Home > Copyright, Digital Policy, P2P > Research Paper Concludes Industry Use of P2P

Research Paper Concludes Industry Use of P2P

As many of you may or may not know, I was a DJ back a few years ago.  Back in 2005 I mixed up a music set that was essentially for my son.  He was born in 2005, and the month or so after his birth, I wanted to record in a set with some popular music at the time of his birth. I shared this set through “bareshare” at the time and the set went viral.  Shortly after this set went viral, I was contacted by some of my label contacts who where using P2P at the time asking if the set was done by me, since I had used my stage name.  They kept bumping into this set while looking for new music and talent.  Of course I said yes, and from that day forward I was working with several indie labels (including Canadian labels) releasing mixed sets to share on P2P to help promote their artists and content.

A few years later, I came in contact with a Canadian who decided to set up an internet radio station.  I agreed to help, and I quickly became familiar with several of the worlds ranking DJ’s and where they got their music from, and where they release online.  Several DJ’s, artists and labels in my genre had 2 specific private bittorrent sites they released under.  These two sites where well known in the industry as a place where many of us DJ’s get our music from.  Many of these private torrent sites also carried exclusive mixed sets for the site from the DJ’s, labels, and artists themselves.   A lot of the industry contacts I gained online were forged through file sharing sites.

What I think has frustrated me over the past few years over copyright is that all of the above is not something I can prove.  It’s basically inside industry knowledge.  Torrent freak has an excellent post on the subject of private torrent sites, and the out of the box copyright “arrangements” that come when industry is involved.

Bodó Balázs at Budapest University of Technology and Economics recently published a research paper on the subject. Torrentfreak summarized:

Throughout his paper Balázs references several private sites but redacts their names to protect their privacy. We’ll continue with his wishes but suffice to say this offers them little extra security – we recognized the sites immediately from his descriptions. One, a site specializing in non-mainstream movies, told Balázs an interesting story about how they handle copyright issues in order to keep their community healthy.

Rather than a straightforward take-down response to a complaint, the site admin described an interesting negotiation, where the complainant was paid off, not with money, but with ‘ratio’, the main ‘currency’ available on a private tracker. Ratio is the comparison between the quantities of data a user downloads versus what he uploads – the more he does of the latter the more he is allowed to do of the former. Site admins have the ability to manipulate these stats to give users more relaxed access to ‘free’ content.

This is very interesting to me, because the same thing to a certain extent happened while I was DJ’ing in industry.  As being a recognized and legitimate industry player, I was often approached by site admins to do up exclusive mixed sets for the site in exchange for rewards on my account.  I also found while working in online radio and tracking down “leaked tracks” that it usually ended up that the artist themselves would release these tracks prior to release on “industry” torrent sites against the wishes of their label, in order to gain market pre-release reaction to the track.  These artists usually where the same ones bitching about the 6% loss of income from “piracy”.

Whether you take what I’m saying with a grain of salt or not; what is very much needed to judge the economic impact of “piracy” are more studies like Balázs’s that peer into the grey world of peer to peer file sharing, and how industry has adapted to the widespread use of them in industry and abroad.

Also see my Business End of Piracy In The Media Industries Part 2  post, where yet another study was published looking at the positive effects of “leaked” tracks on sales.

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