Somebody tell the police
that torrent sites don't have the movie on their hard disks or in their monitors.
Torrent site IsoHunt.to claims to have copied The Pirate Bay's database and has recreated a version of the site at oldpiratebay.org/. Isohunt's operators claim they've “copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users.” Here's the rest of their proclamation. Isohunt's Pirate Bay manifesto …
I can imagine a lot of Coppers are probably torrent users and understand how it works, just like a lot of regular people do. The problem is they get told to kick the door at XYZ address and arrest everyone, 'cos the court order tells them to.
The stupidity of all this "whack-a-mole" is that everyone from the studio lawyers right down to the copper holding the battering ram and a copy of the warrant, all know it's pointless. They have to be seen to be doing the "right thing", even though the "right thing" is an utter load of pointless nonsense that just makes everyone feel better that they're doing their jobs properly.
Civilized society needs to be doing a lot of the "right thing" in order to give people work to do, so they can earn a wage and pay their taxes. If you sit and think for just 5 minutes there are so many jobs out there that could be easily replaced or done away with, but as humans we need to ensure we're all doing something even if it's pointless!
You wouldn't believe the number of people that have told me 'but it's up see CR or EE or <other TLD>, even on the TF pieces in question which specifically state the opposite.
Doesn't help when most 'news orgs' don't bother to do any kind of checking and mislead people.
And even the isohunt.to (NOT affiliated at all with Gary Fung or the old ISOhunt site) version has amusing screwups, like the audio of my annual panel discussions on law, technology, and the internet (this year we had the EFF as lead guests, last year Chris Soghoian of the ACLU, and in 2012, Bruce Schneier), which are classified as 'adult'. (The only panels we don't record are the adult ones). No real danger of the torrents dying though, they're all on Mininova as well (yes, it still exists)
This past week of ultracrepidarianism about torrent sites has just about driven me crazy though.
Andrew "K`Tetch" Norton
Torrentfreak community manager
That's fine as long as you understand the torrents on .cr in many cases weren't uploaded by who they claim to be uploaded by. It's a completely separate site, run by an unknown party. If the torrents are working and you're happy then great. Personally I'd rather not roll the dice and download a file of unknown origin from an unknown party via a torrent linked from an unknown site pretending to the most popular site on the internet. just my $0.02
EZTV has been up for a few days, too. Via the proxies, at least. All hail the conquering zeros.
*shrug* Of course, in order to combat piracy the folks who create content could offer a service that offers downloadable, transferable files in high quality, with a very simple and easy to use interface (think EZTV) at a price the average person can afford.
Hell, they can even make the files DRMed, so long as you make quality players for all OSes and offer a reasonable means of ensuring multiple devices can access the content. Little widgety bob calls home with my login information when I watch? Okey dokey. They already know what I bought because I paid for it, so I've no real issue with them knowing I'm watching it on my iPhone versus my TV.
Then if they see it used by hundreds of devices from around the world, they'll know my account details were lost and they can reset them. That will help prevent the "piracy" aspect.
Content companies could place the DRM code in escrow such that if they go out of business or decide it's no longer a viable business to be doing the content thing the DRM code is released and everyone can crack open their media and be able to play it once the DRM servers are offline.
There are reasonable paths forward that provide the level of service that 90%+ of the population want while providing a viable revenue stream to the rightsholders. (For a great many reasons, I don't consider streaming to be viable at all. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I am most interested in videos/TV when I am in places where internet access is crap.)
Piracy can't be eliminated. There will always be some % of the population that engages in it. Why not just accept this and work to massively minimize it by providing people what they want at a price they're willing to pay?
All your content in one place. Pay the fee, "own" your copy, watch it on all your devices. The minimum of restrictions required to make it work, but enough control to prevent the most obvious piracy.
So...what's the real issue? Why the hell is this something that can't happen?
Every big of academic work on this that I've seen says that if they just provided what people wanted, they'd change reduce piracy from 40% to 10%. So...they can have 90% of people pay an reasonable amount and consume large quantities of content, or have around 60% of people pay an unreasonable amount and consume small quantities of content.
Again, going back to the studies on this, the option where people pay a less, consume more and 30% fewer pirate results in significantly more revenue than the option where they rape 60% of people for everything they can get and ultimately end up with those people buying less and less mainstream content.
It seems to me that if they're greedy they should choose the option that makes them more money. Otherwise they risk the rise of independent media turning from just something hipsters engage in into "the norm". If that happens, big content's right fucked.
Big content IS already right fucked. People are running away in droves to more shady alternatives, never to look back.
And why is it that I have to either A. Watch shitty dutch redubs or badly captioned versions months after the original air date on dutch TV, B. Wait months (sometimes over a year) for a season DVD to finally be made available or C. Pirate it, wait 30 minutes for my episode to download, and enjoy...
Legally, A or B are the only options. Unfortunately they are also often the worst of the options.
Its just mindnumbingly dumb that it takes so long for DVDs to become available for instance. They should be ready to go the minute the final episode is aired (I can understand waiting for the season finale to bring out the DVD to draw more viewers on the TV. After that though, get on that!)
Or even that videos that are freely available in one country are not in another. What difference does it make if I watch it online or on TV? Build a good player and I'd PAY to watch a high quality version on your website. (So long as its allowed to buffer decently, and not just 5 seconds ahead. Looking at you current youtube player) Instead, if this option is available at all its in the framerate of a potato with the resolution of a brick. Technically it's video...
but are they taking into account the peeps who use torrent/usenet etc to get stuff that isnt available on any of the normal channels, old deleted stuff for example. Do they look at the figures and say, 10 million people accessed TPB last month, thats 10 million pirates! Unaware that there are perfectley valid reasons for torrents...
The real problem remains tho: Region locking. Remove that and you'll see your sales go up.
It's more than just region locking – it's the attempt to maximise profits by selling licences to different countries at different prices. I have a copy of Wag The Dog that forces me to watch it with German subtitles if I watch it in English! This is anti-competitive and precisely the kind of limitation that the internet is designed to work around. Long-term it's bound to fail but companies chasing quarterly profits and don't care about the long-term.
It will be interesting to see if the EU does follow up on threats to break down national borders for content. It'll be a hard fight if they do but it's such a glaring breach of the rules over the trade of products and services within the single market.
Region locking is only 50% of the issue, manufacturers need to realise they can't block grey-imports and cherry pick prices, if they want to play in the global market them they need to allow prices to be set by the same market.
At the moment suppliers who import from other markets are often targeted by the manufacturers, this often results in either the supplier being sued or having sactions where the manufacturer refuses to sell products to them.
"The real problem remains tho: Region locking. Remove that and you'll see your sales go up."
It's region locking that stopped me from getting into gaming. The only games I found interesting and possibly fun were ones for sale only in Asia outside the US market. I guess I just don't think like the game companies say I'm supposed to. Their loss. I found other interests.
Providing competitive services would be a nice start, but no more than that. Just to be crystal clear, I'll put this right here up front: as far as I'm concerned, any shred of DRM, any at all is entirely unacceptable. I also have a few choice words concerning any attempts to limit free sharing of things with zero multiplication cost, but that's a battle for a another day (possibly another century) and most definitely a different audience.
"any shred of DRM, any at all is entirely unacceptable. I also have a few choice words concerning any attempts to limit free sharing of things with zero multiplication cost, but that's a battle for a another day"
Which leaves no money for creators. An indie band could eek out a living by going form pub to pub. But you sure as hell won't get Guardians of the Galaxy if everyone can just take their non-DRMed copy and share it with the whole planet.
If we want top tier entertainment we need to make compromises. I think that the entertainment industry have to make compromises too, if they want us to buy their stuff.
But the compromise must end with consumers paying for the content they consume. And the only reasonable and rational means to do this so far is DRM. Of course, DRM wouldn't be so hated if it weren't such a pain in the ass. And it's a pain in the ass mostly because it is trying to enforce insane rules about what can be copied when and where.
So if we get the entertainment industry to relax their rules I think we can relax our "no DRM, ever" policies and meet in the middle: just enough DRM to prevent widespread piracy, but not enough to impact the enjoyment of the works. In exchange, we pay for the works we consume...and the media empires let us "keep" the copes we now "own".
That's a fair deal. That is a sustainable deal. The extremes of the arguments are not. Copyright minimalists will cause - are causing - a massive backlash. Copyright abolitionists don't leave a realistic economy for creative works. So we compromise. That's what rational adults do when the extremes are non-viable.
I would be willing to compromise on the issue of DRM. One thing I am not willing to compromise on is the junk inserted before the movie even plays. If I insert my Blu-Ray that I legally purchased, very rarely does it go straight to the movie or straight to a menu. Often you get an unskippable promo of the studio as if the movie does not have it when you press play, then "coming soon to a theater near you", then the unskippable anti-piracy warning which tells me piracy is wrong, sometimes even more junk, then the menu. And when you finally press play, you have to wait through a legal disclaimer "the opinions in the commentary are their own" before finally the movie starts. If I pirate, I just push play.
I wish I could make a law that says a disc has to go straight to the main menu or straight to the movie unless it is a special disc originally sold to a movie rental company.
One to insert in your New Year decisions:
I hereby vow that in any contact with MPAA, RIAA and associated industries, I will insert a 10 minute starting segment in any meeting dedicated to me talking about all my other achievement, followed by a citation of the relevant copyright law paragraphs and sections and state that none of what I say is to be distributed without my authorisation, followed by a hotline where whistleblowers can contact you if copies are detected elsewhere, gaining 25% of any gains so recovered.
I think it's only fair to balance out the respective time waste, no? I have forcibly sat through this so many times with a PAID FOR DVD that it pisses me off even to think of it.
Then follow with your presentation.
Yes, I compromise DRM every time I buy a disk, shove it in the machine and a certain... foxy bit of software unlocks it for me. No pointless copyright warnings, no "COMING SOON", no "you wouldn't steal a car", and definitely no "this disk is not playable in this region". Half an hour of crunching and it's on the HDD, the optical media to be shoved in a cupboard and forgotten about until it's needed again.
It's wonderful. Oh, totally legal too, unless you're in one of those funny countries that considers "DRM circumvention" to be illegal. Strangely enough, I have yet to turn into a shady market-stall distributor of unauthorised copies. Funny how that works.
But you sure as hell won't get Guardians of the Galaxy if everyone can just take their non-DRMed copy and share it with the whole planet.
Is that a promise? ;-)
DRM is expensive to develop and enforce and, as many examples have shown, pretty easy to break; most notably in large markets like Russia and China where it's largely unenforceable anyway. Result is that we have to pay not just for content but for lawyers and developers. I suspect DRM will be kept around as a fig leaf for another couple of years (it's already largely disappeared from music).
Yes, I honestly believe DRM does a lot to prevent piracy. Will it prevent the techno-weenies and the dedicated types? No. But it does prevent casual piracy. Ultimately, that's all that's needed. To raise the barrier to piracy beyond simply copying the file over to your buddy's iPad or USB drive. All it takes is making it that little bit more inconvenient than buying the thing legitimately and most people won't pirate.
As for the 10% of dedicated pirates that will never be stopped? Meh, cost of doing business.
This is an area I've studied for a while, and I don't mean 'poked around on Google for the last few months in my spare time'.
At the time Napster came out, I was working for my uncle's record company in the Greater London area, as a copyright enforcer (part time, basically keeping my ears open for his songs at places and making sure the likes of PRS were crediting his songs, as well as looking for performers selling their own versions out of a bag), and so I remember trying to push him towards MP3's. He resisted, didn't 'get' why anyone would be interested, especially because of the lower sound quality. He 'got' technology (he was also big into Steel, used to supply Toyota with much of their steel in the 80s) but didn't see it as anything but a fad. His contemporaries, however, tended to have a bigger problem. Control.
As a small label, he was 'left out' of much of the stuff. He was never told which stores would count for chart sales that week for instance, and he'd get last-minute notice of 'music industry' events, which meant he never had the ability to even change things in the industry, because it was always a fait accompli.
The music industry is, and has been for many decades, about 'control'. from the 50s on, music bosses understood that they could shape the population through music, make trends, break them, even spawn movements. It's hard to relinquish that sort of control. It becomes somewhat of a god complex. So when you see yourself as 'masters of culture', it's incredibly hard to disabuse yourself of that, and recognise that your time has passed, and you're now just selling a digital commodity, and your overall place isn't what it was. They're also afraid that any kind of acknowledgement of that, will devalue their prestige in the eyes of others, even though record bosses aren't the mythical creatures of wonder they believe themselves to be, and haven't been considered such for decades.
Happens somewhat in TV and movies now as well. A year or two later I was working on a TV show in the US for a Viacom channel. I was the only non-US crew member (based in Liverpool) and since it was a competition, part of my role was to sell it to people in the UK to get them to take part. I worked for the competition, which was televised by the channel, produced by a 3rd party production company. The issues I had just getting clearances to play episodes of the show to interested gatherings was incredible, because I wasn't a Viacom employee, and so was not under THEIR control, despite my only purpose being to promote the show and make the next season even better.
And it's not that uncommon a story in general. When the 08 recession happened and a lot of well-to-do middle class people lost their jobs, many people carried on as before, trying to keep up the veneer, and project an aura of 'no change', eating through their savings, and then loading themselves up in debt, just so people won't think times have changed and everything's all good.
But as anyone in a stormy area knows, trees die and rot from the inside out, and look strong and healthy until they're blown over, causing massive damage, because they rot from the inside out. We have no 'tree surgeons' to clear out the dead wood in the content market however.
NO, no and thrice no.
Disclaimer - I've never been to Pirate Bay nor am I interested in doing so.
However - the thought of letting the PURVEYORS of the copyrighted tat - ie the studios - having their closed source rootkit on my machine..... REMEMBER SONY!!!
Sorry lads - for some strange reason I DO NOT TRUST you - Or maybe I trust you only too well.
I'll just have to do without your tat. There are more rewarding things in life to do. Like watching meat rot.
"Hell, they can even make the files DRMed, so long as you make quality players for all OSes and offer a reasonable means of ensuring multiple devices can access the content"
Cue the sudden proliferation of DRMd player because the various studios can't agree (I'm looking at you, Netlfix). More importantly, I suddenly have to use one of THEIR players instead of (say) MediaPlayerClassic or my favourite open-source HTPC application. And on top of that you're happy with the apps phoning home?
I purchased a licence to watch the media. Frankly, how and when I watch it is none of their damn business.
There's a reason I rip my DVDs/BluRays rather than use their idiotic UltraViolet download service that comes with them.
Trevor, do you really think that if there was no DRM, the media would be pirated so much as to be non-commercially viable?
As you know, anyone more serious than the 'make a copy for my mate' crowd can break the DRM already.
Whilst the more casual users tend to spend the same amount anyway, only having a finite amount of money.
"Home-taping isn't killing Music"
"Trevor, do you really think that if there was no DRM, the media would be pirated so much as to be non-commercially viable?"
Actually, yes, I do. The short answer is cost. Movies - and especially TV shows - cost a lot more than music. More to the point, they cost a lot more to make. Believe it or not, "not commercially viable" doesn't take a huge jump in piracy rates to be achieved, and right now TV shows are by far the most heavily pirated copywritten material out there.
Remember how TV shows make money. It's not by you paying for them. It's through advertising. If everyone walks away from the ads, then they don't make money. If they don't have ads to rely on, they have to charge quite a bit per episode to make it viable. If half the population pirate, they have to double what they need to charge, which leads to more pirating...
The easier you make it to pirate, the more socially acceptable it becomes. The commercial viability of copywritten works relies entirely on piracy not being socially acceptable by enough people that they choose to purchase the material.
We all know that everything will always be available on pirate sites. The point is to make it easier to purchase than to pirate and to make piracy not a socially acceptable phenomenon. Otherwise, there simply won't be anything left to pirate.
Remember, "commercially viable" means something different to a businessman than a pirate. A pirate assumes that something is commercially viable if you can make $1 profit on it. The businessman only sees a venture as commercially viable if he can reasonably expect a better return on his investment by investing in this creative work than he could investing that same money in some other avenue. (Say Apple stock.)
People who make create works rarely have the money to self-fund. Certainly AAA works won't be self funded. So there needs to be a business case for those people to invest if we want to continue to see the development of new content.
Any idiot can pick up a guitar and and a bongo and belt out a bunch of mediocre shit into their iPad and put it on the internet. Even shitty videos, however, are a pain in the ass to make. I know; we make them.
And you know what? At the end of the day I likes Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a good laugh. I want Firefly and Dollhouse and Battlestar Gallactica. I want Arrow and the Flash and SHIELD and Castle.
I want people not only to be able to barely make a living at this if they make Tabletop or The Guild, but I want them to have the investment to make Interstellar and The Avengers too.
I am by no means a copyright maximalist. I believe strongly in limiting copyright to 20 years, and I am anti-DRM in virtually all circumstance. But when it comes to television shows at least, our society has not yet evolved to the point where it will be commercial viable to continue to produce them for much longer. Videos probably aren't far behind.
This isn't me "drinking the industry kool-aid" here. I'm a staunch freetard and proud of it. But I also recognize economic reality. There needs to be a compromise between the two extremes.
One of these days, enough people will have said that, like me, they would be happy to pay £10/15 a month for EZTV if it provided the exact same service it currently provides, but legitimately, that the content providers will actually take note
AFAIK, enough people already have. The problem is that changing direction would mean admitting that they were wrong trying to bend laws and run around as pretend cops pretending that single mums and kids are the greatest menace to society ever. The barrier is not financial, it's all the bullshit they poured over this simple equation that they cannot back out of without possibly even legal repercussions. Only the CIA is allowed to bend the rules without eventually paying the price.
Why do film studios still release to cinema?
Why does cinema still even exist?
You have to leave your home, travel to your cinema, find somewhere to park, pay outrageous prices and all that to sit in a hall filled with idiots making too much noise to have your ears blown off by the massively ramped up volume.
New Star Wars film? Straight release via digital streaming for 'x' quid to your home.
It would pave the way for a hole new style of content delivery and solve a lot of issues.
Why do film studios still release to cinema?
Because people like me like to just watch a movie on a massive screen with a sound system that can shake the room if it wants to, in a room free of interruptions and growls for any idiot leaving their phone on. And sometimes even in 3D.
Yeah - I pay for that (having said that, London prices are insane).
I also would not mind paying a monthly subscription fee. I travel *far* too much to hang on to DVDs, so anything that works online would suit me fine.
I live in countries where downloading movies is not illegal, but I am with Trevor that a degree of fairness is required to ensure there remains a motive to make all that fantastic stuff we enjoy. I *like* going to the movies, and I will buy the occasional DVD or have a boxed set shipped of a TV programme that isn't shown in my part of the world ("Lie to me" being a good example). But it means I have physical media typically in another place/country when I want to watch it, and it then becomes much more attractive to just draw a pirated copy..
And don't get me started on region codes, whoever dreamt that one up should have nightly visits of his private parts by pissed-off fire ants. But that's just my opinion.
It's become something of a truism that they can't ever stop sharing - that it's just a game of whack-a-mole. But there's no question that torrenting has become harder - and a bit more dangerous. It's harder finding a working torrent search site, and it's harder finding a viable torrent.
The MPAA gang probably aren't that interested in stopping every last torrent, closing off every last proxy, disabling every last TOR browser. As long as it's a bit harder than it used to be (open site, enter search term, start download), and as long as the legit channels get better (and they are, slowly), chances are that file-sharing will be one of those things we have to explain to children, that we used to do in the olden days.
"But there's no question that torrenting has become harder - and a bit more dangerous. It's harder finding a working torrent search site, and it's harder finding a viable torrent."
Only to the extend that to get to torrent sites via some ISPs you have to use one of the hundreds of proxies. Hardly a challenge with a quick Bing telling you exactly how to do that and providing lists of options. It has never been 'dangerous' for the consumer. Not for profit copyright infringement is a minor civil offense. It is also far easier to find viable torrents these days as the total number of users and seeders keeps climbing...
Back in my early days of computing and playing games, we had Shareware and Duke Nukem (thank you Todd Replogle) was one of the first, if not THE first game I purchased. I would probably not have purchased the game for my 268/12, 1MB RAM, 1MB SVGA and 85MB HDD with 640 x 480 14" Monitor if it had not been for that shareware option to play the game first on a trial basis.
Fast forward a crap load of year and my young daughter wanted to play (insert dum dum duuuum background drum sounds) .......The Sims. I obtained an illegal/pirate copy and installed it on her computer (not bad when a 7 year old has her own PC I the late 90s). She loved that game. As a result of my illegal/pirate act we spent about $280 on more Sims games and addons. If I hadn't committed that initial heinous crime of allegedly stealing a copy of The Sims then I would sure as hell have not forked out $280 for the program then Maxis would never have gotten that $280 in the first place. How many other have a similar experience?
The music industry has gone through a similar process. Many downloaded an MP3 file (remember when RIAA blamed MP3 downloaders for the demise of the music industry instead of blaming the way RIAA manipulated their shipping figures) to listen to and see if they liked it. As we all, well a great many of us know, an MP3 is a "cut down" version of an audio file and as such the audio quality when compared to the original file is fairly hollow. While RIAA was lamenting about the MP3 downloads destroying their massive profits, the actual sales of music CDs was increasing. Ergo, pirate versions were fuelling the increased sales. Like my experience with Todd Replogle's excellent game, music lovers found the songs they liked via an MP3 and then went out and purchased the high fidelity version and didn't waste their hard earned $$$ on the sounds they didn't like.
Movies are the same. I may allegedly download a 600 - 700MB movie of reasonable quality to see if I will actually like it (after all, the trailer only shows the good parts. The movie Lucy looked real good in the trailer but I thought it was a dog) and I will purchase a Blue-ray disc to play on my nice 55" widescreen LED TV. A 700MB trial version is so much easier to download than a 7 or 8GB high quality copy. This also ensures that I can watch a movie that is released in Region 1 while I wait for the Region 3, 4 or 5 version to be released.
Game of Thrones is supposedly the biggest torrent downloaded program in Australia. Why? Simple. To view it in Australia you have to purchase a $75 per month subscription from a local rip-off cable company. Funny now that Netflix is opening in Australia in March 2015 the rip-off cable company is now offering the subscription for $25.
Oh poo. My apologies for the length of this post. I kinda got carried away.
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