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The Internet Piracy Technology

File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era 334

Posted by samzenpus
from the whac-a-mole dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This report looks at file sharing in the post MegaUpload era. The main finding — file sharing did not go away. It did not even decrease much in North America. Mainly, file sharing became staggeringly less efficient. Instead of terabytes of North America MegaUpload traffic going to U.S. servers, most file sharing traffic now comes from Europe over far more expensive transatlantic links."
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File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era

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  • Era?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:52PM (#38971961) Journal

    I'm more annoyed at the wording - "In the post ____ era, the world will never be the same."

  • by zarlino (985890) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:55PM (#38972021) Homepage

    Honestly, I never even thought of Megaupload-like sites as "file sharing". If that's file sharing, then every website is sharing with you lots of html, css and image files. I'd rather call that "File publishing". You upload a file to a server which is then published to the world. "File sharing" to me implies some form of P2P technology where users literally share local files and bandwidth with other member of a network.

  • Re:Era?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rary (566291) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:59PM (#38972093)

    I'm more annoyed at the wording - "In the post ____ era, the world will never be the same."

    Especially in this case, where the "Post MegaUpload Era" isn't even three weeks old.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:06PM (#38972189)

    It's only a matter of time until someone develops an Android or jailbroken iOS app that allows true peer to peer piracy over bluetooth or wifi. You'd set it up to share what you want, and to search for things you're looking for. If you were friendly, you could even set it up to look for things other people you see for x amount of time are looking for. Walking on the street? Riding in a bus? File sharing everywhere you go.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:06PM (#38972195)
    Agreed. I think the term for sites that are MU-like used to be 'one-click filehosts'. This is only speculation, but I think that the use of terminology like 'file-sharing' might be the result of the anti-P2P campaigns by the RIAA and such, so 'sharing' has become a bit of a dirty word.
  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:06PM (#38972199) Homepage Journal
    The only permanent solution is to make content that people want to pay for, instead of making content they feel like they have to pay for. It's not hard to get people to pay for content when you make it actually engaging. You do have to give up on the lie that everyone wants content all the time, but it's possible to survive.
  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:10PM (#38972259) Homepage Journal

    The *AAs at this point are simply in a quixotic battle against the rules of the real world. They might as well lobby for changes in the laws of physics... it falls into the same category. Trouble is most of our legislators are oldsters, people easily bought, or people who can't understand any of the basics of the world we live in.

    Every attempt to curb the "piracy" will fail because this is simply the digital laws of information work. We can take huge step backwards into the world where every piece of information is tied to a piece of paper or a piece of rock, we can try to legislate it out of existence, or we can accept it and make a world that the artists (not corporate middlemen) can make a living.

  • by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:11PM (#38972269) Journal
    Traditional military strategy has been to go for the command and control infrastructure. The morons in DoJ just don't realise that its a useless strategy when dealing with the internet. Your enemy is far more mobile than you are, and they will simply relocate, or re-distribute to overcome the assault.

    /politicians and police don't understand the internet
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:11PM (#38972277)

    Looking back at the stuff I "pirate" it's really kinda funny. It's mostly TV shows that are no longer on the air. Shit I would watch on Hulu if they had it. It baffles me that the TV networks are so bad at this concept. Put a show that's been off the air for 5, 10, 20, 50 years or more and slap some modern advertisements on it and you can do what you've ALWAYS done and make money off of advertising. Off shows that you've already paid the production price... it's practically free for fuck sake.

    You get targeted ads, a clear picture of what people are interested in watching, and you're continuing to make money off of your legacy. But no they only want to put the last 3 to 5 episodes off the current season. So stupid. I pirate less because of sites like Hulu. Their business model, making money off adds, doesn't even have to change. How can they fucking not see it? So. god. damned. stupid.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:17PM (#38972387) Homepage Journal
    In the cases where an alternative distribution channel is available (there often isn't) and it is available for a reasonable price (which people often also disagree on), people pirate content that they don't really care about in order to fill their lives up. Perhaps there's a social incentive for knowing about what happened on some TV show; perhaps it's to stave off boredom because they're depressed and don't have greater ambitions or hobbies for their free time (this describes more people than anyone cares to admit); perhaps it's just to distract them because they're tired. In none of these cases is the consumer deriving value from the art of the content; it's just slightly more interesting than usual time-filling fluff, like the proverbial airport novel, sports news, the weather, or gossip in a bar. That's why we don't feel compelled to repay the artists behind the content.
  • Economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:20PM (#38972423)
    Economics defeats moral arguments every single time. People pay money to see their favorite bands play a live concert, because live concerts are an experience that cannot be burned to a disc or downloaded from a website. People pay money to see movies in a movie theater because you cannot download the experience of being in a movie theater. Concerts and movie theaters make money because the experience you are buying is scarce.

    Copies of music and movies are not scarce resources anymore. We no longer require specialized industrial equipment to make those copies, and it costs almost nothing to make a copy. With an effectively unlimited supply, we should expect copies of music and movies to cost nothing; the industry needs to find some new scare-but-demanded way to enjoy entertainment, or focus more on the ways they have left.
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:27PM (#38972537)
    Look it up. The sad fact is that if a resource isn't protected, people will abuse it. Example

    In our village we have a surviving section of a Roman road, and a small, protected wood of ancient hardwood. They are open to the public all the year round. The preservation committee has enough cash to go to the High Court for an injunction against people who might try to damage them, but almost every year we get some moron trying to destroy the road by ploughing it up with a Range Rover, or trying to vandalise the wood. We are prepared to defend both, but we have to be.

    The problem is that a nasty minority spoils things for the majority. Security at the Glastonbury costs a fortune because of the people who try to destroy the security fence - which is needed because those same people used to break in and try to wreck the festival.

    This isn't a rant against file sharing. I think the recording industry is its own worst enemy - it is purely entrepreneurial and entrepreneurs should never have special rights over real property. But, at the end of the day, the real answer is drastic: if you don't want performance to be free, do not encode it digitally and accept that restraint.

    But perhaps that's what you meant?

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:27PM (#38972541)

    To pick one of my favorite bits of modern culture, do you think you can bring Harry Potter onto the big screen without the resources of big budget movie studio?

    You could try not paying actors $20,000,000 for a few weeks' work.

    And, frankly, a future where movies were based more on characters and story than fancy effects wouldn't be a bad one.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:32PM (#38972607)

    On the contrary, and playing devil's advocate here, they are actually winning the war. Yes, SOPA and PIPA may not have gone through, but it was the fact that if the US turned off another country's domain, it might be considered an act of war, with the ramifications that comes with it, similar to a naval blockade is considered an act of war for a port.

    Here is how the *AA is winning the war:

    1: ISPs will hand them logs now by request. Not by court order. This allows long fishing expeditions.

    2: Treaties like only appear on the news after they are signed. It only was a lucky happenstance that this didn't happen with ACTA.

    3: Foreigners who have never set foot on US soil are being held criminally liable for breaking US laws. Picture Americans being deported to Saudi Arabia or Syria for lashings or beheadings because they were viewing pr0n.

    4: Piracy is being forced to the edges. This is success right here. Once piracy is forced to transatlantic or transpacific links, it isn't hard for ISPs to charge users for bandwidth use across those links, similar to how AT&T charges $250 a terabyte with DSL now.

    5: DRM stacks are everywhere. The next generation of Windows 8 logo compliant PCs can be said to have a hardware level DRM stack with the signed UEFI mechanism that cannot be disabled, and if disabled, content like programs and games won't work.

    6: It is becoming harder and harder for devices to get jailbroken. The PS3 took almost five years to have a single signficant crack, and that is currently fixed, with PSN detecting and auto-banning modified consoles. Modified xboxes are tossed off XBL instantly. Even iPhones are taking longer and longer to have a significant JB, and the Cydia market has to virtually recode stuff like Winterboard from scratch. Even with that, all it takes is a restore, a forced upgrade to the latest iOS, and iOS users are back at square one.

    7: One essentially is forced to use a VPS if one doesn't want to be ratted out. Of course, good VPSes are suspect.

    So, compared to this time about a decade ago, life is a lot tougher -- there are nowhere near the open wireless connections (warchalking is long gone), people who had open wi-fi connections are facing steep fines or jail times due to abuse, and the PC is essentially a dead platform when it comes to gaming.

    Yes, SOPA was a battle that was conceded, but the war is still being won by the *AA.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:33PM (#38972641) Journal

    Perhaps it had not occurred to such people that people who consider the work to be too expensive were outside of the demographic for which the work was targetted in the first place? Never mind the notion that the creators might make more money if they widened their demographic, the fact that they might be still choosing to market it only to a particular one that is willing to pay for the work is still their full right to do.

    That's perfectly reasonable, so long as the creators accept that many people outside that demographic—the people who cannot afford it—are going to pirate it because it still has utility, but not enough to justify the cost. This is the way things used to work before the content industry got a huge hair up its ass.

    The problem is that the content industry has started making false claims that the lost sales caused by piracy are beyond their control, when in fact, those lost sales are entirely within their control. They are then using that argument to try to stop the piracy so that they can squeeze those same unrealistically high prices not only out of the target demographic—the ones who can afford that price—but also out of the folks who are not in its target demographic and can't afford it.

    In short, the content industry is forgetting the first law of commerce—high margins or high volume: choose one. It is within their right to choose high margins; however, that is their choice, and they must live with the consequences. High rates of piracy are a direct consequence of pricing a product outside the range of the average consumer.

    Want to stop piracy? Sell first-run movies at the same $5 price point as ten-year-old movies. Piracy will drop like a rock, just as it did with music when folks got the ability to buy single tracks for 99 cents. It's that simple. The fact that they aren't willing to do that is their problem, not the government's problem, and it isn't the government's responsibility to prop them up because they failed first-semester business 101.

  • Movie budgets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:35PM (#38972679)
    1. There is no real way for an outsider to estimate the cost of producing a movie. Movie studios vastly overstate the costs of movie production to avoid paying people whose contracts stipulate a percentage of profits; this is a practice that is called Hollywood Accounting and it once received the attention of a congressional investigation.
    2. Large amounts of money is spent on special effects that add little to the development of the plot or characters in a movie. While this makes movies look cool, it is not clear that it is necessary for the movies to be a box office success, and it often detracts from the plot (many movies hardly have a plot to speak of, and rely solely on special effects for entertainment value). Further, these special effects should come down in price as computer time becomes cheaper and software is improved.

    Movies could be produced for far less than what is typically spent on them, and at a reasonable quality level. What makes a movie like The Matrix great is not the special effects or the bogus accounting, but the story that it tells, and that story could be told on a lower budget, with good acting, good directing, and good camerawork replacing much of the technology that is thrown at movies today. Movies are indeed part of our culture; special effects need not be.

  • What it did do... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:37PM (#38972711) Journal

    ...is cause a lot of people to rethink storing legitimate data in the cloud.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:4, Insightful)

    by justforgetme (1814588) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:38PM (#38972723) Homepage

    IP Trolling can't be "dealt with", like every politician does; you have to annihilate it and then salt the soil in order to optimistically dampen it's impact. The only true solution is the one of self mutilation. The global community has to reorient to a new set of rules for attribution of intellectual work in order to end this self impeding plutocratic movement.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:39PM (#38972749) Homepage

    People will still pay for stuff. Hell, the MPAA had record profits each year from 2006 to 2010.

    Movies provide an actual valuable service, that some guy in his home connection can't replace for free: huge screens to appreciate those expensive special effects and pretty photography.

  • Wrong way around (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:08PM (#38973151) Journal

    The MPAA currently can only compete on one of these points -- cost.

    Actually the MPAA can effectively compete on all the other points EXCEPT cost...they can do everything you list, better than any pirate, except give it away for free. The fact that they are ignoring all the other points and trying to compete on cost is why they are having such a hard time. If they released content commercial free, at the same time as (or even in advance) of broadcast in multiple DRM-free formats for a low cost the chances are that they would attract customers willing to pay for the simple convenience vs. searching dodgy websites for content of unknown quality which is only available after broadcast.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:23PM (#38973375)

    Kevin Smith made Clerks for less than $20,000 and it went on to make $20 million in the box office, not to mention millions in home media and network sales and the launching of his career.

    I get just as much entertainment from user submissions on Youtube as I do from huge blockbusters these days. I think the only people terrified of a "Hollywood-less" future is Hollywood itself.

  • Re:Blame Napster (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:39PM (#38973557)

    Ah, but torrent sites now are pushing magnet links instead, which are pretty much what you're talking about.

  • Re:Movie budgets (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xeno man (1614779) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @06:00PM (#38973923)
    You assume the money was spent on special effects. In reality more money was spend on advertising. TV ads are not free. Posters are not free. Billboard space is not free. Take out the advertising budget to get a better look at production costs.

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