether it's a "try before you buy" or investing in tech for things like better security, processing power, extra bandwith to share) and will often pay even when given the option of free ( a pretty fair amount of music I've purchased over the last five years I could have gotten legally for free, but the "one stop shopping" and increased guarantee of quality and safety for a site like, say, eMusic were worth paying for).

    The problem is that because of the way they have conducted, and continue to conduct, their business, an increasing number of people are unwilling to pay THEM. Whatever movie, music, book the big legacy players are peddling, there are always alternatives, often better alternative, for people willing to look.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    Re: I can answer that in one word!

    "Hindsight" sums it up nicely.

    Yeah, I agree.

    Currently, it seems that they are only relying on "hind sight" (two words, different from hindsight), which is the inability to see past one's own ass.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Looking at the story, there is plenty of make believe and misdirection being used.

    Why have a chart that starts at 2010? Why show mostly forecasts rather than showing some history? How are these forecasts really calculated? Does it make sense based on historical numbers?

    Also, while it is presented in bytes, how many files does that represent? Considering we have gone from compressed MP3 file trading in the Napster era to today trading around blu-ray rips, the size of the files have increased dramatically. Are we actually seeing an increase in piracy by numbers of files, or only a small increase in volume of traffic?

    Also, what about overall internet traffic? As a percentage, I have seen other sites saying that file trade traffic is actually down as a whole, as internet traffic is up.

    It seems to me that this is a one sided story trying to make the numbers say what they want it to say. I am not shocked to see Mike run the story like it's the word of god.

     

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  7.  
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    jackn, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    At what point will the industry finally realize that maybe there's a better strategy, one which doesn't treat fans who use file sharing as the enemy, but as a potential opportunity?

    Do you have a better strategy? It seems like your strategy is embrace piracy

     

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    Lord Binky, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    See! No Shrinkage!

    This also shows that global warming is real.

     

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  9.  
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    Crix J Waters, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Sameold Song and Dance

    Very Reminiscent of a certain Middle-eastern venture taken by the U.S. Armed Forces, Inc. Where that one guy from Texas, Fmr. President Bush, Wasn't that the previous CEO I mean Commander and Chief of the US Military Action Lobby Coalition aka the "American Government" and who stood on a BIG SHIP in the OCEAN with a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner hanging in the background and told like 300,000,000 American emplo... American Citizens they won a DESERT war and in reality years later we are still fighting in the same Desert......... wonder where the MPAA/RIAA gets their ideas from........

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with file sharing. You stating such is crucial to convincing anyone; can't just exhort them to come up with "better".

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    It's never been about 'piracy.' It's always been about getting more money out of people that pay.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    It's never been about 'piracy.' It's always been about getting more money out of people that pay.

     

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    Spike (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    I know people that pay $30 a month for good usenet access just so they can leech blu-ray rips, don't tell me they are not willing to pay for content.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Too measurable

    The problem is that currently file sharing is too easy to measure. If file sharing protocols were changed to be much harder or impossible to monitor, all research would show online infringement to be shrinking.

    I am only half joking.

     

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  15.  
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    Bengie, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    They'll never think the enemy is gone until there are no more customers because the customer is the enemy.

     

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    sj, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    it's funny to watch that the MAFIAA is sueing and alienating their own customers... which other business branch does that? It doesn't sounds like a sustainable business model to me - especially when it's been proven that the people that share most of the music are actually the best customers...

     

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  17.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    Impossible,

    Every Artist, and probably every album from an artist needs to have a different strategy. The Artists (and labels, etc) need to evaluate their fans / following and see what will work best to monetize THEIR followers. The only common ground is that selling plastic coasters is failing across the industry. The strategy for dealing with that needs to be innovative and specific to each artist. Someone with 1 million fans will need to do something VERY different than someone with a few hundred, or a few thousand.

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    Also, I know there are Zero cost alternatives out there, yet I still purchase songs through Amazon for bands that I want to support. They are bands that actually respond to posts on social media, play small venues where anyone can make their way into the 5th row and snap a picture, get a high-five, or an autograph. Artists that have talent and don't need to, but want to connect with their fans.

    These bands do exist, and they are artists that range from Platinum record holders to Coverbands trying to make it big.

    You don't have to compete with FREE, you have to compete with convenience and quality No DRM, A centralized source (don't make me hunt down dead links, or go someone else for someone from a different label), High quality digitial copies, let me put it on any device I own, etc.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    Yeah! Cracking down on their best customers; It's like when casinos throw someone out for cheating at poker! Don't they understand that the people who cheat at cards also play the most cards? I'd bet that for every one hand that's cheated, those guys play HUNDREDS of legal hands. They should embrace all that cheating!

    Or sports cracking down on steroid use. It's the most 'roided up players who play the most games. They draw the biggest crowds. Obviously the answer is to allow all athletes to juice.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    Yeah, they crack down on their customers, who turn around and download and support the bands they have on 360 deals, giving the labels and companies like Live Nation even more money.

    The "fans" would be wise to stop consumer the product at all, rather than thinking they have stuck it to the man by downloading, and then paying $50 more for a concert ticket without thinking.

     

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  21.  
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    HothMonster, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re:

    you forgot a car analogy

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    Myth #1: File sharing is 'ZERO cost.'

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Let's add this to the discussion too:

    Since PROTECT IP isn't law yet, and we are only just starting to see the corner turned on piracy in many countries, isn't it a bit premature to say the war is over and the IP holders have lost?

    The chart shows FUTURE FORECAST usage, not actual numbers. It's a bullshit way to do things, and makes no assumptions about new laws, legal angles, and changes coming in many countries. It doesn't consider the effects of legal action like the Rojo case, or how sovereign nations might look at the lack of enforcement in other places. There is plenty of action going on behind the scenes, and things are changing.

    A report that takes 2010 numbers and then forecasts out without considering any of this is just crap, and like always, Mike Masnick is there to spread the gospel.

    Mike, care to explain how they got to their future numbers, and let us know if you think they are right (and why)?

     

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  24.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Really?

    I mean, we're told every day by the shills that 'the party is over' and now we find out that not only is the party *not* over, but the DJ just arrived and the first keg has been cracked.

    Amazing!

     

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  25.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: I can answer that in one word!

    It's contagious too - I can't see past them being asses.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Speeders use more gas, so should we let more people speed since using more gas creates jobs and stops child molesters? Hope you're happy!

     

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  27.  
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    HothMonster, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i am, thank you.

     

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  28.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    I wish you had left out the ad homs, but I find your post insightful nonetheless. Have a +1 for adding to the debate in a meaningful way.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Okay, so, what do you think? Any ideas?

     

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  30.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think file sharing will do what is always does: get bigger and harder to track. As someone who doesn't believe in intellectual property, that makes me happy.

    That doesn't mean, however, that this particular chart is necessarily a good data point in favor of that opinion. You already pointed out some flaws that I find compelling, and I have a distrust of statistics in general, since you can always find a way to make them say what you want.

     

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  31.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with file sharing.

    Sell something other than the easily-replicated content. Use the content as advertising for this scarce good or service.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    You want to see the way things are going just do it yourself.

    Can you not rip a disc?
    Can you not use email?
    Can you not use thumbdrives?
    Do you not have a cellphone?
    Can you not use IM?
    Can you not find a forum?
    Can you not use anonymous P2P software?

    I know I can do all those things, I also know I can find free legal alternatives to anything you are trying to sell.

    So really I just think you are a SOL dude that is trying to hard to discredit something you don't like instead of taking a real good look at the size of the problem and trying to be honest about it.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    Here I will give you some real data.

    I don't buy music from the RIAA, I don't buy movies from the MPAA, I don't buy books from crazy people that can't get around the idea that not every use is not a crime and I don't pay cable.

    Will any of those measures make it do it?

    NO!

    Could I find that content in other places?
    Yes I could, is not even hard to find it.

    Would I consume that content from those a-holes?
    Not even for free.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    You mean like TV and radio?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    It seems to me that this is a one sided story trying to make the numbers say what they want it to say. I am not shocked to see Mike run the story like it's the word of god.

    It's Desperation Friday on techpoop. It's just sad post after sad post. He's not even trying to hide it anymore. Of course you're not shocked to see crap like this here. Everyday is just one-sided desperate crap from M.M. Some days are more desperate than others. Today takes the cake.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    At what point will the industry finally realize that maybe there's a better strategy, one which doesn't treat fans who use file sharing as the enemy, but as a potential opportunity?

    I doubt they ever will. Remember, these are the same people who insisted that the player piano had to be stopped at all costs or else there would never be another musician ever again. (And the tape player, and the VCR, and the CD, and so on, and so on...)
    Decade after decade, century after century, they'll be whining and pleading to anyone gullible enough to listen to them, demanding money "for the artists" and surreptitiously stuffing all the proceeds in their own pockets.

     

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  37.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re:

    So really I just think you are a SOL dude that is trying to hard to discredit something you don't like instead of taking a real good look at the size of the problem and trying to be honest about it.

    Honesty is looking at the data objectively and being able to disagree with it, even when it may support your point. When he says that measuring raw bytes transferred is not a good measure of filesharing, I think he's on to something. Consider the following scenario:

    Last year, 100 people downloaded the latest hit song.
    This year, 1 person downloaded the latest hit movie as a BluRay rip.

    If that data encompassed the totality of all filesharing across the globe:

    1. Would you say that filesharing is going up, or going down?
    2. What would a chart based on bytes transferred show?

     

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  38.  
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    JMT, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re:

    If that's your honest opinion then you've pretty much admitted you're a shill paid to post as many negative comments here as possible in a lame attempt to discredit stories that hurt whatever industry you work for. Either that or your not right in the head, because no sane person would put so much effort into a site they hate.

     

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  39.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have always found it amusing to watch all the AC's who appear to have strong ties to the legacy gatekeeper industries try to discredit some article.

    Don't they realize that the simple fact that they feel the need (and actually expend the energy) to discredit something so vehemently (and often childishly) actually makes me think that it must be pretty close to the mark on the ole' truth-o-meter?

     

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  40.  
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    Travis, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

    While I agree that the methodology of the chart is BS, the fact that your main argument seems to be that it doesn't take into effect the industry's continuing efforts to make everyone a criminal, using federal agencies as private thug armies, ignoring national sovereignty, and suing their customers/fans into oblivion all to allow an industry to continue to thrive without adapting to modern markets is very telling.

     

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  41.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re:

    Hey, at least the person you're responding to has valid criticisms. All you do is ad-hom yourself to death (I wonder what self ad-homming is called? Narcisssism or intellectual masturbation?)

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Travis, regardless of how the job is getting done, the reality is that it appears to be getting done. It's why the numbers on the chart are BS, and for Mike to use that sort of thing to "prove" that file sharing is expanding is entirely misleading.

    Last time I saw anything, the percentage of file sharing traffic was dropping like a stone. Mike won't touch those sorts of numbers, because it would suggest people are less and less interested in file sharing and way more interesting in Facebook.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Would show nothing P2P is not the only way to fileshare.

    Can people measure what happens in LAN parties, emails, IM, anonymous networks and forums, IRC?

    Can't people not fileshare exchanging files via bluetooth, DVD RW's, Bluray RW's, CD RW's, thumbdrives, SD cards, cellphones?

    Can't people not rip discs anymore? can't people not rip streams from free video offerings like HULU?

    So if P2P disappears does it means filesharing will disappear? will it mean the end of filesharing?

     

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  44.  
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    Mr Big Content, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

    The War On Piracy Is Succeeding

    Wow, what a way to misrepresent plain statistics. Think of it like the war on drugs: we measure the success of that by how much it drives up the street price of drugs: the higher the price goes, the more pain we know we’re causing the criminal druggies.

    Same with the war on piracy. Only since pirates don’t buy anything, we have to measure the real currency they trade with, which is internet bandwidth. So the fact that they have to use more and more of that to traffic their illicit goods proves that the cost of doing so is going up. Which in turn proves that anti-piracy efforts are having a telling effect, no matter how much the freetards try to deny it.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Getting done?

    Are you daft?

    P2P is like Napster it could go out tomorrow and people wouldn't notice.

    That is not the only way to fileshare and people can do it without the industry even knowing.

    You think people are not ripping the streams from HULU? VEVO?

    :p

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How much does it cost to have an entire school have a copy of a DVD or Bluray?

    It cost $1 dollar the price of the rental to be exactly so every kid in a school can have their very own copy of any Bluray.

    And surprise it won't show up on P2P statistics.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    By the way do you have the numbers from streaming websites and file lockers?

    Did they not saw a boom like in algae toxic bloom in the ocean?

     

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  48.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Would show nothing P2P is not the only way to fileshare.

    Err, so you're arguing that if the chart isn't misleading, it's entirely meaningless anyway?

    I mean, I would say that it's both. I'm just surprised you appear to be arguing my point for me.

     

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  49.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 9:48pm

    Re: I can answer that in one word!

    "At what point will the industry finally realize that maybe there's a better strategy, one which doesn't treat fans who use file sharing as the enemy, but as a potential opportunity?"

    "Hindsight" sums it up nicely.

    Politics as usual, the content industry, the banking industry, regulatory capture, monopolies ... all these things are the same.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    lol... the strategy is to embrace "better than piracy" obviously. Give me a service that takes away my need to pirate a tv series, movie etc... I already pay for server access, just not to the entertainment industry.

     

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  51.  
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    White Corn, Aug 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: The War On Piracy Is Succeeding

    Okee Dokeee.

    Let's think about this. You are comparing how we measure success in anti-piracy to how we measure success in the war on drugs:

    Hmmm.

    The war on drugs which has worked out pretty great for corporations involved in the prison industry and put lots of money into government task forces. It's also created horrific social problems and a dedicated prison labor system that benefits private enterprise.

    I think you are on to something after all!

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ahh, so there is plenty of illegal, so the content providers should just give in and lose their asses making great content, because nobody is paying?

    Talk about self-destructive behaviour by the "fans".

     

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  53.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re:

    It always amuses me when someone posts a childish, name-calling rant on TD... and then attacks Mike for desperation. No wonder these idiots don't log in. If you're over 12 years old, or have an IQ of over room temperature, you should be very, very ashamed of yourself.

     

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  54.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 3:14am

    Re: PLEASE detail that better strategy, Mike.

    "I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with file sharing."

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with radio.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with TV.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with the library.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with walking.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with free wifi.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with free newspapers.

    I want to know explicitly how you get ANY income when there's a ZERO cost alternative with charity food bins.

    I'm glad there's a lot more perceptive and intelligent people out there in the world...

     

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