My RSS reader is filled with Qtrax articles. Dozens of them. I want to write about BitTorrent but everyone is banging on about Qtrax, so I guess it’s only right to follow the crowd. From the look of the lovely flashy Qtrax website it seems they have everything sewn up. So, surely it’s time TorrentFreak considered a rebranding exercise to become ‘QtraxFreak’ – after all, free, legal P2P is what everyone wants, right?
Qtrax should’ve gone live today and it hasn’t, effectively ruining our chances of riding along with the Qtrax launch-day media hype, becoming QtraxFreak and converting the entire BitTorrent collective from one free service to another. Damn. Plan B.
My understanding of Qtrax, limited as it is – and, to be fair, I don’t think many of the news stories about it today are based on any sort of live test – is that it’s essentially a DRM-infested Gnutella client which converts everything you download to Windows Media DRM format – making it a sort of Dr. Frankenstein’s LimeWire, but in a bad way.
Now, please tell me if I’m wrong, as I obviously haven’t tested the service, but aren’t the files you download just like all the the others on the Gnutella network? You know the sort – they call them ‘Scene releases’ and ‘home rips’, identical to the ones you can see on LimeWire. I mean, Qtrax aren’t guaranteeing a ‘pure’ copy are they? If they are, all well and good but I can’t see it myself, something doesn’t sit right.
From their ‘legal’ page:
LTDnetwork Inc is not responsible for any content such as audio, video, text or any other file owned by users of the Qtrax/Qtraxmax software.
Is Qtrax really offering to dress up pirate MP3s from Gnutella and give them to Qtrax users, paid for by advertisers? Maybe they’ve got some sort of ‘walled-garden’ inside the Gnutella network, accessible only by Qtrax users with non-pirate copies?
Sorry, I just drifted off then. Got a bit carried away dreaming of getting a 64K KaZaA-quality, advertizing-supported mono rip of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, labeled up as an audiobook entitled ‘How to End Piracy Overnight’ and listening to it with sparkling Windows Media DRM. All authorized by the RIAA. Oh boy.
Ok, ok, ok, I’m being negative. I like BitTorrent and yes, that makes me biased but I have strange feelings about Qtrax and they aren’t good. Warner Music, one of the supposed partners of Qtrax said in a statement that it “has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service.”
Also, Universal Music Group and EMI Group both confirmed that they have no licensing deals with Qtrax. It’s probably not that significant that a Sony spokesman said: “Sony BMG can confirm it has not signed a deal with Qtrax for the ad-supported service”. I know, just because they say they don’t have a deal, doesn’t make it so. After all, the music companies always lie, don’t they?
I concede, I might be completely wrong about Qtrax. They probably didn’t launch today because of some minor last minute cosmetic issue with the skin on the client, and as everyone is in a meeting in Peru today, they can’t inform the masses by way of a news update on their website. Or maybe they’re adding that last minute code that somehow enables anti-piracy organizations to differentiate between Qtrax and LimeWire users on the Gnutella network.
And maybe the Big Four are probably just being coy until Qtrax really launches tomorrow by which time someone will have taken www.qtraxfreak.com. Damn.