Sunday, March 18, 2007

pity the pirates

When considering the negative impact of P2P networks, it's the MPAA or RIAA that come to mind. But in the old days pirates used to steal digital bits and encode them onto physical discs for sale to consumers looking for movies, music and software on the cheap. What ever happened to them?

TorrentFreak brings a human face to the impact of P2P networks on piracy in the tale of "Tony", a working-class bloke who lived his own rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags again story. Snippets like the following brought tears to my eyes:

By 2001, Tony was renting a factory unit and employing 3 people to operate duplicators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but although business was lively right up to 2004, profits were being squeezed every year. Forced to increase the amount of media burnt each week to make up for the shortfall in profit, it became clear that the business was in trouble - demand was falling dramatically.

“In 2005 we shut down the factory unit” said Tony, “we just couldn’t keep going on that scale, nobody was buying anything in quantity anymore. So we closed up and moved back into a bedroom at home with my wife and her sister operating the burners, something they hadn’t done in years. They weren’t happy.”

Forget the negative ads targeting illegal downloads of movies and songs. If more kids knew how their downloading activity have affected former pirates like "Tony" and his family, perhaps they'd give up downloading and get their pirated content at flea markets instead [sniff].