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There's a conundrum here, because most of us are a bag of contradictions. We're lazy sods, who can't be bothered to wire up Heath Robinson [for American readers: "Rube Goldberg"] contraptions to save a few pennies, and yet we will happily chuck our time and money at good services that offer something new.

P2P research is fascinating - it shows most people are prepared to pay for something good, in which file-sharing is a part of the service. The unprompted numbers for how much we want to pay are far higher than anyone expects. And some of the tests reveal something even more fascinating, because they show how thin and brittle the "political" aspect of piracy really is.

When P2P services have been trialled, the mentality of "sticking it to the man" suddenly changes. People begin to perceive downloaders who aren't in the club as the enemy, not the industry. People very quickly forget about battling unfair copyright laws - they couldn't care less - and start picking on their peers who aren't paying their way. It's the freetards who start getting beaten up. It's the school locker room all over again!

So don't shed too many tears for Pirate Bay. Pirate Bay failed badly at technology, being lazy and unimaginative, and it also failed at business, lacking the courage or smarts to partner with the media owners. Instead, it tried to turn itself into a political crusade. But this ersatz political "movement" depended entirely on the entertainment business not providing us with us a good choice of services - in other words, by not treating us as customers.

No wonder it can't attract more than a handful of cranks and self-publicists. It was never going to last.

But now can we have the real P2P deal?®

Footnote

Nesson was so fond of this image of himself, he uploaded it to the internet. A record business which can't believe its luck has entered it as an exhibit.)

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