Douwe Osinga's Blog: The key to commercial filesharing

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The key to commercial filesharing

Grokster lost and the Big Guys won. What happens next is anybody's guess, but one thing that seems possible, is that the movie & record companies will try to take over the p2p space by introducing legal variants, i.e. variants where you have to pay the content. They tried this before and if they'll try it the same way, I fear they'll fail the same way. Here's why.

People like file sharing because its free, but also because it really is sharing. Not only are the files shared (stolen some would say), but there is also sharing in storage and bandwidth going on. So if you try to charge for this, suddenly I don't have much of a point of leaving my directory of downloaded movies open, or leave my bittorrent client running even after I have downloaded my movie^H^H^H^H^Hlinux distribution. I'm paying for this, so why should I share.

The solution is pretty obvious of course: instead of just charging people for using the content, record/music companies, should pay their users back if they share their music/movies with others. Whether the model is like Apples, i.e. pay per track, or Yahoo's, pay per months, if the record companies would give some money back to the people that spread the music, people would suddenly like to share, because it brings something.

More over, dedicated fans would even more enthousiastically try their friends to listen to their music/watch their movies and it would even provide somewhat of a businessmodel for fansites, something that can only be good for the entertainment industry.