Link for the white house State of the Union Address. And if you have a question for the President, here is your opportunity to ask! Also, more than just having the state of the union on YouTube, is the fact that YouTube is airing this live. I wonder if more live video is in the works for Google and YouTube?
After a year in the works, and thousands of hours of time from some of the best Apple hackers around, The Chronic Dev Team has been successful in freeing the Ipad 2 and Iphone 4s from its chains. Reportedly, jailbreaking the A5 chip was no easy task, and while Apple Hackers and Jailbreak enthusiasts around the world are celebrating, it is important to note that it appears that this generation of jailbreak might be the hardest yet. According to the Chronic Dev Team, this jailbreak could not have happened without the participation of Apple fans everywhere sending in millions of Crash reports. An impressive display of underground community and organization.
They are saying this is the end of SOPA, but we all know what happened after A New Hope, sometimes the second installment is the hardest episode in a three part series. I wonder, are we foolish in assuming that web 2.0 actors such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon somehow have a vested interest in consumer advocacy, or is this just another example of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Food for thought.
The pirate bay is a music and content site based in Sweden: http://www.piratebay.org . The site offers free browsing to file sources containing access to millions of copyrighted songs and thousands of copyrighted movies. To properly understand the case of Pirate bay, one has to understand what they do: They are a search engine. That’s it. They track and tabulate bittorent and magnet files in much the same way that Google catalogs the greater Internet. If one thinks back to 2000, Google was much like the Pirate Bay, every technologically knowledgeable teen knew that Google was the best search engine to use when downloading free music, passwords, porn, games, and virtually anything that one would want but not want to pay for. This was long before Google’s ascendancy as the number one search engine on earth. Only later in its lifespan has Google made it more difficult for those with such inclinations to find said content. The best data to attest to this is Google’s own Zeitgeist website. Zeitgeist is a Google site that aggregates search data and lists popular/cultural trends from month to month and year to year based on search terms. If one clicks back as early as one can go on Zeitgeist, which is 2001, the 4th and 5th fastest declining search terms were Gnutella and Napster respectively. The 17th Fastest ascending search term of the year was Kazaa. For the month of January 2001, the tenth most searched for term on the net was Warez, a colloquial term for online content of an underground nature. (Zeitgeist, 2012) Even today, key figures in the media consider Google to be somewhat complicit in the availability of copy righted media.
In the text “E Commerce” by Laudon & Traver, Laudon explains that “Pirate bay does not operate a database of copyrighted content. Neither does it operate a network of computers owned by members who store content nor create, own, or distribute software that allows the formation of peer 2 peer networks that are primarily used to transfer copyrighted information.” So what does Pirate bay do exactly? The pirate bay is a search engine that hones in on downloadable media content.
The Pirate Bay as a business model was very much related to Google’s initial ad revenue based business model. The content may be more specialized, but one can accomplish the same action, that of finding and downloading illegal content, using both methodologies. In essence, the business strategies of both institutions are summed up with the creation of Ad revenue driven by page hits by consumers looking for free music downloads, using a search algorithm to find “bittorent and “magnet” file sites to download music (usually of an unlawful nature).
There are many lurking variables in the story of digital music. Many critics have mistaken the downtrend in demand for the lucrative album based buying format, with declining revenues that critics argue are from the upswing in online piracy. Laudon points out that “digital music sales will account for only 20% of industry revenues.” The fact is, the music industry is making their money selling a product that no one wants to buy. People want all you can eat, or they want singles, and not albums, which have been the meat and potatoes of the record industry for many years. The advent of I tunes, and Steve Jobs have done just as much to kill the profit margins of the music industry as Piratebay.org. Steve Jobs helped to kill the profit margins of the music industry legally.
The story of Peer 2 Peer file sharing is one of complexity. The technology of the internet era has allowed for the exchange of media, from computer to computer, with little structure or institutional organization necessary for its occurrence. What little organizational structure there is has been targeted by the Recording Industry Association of America for breach of copyright. What we know for sure is that the technology that makes large scale media transference possible is not going away. Another thing we know is there is a demand for some sort of low cost or no cost music exchange. Laudon and Traver demonstrate data that suggests there are people that buy music legally and people that do not. However, the world of online music consumption is not that polarized. What makes this problem unique is that certain customers that drive demand are also engaging in in copyright infringement. There are people who do both. People who may download content, and buy later, or those that have purchased, but need to replace the content. These dualistic users are a significant sum.
Cloud based media services often sell storage space by the month or year to their customers. In this way customers can upload songs or buy songs and store them on servers for later access. This income however just augments a larger business model, which is to provide music in a legal fashion to consumers across platforms, accessible and downloadable from their servers to various devices. One of the key differences between this business model and that of brick and mortar record label is that this service provides more than just music. One buys only the music they want, as opposed to albums with two or three highly produced tracks, with seven or more filler songs for sometimes between ten and twenty dollars an album. This music is often in the form of singles that sometimes sell for as cheap as .69 to 1.29 a single.
Another model however, is the all you can eat approach, in which one pays a monthly fee, and then the user can listen to as much music as one wants, but, access to the library of content expires once the subscription expires. Services such as Slacker, Pandora, or Rhapsody, typify this business strategy.
Cloud based music services are here to stay. Companies such as Amazon, Google, I tunes, Pandora, Slacker and Rhapsody have found new ways to distribute music. They have packaged their product in useful ways that have attracted both mainstream and online based consumers back to more legitimate means of consuming media. This is both a positive and a negative for record companies in that, they still produce the music, but they don’t have as much say in its distribution -whether this is a good or bad thing for the music industry, is entirely subjective. There will always be music, and there now is a new era of music distribution, how much money the middle man (record companies) get is not a question this author is really concerned with. Once a legal platform in which businesses can profit from the legal distribution of content is created that consumers find attractive, the success or failure of the recording industry as it existed in the twentieth century is of little consequence. They can either change and thrive or become fossilized and become a thing of the past.
Recently, Pirate Bay has been on the losing end of a series of legal battles. However, not everyone is convinced that the entirety of the Pirate bay franchise is a losing battle. Hans Pandeya of Global Gaming Factory has attempted to purchase Pirate Bay for 7.9 million. Pandeya’s goal for the company was to find a way to utilize the collective bandwidth of the Pirate bay community to resell to ISP’s in order to increase their bandwidth, with revenues coming back to both Pirate bay and consumers. The problem, this assumes that the customer base will stay the same. The sole reason for the customer base is the media that is available through the website. If the media changes, so does the bandwidth. As of today, according to the Pirate Bay website, the site itself is being operated as a non-profit.
For Further Reading:
Laudon, Kenneth C. & Traver, Carol G. (2011). E-commerce, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Scott, Mark. Pirate Bay’s Weird New Business Plan, Retrieved 01, Jan 2012, from http://0search.ebscohost.com.shoen.iii.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=43086485&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Google is top Online Pirate, from UPI. , Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2012/01/15/Murdoch-Google-is-top-online-pirate/UPI-84791326639036/
Greenberg, Andy. Why Google is the New Pirate Bay, from Forbes. Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/17/pirate-bay-google-technology-internet-pirate-bay.html
Search query Statistics, Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012, from Google Zeitgeist. http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2001.html
The Pirate Bay. Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from http://thepiratebay.org/
The Pirate Bay. Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from Wikipedia . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_pirate_bay
Degusta, Micheal. The Real Death of the Music Industry. From The Business Insider. Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-02-18/tech/30052663_1_riaa-music-industry-cd-era
Shields, Rachel. Illegal Downloaders Spend the Most on Music. From the Independent. Retrieved 15, Jan, 2012 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/illegal-downloaders-spend-the-most-on-music-says-poll-1812776.html
As retrieved on 1/21/12 from youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p-TV4jaCMk
SOPA Apologists at work. Do we expect anything less from the WSJ? Still, its good to hear a dissenting voice…