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Rapidshare Trying To Convert Pirates Into Customers 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-me-hearties dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "The file-hosting service Rapidshare is seeking major entertainment industry partners for an online store [to which links containing infringing material will redirect]. The plan is an attempt to bridge the gap between copyright holders and users of the site who distribute infringing material. Similar to many other companies that operate in the file-sharing business, Rapidshare often finds itself caught between two fires. On the one hand it wants to optimize the user experience, but by doing so they have to respect the rights holders to avoid being continuously dragged to court. To ease the minds of some major executives in the entertainment industry, Rapidshare's General Manager Bobby Chang has revealed an ambitious plan through which copyright holders could benefit from the file-hosting service. At the same time, Chang says that his company will target uploaders of copyrighted material — whom he refers to as criminals — more aggressively."
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Rapidshare Trying To Convert Pirates Into Customers

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  • Can't have it all. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:38PM (#31648088)

    Sell your cake and eat it too.

  • This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:40PM (#31648096)
    Because pirates already *are* customers. Classifying the world into 'criminal' pirates and paying customers is idiotic, and with such a faulty premise, then no matter how well thought out this plan is, it is doomed.
  • by junglebeast (1497399) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:43PM (#31648140)

    I think this would have been more aptly named:

    "Rapidshare Trying To GET RID OF their Customers who are Pirates"

    instead of

    "Rapidshare Trying To Convert Pirates Into Customers" ..which is just...the opposite.

  • by Keruo (771880) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:51PM (#31648210)
    Just say no to rapidshare and alike "please pay us or wait imaginary seconds for a download slot" sites.

    You can use google docs to share large files.
  • Re:This will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:58PM (#31648246)

    Because pirates already *are* customers. Classifying the world into 'criminal' pirates and paying customers is idiotic

    Exactly. They should be classifying them into paying customers and non-paying customers. Then they could gear their new store toward the paying customers in order to sales goals.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#31648262)
    That classification is also flawed. What if people sometimes pay, sometimes pirate? You can classify the activity, but not the person.
  • Re:This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:11PM (#31648358) Journal

    I hope they introduce it to more titles - by winning piracy we will start to get more quality games, as 90% of gamers aren't freeloaders anymore.

    Mod +6, hilarious.

    Having them successfully tighten their grip won't get you more quality games. It'll get you higher prices (supply and demand; the lack of a free substitute product) and more intrusive DRM.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:13PM (#31648378) Journal

    Apart from the Slashdot crowd (and most people here comment against DRM just for the sake DRM with no intentions to actually buying the game) I don't really know anyone who would avoid their upcoming favorite game they've waited for so long just because it has that online DRM. If a game I want comes along with it, I will buy it because I want to play it, and thats from someone who actually understands the issues - most gamers don't.

    The more online parts they integrate the harder it gets to crack. Parts of game, AI, quests, geometry.. It's a lost battle for pirates.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:23PM (#31648462) Journal

    No, it wont get higher prices because you can't increase price of a product infinitely just because it's one of a kind product.

    What sort of silly straw man is this? Who said anything about "infinitely"? If eliminating piracy means that increasing prices will result in a higher profit-maximizing price (and unless you assume that paying customers never convert to pirates at any price, nor vice-versa, it will), then the companies will increase prices.

    If you make the parenthesized assumption above, then piracy doesn't matter at all, so why are you bothering with the DRM?

  • Megaupload (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grendel03 (926696) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:25PM (#31648484)

    Megaupload is better for that sort of thing anyway.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alphathon (1634555) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:32PM (#31648548)
    I think when talking about Assassin's Creed II that's slightly wrong. I own many games with online based DRM (many of them EA games from when they still did that), and those don't bother me too much. The limited activations are annoying, but a tool has been released by EA to restore activations, so unless your computer dies or you forget to de-authorize a game, you essentially have infinite installs. However, Assassin's Creed II I had on pre-order, but canceled when I heard about the DRM. I am anti-DRM, but that is not why I canceled. I canceled because just looking at the system they are using, I could see that there would be problems. My internet sucks - it is slow and unreliable, and there is nothing I can do about it. As a result, I am fairly certain I would have more than average problems playing this game. That, and I could see the server outages coming. Did I pirate the game? No. I want to play it, and may pick it up at some point if it's cheap, but even then I'm reluctant. Since the save games are all in the cloud, when (and I do mean when) they shut down the servers, the game is dead, and I'm not sure I want to play it enough to support that.
  • Re:This will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <.sirlewk. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#31648752)

    Way to completely not make a point at all, but sincerely feel like you have.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @02:04PM (#31648838)

    There are an infinite number of pirated copies that can be downloaded, and one person downloading it does not deprive another person the ability to buy it at the store.

    The fact that they didn't deprive someone of something isn't the real point (though, in fact, they are depriving the artist/publisher/company that produced the product of their rightful revenue for the copy that has been pirated).

    The pirate has taken something that wasn't theirs, that they didn't pay for and that has some measurable value to them or they wouldn't have taken it in the first place. Just because they don't think they've deprived anyone of anything doesn't mean that it's OK to just take it.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @02:09PM (#31648892)

    Classification has nothing to do with it. You do the crime, you do the time, regardless of how much time you've spent not committing crimes.

    It's a moot issue anyway. Rapidshare has been copied so many times over that they have absolutely no pull to make this happen. If they interfere with the dissemination of illegal content their user base will drop like a lead balloon. Just by attempting to address the issue they've acknowledged that piracy constitutes a significant segment of their business. The whole idea is self-defeating.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @02:14PM (#31648930)

    Ok.. so what happens if you buy an MP3 from Walmart or Napster's store, and you now own the song

    But you find you need an unencrypted MP3 file to be able to play it on your new MP3 player, and the DRM-laden file is useless.

    Are you a non-paying customer if you go to rapidshare and download that file?

    I say you are neither pirate, nor non-paying customer. You already bought a copy of that data, you paid for those bits, and the publisher already got their cut.

    Now your only option to exercise your fair use right of playing the media is to actually go find someone who has altered the datafile to make it unencrypted.

    That's because, it's illegal to exchange or sell 'copy protection circumvention' technologies that decrypt music. The only way you can legally remove DRM for a file is to download a file with the encryption removed from someone else who also legally owns a copy.

    The bits are still the same, and the content is still the same (unmodified), you have just acquired an unencrypted version of a file you already own, through the assistance of a third party providing you the decrypted version of the bits.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Skillet5151 (972916) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @02:39PM (#31649146)

    Ok I'll play. Since piracy rates for console games are vastly lower than PC ones, how does your theory account for the fact that most console games are released at an even higher price point than PC games?

  • Re:This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehSpork (1000190) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @03:01PM (#31649342)

    I passed over both Assassin's Creed II and C&C 4 due to the DRM (both of which resulted in canceled preorders). After hearing the horror stories about the more recent DRM "innovations" the vast majority of my gamer friends have followed suit.

    Personally I won't purchase Assassin's Creed II until a crack or patch is released that resolved the DRM problem. If that means waiting until the game is a $5 steam special I'm fine with that, I don't have to play a game the instant it comes out.

    What is so annoying about this entire affair is that I am not a thief, pirate, rampant violator of intellectual property, etc. I just want to be able to use the software I purchase without my crappy Comcast connection compromising my single-player gaming experience. Is this too much to ask?

  • Re:This will fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @03:31PM (#31649576)

    If you buy a song on iTunes, delete it/lose it, and then want to redownload it from iTunes, are you able to? No.

    I download a game from Steam (technically, I "subscribe" to that game - wording to get around the right of resale), and I reformat/delete it/lose it etc., I can always grab it again at no charge pretty much as many times as I need to.

    iTunes treats purchases like physical items and Steam treats purchases as licenses.

    The subscription/license on a per-item basis of digital purchases is probably the best for the consumer IMO. If you buy a song, $0.99 is ridiculous for the data itself. If it were $0.99 for a license to own a copy of that song, it would seem wholly less ridiculous.

    I can redownload games on Steam if I have to, so I use Steam. (The DRM is also unobtrusive.) I can't redownload songs on iTunes without paying for them, so I don't use iTunes. Simple as that.

    Doing it the "license" way would also render P2P and the like null and void. If I purchased a hard copy of the White Album (for the fifth time) and downloaded some lossless digital files, I'm considered a pirate. Hell, if I rip the files from the CD and put it on my cell phone I'm considered a pirate. You just can't win the way things are nowadays. No wonder people pirate. I get my ass taken to court for downloading the White Album? Whoops, I already purchased it and are therefore entitled to download it.

    Sadly, I imagine it will be some time before the market and/or the law gets more in line with sanity.

    The day that the *AAs either get their heads out of their collective asses or collapse under their own weight is the day that the music industry will be better for (almost) everyone: artists, producers, composers, songwriters, and most importantly customers. Sure, corporate lawyers and *AA management will get the shaft, but they deserve at least that for their nigh-criminal business tactics of that last 100 years.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:45PM (#31652002) Journal

    Before Internet became the main vehicle for software piracy, counterfeit CD shops provided the same service, and it wasn't really all that harder to get.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Master Moose (1243274) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:27PM (#31652240) Homepage

    Around 30 years ago, I would buy my music on big black discs called "records". This music had the limitation of only being able to be played on compatible hardware called "record players" - the evil content providers were obvious in their attempts to screw me over with this.

    I knew that if I wanted to play my music, I would need to run my one copy through my "record player". This was common sense and obvious, I would accept this limitation and purchase the media anyway.

    If my records were became badly scratched or worn out, the equivalent of an mp3 being deleted - I would not say that I was entitled to new copies of the now unlistenable tracks because I had already paid for them. I knew that they would need replacing.

    If my record needle or turntable broke. I knew that I would need to replace these also. I did not hound the record company for a cassette version of the album so that I could listen to the music on my alternative hardware.

    At the time, none of this was called unfair. We were aware of the limitations of our purchases and accepted it.

    Times have changed - the delivery method has changed. The problem I see is that what was once obvious (records go on record players) no longer is to Joe Public and Joe public now wants more - rightly or wrongly so.

    I do not know the answer, but I do think that the argument of "I already paid for it" is never going to be seen as a justifiable excuse for "piracy". If we pay for content aware of its limitations physical or otherwise - We should not cry fowl when we do not agree with them. We should however not let our dollars support what our ideals do not.

  • Re:This will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Monday March 29, 2010 @07:00AM (#31655100)
    It would be useful to know how they arrived at those figures (never automatically trust the figures from people with ulterior motives - we all know the ridiculous figures music labels bandy around for instance), but notwithstanding that, if piracy is the reason for high prices then platforms which don't suffer piracy (PS3, Ubisoft's new DRM) should have considerably lower (on the order of those figures, at least 85% lower) prices. The fact that this isn't true would seem to suggest an admission on the part of the publishers that piracy does very little to the bottom line (and in fact, the more locked down console platforms have higher prices than the more craked PC platform, suggesting the prospect of piracy is encouraging lower prices rather than higher), it's just a convenient excuse for high prices. If they ever totally crack the piracy situation, they'll find another convenient excuse.

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