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BitTorrent Gives Hollywood a Headache 694

Posted by michael
from the stealing-the-bread-out-of-their-mouths dept.
fudgefactor7 writes "Although the MPAA and the RIAA, and practically anyone else who has an interest in protecting their intellectual property rights online, are fighting against P2P programs like EDonkey, Morpheus, and Napster, BitTorrent is coming under even greater scrutiny, albeit with less actual success so far, and that is giving Hollywood a headache, since they really don't know what to do about it and they can't go to Cohen and moan. Once he let the genie out of the bottle there was no way to put it back in. And with the likes of PeerGuardian, et. al., it only gets harder for the corporations to put the virtual, and legal, smackdown on file sharing."
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BitTorrent Gives Hollywood a Headache

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  • Legally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omkar (618823) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:07AM (#11059263) Homepage Journal
    Are BitTorrent users more vulnerable legally (not practically) since they automatically upload? I'd think that makes them distributors, which presumably brings higher penalties than consumption.
    • Re:Legally (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      probably, though I`m not sure. Bit torrent can be dangerous becuase its so easy to find out who all is downloading nad uploading one file(simple download the tracker yourself and double click the name in ABC to do it). I think you`re a lot more open to attack than others because you can be caught downloading it from another person. I`d be worried about being caught with bit torrent a whole lot more than other programs.

      It`ll be interesting to see how they deal with it.
    • Re:Legally (Score:3, Informative)

      by FHMyles (835127)
      I *was* going to say that here in Canada, (thanks to a supreme court ruling) placing stuff in a shared folder is legal (because it is) and doesn't qualify as distribution of copyrighted material. But then I stopped and thought for a moment and I realized that BitTorrent might not be protected by that. It could be said that an inherent function of the program is that when you run it you send material to other people, instead of just placing it in an accessible shared folder. I'm no lawyer, but I'd say us Ca
    • Re:Legally (Score:4, Interesting)

      by debrain (29228) * on Saturday December 11, 2004 @12:23PM (#11060344) Journal
      Are BitTorrent users more vulnerable legally (not practically) since they automatically upload? I'd think that makes them distributors, which presumably brings higher penalties than consumption.

      That depends on your legislation. In Canada, for example, you only infringe copyright if you intended to infringe it. The high penalties associated with infringement of copyright, ie. criminal sanctions, leads to a high burden on the crown to prosecute.

      So if a tech-unsavy person is uploading while downloading as part of the protocol, s/he is likely not intending to infringe copyright in the uploading, and therefore likely not guilty of an infringement.

      However, the downloading itself may be an infringement, and by virtue of clicking the link, you have shown intention (though shown, it's not proven; accidental clicking, etc.).

      Incidentally, I do not know what would happen if you were downloading a copyrighted movie you already own (fair use/dealing), and you were aware of the uploading. In that case you may be infringing copyright, but at the same time exercising your right to a backup, though to exercise that right through the bittorrent protocol, the only means of acquiring a backup given the DVD copy protection, you must redistribute and inherently infringe portions of the copyright.
  • by tesmako (602075) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:11AM (#11059276) Homepage
    I really don't see the problem here, other P2P apps are tricky since the users themselves make the content available, but with BitTorrent it should be very clear-cut who to complain to if content you own show up as a download; the tracker.

    The tracker is what facilitates the download, the person who runs the tracker has set it up with the intent to share the specific file being shared. The tracker site is typically also the root of all the sharing through being a base seeder as well. So, basicly this brings things back to the days of piracy over public FTP and HTTP download sites, just attack the one facilitating the downloads. While foreign hosting and such might make this trickier it sure is way simpler than trying to attack the typical P2P network where the users are also the ones bringing the content to the table.

    • problem is with trackers outside of the USA...
    • by Myrmi (730278)
      Although with Exeem [slashdot.org] it looks as if they're hedging their bets for the moment over which system (P2P, torrents, or a combination of the two) is going to be the best. Even making the appropriate authorities unsure of which system to primarily target might help.
    • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:28AM (#11059323) Homepage Journal

      The tracker is what facilitates the download, the person who runs the tracker has set it up with the intent to share the specific file being shared. The tracker site is typically also the root of all the sharing through being a base seeder as well. So, basicly this brings things back to the days of piracy over public FTP and HTTP download sites, just attack the one facilitating the downloads.

      Man, you're so wrong. The tracker only hosts the .torrent files, if that! It's primary roll is to just keep a database of who is sharing what as that is the information the bittorrent client's request from it. This is why it's so hard for the MPAA to crack down on them, as it basically does the job of google but for a specific audience. It doesn't host or upload or share any copyright material, it just tracks those that do.

      • by tesmako (602075) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:41AM (#11059362) Homepage
        Trackers typically have some initial seed locally arranged, needed to get the whole thing going. On most sites the seed also stays around to make sure that no fragment ends up lost.

        Either way I can't say that I think it is obvious in any way that it should be legal to keep a tracker just because it does not actually hold the file. Its only purpose in existance is to provide access to the file, and also, the hashes that it keeps are generated from the file. While some people are tempted to compare the trackers information to plain linking I think it is a flawed argument. While the tracker only points out where each file fragment is available from the pointed to hosts are not there for any other purpose than to be pointed out by the tracker. They are if you will not really practically reachable in any other way. In that sense one can just as well see the tracker as an integral component in a system that as a whole is illegal.

        • by grazzy (56382) <grazzy@quake.swe ... minus physicist> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:55AM (#11059399) Homepage Journal
          Well i suppose sometimes it makes sense for the seeder to start a tracker on his own computer, thats not the recommended way.

          A properly run tracker should never host any data. Just torrents. A torrent is merely a file with checksums + some info.

          How do you think for instance, www.thepiratebay.org (swedish) can stay online?

      • by Ath (643782) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:54AM (#11059396)
        Nice try, but that's essentially the same as what Napster was doing. Providing a central "database" where the material was linked.

        The only defense here for such a website is that DMCA-style laws and even old copyright laws provide a safe haven clause. This means that the copyright holder must inform them that the content is copyrighted and unauthorized for sharing. If you check most sites that host Bittorrent links to copyrighted content, they always have some clear language saying "if you are the copyyright holder and this is your stuff, tell us and we will remove the link". Until that kicks in and the copyright holder informs them, there is no liability.

        That all being said, the newer laws (like the one just passed in Australia) lets anyone notify the site and force a reaction. No longer is only the copyright holder themself required.

      • Man, you're so wrong. The tracker only hosts the .torrent files, if that!

        Actually, the tracker has to have the full file available to be the initial seed. So even if there are enough seeds later, I'd say there is a good argument that the person running the tracker is responsible for the initial distribution and subject to the greatest liability.

        IANAL, just the paranoid founder of the world's largest video game music archive [vgmusic.com].

        • by nr (27070)
          Uh no, that is not how it does work. I have created many torrents and shared them on SuprNova. My local machine at home have always been the initial seed for the .torrent, never the SuprNova tracker.
    • by unixbob (523657)
      Even more to the point, what about the screeners that get released. Lots of these movies come from studios that have been sent the screener for translation or for post production work. If they get their own security in order first then they can start looking outside.

      Remove the source of the high quality pirated material and you will inevitably reduce the interest in the illegal copies.
    • Lol doofus (Score:3, Insightful)

      That is exactly the problem, the tracker is blameless. The tracker is google. That is the whole legal problem. All the tracker does is give you some adresses where a certain filename might be. Prostitution is illegal in some places but giving people directions to the red light district is not. Well not in free countries anyway, the US might be another matter.

      So basically your entire argument is wrong. Only the actual filesharers can be held to blame in bittorrent not the central tracker.

  • by SimianOverlord (727643) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:13AM (#11059280) Homepage Journal
    I imagine the copyright holders will go after the people who index bittorrent seeds, rather than the people involved in the filesharing, for facilitating the crime. If they hit these people, BitTorrent will become less popular as it becomes increasingly difficult to find what you want. It probably won't even matter if this is dubious, legally, just look at the RIAA's actions. A few C&D letters will cool off most people who have neither the money or inclination to fight a protracted court battle.
    • by mowler2 (301294) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:28AM (#11059325)
      In some countries, like sweden, bittorrent trackers are legal. Since they do not spread copyrighted material but just link to where one can find copyrighted material.

      Also there is a court ruling from the BBS-time that says that the BBS administrators is NOT responsible for what the users do on the BBS (such as trading warez). It is argued that the same reasoning can be done for a torrent tracker. However if there are copyrighted material transferred without the copyrightholders approval, people that USE the tracker is still doing something illegal.

      The industry has tried to remove torrents from piratebay.org, which is the biggest torrent tracker in sweden, with limited [thepiratebay.org] success. (they have even gotten calls from Microsoft when Halo 2 was up for downloading) :)
    • A few C&D letters will cool off most people who have neither the money or inclination to fight a protracted court battle.

      But how well does that really work? That has been the strategy so far with ed2k/overnet, and they're no closer to shutting that down than before they started. You kill one site, and a bunch of new ones [slyck.com] show up in its place.
    • "I imagine the copyright holders will go after the people who index bittorrent seeds, rather than the people involved in the filesharing, for facilitating the crime."

      Facilitating crimes? It's become a cliche, but it's worth reminding ourselves that introducing a new vocabulary to change the meaning of common and well-understood ideas is a tactic as effective as it is disingenuous, yet a tactic that demands not only tacit acceptance on everyone's part, but also a measure of credulity as that typically foun
  • by pen (7191) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:15AM (#11059283)

    Kazaa:

    1. Run a modified client on a standard ISP address
    2. Record IP addresses of everyone allegedly sharing your copyrighted material
    3. Send out the DMCA notices to ISPs

    BitTorrent:

    1. Run a modified client on a standard ISP address
    2. Record IP addresses of everyone allegedly sharing your copyrighted material
    3. Send out the DMCA notices to ISPs

    (The effectiveness and ethics of this method are a different story.)

  • So many legit uses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zorilla (791636) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:15AM (#11059286)
    Perhaps the difficulty in battling BitTorrent is because it's harder to argue that its only purpose is to pirate material? We've seen plenty of good uses for it, such as alleviating the bandwidth pains of downloading Windows XP SP2, high demand game patches (Take THAT, Gamespy and your system of waiting behind 400 people in line!), etc.
    • I agree, BitTorrent does what all the other p2p applications promised to do.

    • We've seen plenty of good uses for it, such as alleviating the bandwidth pains of downloading Windows XP SP2, ...

      Yes, BitTorrent has a lot of good uses and downloading WinXP sp2 was a very good use, but it wasn't a legal use. Just because Microsoft gives the patch away freely, that doesn't mean they include unlimitied distribution rights. I'm not sure if the same holds true for game patches or not. Just because something is highly useful and seems okay doesn't automatically make it legal.

      • So you say if I download SP2 for a friend of mine who has no (or slow) Internet I am doing something illegal. If that is true MS has licenses more fucked up than I thought until now.
    • by legirons (809082) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:23AM (#11059585)
      Pretty interesting article, and it seems to show quite clearly that some people will stop at nothing to destroy large sections of the internet.

      The article is full of quotes about film-industry people bitching about how difficult it will be to destroy bittorrent. "It's very difficult for an interdiction company to get in the middle of that system" ... "BitTorrent has proven to be resistant to some of the countermeasures the entertainment industry has taken to sabotage file-sharing"

      Uh-huh. Yes, the internet is resistant to people attempting to destroy it, that's part of the design. The worrying thing is how many people are completely open about wanting to do so.

      " [John] Malcolm of the MPAA declined to say whether the trade group intends to sue Cohen" - I think that says it all really, that such options are even being considered. You may as well sue the founding fathers for allowing people to speak in public.

  • by darnok (650458) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:17AM (#11059291)
    of Bittorrent (e.g. downloading Linux distros), the RIAA and MPAA have no legal way of killing it off. Bittorrent is outstandingly useful for downloading all sorts of large files, and not all large files are copy-disallowed material.

    As the article said, the genii is now out of the bottle, and there's no way it can be captured and contained again.
    • And yet my university, among others, insists on blocking it. It's the only thing they block through the HTTP proxy.

      Ironically the first .torrent I tried to download was legal, and I come across about 4-5 files a week that I'd want to download, and are legal, but are filtered.

      The only way I see around it, short of simply asking other people to send you the file (since BitTorrent traffic itself is, ridiculously, not blocked) is to download it through an HTTPS proxy. I have not yet found a web-based free HTT
  • Private Trackers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Celt (125318) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:18AM (#11059298) Homepage Journal
    Even here in Ireland one friend of mine got a notice from his ISP saying he was downloading from suprnova and that Universal had tracked his IP.
    So sites like suprnova are wayyyy to open and as time goes by the smart people have moved away from such sites.

    But there are private trackers as well they have.
    - Alot of people
    - Alot of content
    - Good ratios so speeds are good

    Nothing like suprnova and they are monitored carefully by the owners, so how are the MPAA/RIAA going to monitor these?
  • by tero (39203) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:18AM (#11059299)
    I'd be willing to pay for legal (non-DRM:ed) downloads of movies and tv-shows. Subscription or just per download, take you pick, I don't care.

    I fail to see why Hollywood won't learn from RIAA's mistakes (and Apple's success) and start a service like this, the audience is global, there's tons of cash to make!

    I live in a small nordic country (Sweden) where you have to wait 1-2 years for most "cool" shows (and even then they might get a timeslot around midnight) or get passed altogether (example, they just started running Angel Season 1, 01:00), so downloading series and buying them in DVD formats is more of a norm for me and many of my friends.

    Now, a legal torrent.. that I'd pay for (and they'd even get my upload bandwidth for free).

    • by alwsn (593349) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:08AM (#11059417)
      Rather than fight BitTorrent, the networks need to realize the powere behind online distribution. Here is what a successful TV distribution system needs.

      Light DRM

      While DRM is disliked by end users, a DRM free system will never be launched. The networks wouldn't allow a DRM free system as it could, and would, be used to distribute shows to people who didn't pay. DRM should be in a similar style to iTunes, allowing a reasonable amount of use, while still making it very difficult for the casual user to instant message or upload a song over P2P to someone. Ability to play the show should remain for at least the length of the show's season.

      Reasonable and Flexible Cost

      Although many users enjoy shows, 'my cable bill' divided by 'number of shows I watch' will drive end user logic about perceived value of a show. $3 dollars per show is low enough to be reasonable, and hopefully high enough to generate revenue. Offer package deals, if someone is a fan of the show, offer the season at a 25% of 33% discount of all episodes are bought up front.

      Marketed Well

      DRM distribution of files would allow the networks to promote their shows. Sign up for the service, and get one free episode from each show on the upcoming fall lineup. This would help get potential new viewers to generate more income. Tie online season pack sales in with significant discounts on eventual DVD releases. This will help people feel they're actually getting something tangible for their money. Market internationally, as many countries don't have new shows promptly available.

      Acknowledge the Inevitable

      Thousdands, if not millions, of people are already downloading episodes. Many of these people would be happy to pay for these episodes and would enjoy the convenience and reliability of a legal option. Younger people are watching less TV and are spending an increasing amount of time on computers. Move the media to where people want to view it.
      • Your idea sounds great, but remember how cheap people really are.

        $0.99/song to have it forever works great.

        $3 for a show which, knowing how these things work, STILL HAS ADS THAT YOU CAN'T SKIP, won't.
      • The BBC over here in the UK are already trying to implement a solution like this. I had a reasonably formal conversation with Matt Locke, the director of their creative R&D department, when he visited my college to give the kids a talk on careers in the BBC. We got onto the subject of online distribution - we discussed a closed online distribution method they were developing solely because Younger people are watching less TV and are spending an increasing amount of time on computers. Move the media to w
      • While 'light' DRM is obviously far more useful than the heavier kind, it's still not a solution, and can't ever be.

        AISI, there are essentially two kinds of DRM: one that allows you to do specific things, preventing everything else, and one that prevents you from doing specific things, allowing everything else. Now, the specific things are arguable in each case, but it's that 'everything else' which ends up causing the biggest problems.

        'Everything else' includes all the changes in technology which will

  • Simple solution. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323)
    Encrypt the file (breaking it would violate their own laws, should they pass), and give out the key in a special license, so that anyone/anycorporation/anyorganization that uses the key in any way forfeits all ability to punish anyone/anocorporation/anyorganization for it's contents.
    • Re:Simple solution. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:32AM (#11059333)
      Encrypt the file (breaking it would violate their own laws, should they pass)

      No it wouldn't. It's only illegal to break encryption if it forms an effective copyright protection measure (I forget the exact terminology, but that's close enough). In this case, it wouldn't actually be protecting anyone's copyright, so they would be legally entitled to break it.

      and give out the key in a special license, so that anyone/anycorporation/anyorganization that uses the key in any way forfeits all ability to punish anyone/anocorporation/anyorganization for it's contents.

      The legality of such a license is questionable, at best. First of all, can an encryption key (a purely functional item, usually automatically designed) be considered copyrightable? If not, then you do not need a license to use it. Secondly, can a license take away a person's rights to their own IP? I wouldn't have thought so.

      IANAL, etc.
      • It's only illegal to break encryption if it forms an effective copyright protection measure

        Contrary to popular belief, not everybody lives in the U.S. either. There are no laws against defeating encryption here, so whats to stop me from doing that, and re-sharing it with the rest of the world?
      • Why wouldn't it?

        I named the file. I, therefore, own the copyright to the name of the file. Without breaking my encryption or having a license from me, you don't know the name of the file.

        And the license wouldn't even have to make them give up their rights to sue.

        "In order to use this key, you or your organization may not be a member of RIAA, MPAA, etc, or their subsidiaries, contractors, government slaves, etc. Furthermore, you may not disseminate the contents of any file encrypted with this key to ANYON
  • Peerguardian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:33AM (#11059338) Homepage Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Peerguardian just stop incoming and outgoing connections to it's list of banned IPs? If so, how does this stop a member of the **AA from connecting to a tracker and simply receiving the list of all the IPs connected to that torrent... How does it make a difference?
    • Re:Peerguardian (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRealJFM (671978) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:39AM (#11059359) Homepage Journal
      This is very simple:

      collecting the IP addresses of people connected to a tracker does not ammount to proof of infringement. You have to actually recieve some data from them to prove they are illegally transmitting copyrighted material. :)

      Joseph Farthing
      Administrator & News Editor
      Methlabs.org
      • Re:Peerguardian (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shird (566377)
        bah.. its proof enough. Its not as if the MPAA are downloading the entire file off of each client/IP to check they are sharing that particular file. They are just getting the hashes etc,. The trackers keep track of what the client has up'd and down'd, this will only be recorded if the correct bytes are uploaded to other clients and reported as such.
        • Re:Peerguardian (Score:4, Informative)

          by TheRealJFM (671978) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:56AM (#11059401) Homepage Journal
          to hold up a case in court they have to actually *prove* the person is sharing the file.

          getting a list of ips just won't be good enough without some sort of evidence

          then again we have seen some stupid occasions where stupid takedown notices have been given:

          http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/20/ 23 51242&tid=188&tid=123&tid=17&tid=1 06
          • Re:Peerguardian (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jugalator (259273)
            to hold up a case in court they have to actually *prove* the person is sharing the file.

            But aren't RIAA getting a lot of their money from lawsuit by out-of-court settlements? I mean, few people have the lot of money they wish to spend on getting a lawyer and fighting in court.
  • by Fussen (753791) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @07:42AM (#11059369)
    I was explained to that torrents are not easily traced because all the data is sent in small packet chunks.. I think it might be in 256k chunks.
    And that since all these data packets are being sent randomly from various sources, it would be much more difficult to actually point a finger at a source or destination.

    It was described that sure you might be able to intercept the transmition of data, but you are not witnessing the transfer of a in-tact file.

    So you could see that maybe it's some sort of mpeg stream or maybe part of a larger compressed archive, but it's just a piece of it. And once the next version of the torrent system comes along with the ability to transfer without use of trackers or servers, it becomes here-say on any legal action.

    So does this packet chunk bit torrent stuff actually hold true? And if not, Why?

    :)
  • Legit uses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by knightrdr (685033) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:09AM (#11059419) Homepage
    How many government snafu's will be revealed by file sharing? Look at some of the things published on P2P networks already, concerning prisoner abuse by the U.S. military. Some of the information was originally made public by more traditional means, but many hot stories have broke because of pics or videos from Iraq on P2P networks. Of course there is the flip side of beheading videos being published by terrorists or a meere "gore loving freak". I wonder how long until we hear about "those terrorist P2Pers". Don't think it can't happen...
  • by swilver (617741) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:32AM (#11059465)
    "Anyone who uses BitTorrent and is under the illusion that they are anonymous are sorely mistaken," Malcolm said. "There is no reason why those lawsuits wouldn't include BitTorrent" users.
    Actually, there is a reason why the lawsuits wouldn't include BitTorrent users. It is much harder to sue BitTorrent users for multiple infringements at once, which (I think) is what makes the current lawsuit approach cost effective.

    When you find a BitTorrent user participating in a big swarm, you can only sue them for that single infringement, not for sharing hundreds of movies or music files via programs like Kazaa. In order to make it cost effective they would have to keep track of your online BitTorrent activity for quite a while to collect multiple infringements.

    • by snark42 (816532) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @10:20AM (#11059764)

      they would have to keep track of your online BitTorrent activity for quite a while to collect multiple infringements.

      They also need to:

      • Make sure your dynamic IP doesn't change.
      • Monitor a LARGE number of torrents without being blacklisted for being with the RIAA/MPAA/etc.
      • Not engage in sharing the said copyrighted material themselves which would make the download a legal one.

      I think many of these are the same reasons IRC and Usenet can go along without being bothered too much, plus the critial mass of people aren't there, but that's how a lot of the files get out to FastTrack or BitTorrent I'm sure.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @08:45AM (#11059489)
    Logically, file sharing will eventually destroy the CD and DVD market. Why try to sell something people are just going to steal? So, ironically, no one will have anything to share anymore.

    Personally, I don't believe anyone has a right to "share" the data on a CD or DVD unless that right was passed to you by the person who created the data. (I put quotes around share because use of that word is a deliberate attempt to whitewash what's really going on.)

    If I don't own all rights to something I make (which , of course, I do, since it is impossible for anyone else to own those rights unless I transfer them), then I can't benefit from its production and reproduction. If I can't benefit by selling some of those rights, I'm likely to quit making things. So will almost everyone else, contrary to the naive opinions often expressed here that legitimate artists just want to give it all away and don't care about making a living.
  • Watch for the latest copyright legislation to contain a special provision allowing the arbitrary execution of any software developer who creates a new file sharing protocol. It will be made retroactive and the Ass.'s of America will then execute the author of Bittorrent as an example. The create of Gnutella and WASTE will be next.
  • private communities (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tolonuga (10369)
    private ftp servers with a few hundered users - there are still lots of them with lots of warez.
    but they can be found, and it easier who has access to them, and all the warez is in one place, so you can sue each user to a huge amount.

    now with bittorrent, it is quite easy to setup a private webserver with a forum, torrent files, and a tracker rejecting unknown users. that does not create much traffic, as most data flows between the members directly. if the site is found and the server is taken in: it only h
  • Legal Threats (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zedrick (764028) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @09:12AM (#11059550)
    There's some funny examples of various copyright holders' cease-and-desist-mails (and the replies they got) to a Swedish torrent site on: http://static.thepiratebay.org/legal/ [thepiratebay.org]

    One they day will get a clue and start hunting down the users instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2004 @10:15AM (#11059748)
    The answer is that the MPAA and RIAA are all being lazy.

    Think about what happens when you download music, I'd say 40% of the time. You find that there's a click or a pop or an early cutoff in the song. Not 100% recording studio quality, or maybe even the encoding rate is less than 128k.

    Also, anyone who has ever seen a bootleg knows that even TELESYNCS are of worse quality than that old TV that used to be in the garage with the aluminum foil on the antenna, and whose antenna was actually a coathanger.

    The answer is to make reasonable quality movies available easily to people. TiVO has the right idea, and this idea may just bury the whole theatre industry (or set it back hundreds of paces).

    I've bought bootlegs on every corner of NYC, and they all SUCK, and I'm not just talking about quality. Same has been said about the quality of the music that is being released these days. The RIAA is mad that we're downloading music that isn't worth even a legit 0.99 cent download. The answer? GET MORE TALENT ON THE LABELS!

    Same is true for movies. Let's do a brief history of movies that have come out recently, shall we?

    Lady Killers - I fell aasleep, personally. Horrible.
    Van Helsing - PUH-LEESE. Should have ended 45 minutes before it did.
    White Chicks - umm...right. White Chicks.

    So one could argue that buying/downloading bootlegs is really just saving us from having to spend $10 now on a crappy movie. 10 BUCKS! Maybe there wouldn't be so much downloading if tickets were still reasonable. $10!

    When I buy/download a good movie, I go to the thetre and see it.

    SAW is a perfect example. GREAT MOVIE, new, fresh, original. Bought a bootleg, watched 15 minutes, and went to the theatre. They DESERVED the price of the ticket.

    Spiderman 2 also....downloaded it, watched it, and went ot see it 3 times in the theatre.

    My advice to MPAA/RIAA...better product. Make it so that we're foolish to try and get a cheap copy of your product. Nobody is out there manufacturing BMW knockoffs, are they? THey'd be FOOLISH to.

    Take a lesson, and stop complaining.

    Just my .02.
  • by josefek (621779) <josefek.sub-par@com> on Saturday December 11, 2004 @10:39AM (#11059823) Homepage
    I receive tons of hits from various groups sniffing about while I'm d/ling via BitTorrent (I run PeerGuardian) and I often wonder how culpable I am. While not all of my downloads are technically "legal," it's all stuff I'm pulling down because it's the only way I can get it.
    My most recent downloads, for instance, have been copies of Sifl & Olly (which hasn't been released on DVD) episodes of the BBC's Spaced (which, while released on DVD, is only available in the UK on region 2 media, and I'm in the states), and the Drive-By Truckers Pizza Deliverance, which is woefully out of print. In the case of the Truckers, I already own a copy of the record, but it's beat to shit. Supposedly they'll be re-releasing it sometime in 2005, and I'll undoubtedly be buying myself a new copy. In the meantime, however, I'd like to be able to listen to it.
    I'm one of those folks who would happily purchase the stuff I pull via BitTorrent... if I could. It irritates the shit out of me to be snooped online, and to read article after article about the RIAA and MPAA pissing and moaning over downloading, when they don't really seem to be paying attention to what is being downloaded.
    Sure, there's a shit-ton of folks dealing in warez and publicly available media, but there are also tons of sites dealing specifically with stuff people seek that can't currently be purchased legitimately (I don't understand downloading a crappy boot of a movie destined for DVD release, or downloading a movie that can be purchased for a few bucks online or rented. Frankly, it's a waste of my bandwidth). You'd think they'd look at the popularity of, say, Sifl & Olly torrents and say "Well shit, there's a market. Maybe we should release a DVD of that stuff."
    And hey; how about not pricing it outlandishly (a la Carnivale or Six Feet Under)? Nothing makes me consider downloading more than knowing that, by purchasing it, I'm voluntarily allowing myself to get screwed.
  • TV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nns6561 (559085) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @10:53AM (#11059895)
    Why haven't TV stations decided to offer up torrents of recent shows? By including ads, they should be able to achieve similar levels of profit as broadcast TV. The bandwidth should not be a stumbling block if torrents are used. It might even increase revenues by exposing their product to a larger market.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @11:00AM (#11059924) Journal
    And with the likes of PeerGuardian, et. al., it only gets harder for the corporations to put the virtual, and legal, smackdown on file sharing.

    OK, can someone once and for all tell me how PG makes it more difficult for corporations to track down file sharers? All the have to do is use a public network, right? I just don't get it. Do some think they'll sit behind a special kind of RIAA network to scan people and have totally missed the news of PG mentioned everywhere?

    Have we got any data on blocked RIAA connections?

    People mentioning PG is always talking about the software like it efficiently blocks the organizations you've picked. :-S
    • see my other post (click my username and look for the first post I made in this thread) for info on how PG works.

      as for the effectiveness of PG:

      http://www.dmeurope.com/default.asp?from=f&Arti c le ID=2016

      "Indeed, Akshay Patil, a student at MIT, whose paper, Identifying Sources of Spoof Files and Limiting Their Impact in the FastTrack Network, discusses the phenomenon, notes that spoofing has become a considerable problem for the FastTrack network - the network used by Kazaa - with downloaders of popul
  • by puzzled (12525) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @11:03AM (#11059936) Journal

    I love bittorrent - I have about forty full length jam band shows that I've obtained over the last couple of months from www.digitalpanic.org.

    I have an office cable modem, a home cable modem, a girlfriend's house cable modem, a mom's house cable modem, and most of them have BSD boxes for firewalls. I'm working on a method to automate the three home boxes participating in torrents I seed so when I start distributing shows I'll come with a megabit of bandwidth. Once the process is 'cooked' I have a couple of customers that probably won't mind some torrent activity on their network, so long as I keep it between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM.

    If you worry about the RIAA the solution is simple; get interested in bands that *promote* your right to copy their live work - Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead, Phish, Moe, Jerry Joseph & Jackmormons, String Cheese Incident, Government Mule, Drive By Truckers, Southern Bitch, Star Tangled Angel Revival, and a hundred other, less famous acts I've haven't listened to yet. There *is* something there for everyone :-)

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @12:11PM (#11060277)
    (with a US bias ...) The file sharing backlash is, IMHO, an example of civil disobedience in response to the **AA organizations cheating the system. Copyright and Patent structures are a *temporary* monopoly granted to the author (and enforced thorough the legal system) in exchange for incentive to expend resources and take risks for the creative process. When the Copyright/Patent period expires, the work is supposed to fall into the public domain for the benefit of society. So, exactly when do the authors make good on their end of the deal? The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension-to-Infinity Act distills down to "effectively, never."

    There are two paths to changing the law - pursue it through petition to representatives, or pursue it through civil disobedience. Since the congresscritters appear to be bought and paid for, disobedience seems to be the only reasonable choice that remains. The file sharing folks aren't making a buck doing so. In fact, it costs them time and resources (electricity, disk space, bandwidth, etc.) to participate in the activity. The pirates who sell the materials are a different matter ...
  • by OneInEveryCrowd (62120) on Saturday December 11, 2004 @02:05PM (#11060900)
    Here are some questions I wish the author of this article and some of the people he interviewed would address.

    Why can't "Hollywood" adapt to technological change instead of fighting it ? Why can an unemployed programmer sitting in his apartment out-inovate a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations ?

    Why do these wealthy CEO and entertainer types think they're immune from change ? I used to be a high paid COBOL guy, I had to adapt. Do any of these people expect me to feel any sympathy or support for them ?

    Why would people want to download in the first place ? Is it because ticket prices are too high, and the cost of soda and popcorn is almost offensive ? Do people in one country want to see the movie as soon as people in another country ?

    Is the loss of revenue real or imaginary ? Is their existence really threatened ? Are movie industry profits really sliding ? Are American high school kids really going to start staying home instead of going to the theatre ?

    Sorry if this sounds like a bit of a rant. I'm really tired of the pro-CEO slant in the mainstream media. If any journalists are reading this I hope you address these questions in your future articles. It would really make me alot more interested in what you do for a living.

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