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Illicit Downloaders Repent with Piracy Payback

Have you downloaded movies and music from BitTorrent, peer-to-peer, or even through newsgroup servers? Feeling a bit guilty as other downloaders are smacked around with lawsuits and incredibly hefty fines? Australian website Piracy Payback, launched in January, may have the answer to those feelings, allowing visitors to make donations that head straight back to the copyright holders.

Drew K, the Australian man behind the website, told Ars Technica that the idea popped in his mind after he illegally downloaded a particular TV series from "the darker corners of the Internet." Feeling guilty, he decided to create a way to give back to the show's creators.

So how does it work? Visitors can donate a minimum of $5 through PayPal. Guilty souls merely choose which category fits the bill: Payback for Music, Film, Television, Software, Gaming, or All of The Above, submit the amount, and then hit the "Payback" button. The money thus go to "beneficiaries" that control copyrights or represent content creators.

Naturally, the public interest hasn't been "very high" according to Drew K, and currently 12-percent of the donations heads straight to him to cover site costs. He also added that many "beneficiaries" remain anonymous to prevent legitimizing illicit P2P use.

But while honoring content providers with a donation is an admirable move, it doesn't make downloaders exempt from legal action. "The service is designed to assist grassroots stakeholders detrimentally affected by digital piracy," the FAQ reads. "It does not act as direct restitution to any immediately aggrieved party."

  • pug_s
    Oh yeah, that's right, give them money by paypal then they know that's you pirated their software.
  • quantum mask
    . . . . ?
  • ^^ Exactly, sounds like a scam to catch people who are pirating... hahah dumb asses
  • idiotic would be a very gentle way to describe the idea and its creator
  • DoofusOfDeath
    Okay, as long as the MPAA/RIAA members pay me back for bribing my politicians to extend copyright law.
  • jaybus
    It doesn't sound like an MPAA/RIAA conspiracy theory. I'm sure Drew just plans on taking about 90% as an administrative fee.
  • nexuseclipse
    Wouldn't just buying a legal copy of the pirated software make you feel better? Not sure this thing will take off. When people really feel guilty, they just buy it afterwards.
  • ssalim
    LOL, all the cost will go to his site cost plus pocket changes.
  • Manos
    Id have to feel so guilty that I couldn't even get to sleep in order to even thingk about donating to those that have more than enough money already... But yeah, funny thing to ask to donate from pirates :) Robinhood is finctional you know. And he gave to the poor. Lees not confuse those basic things please.
  • eyemaster
    There's a nice way that the companies can try to go instead of suing people left and right! Adapt something like this and make it legitimate.