Print 48 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Jul 8 at 10:24 AM

Despite the best efforts of the RIAA, MPAA, and others, citizens are still downloading just as much stuff.  (Source: Audio Junkies)
"You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability..."

In May, the US Copyright Group's "pay or else" suit over torrent downloads of the movie The Hurt Locker slammed over 5,000 individuals.  One might have expected that downloads of the movie might have dropped.

However, they have actually been going quite strong; the film was downloaded 200,000 times in June, with 23 percent of the downloads coming from the U.S.  Some observers believe that the movie's producers may actually be content with the illegal downloads.  Despite losing millions of copies in sales, its likely still logging IP addresses and will be able to recoup millions in threat payouts.  For that reason, the film's producers have made no effort to remove the film from popular torrent sites.

Elsewhere, torrent sites 
are clearly being targeted for takedown.  Following the escape to overseas hosting in 2005 in the wake of the LokiTorrent and EliteTorrents suits, torrent hosters have offered up open defiance to anything media watchdog groups like the MPAA and RIAA can throw at them.

However, torrent downloads are actually continuing to increase, with the efforts against them seemingly having little effect, either on the downloads or the sites that host them.

The Pirate Bay, perhaps the best known site, is still very much in action and, according to some sources, turning a small profit.  Threats, police raids, civil actions, ISP-ordered takedowns, and even sentencing the Swedish admins that ran the site to jail time ultimately has offered no relief to the media industry.  The site still is up and running complete with copyrighted material.

Similarly, market-leading Usenet indexer 
Newzbin – after its recent defeat in Netherlands court over free-speech regarding piracy – is right back in the gray.  After a brief takedown, the site has returned to the same URL, with dozens of movie listings being added daily.  The site's admins, who have invested over $40,000 USD in the site, even brazenly boasted about plans to profit off of it.

That kind of sentiment seen by 
The Pirate Bay and Newzbin increasingly seems the sentiment in the pirate community.  And the public seems to be becoming increasingly brazen in their piracy as well.

Frustrated media watchdog groups are generally turning to two solutions.  Either to craft mass threat schemes like 
The Hurt Locker's or spend money lobbying the government for harsher punishments.  Both solutions are problematic for the industry groups.  The problem with settlement schemes is that law firms demand a big cut (in The Hurt Locker case, reportedly 70 percent of the settlements).  And the legislative effort is no better as it risk mass public outrage, if efforts such as the jailing of filesharers or repeal of free speech about piracy are passed.

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The best possible outcome for all...
By Motoman on 7/6/2010 12:32:20 PM , Rating: 5
...would be realized by:

1. Banning DRM. It's 100% ineffective against piracy, and punishes legitimate consumers. Showing them that piracy is the better option.

2. Acknowledging that there will always be piracy, period. All you can do is to make sure would-be legitimate buyers have no reason to prefer piracy. Such as DRM.

3. Acknowledging that there is no such thing as "lost sales" due to piracy, outside of would-be legitimate buyers driven there by DRM. For all intents and purposes, there is no potential sale to be made to pirates in the first place - if they can't have it illegally for free, they simply won't have it. Any and all claims of "lost sales" due to piracy are lies.

4. After canning DRM, demonstrate good faith with customers by decreasing the sale price of music/movies/software/whatever by an amount commensurate with the money that isn't wasted on DRM technology. DRM is nothing but a waste of money for the producer, since it is an unassailable fact that it fails 100% of the time - and because producers are wasting money on that futile technology, the price to the consumer has gone up. Bring it back down.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Aloonatic on 7/6/2010 12:41:30 PM , Rating: 5
Can I tack on the removal of all the annoying warning messages about piracy and what-not, that you only get on non pirated films?

I just want to watch the film. That's what I am paying for, aren't I?

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Mitch101 on 7/6/2010 1:39:10 PM , Rating: 5
Especially Disney movies. Its especially annoying when the DVD gets older and then it keeps saying coming soon from Disney dvd and home video while your trying to drive your vehicle and the kids are in the back screaming when you just want the movie to play.

No Movie preview in a DVD has ever gotten me to buy that movie.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Solandri on 7/6/2010 2:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Um, you know you can rip a Disney DVD and burn it onto a new DVD without the forced previews? The tools to do so are technically illegal in the U.S., but widely available on the Internet. It's a good idea to do this anyway, and lock up the original DVD in a cabinet somewhere. That way if your kids destroy the "Toy Story" DVD, you can just burn a new copy.

Disney is actually the only movie company I know which will replace broken DVDs for a minor shipping and handling fee. But why bother with that when you can make your own backups and be up and running again in an hour?

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Redwin on 7/6/2010 5:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
They lock out all the your menu options and force you to sit through 5 minutes of commercials on a movie you just (over)payed for.

Saying it's ok for them to do that because you can (illegally) re-rip the purchased DVD is sort of like saying we don't need to reform drug laws because it easy to buy pot anyway.

It doesn't really address the issue at hand, which is the stupidity of the "official" system.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Cypherdude1 on 7/7/10, Rating: -1
By MikeO on 7/7/2010 3:12:03 AM , Rating: 5
You never know the quality until your done downloading and it could contain a virus.

I hope you're kidding.

By jeff834 on 7/7/2010 5:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
Spoken like someone who has probably never used bit torrent let alone a private tracker. I am a fan of red box and netflix. Sometimes movie downloads are more about convenience than anything else. It's pretty hard to beat nearly instant movies, new releases and old, without having to worry about having the time to go out and get them or bringing them back. Frankly if you could watch any movie ever made at any time instant streaming for $1 per that would end about 90% of piracy. But that would be too much to ask for and frankly that makes it a lot harder to make $50 million suing people.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By bill4 on 7/7/10, Rating: -1
By smut on 7/8/2010 3:20:47 AM , Rating: 1
Uhh what? Hilarious that people will use any excuse they can to bash liberals or Obama.

By rudy on 7/6/2010 5:16:04 PM , Rating: 4
Plus forced ads for other movies before the product on regular media.

I agree with you what the heck do I pay for?

By FaceMaster on 7/6/2010 8:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
Can I tack on the removal of all the annoying warning messages about piracy and what-not, that you only get on non pirated films?

You can get rid of them by pirating the film.

By Iaiken on 7/6/2010 1:14:30 PM , Rating: 4
That will never happen because it actually makes sense and it's not in line with the RIAA/MPAA/governments zero tolerance policies on piracy.

The RIAA/MPAA won't be happy until:

- We pay for each and every second that we use a piece of media
- The government prosecutes every single pirate for every single copy
- The government pays them restitution from those so prosecuted

The way things currently are just makes NO sense whatsoever.

Hypothetically, if 10,000 download a copy of a movie, they can each be held accountable for all of the 10,000 pirated copies. How the does it make sense for the MPAA/RIAA to be entitled to damages for 100,000,000 copies? Where did these other 99,990,000 copies come from? Such rulings have no bearing outside the trumped up lalaland that these legal quacks live in.

How about copyright rulings that are actually grounded in reality and not supposition? Is that too much to ask?

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Etsp on 7/6/2010 1:16:22 PM , Rating: 5
I hope you mean "stop using DRM" when you said "ban DRM" because the two are not the same. The latter involves the government.
Acknowledging that there is no such thing as "lost sales" due to piracy, outside of would-be legitimate buyers driven there by DRM.
When making an argument, beware absolutes. While it's true that the "lost sales" numbers are grossly overstated, and cannot be accurately calculated, the fact is not all pirates fit into a category that is convenient to your argument. Some pirates WOULD buy a CD or movie if they cannot download it for free. Just as some pirates would not.

What percentage of pirates belong in which category? I don't know, that depends on too many variables to accurately study.

Again, the media industries are misrepresenting the amount of "lost sales" due to piracy (by at least an order of magnitude), but that does not mean that there are no lost sales as a result.

Piracy is a red herring that the industry is using to reassure shareholders that it isn't the executives fault that the business isn't doing so well, however that does not mean it is not a factor in the issues they are having.

By Motoman on 7/6/2010 1:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
1. I do mean ban. As in make it illegal. As it already infringes on Fair Use laws.

2. I accept that there will be *some* pirates who would instead buy the product if it wasn't on a torrent. However, at best, I assert that this would be a rounding error on any producer's financial statements.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By Aikouka on 7/6/2010 1:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't mind also seeing some relatively fair (and also smart) MSRPs on products. I don't understand why Blu-Ray versions of movies are typically so much more expensive than the DVDs. BRs typically retail for $25-30 and DVDs for $15-20... other than the higher cost of the optical medium and the time spent to make the completely worthless BDJava menus, what's driving the large cost increase?

With some releases you tend to see relatively decent prices. I believe when Avatar was released, it was only $18 for the BR and $14 for the DVD, which seems a lot closer to what it should be.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By The Raven on 7/6/2010 1:52:35 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I don't see why Blurays aren't the same price as the older mediums since (for example Star Wars) everyone bought the older medium and then they have to buy the film again. Hell how about a 'trade in' law that forces record/film companies to recycle this stuff? We can return the cassettes and dvds and they can give us CDs and Blurays for a fair price.

RE: The best possible outcome for all...
By roadhog1974 on 7/6/2010 11:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
There are a few reasons as to why blu ray are more expensive than dvd.

There are typically three costs invloved,
one is the ability to produce a single Blu Ray disc
requires investment,
the second is the cost to produce the content on the disc,
the third is the cost to burn a disc.

Currently dvds sell a lot more and have sold a lot more
over their history so the cost 1 has been largely paid
off this is not the case for blu ray so the cost per disc
is higher.

for the second often there is more content on the blu ray
or the content has had to have been remasterd say for 7.1
sound as opposed to 5.1 sound, again that cost must
be distributed over fewer discs.

third a blu ray disc is more expensive full stop.

I would expect all those extra costs to tend to zero
as blu ray becomes the default.

From the non cost reason Blu ray has a reputation for
better quality so it can charge more, even if it is
exactly the same.

So blu ray discs might always be more expensive on average,
but in a couple of years you will start to see some discs
where the DVD and Blu ray cost the same, or about $1-2
different rather than the $10 now.

Currently DVD's cost me between 1/2 and 1/4 quarter what
they used to cost i would expect the same to happen
to blu ray's.


By The Raven on 7/8/2010 10:24:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I hear you. But what I was saying is that there is no reduction in price for...
the second is the cost to produce the content on the disc

Yes it costs money to remaster a film or upgrade the technology (a la THX specs, etc.) but does it cost just as much as it does to produce the film itself? Hell no. It is a fraction of the cost. I called George Lucas out specifically because of (for example) his refusal to release the trilogy in anamorphic WS. The tech was there, he knew about it. But he knew that he would be able to rape the millions of die hards that up and bought every release thinking that it was the best way to see their favorite film. Well I bought it (eventhough he bastardized it with Haden Christensen's Ghost, etc.) not caring that it was not the greatest quality, as the story of Star Wars is not just a bunch of flash IMO. I just wanted a digital copy of the movies that I could rip and take wherever I wanted.

The other people I have it out for are those Disney people and their damn vault!

But I digress. If the studios gave us the opportunity to trade in the copies of the films that we had previously bought and then only charged us for the manufacturing costs that you mentioned, then upgrading wouldn't be so bad.

And I disagree with your premise about a Bluray price drop anymore than it has already. The cost to produce them is miniscule and what you pay for at the store is mostly for the IP and/or inventory because of the big box they come in.

I mean how do you thenk AOL gave all those CDs out for free? They cost practically nothing to produce.

Besides, those money grubbers at the MPAA will always charge what they can get away with and not the fair market value.

By Fracture on 7/6/2010 2:01:44 PM , Rating: 4
Remember the days before recordable media when movies had to rely on ticket sales? Really killed the industry, didn't it...

Here we are more than half a century later and we're rearguing the same issue as when the VHS was released - pirating (aka building a fanbase) does not kill sales, it grows them.

By gorehound on 7/6/2010 1:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
I might add that we need to remove the RIAA & MPAA & their stooges then all of us artists will serve you great music and films with no DRM and no big content BS.

By HoosierEngineer5 on 7/6/2010 5:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, I am sure many sales are lost due to DRM. The fact that
1) If the DRM doesn't work (the program never launches), you can spend HOURS with the software company trying to help them get their DRM working. It's just not worth it.
2) If the DRM does work, and causes the game to stop, same problem.
3) It's rarely stated on the package in readable font what the licensing limitations are.
4) It's practically impossible to return DRM laden software at some retailers.

I have NO PROBLEM blowing $60 on a good game that entertains me for hours on end. In years past, I have done it dozens of times. But, if I think it will cause me to have problems using the software I paid for on any of my machines, I avoid it like the plague. It does save me lots of money re-playing old games rather than buying new. Why the software writers believe that this is a good idea is completely beyond me.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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