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Online Groups Behind Bulk of Bootleg Films (& Games) 365

xasper8 writes "First it was the RIAA, now Hollywood is cracking the legal whip on online piracy." There's a better article about this in the recent issue of Wired that gets more in depth on this. Basically, good background on how file releases get made. <update> Yes, we did have Wired link yesterday as well. My bad.
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Online Groups Behind Bulk of Bootleg Films (& Games)

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  • Disturbed (Score:2, Insightful)

    "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

    It actually disturbs me deeply that someone in the U.S. Justice Department is admitting casually that the war on drugs is useless and a waste of lives and money.

    • Disturbing--yes. Surprising--no. They're zealots, but not necessarily idiots.
    • Re:Disturbed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IdleTime ( 561841 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:20AM (#11243977) Journal
      How can you be disturbed by the truth?

      War on drugs is a huge waste of money and can never be won. You will not even get close. It would have been much better if they accepted the fact that not all drugs are the same and differentiated between soft and hard drugs. That would ofcourse empty the prisons of a lot of people and make room for the real criminals rather than a potsmoker. But then the statistics would not look good...
      • Re:Disturbed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordK3nn3th ( 715352 )
        No, what's disturbing is that they continue to waste money and time on something that doesn't work and is an abridgement of a person's rights anyway.
      • But then the statistics would not look good...

        Right! It is and always will be cheaper and easyer to fork out a few billion dollars/euros in military aid to napalm strips of jungle or rocky hillside (aka, suspected coca/poppy/marihuana/hemp plantation) in country X than it is to deal with the root causes of drug use at home.
      • ...where prisons are commercial institutions, a lowering of crimerate is not economical.

        Think about that for a while...
    • Re:Disturbed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:21AM (#11243994) Homepage Journal
      How is saying "we're trying to keep problem X in check" the same as saying "we're just wasting your money by spending it on problem X"?

      That was quite a "logical" leap you made there. Are you superman? Because that was a hell of a chasm to cross to come to the bizarre conclusion you did.
      • Re:Disturbed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mothlos ( 832302 )
        A leap of logic, yes... but not completely unfounded.

        The "war" on drugs has been charactarized as something that was winnable. The cost and the damage to people and society is a reasonable one because someday it won't be needed. Try to remember back to Vietnam (or civics class for the youngins in the audience) and remember when we were stuck in a war where we had no clear conditions for success and no exit strategy or conditions to impliment it in case of failure.

        This statement shows an official admitting
        • Re:Disturbed (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dsanfte ( 443781 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:02AM (#11244274) Journal
          "The "war" on drugs has been characterised as something that was winnable."

          I agree completely. Now if people would realize the "war on terrorism" is not, and that it's a war on muslim-extremists with a vague title allowing the "changing of the enemy" whenever more tax dollars are needed, we'd be off to a good start.
    • "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

      That's exactly the phrase that caught my eye.

      I wonder - when will the geniuses we have elected to run this country finally realize that their proposed solution to the problem will never work? Or will they continue to live in the state of dementia they curre

      • Re:Disturbed (Score:2, Insightful)

        by koi88 ( 640490 )

        "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war,"

        Or when will these geniuses realize that the same is true about the war on terror? Of course there are even more lives and money wasted on fighting it...
    • Re:Disturbed (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yokaze ( 70883 )
      Where is he saying that it is useless and a waste of lives and money? He merely states that there are limits to its success.
    • Re:Disturbed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordK3nn3th ( 715352 )
      What I want to know is why there even IS a "U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force". This is (or should be) a civil matter, not a criminal one.

      Oh wait, duh. The RIAA and MPAA and their "politican contributions". Ca-ching!
    • "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

      Why not eliminate the "problem" by making non-profit copying legal? Maybe the activity shouldn't be illegal when the half of the population is doing it and doesn't even consider it wrong. Too bad the term intellectual "property" makes this kind of consideratio
      • Re:Disturbed (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rvega ( 630035 )
        Maybe the activity shouldn't be illegal when the half of the population is doing it and doesn't even consider it wrong.

        I think the fact that half the population is doing it indicates that something is off-balance and needs to be addressed. However, Americans as a whole don't think things through very well and take the logical consequences into consideration. (Witness the current epidemics of pathological obesity and crushing credit-card debt used to purchase non-essential, well, junk.) I don't think the p
    • The only similarity is that law enforcement agencies enjoy spending large amounts of tax payers money on campaigns that never end. It's fun!

      But the drugs business is number 3 in the world after oil and arms, and the "war" on drugs is mainly about protecting what has become a very lucrative taxation system.

      Whereas drugs destroy entire cultures, the worst that movie piracy will do is close down the video stores. Cinemas will continue to flourish.

      Still, the guys in the USJD love a fight and a new budget.
  • by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) * <> on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:17AM (#11243966) Homepage Journal
    "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

    Aside from what this says about the drug war, which is another post entirely, this pretty much sums it up. People are always going to find ways to get access to movies without paying for them.

    In the bad old days it was one person goes into the theater and props open the emergency exit door so all their friends could sneak in. (And this probably still happens.)

    These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

    • by leonmergen ( 807379 ) * <.lmergen. .at.> on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:21AM (#11243991) Homepage

      These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

      The difference is that these 'friends' are tens of millions of people online. There only needs to be one guy capturing the movie, and the entire world has access within a matter of hours. That's the difference.

    • If movies were simultaneously released on DVD and in theaters, would anyone even go anymore ? I sure wouldn't. Between the cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home.
      • If movies were simultaneously released on DVD and in theaters, would anyone even go anymore ? I sure wouldn't. Between the cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home.

        And if the movie would be on tv at the same time as on dvd, would you still buy the dvd ?

        My point is, there is a reason that movies first appear in theater, and that a dvd is released before it airs on tv.

        • The reason is they want you to buy it twice. Thanks but no thanks.
          • Um... I don't buy it twice, unless it's a really good movie. Case in point, for Christmas, I got Spider-Man 2. I never saw it when it was in theaters, and given the price of tickets in the area, between those and the snacks, I probably would have spent the same amount of money to see it once as I would have paid if I bought the DVD myself.

            I don't go to movies any more, because we've gone from a point where it takes years for the movie to be released on VHS/DVD (how long was it between the theatrical releas
          • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:40AM (#11244613) Homepage Journal
            Ever since movies started costing $9-$10 (so $20 for two tickets), I've found I just stopped going. I'd rather order a pizza and rent two movies than waste all that money at the theater. I saw the LOTR movies in the theater because they have cinematics worth seeing on the big screen. But there are very few movies these days that actually take advantage of what the theatrical format has to offer, and they don't lose anything when you watch them on DVD.
            • Ever since movies started costing $9-$10 (so $20 for two tickets)

              I hear that same argument on /. all the time. Am I the only one that has a cheap theater nearby? Our local "Cinema Saver" (that is the actual name they operate under) gets all the new releases about two or three weeks after they hit the mainstream theaters. Tickets are $2 a person for daytime/$3 at night. You can buy a large tub of popcorn (with refills) for $2.50. There's also the small town theater in a town about 15 miles from me th

      • > cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home

        Sounds like MY home.
      • Screen Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SeanDuggan ( 732224 )
        Personally, I still would. The movie screen is of a much larger size and quality than my puny TV or computer monitor. Even if I had a better display, DVDs are stored at a low resolution with lossy compression. Now the point may be more relevant when comparing DVDs and some of the dollar theaters... last dollar theater I went to (Ok, actually $2 for matinees and $3 otherwise. Damn inflation...), the screen was only a bit larger than some flatscreen TVs and the sound quality was pretty lousy.

        The only thing

    • These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

      The idea that people record the movie using a camcorder in the USA for friends is just naive. Piracy is rampant in asia, where movies are pirated using camcorders and then sold on streetcorners in VCD format.

      These VCD's end up on Internet, but internet p

      • If the MPAA wants to stop internet piracy, they should stop releasing movies in Asia at the same time as in the USA. A month delay would do it. But for them the quick bucks are more important than internet piracy.

        Actually, many movies are released much later in many Asian countries. However, delaying releases doesn't solve the problem much. Only CAMs will be delayed, and not many people actually download CAMs anyhow.

        Screeners and Telecines are a lot more popular.
  • Most of the WaReZ and films released by these groups include details about what they need, how to get recruited, etc.

    I always liked the ANSI art associated with warez group BBSes back in the 1980s and early 90s.

    MMMMmm Renegade BBS all hex edited up and looking perty. /good old days
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:23AM (#11243998)
    ...for all that stuff that is online. Now this is reporting!
  • what is the reason people make personal multi-thousand dollar investments to do this?

    what is the motivation for the alluded to 'top' level, something about buying a 15k camera for prestige of having an illegal copy first sounds like utter bullshit.

    everything in this article about what motivates people to this depth seems wrong, except for MAYBE the high school kid, who does it for access to better sites..

    • by Zarxrax ( 652423 )
      They do it because its a hobby. With ANY hobby, once you finish your objective at hand, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. Whether its knitting quilts, coding an open source project, or even pirating movies. The people who do this take pride in the fact that they feel like they are achieving something, that they are actually GOOD at something. As with any hobby, people are willing to spend money on it. I personally enjoy video editing, and I've spent far more on it than I care to admit. My little vid
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:28AM (#11244033)
    ...and they finally get around to reading the .nfo. I guess they had been too busy wielding their prowess at layout.
  • by CodeWanker ( 534624 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:29AM (#11244039) Journal
    Let me be the one to point out (and point out with my identity shown) that copyright is protected by federal law []. I'm not going to talk about right and wrong, but I am going to point out that the monkies out there who have a copy'n'paste "copyright is a civil issue" for every piracy story on /. have no idea what they're copying and pasting about. You may now continue with the rationalizations of your illegal activity already in progress.
  • by Jarnis ( 266190 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:30AM (#11244046)
    Copying [] is bad. Someone call the FBI... :p
  • I had a roommate... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goldenhawk ( 242867 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:36AM (#11244083) Homepage
    I had a roommate in college in the late 80's who reminds me of all these pirates. He was into cracking software, not so much to enjoy the software, as to prove he could do it. I'd guess he's probably one of those guys doing this today.

    (His "crowning" achievement at the time was cracking a particular game in which the code was stored encrypted, then once loaded from disk, decrypted before running - basic self-modifying code. He dug around the assembly code and figured out how to copy the decrypted code back to disk, and disabled the decryption routines, so the disk only contained the real runtime code. This proves if it can be protected, it can be cracked...)

    Also, I had a relative (now deceased, but not from anything the RIAA did... *grin*) who was into downloading these cracked films. When we were going thru the estate and cleaning his house, we found around a hundred CDs burned with copies of all kinds of current films. I looked at a couple and was shocked at how bad they were. I don't think he ever watched more than a few - he was a compulsive collector (like his hundreds of Elvis CDs) and just had to have them, not watch them. He never would have spent money on them.

    So it seems to me that the danger from these guys is incidental to Hollywood. I can't see that they're really losing that much money from these pirates. It's about bragging rights, not enjoying the movies.

    Now, this doesn't condone the practice. I still consider it to be theft (no, this isn't flamebait), since someone ends up losing money at some level whenever someone else doesn't pay appropriately to view a movie or listen to a CD legally. Depriving someone of legally due money is theft, no matter whether it's property that is removed or information that is copied.

    But in the end, I suspect that the monetary damages due to this copying are less than the net costs to Hollywood from aggravated and disenfranchised consumers.
    • Unfortunately, you said theft in your post. So now anything you may have said will be entirely ignored as you get flamed on the definition of theft. Enjoy!
    • Do you still call it theft if the person doing the coping was NOT going to buy the product ( or pay to go see it ).. And if it wasnt available to download, it would not have been viewed/watched/et...

      Nothing was 'lost'..

      Just curious.

      But dont worry, i wont get into the details of how theft is defined and that no one was deprived of ownership.. etc etc..
    • Depriving someone of legally due money is theft

      No, it is not theft. Theft is when one stoles something from an other, thus depriving him from his property. It was explained on /. thousands times, why is it so hard to comprehend?

      The phrase 'legally due money' can only be applied to contracts. If you do your work based on a contract then you are entitled to your 'legally due money'. However, if you are not paid that is also not theft. That is a breach of contract and you can sue the other party.
    • personal use is limited by the amount of content any one person can watch while still doing things like sleeping, eating, working, studying, etc...

      if an individual watches more than one "copied for personal use" movie; listens to more than one "copied for personal use" CD; etc, then the impact to any one particular artist/studio/prouducer, etc... is reduced even further. If an individual downloads something but never listens to it or watches it, as is a fairly common practice, or deletes without ever watc
  • by rbarreira ( 836272 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:38AM (#11244091) Homepage
    I know that media news about technical issues are rarely accurate, but this article's mistakes are a little bit exagerating, I think... "Unlike popular file-swapping networks where millions of files -- mostly for music -- are shared relatively easily, it takes more than a casual effort to even begin to find the right place to download a movie." -- what? "Typically, large movie files are broken down into text that appears to the naked eye as gibberish. Files are distributed through news groups or made available through so-called top sites or private computer servers accessed by File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, an early conduit for exchanging data on the Internet." -- half-right... There are other examples, and if one cares to think about it, many of the stupid statements (like the second one I've shown) only happen because they try to explain things too much. Who cares how the movie files are "broken"?
    • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slash ... minus cat> on Monday January 03, 2005 @12:34PM (#11245175) Homepage Journal
      You're confusing "mistakes" and "exaggerations" with "complete load of lies". AFAIK, the term "bullshit", and the phrase "load of bullshit" is used for lies, FUD, and similar stuff. Not for "inaccuracies" and "errors".

      Example: Frankly I don't believe the "broken down as gibberish" stuff... if it meant breaking it down as BASE64 posts on usenet :P IMHO this article is just a badly-phrased summarization of the longer wired article we saw yesterday (which personally I did enjoy reading).

      I've done a few reencoding of *unlicensed* (read as: legal) anime episodes (fansubs), just to test the capabilities of Divx and xvid (we saw a /. article on that yesterday, didn't we?). If you think ripping a movie from DVD or whatever is EASY, you're completely off track. Rippers see themselves as ARTISTS. They want to achieve perfection: Practically null visual defects while achieving the most compression. They tweak the codec, possibly adding postprocessing filters to get rid of blocking artifacts (due to MPEG2 compression) in the original DVD, etc (I won't talk about anime fansubbers here, but I think the same criteria applies).

      So yes, they're organized. Yes, they meet in private chat sessions. Yes, they do rip dvd's.

      Another fact: Pirated DVD's are *obviously* cheaper than original DVD's (otherwise people wouldn't buy them). So I don't think one of these rippers would buy an original - unless it's a title they *love*, and want to immortalize themselves by ripping it and distributing it.

      So is the article a "load of bullshit"? I don't think so. Irrelevant? Probably, we all (or at least those of us old enough to have used irc at a time) know such warez invite-only channels do exist.

      And yes, I know Wired isn't "news for know-it-all uber-geeks who already know how things are done". It's a good article for common people. Let's not forget that.
  • by Robocoastie ( 777066 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:39AM (#11244101) Homepage
    Oh come on! It's also just a freaking hobby man. How many of the new people in the media industry today got there thanks to learning to computer copy tv shows and edit out commercials of their favorite ones and so on? Probably every single one of them! Maybe I'm completely naive but what I used to d/load was Enterprise and the last season of Roswell because my cable company (Warner/AOL) doesn't have UPN! I d/loaded the occassional movie but they were always cheaply made, didn't keep me from seeing it in the theatre or dvd rental still and were just cool to see as a hobby especially when you see those asian language subtitles and stuff and occassional munching of the cameramans popcorn it was funny. I'm also convinced that some of them were intentionally distributed on the net by the production company as free advertising to generate hype for it. I dunno know, maybe I'm a rare case but I was at the movies yesterday and it was packed, not a seat left in the house so I don't see a dent in the movie business due to file sharing at all. If anything there profits are UP especially when you consider they make us sit through freaking commercials now instead of the good ole fashioned cartoon before the movies like the old days and yet our ticket prices keep going up. But as usual the media industry will fight new technology instead of grasping it and using it to their advantage.
  • explanations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FnH ( 137981 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:46AM (#11244141)

    From the article:
    Private Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, which is a precursor to the modern instant messaging software, or Usenet news groups that function like bulletin boards.
    I still think of instant messaging software as a dumbed down version of IRC and of webbased bulletin boards as poorly implemented frontends for usenet.

    I must be getting old ...

    • And I think of USENET as a globalized version of the BBSes I used to call, like the one I used to run on an XT-clone with a 5 meg hard drive.

      You're not getting THAT old, sonny.
    • Re:explanations (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fjornir ( 516960 )
      I still think of instant messaging software as a dumbed down version of IRC

      I like to think I was there for the tail-end of the IRC glory days, and as cool as IRC was, today's IM software has a lot going for it. I haven't seen opwars on them. No problems with netsplits and nick collisions. No arms race while every server sets their clock back further and further in order to 'win' the above. No crapfloods. None of that "Hur. Hur. Our last OP just lost link -- everyone get out of the room so we can get OPs b

  • by xasper8 ( 137598 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @10:50AM (#11244184)
    The MPA and the RIAA need to keep things in perspective! The article acknowledges that these 'groups' are hard to gain access to - >>"The scene is a very close network. Everybody knows everybody else but they haven't met them," said Bruce Forest, a Norwalk, Conn., digital media consultant who says he belonged to the scene for years and now advises entertainment companies. "It can take years until you can get access." will loose their jobs and not get paid b/c you are stealing their income" is ridiculous. In an industry that produces a product that can generate $100 million in a matter days - not to mention the amount of money that is generated over the entire run of the film + additional revenue to movie rentals + 'over seas' releases is hardly in jeopardy b/c a hand full of nerds download a few films.

    Look at the numbers: s

    Keep in mind these number are just for domestic lease - only in the United States and do not reflect global sales or rentals.

    #1 is Titanic - $600,799,824 in domestic sales. Breath taking - now lets say 1000 people download the movie and 'stole' $8 ea. From the studio... the studio 'lost' $8000... that's .00001% of total revenue. To put that in perspective, to put that number in dollars and cents... for every ONE MILLION dollars gained the studio lost 10 CENTS!

    Now lets say the article is wrong and these groups are rampant and it's easy to get ahold of these pirated movies and 100,000 people download them (I'm being very generous here)... so now the studio looses $800,000... that's still .0013% of total revenue or $13 dollars for every ONE MILLION dollars gained.

    Granted Titanic was the #1 movie - look at #100 on the list - you can do the math at home... the number are still unreal...

    To further my point in 1999 Michael Eisner was paid $589 MILLION dollars for his annual salary. If the poor set designer is worried about loosing his/her job to internet privacy, maybe they should stop looking online and start looking at the real pirate.

    This is nothing more than greed - who is stealing from who here?

    Don't even get me started on the RIAA...
    • The point of the article isn't (or shouldn't be, since it's really badly written) that the existing "secret" communities harm the movie makers because they provide a place where to download movies. The point is that they capture the movies before they even get to the theaters, and that they are the starting point for sharing movies (eventually they will reach DC++, Kazaa, Emule and Bittorrent networks/servers)...

      You aren't being generous by presenting 100,000 people downloading a movie. You're being naive.
    • Movies, maybe. There is a far greater impact for other areas. The number of pirated copies of Doom 3 was several tens of thousands before the game even came out [] (as in, it's certainly higher by now). The game has sold between 1 and 2 million copies based on this report which came soon after release []. So I'd guess it's around 5% pirated, plus or minus a bit.

      Would you mind if I stole $300 from you? That's probably about the same percent of your salary.
    • I agree with you, but I also have another perspective.

      The whole bulk of piracy done in here is not DVD bootlegs, or even ripped online stuff. It's cheap VCD's recoded versions of the movies, available for $5. Some are even recorded at the theaters (you can see the shadows of people walking).

      Frankly, how many people download ripped & divx-encoded versions of a movie, if they can just purchase the thing (either legally or illegally) and put it on their DVD or VCD player? (cheap chinese VCD players are sold at local markets, too - and I DONT mean supermarkets, but common cheap markets with low-profile merchants).

      Taking into account that nerds who spent hours in front of the monitor, are a minority of the global population, the MPAA shouldn't worry about online distribution of the movies. The "complete DVD ISO" downloads usually take _HOURS_ to download. Who will download 4.5 or even 8 gigs of a ripped DVD? come on! IMHO it's much more convenient to go to the store and purchase the thing. I can purchase Shrek 2 at my local walmart for $21.95, and a VCD rip for $5.00 with the merchants near the subway.

      (A very different thing is legally purchasing anime episodes with prohibitive prices, specially if you don't live in the US).

      Maybe what the MPAA fears is that the next generation of DVD players will be DivX enabled. But I bet it won't be until 5 years when these babies get mass marketed, and only THEN common people will start downloading divx rips of their favorite movies.

      So, if purchasing the actual DVD from a local retailer (or a copy from a black market merchant) is much easier than movie piracy, what the heck are the MPAA complaining about? Are online groups REALLY the ones they should be going after?

      Now *THAT* (blaming income loss on online piracy) is what I call a "load of bullshit".
      • A few years ago, I saw a movie in the theatre and loved it. Sadly, nobody else did, and it was gone before I could go back and see it again. Yes, I was willing to pay $9.00 TWICE to see the movie. Since it was gone from theatres, and not yet available on DVD, I searched the P2P networks. I found a crappy cam rip, people talking, getting up a few rows ahead of the cam, bad sound, washed out colour, etc. but it was all I could have, so I took it. I bought the DVD on the release day (and paid too much for
    • "This is nothing more than greed - who is stealing from who here?"

      I find it interesting when advocates of getting movies or otherwise unauthorized material via P2P state that somebody else's greed is the root cause.

      You have some interesting observations but I'm not sure what your overall point is. Is it that people and companies who make more than a certain amount of money shouldn't be worried so much about losses?

      • We (the downloaders) are not greedy. We don't want to get too much of anything and we don't mind others having whatever they want. We are the opposite of greedy and the fact that we also don't want to pay for movies doesn't prove anything.

        Our point is that we are under no responsibility to support movie companies. They are not our kids, they are not our parents, they are not war veterans. They are corporations and deserve neither our love, nor our pity.

        The movies are still going to be made, because the mo
  • drugs != files (Score:2, Insightful)

    by max born ( 739948 )
    There are a lot of similarities with the drug war ...

    Except illegal drug distribution is linear, file sharing is exponential. Big difference.
    • Except illegal drug distribution is linear, file sharing is exponential. Big difference.

      The distribution of drugs for money is the problem whereas in file sharing it's the distribution of files for no money that is the problem.

  • by Quiberon ( 633716 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:11AM (#11244346) Journal
    Different from drugs. Drugs can kill people; it is unwise to take them except on advice from a qualified doctor. Supplying drugs (except on proof of such advice) is a criminal act, I want my tax dollars used to stop it.

    Copying files may be legal sometimes; maybe the guy has permission ,maybe the file represents something more than 80 years old, maybe it's some other kind of 'fair use', maybe it's a file produced by the US Government, etc. Matter of opinion, for a judge to check every time. It is a civil problem; I don't want my tax dollars used to stop it, and I don't want my prisons filled up by someone on the wrong side of this law.

    Copying files and then taking money off someone under the false pretence that there is permission is a crime, though, becuase of the 'money' side, and also if intimidation happens along the way. Also might become a tax crime later, if the 'money' is not declared.

    Use my tax dollars to stop the money-changing-hands fraud, the intimidation-if-it-happens, and the tax-evasion-if-it-happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Whoever wrote this technically inaccurate and morally juvenile article was surely interested in creating hysteria over nothing. For starters, IRC was not a precursor to USENET.

    Referring to file traders as "gangs" and thereby evoking the aversion to violence in one's own neighborhood, is unwarrantedly hysterical when applied to people using computers and watching movies.

    The sad part is, Hollywood's surrogates such as this article's author will likely succeed in creating this kind of unwarranted hysteria.
    • Agreed. Now, let's talk about *real* theft - let's look at how much is taken from society as a whole by the incessant extensions of copyright terms, and the now-accepted Congressional opinion that copyright holders and their heirs should profit from their creations in perpetuity instead of returning them to their legal owner, society in general. The ??AA members have managed to buy themselves legislation that flies directly in the face of the design of the copyright system as defined in the Constitution,
  • by asliarun ( 636603 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:29AM (#11244484)
    Interestingly, the entire modus operandi cited in the Wired article falls apart in the case of BitTorrent. The article admits the same thing too. However, the article claims that:-

    "Without this duplication and distribution structure providing content, the P2P networks would run dry. (BitTorrent, a faster and more efficient type of P2P file-sharing, is an exception. But at present there are far fewer BitTorrent users.)"

    Huh? When was this article written? In Jan 2005, when this article was posted, they don't consider BitTorrent a major P2P player?
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @11:34AM (#11244536)
    Members of these so-called ripping groups, also known as warez groups, have created a community referred to as "the scene." It exists primarily on the Internet's back alleys -- private Internet Relay Chat, or IRC

    "There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."
    I'm not sure wheather to laugh or cry. Remember kids, dont copy that floppy.
  • The back alleys of internet. PRIVATE IRC network. ITS DANGEROUS THERE!
  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @03:04PM (#11246713)
    When I was a kid in the 70s, our prime social activity was going to each others' houses and taping each others' records. When VHS took over in the 80s, everyone shared movies this way too. Nothing has changed.

    People who could afford to buy new did so to avoid the hassle, and they do now too. Most grown ups with jobs and other responisbilities don't have the time or inclination to fuck around on Kazaa. It's easier and cheaper to just buy or rent a DVD. Also notice how the $20 CDs sit for months, while the ones in the $7 rack sell like crazy. The problem with first-run music is that it's too aggressively priced.

    Copying is mostly done by people who were never going to be customers in the first place, because they don't have the money. But copying reinforces their interest as fans, which the media corps will profit from eventually. A pirated CD today leads to a future concert ticket sale, etc. Even the media corps' own marketing people know this.
  • Movie Copying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slippingagain ( 845996 ) on Monday January 03, 2005 @06:58PM (#11249132) Homepage
    Much to the embarassment of Hollywood, I watched "The Incredibles" on a pirate DVD over Xmas. My kids loved it (so thanks to those involved for that pleasure). The source of this?

    Online piracy?

    Peer to Peer file sharing networks?
    None of these.
    It was a first generation copy from a DVD master at an official movie distributor. Made by a permanent employee, with no payments, etc. I am told he/she was just "doing a favour". Lord knows how many copies were made! We just borrowed the disk, and gave it back.

    If Hollywood cannot get their own houses in order, then I really do not see how they can reasonably point the finger at anyone else. Personally, I would not stop at Hollywood, but would include the RIAA also.

    For what it is worth, I will now buy a copy (when it is officialy released), since the kids (and I) thought it was so good :-)

  • by pgnas ( 749325 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2005 @12:13AM (#11251219) Journal
    These continual discussions posted under "your rights online" need to be moved to a new topic of their own. I mean, what does this have to do with rights? since when does infringing upon someone elses product become a right? Since when has freely ditributing someone elses product without their permission or become a right?

    I suspect that this term right is being used/misused very loosly, see Websters' definition:

    " something to which one has a just claim: as a : the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled b (1) : the interest that one has in a piece of "

    I don't see how walking into a movie theatre, paying the money to view the movie, recording the movie, and distributing it to all who want to participate in thievery to download it constitute any type of right. Right?

    "something to which one has a just claim"

    Please explain how anyone other than the people directly involved in the production of a movie apply to the above? Is it because they paid the $8-$10 to see the movie?

    I tell you what, if I spent $50M to make a movie and some schmuck with a $500 CamCorder and a broadband Internet connection was caught up in a frenzy of unauthorized movie distribution with a group of his cyber-buddies, I would exercise every power I could to take that group down. Let's face it, computing power is increasing by leaps and bounds, bandwidth is on the upswing as well, eventually, if this was left around and ignored, it could become a problem.

    " the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled "

    there are way too many people with the sick beleif of entitilement, again, if you paid the price to produce the film in some way, shape or form and you have an agreement with the production company, I would say that their may be some sort of entitlement, and if you are not getting your share, then I suggest you open up the yellow pages because their are piles of lawyers out there that will get the payment you are entitled to.

    "the interest that one has in a piece of"

    You more than likely did not contribute anything in the line of creativty or monies, you have no intrest therefore you are again, not entitled

    "ok, ok, but this should be a matter if civil leagality, not for the government to step in..."

    I would suspect then that we would not be talking about rights rather than some breach of contract, or negligence.

    just pay the money, if you don't like the movie, then shrug it off, no one owes you anything ... In addition, I agree that all those fatcat movie producers are more-than-likely scum and make too much money, along with those over-paid actors/actresses. I guess if money is your problem, then either boycott the movies, or become and actor/actress or producer.

    Please though, don't hand me the line that any of this is some type of right.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin