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Rapidshare Trying To Convert Pirates Into Customers 227

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

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:01PM (#31648264) Journal

    They're not customers for the particular album/movie/game/whatever they're pirating. And lets be honest here, its a little minority of pirates who will buy the product after they've pirated it.

    I'm actually happy to see Ubisoft and Blizzard have figured out how to stop the PC Game pirates. Assassins Creed II still remains uncracked [] and people have went and bought the game because they don't want to wait for a crack any longer []. 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. Yeah not everyone will buy what they would have pirated, but majority of those who want to play some game will.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:01PM (#31648272)

    As a former "pirate" I do not think this will work. Most "pirates" just want free stuff.. they do not have any problems with movie/software/music industry! They just have gotten used to getting everything for free and see no reason to pay if it is available for free.

    Now I do not download stuff anymore but I also do not buy it either. Most of that stuff just isn't worth the price being asked for IMHO.

    Everyone still riding the freeloading bandwagon - try 'quitting' - you'll realize most of that stuff you never need or can live by without just fine.

  • Lip service (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:15PM (#31648396) Journal

    I'd say that is just lip service for the benefit of the content providers. A way of saying "see? we are doing things, and you can work with us (and pay us in the process)".

    Basically, rapidshare doesn't know which content is copyrighted or not, as a good percentage of it is encrypted, and that percentage is sure to grow if any kind of countermeasure is tried. You have to manually search the blogs for the password to be able to know if the content is copyrighted or not. The economics of it is non-existent.

    So the basic system of the storage-download sites have to change for it to reduce copyrighted works copying, and that's also unlikely except via legislation. I think this is just an attempt to move the legislation threat a bit further away in time.

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

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @01:19PM (#31648424)

    That classification is also flawed. What if people sometimes pay, sometimes pirate? You can classify the activity, but not the person.

    OK, paying customers, non-paying customers and occasionally-paying customers.

    Trying to separate the activity from the person who performs the activity is disingenuous, IMHO. The activity will not occur on its own - it requires the person to perform it.

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

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @03:50PM (#31649708)

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

    That depends. In some circumstances, you can get apple to reset it and let you re-download the file without paying anything more.

    There's a reason for this. It costs something to pay for the bandwidth to download a file. And $0.99 per song gives them only a slim profit margin -- most of the money goes to music company, so if you downloaded several times, there would be no profit for Apple (due to the pro-rata bandwidth cost of your repeat transfers).

    Also, Apple would [probably] rather you re-buy and spend more money = more profit.

    It also costs something to keep records of what files you are allowed to re-download. They probably do this anyways, because there is other value in keeping those records, but not necessarily in a form suitable to allow re-downloads.

    If they allowed free re-download, people would abuse it -- by installing iTunes on multiple of their computers, and using iTunes to download to additional computers at Apple's expense instead of syncing themselves.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @03:59PM (#31649778) Journal

    I'll openly admit that by the twisted definition of "software pirate" in popular use today, I qualify. But the interesting thing is, I've bought quite a bit of software over the years too. In relation to my total income, I probably spend a larger percentage on "intellectual property" than the average "I don't pirate!" user out there.

    The companies trying to rule with an iron fist of copy protection create much of the problem for those of us who have the means to buy software.

    Here's just one recent example. I was asked to help a small business transfer over their data from an older, dying PC to a new replacement PC they purchased. Fine, but the old PC apparently had an "OEM version" of Microsoft Office 2003 Pro installed on it, and they couldn't even locate the original CD for it anymore. Their expectation was that the product would keep on working just fine when I was done transferring it over. (That's what any normal, logical-thinking person would assume, right?) But thanks to Microsoft's product activation and arbitrary rules on what limitations exist on OEM vs. retail copies of their products - they were technically stuck buying a whole new copy of Office to remain "legal" and keep using it like they did before the old PC died.

    Considering nobody even sells Office 2003 anymore (well, without a LOT of digging online to find some old stock left-over copy someplace obscure, anyway), they weren't even able to continue using the product if they WERE willing to pay for a new copy. They were basically going to be herded into buying a copy of Office 2007 instead, which they didn't want.

    Since I was already getting paid to "make this transfer work without any hassles", my best option was to install a different copy of Office 2003 Pro on the PC, using a pirated key. (If you know where to look, there are Asian web sites out there selling such keys, via email, for about $20-25 a pop. The keys they sell will activate with MS product activation just fine and pass all the tests as being genuine. How they're obtained, I honestly don't know and probably don't want to know. But it's an affordable solution to the problem, even IF Microsoft says it's not legal.)

    As to how all this relates to Rapidshare? Well, let's just say that Rapidshare's main function for MOST of its users is to obtain copyrighted software they're seeking for any number of reasons (some more "legitimate" than others). If they turn around and bite that hand that feeds, thinking the "industry" is a better partner to please? They're more than welcome to try, but I think they'll find nobody finds any value in Rapidshare offering up suggestions on how to purchase things they were looking to download for free.

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

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:05PM (#31652472)

    The fact that making backup copies of vinyl has always been impractical doesn't change the principle. Music has always been priced according to a formula that bears resemblance to (cost of physical pressing + distribution/shipping + studio time + artist cut + marketing + profit). If you already paid for the last five pieces, there's no reason why the sixth couldn't be considered separately. You paid for the record to be recorded, marketed, and for the artists and suits to support their coke habits. Just because the physical media was damaged doesn't negate that, so it's always stood to reason that one should be able to pay a significantly lower cost for a replacement physical media. However, up until the 80's it was highly impractical for people to do so, because a machine for pressing vinyl at home never really caught on in any meaningful capacity.

    In the 80's, we had dual-deck cassette recorders, and that allowed us to make backups much more readily, but even that was hampered due to the requirement of real-time duplication. It was here, though, that the mixtape was born.

    In the 90's, we had CD burners, and duping a CD took about 20 minutes at first...then 10...then 5...then 2.

    People have always wanted the same thing - to buy music once and play it whenever they want. When personal duplication was impractical, it was never considered a desirable trait. Later, that ability was given to us, and now it's being taken away again.

    Personally, I have never bought a song from iTunes whose first stop wasn't a CD-R for re-ripping. First, I simply appreciated the irony of iTunes wrapping the AAC file in DRM, then burning the song to disc in iTunes, then having iTunes volunteer to re-rip it for me. But second, it gave me both a physical backup of the song, as well as an MP3 that plays everywhere. No one is expecting Apple/EMI/Whoever to buy them new iPods or computers because it breaks. It's more like if a record refused to play without a specific needle, but could be altered to play with any needle, then the record self-destructing without being replaced.No one would have stood for that back then, but again, it simply wasn't practical.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.