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Piracy The Internet Your Rights Online

RapidShare Fighting Piracy By Slowing Download Speeds 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-piracy-only-goes-fast dept.
An anonymous reader writes "File hosting sites have been under increased pressure since the shutdown of Megaupload — both from law enforcement and from the sudden influx of new users. RapidShare, already dealing with a reputation as a facilitator of piracy, has now instituted a policy they hope will drive pirates away: download speed caps for its free service. According to TorrentFreak, 'RapidShare says that there is a direct link between free users of file-hosting services and copyright infringement. Those who like to pirate prefer not to pay, the company believes, not least because they want to avoid connecting their personal payment details to a copyright-infringing cyberlocker account. Now, there will be those who say that however RapidShare dress it up, the company will be aware that the restrictions will drive users to their premium services to get better speeds. But interestingly RapidShare is now offering ways for users to get faster download speeds without paying a dime — providing those uploading the original files they’re trying to access do some work.'"
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RapidShare Fighting Piracy By Slowing Download Speeds

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  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:30PM (#39149497) Homepage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tightrope_walking [wikipedia.org]

    Seems like they have experience.

  • nominal payment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:30PM (#39149501)

    I wonder then if requiring all users to pay a 10c charge would stop piracy completely for site such as this.

    • Re:nominal payment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shish (588640) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:36PM (#39149583) Homepage
      I'd still rather pay 10c for a fast and simple criminal service that treats me with respect than pay $20 for a legitimate fiddly DVD that treats me like a criminal... (also this [theoatmeal.com])
      • by alen (225700) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:40PM (#39149651)

        where are these mythical $20 DVD's?

        most are under $10 and some blu ray's have broken that barrier as well

        • Re:nominal payment (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:50PM (#39149811)

          where are these mythical $20 DVD's?

          Here. [amazon.com] Pick one.

          • by kiwimate (458274) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:19PM (#39150275) Journal

            ...you'll find a whole bunch of stuff well under $20. Two of the most popular releases from 2010 - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Two-Disc Special Edition) [amazon.com] is $7.78 for the two-disc set and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 [amazon.com] is $4.99. (In fact, it was that price even before December - I bought it as a Christmas present.) New releases are going to be more expensive - you can't blame a for-profit industry from trying to make a bit more money from those people who've gotta have stuff now and are willing to pay a premium instead of waiting six months, can you?

            I know people love to whine about how over-priced movies are, and how that justifies your piracy, but seriously, these are two block busters from 2010 for the price of a McDonald's meal. What's it going to take to stop you pirating this stuff?

            As I commented in a previous story [slashdot.org], people are bringing this on themselves, and also ruining the internet for the innocent bystanders like me.

            • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:59PM (#39150787)

              As I commented in a previous story [slashdot.org], people are bringing this on themselves, and also ruining the internet for the innocent bystanders like me.

              I guess it is perspective - I feel like people willing to feed the RIAA/MPAA infinite copyright machine are ruining the internet for innocent bystanders like me.

            • by b0bby (201198) on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:01PM (#39150803) Homepage

              What's it going to take to stop you pirating this stuff?

              A DRM free download at around that price. I don't want any more plastic discs hanging around, and I started buying mp3s when Amazon started selling them DRM free. If I could buy a nice mkv file of Harry Potter for $3-5 I'd do it, and so would a lot of other people. But a DRM locked copy from itunes costs $10-15, at least twice the cost of the DVD!

            • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:51PM (#39151385)

              I know people love to whine about how over-priced movies are, and how that justifies your piracy, but seriously, these are two block busters from 2010 for the price of a McDonald's meal. What's it going to take to stop you pirating this stuff?

              I don't actually "pirate stuff" hardly at all, but do you want the real answer?

              The first thing to understand is that different people turn to piracy for different reasons. The one you're ostensibly arguing against is this one. [theoatmeal.com] And that is the reason why your argument fails: The problem is not "DVDs should be $10." The problem is that a legitimate copy of a sufficiently recent show or movie is not available. Not for $10, not for $20, not for $50. And by the time it is available on DVD, $20 is no longer an attractive price because you've already seen the content (one way or another) and it frequently isn't worth $20 to buy something old that you've already seen.

              But there is an implicit assumption in your argument that bears pointing out: Even if you improve the attractiveness of legitimate offerings, that will never "stop" piracy, because people turn to piracy for different reasons. What it will do is increase revenues, because you do convert the subset of pirates who turn to piracy because of a lack of attractive legitimate offerings, in exactly the same way that iTunes did for music and substantially reduced music piracy.

              But it won't stop people who turn to piracy for reasons other than lack of legitimate availability. There is a large subset of pirates who do it because they consider "fuck the MPAA" to be a public service. If you want to convert those people, you have to adopt a strategy that targets them -- like the MPAA publicly (and in actual fact) abandoning its lobbying campaign to enact legislation and treaties that support DRM and impinge civil liberties.

            • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:40PM (#39152091) Homepage Journal

              these are two block busters from 2010 for the price of a McDonald's meal.

              The most I ever spend at McDonald's is $2.16. Burrito with biscuits and gravy, McDouble with value fry, or occasionally the Mac Wrap ($1.83).

              Beverage? I'm not paying a buck fifty for a paper cup full of carbonated sugar water.

              I rarely pay $20 for DVDs, either.

              However, I will pay $15 at D'Arcy's for corned beef, cabbage, and potatos with a couple of pints of Giunesses. I think it's hilarious that some people eat that expensively at McDonald's, substituting Coke (two cents to for McDonals' to make) for Guiness.

              As I commented in a previous story, people are bringing this on themselves, and also ruining the internet for the innocent bystanders like me.

              No, if there were no piracy whatever they'd come up with some other bogus "reason." Remember Rany Valenti's "the VCR is to the movie industry what Jack the Ripper was to women." But the VCR made them tons of cash. The internet could as well, if they weren't both retarded and greedy.

              • by kiwimate (458274) on Friday February 24, 2012 @09:34PM (#39155105) Journal

                Okay, fine. Let's go your way - you can buy both these blockbuster movies and your $2.16 McDonald's burrito/McDouble combinations for the same price as you pay for your meal at D'Arcy's. But you're missing the point (deliberately, I assume).

                No, if there were no piracy whatever they'd come up with some other bogus "reason."

                Possibly. But we'll never know, will we? The amount of piracy going on gives them all the ammunition they need. The end result is still that my experience on the web is getting rapidly choked because a bunch of geeks decide they're above the law.

                • by mcgrew (92797) * on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:24PM (#39159065) Homepage Journal

                  Possibly. But we'll never know, will we? The amount of piracy going on gives them all the ammunition they need.

                  No, but you can be pretty sure of it since the studies all say that the pirates are their best customers, spending more on media than non-pirates. Attacking your best customers is pretty stupid unless you have an ulterior motive.

                  I think they fear competition from independents and are using piracy as an excuse to quash competition. The RIAA labels are already an anachronism, and when desktop CGI is cheap enough and good enough, the MPAA will have the same problem. They attacked TV when it was new, you know.

                  It's about competition. Piracy is a smokescreen.

            • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Friday February 24, 2012 @05:48PM (#39153279) Homepage
              I strongly disagree with your use of the word 'meal' to describe MacDonald's food product.
        • Re:nominal payment (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:53PM (#39149891)

          I'd still rather pay 10c for a fast and simple criminal service that treats me with respect than pay $10 for a legitimate fiddly DVD that treats me like a criminal.

        • Re:nominal payment (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:54PM (#39149903)

          Those "mythical" $20 DVD's are what nearly any move that isn't at least a couple of years old costs retail. "Most are under $10" only applies to used and bargian-bin sales. But you already knew that.

        • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:59PM (#39149975) Homepage Journal
          Instead of selling four copies of a Walt Disney Pictures film at $5 each to capture the long tail, Buena Vista would rather sell one copy at $20 and keep the film unavailable for years at a time to prop up demand.
        • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:08PM (#39150103)

          walmart? most new movies are 20 as well as all disney movies

        • by shish (588640) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:55PM (#39150749) Homepage
          TBH I don't have much experience buying DVDs; the only ones I've looked for recently have been the Invader Zim boxed set - Amazon has it for ~£250 (~$400) imported, and I've never even seen a copy in the UK :-|
      • Re:nominal payment (Score:2, Informative)

        by Reapy (688651) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:49PM (#39152269)

        That comic is stupid. People need to stop making up stupid excuses.

        OMG I have to get HBO to watch HBO series from HBO who payed millions to produce said show?!?! SHOCKING!! So hard to add HBO to your cable and watch via HBO GO or on demand. Yeah, pricy too, I mean, I've never heard of getting 3 months FREE of HBO when you sign up. Get hbo, watch show on demand, cancel hbo. How is this hard if you want to go legit? This is not "CHANGING YOUR ENTIRE CABLE PACKAGE!!!!!!!one one!!".

        No DVD's to buy? Wait. They'll get there.

        If you want it now, immediately, torrent it, but don't make up stupid excuses like it's too hard to get legit. The people that want tv and movies streaming via their computer are still in the minority. Most people want to watch TV on their big screen set, not a small monitor in a computer chair. Most people don't have spare computers sitting in their home theator to get the picture up on it in the first place.

        It's getting there... but the user base is not in place yet for a company to fully commit to it. If you have some moral quandary about watching the show (is it a crime if you go over a friends house who has hbo to watch it? ) via another means, wait for the legitimate delivery source to be open to you.

        Making things happen legally and on a massive scale is a hell of a lot more involved than some dude ripping the show as it airs and throwing it up online in a torrent. Just the fact HBO GO exists is testament to companies understanding that streaming ondemand services are something people want.

        I want crusader kings 2, but not at full price. I don't want to shaft paradox by pirating it, so I'll wait for an inevitable steam sale and buy it then. Not that hard.

        • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday February 24, 2012 @06:33PM (#39153731) Homepage

          That comic is stupid. People need to stop making up stupid excuses.

          No the comic is factually actuate. When people want to buy something, with money in hand. Give them the opportunity to buy it, when they have it with the money in their hand. Otherwise, they'll go anywhere else for it, even if they download it.

          People won't wait. Why should they, welcome to the digital age. Does it magically take data longer to show up online when it's being stamped for retail sale too? No, no it doesn't. They'll figure it out eventually, that impulse buying = more money. Until then, it won't change.

          Hell if they want to get *more* people interested in digital services, they'd undercut the retail market by doing this.

        • by neonKow (1239288) on Friday February 24, 2012 @08:01PM (#39154533) Journal

          The people that want tv and movies streaming via their computer are still in the minority.

          It's getting there... but the user base is not in place yet for a company to fully commit to it.

          I'm sorry, but it is complete bull. It's completely about making money. Maybe a decade ago it was hard to get things into an ondemand service, but now with iTunes and Hulu and Netflix all competing to get TV shows and movies up ASAP, the only thing delaying them is not a technical issue, but suppliers unwilling to cut into their current market on TV.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:09PM (#39159943) Homepage

            Yup... not to mention the false dichotomy that they must fully commit to one or the other. Did they have to shut down CD sales in order to start selling on iTunes? Hell no. Most everybody I talk to today know how to download, some don't want to or only do it a little but if you offered a legal service you'd have plenty people signing up.

      • by kiwimate (458274) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:49PM (#39152275) Journal

        I'd still rather pay 10c for a fast and simple criminal service that treats me with respect

        Right. Because stealing stuff shows immense levels of respect to the distributors and artists.

        I'm showing my age, I know, but I still believe two wrongs don't make a right.

        • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Friday February 24, 2012 @09:49PM (#39155201)

          Because stealing stuff

          Yeah, I think stealing stuff is pretty bad because the one that had their property stolen loses it.

          Copying, on the other hand...

          but I still believe two wrongs don't make a right.

          It's quite a different situation if a person doesn't believe that what they're doing is wrong to begin with.

          • by kiwimate (458274) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:16PM (#39155333) Journal

            Yeah, I think stealing stuff is pretty bad because the one that had their property stolen loses it.

            Copying, on the other hand...

            When I see someone reduced to arguing on semantics ("what is stealing?") then I know they have no legitimate justification.

            It's quite a different situation if a person doesn't believe that what they're doing is wrong to begin with.

            Justification of sociopathy. Good one. That's pretty weak.

            • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:40PM (#39155815)

              When I see someone reduced to arguing on semantics ("what is stealing?") then I know they have no legitimate justification.

              Sounds like a non sequitur to me. The fact that I argued "semantics" does not mean that I have no "justification" (I don't believe such a thing is necessary, though). I simply tried to correct you on a point you made that I thought was wrong.

              Justification about what? Whether or not a justification is "legitimate" is, I believe, subjective. Can you logically prove that someone arguing "semantics" indicates that they have no "legitimate justification"? What if someone used the same exact logic that you used against someone that was arguing that murder is wrong but was also arguing semantics? Does that mean that the person arguing semantics has no legitimate justification that (just an example) murder is wrong?

              Justification of sociopathy.

              No... I just don't believe in absolute morals. Nice straw man, though.

              • by kiwimate (458274) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @08:44AM (#39157615) Journal

                I just don't believe in absolute morals

                At all? So someone who decides to murder a complete stranger, someone just riding the bus and reading their book, who is doing nothing other than sitting there, is not violating any morals in your opinion?

                • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:44AM (#39158411)

                  So someone who decides to murder a complete stranger, someone just riding the bus and reading their book, who is doing nothing other than sitting there, is not violating any morals in your opinion?

                  Any morals? Well, they might violate an individual person's morals, but I don't believe they're violating some sort of universal morals (that come from some unknown source and have no effect on anything).

    • by Verunks (1000826) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:11PM (#39150147)

      I wonder then if requiring all users to pay a 10c charge would stop piracy completely for site such as this.

      actually most pirates that use sites like rapidshare are premium users, why do you think a lot of people cried when megaupload was closed also the free download speed is already below 200k most of the times, there is no point in using them if they are gonna be slower than torrent

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday February 24, 2012 @06:07PM (#39153507) Homepage Journal

      .. well, since the number 1 reason for paying usenet news access is downloading warez I highly doubt 10c charge would do anything.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:34PM (#39149545) Homepage Journal

    I'm surprised it took this long.

    It would be nice if they had a "tiered" throttling system, something like:

    The first 1MB to any IP address in a 1-hour period gets throttled to a medium speed, say, 100KB/sec, and the rest gets throttled more. Throttle anything over 10MB per hour to painfully slow speeds.

    This way, people just grabbing one small (under 1MB) file in a 1-hour period don't suffer too much.

    I do like the plan they have to avoid throttling though.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:12PM (#39150163)

      The first 1MB to any IP address in a 1-hour period gets throttled to a medium speed, say, 100KB/sec, and the rest gets throttled more. Throttle anything over 10MB per hour to painfully slow speeds.

      This way, people just grabbing one small (under 1MB) file in a 1-hour period don't suffer too much.

      I've had people send me legit RapidShare links to stuff like data files and such. Explaining to my boss that I'd need to pay $1 or whatever the daily fee is to download this file from the customer just because it happened to be 100MB isn't really an option. (Perhaps it's a Linux kernel tarball they're sending me for their product).

      Or I can charge the day it took to download to the project. Most bosses would prefer I did that than try to authorize paying for faster downloads.

      And yes, a lot of companies do it in lieu of having other mechanisms of providing the file for downloads.

    • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:22PM (#39150323) Homepage
      Even throttled way down an under 1MB file isn't going to take that long to download. The extra speed for .2 seconds would be worthless.
      • by davidwr (791652) on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:20PM (#39151013) Homepage Journal

        1MB unthrottled: How fast are the Intertubes today? Probably 3 seconds for most users.

        1MB at 100KB/sec = 10 seconds. That 7 seconds is enough to be annoying but not painful.

        1MB at 30Kbits/sec (less than 4 KB/sec) as RapidShare is doing now = 4-5 minutes. 4-5 minutes per MB is painful, or perhaps nostalgic.

        • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:09PM (#39151613) Homepage
          Yeah but who doesn't have 4-5 minutes? Do what you are talking about to 10MB files and you may have something. Waiting 45 minutes for a 10MB file to download really would be annoying. But 4-5 minutes I can spare almost always. But then again, I started out at 300 baud, so everything seems quick now in comparison...
  • by Dave Whiteside (2055370) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:34PM (#39149551)

    has died then has it - I thought this was where all the kids get their dodgy stuff from ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:35PM (#39149557)

    So, they're now doing what most of their competitors have been doing for years. This is certainly newsworthy.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:37PM (#39149593)
    ...its slower speeds. This should in no way chase away legitimate users leaving only the pirates who dont care if their copy of photoshop takes half a day to download while they're at work.
  • Wow, this on top of how shitty Rapidshare already was? At this point they could only make it worse by forcing you to enter a CAPTCHA presented in the form of one of those "stare to see the letters" puzzles, shown right in the middle of goatse's anus.

    Why people ever used services like Rapidshare and Megaupload, I'll never understand.

  • by apcullen (2504324) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:42PM (#39149671)
    Seems like rapidshare is doing some CYA here. If you want better speeds, all you have to do is supply them with some cantact info-- fake will likely do-- and some information about the files being shared-- again fake will likely do. This way if they get raided, they can say "I didn't know that was a TV episode, they told me it was home videos".
    • by meerling (1487879) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:38PM (#39150541)
      Exactly! Fake info to all their fields. Of course, someone will scream PIRATE if they notice the fakes, but I've seen a ton of people working with stuff that's not pirated (ore even piratable) that only put in fake info if it's something that serves no other pupose than 'identifying' them.

      Go through any registration database for a product that doesn't give something useful or desirable to the user for registering. If you do, you will find tons of entries Like Guy Anyman, 1234 My Street, Yourtown USA 98765
      These people aren't doing it to avoid prosecution, they are doing it because they are pissed at the company demanding personal information for no reason (in their opinion) other than greed or nosiness.

      On the other hand, the ones that do that when dealing with a paid service over the phone (or web) are complete morons and paranoid douche-bags. There are legal issues with that, but I think you'd want to talk to a lawyer to sort those out.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:44PM (#39149721)

    "Those who like to pirate prefer not to pay, the company believes, not least because they want to avoid connecting their personal payment details to a copyright-infringing cyberlocker account.

    Except for those methods of payment that don't force you to give out any personal details at all?

  • by na1led (1030470) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:45PM (#39149725)
    You're caught pirating and they block your IP.
  • the direct link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muuh-gnu (894733) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:45PM (#39149739)

    > there is a direct link between free users of file-hosting services and copyright infringement.

    There is also a direct link between internet users and copyright infringement. There is also a direct link between prople exchanging information and copyright infringement. And so on.

    Copyright is for-profit censorship. As soon as you have two people exchanging information, be it on the net, by pendrives, even exchanging books, as soon as you cut out the middlemen, it will probably be some kind of infringement.

    The problem with this, what they call infringement is _normal human behavior_ that shouldnt be infringement in the first place. As soon as people get together, they exchange information. Declaring parts of this information exchange somebody elses "property" and trying to censor it by basically spying on every information exchange between two people, is censorship straight from the darkest surveillance state nightmares. The worst case scanario. It is basically north korea, but not with respect to "political information" but with respect to "proprietary information". Censorship is censorship, whatever paltry excuse you can come up with for it.

    • Re:the direct link (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:51PM (#39149839) Homepage

      There is a direct link between eating High Fructose Corn Syrup and Murder.

      Every Murderer in the USA consumed HFCS at one point in his or her life.

    • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:38PM (#39150535) Journal

      You misunderstand the point of copyright.

      Before the invention of the printing press, creators had some level of assurance that their works would not be widely copied by unauthorized parties by virtue of the fact that copying was so tedious and error prone, that the sheer difficulties involved in making a copy kept unauthorized copies from being problematic for creators.

      After the printing press was developed, things shifted somewhat. Creators still wanted the exclusivity that they formerly had, and would be inclined to self-censor, only releasing portions of their works, or distributing only to very small groups of people so that they could retain the control they formerly enjoyed. The concept of copyright was developed so that creators could publish widely, and continue have some assurance that their works would not be copied without authorization, whikle society as a whole could be enriched by the ongoing publication of new works.

      So ultimately, copyright was created as an incentive to publish. Period. Nothing more. Nothing less. It may also allow the holder to generate a profit if their work is sufficiently in demand, but this is more of a consequence of the way the exclusivity that copyright offers affects supply and demand in a capitalistic society.

      The incentive to publish is important because with an ongoing influx of new published works, society gets to benefit from them, becoming a culturally rich and diverse civilization.

      It's worth noting that even most people who currently release their works for free still actively choose to *not* put their works into public domain - clearly the concept of the exclusivity that copyright offers is important to creators, even today.

      Do away with copyright, and we will return to the days shortly after the invention of the printing press and prior to the invention of copyright, where most of the good creators will tend to self-censor, and not release their works publicly at all. The general public's only alternatives for content would be stuff that was funded by philanthropists or the government, which would not be terribly likely to have a diverse range of topics, or will simply face an eternal deluge of public-domain cat videos on Youtube, and otherwise advertisement-laden content.

  • by Eil (82413) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:48PM (#39149789) Homepage Journal

    Has anyone in the history of the world ever paid for a RapidShare account to use it for downloading non-pirated content?

    These guys are no different than the ones who offered newsgroup access for X amount per month (and by the way, here are all these great tools for managing large binary downloads should you happen to need them).

    Rapidshare's business model has always been about making the free download option as obnoxious as humanly possible. "Pay us money and you can download this random file which may or may not be copyrighted at full speed instead of playing capcha games and waiting all day for your file to download and then have it stall at 98%" This is nothing new or unexpected.

    âoeRapidShare has been faced with a severe increase in free user traffic and unfortunately also in the amount of abuse of our service ever since, suggesting that quite a few copyright infringers have chosen RapidShare as their new hoster of choice for their illegal activities,â the company explained.

    IANAL, but that seems like a refreshing admission of legal liability for being willful accessories to copyright infringement.

    • Dropbox too (Score:2, Funny)

      by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:07PM (#39150091) Homepage Journal

      Has anyone in the history of the world ever paid for a RapidShare account to use it for downloading non-pirated content?

      Has anyone in the history of Dropbox, one of RapidShare's competitors, ever paid for a Dropbox account [dropbox.com]?

      • by Fencepost (107992) on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:50PM (#39151375) Journal
        Dropbox has good clients for multiple systems, is simple to set up and use, requires basically no administration. It wins out over some of its competitors (SugarSync, I'm talking about you) because it actually has a solid Linux client along with the Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone/iPad and Blackberry (and browser-based access). I think their pricing for the individual accounts is high (or at least I think they'd do well with a $5/20GB plan rather than the current low-end of $10/50), but I can understand their current setting. The Dropbox for Teams page you link to has a 1TB 5-user account for $800/year ($160/user or under $15/user/month for 200GB per user), with all the tools available for a regular Dropbox account. That's not bad at all.

        Sure, *I* and likely most readers here could set up remote access to storage if we wanted to, but is it worth it? I have a buddy who seems to have an allergy to paying for things when he can do them cheaper, but I feel that "you can do it yourself free!" falls apart because A) "free" is only free if my time has no value, in which case there are probably other things I'd rather be doing with my "free" time and/or B) I'm going to enjoy going through the setup and inevitable tweaking over time. I'm not rolling in dough, but I'm willing to pay people to do things that I could choose to do myself just as my customers are willing to pay me to do things that they could learn to do themselves (or hire an in-house IT person for).

        I've built software in the past that had a price tag over $50k when installed and configured by field people, and I questioned it at first because I looked at what our software did and thought "our customers have IT departments and could build this for less than we're charging." That may be true, but they *weren't* doing it, and what we were doing had an ROI that generally was in single-digit MONTHS even with our price point. Paying for services is a lot like that - what do you need to invest to do it yourself, how much will it cost to buy it, what's the ROI, is it worth it.
        • Paying for services is a lot like that - what do you need to invest to do it yourself, how much will it cost to buy it, what's the ROI, is it worth it.

          ...how much will it cost to buy it all over again once your existing provider goes mammaries-up...

          • by Fencepost (107992) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:04AM (#39156421) Journal
            Well, that's why it's worth making sure you're picking vendors with a visible, viable business model. It's much like the recent adage that "If you're not paying, you're not the customer - you're the product."

            If a company is making assurances that it's cash-flow positive and sustainable and that investments would be for growth rather than funding operations, that's significant. It doesn't guarantee that the company will stay around, but it at least means there's a smaller chance that it's going to end up in a dead pool.

            That's actually another thing to like about Dropbox (though I'm not sure how it would behave with a 1TB team account) - if Dropbox's servers were suddenly unavailable tomorrow, you'd still have all of your no-longer-syncing content on your systems in your Dropbox folders. There's no losing things because the only copy was "in the cloud" because if you nuke it from your drive that deletion syncs up to "the cloud."
  • by mounthood (993037) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:55PM (#39149905)

    Why does RapidShare think this will give them cover over piracy? The MAFIAA doesn't care; they're happy to burn down the Internet to protect their business.

    The MAFIAA also don't really care about piracy, despite all their noise about it. Their goal is to maintain high prices and the business model that they know and control. Piracy is just a means to manipulate the publics attitude and justify the use of extreme measures by the government. Which for RapidShare means that they can't win unless they become part of the establishment ... but Hollywood needs enemies to fight more then allies to share the wealth with.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Friday February 24, 2012 @03:59PM (#39151473) Journal

      Bimbo Newton Crosby this is about control, especially to the RIAA. The future is video channels on the web and tours booked for a percentage instead of the frankly assraping and "Hollywood Accounting" that the record companies have been pulling and this scares the crap out of them. My oldest and his college buddies never listen to the radio, its all tube channels and internet streaming which gives unsigned and unknowns the same chance as everyone else to be heard and this scares the living hell out of them. Ultimately the MAFIAA want to turn the net into the home shopping network so they can go back to being the gatekeepers of exclusive content but frankly even film making with Machinima is getting damned good.

      Anybody see "Escape from city 17"? Frankly it was more exciting than the last 3 Hollywood boomfests IMHO and that was made on a shoestring budget. Hell one of the more interesting movies I've seen in awhile practically had a zero budget, wish i knew the name. maybe if I describe it somebody will chime in, it was about a party for a friend that was moving off and as the story progressed you found out the reason the guy was moving was because he was actually over 10,000 years old and had to leave before it got too obvious he didn't age.

      this is what scares the MAFIAA, that they won't be able to leech off of artists anymore like how they are screwing many 70s artists like Cheap trick by giving them NOTHING for digital sales, basically saying since it didn't exist when they signed in the 70s tough shit, or how Meatloaf went bankrupt fighting the studios who cliamed Bat out Of Hell I, the album with the record for longest stay in the top 200, actually didn't make a dime. Living close to Memphis I've seen kids sign and hand over an album the studios DIDN'T PAY SHIT FOR only to have the album sell 300,000 copies and get handed a BILL by the studios for "promotion expenses". The sooner that whole cabal DIAF the better.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @04:31PM (#39160059) Homepage

      Why does RapidShare think this will give them cover over piracy? The MAFIAA doesn't care; they're happy to burn down the Internet to protect their business.

      Only in their wettest dreams will they be able to shut down all the thousands of sites that let you share files. RapidShare is trying to (a) not be next in line and (b) score points if they should try to take them down. And if they happen to get more paying customers while avoiding a lawsuit, that's killing two birds with one stone.

  • Back in the late 90s, I knew people who would leave their modems connected overnight on a dedicated line, with a download manager running, just to be sure they got the latest copy of whatever it was they were after.

    Slowing up your downloads is just going to make people take longer to grab something, or they'll busily try to find a way to circumvent your "protection." Or, they'll move on to some other service or method, partially collapsing your business model.

    • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:18AM (#39156207)

      In economics terms, file hosting is close to perfect competition. It does not take much money to rent a server at some colo, set up a web page, and upload and download files. So if one host decides to have crappy service, there are plenty of others to step in and replace them. There are also two other major forms of competition at the moment. One is P2P networks such as BitTorrent, and the other is "Sneakernet", ie local distribution. Make online distribution hard enough, and people will pass around burned disks, portable hard drives, or set up LAN parties or wifi parties. Where I used to work, we had a DVD loan system in place. It was just a shared spreadsheet with what everyone had, and you asked directly to borrow a disk. Local distribution sets a limit on how hard you can crack down.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:00PM (#39151495) Homepage

    And in other news, the MPAA is fighting piracy by releasing movies that aren't worth copying, thus destroying piracy at the source.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday February 24, 2012 @06:39PM (#39153789) Homepage Journal

    Really, the 'direct public download' bushiness model is dying. They are far too open for attack by the latest anti-whatever craze.

    The future is distributed storage with encrypted storage and transfers. Not sure how companies like mega and rapid will make a buck off it without opening themselves back up to the same risks, but that is the direction we are heading.

  • I wonder how many legitimate file sharing customers of Megaupload (like indie rock bands and open source software projects) started moving their files over the Rapidshare, only to get screwed AGAIN by these download transfer caps?

    I wonder which free storage service is going to be next to cave to legal threats from the **AA's. Dropbox? MediaFire? SkyDrive?

    Spending the time to set up a private FTP server of your own for private file transfers suddenly doesn't sound like a bad idea anymore...

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