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File Sharing - Why people do it

Tuesday 01 March 2005 at 9:40 pm The RIAA and the MPAA are putting a lot of effort and money into preventing people from file sharing movies and music they never purchased through legitimate means. And I don't mean via allofmp3.com.

Why do people fileshare, taking what they don't own and using it for their own benefit? Because the price is set higher than the amount of time people are willing to invest to get it "for free." I mean, it's not really free unless you don't value your time.

If you made it so that I could buy a single track of a new album for, say, 30 cents, and you encoded it at several bit rates, and it was completely unencumbered by DRM, I'd probably do it instead of download it. The stuff that is downloaded is usually done by some pimple-faced teen who could care less about audio fidelity.

If I could buy a DVD for $5, I wouldn't copy them, I'd just buy them (not that I copy them in the first place, of course...). In fact, if the MPAA dropped the price of a DVD to $5, they would see a huge increase in the # of people buying DVDs, probably more than 4x, thus increasing their revenue or at least maintaining it.

At $20 per DVD, people have to consider whether or not it is worth it to them. At $10, it's a bit less of a consideration, but it is still there. If it's $4.99, they'll just buy it, because for most people who have a DVD player, $5 doesn't need consideration, while $10, $15, $20 per item does.

So drop pre-packaged in-store DVDs and CDs to $4.99 across the board, and allow me to download the whole CD/DVD for $2.99 or a single audio track for 30 cents and you'll see file sharing and copyright stealing drop. I would pay for the convenience of not having to do it myself -- I'm lazy that way.

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