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Investigating Online Movie Piracy? 232

kewsh writes "There's an excellent piece from the LA Times via Yahoo! News which explains the interworkings of the movie, music, and software piracy scene, including quotes from former and current scene members: 'Common to most groups is a disdain for selling pirated goods in favor of giving free access to anything and everything'." The article also notes: "Not everyone in the scene is so pure. Some players... are suspected of selling pirated movies and music to commercial bootleggers."
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Investigating Online Movie Piracy?

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  • Why would they have to pay if the pirates are into giving the milk away for free?
    • It's the difference between the bootleggers downloading the movie themselves, or being handed/mailed a DVD master copy. It's all about the time involved. It may takes hours or days, depending on connection speed to get the entire movie, but you can overnight ship a master disk to someone easily.

      Kierthos
    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:19AM (#7913125) Journal
      The bootleggers (ie, the people who make and selling lots of unauthorised copies of movies) are paying "the players" (ie, people in the movie industry who can get their hands on screeners and other preview copies) for preview copies of movies.

      In other words, some of the people who are opening the door to the bootleggers (or pirates) are charging them for the priviledge.
      • by MikeDX ( 560598 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:42AM (#7913400) Journal
        This is one of the things that really annoys and gets my goat every time I see it.

        People selling pirated movies and music at car boot sales, markets, roadsides, ebay, etc. This is totally wrong and I think is what the RIAA/MPAA should target and not joe bloggs downloading britney spears from kazaa.

        The people selling this stuff are not only tax dodgers, but are often taking the customers for a ride, some people often mistake these copies for the real thing and are buying in good faith, only to find out they have been ripped off by a shoddy inkjet printed jewelcase inner and an un-stickered cd-r costing next to nothing.

        What irritates me further, is that some people are also under the impression that those who do download for their own PERSONAL use are looked upon in the same league as those who download, copy, and sell to people for huge profits.
        • What irritates me further, is that some people are also under the impression that those who do download for their own PERSONAL use are looked upon in the same league as those who download, copy, and sell to people for huge profits.

          Well, maybe not same league, but definately the same game. If they are just using it for their personal use, the MPAA or RIAA sues for an exorbitant amount of money. Once I've been sued for $100,000 the couple of years in jail I would have had had I sold the products wouldn't lo
        • by kaiwainz ( 739019 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:20AM (#7913775)
          The people selling this stuff are not only tax dodgers, but are often taking the customers for a ride, some people often mistake these copies for the real thing and are buying in good faith, only to find out they have been ripped off by a shoddy inkjet printed jewelcase inner and an un-stickered cd-r costing next to nothing.

          I completely agree. I've seen some real fine work done in Ukraine. Some even go all the way and make a box. The problem is that the average user doesn't know what they're doing is actually illegal.

          Talk to your average user, I doubt they even know that the Office they're running which they borrowed off the neighbour is actually breaching the EULA. Again, the average user doesn't understand because they see it as a victimless crime.

          As I have said to people, there is VERY little money made by the software company off end users. 85% of the money made are off enterprise and public service sales. The end user *may* once it a blue moon purchase a cheap $50 card making kit, however, in terms of the Microsofts and Adobes, they make little money off these customers.

          Here we are in 2004, and now these companies, and rightfully so, are now demanding that customers actually pay for the software. Activation is the first step and I am sure there will be more full proof protection mecanisms on their way. The fact is, unlike the end user, large commercial customers are kept in line via random BSA audits, with end users, there is no such safe guard.

          As for the movie business, the problem is that again, the end customer see it as a victimless crime. They don't see the negative spin offs hence they have no way of knowing what they're doing.

          If it were just Hollywood, then I think I wouldn't worry too much, however, small independent film units are the worst hit. These organisations are on razor thin margins. They live day to day on the sales of their movies. Sure, many of these independent films are sponsered by grants from governments, however, if the government see that the money is being put into a bottomless pit then they may pull the plug.

          If the plug is pulled then diversity will cease to exist and as a result, we're all worse off.

          • > Talk to your average user, I doubt they even know that the Office they're running which they borrowed off the neighbour is actually breaching the EULA. Again, the average user doesn't understand because they see it as a victimless crime.

            I don't agree with this statement. I think that most people know that this is a violation of something (a law or license, or both.) The know that they should be paying for the software. They also know that they should be paying Microsoft for Office or Windows or what
            • If it was only a few bucks to share an existing license with a second machine I think that most people would pay and MS would have even more money.

              I think that statement right there says pretty much what most people think.... If the software was priced reasonably, people would be much more willing to pay for it. I know, set the price to what the market will bear, right? Well, if the market was bearing the price so well... then why is there this "rampant" piracy?
          • I completely agree. I've seen some real fine work done in Ukraine. Some even go all the way and make a box. The problem is that the average user doesn't know what they're doing is actually illegal.

            In Ukraine, Russia, China and other poor, but free countries pirated copies are often pressed on the same plant where the licensed copies are (but not always). Sometimes the publisher would clearly say to the developers that they can expect to sell so many licensed and so many pirated copies. That's just the sam
  • by johnfreez ( 676760 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:15AM (#7913110) Homepage Journal
    is increasing (slowly but surely). what...10 mbits common place by 2007? say hello to zooming movie downloads :)
    • bah, by then whatever is in vogue to download will still require you to leave your computer on overnight. im setting up a wireless broadband connection in my village & others atm, got a 16mb sattellite (sp!?) connection. Can get films pretty quick atm
    • by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:26AM (#7913152)
      Bandwith "can never get high enough".
      Already I have seen DVD rips of an entire set of DVDs, making it more than 10 GB. Even with 10mbps it will take some time to download.

      My lecturer in Distributed Communications said that "increasin bandwith will just result in software makers letting their software use more bandwith", which off course brings us back to where we started.
      • My lecturer in Distributed Communications said that "increasin bandwith will just result in software makers letting their software use more bandwith", which off course brings us back to where we started.

        Perhaps... however, you can't deny that it's pretty mandatory for DVD movies to use a lot more space than most pieces software, which is the reason for the enormous size of the rip.

        The race between 'software makers' and media capacity/data transfer speed is one that the latter will ultimately win, unless
        • Maybe I wasn't clear enoug, but I did mean to include DVD-rips etc as "software" (You use software to rip the dvd).
          Instead of ripping to DIVX which is 1/10 the size of a dvd-rip or something like that, they now rip the dvd with all the extra material and data making it 10 gb instead of the 700 mb divx rip.

          Perhaps... however, you can't deny that it's pretty mandatory for DVD movies to use a lot more space than most pieces software, which is the reason for the enormous size of the rip.
          No, I don't deny t
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Instead of ripping to DIVX which is 1/10 the size of a dvd-rip or something like that, they now rip the dvd with all the extra material and data making it 10 gb instead of the 700 mb divx rip.

            The distribution of DVD images is still very rare. I have only seen it on a couple of occations. What the guy said was that people are now starting to distribute entire sets, like season boxes. A good DivX of a 42 minute episode is going to be 250-300 megs, so a 22 episode season adds up. I know a guy who has the en
      • That's true and all, but what about mp3s? It used to be the case that it was a pain in the ass to share and download mp3s. Now music files zip all over the place. I've lost an mp3 on my hard drive and rather than spending the time to search for it, I'll just download it. The bandwidth will get to a point where there's enough room for people to swap movies in the same way.

        You can argue that uncompressed sound files are harder to swap because they're so big, and that's true, but mp3s are 'good enough' fo
      • My lecturer in Distributed Communications said that "increasin bandwith will just result in software makers letting their software use more bandwith", which off course brings us back to where we started.

        I do not find this argument anywhere near as compelling as the (more-or-less proven true) argument that as processors increase, programmers will use more processor time.

        Programmers use more processor time because we can trade off processor time for human development time. If you're doing "normal programmi
      • Bandwith "can never get high enough".

        maybe...

        Already I have seen DVD rips of an entire set of DVDs, making it more than 10 GB. Even with 10mbps it will take some time to download.

        How does this justify your first statement? It seems that say, a bandwidth of 10 GB/s would be feasible...

        I don't think it's fair to say that movies will keep increasing in size as bandwidth and storage increases. The current quality of DVD is so good, it's almost limited as much by the TV (even if it's HD) than the DVD.

    • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:32AM (#7913171) Homepage Journal
      10 mbits common place by 2007? say hello to zooming movie downloads :)

      Linux ISO's are so common at 2-5 disc sets, Why would 700 meg DIVX CD's be any different for downloading, now? You only rent a couple movies, you could just download a couple movies at night and burn them to CD.

      What we need is an iTunes for Divx movies. :)
    • "is increasing (slowly but surely). what...10 mbits common place by 2007? say hello to zooming movie downloads :) "

      Hopefully the success of music services will be closely looked at, thus preventing that from happening illegitimately.
  • Hmmmm..... (Score:4, Funny)

    by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:15AM (#7913112)
    ...an article that tells me that the Internet is used for distributing pirated warez and movies...

    The phrase "No shit, Sherlock" springs rapidly to mind.
    • From the article:
      Sometimes group members will send files to other sites themselves, using a technique called File Transfer Protocol instead of e-mail.
      Aha! Since this FTP thing is obviously a tool for criminal acts, all we have to do is to use the DMCA or the Patriot Act to declare it illegal. Once this is take care of by the responsible authorities, the Internet will once again be free of criminals, and a safe place where innovation can flourish.

      Bring out the stromtroopers!

      • plus

        what kind of loser would even consider sending a 1Gb file via email!

        oh I remember, an Outlook user

        • Don't laugh - I've seen an Outlook user do this with WinRAR and a hundred or so emails... ...what was worse, it was Vin Diesel's "xXx" that person was sending! I'd have gladly *GIVEN* that person my DVD of it if asked...

          (Note to self: Never buy subsequent movies by an actor you quite liked in "Pitch Black".)
      • You are joking but here at work FTP use is restricted for exactly this reason. Bit Torrent is totally blocked because it's a "pirate tool" and so is P2P.

        Totally ludicrous, expecially since our netadmins would be perfectly capable of monitoring who's using the bandwidth and how.
      • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:50AM (#7913419) Homepage
        There is a sad actual quote from a German lawsuit where one judge used the following sentence in the official verdict:

        http://daufaq.de/index.php4?aktuellerubrik=Techn ik

        F: Was ist ein FTP-Server?

        A: Es antwortet LG Braunschweig, Urteil vom 21.7.2003 - 6 KLs 1/03, rechtskraeftig, CR 2003, 801: FTP-Server sind Systeme, in denen gecrackte, also nach Ueberwindung des Vervielfaeltigungsschutzes kopierte, Software geladen ist.

        Translation:

        Q: What is an FTP server

        A: As answered by the court of Braunschweig, in its decision from July 2003: FTP servers are systems used to store cracked software - software that has been copied after removing its copy protection.
        • Strange that most universities and large corporations operate their own "FTP-servers". I guess this piracy reach further than people think ;-)

          Most of this entities even allow *anonymous* access.
          • And most linux distrobutions (henceforth in this post known as "Evil Hacker Computer Virus Generator" come with FTP-servers BY DEFAULT. If you try and use the "Evil Hacker Computer Virus Generator" even for legitimate purposes you may be infected with one of the FTP-servers.

            The "Evil Hacker Computer Virus Generator" also comes with software called "Apache" which is named after a brutal tribe of red skinned people/animals that would cut the SCALPS off their innocent white female victims. God alone knows t
            • Start->Run
              cmd

              C:\>ftp
              ftp>

              Oh My God! I've been rooted and had illegal file sharing software installed! Darn Microsoft and their so-called security.

              Rich
    • If you had RTFA, you would know that this is a pretty detailed explanation of several levels of Internet movie piracy, obviously written by someone who knows his shit, or at least bothered to do the research.

      I have been following piracy-related articles and other materials for a few years and I can tell you that this is one of the best introductions to the topic that you can find on the Net today. Please have some respect for the author and save your sarcasm for a more appropriate occasion.
  • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:19AM (#7913124)
    I suppose next we'll see some report from a country like Australia showing how sales of ripped media are not hurting the industry.

    Or has that already happened?... I get a little confused as to which counter-argument is the most recent.
    • Re:The next step (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:28AM (#7913159)
      The aussies aren't the only ones. Where I live (Norway) record sales revenue has been on an upward trend for years. Ironically, it apparently started to accellerate shortly after Napster became a household name. Surely a coincidence.

      Personally I wish it would've started going down once the record companies started making their "CDs" incompatible with many devices. Of course, they would've attributed that to piracy as opposed to people getting fed up having to rip the CDs to burn on a CD-R and get the compatabilty back (I've yet to meet a "protected" CD that failed to rip as opposed to just ripping slower).

  • ROFL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by graveyardduckx ( 735761 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:21AM (#7913132)

    "The scene is closed to much of the world; would-be participants have to gain the trust of insiders and prove their worth before gaining entry. And the lifespan of groups tends to be short, at least on the Net, where players come and go."

    It's only closed to those who don't know about P2P apps, IRC, FTP, WWW, E-mail, CDR/DVDR, and any other method of transferring data... and the easiest way to gain entry is to type something like "/join #warez950". As far as the players, they don't come and go, they just change their names and keep doing what they're doing. I'm sorry, but how silly is this article?

    • If only it was as easy as typing "/join #warez950"... If only getting access to FTP dumps was that easy...

      The acticle was silly though. It didn't decribe the scene as I know it - it only contains part-truths.

      Centropy make money out of it? Yeah, yeah they all do. You are a bit green if you believe they take all that risk for no financial reward.

    • It's even more basic than that though...

      I can see why people might want to download "warez" to get an *identical* copy of a piece of software free of charge...

      I can see why people download good quality MP3s that are a *near* identical copy of a piece of music freed of charge...

      But downloading a movie that's been taken by a shaky handed teenager with a hand camera in a cinema purely to avoid paying a few dollars/Euros/pounds for a cinema ticket or to avoid waiting a couple of weeks until it's released at
      • Re:ROFL (Score:5, Informative)

        by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:18AM (#7913312)
        But downloading a movie that's been taken by a shaky handed teenager with a hand camera in a cinema...

        In China you can buy DVDs of just about any movie within days of release in the US, or sometimes before. They all have very nice packages, probably pasted up from promo sites on the web. (However, the English text is often nonsensical, or relating to an entirely different movie. And sometimes they include real reviews from, eg, AICN, like "[Matrix 3] is a steaming pile of crap".) The quality of the movie though is a crapshoot. Sometimes it's a perfect dupe of a DVD release (especially Oscar screeners with the anti piracy notice floating across the bottom every 10 minutes), sometimes a slightly blurry image with good sound, not bad but a bit worse than VCR quality, sometimes it's obviously a video camera in a cinema complete with audience coughs and shadows on the screen. But as they're less than $1 you can just shrug and throw those away, or go back to the shop and exchange it -- it's actually a lot easier to exchange pirated goods than legit; less paperwork I suppose.

    • Re:ROFL (Score:5, Informative)

      by gringer ( 252588 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:30AM (#7913164)
      Try reading the *whole* article before commenting on parts of it:

      "According to Nguyen, it takes minutes for a newly released item to reach all of the topsites, but it may take hours or days to reach the lower echelon of private sites. After that, the digital booty leaks out intermittently to online areas more accessible to the public, such as chat channels and news groups.

      To get the movies, you just need to wait. But to get the movies as early as possible, you need to know the right people.
      • Actually, for some really popular films, I can find it on my dorm's gnutella net on the day it's released.. yes indeed cam-rip, not something I'd want to download. But maybe somebody who lives here is a "high-level geek" (when they say there are "mid-level geeks", I assume there are high-level and low-level geeks as well then)
      • Actually it usually gets posted to news right away, within about an hour of getting released. I love news.

        Ohshit, I've said too much...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:23AM (#7913144)
    I've got Star Wars Ep. 4-6 as theatrical release ripped from Laserdisc in the best possible DiVX quality.

    It's not my fault that I had to get a pirated version.
    George Lucas with that "CG" labeled crackpipe in his hand is to blame.

    Another point of disgust is MiramAXE with their sabotage of asian cinema. Has "Hero" (Jet Li) been released in the US already? I don't think so. MiramAXE likes to shelf things for a long time. After that they like to AXE movies into little ugly pieces, too.

    Piracy is competition and the only chance to stop this re-release and censorship nightmare.

    People who hate cinema may mod this down.
    • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:48AM (#7913203)
      Wrong. Piracy happens because:

      a) People want something for nothing.
      b) People want something before it's officially made available.
      c) People want to impress other people with something they have but the other's don't.

      It's nothing to do with competition - just the opposite. Every audio CD, piece of software or DVD that is released these days is done so at a price that *takes into account* the fact that "x" number of copies of it will probably be pirated - that means we all pay more as a result.

      Competition results from not being a pathetic consumer, nothing more.

      If you don't like CD protection, then don't buy protected CDs...
      If you think a retailer charges too much for a product, don't buy from them...
      If a movie isn't released on DVD quick enough, email the studio and don't buy any of their other films...
      If enough people do the above, the vendor or producer has to relent.

      I'm neither condoning or criticising piracy - I just wish people that do it would admit they do it for one of the reasons above, rather than trying to justify it as though they are acting as modern day "Robin Hoods".
      • by animaal ( 183055 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:29AM (#7913355)
        "Every audio CD, piece of software or DVD that is released these days is done so at a price that *takes into account* the fact that "x" number of copies of it will probably be pirated"

        No, every such such product is priced according to the maximum that the market will bear. Hence region lockouts on DVDs, with vastly different prices in different regions. Consider; if, in Bangkok, 90% of copies of a particular CD are pirated, that does not lead the local CD distributor there to increase the price of CDs. In anything, it may lead to lower prices, because the market will not bear an inflated price.

        Piracy has mixed effects. On the one hand, it helps to keep the movie/music/software industries on their toes, making sure that the consumer gets value for money, and that the product purchased is worth more to the consumer than a copy. (e.g. the recent trends to add more "extras" to movies/cds).

        However, on the other hand, it has a negative effect on the marketplace for the industries. This can (probably does) lead to some problems. e.g. some smaller production companies closing due to lack of sales. For example, imagine a small software house producing an innovative new software package, but then closing due to lack of sales. The package is now not going to be developed any more, even though there maybe many users (some using illegal copies). So piracy can cause the consumer to lose as well.

        I think the current system is probably self-sustaining, with a degree of piracy keeping industry from degrading value-for-money too much, and the laws keeping piracy from wiping out the industries. Piracy and the industry keep eachother in check. I suppose it's a bit like walking a tightrope...

        • >>No, every such such product is priced according to the maximum that the market will bear.

          But most music is owned by about 5 big music publishers and movies by a few major film studios. Go into any music/movie store and every new release CD/DVD is priced about the same. That's as a result of monopolistic price fixing by the manufacturers and the retailer. The market "bears" those fixed prices because most people are too stupid and mindless to NOT pay those prices.

          >>On the one hand, (piracy) h
          • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @08:20AM (#7913528)
            "Films are out of the league of small companies due to the costs of making them"

            Only if by "films" you mean $200,000,000 Hollywood movies. The problem for small film companies is not raising money to make movies for a couple of million dollars, it's getting them distributed when the big movie studios own or control the vast majority of the distribution channels.

            Most cinemas would rather take a crap Hollywood movie than a good independent movie because they know that Hollywood will spend another $100,000,000 advertising their crap and bringing in customers to buy the popcorn and soft drinks that make the profits, and that the studios will punish them in the future if they show non-Hollywood movies.
            • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:35AM (#7913858)
              Unfortunately, you're entirely correct and I don't know how things in the movie & music industry will change until the consumers themselves become more discerning in their tastes. With the software industry & the Open Source movement, the whole "Linux or Windows" thing is happening because there is a "change in taste". The people driving the Open Source movement are more than likely those that have been in the industry for years and are just not satisfied with the commercial, mass-market offerings. (That's a statement of fact, not an attempt to start a Linux v Windows argument in this thread). The movie & music industry is targetted at the "eighteen to twenty somethings" who desire nothing more than to be "part of the pack" and are generally therefore happy to accept the same old recycled plastic pop & bland movie sequels simply because "everyone else is doing it". It's an ideal situation for the media companies, a group of customers that will happily buy anything that's churned out if it's cool enough. Unless they change their tastes, I don't see smaller music artists or low budget films ever getting the popularity they deserve. As someone in his early 40s, I actually don't mind this too much in many respects. As a big fan of classic rock music from the 70's and 80s, because the stuff I like is a minority taste, I get to see bands now in 1000 seater venues that, 10 to 20 years ago, were "ants" on a distant stage in an 80,000 capacity stadium - and because I'm too old now to care about fads and fashion, this suits me perfectly.
              • Speaking as one of those "18 to Twenty-somethings" that you refer to here, I think you're overlooking an important point: people my age don't go to the cinema for the product, they go for the social experience. Music is different, yes. But, let's see, I went to maybe seven movies in 2003. In all but one of those cases (LOTR) it was because of the social environment -- it's an activity that you can do with people. I don't really care about what crap they produce -- maybe two or three good films a year, w
        • No, every such such product is priced according to the maximum that the market will bear. Hence region lockouts on DVDs, with vastly different prices in different regions

          Absolutely Right!
          It was reported that car manufacturers considered the UK to be the 'Golden Isles' because the British public 'would bear' to pay way more than other european countries.

          After a rip-off britain campaign started a few years ago people began to wake and see they were getting stiffed. Example: HMV sells older (not in the
        • For example, imagine a small software house producing an innovative new software package, but then closing due to lack of sales. The package is now not going to be developed any more, even though there maybe many users (some using illegal copies). So piracy can cause the consumer to lose as well.

          And the reason? Simple. The reason is that market economy has irrepairable flaws. So regardless of whether you have piracy or not, consumers lose compared with perfect allocation of resources. The best way to do t
      • by awol ( 98751 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @08:30AM (#7913571) Journal

        a) People want something for nothing.

        Er, no. People want something for a fair price. What is a fair price is a good question, but regardless of the answer there is one reality and that is that over time the price of content approaches zero. For different bits of content, the times at which this marginal change takes place vary, but the reality is that once content is no longer timely then the price tends towards zero. Want proof? See how much you have to pay for stock prices delayed by 20 minutes. Then see how much a real time price feed is. The difference? Timeliness.

        Music, movies, everything - no different. The metric of when this zero pricing starts, changes but not the reality. For movies it probably starts about a year after it is "released". Go and ask a distributor to show the ROI over time for their product. Even with their bullshit anti-competitive behaviour it is still true.

        b) People want something before it's officially made available.

        Officially, Ofsmishilly, they made the fscking DVD available in HK 2 years ago, they just don't think there is enough of a market in the US to justify and official release, but can you just buy the HK version and use in the US? No, because of the freakin' regional encoding (replace countries and times with parameters of your choosing and the statement will still be true). The whole parallel importing thing is just reaching offensive levels at the moment. The industry is trying so hard to screw over consumers, the line will soon be crossed. Watch cdWow for the battlefield.

        c) People want to impress other people with something they have but the other's don't.

        Some people just have small dicks, they have to have something to compensate. Better this than have them driving Porsches, makes the world a safer place IYAM.

        Piracy (and it really is such a bad word) exists because the price at which the product is offered does not reflect its actual value and bad law is in place to force the price. On top of that most people are enourmously price sensitive to these products, they will take a shitty copy of a movie camcordered from a screening for nothing, but if you offer them a legit copy, for 2$ they still won't pay because it is the zero cost that makes the product purchasable. This is not the same as what you said "People want something for nothing", but rather it is true that, for some things, people will take a thing if it costs nothing, but that same thing at any price over zero has no utility. Given that they are already paying for their broadband connections the marginal cost of this movie or that song, is zero. Mind you, there are a number of purchasers that are not so price sensitive to the acquisition of this content and so they will pay something for a legit version, but the vast majority of those people are being frozen out of the market because the content creators are still above their utility level in the vast majority of cases. But even then, some not, because DVD and CD are still being sold. The issue is that the model the industry uses to determine price is so contrary to the realities of their product that they will continue to suffer until they work it out. And, no, $0.99 a song is not the right price, just better than $10.00 for 15 songs, 12 of which you don't want.

        As for your list of things to do. I follow 'em all. Plus, I don't buy DVD at all (anymore) since I will not play their stupid game of funding their crusade against my rights of fair use. I am unable to resist going to the cinema, but at least the cinema owner gets (some microscopic at times) part of my money and I never go in the first few weeks to try and make sure they get the most possible, but I am close on boycotting it totally. Plus I don't download priated material. Sure, I have less amenity in my life than I would have if the industry sorted itself out, but I simply will not fund their erosion of my rights to use my purchases as I wish.


      • If you just stop buying the "protected" items then the companies will only know that slaes have slumped. If they see that a particular song has been downloaded by a million people, but they have only sold 2 copies, it might provide some insight as to why that happens.

        People will always try to get something for nothing. But consider how many CD's are still selling despite all the piracy.
    • Yes, it is your fault. If you had a laserdisc player (or even just bought the VHS releases when they came out), you could play the perfectly legal versions that the divxes were ripped from, like the rest of us.

      Laserdisc is great, and complaining that you need one in order to be able to watch Star Wars properly is only a little more relevant than the fact that I needed to buy an XBox as well as my Gamecube when I wanted to play Halo.

      As for Miramax's frankly useless attempts at Asian cinema, get yourself a
      • Too bad Miramax thinks [slashdot.org] their distribution rights on these Asian flicks for the U.S. gives them the rights to c&d people linking to imports. Kind of hard to buy a movie like "Hero" when the distributor tries to use the laws to keep you from purchasing your legal copy. And since we're here, here's an honest question: is it actually legal to buy multi-region DVD players in the U.S.? Does anyone sell them, or do you have to order them from the web? Is using one to view your legitimate version of an impo
    • I've got Star Wars Ep. 4-6 as theatrical release ripped from Laserdisc in the best possible DiVX quality.

      Where's the .torrent? ;-)

    • If only the people in charge saw it that way. Instead of making thier product better, the way they do for other types of competiton, they are trying to sue it out of existance. I bough "Mallrats" on DVD a while ago, and soon found that I couldn't upload the movie to my computer. Not needing to carry around a hardcopy was the only reason I switched to DVD, the quality of VHSs is good enough for me. Those stupid people! Now all the new DVDs are like that, and I have all this empty harddrive space!
    • Another point of disgust is MiramAXE with their sabotage of asian cinema.

      Just order them direct from HK or Singapore. No delay, no dubbing (silly subtitles though).

  • by DJTodd242 ( 560481 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:35AM (#7913178) Homepage
    ...the more they stay the same. I find it kind of funny that you can replace the word "Movie" with "Software" and voila! You have an article about the warez scene in the 80s.

    Granted, we didn't have FTP sites or Broadband. You young punks don't know how lucky you have it! Why, back in my day we had to courier stuff at 24oo baud! (Ranting fades...)

    Still, I miss those days. I'm glad I gave it up though. I'd hate to be caught now, in my 30s, and have my life ruined.
    • Erm, I'm in my (early) 40s and can recall staying at work late at night to dial into US BBSes at *300 BAUD* to download the latest Amiga warez :-)

      It's nice being this age and being grown up enough to not give a sh*t about competing with my peers and not giving much of a damn about *HAVING* to have a particular CD, piece of software or movie *AT ALL COSTS*!!!!
      • 300 Baud? I remember on my Commodore 64, half the time, it wasn't even 300 Baud, it was like 150 because the connection strings got crappy on the long distance connection (who remember how long its been sing you've actually heard static on a land line). And you could TELL what speed it was connecting at because of the hum from the modem.

        But yeah, it is nice not to have to compete with peers...I'm only early 30s and I see kiddies that work for me and how they are using my fast internet to aquire illegitim
        • I remember on my Commodore 64, half the time, it wasn't even 300 Baud, it was like 150

          Looxury...
        • I am not sure if I can support a copy protection scheme that introduces random crashes in a medical software. While this might be safe in your particular case, the idea still makes me writhe with disgust.
          • It clearly stated that if you want to reregister it under another users name, you needed to contact my company. CLEARLY stated.

            It was just a charting program for a very specific use, no data was ever corrupted, it just would crash randomly when trying to print (never actually crashing, it just exited)...unfortunately, if you didn't change the name, another doctors name was then listed on the chart.

            I did have it set up where a site license would allow for any office / hospital / whatever that needed it co
            • The more I look at it, the more it seems to me that all this mess is not someone's personal fault (i.e. not yours), it's the fault of the whole system. Clearly, software is a public good, or at least many sorts of software SHOULD BE public good. If only there was a GPL-like license. If only a public organisation would pay for software development so that it can be used for free by medical professionals, who would no longer need to worry about wasting 500$ on software (and let's admit it, it's always "wastin
    • When I was a warez kiddie in the 80s, the "state of the art" for Apple ][ computers was an Apple-Cat modem, which in addition to 45.5 Baudot encoding (the TDD standard), also would do asynchronous 1200 baud, and "normal" 1200 baud if you bought an upgrade daughter card.

      Nobody I knew had the upgrade card, and virtually no BBS in the early 80s supported 1200 baud anyway (I think a Hayes or Racal 1200 baud modem was like $600 at the time).

      The Bell 202 asynchronous 1200 baud mode seemed largely moot until som
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:40AM (#7913186) Homepage Journal
    Anyone notice its all SVCD or VCD dvdrips? I know the ease of playing on the DVD player is attractive, but for the same size you can have a nice Divx release with AC3 sound. Or even a nice dual Divx CD set.

    How many people here went and downloaded GordianKnot and tried to rip some DVDs? Takes dayd, hard as hell.

    I'd rather download a rip off the net for a DVD I own that try to rip a DVD with the current set of utilities. SVCD is a different story, being mpeg2. (Sounds like fair use to me)
    • "I'd rather download a rip off the net for a DVD I own that try to rip a DVD with the current set of utilities"

      I wouldn't disagree with you, having taken weeks to get a decent transfer from my own laserdiscs of The Trilogy, but why would you bother to rip your own DVDs? I find that my DVDs work perfectly fine on my DVD player; rather better than some SVCD copy that took 12 hours to download.
      • To be fair, there is some excuse to ripping your own DVDs (not that I can be bothered to do it myself) - you get portability and the ability to play the movie on a PDA or other small device, just like you can with MP3.

        Perfectly reasonable fair use of something you've purchased...
    • by fruey ( 563914 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:19AM (#7913315) Homepage Journal
      Gordian Knot does not take days. In fact, it's just a well put together collection of tools.

      The ripping of a DVD itself doesn't take very long. The compression might, but that really depends on how you set it up, how you resize, and how you then compress it. If you know a little bit about what you're doing, you can get those times down, sacrificing quality sometimes. VCD and SVCD is unsurprising as these will play in set tops, and you can encode to VCD more quickly than to higher quality DivX formats.

      Common mistakes :

      • not cropping the black bars from a 16:9 widescreen version actually encoded on the DVD at 4:3 regular TV aspect ratio.
      • Using default compression parameters that are too high quality and make multiple passes.
      • Not resizing the image down to a smaller width, leaving it at full resolution. Note that resizing and then encoding at the same bitrate as a bigger size version can result in better looking films, though they're 'softer' to the eye.

      There are many other things as well, like the hardware you have, what you're doing at the same time on the PC, etc. But on a reasonable system you can rip and compress to DivX or XviD in less than three hours. Make sure you have a 2GHz+ processor and plenty of RAM.

      • 8 minutes to rip the DVD to disk. 3 minutes to make the project file. ~10 minutes to do a test encode to test compressibility. 4-5 hours (typical 90-120 minute movie) for 2-pass encoding at a very good quality. All in all, less then 5 hours usually with GordianKnot. Once you understand what you are doing, it goes quite quickly.
      • You forgot Inverse Telecine. I can't stand it when i download movies (*hrm*backups*cough*) from the net, and they're still semi-interlaced, ghost infected, unsharp 29.90 fps clips.

        A proper inverse telecine gives a sharper (and possibly the correct) image, and saves 20% video bitrate. In my eyes, that's worth a little hassle and encoding time.

        Did anyone here know that "The simpsons" are telecined? Says so in the credits at least. Still I haven't seen one 23.96 fps rip up to date...

        Lot's a lot's a u

    • Gmencoder (Score:3, Informative)

      Is actually usable as a dvd ripper in linux.
  • People went to all that effort just to see Elf ffs?
    • Last I saw on Usenet, there was a someone who was making a big deal about not revealing the full titles of films in headers, because the MPAA or the guys with black helicopters or sombody might notice. This same sombody had just posted Eight Legged Freaks, and insisted on abbreviating it "ELF". Makes you wonder.
  • by SpinningAround ( 449335 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:48AM (#7913204)
    Sometimes group members will send files to other sites themselves, using a technique called File Transfer Protocol instead of e-mail.

    Ah yes.. those sneaky hi-tech pirates thinking of a clever and novel way to avoid clogging up their inbox with 700 meg email attachments.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @06:58AM (#7913241) Homepage
    Posting to slashdot, explaining the internet piracy schene?

    Next thing you know, the preacher will be sermonizing the choir.

    Oh wait. Did I miss something?
  • For a second, i was like "Is today a Sunday?" Then i saw my crystal ball and it had a date 8th Jan on the lower right corner. Shame you for misleading me with this kind of news. Thursdays aren't slow days are they?
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:08AM (#7913277) Homepage
    Hello! Thank you for chosing [online service/ISP]. We are proud to have you as our customer!

    As a new citizen of the Internet, it is important that you are made aware of the many important and dangerous aspects of the Internet.

    First off, there are search engines. Search engines are your gateway to all of the content that is available on the World Wide Web and beyond.

    While there is a vast array of information of interest online, we do not give a damn about any of it. The main kinds of material you will find online are actually just porn, smut, erotica, MP3s, pirated software, movies, and various other good things that every family can enjoy.

    The dander lies in how you get this data from your Internet connection. There are a couple simple guidelines to keep you and your family safe.

    1) DO NOT use shitty P2P clients with "fuck my upload cap, yo" enabled. That's just asking for the same treatment in return. Instead, set up a password-protected FTP server and share it with all your friends!
    2) DO NOT listen to flacid music, look at flacid porn, or watch flacid movies! These things only provoke the evil empires. Instead, have a sense of taste!
    3) DO NOT assume you know what you're doing! Instead, go read the fucking documentation, you bastard!

    By following these simple steps, you can help us provide better service for you, while also improving your own online experience. Thank you for chosing [online server/ISP]!

  • damn! (Score:3, Funny)

    by crabpeople ( 720852 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:18AM (#7913308) Journal
    wholly god

    "The scene is closed to much of the world; would-be participants have to gain the trust of insiders and prove their worth before gaining entry. And the lifespan of groups tends to be short, at least on the Net, where players come and go."

    and here we see a "nerd" or "computer insider" as they perfer to be called. see how it looks at us with quiet distain.

    do the people at this paper pick technical editors based on who can send a midi file in an email?
    on the plus side, im a player in an international world of intrigue and mystery
  • by syberanarchy ( 683968 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:37AM (#7913384) Journal
    This shit is way off base - Kazaa? That virus-laden piece of trash? "Topsites"? Aren't those the fake sites that promise me LORD OF THE RINGS NEW GREAT QUALITY - JUST VOTE FOR US IN ORDER 1 2 3! Please. Bit Torrent, Win MX, and DC++ are the future. The fact that these people still quote Kazaa as the file sharing service of choice when there is far more material on DC++ alone is very indicative of how little of a clue these so-called "experts" and "tech editors" really have.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Note carefully the drug references littered throughout the article. This is a skillfully written piece of progaganda authored by a shill to dirty the act of copying bits.

      No wonder, it does come from the LA Times, published in the home of hollywood and the MPAA.
    • WinMX is still widely in use (particularly in Asian countries like Japan), but IIRC it's been out of development for a looong time... I'd put my money more on clients like Shareaza that are adless, like WinMX, and combine multiple protocols (BT, EDonkey, Gnutella, and Gnutella2).
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward&yahoo,com> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:17AM (#7913760) Journal
    I watched in wonder a few weeks ago as an aquaintance logged into an FTP site he owns with some friends, populated with something like a thousand ripped movies, and downloaded a movie, burnt it to CD, and handed it to me, saying 'try this'. (I did not like the movie).

    We're only a year or two away from seeing *massive* movie trading on p2p networks.

    Anyone who claims this is about fair use is obviously trolling. It's about cheating, getting something for nothing.

    But that does not mean it's necessarily going to be bad for the movie business. There is still a world of difference between watching a movie on the big screen and watching a movie at home. The video/DVD rental industry, however, is definitely going to die, I think.

    The key to "anti-piracy" is to understand that the warez kids never pay anyhow. Whatever they're ripping/cracking/hoarding, it's always stolen and it's always for kicks, not because they want a quiet evening at home with the wife.

    The only significant market for media sales (music, movies, and probably software too) is the bulk of non-technical people who look for the easy solution, for decent quality, and are willing to pay for it.

    The music industry lost this market when it dropped the Napster ball. The movie industry still has a chance...

    The film industry has perhaps 2 years to make a paid service for downloading / burning movies to protected DVD, if they miss this window of opportunity, they will find that their main market is already getting their stuff for free.

    • by rbird76 ( 688731 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @12:18PM (#7915377)
      There are always people who want something for nothing. There are also those who want to copy things for the thrill, or as a way to get friends, or for other reasons. These people won't go away - as long as the technical means exist (and in a free society, the means will always exist) people will copy works. I think that these people make up a small segment of the market - that doesn't mean copyright holders shouldn't protect their works, but this set of people is unlikely to destroy the business of selling recorded works.

      DVD copying will run rampant if the MPAA decides to screw their customers. The music industry (the larger labels, anyway) raised the prices of CDs, homogenized much of the product, made CDs hard to use, and tried to extract money from customers for fair use rights that weren't theirs to sell. Record companies (RIAA labels) have a product that people want, but they decided that they could get more money from their customers than their customers wanted to pay. Once P2P apps came around, the large set of people the record companies angered had an alternative - copy the music and pay nothing. There would have always been copying at a low level, but the frustration of people with the record labels meant that as soon as a means to get records some other way came around, people would take it. Had there not been significant frustration with record companies in the first place, most of the people who get their music from file trading would not have gone through the trouble to do so.

      The means to copy digital media is not going to go away. What will determine whether copying becomes rampant or not is the level of frustration of the customer base (and the cost of the product - e.g. high-end software). If it becomes very easy to obtain copied movies, more people will do it as well - but they probably won't try as hard if they aren't frustrated in the first place. At least, IMHO.
    • That arguement drives me mad. The "they want something for nothing" arguement is bull****.

      1) Prove that they actually get anything to begin with. I assume that by getting something, you mean entertainment. Were you entertained by the video that you saw? No. Would you have bought it? No.

      2) Prove that is for nothing. 1st, they take risks to do what they do. 2nd, a lot of the people I've known to download movies have actually bought them. If that movie that you were given was really good, would you
  • I think it's interesting that the term "pirates" are being appied to intellectual property robinhoods (BTW - governments and rich people hate robinhoods)

    The term "pirates" does not fit - pirates steal, rape and pillage. They commit more than one crime when "pirating". That term may apply to those that hijack media and resell it for profit, but it doesn't fit where someone buys, then shares or gives away a product for free.
  • If some bootleggers are selling a copy, while others are giving the same copy for free, those getting charged are paying an "ignorance tax". With Internet searches and messaging for finding alternatives, that becomes more of a "stupidity tax". Geeks should be grateful to those paying it for the subsidy.
  • I wrote this [meehawl.com] back in 1997. Not much has changed except fatter pipes.

    Although the act of breaking computer codes may seem a barren process, there is intense competition. Crackers form themselves into exotic groups14 and use individual names15 as rich as in any youth subculture argot. Attached to 'gifts', they leave dated message files that carry taunts and boasts about their prowess and storied accounts of their progression and advancement.

    This program is the hardest in my life,
    it have a propietary varia

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