When the first torrent sites appeared online in the early years of the century, they needed content to distribute.
This task was naturally taken up by people who liked to share. Because they could and because they liked it.
These uploaders were not financially motivated. They spent time and effort that was rewarded with recognition from downloaders. An occasional ‘thx uploader’ was enough to keep them going.
Pay to Share
In common with the early years, most torrent site uploaders today are still intrinsically motivated. Over the years, however, money has played a bigger role in the larger pirate ecosystem and slowly but steadily, money and greed have become a factor.
Torrent sites haven’t been spared from this. There are quite a few examples of private torrent sites that have made a business out of ‘VIP’ accounts. At the same time, there are plenty of public torrent sites that are run for profit as well, often with little regard for their users.
Money as a motivator is even more visible on cyberlockers. These turned sharing into a business model by paying people for uploading popular files. These files are good for advertising eyeballs and premium accounts and site owners were happy to share a piece of this with users.
It’s a clever model, where downloaders are turned into the product. Sharing is no longer “caring” in this case – sharing is big business.
‘Pay Pirate Bay Uloaders’
The large public torrent sites have not ventured into this revenue-sharing model. They never needed to. However, according to a Pirate Bay user, they may want to reconsider this ‘super great suggestion‘.
In recent weeks we have followed an intriguing thread, started by ‘QiikSand’ with a short and concise suggestion: “Pay the uploaders.”
At cyberlockers, this may be an accepted practice. However, on The Pirate Bay, this suggestion is offensive. It goes against the “Kopimi” and “sharing is caring” ethos the site was founded on.
“People upload stuff for the love of sharing, not to earn money from what is simply a hobby,” TPB staffer Spud17 replied.
Moe, another TPB staffer, soon joined in, noting that QiikSand fails to see the irony of the proposal. That is, demanding money for uploading content for which the original creator would like to be paid as well.
“You think you should get paid for your ‘work’. So do the people who made the content you used in your ‘work’. Next you will be wanting to copyright your torrents so no one else can upload them to other sites,” Moe replied.
Undeterred by the criticism, QiikSand insisted that it was a solid idea. He wants to see at least something in return for spending time and incurring expenses.
“I actually think I should at least get a share in the money for my cost,” he says, mentioning the cost of his time, electricity, equipment, bandwidth, as well as his talent.
Part of this logic refers back to the cyberlocker model. The uploaders make sure that people want to visit The Pirate Bay, which generates income for the site through advertising. QiikSand believes that he should have a cut of this.
While this may sound logical to some, it all depends on the ‘sharing’ worldview someone has. This was indirectly brought up by Pirate Bay user LZA, who chimed in as well.
Downloaders Should Get Paid Too?
“Under that thinking, they should pay downloaders too,” LZA replied. “If OP gets $$$ per download, I should get a cut of that if I D/L it, because, without me, the U/Ler would make nothing!”
At this point, TPB staffer Moe requested compensation from the topic starter for the time and effort he spent on his replies while suggesting that he could start his own site.
“If you feel you aren’t being properly compensated, start your own site to share on where you can get $$$$ of money, or perhaps quit making torrents and find a better paying job,” Moe said.
The responses make it clear that QiikSand’s idea wasn’t well-received in this crowd, but he didn’t give up.
He came back with a hard-to-comprehend plan to let copyright holders pay him for running a torrent site. However, he quickly passed on that because he is “too old and already rich.”
QiikSand later describes himself as a pirate who steals and sells his booty. At this point, we’re not really sure how serious we should take the comments, but it triggered another character to enter the scene.
Noone Should Get Paid..
This new character is “Tak Tak,” who goes against both parties by stating that no one should get paid for piracy. The Pirate Bay operators included. Instead, TPB should transform into a free and legal Netflix.
“I think neither of you should get paid. That’s why I use an Adblocker. Stealing is a crime and I will not support it financially,” Tak Tak writes.
“TPB should start paying the creators and pay the uploaders too. So they could legally make money and advertise. It would be like a free Netflix with ads instead. This would bring TPB to a new scale,” he adds.
By now we’re already in July. We took the liberty to skip over a few parts of the discussion and will end with comments fom TPB staffer Spud, who eventually decided to close the thread.
“People who think TPB should pay uploaders are nothing more than spoilt self-entitled children who have no clue how real life works, let alone how to run a large public torrent site, not to mention the costs and risks involved.
“Those who think they should get paid for sharing copies of content they haven’t created in the first place should go find another hobby and start demanding payment for that, see how that works out,” Spud17 adds.
The entire thread is still up here, so anyone can read it in full. If anything, it nicely illustrates the differences between “sharing is caring” pirates and those who see it as a business model.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.
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