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Going Legit Part 2: The Continuing Path from Piracy to Partnership

By David Crotty; June 27, 2022

Way back in 2010, I wrote a post about internet startups driving usage and building a userbase through the infringing distribution of copyrighted material.

Building a network based on filesharing is a quick way to gain a large population of users. People like getting things for free. The legal issues surrounding the redistribution of copyrighted material are often ignored during the network building process — the focus is on providing functionality for the user. But when the network is ready to move up to the big leagues, to start partnering with and generating revenue from deep-pocketed companies and institutions, a lack of adherence to copyright law can be a major barrier to success.

It has remained an effective route to building high levels of traffic, but as I wrote in the post, there comes a time when even the best-funded startup has to begin to think about becoming an actual business that can turn an actual profit. To do so, one must turn away from the questionable activities that have to date been at the core of one’s activities, and instead start to become a legitimate part of the larger community in which one exists. The older post looked at two companies, Scribd and Mendeley, which eventually took different routes to becoming respectable citizens (the former through partnering with the IP-holders it used to pirate, the other was bought out by a publisher).

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Scholarly Kitchen.

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