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P2P File Sharing Ruining Physical Piracy Business 192

Posted by Zonk
from the innovate-or-die dept.
TorrentFreak has a short post up talking with a former physical data pirate, who sold his wares in flea markets and made buckets of money in the 90s. By the end of the last decade, his money flow had dried up, and he places the blame squarely on the shoulders of P2P file sharing. "Tony is very clear about why his rags to riches story has gone back to rags again. 'File-sharing, P2P - call it what you like. When you asked a customer why he wasn't buying anything, 9 times out of 10 it was BitTorrent this, LimeWire that ...' P2P is a very powerful machine and although Tony could see that his operation was feeling its effects, he admits that he sat back and did nothing about it and consequently, his business has paid the ultimate price. Other industries affected by P2P should take note: Don't be a Tony. Overhaul your business model. Quickly." One would imagine overseas media sellers will have similar issues, as P2P networks become more common outside of the Western world.
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P2P File Sharing Ruining Physical Piracy Business

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  • Nonsense. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:24AM (#18398907) Homepage Journal
    Utter nonsense - not everyone has the time & patience to download 1 gig files, then the knowledge to convert them to stanard DVD format so you don't have to watch on your PC. Tony should have taken advantage of this gap.

    One would imagine overseas media sellers will have similar issues, as P2P networks become more common outside of the Western world.

    No, one wouldn't imagine that. You any idea how (relatively) expensive bandwidth is in much of the third world? Much cheaper for one pirate (yarrr!) to download & sell copies to everyone (this is the way real free markets tend to work).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209)

      Utter nonsense - not everyone has the time & patience...
      OK, that's your speculation. But a real pirate who used to make good money at it, no longer does. Something has changed. And to quote the summary, "When you asked a customer why he wasn't buying anything, 9 times out of 10 it was BitTorrent this, LimeWire that ..." Seems pretty conclusive to me. Do you have some more reliable source of information you forgot to mention?
      • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Informative)

        by franksands (938435) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:00AM (#18399025) Homepage Journal
        I have. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We have dozens of "physical pirates", and I think they are doing pretty well, considering they are open for years. And I'm not talking about Mr. Tony with the CDs on the side walk, I'm talking about whole BUILDINGS with pirate stores, that sells movies and games as they are launched in the US, and sometimes sooner. Ask anyone who lives in Sao Paulo and they will tell you the same thing.
        • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:38AM (#18399167) Journal
          Tony is simply the punk on the street. There are LOADS of pirate who work out of regular businesses selling Windows based software, DVDs, and CDs. Funny thing is, that if the RIAA and MIAA were smart, they would allow the net the gut to the brick based businesses FIRST, and then go after just the net. But alas
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Seumas (6865)
            And remember, according to all the do-gooders, little johnny downloading a $1,200 copy of Photoshop via bit torrent so he can play with photos on his blog is just as evil and bad and harmful to corporations as the middle aged guy manufacturing and distributing tens of thousands of copies of the $1,200 application for a hundred bucks a piece. Or whatever.
            • Elements (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tepples (727027)

              And remember, according to all the do-gooders, little johnny downloading a $1,200 copy of Photoshop via bit torrent so he can play with photos on his blog is just as evil and bad and harmful to corporations as the middle aged guy manufacturing and distributing tens of thousands of copies of the $1,200 application for a hundred bucks a piece.

              And due to the statutory damages rule, little johnny downloading a $100 copy of Photoshop Elements is just as bad as little johnny downloading a $1,200 copy of Photoshop full version. (Bring out the GIMP?)

        • by Anonymous Coward
          They're operating out of BUILDINGS while, for all these years, HRS Copyright has been searching the high seas.
        • Same in Hong Kong when I visited 18 months ago. There's a whole building on Hennessy Rd dedicated to selling pirated CDs and DVDs. They get raided every so often, but I witnessed them shut down and lock their stores within 5 seconds of a particular phone ringing. The cops would have to move extremely fast to catch them out.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Yeah, they are raided every now and then in Sao Paulo too (I live here as well), but they come back... 5 minutes later (I am not joking, I actually witnessed once).
          • by 1u3hr (530656)
            Same in Hong Kong when I visited 18 months ago. There's a whole building on Hennessy Rd dedicated to selling pirated CDs and DVDs. They get raided every so often

            Slight exaggeration. You're talking about 298 Hennessy Rd. This is a three-floor computer mall with hundreds of shops. At any time maybe 20 of these are selling bootleg software. But most sell hardware and media. There actually several selling legit software. Back in the 90s, bootelgging must have been more profitable, software was sold by the fl

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              <quote><p>
              I sort of miss the old days, the bootleg vendors were quite knowledgable about their goods and would discuss the pros and cons of Excel vs Lotus, for instance. These days the front men just collect money and have no idea what they're selling.</p></quote>

              I remember when the legit vendors used to do that too. Maybe it's not just the people?
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We have dozens of "physical pirates", and I think they are doing pretty well

          To be honest, my mental image of Sao Paulo (based on what I've heard and read) is somewhere where people are either
          (a) Humungously rich, and could afford to buy three or four diamond-encrusted solid-gold genuine Windows Vista Ultimate install disks, simply using the spare change they found down the backs of their sofas, or are
          (b) Mindbogglingly poor, living in slums, and would need to save up for a year to buy one of those 99-cent calculators.

          Okay; I'm exaggerating, but not by that much. Sao Paulo has

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sique (173459)
            I can't talk about Saõ Paulo (never been there), but about Recife in the Northeast of Brazil.

            And there is something called a middle class. They might not be that large in numbers, but they go shopping at Carrefour (the one I was talking about had a defective last "r", thus converting the shop into a Carrefou or Crazy Car) Supermarkets, they have their home with a little garden around (and a high wall with glass shards on top to ward off burglars), they work as attorney, clergyman, consultant, banker...
            • by Dogtanian (588974)
              Maybe so; but I was thinking specifically of Sao Paulo (rather than Brazil in general) and that has a notorious reputation for inequality. Rest of Brazil? Yep; I'm quite happy to believe that there's a healthy middle-class there, it's not that I ever thought of it as North Korea...

              they go shopping at Carrefour (the one I was talking about had a defective last "r", thus converting the shop into a Carrefou or Crazy Car)
              Ha ha ha :-)
        • Re:Nonsense. (Score:4, Informative)

          by xtracto (837672) on Monday March 19, 2007 @06:21AM (#18399641) Journal
          I agree, the speculation about the end of time for the "physical pirates" is pure bullshit. I am from Mexico, and, the prime example is the Tepito Market [wikipedia.org] where people sell copies of movies and DVDs before they are available even at the cinema. They even sold the Xbox360 *before* it was out in Mexico (and the release time was the same in Mexico and the USA, usually what they do is assault trailers with merchandise).

          If anyone wants to practice their spanish, here [geocities.com] is a really good description of what the Tepito market is famous for in Mexico. Gosh, one of the main reasons why no one makes anything against it is that usually the heads of those markets (and the people moving the money) are the same of the people from the government!

          So yeah, there is still *plenty* of demand for pirate DVDs and CDs (and even VHS!!) in the street.
          • by Fordiman (689627)
            I can tell you, though; the ones in Philadelphia are getting shafted by the internet. Of course, it's the states and most people do own a computer. And the ones that can't use it proper are also the least likely to buy a bootleg disc. Somehow, the computer illiterate are more likely to avoid picking up hot merch.
      • Mod parent up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:03AM (#18399033) Homepage Journal
        I have no idea why this is modded 'Redundant.'

        The situation outlined in TFA is interesting precisely because it runs contrary to what you might expect, namely that people would be too lazy to actually download multi-GB files themselves. But the story shows that this indeed is the case; at least the people who are cheap enough to buy pirated software at flea markets put a low enough value on their time to download the stuff themselves in order to avoid even the minimal cost of pirated discs.

        I'm not sure what the lesson is here. There's a big question in my mind whether lessons from the 'grey (or black) market' can be taken as indicative of movements in the regular 'white market' -- online distribution probably is a lot more attractive to the kind of low-rent geeks who are buying hot software at flea markets than to very busy middle-classers with little time to spare or technical expertise.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          But the story shows that this indeed is the case; at least the people who are cheap enough to buy pirated software at flea markets put a low enough value on their time to download the stuff themselves in order to avoid even the minimal cost of pirated discs.

          It might be different still. People do pay to the likes of allofmp3, so it seems that some pirates at least are doing very well. Time spent downloading is not time wasted - even on a slow connection, you can just do something else meanwhile. It does sav

          • This is a valid point. Although, allofmp3.com is in a fairly unique situation -- they offer not an inferior product to legitimate versions, but an actually superior one, at a better price, with an interface that's arguably as easy if not easier to use, than most legitimate services. The black/grey market rarely has the white beat on so many fronts at once. Usually, in order to get the cheap price, you need to compromise on quality or convenience (need to go to sketchy part of town / flea market, etc.), so that it's only a certain segment of consumers (usually, those who place a low value on their time) who get the pirated version. But allofmp3.com has the legitimate outlets so thoroughly beaten -- or rather, the legitimate outlets suck just that damn badly, and cost so much -- that it can draw consumers from all across demographics, and not just the downmarket (cheap) segment.
            • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @06:03AM (#18399575) Journal

              The black/grey market rarely has the white beat on so many fronts at once. Usually, in order to get the cheap price, you need to compromise on quality or convenience (need to go to sketchy part of town / flea market, etc.), so that it's only a certain segment of consumers (usually, those who place a low value on their time) who get the pirated version.

              I'm not certain where you live, though based on your attitude I will surmise you live somewhere in the developed world.

              There are places in the world where the price of software is quite disproportionate - for instance, here in Croatia Photoshop costs about two or three monthly salaries IIRC. And even in the richer parts of the world, there is quite a lot of software which costs a great deal of money, and is still relatively easy to find in the gray/black market.

              If the price of the software runs up to several hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and the probability of you getting caught is slim, buying from a pirate is putting a rather high value on your time - it doesn't take more than a few hours, and the savings are vast.

              But then, what do I know... from where I stand, capitalism seems to be based on the principle of getting something for nothing as much and as often as you can.

            • Although, allofmp3.com is in a fairly unique situation -- they offer not an inferior product to legitimate versions, but an actually superior one, at a better price, with an interface that's arguably as easy if not easier to use, than most legitimate services.

              Whether it is legal or not, it hardly matters to most of its customers. Not the ones I know (myself included), anyway. What matters is the quality of the tracks they offer for download, and the convenience of use. For the price they ask, they do offer

        • Re:Mod parent up (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:01AM (#18400397)
          But the story shows that this indeed is the case; at least the people who are cheap enough to buy pirated software at flea markets put a low enough value on their time to download the stuff themselves in order to avoid even the minimal cost of pirated discs.

          I, for one, don't avoid pirated discs because of the cost issue, but because it's less hassle and faster to download a movie [1] than to have to go out, find a physical pirate store (Hell, I wouldn't know where to find one) and buy the movie I want.

          1: Sure, the actual downloading takes a few hours, but the only effort for me is a few minutes on thep(cough)ay.org or somesuch.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Matt Perry (793115)

          ...people who are cheap enough to buy pirated software at flea markets put a low enough value on their time to download the stuff themselves in order to avoid even the minimal cost of pirated discs.

          Could you clarify what you mean by this? P2P seems like it would take less time, and therefore be a better use of time, than going out to purchase a physical pirated copy. It's not as if the person has to pedle a bicycle to keep bittorrent or limewire running. They click a link and walk away until it's done.

      • It's much more likely that the drop is due to proliferation of CD/DVD burners in the home.

        Laptop computers are the big thing to have thanks to social networking and every one of them has a device in it which copies shiny disks.

    • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtb61 (674572) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:05AM (#18399039) Homepage
      Personally I think the most damage being done to 'for profits pirates' (versus happy to give away for free, pirates?, no, hoods as in robin) was by DVD bargain bins at supermarkets.

      Pirates were charging $5 dollars a disk, pretty much the same price as a supermarket bargain bin, who would bother with the questionable illegitimate quality.

      Yeah, I know you don't get the latest releases, but with the sheer volume of content available on DVD why bother with the latest releases, especially as most of the latest releases basically suck.

      • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:27AM (#18399101) Homepage Journal
        Bingo. I think this is a big part of it. Physical piracy was a bigger industry back when DVDs were more expensive. Anyone remember when those things first came out? They were downright extortionate. When a legit copy ran $25 at Suncoast, a $5 pirate copy looked pretty attractive. But when you can get a wide selection of movies at Walmart for under $10, there's not a whole lot of room for pirates.

        Black markets thrive on high markups. When the whitemarket's profit margins collapse, the blackmarket gets squeezed out (well, not hardly -- they move on to other things where the markups are still high).

        I suspect that DVD videos would be a tough sell in the First World (probably less so in other parts of the world, where the cost of a movie relative to other goods, like food, is much higher), however, higher-margin information products like expensive software (Photoshop, Logic, etc.) will still be widely pirated and counterfeited, in both electronic/P2P and physical forms.
        • I was buying these in 95-96 and they were $9-10 for brand new ones. My player cost me 400 ON CLEARENCE at the time (still a pretty good one even after more than a decade). But the actual movies were 10/pop. In fact, is was not until about 97-98 that they shot up in price (and shot up was the word for it; upt to 15-16 at that time).
    • by tm2b (42473)

      Utter nonsense - not everyone has the time & patience to download 1 gig files, then the knowledge to convert them to stanard DVD format so you don't have to watch on your PC.
      Perhaps not, but they don't need to. They only need to know somebody who does. Fans of content generally like to share the joy, especially if they can get friends to supply them with free media.
    • Re:Nonsense. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:29AM (#18399113) Homepage
      It's quite clear to me what happened: "Inside 30 minutes, 90% of the stock would be gone with some customers taking 2 or 3 cases each, presumably to sell on." They were being wholesale pirates, one step up from the peddling to end-users. Clearly as burners got reasonably priced the bottom fell out of that market, sure there's the guy buying a few discs for themselves but anyone with a CD burner (later DVD burner) could do their own side business. I know several of the first people that got CD burners used that to part finance it.

      Oh and bandwidth in the third world is expensive, but there's more to "outside western world" than that. Try going to South Korea for Internet connection, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Remember that much of the cost is digging up the countryside, and where there's cheap labor ditch diggers aren't expensive either. Some of the poorer skipped phone lines altogether and went directly for cell phones and satellite, when they dig up it's either modern cable designed for Internet service or fiber going in there.
    • by Psx29 (538840)
      I agree with you because I have friends who don't know/don't care to download anything but go right out and buy these shitty bootlegs that someone burns in there home.
    • Several factors are limiting the impact of "low patience".

      1. Broadband penetration is high now - even slow broadband can download most apps if you just leave it on overnight.

      2. A lot of broadband isn't slow anymore, especially outside of the US. I am sitting on a 24/8 mbit line, and 10 and 100 mbit (full duplex) fiber isn't unusual. "A gig" is a few minutes worth of downloading most of the time using a decent DC hub or torrent.

      3. Burning CD:s and DVD:s isn't hard.

      4. Even if you find downloading and buring h
  • when (Score:5, Funny)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:24AM (#18398909) Homepage
    When will people learn that piracy takes money from the pockets of hard working people like Tony?
    • Re:when (Score:5, Funny)

      by elronxenu (117773) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:28AM (#18398923) Homepage
      Next up ... legitimate pirates (like Tony) join forces with the MPAA and RIAA to battle the scourge of P2P.

    • Re:when (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DigitAl56K (805623) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:08AM (#18399047)
      To quote myself from another site on the same topic:

      Maybe nobody feels bad for Tony, but think about what will eventually happen to the genuine distributors and consequently developers. If Tony couldn't even sell pirate software any more then how will anyone sell software?

      Sure, there is that old argument, "the people buying from Tony probably wouldn't have bought it retail anyway". But stop and think about what's happened here: He had a big house, fast cars, expensive holidays, rented a warehouse, employed several people - that's all money that the real developers never saw a penny of. And you have to wonder - we live in a world where the younger generation (of which I count myself part) just tends to pirate everything. It has become the common culture. Apparently these days the majority of people under 30 "wouldn't have bought it anyway" all of the time - yet look at the masses of stuff they have pirated over time.

      First Tony will go out of business, followed by the software houses we know and love, if it hasn't happened already. The article ends "Overhaul your business model. Quickly.". This assumes that there will still be enough people around who will be willing to pay at all. I know many people who go out of their way to pay for nothing - be it software, music, or movies.

      Basically, if you're writing commercial software, you better have an online service or technology licensing program attached to it to make decent profits.
      • Re:when (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tom (822) on Monday March 19, 2007 @04:12AM (#18399281) Homepage Journal
        No, it's a story about a business model failing due to evolution taking over.

        I don't buy many games anymore. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of being hyped up for a year by some paid-for ads-cloaked-as-previews and then sitting down to play the game for all of 2 or 3 hours before it starts to suck because it was launched early, is full of bugs and the gameplay was never quite finished.
        It isn't worth the 50 or so uros they charge these days.

        On the other hand, I have bought great games after playing the pirated copy halfway through. I've bought the entire DVD series of Hellsing after having seen them all in ripped-from-TV downloads. A few years ago, I watched most new movies in my home theatre courtesy of bittorrent, mostly because I enjoy original versions over (often) crappy localisations, and the originals launched 3-6 months earlier in the US than the localised versions showed here. Nowadays, with simultaneous worldwide launches, I find myself going to the cinema again quite often.

        Quality still sells. Listening to market demands still sells. Crap doesn't sell as well anymore.
        • Re:when (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DigitAl56K (805623) on Monday March 19, 2007 @04:23AM (#18399311)
          Hey Tom,

          I understand what you're saying - but you have to realize that this isn't about what you do, or what I do, it's about the behavior of the overall population. If you believe that the overall population tends to follow your habits, then that is one argument. If, on the other hand, there is a growing population of freeloaders, then that's another problem.

          Although I'm essentially replying to you here, I make this point more globally because I see similar responses everywhere the topic of piracy is discussed, and I think that except in very few circumstances they mask the real issue.

          P.S. "Crap doesn't sell as well anymore.", agreed!
          • by Dog-Cow (21281)
            There is nothing especially moral about propping up an industry just for the sake of history. It doesn't matter *why* content producers can't sell their wares, if they can't, they will go out of business. Before the turn of the 20th century, there was no such thing as "content producers" outside of book/magazine publishers. Despite what the RIAA or MPAA may want you to believe, there would be no real loss to our culture if there were no more movies or pop bands published anymore.
        • by Aceticon (140883)
          Similar experience here: I just got fed-up with buying games which were overhype by game review sites in the pockets of their advertisers (hi IGN) and turned out to be riddled with bugs and/or fast becoming boring and repetitive and/or have little more replayability than the demo.

          Also i use Windows 2000 and although many Windows XP-only games will work fine on 2000, some don't.

          On top of this, here in the UK the law that allows you to return unwanted items within 7 days explicitly excludes software, CDs and
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Maybe nobody feels bad for Tony, but think about what will eventually happen to the genuine distributors and consequently developers. If Tony couldn't even sell pirate software any more then how will anyone sell software?

        If nobody is able to sell software, that's a very, very good thing. If the incentive to make proprietary software goes away FLOSS will have won, liberty will be restored, the Dilbertization of IT http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/17/175 256 [slashdot.org] will stop and Microsoft will die. Party like it's 1999.

      • by argent (18001)
        If Tony couldn't even sell pirate software any more then how will anyone sell software?

        By writing it, and selling it to the people who aren't looking for something that fell off the back of a truck.

        I mean, consider this as a survey. If someone went to a bunch of pubs and surveyed people about their drinking habits, you'd end up with different results than if you went to a bunch of churches and passed around the same paper. All this article shows is that among people who are already looking to buy stolen goo
      • I remember reading something about how the movie industry was once afraid that the rising popularity of the television would end up destroying their business, because people could simply entertain themselves at home for free, instead of going out to entertain themselves with a movie. One could make the point that if everyone just watched TV, then no one would want to make any movies.

        But that never happened, because movies were a different form of entertainment than TV. It had a bigger screen better sound, a
      • by zotz (3951)
        "This assumes that there will still be enough people around who will be willing to pay at all. I know many people who go out of their way to pay for nothing - be it software, music, or movies."

        And if there aren't, there are a few possibilities...

        Creators will stop creating as they are not being paid and there won't be much at all to pay nothing for.

        Creators will insist on getting paid up front for creating things.

        Creators will create anyway because they are driven to express themselves.

        Instead of really wel
    • Why do I get the feeling this will wind up on a pirated DVD of the Soprano's?

      It won't end well when Mr.Soprano finds out.
  • I say he should sue the P2P services for restraint of trade. How is he supposed to sell his pirated wares when they're just giving it away?
  • by lhpineapple (468516) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:29AM (#18398929)
    but I downloaded the audio book instead.
  • by gbulmash (688770) <semi_famousNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:35AM (#18398945) Homepage Journal
    Don't be a Tony. Overhaul your business model. Quickly.

    Yes, you pirates. You need to find another way to make money by leeching off the honest work of others. Art forgery perhaps? Maybe consider a payday loan business... legally charge loan shark interest rates by calling them "service fees".

    - Greg
  • by Xiph (723935) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:37AM (#18398953)
    You should reconsider what you're doing, if your target-customers are ruining your business.
    • by rolfwind (528248)
      Who would have thought, customers of your illegitimate and illegal goods would leave you out in the cold when a better, cheaper opportunity comes. Especially when they buy said goods from you only because you are cheaper than the real thing, not that you giving them something they can't get elsewhere.
  • sell drugs instead (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:42AM (#18398979)
    Tony, start selling cannabis, you'll make heaps more money.

    until we finally get it legalized, then you'll have to find some other criminalized act to profit off.
    • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:34AM (#18399139)
      Tut tut. Bad advise. We all know its smarter to start importing cigarettes and booze into many european countries where govt tax has seriously impacted consumer pricing, opening a huge profit potential. The main benefit is you just just get a smack on the wrist if you get caught as opposed to life for drug trafficing.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:51AM (#18399003)
    This guy was clearing almost $2,000 a week at the peak for a couple years, now he has to get a job. He said he enjoyed fast cars and a nice house - where does the money always go? Why can't people be satisfied with a nice new but still economical honda or something when they make it big? Why always blow it out on frivolous shit?

    This is the old tale of the ant and the grasshopper. Tony still could be living well today if he actually squirreled away some of it. I wonder how many people in the late 90's early 00's tech boom were blowing money the same way that have very little to show for it now.
    • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:19AM (#18399083)
      Exactly. I advocated Linux during the early years and my Karma soared. Now I am in a position to say that Vista is good with out caring what the mods think.
    • by Tom (822)

      Why can't people be satisfied with a nice new but still economical honda or something when they make it big? Why always blow it out on frivolous shit?

      Because money has to be visibly spent in order to count (J.P. Carse). In other words: If you want to use your money to improve your social status, you have to spend it so that other people see that you have money. Contrary to popular believe, money isn't an end in itself for the rich, it's ammo in a game called "society".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geminidomino (614729) *
        That's funny. I always thought the purpose of money was to make yourself capable of living, maybe even happy and comfortable. Fuck the socialites. I'd rather spend my money on my rig, motorcycle, geeky toys, and other things that help me enjoy life, even if the frisbee-deep sky-nosed douchebags can't see it (ok, they can see the motorcycle, but even that one I didn't get a HD to save money).
    • by 26199 (577806) *

      You must mean the old tale of the ant, the grasshoper and the squirrel.

      • You must mean the old tale of the ant, the grasshoper and the squirrel.

        I think it's the moral of the story about the Pimp, the Crack Dealer, and a game of Three card Monte
    • by mpe (36238)
      This guy was clearing almost $2,000 a week at the peak for a couple years, now he has to get a job. He said he enjoyed fast cars and a nice house - where does the money always go? Why can't people be satisfied with a nice new but still economical honda or something when they make it big? Why always blow it out on frivolous shit?

      He made the all too common assumption that the only way his profits could go was up. Whereas what actually happened was his business model became obsolete.
    • This guy was clearing almost $2,000 a week at the peak for a couple years, now he has to get a job. He said he enjoyed fast cars and a nice house - where does the money always go? Why can't people be satisfied with a nice new but still economical honda or something when they make it big? Why always blow it out on frivolous shit?
      One word: women.
  • Bunch-O-Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:13AM (#18399069) Journal
    What a bunch of crap. Having been to China where piracy is a big time moneymaker they know how to do it right. High quality product in attractive packaging with a rock bottom price. Why would I download a DivX compressed file when I can get the original mpg for 50 cents to a dollar?

    P2P only makes sense when there isn't an affordable convenient alternative. Tony just priced himself out of business evidently. It's all about volume and price point. If Tony had focused on improving his productivity so he could lower his sale price he'd probably still be in business. Even in the black market you have to continue to innovate.

    Tony got in when he thought he could make money easy, he wasn't bothered by the ethics of his choices. I have no trouble believing he'd be too lazy to work harder and charge less to give the same product. Even so I am highly disinclined to believe this story at face value. There may be a high volume of Slashdotters out there doing P2P for video, but Joe-6-pack is just barely able to share mp3s and spends a lot on DRM products. Joe would easily plunk down two dollars for a bootleg DVD if Tony where selling them.
    • by djupedal (584558)
      I confirm - I'm living/working in Southern China now, and I pass by a minimum of a dozen sidewalk DVD sellers, each day, between my apartment and the office. If anything is going to impact them, it will be pressure to switch to stealth mode as we get closer to the Olympics. No way can I imagine PTP having any effect at street level. Current price example is US fifty cents per - less if you know how to haggle :)

      Why can't Hollywood....never mind.
    • by mpe (36238)
      P2P only makes sense when there isn't an affordable convenient alternative. Tony just priced himself out of business evidently.

      Probably more significently Tony's market changed, low cost high speed Internet access came to the part of the world Tony was operating in.

      It's all about volume and price point. If Tony had focused on improving his productivity so he could lower his sale price he'd probably still be in business. Even in the black market you have to continue to innovat

      If anything you need to in
    • by kamapuaa (555446)
      Actually, pirating movies online [verycd.com] is extremely popular in China. Cheap can't compete with free. Many of my friends here in Shanghai have broadband, they never, ever will buy a bootleg DVD. Even half a dollar, with good packaging, just isn't worth it . Much wackier would be buying legitimate DVDs, they go for maybe $3 and you can only find them at a few government stores in the center of town. *Nobody* buys them, you'd have to be a nut (actually, it's for foreigners who don't know any better).

      People who

  • by BrynM (217883)
    P2P File Sharing Ruining Physical Piracy Business Man, I thought I hit the wrong link and was looking at The Onion for a second there. I know it makes perfect sense, but that obviousness was part of the reaction.
  • by NekoXP (67564)
    So basically the RIAA/MPAA loses money and the pirates don't make any.

    Either that balances out or it means the aforementioned studio mafia are justified in suing grandmas and teenagers.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      It balances things out alright -- but perhaps rather to make piracy an as expensive deal for copyright holders as before. Less "fleamarket piracy", and more P2P piracy. That still doesn't justify suing dead people or stroke victims, but it justifies suing others as long as those are in violation of law. Of course, despite this, pirates are free to choose to keep doing their thing, keeping this in mind. And some even tries to make it so they can keep doing without getting sued the legal way, in Sweden they'r
  • I've been around this scene since the 5.25" floppy days, and there were always leechers who would sell you something, and true warez people who would give or trade you something.

    Tony won't have been cracking anything, creating anything, "value added" anything, Tony is a leech.

    It's easy, always was, beige box FTP server on a decent pipe and start couriering, what Tony was trading on was usenet and a stack of dupe burners, and don't forget to take other groups work and rebrand it with your own nfo file to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shudde (915065)

      I've been around this scene since the 5.25" floppy days ...

      I'm really hoping that you're not still in the scene, most of us got over it before we were 20.

      I applaud the fact that another leech has bitten the dust, and can no longer make an easy living selling the fruits of other people's works to noobs and lusers.

      I'm going out on a limb here and presuming you're referring to the work of suppliers/crackers/couriers rather than the people who created the stuff. Warez scene != work. It was and is a ga

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've been around this scene since the 5.25" floppy days, and there were always leechers who would sell you something, and true warez people who would give or trade you something.

      Tony won't have been cracking anything, creating anything, "value added" anything, Tony is a leech.


      Unlike those who crack something, thereby creating "value"; who aren't leeching off of the original producers whose work they cracked.

      I applaud the fact that another leech has bitten the dust, and can no longer make an easy living sell
    • Haha... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Vr6dub (813447)
      Everyone point and and laugh at the dork!!

      You are soooo l33t

      I applaud the fact that another leech has bitten the dust, and can no longer make an easy living selling the fruits of other people's works to noobs and lusers.

      I hope you see the hypocracy in your statement.

  • As a student (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goldcd (587052) on Monday March 19, 2007 @04:37AM (#18399347) Homepage
    I may have done something similar, although on a much smaller scale - it may even have been where my name came from.
    Never really made any money, but came out the other end of two degrees with only a modest amount of debt (not that I'm defending it) and am now a good tax paying little legit drone.
    I was never part of the scene, so all my stuff used to come in as trades and I still remember the joy of opening jiffy bags with foreign stamps to see what weird and wonderful contents they would contain. I'm sure part of it was an aspergers like desire to try to collect everything there possibly was available - whether or not I or anybody else actually wanted/needed it.
    Had a fun time and it's left me with all manner of fond memories - playing a pre-release version of MGS throughout the night as we couldn't work out how to save the game, or what was actually going on (I've still not quite grasped Japanese), realizing ThrillKill wasn't released as it 'wasn't actually any good' to nervously opening my door to a car-load of scarey looking people in the small hours and them asking very sweetly if I could chip their PS.
    I stopped (assuming I'd started) all this many years before the guy in the article threw in the towel (I never made it onto DVDs). The premise of the article that P2P killed physical piracy is probably right. I doubt it's that everybody has know learnt how to download whatever they want and make their own copy - it's more that pretty much everybody knows a friend or colleague that can. Towards the end I used to temp in offices over the holidays - and every single one of them would have the guy who'd come in with a pile of disks in the morning for people (and get a pint if anything returned to him at lunch).
    Death of LikSang reminded me of their initial incarnation as supplier of DrV64s (I could never afford a Z64) and the fun I'd had resoldering the guts of what they delivered into a working machine and trying to track down a CD drive that didn't gulp enough power to max out the piss-poor PSU it came with. Dug out my old folders of disks and had a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Most of them were dead, cheap ones had flaked and I'd managed to eat through a load using a big solventy magic marker.
    All in the bottom of a landfill now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by harborpirate (267124)
      Congratulations! You write in such a random and confusing a manner as to make me certain you could become a novelist.

      to Wit:

      William Gibson, is that you?
  • are "off the books" distributors, but make no mistake, they pay a big cut back to the "owners" for the privilege of doing business with them, as I said here [slashdot.org]. Copyright regulates who gets to distribute information, and creates a nice black market like any other prohibition. Which is actually controlled by the industry itself...until the damn internet and its P2P came along, and started blowing its cover.
  • This just in (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @05:12AM (#18399455) Journal
    For the benefit of the RIAA and MPAA, here's a picture of your typical filesharer [nyud.net].
  • Law suit (Score:4, Funny)

    by stud9920 (236753) on Monday March 19, 2007 @05:23AM (#18399481)
    So, when is the PIAA (Pirate Industry Association of America) going to sue p2p networks ?
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday March 19, 2007 @06:22AM (#18399643)
    Piracy of DVDs and CDs is flourishing there. Most people don't even have a computer , never mind an internet connection and if you go down the local markets you will find tons of pirated material (most of it done badly it must be said). Its about time people in IT whether media types or coders really wrenched themselves out of this western mindset where they seem to believe that because they have broadband and a flash PC then the whole world does.

    Newsflash: most of the people in the world don't even own a radio never mind a computer.
  • A lot of anti piracy advertising often states that the money from selling copied media goes into drugs and other forms of crime.
    If you download for free, your not giving money to anyone, not the pirates who finance drug dealers, nor the software companies and whoever they might be financing.
    • The recent scourge is terrorism. Piracy supports terrorism. C'mon - get with the program, your government is counting on you.

      You really need to pay more attention...piracy doesn't support drugs, drugs support terrorism.

      And, as if I even needed to mention it: Think of the children.
  • pfffft... I used to sell (legitimate) stuff at a flea market... once a month someone would get busted for selling bootleg stuff... they are keeping an eye on sellers now since the Flea Market itself can be held liable if they try and feign ignorance concerning bootleg material.
  • Don't get me wrong, I'm no angel (let he without sin blah blah) and have done my fair share of "borrowing" software myself.

    But are we supposed to feel sorry for this guy or something? I mean it's one thing downloading Photoshop for your personal use (arguably strengthening the brand for when you're in a position to buy it at work etc), but actually making money and getting rich from ripping off other people's work... he acquired his wealth dishonestly, so surely he has no right to complain when he loses wh
  • Okay. So Walmart is a big, giant money funnel from the West to Asia.

    Asia ignores copyright and never pays for Western Media, distributing it like crazy to all corners of the East.

    Those two things are different.

    The West sending all its money to Asia is a way to go broke. But. . .

    Getting everybody hooked on Western media is the way you totally decimate a local culture and re-forge it in your own image.

    So if the West goes broke and blows away in a giant dust bowl, does it matter if it has re-spawned over in t

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