One of the first things that were built after the creation of Internet were file sharing networks. The very first notable prototype for file storage and sharing — the bulleting board system — was created even before the World Wide Web.
After a couple of decades of some more and some less successful services, the file sharing scene exploded in the early 2000s, and despite numerous attempts to shut all these services down because of copyright infringement, many of them are still going strong.
Why are they still so popular?
One of the main things that people in the digital age have always wanted was to find all the files that they needed quickly and conveniently and for a long time the most convenient way to find them was using illegal file sharing networks. Currently there are many legal ways to find movies, TV shows, music and books quickly — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Spotify, etc. — but they are often limited in the amount of files available. Thus, people go back to using illegal file sharing networks. Many notable people, including Valve’s Gabe Newell, have said that piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem and that people have no problem paying for copyrighted content if it can be accessed in a convenient way.
However, due to the segmentation of legally available files, many people still default to torrent sites. If a TV show is not available on Netflix, would you search for different legally available alternatives, create new accounts, pay for a new monthly subscription (that you will probably forget to cancel after you no longer need it), look for specific regions that TV show is available in, find a VPN to circumvent the region-lock and spend half an hour trying to set all this up? Or would you just go to a torrent tracker or video streaming sites and watch it after a couple of minutes? Convenience is key these days.
Then and now
Back in the old times many file sharing services were awful and unbelievably impractical — they were full of ads, users were often forced to pay for decent download speed, many files were viruses in disguise. In many sites these things still hold true, but users are willing to slog through ten separate pop-up ads, find the correct download button among five fake ones, risk getting viruses or copyright infringement notices, all for the sake of convenience. Because we live in times where speed is everything — a research by Google discovered that 53% of mobile visits were dropped if the page loaded longer than 3 seconds. So if we have such high standards regarding website speed, how many of us would go through the trouble of finding legal distribution channels when illegal platforms are so much faster and more convenient?
These are the main reasons why files.fm is creating a new file storage, sharing and publishing platform — the Files.fm Library. We are doing this because we believe that piracy can be solved if a more convenient and safer alternative is offered. Tune in next week when we will describe our new project.
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