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Tue 21 Jul 2009 02:00 PM

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Reformed Pirates

Pirate Bay has been in the news this year for all the wrong reasons. But if you’re like me, you might be confused that the illegal file-sharing site Pirate Bay is now being turned into a legal business venture.

The idea is that Global Gaming Factory X is going to take one of the world’s largest file sharing websites and turn it into an enterprise that works on what Factory X call a ‘give-and-take’ model.

This model will roughly work as follows: Users will have to pay a subscription fee to be able to use the service, but they can then work off this payment by providing content or downloadable space. Copyright holders will also be able to earn money if they provide content. The site will further generate profit by allowing advertising.

It all sounds very noble and is likely to put an end to the huge copyright issues that Pirate Bay currently has. (The site has been in the news regularly this year after its ‘owners’ were sentenced to prison for one year for infringing upon copyright laws.)

But many regular visitors to this site have already questioned this whole move of turning Pirate Bay into a business and as to whether it makes any sense.

It defeats the whole purpose of the site even existing in the first place, and users will quickly move onto BitTorrent sites that don’t charge them fees to download media.

Copyright infringement is illegal; it is wrong, but it is also rampant, and to think that one can turn one of its most prominent exponents into a profit making machine raises doubts.

It’s not only Pirate Bay that is being transformed into a more ‘acceptable’ venture. Kazaa, which was shut down in 2006, is also being revived. This time, however, users can pay a subscription fee and then download an unlimited number of songs. These songs, though, will then only be able to be played on no more than 5 devices owing to new Digital Rights Management settings being implemented by the site’s owners.

Honestly, if these ventures work out well and turn profitable, I will be surprised, but I would certainly take my hat off to the Gaming Factory X and the new owners of Kazaa if they are successful in their ventures. But when people have been taking part in illegal downloads for such a long time, they’re unlikely to change their habits and, sadly, I don’t have high hopes for the likes of the renewed Pirate Bay and Kazaa.

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