Is File Sharing Just More Convenient?

Less than 24 hours after the premiere of popular TV show Prison Break, P2P file sharers downloaded the episode close to one million times—even though you can watch the show for free, online, at Hulu and Why is this? Wired writer Betsy Schiffman argues it’s because file-sharing is habitual and convenient.

The fact that one million people downloaded the show within 24 hours—a little less than one-sixth of the 6.5 million people who watched Prison Break on TV on Monday night—proves, though, that P2P isn’t going away just because there are legal alternatives now. “This is a group of people who define themselves in part by the technology they use and the application of that technology,” says Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research. “Chances are that this is only happening in a defined age group. You’d be hard-pressed to find 60 year-old guys passing this stuff off to their buddies.”

(That number also undoubtedly includes people outside the US who can’t use the Hulu or Fox options – AU ed.)

Have you ever downloaded something via BitTorrent or other P2P networks that you could get for free anyway? Why did you opt for the file sharing route? If legit avenues for downloading media become available, will you switch? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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