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krrazypassions's avatar

Who profits from uploading of copyright materials on torrent and filesharing sites?

Asked by krrazypassions (1355points) June 12th, 2011

Open-source software is different. So is the creative commons licensed information. Many universities are offering their course material free of charge on their websites as Open knowledge resources.
However, a lot of copyright books, magazines, movies, songs, games and software are freely available on torrent sites and file sharing sites. Naturally, people will rather download for free something rather than buying it! Naturally, the companies and individuals producing these utility products will suffer a great loss. Though these sites state that they will remove any copyright material if the owners register a complain, the sheer magnitude of such sites will cost the companies extra expenses to have special departments to track and handle such piracy.

How is such piracy on the internet affecting the global economy? If piracy causes the loss of the producers, whom does it profit? Obviously, the people who download stuff for free will be happy, but what do the people uploading this stuff get? And how do the sites who offer such facilities profit from this?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The people uploading it get to thumb their noses at the law.

Eventually, it hurts the marketplace because producers will not produce if they cannot profit.

jerv's avatar

You seem to have a conceptual failure here. See, the people uploading the material are not in it for profit. It may come as a shock to you, but sometimes people do things without expecting profit.

Of course, there is a sort of profit in reciprocity. Suppose someone else also uploads their stuff to share and it’s different stuff from what you have. By setting a cultural norm of sharing for the sake of sharing, you can profit in a way by sharing yourself.

jerv's avatar

@marinelife Assuming that profit is their goal. Open-source software authors often don’t earn a dime for their work and yet they do it anyways.

marinelife's avatar

@jerv Why not if they have time and they can’t make a profit from their work. However, I think the quality suffers.

jerv's avatar

I think that the Mozilla Foundation and Canonical (distributors of Ubuntu) might disagree, as would Google’s Chrome division and OpenBSD. Of course, most of those entities have other ways of making money anyways. For instance, two of them make much of their money from advertising revenue while Canonical is largely the pet project of a rich man (Marc Shuttleworth) who actually doesn’t want to make money on the desktop; he wants to make money on services and give the software away for free. (Quote at bottom of this article .) So some may put out quality stuff for the purpose of selling other stuff. They may not profit directly from what they give away, but Verizon doesn’t make money giving away phones either yet they do quite well.

And on the artistic side, there are many who do what they do for love instead of money as well… unless you are saying that indie artists are not as good as their corporate-backed counterparts.

koanhead's avatar

Yes, obviously no one would ever do anything without an expectation of profit.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go cash in my “lurve” for hookers and blow.

fundevogel's avatar

Honestly, I think some content producers over estimate the impact of piracy on sales. Yes some people will always go the free route if they can, but I expect an epic portion of piracy isn’t coming from people that would have otherwise bought that content, it’s coming from people that wouldn’t have otherwise been consuming that content at all. In that sense piracy can actually expand the number of potential customers by reaching more people.

I don’t know what the numbers are but I expect a huge part of the issue has to do with accessibility rather than stiffing content makers. Pirates are much better at making content accessible than a lot of content makers are.

bomyne's avatar

Depends… if the site is advertisement based, then the site operators can make a good fortune running the site. That’s an indirect profit.

Directly, uploading of copyright material to filesharing sites does not profit the pirates… but it also means a lost sale to the content owners.

This is not the same as a sale that otherwise would not have occurred… the content was downloaded and enjoyed… This is a sale that would have occurred if the piracy did not happen… therefore, it is a lost sale.

Keep in mind that movies and video games cost millions of dollars to make… And you can’t expect content producers to keep making movies and games if they don’t expect to make that money back.

I guess you could say they profit by getting something for nothing.

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