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From adult films to movies to games, Hollywood employees appear to love to pirate content

BitTorrent monitoring company Scaneye and content rights outlet TorrentFreak have raised some pretty awkward questions for Hollywood's top studios.

In a new report, they show that static internet protocol addresses associated with Viacom Inc.'s (VIA) Paramount Studios, Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) Warner Bros., Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s (NWS) Twentieth Century Fox, and The Walt Disney Comp. (DIS) have been actively downloading and sharing torrents.

Perhaps victims of the "bring your own device" trend, the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, are finding that their employees are file-sharers just like their counterparts in the general public.

Twentieth Century Fox reportedly shared the least content, while Warner Bros perhaps offered the most colorful list of stolen comment with their randy workforce downloading titles such as "A--holeFever - Ioana (The Summer is Magic)".  Overall a wide array of movies, video games, and TV episodes were being illegally shared.

Warner Bros
Some of Warner Bros. employees' downloads may give a new meaning to working "hard on the job". [Image Source: TorrentFreak]

The MPAA is known for its penchant for provocative statements and lawsuits.  In ads it proclaimed:

You wouldn’t steal a car
You wouldn’t steal a handbag
You wouldn’t steal a television
You wouldn’t steal a movie

Downloading pirated films is stealing,
stealing is against the law,

Well, one has to wonder whether some Hollywood folks are off stealing cars, because they certainly appear to be pirating movies.  Recall these are the same companies responsible for million dollar verdicts against working families and mass-lawsuit extortion schemes.

They're also the same ones pushing Congress to make laws to make piracy an imprisonable offense.  They and their big music allies (many of which share common ownership, e.g. Sony) filled nearly 10 percent of coffers of Senators in the last election cycle.

And while similar studies have shown Congressional offices to be active pirates themselves, the money has done a lot of talking as Congress has proposed a variety off efforts to stiffen piracy punishments and has condoned the lawsuits and legal threat campaigns by big media corporations.

Viacom lost a suit against Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube video service, when server logs showed that Viacom employees had themselves uploaded many of the infringing video clips from Viacom properties such as MTV and Comedy Central.  It was unclear whether the uploads were a direct attempt to frame Google or simple hypocrisy, but either way the "billion dollar" case was quickly scuttled in the aftermath.

Large film and music corporations have at times been accused of "pirating" independent artists' work, selling it without permission and then looking to stifle the artists' ability to collect with a convoluted royalty system.  Music companies, including Sony have paid tens of millions of dollars to settle such accusations in Canada alone.

That said, illegal distribution -- while hypocritical and harmful to artists -- is not quite as hypocritically humorous as movies studio employees directly engaging in torrent piracy.  Thus the industry -- or its employees at least -- appear to have sunk to a new low.  As the popular idiom goes, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Source: TorrentFreak

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By AmbroseAthan on 12/27/2012 10:54:25 AM , Rating: 3
People need to remember with actors that there are several thousand scraping by making nothing for every 1 who is successful (I was a theatre major and have several friends in the film industry). Its not like actors all over are making a ton of money, the majority have other day-jobs so they can live. People like Tom Cruise are lotto winners in the acting world.

And as much as people like to pick on acting as a bad profession, there are very few people who can do it well and it is not a small amount of work. Famous actors have to be in the public spotlight as long as they are famous, maintain near perfect physical form putting in hours a day at the gym, and put in huge amounts of hours studying scripts, learning dialects, training, etc. 24/7 they are on the job; it sounds simple, but can be enormously complex to do it right.

I agree that they often get paid way too much upfront though, and should be receiving more on the back-end based on how the film ends up doing. They should not be receiving 8+ figure advances.

By Xplorer4x4 on 12/27/2012 4:41:57 PM , Rating: 2
I think your 24/7 comments apply to all major athletes. Sticking with the baseball analogy, any one can swing a stick, but not everyone can do it well. These guys don't just sit at home when there not playing a game. They practice several days a week. They don't just swing a bat while at practice either. They run, they lift weights, and when they aren't playing or practising, they, and their families are in the spotlight, they have to remain professional, and they sign autographs in most cases. If you rode a bus or flew on a jet from LA to NY, would you want to get off the bus, only to have fans pester you to sign autographs? Not just one, but what about the fans lined up with 10 pictures for you to sign making it obvious they are going to throw them on ebay for a buck?

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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