back to article Kim Dotcom's locker may be full, but the cupboard is bare

Do you fancy your chances with Kim "Dotcom" Schmitz's new online file locker? It's staggeringly unoriginal in every respect - it's even called Mega, like his last one - but I'll propose we think about it in a new way. So I haven't come to mock the rotund self-promoter, but rather to talk about what might happen if its users were …

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  1. jonathanb Silver badge

    I don't get it

    Mega charging by the MB for storage is not like Tesco charging a flat price per kg of food whether it is horse burgers or single malt whisky. It is like a courier company charging by the kg to move stuff, or a storage company charging by the m^3 to store it.

    Why on earth should Mega charge different amounts for storage of files depending on some "perceived value" of the data being stored. Their scarce resources are bandwidth and disk space, so that's what forms the basis of their pricing strategy.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I don't get it

      That's because Mega is creating a scarcity and then charging you for it. In effect, it's creating virtual property.

      Some lockers do this, but many don't.

      1. Steen Hive
        Facepalm

        Re: I don't get it

        "That's because Mega is creating a scarcity and then charging you for it. In effect, it's creating virtual property."

        The very definition of copyright law itself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't get it

        Yes and no? I've not looked over their business plan with a fine tooth comb, but they are charging for a scarcity that is real. Their actual server space and bandwidth. Yes they can arbitrarily limit the usage of both of these, but the usage is very much real.

        Now, is the usage of memorizing, through technology or mere memory, and communicating media and ideas a real usage or an imagined one? Dare we charge for every memory of a song? Why charge for every replay on digital data?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "a fine tooth comb"

          I have never had the need to use a tooth comb, but credit to you for owning a particularly fine specimen of one.

          Maybe you were being figurative, and you really meant to write "a fine-toothed comb"?

      3. Katie Saucey
        Meh

        Re: I don't get it - Me neither

        "...Mega is creating a scarcity"... I might suggest it is creating a perceived scarcity. If we're talking just storage, they are selling an inferior overpriced product. The Pro III account ( https://mega.co.nz/#pro ) will cost you $30/month for 4tb storage & 8tb bandwidth. Compare with 2x2tb hdds for about $200, and no bandwidth charges. After a year you've spent $360 on megaupload2.0, and while most hdds don't fail the day after the 1 yr warranty is up, you've still got more for your money if they did. As for sharing, use a free service to transfer larger files, email the rest. For encryption, if you know what it is and why you might require it, chances are you can figure out one of the many free easy ways to achieve it. This all assumes you're not just some kid wanting to screw the man ( for the lulz ) by pirating stuff and giving it to all for nothing.

        1. austerusz
          Thumb Down

          Re: I don't get it - Me neither

          I'm pretty sure they mean 8Tb traffic, not bandwidth (or it would be /s)

          But in any case, how do 2x2Tb HDDs help you? A locked like Dropbox, Mega or Box helps you by making sure your files are constantly available online.

          Let's say you make your own NAS at home and make it available online. You have to put up with your bandwidth for transfer (I have only 2Mb/s for upload from my home network so if I choose to transfer my speed will be low so my download at a remote location will be limited), your router's availability not to mention the fact you need to be savvy enough to juggle the port forwarding necessary for a secure connection.

          I'm definitely not going to be carrying x HDD's which I can't really share with others unless I'm physically there.

      4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: I don't get it

        Eh? What scarcity are they creating? Bearing in mind that GDrive, Dropbox, Box, Ubuntu One etc etc etc all exist already.

      5. Oninoshiko

        Re: I don't get it

        That's because Mega is creating a scarcity and then charging you for it. In effect, it's creating virtual property.

        Some lockers do this, but many don't.

        So what you are suggesting is that they use their infinite bandwidth and infinite storage space to give the service for free?

        Your assertion that "Mega is creating a scarcity and then charging you for it," only makes sense if they have unlimited free resources, otherwise the scarcity already exists and they need to charge you for it to make sure they have the resources to provide the service and make a profit.

        You then move on to "... it's creating virtual property." I'm rather surprised to see you complain about that. I presume you make your living writing. This article is nothing more then virtual property (for when I received it, it was only a stream of bits), which you seem to be of the opinion should not be charged for. So can we presume that you will not be accepting payment for any more articles you write?

      6. Paulds11
        FAIL

        Re: I don't get it

        The files are encrypted so the file type is of no consequence to Mega.. why you and this article INSIST on this course of differential pricing is hugely irritating, misguided and not I think what the majority of customers want. ONLY I know how valuable a file is once encrypted, Im not going to reveal to you or anyone else offering me space therefore what I am storing. Drop it.. let it go.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    > "All these businesses do is take something digital and reduce the value of it to the value of storage. That's not

    > particularly smart," he points out, with an analogy to illustrate:

    > "Imagine, perhaps, a food market where everything cost a dollar a kilo. Suppliers would soon learn that they

    > needed to produce at 50c, or find another way to do business."

    I disagree - this is nothing new at all. The music industry charged about $1 US apiece for single records in the 1970's, and iTunes charges about $1 apiece for songs today. Songs were probably about $0.25 apiece in the early 1960's. The idea of charging a set price for "bin space" or "storage space" in music is as old as the hills. And the streaming movie services like Netflix and streaming music services go one step further - all you can "eat" (or view) for $10 a month. Reducing artistic value of content to "the value of storage" is an extremely old concept - nearly as old as retail music sales.

    1. graeme leggett

      Perhaps it could be possible to find a mechanism whereby you can charge more for safely storing a Porsche than an Astra - both take up roughly the same space but their value differs.

      Rather than all your storage being the same flat rate, you could pay less for storing a software distribution package (recreatable content - albeit time and effort) and more for the photo's from a family holiday.

      Further the access to the data could be differentiated, your music collection available at a faster download rate than an ebook.

      The host system would have to know how you classify your data, or to automate giving you different rates from different data types inspect the data and determine its type.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Agreed, just look at what happened to text post Guttenberg once it did not have to be laboriously hand written by monks. It also got democritised as text production moved out of the rather closed monasteries.

      If every book cost as much as illuminated manuscripts did in their day, they would have about the same sized market, in proportion.

      If you consider the vast explosion of good, useful, tested knowledge post Guttenberg then the flattening of the value of text is even more stark. Trashy pulp fiction notwithstanding ;-)

    3. Steve Knox

      Yes and no.

      There is a significant difference between digital delivery of artistic content and physical delivery which breaks the model under which this flattening of value worked and worked well for decades.

      Go into any brick-and-mortar music store, and count the number of each album or single on sale. In a true flattened-value world, there would be exactly the same number of each stocked, and people would buy exactly the same number of each. Instead what you see is that the store stocks more of the songs that it believes will sell, and people buy more of certain songs than others, so there is inconsistency in the quantities left in stock. When popular albums sell out,the store will buy more of those, whereas when unpopular albums sit for too long, they end up in the discount bin. So the store's stock space becomes the scarcity that arbitrates the market.

      But there's no real scarcity in digital storage. Online purveyors of artistic content need keep only one copy of each item, because it's copied rather than removed when sold. They can use sales records to determine the popularity of a song, but lack of scarcity and remnants of the flattened-value mode mean they generally don't use this to change the price. Price difference online becomes primarily a reflection of the novelty of the content.

      It's this lack of scarcity which leads some people to believe that IP is valueless. But the value of intellectual property has never really been in its scarcity*; that was simply a convenient model. The value of intellectual property is in its knock-on effect, whether that's a song's ability to produce an emotional reaction or a game's ability to entertain, or a financial program's ability to produce usable forecasts. Those, unfortunately, are much harder to measure and materialize in a market.

      *In fact, the surest way to keep intellectual property scarce is also the surest way to minimize its value: tell no-one.

      1. GrantB
        Boffin

        Re: Yes and no.

        "But there's no real scarcity in digital storage. Online purveyors of artistic content need keep only one copy of each item, because it's copied rather than removed when sold. They can use sales records to determine the popularity of a song, but lack of scarcity and remnants of the flattened-value mode mean they generally don't use this to change the price. Price difference online becomes primarily a reflection of the novelty of the content"

        Looking at iTunes, there is variability in pricing (new popular songs costing more than the average price) which probably reflects the price of promotion and the 'novelty factor'.

        The problem with a bit locker like iTunes or similar is that people can't really deal with nearly infinite number of songs or apps on the shelf. I have experienced going to buy a song and finding 20+ versions of it - the remixes, covers, live versions, remastered, album vs single, censored radio release / non-censored extended etc. Something I have heard described as the 'Tyranny of Choice'

        Ultimately the most significant cost of music, apps, even movies appears to not in creation, storage or distribution but simply making people aware of it. Some random Icelandic band might have just created the best album of all time that I will love and be very willing to pay full price for, but if I am never made aware of it I will never hand over my money. And to make a jaded world-wide population aware of some artistic creation that is bombarded daily with vast amounts of advertising is getting increasingly difficult.

        I remember Snow Crash from 20+ years ago discussing the problem; in a VR world, land is infinite but like the real world, some land in inner cities is worth more than the same amount of land in some Mongolian desert.

        In the iTunes world, having the Album cover on the front page or in a top 10 list must be worth vastly more than having it simply sitting in the iTunes catalogue.

  3. Leeroy Bronze badge

    eh

    What was all that about ?

    If it is more secure than Dropbox and offers some additional features I can see a market for it. There is also the fact that it will probably avoid hosting whatever it can in the USA and that has to be good for privacy.

    I think I will stick with my 50GB free Dropbox account for now though, Thanks Samsung :)

    1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
      Pirate

      Re: eh heh heh heh

      Non-authoritative answer:

      Name: mega.co.nz

      Addresses: 154.53.224.162

      154.53.224.166

      154.53.224.158

      Various IP location services now map it in Wichita Kansas.

      On opening day, it was mapped a block away from the White House.

      The fat man may not understand digital economics as well as you Andrew, but he certainly understands irony.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    "So I haven't come to mock the rotund self-promoter, ...."

    You just did. I don't think that making points about a person's weight or body shape is helpful to any serious discussion about their business activities.

    (In case anybody is wondering, my BMI is 22, so it's not me being sensitive about it.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mega dumb

    Mr. Dotcom is in for another big reality check if he facilitates piracy.

    1. mike2R

      Re: Mega dumb

      Reality cheque?

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Mega dumb

      Aaaaand... welcome to the effort by the commercial copyright interests (RIAA, MPAA, et al) to shape the conversation.

      Why, exactly, is one type of on-line service demonized for "facilitating piracy" (whatever that means), and not others? Surely, in any illegal-file-sharing exercise there are *at least* three aspects: the storage location itself, the forum or discussion list that identifies at which storage location the content can be found, and the connectivity that connects them.

      So why don't we hear about e.g. AT&T and Verizon "facilitating piracy"?

      Fundamentally, the "problem" is the communication of locations, not the use of them (unless we're going to pretend that lockbox storage systems have no legitimate uses, which is preposterous on its face as it would include cloud backup systems as well as drop boxes). So in essence the only way to control the "facilitation of piracy" is to control speech: if people can't share the locations, the problem goes away.

      Of course, most stuff written on the internet has no value anyway, so it's no great loss to prohibit unauthorized users from writing stuff.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50GB dropbox?

    How do I get it?

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Re: 50GB dropbox?

      Comes free with a Galaxy S3. Only for a year, though, Dropbox want you to pay to keep it after that.

    2. KjetilS
      Thumb Up

      Re: 50GB dropbox?

      Buy a high end Samsung, and you get two years of 50GB free

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: 50GB dropbox?

      Buy a Galaxy S3...

    4. David Neil

      Re: 50GB dropbox?

      Some of us got it with an HP touchpad in the firesale :o)

    5. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: 50GB dropbox?

      I don't know whether it comes with the Galaxy camera that I just bought, or whether it is because I have lots of accounts/devices registered to it, but my Dropbox account just got an extra 48GB for two years immediately after downloading the app to the camera.

  7. Chad H.

    "Imagine, perhaps, a food market where everything cost a dollar a kilo. Suppliers would soon learn that they needed to produce at 50c, or find another way to do business."

    ----

    I don't get what this has to do with anything. Mega aren't creating content, they're storing existing content. The storage costs behind 1Gb of Photos, and 1Gb of spreadsheets, and 1GB of anything else you'd care to name is the same.

    I think this article got a bit confused in what it was trying to say.

    1. David Neil

      Spot on

      It's not a supermarket, it's closer to a bonded warehouse

    2. teebie

      "I think this article got a bit confused in what it was trying to say."

      It did seem a bit all over the place. Not very introduction-body-conclusion, and seemingly using mega as an excuse to talk about the writer's views on copyright. The lack of a clear premise made it a jumble.

      (See, it's not hard to do)

  8. trapper5
    WTF?

    Well, I read this article quite carefully, twice, and it made no sense at all. Comparing cloud storage to finite scare resources like food? Turnip growers are happy because stores have lots of turnips that no one is buying? Getting people to pay is no problem?

    Most of all there seems to be a correlation being made between price and value - they are not the same.

    I won't trash this article on logic, mainly because I can't tell what point the author is trying to make.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gosh, it's not so hard to understand this argument is it?

    Storage isn't really of much VALUE to consumers anymore, as they can access content ON DEMAND without having to worry about acquiring/storing/maintaining it.

    Little more than five years ago I was on the verge of splurging tens of thousands of pounds on a huge home media system with hundreds of terabytes of storage for every item of film and music that I could ever possibly want. Today I find the idea absolutely absurd: I don't want the hassle of it. I can access whatever film and music I want, when I want through the likes of Netflix, iTunes and Spotify.

    So, as competition forces these content suppliers improve their offer and add new features/benefits that add further value, pure storage providers going down Kim's path will find themselves completely unable to compete.

  10. Grave

    "as a consequence, the digital economy today isn't much more advanced than Somalia's real economy"

    or perhaps this is the new society, economy, culture and world emerging, and the current failed and broken ones are going the way of dodo, no matter how much big media dinosaurs pay their shills to write otherwise. (how much they pay you?)

  11. John Deeb
    Boffin

    value is not product but experience

    ""Smart in this world is aggregating, organising, and then delivering compelling services on top of storage and metadata".

    While definitely true, the author forgets -- especially noticeable with the Tesco analogy -- that Mega on its own doesn't have to provide the smarts to still become part of a larger experience of valuable searching, finding, tagging, converting or sharing. That value could be delivered by a massive user base, API's, smart tools, aggregate sites and more.

    It's like Tesco storing everything for a penny in some massive warehouse but you hire a delivery service to find it for you and unpack it. Now the question is what the delivery service will be charging and how. Smart people probably will try to add the value as happened with the Pirate Bay infrastructure.

    The key for the content industry is to stop selling experiences which are impossible to contain to a medium and therefore have little value anymore once it's in the wild where others will add value to the bare product. They need to integrate the experience of searching, finding, storing, sharing and giving feedback with the original product. And aggregate that. They should have started 15 years ago. And actually a few did but most didn't mainly because of the lack of organization of an extremely self-centered industry. In my opinion this lack of vision on "product", "experience" and "value" is now creating this false dilemma of piracy.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Smoke and Mirrors to Hide the Naked Phantom Emperor is the Folly of Fools for Imbeciles

      or perhaps this is the new society, economy, culture and world emerging, and the current failed and broken ones are going the way of dodo, no matter how much big media dinosaurs pay their shills to write otherwise. (how much they pay you?) ..... Grave Posted Monday 21st January 2013 20:58 GMT

      Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk highlights the inevitable colossal flash crash of the current failed systems which are bankrupt and devoid of novel future intellectual property.

      And yes, Grave, I agree. There is a new society, economy, culture and world emerging ..... and it and its IT suffers not the folly of fools who would be imbeciles in collapsed and collapsing systems/ failed dysfunctional states.

      1. unitron
        Alien

        Re: Smoke and Mirrors to Hide the Naked Phantom Emperor is the Folly of Fools for Imbeciles

        Were the Mayans right after all?

        Did the world actually come to an end and we just didn't notice?

        Because I've just read an amanfromMars 1 comment that I could (I think) understand, appended to a column of which I could make neither heads nor tails.

        trapper5 did an excellent job, by the way, of summarizing my reaction to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because, of course, the large media conglomerates; those who have Netflix, Spotify, etc. agreements, are the only entities who create any content whatsoever. Every other entity in the world is an entirely passive consumer of such media, and neither create, nor have the means to create, any documents, photos or videos of their own.

  12. Graumis
    Unhappy

    Copyright Protection Should Not Be Free

    Your argument that copyright owners should be able to set the value of copyrighted material is bogus. Why should they be the ones who dictate the terms of enforcement? No, copyright is an inducement provided by government. In a democracy, this means the majority decides. They set the value of copyright. They then get to decide how, or if, copyright is enforced. Not the copyright owners.

    You argue as if copyright protection were some unalienable right. It's not. It's a tax on the people enforced by police power.

  13. southpacificpom
    Paris Hilton

    This will no doubt all end up in the Schmitz house again.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It don't work that way...

    Copyright holders like any other business are fully entitled to sell their products at whatever price suits them. No one is forced to buy their products and you can't steal it, or infringe on the copyright or pirate without being punished. No one is "entitled" to any product unless they pay the asking price, period. Try telling the oil companies they must sell petrol at 1 Euro per gallon, because they could still make tons of money and they will just laugh at your ignorance. The majority don't rule on this or the price might be 1 Euro per gallon.

    The majority does not rule in either the pricing of copyright protected works or punishment for piracy. The judicial branch of government decides what the penalty will be for piracy based on existing law. There should be a uniform world wide penalty for piracy and it should be painful like Japan has with mandatory 2 year jail sentences and a stiff fine. That's the only way to get through to ignorant people in denial, aka pirates.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: It don't work that way...

      "The majority does not rule in either the pricing of copyright protected works or punishment for piracy. The judicial branch of government decides what the penalty will be for piracy based on existing law. There should be a uniform world wide penalty for piracy and it should be painful like Japan has with mandatory 2 year jail sentences and a stiff fine. That's the only way to get through to ignorant people in denial, aka pirates."

      I beg your pardon? Why shouldn't the majority rule in deciding how to punish made up crime like copyright infringement (I mean rather than real crimes, like murder, rape, theft, etc.)? Do you prefer autocracy? And why should the penalty for copyright infringement be worse that actually physically stealing the album from a shop? If you make the penalty for copyright infringement very stiff, and actually use it on lots of people, well then "pirates" will physically steal the stuff instead. Or maybe not, since there won't be any music shops soon, but anyway.

    2. xpusostomos

      Re: It don't work that way...

      You're right, but only because the government said so. Oil companies get their oil from public land, and copyright holders charge for an artificially created government monopoly. Both exist at the sufference of the community.

    3. graeme leggett

      Re: It don't work that way...

      +1 for the first paragraph, but I can't support the second.

      For a start, law is supposed to be society's rules reflecting its collective mores, and therefore is a form of majority opinion albeit one that changes and evolves with the actual alterations to legislation following in due (or much later) course..

    4. Roger Houghton
      Thumb Down

      Re: It don't work that way...

      Copyright isn't anyone's natural right - it's something granted my government. In a democracy the majority could choose to abolish or, as now, restrict it. Afraid your argument doesn't really work.

  15. apjanes
    Black Helicopters

    The assumption seems to be...

    that without copyright protection artists would no longer produce and our arts & culture would stagnate. I simply do not believe this is true. Many cultures (Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians, etc) had thriving cultural output without any copyright protection whatsoever. Artists produce art because they are artists. The inflated and often excessive riches that some artists get (or at least did in the recent past) seems to me to be a somewhat modern phenomenon.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: The assumption seems to be...

      without copyright protection artists would no longer produce and our arts & culture would stagnate

      In fact I would argue that copyright protection is what is causing our arts and culture to stagnate. And yes, it is stagnating. I base that idea on the observation that people are starting to confuse a post card of the Eiffel tower with a visit to Paris. Listening to a recording is fine, but you're not going to fool me. It's not real. Not any more than a turnip pill is a turnip - although there are obviously some (poor souls) who are not clear on that.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: The assumption seems to be...

      The Greeks weren't in a position to knock off multiple copies of an item in the blink of an eye.

      But they did have a word for re-using other ideas - mimesis

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The assumption seems to be...

      The ancient cultures you mention wouldn't particularly need copyright protection as a great deal of the cultural output was physical and not really open to even limited copying. High value physical goods such as ornate jewellery would rely principally on the quality and scarcity of the craftsmanship and materials for their value; if you were a good enough forger to copy the best, there would be little reason not to just set yourself up as a top of the line jeweller. Many - if not most - of the designs were religious motifs and largely common property for craftsmen to use as they liked, although the quality and appropriateness of physical likeness might be subject to approval by the priestly class, who probably didn't need a copyright law to arbitrarily introduce you to to your recently removed bowels for some perceived slight of a goddess. The revered Indian artist M.F. Hussain has been on the business end of this copyright-free religious bigot approach to image management for 20 years.

      Any plays, texts or musical works were likely to be commissioned and paid up front by a wealthy sponsor (the way most high value art worked for much of human existence) whose version of enforcing exclusivity would have more to do with their place on the greasy pole than calling the copyright cops.

  16. Noodle

    All based on the usual assumption...

    .. that the majority of people storing files on an upload site are doing so for pirated copies of movies and music. Is there any evidence of this? As far as I know Megaupload had a huge number of completely legitimate users storing personal and business files, who are all now being penalised for the alleged illegal behaviour of some other users of the same site. Whether or not Kim Dotcom knew about the alleged piracy is neither here nor there - you wouldn't confiscate the contents of an entire mall if you found one shop selling illegal goods, nor would you prosecute the builder or owner of the mall. There is a market for private online storage that is completely unrelated to piracy.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But they've come to resemble what they most hated, philistines who reject value - and it's quite an ugly sight."

    I don't believe that value as a concept is being rejected. I believe it's the actual value itself, the price if you will, that's being rejected. As you said earlier in this piece, getting people to pay isn't a problem. Well if it isn't, why is piracy so rife ? The answer is in part due to those who will not pay no matter what and will go to any lengths to get something for free. These seem to be the people you are commenting on but they are a minority. There's a larger class of people who understand value and are happy to pay for it, but who believe quite strongly that the current price point does not reflect value. Now in truly free markets the answer to a price/value disconnect is to go to another supplier. That's exactly what people are doing. The fact that this 'alternate supplier' happens to be illegal is an artefact of various market distorting govt. policies. If suppliers price their goods at a point where this large majority agree reflects value then the problem will be minimised (it won't go away of course but ..). The problem isn't that people are philistines who don't recognise value. The real problem is that they do recognise value, disagree with govt. sanctioned monopolies as to what constitutes value and, more importantly, have the power to do something about it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is much closer to the truth; the price is very often far too high and a great many don't like the perception of who the bulk of the money goes to, usually not the author of the work and very often nothing whatever to do with its production.

      I had a colleague a few years ago who, although extremely well paid, downloaded an awful lot of his ebooks from usenet. He had no objection at all to paying for books, just a strenuous objection to the ridiculous prices charged for ebooks. Right or wrong, he viewed not paying as a matter of principle.

      The topic comes up so often because for just about the first time in history people can choose whether or not to pay for some goods, and the fact so many choose not to suggests to me that it's the perception of extertion thats the issue, not paying per se.

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Article not quite there or I'm not quite getting the point

    The article's point is that if raw data is structured with metadata, value is added to that data and more can be charged for it. It also states that Spotify flattens and destroys value, however Spotify's crammed full of metadata.

    How would Spotify add value? Charge customers more so they can see more info about a song or have search options (e.g. search by lyrics)? And how would they pass this added value onto the artist?

  19. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Pirate

    Copyright Protection Should Not Be ("Free" deleted)

    The article was another confusing pro(stitute) IP Brain Fart, and a real stinker of one too!

    Our "Democracy" is an illusion to sucker the less rich majority of the population that they have power over something; however most of the really critical (to the rich) decisions continue to be managed for the rich, so the only power we have left is to oppress ourselves with new burdens like taxes and poorly thought out regulations for the "free lunches" which are most definitely not free. Oh, how the rich, with their tax accountants and other loopholes, must laugh at us!

    Intellectual Property is a hoax created by statute, it has nothing to do with property (physical stuff), only fiat for rich and unproductive rentiers, aka parasites!

    Copyrights and Patents are sneaky theft of freedom by the Government (for favoured rich) at the point of a gun, or other suitable weapon; they have nothing to do with rights or Capitalism at all!

    The greater freedom and Capitalism of the internet has quickly revealed how absurd all these old frauds are, so labelling these opinions on fuzzy liberals is stupid, because all sort of people are recognising what genuine freedom should be, and IP is only one of many sick old Sacred Cows which we recognise must be culled.

    1. Thorsten
      Stop

      Re: Copyright Protection Should Not Be ("Free" deleted)

      I went and I did some little thing wrong,

      That's why I had to go and write this song

      .

      'bout throwin' out the baby.

      You're throwin' out the baby,

      You're throwin' out the baby with the bath-water blues.

      .

      A perty girl kissed me on the chin,

      Honey it'll never happen again.

      .

      You're throwin' out the baby,

      You're throwin' out the baby,

      You're throwin' out the baby with the bath-water blues.

      .

      Don't say our love can't be saved,

      Just because I kinda misbehaved.

      .

      Don't throw out the baby,

      You're throwin' out the baby,

      You're throwin' out the baby with the bath-water blues.

      [Rev. Horton Heat]

  20. Rattus Rattus

    How does the metaphor hold up...

    ...when the creative industries are already producing little but turnips?

    1. David Neil

      Re: How does the metaphor hold up...

      Mega isn't selling the product, they are selling the storage space - the metaphor here seems to have got out of hand and ended up talking talking about something other than the proposition at hand.

      The guy is selling the equivalent of a safety deposit box, the bank doesn't know whats in it, it just provides the box and gives you a key

  21. Mikel
    Angel

    You could have posted the rates

    50GB - Free; 500GB - $9.99/mo; 2TB - $19.99/mo; 4TB - $29.99/mo. I've got my free plan and am probably upgrading to the $9.99 plan as soon as the site is stable.

    This makes great sense for me. Time was when a gigabyte was an awful lot - years of photos - but not any more. We're probably spinning off 5GB or more of home generated content each week as all the kids have devices that can take many-megapixel photos and HD videos. My 5 year old grandson can generate 5GB unassisted in a day. That little geek is going to be a movie producer some day. Frankly most of this prodigious output is not ever reviewed after recording even once, by anybody.

    We need to have multiple places to store this stuff. Google is storing it now, but it wouldn't hurt to have a second storehouse for it and the price is right. It's uploaded to various cloud services automatically but we need some more places to store and aggregate this stuff. An online cloud video editor would be really cool too, but I doubt Kim Dotcom is up to that level of tech wizardry.

    Almost all of this is dross nobody ever wants to see. Years from now though careful edits from this raw stock will be the embarrassing family photo albums of the day, aired on the bigscreen at wedding receptions as we do the DVD photo montage today. We do keep offsite backups but when it comes to these precious moments, this is cheap for an additional level of redundancy.

    I have other, professional uses for the site too. Distributing large data can be an issue.

    There are issues with the technology architecture yet that will be ironed out. Encryption, site security, cross-site scripting, unchangeable passwords, password reset among them. But I'm confident this will be worked out in time.

    TL;DR: It's not just about screwing Hollywood moguls out of their cocaine allowance.

  22. xpusostomos

    Utopia

    I think the writer of this article is promoting a utopia, a reality that is in defiance of reality. Copying of information is free by natural law. It is utopians who hope to defy natural law by putting a price on something which by nature is free.

    Would our world come crashing down in this scenario? Well despite the internet and rampant copying, the world seems to be continuing just fine. Even the commodity which was copied most rampantly: music, seems to be continuing to be made. I didn't hear any news that the music died. And despite there being more free, out of copyright and brilliant books, not to mentioned pirated ones, I don't see anyone lamenting not enough new books being written. You can argue some masterpiece would have been writtten, but I doubt it. Creativity exists even without incentive. Even the Soviet union, lacking any meaningful incentive for anything, didn't do too badly in the area of artistic endeavor.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    What did you expect? An epiphany from the big guy?

    I thought it was a service to store files and share them if you will, with an extremely generous 50gb free and an exceptionally well priced market beating price per gb after that.

    I didn't realise it was supposed to be a life changing experience, to help bring an enlightened view to the value of data.

    I know how valuable my data is already. I could lost 99.9% of it and not be bothered, it's the 0.1% I care about - generally, it's stuff I've created.

    I don't *value* a song, or a bit of software, unless I created it.

    For the most part, it's replaceable.

    So, the author is saying Mega should have value added services - why?

    There's plenty of sites out on the net doing just that.

    The reality is, Mega is the most generous cloud storage offering currently available with the best pricing plans, period.

    What did you expect? An epiphany from the big guy?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Senseless article

    Bank safes are charged by the size too regardless of what they contain. Does that deflate their value? Or the value of what they contain? This article is bizarre to say the least. Of course if everything created becomes free, creation might decrease, but I don't get how this has anything to do with mega (not dropbox?), and I don't get the rest of the irrational rant in this text.

    On a side note, and totally unrelated, maybe creation decreases too if customers get tired of all the hoops providers try to put in their way. Way too many ads on TV, even pay-TV; too many ads, warnings and other time wasters on DVDs; too many geographical restrictions on downloads and on DVDs; too many customer-gouging price differences between markets; too much tracking and not enough respect for privacy; rent an ebook/song for the price of buying a physical book/song; etc.

    Some people will never pay, but most would. The main reason free downloads are still popular is they actually (and incredibly) provide a better experience: no restrictions, more choice, no bullshit.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  26. Potemkine Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I'm not sure....

    ... that the 'cultural' industries collapse would be a bad thing. It could an opportunity to build something new, where Art and artists would be at the center of it, and not at the bottom.

    So let's nuke Sony, Vivendi Universal, EMG and Co, Nature abhors a vacuum, something new will emerge from the rubbles...

  27. Glad all over

    Credit where due

    Knowing 'the price of everything and the value of nothing' originates from The Picture of Dorian Gray by that nice Mr Wilde

    1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Credit where due

      Eh? Wasn't it Mazarin who was said to know "the price of all men and the value of none", which Wilde perhaps repurposed?

  28. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    No, the Free Lending Library has entered your home

    I found Mr. Orlowski's comment thickly over-intellectual and far off track. It is not necessary to apply something as weedy as economic hypothesis (not theory, there are no economic theories except for Keynes's). The best and most productive analogy I can come up with is the Free Lending Library. You no longer have to leave the comfort of your home, and put on clothes, to enjoy the totality of human art and knowledge. Try that economic model.

  29. Dr.S

    Re: KIM DOTCOM'S LOCKER MAY BE FULL, BUT THE CUPBOARD IS BARE

    Similes are dangerous, distortive things. Think carefully before using them in an argument.

  30. croc
    Paris Hilton

    Mega is providing a product, called 'Security'...

    ...And as an added bonus, you get storage for your 'security' absolutely free! And you can access your 'security' from anywhere in the world that doesn't totally firewall off your 'security' just because you won't give them a look-see. It's your 'security'. Not theirs, and they are going to be hopping pissed off mad about that, let me be the first to tell you!

    Now, what are 'they' going to do about it? That's where this whole saga gets interesting, and I don't think a box of popcorn will last long enough to see the end of this tale.

    <--- Paris wishes she had some 'security'.

  31. Gerrit Hoekstra
    Facepalm

    Irrelevant Article!

    Posted content is encrypted and only accessible by the content poster and friends that the poster may want to share the encryption key with. This is not the same a mass sharing/piracy/other hysteria-inducing misdemeanor. Because it cannot be determined whether the content infringes copyright or not (not all data infringes copyright, you know...), it beggars the question: what exactly was the point of this article?

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    Another vote for the "I just don't get your point" brigade.

    A more confused article I've yet to read!

    "Everything has value" - Value is a perceptive concept applied by humans. There is nothing inherently more valuable in oil than there is in the same quantity of urine. The application of the resource, it's scarcity and the difficulty in obtaining it and how that benefits humans is what confers the subjective quality of value. Your family pictures have no value to me but they may be beyond price to you - no inherent value only that we confer. How can this apply to data? In the same way. While data describing the profits of Apple might be of interest and have value to the stock markets and traders, to a worker at Foxconn they are essentially valueless. Storage of this data, as has been pointed out, is the same as a byte of data is a byte of data no matter what it represents. The only value that can be added in a service like Mega is a one of tiered levels of security and redundancy. The customer could determine the level of value to them and decide what is required to retrieve that data (two-factor) and if it is held in a manner that meets the requirements (co-location, physical security) of that value judgement. There is no such thing as absolute value.

    Paul Sanders' point that you then drag in makes no sense because you are trying to conflate the value of storage with that of the value of the item itself. Nobody is suggesting that the item is flat priced. A better analogy would have been if the storgage of food was flat priced what effect would that have? It would be at this point that you would realise that the comparing digital products to those that have other factors such as shelf-life and fragility as part of their costs, is futile. Cost is determined by the difficulty in maintaining quality and safety of the item. Soft fruit is more expensive because the cost of storage and transport is far higher than that of dry pasta. Digital media has the same cost of storage and transport if the size is like for like, the content makes no difference.

    "There are so many dubious, and at times outright bogus arguments here I won't dwell on them." Really? It might have helped make your point clearer....

    I can't even comment on what follows because it makes no sense to me at all.

    1. apjanes
      Thumb Up

      Re: Another vote for the "I just don't get your point" brigade.

      "Value is a perceptive concept applied by humans"

      This is spot on. The very fact that value it is perceptive makes any attempt to assign value to user uploaded data complete nonsense. To you my holiday snaps are worthless but to me they are priceless. To me the latest album of the Cheeky Girls is inconsequential (despite being copyrighted material) to the unknown fan who uploaded it, it's worth way more.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Another vote for the "I just don't get your point" brigade.

      " Nobody is suggesting that the item is flat priced."

      Plenty of people are. And part of the storage locker assumption is that price is zero.

      You post shows you haven't really thought this through.

  34. PyLETS
    Mushroom

    packages of bits can't be made scarce

    Canute's lack of control over the tide springs to mind. It doesn't mean that music in other forms isn't valuable, e.g. played on the piano in my home, going to a live performance for which tickets are sold, music used to attract arts council grants or sell other goods commercially or written to promote other events etc.

    Musicians' livelyhoods can't be equated to destruction of the Internet, or an Orwellian programme of spying, monitoring or control over it. I know many musicians but none who want that.

  35. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  36. Tony Paulazzo
    Headmaster

    Wow

    An article where the responses were actually more informative (and less contradictory) than the article, nice one El Reg. I was just reading on Facebook (so no doubt it's true), that there are paid shills for not just stuff you can buy, but ideological commenter's, political and so forth.

    This 'comment' reads like it was written by Hollywood - Mega is bad, run by monsters trying to bring down our wonderful civilisation, it must be destroyed! Look how little money we're making, all our films make a loss, even the 'good' ones like Battleship.

    C - Must try harder!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      "nice one El Reg"

      What can I say? We're here to provoke debate.

      C.

  37. Colin Millar

    A history lesson

    Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing was actually more to do with anti-privatisation than opposition to supply side economics. In fact - revealing true market value was one thing the privatisers wanted to avoid as they were keen to pump value into the private sector. One of the biggest privatisations actually deliberately undervalued the assets as a matter of policy - selling off of the Council housing stock at massive reductions.

    Those who were opposed to this were mostly not the middle class airhead Trots who flit between one slogan filled bubble to the next but people with a much longer and more soundly based committment to fair and decent politics. I know it might suit some agendas to be able to apply the easy label "the left" to those who oppose them and by doing so dismiss them as mere oppositional dogmatists but that is just lazy thinking that tends to pander to the sloganeering class.

    The whole issue around copyright, patents and IP is poisoned by these knee-jerk reactionary morons as much as by the stupidity of the monolithic corporate interests who want to stop progress and the bureacrats and politicians in thrall to them. The issue is further complicated by the fragmenting of what is seen as traditional political stances on such issues. There is no left/right on this issue although some traditional political analysis might serve to clarify where people should be standing.

    Those opposed to globalisation and the concentration of resources into the control of large corporate interests are presumably against Google's land grab which is based on weakening of IP rights. Those on the right who want to see strong markets and reduced barriers to trade because these present choice and better value to consumers are should be opposed to corporate monpolies or cartels who want nothing other than to weaken markets and reduce access to resources because it suits their bottom line and sod everyone else.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Getting to people to pay for things is not the problem."

    Paying for THINGS or services is no problem for most people, because it seems natural that costs (or efforts) have been incurred in creating the thing or in providing the service.

    Creating a digital COPY of a copy of whatever intellectual expression incurs essentially no cost, therefore it seems unnatural and counter-intuitive to pay for it.

    As long as the original works is desirable in physical form (printed book, live performance etc.) or holds some sort of sentimental value for people, the original creator should be able to find adequate compensation from them to sustain his existence. And that should be it; there should be no ENTITLEMENT to repeated compensation for a one-time effort. If no one's willing to pay for your real-world offerings then get another job, like everyone else is supposed to.

  39. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    really?

    "I haven't come to mock the rotund self-promoter". Thank heavens for that.

  40. Diabolic
    FAIL

    Your analogy is completely flawed

    By your own reckoning, Mega doesn't have anything unique about its proposition. The proposition might be better than its competitors (50 GB on Mega vs 2-18GB on Dropbox, 5 GB on iCloud, Google and SkyDrive), but essentially it is the same as everybody else, so that begs the question, why is it being singled out by you?

    The obvious answer would seem to be that someone paid you to provide this "service", albiet to your paymasters, rather than your readers. If there is another explanation, I am all ears.

    Is copying and storage free? No. All of the infrastructure that enables copying and storage doesn't come cheap as is evidenced by the massive datacenters being constructed by the likes of Appel, Google and Microsoft. Is the cost to an individual free? Again, no. An individual might not need to pay for certain levels of service or certain types of products but that doesn't mean that they aren't paying at all. They are paying for their Internet connection. They are generating income for the providers whose products and services they are consuming. They are paying by making money for the service provider. They are what Alvin Toffler might have called a "prosumer".

    What is evident to most people is that we are going through a paradigm shift. Knowledge and data used to be trapped in physical objects (cave drawings, manuscripts, books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.) and now it isn't. Knowledge has been freed, because it has been digitized.

    This reduction in price is following a well-established trend. Manuscript writers used to be paid silly money equivalent to what Premiership footballers are paid these days. That isn't the case anymore and any manuscript writer who expects to be paid millions of pounds in this day and age for writing out a manuscript will be laughed out of town. It just isn't going to happen. Books came around and made written word cheaper. The same should have been true for e-books, CDs and DVDs too but it didn't happen because of entrenched positions that big media oligarchies enjoy.

    What is happening in the digital media space isn't dissimilar to what happened in the 70s with the North Sea oil. The oil was always there but the cost to take it out was too great compared to how cheaply oil was available elsewhere. When the oil-producing companies placed an embargo, that made the North Sea oil affordable to take out.

    It's the same story here as well. The pricing model has to change. Everything else around it is changing. The market is changing. People's expectations are changing and what they are willing to pay for this sort of work is also changing. People aren't willing to pay 14-20 quid for an album with one good song in it anymore. The sooner everybody realizes that, the better it is going to be for IP producers.

    Look at what's happening in the newspaper industry. Can any newspaper afford to ignore the writing on the wall? If they do, they do it at their peril.

    This is the unholy lovechild of Natural Selection and Free Markets. It cannot be stopped.

    For your own sake, you should ensure that when the dust settles, you are on the right side of the debate.

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