I've been reading up on this over the last week or so. Got a glimpse of it both at Om's blog
and at Slashdot
. Slashdot also mentions that DownhillBattle
had suggested this as a GAIM
Basically, the idea is to share whatever files you want over a restricted group. Sort of like a Yahoo! group but for all files, rather than being restricted to just photos or documents. (Does Yahoo! groups allow music files? I never thought of checking!) Of course, Grouper
gives you additional capability like IM as well as being able to stream music remotely. I'm sure Yahoo! could get something like this out in a jiffy, if they combine their IM with their Groups!
But there are free alternatives already available! Check K:drive
. This allows the same thing that Grouper does for free! So I don't really know why anyone should pay for the priviledge. Besides, with K:drive, you can actually get the files, so, in my opinion, that's an obvious advantage.
But I find the whole thing totally ridiculous to start with! To me, this sounds like just another way that the P2P file sharing is going to go underground (CNET article
). This is just like whole companies creating softwares to block pop-up windows or to stop spyware just because Internet Explorer is full of holes or allows it!
Basically, the more P2P file sharing is restricted by RIAA and it's cronies, the more softwares are going to come up to make file sharing 'legal' and then allow the whole thing anyway! I feel like kicking some sense into these guy's heads! When are they going to wizen up? Somebody should whisper into their ears that they aren't just fighting a losing battle, they've lost the whole damn war. The best thing for them to do is to wake up and see the new world that is out there. See the opportunities it provides. See the potential that exists.
First everyone should realise that this 'free music' is not really free, in any sense of the word. Anybody who downloads media, has to pay the ISP, has to buy hard drive space, an MP3 player and maybe a cellphone with customisable ringtones. Besides all this effort, this person has to tag and maybe convert the files, transfer them to different devices by means of USB drives and CDs.
I mean, in which other industry does the customer put in so much effort to enjoy a product? Anything else I buy I expect to work right off the shelf, right? I expect better deals, discount coupons, mail-in rebates. I expect a 100% working product. And if it doesn't work, I will surely go and return it!
And here the RIAA is going against the same consumers who are taking all the effort to get the music on their own, making it listenable and store-able and then enjoy it!
(The other thing of course, is that when RIAA claims they've lost a gazillion dollars to P2P file sharing do they add the cost of all the lawsuits? How much is that costing them?)
Let's say both of us want to share a file, right? A file which neither of us are ever going to modify but are going to use again and again. Now, what makes sense? That both of us keep a copy? Or considering today's scenario of high bandwidths, ubiquitous connectivity and music players in every device possible, we just keep the file in a mutually agreed place and listen to it whenever we feel like it, and, say, pay 5c for that priviledge? So, why doesn't RIAA stay one step ahead and build up the biggest music collection possible, have high speed pipes connected to it, and have everyone pay a really nominal fee (maybe this can be added to the monthly ISP bill!), just the way I'm currently paying for my VoIP? At any instant, I can find any file that I ever want to listen to, and every time I play it, I pay a small charge to RIAA or whoever it is who's maintaining this. That makes way more sense to me.
Other sites like allofmp3
(based in Russia to avoid all the copyright hassles!) are already doing this. You can download a whole CD of songs for less than a dollar! RIAA should smarten up and get whatever money they can rather than have even that go out of the country!