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Thread: P2P File-Sharing Ruins Physical Piracy Business

  1. #1
    popopot's Avatar To Me, To You BT Rep: +5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Just over there
    If the likes of the MPAA, RIAA and IFPI are to be believed, file-sharing is causing worldwide havok, costing billions of dollars and creating unemployment. It’s true that some people are feeling the P2P effect; they’re called ‘physical pirates’ and one of them says that file-sharing has ruined his business.

    Tony started his life of piracy sometime in the 1990’s working markets, car-boot sales and pubs in the UK, selling counterfeit PC applications/games and console discs for a fraction of the retail price. “The profit was amazing back then” he recalls “We were getting 25 ($48) for a couple of PSX games and 15 ($29) for a single CDR with the latest utilities on. We couldn’t make them fast enough.” Things were looking good for his little enterprise and before long he was clearing up to 1000 ($1,942) profit each week.

    According to Tony, the first 2 hours of every Saturday and Sunday morning at the local flea market always proved the most exciting. “We’d take 60 cases of CDRs down in the van and as soon as we got there a crowd would swarm around us. We had no competition and it was obvious the punters had no other suppliers. Inside 30 minutes, 90% of the stock would be gone with some customers taking 2 or 3 cases each, presumably to sell on. After 3 hours we were cleared out and on our way home, always with huge amounts of money.”

    By 2001, Tony was renting a factory unit and employing 3 people to operate duplicators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but although business was lively right up to 2004, profits were being squeezed every year. Forced to increase the amount of media burnt each week to make up for the shortfall in profit, it became clear that the business was in trouble - demand was falling dramatically.

    “In 2005 we shut down the factory unit” said Tony, “we just couldn’t keep going on that scale, nobody was buying anything in quantity anymore. So we closed up and moved back into a bedroom at home with my wife and her sister operating the burners, something they hadn’t done in years. They weren’t happy.”

    Tony used to enjoy the finer things in life - a beautiful house, high performance cars, exotic foreign holidays, up-market restaurants and fine wine. I met him by chance, wearing overalls and sitting on a forklift truck, working in a factory manufacturing boxes. Sipping on a mug of tea he explained “We got to the point where we just couldn’t make ends meet anymore, I couldn’t even keep a couple of dozen burners going so that was that. I had to get a job and so did my wife. She’s gone back to hairdressing and i’ve come back to what I was doing before - warehouse work. We’ve moved to a smaller house and i’ve had to get a sensible car. Things have changed quite a lot.”

    Tony is very clear about why his rags to riches story has gone back to rags again. “File-sharing, P2P - call it what you like. When you asked a customer why he wasn’t buying anything, 9 times out of 10 it was ‘BitTorrent this, LimeWire that’. Add that to the fact that huge numbers of PC users have burners and fast broadband and its obvious why I had to get out and earn a living another way. We had it good for a while but I don’t think those days are coming back.”

    P2P is a very powerful machine and although Tony could see that his operation was feeling its effects, he admits that he sat back and did nothing about it and consequently, his business has paid the ultimate price. Other industries affected by P2P should take note: Don’t be a Tony. Overhaul your business model. Quickly.

    Last edited by Hairbautt; 03-19-2007 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Not so many spaces...yeesh. Also added image.

  2. News (Archive)   -   #2
    DefX's Avatar Macula.Lutea. BT Rep: +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    He should've seen this one coming. You can't expect something that seems too good and too easy to be true to last forever. I remember folks like him setting up stands outside my campus about 7-8 yrs ago. It seemed like it was a blooming business back then. Not surprisingly, I don't seem them now.

    If I was Tony, I wouldve done the smart thing and saved or invested those money instead of lavishing in the "finer things of life". Interesting read btw.

  3. News (Archive)   -   #3
    n00b BT Rep: +2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Yea I mean what were they thinking? People these days!


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