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Rapidshare Trying To Convert Pirates Into Customers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the arrr-me-hearties dept.

The Almighty Buck 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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Can't have it all. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648088)

Sell your cake and eat it too.

Here's The Deal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648486)

Look, people, I just ate TWO cans of Nally's Chili. I have anal leakage, and there is this odor of slightly sweet chili and pungent shit. My point? This is more interesting than the article / story.

African Ingenuity and Self-Governance (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648564)

"The present condition of Haiti gives the best possible answer to the question, and, considering the experiment has lasted for a century, perhaps also a conclusive one. For a century the answer has been working itself out there in flesh and blood. The Negro has had his chance, a fair field, and no favor. He has had the most beautiful and fertile of the Caribees for his own; he has had the advantage of excellent French laws; he inherited a made country, with Cap Haitien [A once beautiful town on the north coast of Haiti] for its Paris. . . . Here was a wide land sown with prosperity, a land of wood, water, towns and plantations, and in the midst of it the Black man was turned loose to work out his own salvation. What has he made of the chances that were given to him? . . .

At the end of a hundred years of trial how does the Black man govern himself? What progress has he made? Absolutely none."
--Hesketh Prichard

It could be extortion (2, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649296)

Hey copyright holders! Would you like to sell copies of your IP at our online store? You'll get a (small) cut, but at least you'll get something! And, if you don't play ball, maybe uploaded versions of your files take a few weeks to get deleted. Maybe they don't get deleted at all. You wouldn't want that to happen, right?

This will fail (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:This will fail (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648398)

You can classify the activity, but not the person.

Really insightful. You deserve to be modded up for this important distinction.

Re:This will fail (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648420)

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

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

Re:This will fail (-1, Troll)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648500)

It's fairly well accepted that IP theft is completely different from physical theft, if no meaningful legal distinction exists.

Re:This will fail (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648594)

It is legally completely different as well...

Re:This will fail (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648752)

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

Re:This will fail (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648490)

Given that people that engage int he activity of paying for things do not bring potential legal headaches and people who engage in the activity of copyright infringement do bring potential legal headaches (I guess the distinction might be more 'few' vs 'lots' than 'none' vs 'some', but I don't care to quibble), someone dealing with copyrights can probably make good use of the classification, flawed or not.

Re:This will fail (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648852)

And what if they already purchased the exact item in another form, but they are too lazy to want to rip it themselves, and like the convenience of someone else having already converted the medium to their favorite file format?

Then they are neither paying nor pirating, really.. they could rip and make the exact same file themselves, if they weren't lazy, or if they had the knowhow.... downloading from someone else then is just outsourcing :)

Another possibility may be that the file they have is encrypted, and they don't know how to decrypt it, so downloading an unencrypted version from someone else is their only way at getting to the actual bits in order to exercise their fair use rights (such as using a clip from the file for permitted purposes being things like classroom use, criticism, parody, quotations of small portions, etc).

It's a bit hard to classify the activity, also.

Re:This will fail (3, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648264)

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 [nfohump.com] and people have went and bought the game because they don't want to wait for a crack any longer [nfohump.com] . 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.

Re:This will fail (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648300)

And they'll loose as many customers as they gain, as the game is so unplayable due to the DRM (which will be cracked eventually) that people are avoiding it.

Re:This will fail (1, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648378)

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 (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648512)

People actually WAIT for games to come out? People who have real lives actually check every day or two, to see if the new version of their favorite game has come out yet? I mean, REAL people, who do things outside of their mama's basement walls? People who actually know members of the opposite sex, participate in some kind of sport now and then, people who pay their way through the world?

I find all of this hard to believe.

Re:This will fail (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648530)

I know Civilization V will be released next fall. I'm not checking every day if it still is so, but I'm nevertheless waiting for the game.

Re:This will fail (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648546)

People actually WAIT for games to come out? People who have real lives actually check every day or two, to see if the new version of their favorite game has come out yet? I mean, REAL people, who do things outside of their mama's basement walls? People who actually know members of the opposite sex, participate in some kind of sport now and then, people who pay their way through the world?

I find all of this hard to believe.

Gamers are people, too. At least that's what I read on the internet. Live and learn I guess.

Re:This will fail (2, Insightful)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648628)

I know gamer types not /. types, ones that didn't know what DRM stands for that were not going to buy assassins creed 2 because of the server stupidity.

Re:This will fail (4, Insightful)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648774)

Correction: "The more online parts they integrate the worse the user experience gets. It's a lost battle for publishers."

Re:This will fail (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648798)

Because if your internet connection is unstable (like so many people's are), or you want to play without one, you literally cannot play the game, so why would you buy it. I'm not talking moral issues here, I am talking about the fact the game becomes literally unplayable because of the DRM, even for legitimate customers.

Re:This will fail (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648358)

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 (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648402)

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. But it will get higher quality products as publishers and developers will get back a lot more revenue with the same budget. Hell, it can even get us back some more obscure and non-mainstream FPS games because then publishers can take more risks too.

Re:This will fail (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648462)

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?

Re:This will fail (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648510)

If there wasn't a way for pirates to pirate their game (like now with the Ubisoft always-online-DRM), that higher profit price point might also mean lower prices for everyone when more people would buy it, especially since the pc piracy rate is around 80-90%. If half of those bought the game, it would mean publishers could lower their price by 4 times ($50 -> $12.5) and they would still get the same profit.

Re:This will fail (1)

Therilith (1306561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648636)

publishers could lower their price by 4 times ($50 -> $12.5)

Yeah, that'll happen.

Re:This will fail (1)

Skillet5151 (972916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648688)

Yeah that's the ticket to corporate success: "Let's be fair to our customers instead of trying to maximize short term profits."
Don't let the door hit you on the way out. It's mahogany.

Re:This will fail (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648784)

I never said they would try to be fair. I said they would try to maximize the profits. By lowering your products price more people can/might buy it, especially now than there aren't pirates anymore. Some of those pirates don't have the money to buy the $50 game, but they might have for $15. If it's enough more people, then you're increasing your profits. Business ABC, really.

Re:This will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648920)

Business ABC, really.

Wishful thinking, really.

Re:This will fail (2, Insightful)

Skillet5151 (972916) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649326)

Because console makers all get their share from game sales, hence publishers have to compensate that. With PC that part is cut out.

Re:This will fail (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649346)

I'm sorry I think you really need another coffee. Right now these vendors are screaming bloody murder because not enough people are paying the $50 to begin with. You seriously think they will be willing to drop the price by over 50% because no one is able to pirate it any more? That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard on the internets ever.

Re:This will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649302)

WOW, are you seriously saying every software title is pirated by 80-90% of its user base? Now this I have to see some citation cause that smells like it came fresh from your ass.

Re:This will fail (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648992)

Oh? I'm pretty sure Baldur's Gate II was developed with a much smaller budget than, say, Mass Effect 2, and while I absolutely love both games, I find BG2 to be way superior in both story and gameplay.

The quality issue isn't about cash, it's about casual vs gamer and publisher vs devs.

Re:This will fail (0, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649366)

Baldur's Gate II was released during time when internet piracy wasn't so widespread. Another point is that publishers like to go the sure route instead of taking big changes with games like Baldur's Gate II. If piracy wasn't there, then publishers would most likely be able to take more risks too. Same goes for indie developers too, and they usually do that. Even World of Goo had piracy rate of around 90% [2dboy.com] .

Re:This will fail (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648410)

Having them successfully tighten their grip won't get you more quality games.

Don't be so sure. Some of the most financially successful games have also been the most widely pirated.

Re:This will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648388)

If a game/movie/song isn't worth pirating, it sure as hell isn't worth buying.

Hence, the harder you make something to pirate, the less worth it has to buyers - usually because painful copy-protection breaks the product.

Want to watch that Blu-Ray you bought on your Linux based HTPC? Tough luck (unless you get a copy decoding with one of the compromised keys).
Want to play Command and Conquer 4 at a LAN party with no Internet access? Better have a key-server-emulator around.
Etc, etc, etc.
It's getting ridiculous, and I'm not going to buy into it. The more they attempt to force-feed me their shit, the further I stay away from their "products". If I buy something I want to be able to "use it as I see fit". And not bow to corporate megalomania and paranoia.
The only exception, where I appreciate corporate oversight is on-line play. But that shows all too often, that even the minimally motivated can work around most limitations...

Oh, and that rapidshare guy should be careful calling his most active clients "criminals".... it's those criminals that put the ad dollar-powered dinner on his table..

Re:This will fail (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648582)

"Oh, and that rapidshare guy should be careful calling his most active clients "criminals".... it's those criminals that put the ad dollar-powered dinner on his table.."

He's not the first guy to forget who feeds his chidren. We've already forgotten thousands of others!

Re:This will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649368)

He's not the first guy to forget who feeds his chidren.

He hasn't forgotten. MAFIAA's shutting him down. He's got no real choice here:

He can either (a) comply with MAFIAA's demands (and lose all his ad revenue as his users desert his company for other filesharing sites), or (b) fight MAFIAA (and lose the lawsuit because MAFIAA can afford more lawyers).

MAFIAA didn't kill P2P, but it sure killed Napster. Either way, ded kitty.

Re:This will fail (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648476)

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.

On the other hand, some people will buy it, get sufficiently annoyed at getting kicked out whenever the internet sneezes, reshrinkwrap the game at work so they can return it, then wait for the crack and buy it used to salve their conscience.

Re:This will fail (0, Troll)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648390)

I'll have to remember that term next time I'm caught shoplifting. "No sir, I'm not a thief. I'm an non-paying customer!"

Re:This will fail (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648374)

Explain how pirates are customers?

Re:This will fail (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648520)

Explain how pirates are customers?

You see, it's like this:
* You ride in a cab and then jump out without paying once you get to your destination
* While you were in the cab you were a customer "Hey, don't take 22nd St, it's always a mess this time of day" (ie, the customer is always right)
* Once you jump out of the cab without paying you're a pirate "Argh, matey, try to catch me now, you scurvy dawg" (works with or without the eyepatch)

So you see, even if you are a pirate you can also be considered a customer.

Sorry the analogy sucks (cabs are one of the few times you pay after the service is performed) but I thought this thread desperately needed a car analogy.

Re:This will fail (-1, Troll)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648756)

Except that in the taxi you are using a limited resource, ie there are a finite number of cabs that can be occupied at any given moment. By getting in one you are assuming responsibility to pay for the ride at the end. Riding and not paying consumes resources from the driver that cannot be recovered, and would have otherwise gone to another rider/customer, as well has preventing another customer from having a cab at their disposal to have ridden.
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.

Re:This will fail (1, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648612)

Does this [guardian.co.uk] help?

Re:This will fail (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648974)

I'm not sure if this is what he was going for, frankly but I believe he's right.

Rapidshare is not in the business of selling copyrighted materials (or at least they weren't up until today). They are in the business of hosting file uploads which, admittedly, are used a lot (primarily?) to share copyrighted materials without license.

Rapidshare's customers are the people who view their ad impressions, or who literally pay Rapidshare to avoid the queuing system. Many of these customers are also pirates based on what they're downloading. So the way I see it, one of two things are happening:

1) Rapidshare is serious about this and is going to make it a serious push, blocking as much content as they possible can. They'll make a few dollars from people this way, probably mostly from people who go "CRAP, I GOT CAUGHT TRYING TO PIRATE SOMETHING! Maybe if I buy it..." They'll also likely piss off the majority of their current customer base, losing a lot of their subscribers and even more of their visitors and ad impressions.

2) They're paying lip-service to the idea to keep people off their backs. They'll still make a few extra dollars from the scheme, but less than in plan #1. But since they'll be doing so little as to be doing nothing, they'll get to retain most of their current customers and visitors.

I don't think #1 is viable. I just don't believe they're going to convert enough would-be pirates into paying customers to justify the inevitable evisceration of their current income stream. So I think it's more likely either that it's #2 or that they're already a dying company trying anything to stay afloat.

Anyway, a long explanation to say: Pirates are RAPIDSHARE'S customers already.

And rapists are lovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648508)

pirates already *are* customers

Yup. And rapists are lovers, car thieves are giving you a complement, shop lifters are telling you that your checkout lines are too long...

Dream on.

Re:This will fail (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649022)

Not only are they customers, I'm quite sure they also make up the *majority* of Rapidshare's customers. Why would you want to pay for a RS subscription if you weren't using it to DL a large amount of rar archives?

Re:This will fail (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649114)

Its worked so well for the *AA to demonize ( and sue ) their customers.

Re:This will fail (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649246)

I do agree this plans execution is flawed but the concept of offering licensed software is not that bad of an idea. Mr Chan has shot himself in the foot by pursuing up loaders because they are the ones driving the traffic to his servers. Once he has "eliminated" all of these apparent "criminals" then where, Mr Chan will people see all these wonderful adverts for legitimate software?

It looks like... (0, Redundant)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648130)

It looks like they will have a lot excessive bandwidth soon due to people walking away.

Re:It looks like... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648158)

Yeah, the whole "we're full up, come back tomorrow" thing will disappear.

This will start a death spiral for Rapidshare. On to megaupload, depositfiles, mediafire, etc...

Re:It looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648368)

Not to say I saw this coming (because I didn't, really), but here's a story:

A while back I decided P2P just wasn't doing it for me (eztv.it being down for awhile was one of the last straws) -- as much as I like the logical notion of paying for my download bandwidth not in cash but in kind by seeding to 10, the pragmatism won out. At least for my DVRish needs, I'm now getting stuff from the big filesharing sites as a primary source, not a backup. Obviously, if you don't like waiting a minute or so and then re-interacting (often with a captcha) to start your download, suffering downloads at less than real-time, or having to remember which sites I've already hit in the past couple hours, you need a pay membership on one of the sites. A quick look around told me that rapidshare and megaupload were the most common, at least where I hang out, and rapidshare led by a bit. But rapidshare had enough legal troubles and was in a sufficiently pirate-hostile regime, it seemed they were just that little bit more likely to die in court, sell out, or squeal on users at some point.

Now I'm real glad I went with megaupload.

Re:It looks like... (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648526)

You should have gone with usenet.

Re:It looks like... (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648244)

Yeah exactly, is he trying to kill his company? Uploaders are what make his business so profitable, if there is nothing to download no one is going to pay for an account.

"At the same time, Chang says that his company will target uploaders of copyrighted material — whom he refers to as criminals — more aggressively."

Title is misleading (5, Insightful)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Title is misleading (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648316)

The term customers is simply ambiguous. In this case, it means customers of the "entertainment industry". It may also mean rapidshare customers, as rapidshare might get a cut for their redirect, depending on their business model. But yes, if a single person clicks on that redirect and purchases the software/music/movie legally, then the website has converted a would-be pirate into a legitimate customer.

Um, No? (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648154)

The file-hosting service Rapidshare is seeking major entertainment industry partners for an online store

If they are in fact pirates then trying to setup a store for them is probably a waste of time. Though I must commend them for nicely putting everything in one location and inviting pirates to come for a visit. Rocket surgery, indeed.

Say no to rapidshare (5, Insightful)

Keruo (771880) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Say no to rapidshare (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648298)

Windows Live SkyDrive works too, and has 25gb space instead of Docs' 1gb. On the down side SkyDrive has a 50mb per-file limit. Dropbox also has free public downloads, 2gb total space.

Re:Say no to rapidshare (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648414)

Really?

A friend of mine needed to download some files from my server and no matter what route we tried (https, http, ftp), he just couldn't get to the files without some manner of corruption of the files. So eventually I pointed to my free Dropbox Account so he could download from there. These were two files of 122.4MB and 137.3MB. He e-mailed a while later that he couldn't download the 30MB file; I already got the reason why in an e-mail from dropbox a bit earlier:

This email is an automated notification from Dropbox that your Public links have been temporarily suspended on account of generating excessive traffic. Your Dropbox will continue to function completely normally with the exception of Public links.

Oh, yes.. Dropbox is a -great- way to share files publicly. Uh-huh. At least until you hit some virtual limit and then they just shut the access down.

Not that I would suggest using either Dropbox or Google Docs or etc. for distributing items for which you have no license to do so in the first place - but just as a general method of sharing files, it's not all that. (Or at least wasn't late January)

Re:Say no to rapidshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648522)

On the down side SkyDrive has a 50mb per-file limit.

So perfectly sized to hold files split up into 50MB rars, much like many large pirated files are split into?

Re:Say no to rapidshare (0)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648318)

Ya know, there's nothing quite like the complaints of people getting something for free. It's what makes Monday feel like Monday.

Re:Say no to rapidshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648342)

Can i have a shot of your time machine?

Re:Say no to rapidshare (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649068)

Ya know, there's nothing quite like the complaints of people getting something for free. It's what makes Monday feel like Monday.

Dude, I hate to break this to you but - your boss has been lying about the calendar to avoid paying you overtime.

Re:Say no to rapidshare (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649206)

Every dayyyy is liiiike Monday.

Re:Say no to rapidshare (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649088)

Or big file sites, or ftp accounts, or bibud (when it's ready).

Hmm... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hmm... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648408)

Don't be such a fucking faggot.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648802)

But I'll die if I cant see *insert next big hollywood release here* as soon as possible! I have just got to download that leaked version two days before it is in theaters!

Re:Hmm... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649392)

You don't need to "try". It just happens when you get old.

Intent (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648314)

Were Rapidshare, Mediafire, et al ever intended to be used for sharing illegal content? I would think they weren't, since Rapidshare removes copyrighted material when it finds it, along with some of the other file sharing hosts (SendSpace, Mediafire, etc)...

Re:Intent (1, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648416)

Youtube has always removed copyrighted material when informed too. Yet we found out recently that they intentionally allowed the hosting of copyrighted material in order to boost their market (and mind) share. I'd be surprised if Rapidshare, et. al, hasn't pursued the same strategy. Personally, I've never used Rapdishare for anything that wasn't pirated.

Re:Intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31648588)

And I have never used rapidshare for anything that was pirated (and I have used rapidshare quite a lot).

Arent anecdotes great?

Lip service (3, Interesting)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648396)

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.

Megaupload (2, Insightful)

grendel03 (926696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648484)

Megaupload is better for that sort of thing anyway.

Pirates will still win. (1)

dionarapthevicious (1729238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648496)

"Pirates always win, on a long enough timeline. Honestly, the timeline doesn't even need to be that long." -Tycho Brahe

Re:Pirates will still win. (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648886)

Would they win if the pc gaming industry died?

Ooops, better stop using Rapidshare for warez (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648504)

Ooops, better stop using Rapidshare for warez.... CEO sounds like an asshole. They have probably have been saving everyones IP's. As far as I can tell, Rapidshare is entirely used for Warez.

99% of your customers are pirates (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648566)

Mr. GM, why do you think people use your service? Nobody else needs gigabytes of data to share with their buddies online - they simply borrow them a DVD, CD or game. No business would date to store some sensitive data here. Simply because business that allows (or is unable to stop it) infringement material to be stored is not a serious business in eyes of many.

Strategies. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648600)

Rapidshare is changing, perhaps the catalyst was this decision: TorrentFreak [torrentfreak.com] and also the fact that they share uploader information with rights-holders: TorrentFreak [torrentfreak.com] . All in all I think this represents a change of strategy by rights-holders: they know they can't win any public sympathy by suing the life-blood out of a single-mother with a family of five so instead they are going after the faceless "platforms." So, geeks, write some decentralized platforms now! Something that ideally lets you put in a seed and that is your first connection and then web-of-trust from there!

Re:Strategies. (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648644)

Web of trust has its own problems, best illustrated by the old Soviet jape:

When four men sit down to talk revolution, three are government agents and the fourth is a fool.

Re:Strategies. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648736)

Vouching to get in and never seeing anyone above you like in World War II allied prison camps worked decently but is it scalable? If you could establish a backbone then go back a few decades and its people going over to their friends house (who happens to have access to the backbone or knows someone who does) to get data. Of course it won't be the latest stuff as this introduces lag into distribution. Then there is the sheer amount of data which is what p2p solves right now, someone having that exact mp3 your looking for would be rare in such a system. Of course the greatest weakness of such a system is if rights-holders actually offered access, decent prices, and sane formats for their information.. I know the Ubuntu One Music Store in Canada doesn't get any major record label music - perhaps this is what 301 status [ustr.gov] actually translates into ;) They won't let me be a customer!

Re:Strategies. (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648998)

The cell system of security, yes -- you can vouch for yourself and the 2 or 3 people you know, but you can't vouch for any of the 2 or 3 people each of your 2 or 3 contacts knows. The advantage is that if it's compromised and those members are removed, it immediately breaks at that point so most of the system remains safe. The disadvantage is that any single person can't know how much of the system is compromised *without* members being removed, nor how close he is to being betrayed.

So.. infiltrations don't go far, but if you have enough of them you can significantly compromise the cell network's security.

Anyway, that's my problem with a subjective 'web of trust' -- I not only have to trust MY friends, I have to trust all THEIR friends, and all THEIR friends... many of whom might be people that I myself would not trust.

As you say, it also limits what data is available, since each node of trust filters out any data that node is not interested in (unless there's some requirement that every node carry all data).

Personally I'd like to see a web of micropayments, where you get paid a few cents for every copy you seed that gets converted into a sale, and where the price is nominal enough that a lot of people will pay the little amount for a known-good file rather than have to scrounge it from the back alleys of the net. Cash-strapped teens everywhere would cheerfully seed everything in the whole catalog. This could easily be done by watermarking files and running the system thru a custom bittorrent tracker. Yeah, there'd be lots of freeloaders, but there'd also be lots of people who'd pay a little bit just for the convenience. The object here is to make it folks' FIRST place to get files, increasing the chance that some will be sales (instead of driving them away and eventually zeroing out your sales).

It's exactly like how when DVDs get cheap enough, I buy them to save myself the nuisance of a long and iffy download, and the store (effectively the "seeder") makes a small commission for the end sale.

Re:Strategies. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649282)

I don't want to pirate, I want to buy with reasonable terms. Government right now is on a crusade to preserve old business models and damn everything else. I want to see more varied things tried because they represent competition. None of that benefits the incumbents right now so they are fighting tooth and nail against it with every dirty trick. I see piracy as a force to drag obsolete business models into the 21st century, they sure as hell won't come on their own. When it comes down to my decision: I want to buy my music from Ubuntu One, the record labels refuse to sell it to me there: there is something broken. Yet they insist on painting it in simplistic terms which makes them look like the victim when in fact it is the content industry which is the "Boston Strangler." Content industries are focused on short-term maximization of profits - they are missing the boat, unfortunately without them cooperating in a graceful changeover the alternative is to kill them off and let a new generation of more nimble players replace them. Yes, I'm still sore that while on paper we "have" a public domain in practice it has been stolen and all the potential works it could have spawned with it.

Re:Strategies. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649168)

Use an algorithm something like Advogoto's certification system, and also provide a mechanism for people to say "I don't trust them, or I know this person is bad".

Pure WoT alone has some difficulties... you need ultimately need some seeds that people know are trusted.

And the sheer number of certifications alone should not establish trust...

I would imagine you have 50 or so seeds, and you need to be certified at some level or higher by people trusted ultimately from some percentage of those seeds to achieve that certification level.

Also, a ~N negative certification by certified at N+1 if repeated by ppl certified by enough seeds, should result in ineligibility to certify at level N or higher, or something like that.

The design should be more complex than that, but there are some ways WoTs should be able to be made resilient against certain attacks on trust

Customer... (1)

Acecoolco (1012419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648814)

I buy games... But when there is so much DRM that it adversely affects my gaming experience.. I will download it, from rapidshare! I love that these people are pulling the crapware out of games I pay for, and it makes for a more pleasurable gaming experience. Lesson: Stop putting crapware in your games, and you will have more people that will want to spend money as long as the game is worth it. I have never had an issue with a downloaded game due to the removal of all the garbage. But, almost every game I buy first I have had at least one issue with.

Re:Customer... (1)

aflag (941367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648884)

Sincerely, I don't even care, I'll pirate one way or the other. I don't care at all for the health of game, music or movie industry. If they drop out of existance I'll just use the tons of games, music and movies that were already produced and I haven't tried yet.

This just in... (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31648938)

Rapidshare has shuttered it's "windows" and gone out of business.

Old model? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649046)

From TFS:

At the same time, Chang says that his company will target uploaders of copyrighted material -- whom he refers to as criminals -- more aggressively."

I admit to not knowing a lot about this - but isn't the model of busting users, then deciding to bust the pushers because without pushers, there won't be users?

I've got neighborhoods in my town that suggest that attacking symptoms instead of root causes for problems will never work.

But as I said, I'm not terribly knowledgeable on this and I could applying the wrong simile.

You've got a nice IP library here Colonel. (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649060)

We wouldn't want anything to 'appen to it.

People actually use RS for warez? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649280)

I don't get it, why would anyone use Rapidshare/Megaupload/whatever for warez when there are plenty of good solutions for sharing data that don't involve handing your files over to a third party (and thus requiring the use of proxy servers if you wish to keep a semblance of security and anonymity)?

I mean, sure, there were a bunch of warez websites back in the 90's that used various web storage/hosting sites to host rips of games and movies but I thought that had died out by 2000 or so...

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