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King Kong vs. Movie Pirates 485

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the movie-sets-better-than-fort-knox dept.
Caoz writes "The New York Times is running an interesting article about movie piracy with Peter Jackson providing some comments. There a couple of comments that I thought were surprising. Like an executive admitting that file sharers are not the biggest threat to Hollywood. From the article: 'There is a very dark, black cloud in this game. It's not in the hands of kids who live next door to you; it's organized groups and organized crime.' Why are they suing bitorrent users then?"
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King Kong vs. Movie Pirates

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  • by fembots (753724) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:30PM (#13442877) Homepage
    It's not in the hands of kids who live next door to you; it's organized groups and organized crime." Why are they suing bitorrent users then?"

    Haven't you realized this very dark and cloudy organized group they're referring to is the Bitorrent User Group (BUG)?

    I do have another question though - Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested?

    A Nike t-shirt is probably as easy and cheap to copy and produce as a DVD movie. Imagine law enforcement officers roaming the streets and ripping counterfeited t-shirts off materialistic girls.
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:36PM (#13442913) Homepage Journal
      "Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested?"

      They're (supposedly) going after the uploaders, not the downloaders. Unfortunately, when they go after sites like Suprnova, what they're doing is more like going after the yellow pages for having the phone numbers listed for businesses that sell fake branded products.

      It's a pity they've got their heads up their collective asses. I'd be happy to pay for on-line content if they'd provide a reasonable service. You'd think iTunes would have taught them a lesson.
      • by donscarletti (569232) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:31AM (#13443463)
        With something like bittorrent where effectively all the uploading is done by the downloaders who could they sue if not supernova?

        If you think they should be suing someone better, be careful what you wish for.

        • by SenFo (761716)
          "With something like bittorrent where effectively all the uploading is done by the downloaders who could they sue if not supernova?

          If you think they should be suing someone better, be careful what you wish for."


          I would assume that one would need to verify that the "shared files" are in fact pirated material (otherwise they'd be suing people who foolishly named a legitimate MP3 as something illegitimate). That being the case, are they not also pirating material during their download process?

          Of course
        • How about those that actually do the copyright infringement? Suprnova (without an e) only provided the tracker; they never had any material copyrighted to third parties on their server, and neither did such material ever pass through their pipes. That's why ThePirateBay still operates, for example - it's not that Sweden doesn't have laws against copyright infringement, it's just that it doesn't have laws targetting those who don't *actually* do the infringement.
        • From TFA: "Court papers say that although the employee was tracked down because another one of the films he pirated bore a watermark linking it to the theater where he worked, he also had the ability to delete watermarks from other films."

          That seems to make things sound much more devious. ..Wouldn't sufficient recompression algorithms render most watermarks void??
      • by frisket (149522) <peter AT silmaril DOT ie> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @05:12AM (#13444171) Homepage
        > It's a pity they've got their heads up their collective asses. [...] You'd think iTunes would have taught them a lesson.

        Never attribute to malice what can sufficiently be explained by incompetence.

      • downloading (Score:3, Informative)

        by falconwolf (725481)

        It's a pity they've got their heads up their collective asses. I'd be happy to pay for on-line content if they'd provide a reasonable service. You'd think iTunes would have taught them a lesson.

        I'd think they'd learned from Betamax. Movie studios were so afraid video cassettes would rob studios because people would be able to record movies yet tape sales became hugh profit makers. Seems what they are afraid of is new technology that gives movie watchers choices of what to watch when. There are some th

    • "I do have another question though - Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested?"

      They don't sue downloaders, only uploaders, so why would they arrest people wearing illegal knock-offs products? Uploaders are not consumers, they are competitors to the movie industry, just like the guy selling home-made DVDs of movies on the street corner.
    • by Vorondil28 (864578) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:38PM (#13442937) Journal
      Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested?

      Simple, Nike hasn't pushed for it, but the recording/movie industry has. However, I'd be nice if they did.

      I, for one, would like to see law enforcement officers ripping counterfeited t-shirts off of materialistic girls.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:50PM (#13443002)
      Haven't you realized this very dark and cloudy organized group they're referring to is the Bitorrent User Group (BUG)?
      Probably not what they're referring to. But in any case: if you stop the leak at the studio, you've stopped one copy. If you bring down BitTorrent, you've stopped the remaining 9,999,999 copies. That's why BitTorrent gets the attention.
      I do have another question though - Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested?
      Same principle. Do you pick them off one by one, or go for the hive? In addition it's not against the law to get ripped off, which a consumer can always claim.
      A Nike t-shirt is probably as easy and cheap to copy and produce as a DVD movie.
      Having done both screen printing and DVD burning, I heartily disagree. A six-station screen printing machine will set you back about USD $8,000, before buying ink and screens and blank shirts and a dryer and a ventilated place to do it all. DVD-R's are a much easier product to make.
      • by modecx (130548)
        Bah, who needs some fancy six station screen printing machine?

        Anyone with a bit of brains, power tools, and decent ability can build a 4 color screen printing station out of nothing more than lumber and common hardware, all of which is easily obtainable from Home Depot. All you need then are screens, squeegees, masking and your consumables.

        Most Nike prints I've seen are very simple, either one or two color and they're mostly just the logo at that. You could do rudimentary printing with practically nothing
      • by zakezuke (229119) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:55AM (#13443332)
        Having done both screen printing and DVD burning, I heartily disagree. A six-station screen printing machine will set you back about USD $8,000, before buying ink and screens and blank shirts and a dryer and a ventilated place to do it all. DVD-R's are a much easier product to make.

        I'm sure if I went out of my way I could pirate movies on DVD+/-R. I've done quite a few home movies on DVD in batches of 100. I'm sure I could use a consumer grade printer like Canon's or Epson's sub $200 solution (r200/r300/ip3000/4000/5000/6000). I could spend $40ish to $60ish on OEM ink with an estimated yield of 12 covers and 12 discs or so.

        I could spend 50c a disc, 3 to 4 bucks in ink, another 50c for the photopaper, and another 50cents for a long box. I "could" do this for about 5 bucks a disc in terms of materials.

        or

        I can go to the local flea market, and get a nice bootleg video with excelent cover quality that is reasonably water proof, silk screened discs, and something that actually looks like the genuine artical for $5.00. And as a bonus... something that's printed on a real dvd-rom and not one of those funky DVD-Rs that while are useful don't always play well in all players.

        Not to dismiss your theory but I think I can safely assume that anything out of hollywood isn't going to be on KVCD, and chances are if they are selling KVCD that are bloody likely to be bootlegs, then the DVDs are equaly likely to be bootlegs as well. I can tell you the quality of the goods is superior to anything you can produce using consumer grade goods.

        I'm sure costs would go down on ink by going with bulk inks, but even then we're still talking a couple of bucks/disc for an inferior product to that of hollywood or commercial bootlegers. I can make something pretty good, worth paying for, but using consumer inkjet printers i'd be priced out of the market by commercial enterprises legit or bootleg. Consumer inkjets and dvd burners are best for material you can't buy in stores like home movies.

        • by nickco3 (220146) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:18AM (#13443414)
          I can go to the local flea market, and get a nice bootleg video with excelent cover quality that is reasonably water proof, silk screened discs, and something that actually looks like the genuine artical for $5.00. And as a bonus... something that's printed on a real dvd-rom and not one of those funky DVD-Rs that while are useful don't always play well in all players.

          Not only that, if I buy my kids a fleamarket DVD it won't have any unskippable bits, like the copyright warning or 8 minutes of trailers or adverts for Disneyworld. From my point of view the fleamarket DVDs area a superior product at a cheaper price.

          Maybe this is what Hollywood should be addressing instead of chasing BitTorrent users.
          • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @03:41AM (#13443901) Journal
            Bloody right. I bought Shrek 2 and returned it because each time I watched it, I had to sit through a 20 second copyright warning (fair enough) but then a 4 minute advert for Madagascar. This bullshit completely spoiled the experience of watching Shrek so I just returned it to the store.

            I accept the unskippable copyright messages (even when they have to show it in 8 different languages) but to subject a paying cusotmer to such a long advert is taking the piss. At least they could do what most companies do and just add the advert as a 'special feature'.

            Well done Universal Studios.
      • by Gooba42 (603597) <gooba42@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:04AM (#13443360)
        Isn't the studio leak the precursor to the 9,999,999 copies?

        Do you stop a leak in the old dam or do you wait for it to collapse and then try to build a new dam?
    • Gives a whole new meaning to bUG tracking software.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:59PM (#13443065)
      I do have another question though - Why don't consumers buying/wearing fake branded products get arrested? A Nike t-shirt is probably as easy and cheap to copy and produce as a DVD movie. Imagine law enforcement officers roaming the streets and ripping counterfeited t-shirts off materialistic girls.

      You were obviously not paying much attention to what was going on around the Super Bowl. Every year, the NFL goes to great lengths to ID "official" superbowl goods. Hologram-bearing tags and whatnot.

      This year, as with most, they also tied up the resources of the host city and state police forces (in this case, Worcester city and Massachusetts state police), shutting down the "counterfeit" sellers and seizing goods.

      Why the police are involved with a civil issue (trademark infringement)...is beyond me. If they're carrying out court orders, that's one thing- but playing no-charge goon-squad for the NFL and Russel Athletic is another thing entirely.

      • I've worked in the screenprinting industry since 2000.

        Right when I started working there, the other artist had put together a subway series design based exactly on the Official Design (minus a color or 2) and some of the more seedy characters in the place had started a little project.

        3 days later, they had over 1000 tee shirts printed (crappy ones, I might add) and a dozen or so of their buddies were on the streets of manhattan hawking their goods. I believe they went through about 3/4 of their stock in the
    • by Simonetta (207550) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:54AM (#13443571)
      "Piracy has the very real potential of tipping movies into becoming an unprofitable industry, especially big-event films. If that happens, they will stop being made," said Mr. Jackson

          I'll be glad to do anything that I can to help - help the pirates, that is - if anything that I can do will help stop another $150 million lame remake of silly old movie from being made.
          Who needs a $150 million remake of King Kong? Not you, not me, and certainly not anyone in the film industry.
          These people get huge salaries and bonuses to be creative. Endless nonsense remakes of stupid television shows and moldy old classic movies is not being creative. Which means that they are not doing their job. Which means that they should be replaced with people who are creative.

          That dark cloud over Hollywood is the choking residual fallout from $10 billion dollars wasted in the past five years on bad, boring, useless, and numbing remakes of disposable television shows and fifty-year-old 'B' movies.

          C'mon, you guys are Hollywood. You are supposed to be better than this.
      • by bitrott (232312)
        You're wrong. You're also a tool. Just because a story has been told ONCE, doesn't mean it can't be told well, or better, again.

        Apparently King Kong's pedigree didn't strike you as intriguing. This is Peter Jackson we're talking about here. Any of his productions isn't going to have the same hackneyed, hamfisted problems that most Hollywood remakes suffer.

        Besides, it's King fucking Kong. What do you have against a good monster movie? The themes of the silent original are captivating. A good director (and he
    • by Ours (596171)
      Ah you think this doesn't exist? Try coming to Switzerland with a fake Rolex. If the border police catch you with it they'll make you pay 3 times the price of the real thing. Same goes with fake designer bags and clothing but obviously the pressure is more on fake watches. Besides a fake Rolex is much easier to spot then a fake Nike t-shirt. The problem with the "fake" t-shirt is that they are often done by the same factory that does the real ones. They just skip paying royalities to the brand and sell it t
    • by TylerL82 (617087) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @06:49AM (#13444461) Homepage
      Imagine law enforcement officers roaming the streets and ripping counterfeited t-shirts off materialistic girls.

      I dream of it every night.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:31PM (#13442885)
    They're assholes.

    Nuf said
  • by mobiux (118006) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:31PM (#13442889)
    Because bittorrent users won't find you and pop a cap in your ass like organized crime sydicates tend to do.
  • Why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by jdwest (760759) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:34PM (#13442903)
    Why are they suing bitorrent users then? Because suing johnusername @ xxx.xxx.xxx.xx has been deemed legal.
  • BT Users (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheStupidOne (872664) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:36PM (#13442917)

    Why are they after BT users more than the crime syndicates? Because BT users are a far more high-profile target. And BT users don't have the money or clout to get themselves out of trouble. When a BT user is charged, they usually fall on their knees begging for a settlement. When (more like if) the crime syndicates are charged, money talks and suddenly the case "disappears".

    It's like asking a bully why he picks on the little guys. He's afraid of messing with kids his own size.

    • Re:BT Users (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shark72 (702619) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:58PM (#13443057)

      I imagine that if I only got my news via /., I'd be under the assumption that movie studios, law enforcement, et. al. target individual sharers exclusively and don't go after the large-scale distributors. Slashdot tends to cover the stories of suing file traders with much more regularity than they cover stories of shutting down DVD factories in China (presumably because Slashdot readers have more empathy for the former), so your confusion is understandable.

      The reality is that law enforcement and copyright holders, just like you and me, can indeed walk and chew gum at the same time.

      This false assumption is common in all walks of life. If you've ever wondered out loud why the cops aren't out busting the drug dealers and drug smugglers, etc. instead of writing you that ticket for failing to come to a complete stop, the answer is that law enforcement is indeed busting drug dealers and gun smugglers. They are fully capable of doing this, despite the fact that the officer happens to be writing you a ticket at that precise moment.

  • movie revenue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:36PM (#13442918)
    I don't like this article. It claims that box office releases are "unprofitable, expensive form of marketing".
    The truth is that hollywood has made an art of hiding profits ever since they started signing profit sharing agreements with actors and directors. Sure, a crappy movie isn't going to make a good ROI. But the movie industry generally makes out quite well.
  • by Quantum Skyline (600872) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:36PM (#13442919)
    Why are they suing bitorrent users then?

    Because it is easier.

  • Because they can (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aussie_a (778472)
    Why are they suing bitorrent users then?

    Because they're breaking the law and the MPAA can sue them. It's a good profit revenue (without having to even make new films that might flop) and while it wouldn't be much, it's guranteed and isn't dependant on box office tickets. Some might even say it's their duty to their shareholders to look for go after any legal means that will help raise profit within an acceptable risk level.

    If you're going to download and disseminate content that the copyright holder h
    • by jfengel (409917)
      without having to even make new films that might flop

      I can't help but find it a bit ironic that people might be downloading movies which were in fact box office flops.

      "Well, I didn't think it was going to be good enough to see in a theater, but for FREE, well..."
  • by multiplexo (27356) * on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:38PM (#13442938) Journal
    1) as stated elsewhere most BT users won't break your knees, crush your nuts in a vise or bust a cap in your ass if you go after them.

    2) Since BT users are not prone to violence they're easy targets. It's kind of like the TSA at airports, rather than doing something useful but hard, such as securing the borders or inspecting the millions of containers shipped through our ports every day, each one a potential WMD delivery system, Homeland Security has chosen to do something useless and easy, namely harass people at airports. I'm sure there's some division of the **AAs that has some metric where they are rewarded for the number of pirates they catch, regardless of whether or not those pirates are the Yakuza, Mafia or the Tongs who are making a million copies of Spiderman 2 at a pop or if they're BT users who downloaded a low resolution transfer Dr. Who episode. In large organizations it's often OK to do things that are completely worthless, so long as you look really busy while you're doing them.

    • "In large organizations it's often OK to do things that are completely worthless, so long as you look really busy while you're doing them."

      So true. This only happens because people don't take the time to learn what's truly effective vs what's just busy work to make the boss (in this case the American taxpayer)think you're doing something effective. When the boss doesn't know the difference between good and bad, then the business is screwed...unless the boss figures it out before it's too late.

    • by shark72 (702619) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:12AM (#13443147)

      "as stated elsewhere most BT users won't break your knees, crush your nuts in a vise or bust a cap in your ass if you go after them."

      And neither will the warez groups and the Chinese DVD factory owners and the guys with the contacts at the studio who get the screeners. There's a HUGE reading comprehension issue here, folks -- you're reading "organized crime" and I guess you're thinking of the Italian-American mafia or something. You're smarter than that. You should understand that "organized crime" means just that: more than one person working in cooperation. RTFA if you'd like to learn more. I can't believe this post was modded "insightful."

      Regardless of this, the feds bust warez groups, bootleg DVD operations and other organized piracy schemes

      ALL
      THE
      TIME.

      Here's an example [pcworld.com], and another one [usdoj.gov], and another one [smh.com.au], and another one [sfgate.com].

      It took me all of like two minutes with Google to find these.

  • i think the trend in going after end users is obvious - they can't defend themselfs. why take on a well funded mafia family or crime syndicate who can actually go to court and put up a fight, potentially costing you money when you can bully some poor slob who earns $40k pa and can bearly payt he rent, let alone fight a legal battle.
  • Because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:44PM (#13442967)
    Why are they suing bitorrent users then?
    Because movie piracy is still illegal?

    Five years ago when Napster was getting sued, everyone on Slashdot--editors included--rallied behind the idea that they should lay off the companies providing the apps and going after the individual infringers, because that was fair and logical. I think nobody expected they'd actually do that. And now they are, and so the rallying cry has changed.
    • And now they are, and so the rallying cry has changed.
      It has? Where is my copy of the memo?
      Frankly, this is exactly what they should be doing. I said it then, and I'm saying it now.
    • Five years ago when Napster was getting sued, everyone on Slashdot--editors included--rallied behind the idea that they should lay off the companies providing the apps and going after the individual infringers, because that was fair and logical.

      Fair and logical, yes, but a jerky thing to do anyway.
    • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elgatozorbas (783538) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @04:34AM (#13444076)
      Congrats for this completely to the point but controversdial opinion on /. ! What I don't understand is that (supposedly) high educated people like can be so incredibly biased, both in the summaries as in the comments. Things like 'an executive admitting that file sharers are not the biggest threat to Hollywood'. WTF is 'admitting' about this? Copying IS illegal. I may not like the movie industry, but this guy should not be justifying why (initially) they did not like the unauthorised copying of artistic works. And to answer the question 'Why are they siuing bitorrent users?'. Because, even if they are not the biggest threat, they ARE illegal.

      I am so sick and tired of this uncomprehensible juvenile attitude 'I can do everything', 'I am entitled to everything': the moment you start to do illegal stuff you give up your integrity and can get caught. There you have it. Think movies are too expensive: don't go to the theatre. Don't like the music industry: don't buy records. Dont like M$: use linux. But please stop abusing the fruit of other people's creativity and complain about getting caught. BIASED news for weenies, allright.

      • Re:Because (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Suidae (162977) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @09:35AM (#13445504)
        What I don't understand is that (supposedly) high educated people like can be so incredibly biased, [...] sick and tired of this uncomprehensible juvenile attitude

        The tech community does tend to have a lot of smart people, but smart doesn't mean 'mature', 'reasonable' or 'consistant'. Smart people can be just as dumb as everybody else.

        The community is made up of lots of very young people (say, under 25) who voice their opinions loudly and frequently. Many of us with more moderate opinions just don't say much about the topic.
  • by multiplexo (27356) * on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:44PM (#13442970) Journal
    Distraction where the Chinese bankrupt the US economy by making all of America's IP, movies, songs, TV shows, etc, freely available on their networks for everyone to download. The resulting loss of revenue for the media conglomerates wipes them all out and causes the US economy to tank. You have to wonder how effective this could be if some government or NGO (crime syndicates qualify as NGOs) actually decided to do this to the US.

    • Right. Media companies make up less than 1% of the GDP of the US and yet you think the US economy would tank if we got rid of them?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:28AM (#13443222)
      Well, according to the US economic census [census.gov] the total revenue of all sorts of entertainment and recreation was about $142 billion. That includes live performing arts, bowling alleys, and a lot of other stuff you can't put on a website for download.

      The total economy was over $18 trillion in 2002, so arts and entertainment represent about 0.7% of the total US economy in this census. I'd say the effectiveness of the tactic would be about nil.

      The only smaller categories in the census were management companies (mutual funds and the like) and educational services (Princeton SAT prep, commercial trade schools like DeVry, corporate training outfits). Categories taking in over a trillion dollars include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, finanace & insurance, and health care & social assistence. Hollywood is barely on the financial radar.

    • That problem is that America itself is a large enough consumer of said IP to keep the industry afloat. And trust me, America will sonner be cut off from the Chinese Internet then the above doomsday were to happen.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:50PM (#13443001) Journal
    [if the "black cloud" over movie piracy is organized crime] Why are [groups like the MPAA] suing bitorrent users then?

    Because it would be hard to sue themselves. B-)

    Seriously: Whether they're CURRENTLY organized crime or not, the movie industry was built on systematic for-profit violation of IP law (Edison's patents for starters) while the recorded music distribution industry was controlled by organized crime for the bulk of its formative years.

    Expect their business methods to run more toward extortion than persuasion.

    With the help of the number one extortion racket in town: the federal government. (The Hurtz of extortion - though the Mafia DOES try harder...)
    • Actually the movie industry as we know it came out to Hollywood, CA, US because they wanted to distance themselves from Edison's Patents Trust and their hired goons. Ergo, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Paramount, United Artists, 20th Century Fox...all founded by "pirates" who didn't want to pay their tithe to the Edison Patents Trust.

      Que ironico: Edison's audio recordings wound up in the public domain and are downloadable via http://www.archive.org/ [archive.org] , along with other music and movies which have entered the public d
  • Goodbye, Karma. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:51PM (#13443011)
    I hate the guys as much as anybody, but the reason bittorrent users aren't as big a problem as the one they're worried about is because suing people works as a deterrent. It's not 100% successful, or even close, but if there was absolutely no risk in downloading the stuff, way more people would do it.

    The odds aren't good that they'll sue you, and tons of people would gladly take that bet, but then there's people that buy lottery tickets every week because there's a chance they'll win. Those people are deterred, and the movie guys know that.
  • Why BT? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FireFlie (850716) * on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:52PM (#13443022)
    "Why are they suing bitorrent users then?"

    I think you would be hard pressed to come up with a reasonable answer. It is often easier to catch someone using the net to download warez because there is a trail to follow. Most organized pirates are located in some other country (often asia) and from what I understand because of their copyright laws (or for some other god forsaken reason) it is difficult to shut them down and prosecute them.

    It sounds defeatest, and there has to be a good answer but look at it logically: You shut down an illegal internet distributer working through ebay or some other means, that one dissapears and two more take it's place. Same with vendors. Go through any major city. Especially if you can find a china town. There will be a table on every block with obviously copied merchandise. Shut it down. Make an arrest or deport if possible. Another will be on the next block very very soon.

    Joe average downloading at his computer, leaving a trail is simply an easy target. It looks like a lot of the time these days rather than taking out the sources (a lot of work) they are trying to use law suits to scare your average individuals away from downloading or buying copied media.

    Is this the answer? Obviously not. Do I have a better one? Not really. The problem is a way of really attacking the people who are making a big profit off of privacy. Is the person who downloads a cd or movie off of bittorent going to buy it? Perhaps not, but if they are like many people I know, they want to try for free before they buy (but often plan on buying anyway). Now, do you think the guy that is buying the bootleg of Rush Hour 2 (off of ebay or ny street corner, take your pick) is going to ever buy the real deal? Shit no. He just spent money on it; why would he shell out more on the real thing just to have a second copy? He's going to add it to the rack, and not think about who recieves money in the end. Computers have kept theives one step ahead of the lay, and it is going to be seriously difficult to change that. Do I think that makes it right? No, but I do think that the 15 year old in Deleware is committing a much smaller crime than the guy in china pumping out hundreds of bootlegs for sale. Just my humble opinion.

    I'm tired, I hope any of that was clear.

  • by shugdoo (850013) <uber_lame@hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 30, 2005 @11:57PM (#13443052)
    It slays me when I see the MPAA/RIAA whip out these astronomical figures they claim to be lost sales while mentioning file sharing in the same breath. Most downloaders out there grabbing their Telesyncs and CAMS of the latest Hollywood drivel while they are still in first run are doing so for the geek factor of having something first before their friends do. I don't think the suits have grasped this. The real fans have and will continue to purchase the DVD's and albums as always. The monied gangs with their industry-grade equip are the real bottom line affectors, I visited my brother in Shanghai a while back and every last DVD in the neighborhood video stores is an unauthorized copy. The subtitles and the packaging are hilarious, however. -Note to clueless execs: Make a good product. Sell at a fair price. Pursue the gangs and quit suing (alienating) your customer base. Profit!
    • If it's all a game, does the chance of getting sued make it more exciting? I mean, DwnLdrD00d may have more movies than you, but he wasn't careful and got busted, so you win!

      Right?

      (Personally, I always figured that $20 to own a copy of a movie that cost $100m to make, and the right to see it any time I wanted, was a pretty good deal.)
  • Why sue BitT users? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dauthur (828910)
    For the same reason Ontario law makers passed a ban on pit bulls. Because it's easier to ban and arrest everyone than to restrict, research and enforce.

    Bittorrent users being sued to death are like the pit bull owners, in that the government finds it easier to just rid the world of them, rather than fight the problem at the source. Pit bulls aren't naturally violent, they're trained as such. Bittorrent users aren't necessarily downloading because they want to revolt, they're downloading because a $50usd Lim
  • They sue BitTorrent users because those users are the competition to the organized crime to which Jackson refers. The studios have been paying off the mob every step of the way since before they all moved from NYC to Hollywood. That partnership includes going after the mob's competition, including the BT users. Of course it doesn't include going after the mob, which is a cost of doing Hollywood business.

    People might say that BT users are pretty organized, with that global Internet and instant group collabor
    • "After that 80-year-old "child actor" in the MPAA was found to be the source of most bootleg DVDs (courtesy of Oscar), how come we didn't hear about the mob he fed getting frogmarched off some kind of plank?"

      Because people are either reading too quickly, or have another reading comprehension issue. They're reading "organized crime" and must be thinking of the Italian mafia or something. The fellow to which you're referring is Carmine Caridi, and he was indeed busted by the FBI [usdoj.gov]. He gave his screeners

      • I'm impressed that Caridi's partner was singlehandedly responsible for most of the DVD bootlegging in the world. No, actually, I just don't believe it. He might have transferred lots of screeners to DVD, but #1 distribution requires a mob. Not just for the labor, but because the mob controls access to the stores and street peddlers where the dollars start to flow back. I've been buying bootlegs (concert CDs and vinyl) for decades here in NYC, and it's totally obvious that the mob is integral to the action.

        S
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:07AM (#13443117)
    TFA failed to mention the strongest safeguard against piracy incorporated into the re-release of King Kong: The constant, talentless presence of Jack Black. Put him in every new movie, and nobody would want a bootleg copy.

    Of course, it would also kill the theatrical releases, but no plan is perfect.
  • by chriswaclawik (859112) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:17AM (#13443164)
    This wouldn't even be a real contest. I'm betting 5 to 1 on kong, in three rounds.
  • by DaveRobb (139653) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:19AM (#13443171)
    "I always thought that piracy connotes something glamorous," Mr. Meyer said. "Let's call it what it is: theft. I think it's just like shoplifting."

    Bollocks. If I were to take something from a shop, then the shop can't sell it to someone else, and thus can be said to have lost not only revenue but also an asset.

    If I were to copy a movie from the Net, then you might at a stretch argue that I've deprived the studio of revenue (although I still pay to go and watch movies which are good - if I download one and it sucks, I don't pay to go and see it), but I think it's pushing it to say that I've stolen an asset. It still exists, right where it was. The movie studio doesn't have anything less than they did when we started.

    Revenues from movies are dropping because the studios are rarely coming out with anything original. Stop making dull sequels, or remakes of 60s TV shows, and perhaps we'll see movie revenue return - but likely not at the cinema, as the article says; people are now commonly watching movies on their home cinema system.
  • by tmasky (862064) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:20AM (#13443178)
    From TFA:
    Hollywood reported global revenue of $84 billion in 2004, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm. With most theatrical releases amounting to little more than an unprofitable, expensive form of marketing, DVD's have become Hollywood's lifeblood: together with videos, they kick in $55.6 billion, or about two-thirds of the industry's annual haul, with box-office receipts making up most of the rest.

    From that paragraph, isn't it clear that accessibility ("freedom" to an extent?) is what people want. People want to be able to get access to a movie when they want to and watch it in whatever way they feel like.

    The whole system is broken, because it's old and redundant. Money is spent exorbitantly in all the wrong places and, quite simply, isn't obeying simple rules of economics. You want to push your product out as much as possible at a price that people are prepared to pay.

    The only saving grace is that this antiquated system is doomed. I, for one, welcome the new era of "Pro-Ams" and the demise of DRM.
  • It's a messaging thing, pure and simple. From the copyright owner's perspective, if you're willing to sue even the most minor violators, the major violators have more to fear from you. So since you can find and harm the minor violators, imagine what the real pirates have to fear.

    If you see it in the context of sending a signal to the major violators, it's easier to understand, IMO.
  • Because geeky bittorrent users aren't as likely to have your family members drawn and quartered?

    Coming soon to a Sopranos episode near you.
  • It's easy. If two gun-wielding burglars bust in my door and tell me if I open my fool mouth they're gonna bust all kinds of chaos on my ass... then the next morning I see the paperboy stealing CDs out of my car, I'd be all like "Hey! Paperboy! What the heck do you think you're doing?"

    Someone might ask "Why did you turn in the paperboy and not those two beefy guys?" and I'd be like "Err... I could've, you know, taken them, but umm... that was like my favorite CD Jimmy was touching. I mean, I've got re
  • The usually obscure computer groups engaged in piracy have even spawned a cult film - available only online, of course - called "The Scene," with leading characters named Teflon, Trooper and Slipknot. Anyone have a bittorrent link to this film? Is it any good, or is it poorly-made crap full of inside jokes, like I suspect it is?
  • by Sundroid (777083) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @12:42AM (#13443281) Homepage
    Over at Yahoo, they are offering a $5/month unlimited music download deal, so some people have come to a rather astute conclusion that illegal music downloaders owe RIAA no more than $5 a month.

    In this fine New York Times article, it is revealed that Hollywood's real enemies are organized criminals who are able to spend up to a million dollars to buy DVD duplication machines in order to mass produce those pirated DVDs. Many Hollywood people, unlike the clueless RIAA crowd, know that college kids in their dorms downloading movies on BitTorrent are NOT their enemies, but there is an impatient bunch who are eager to put them in the same category as those career criminals.

    Downloading movies is not the same as downloading music -- whereas somebody could download thousands of songs, but it is technically much more difficult to download "thousands" of movies. I know some college kids have time to kill, but come on, not that much time. Now let's do some calculation. Let's say some guy downloads movies illegally every day and gets caught by the "Download Police", what should his punishment be? I say he owes Hollywood no more than $17.99 a month for the duration of his "criminal downloading career", because that's how much Netflix charges per month for unlimited DVD movie rentals.
  • It might be worth checking to see if global warming has slowed, because all these salty-seadog pirates may be having a positive effect:

    1. Talk of a resurgence in piracy - check
      Pastafarians dress like pirates
    2. A mysterious black cloud - check
      The Flying Spaghetti Monster would appear like a mysterious black cloud to a short sighted (or week minded) movie mogul.

    Someone had better check whether movie piracy is worse on Fridays (a religious holiday for Church of the FSM followers).

  • King Kong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:11AM (#13443394)
    It's funny the summaries title mentions King Kong. I've had a copy (VHS) on order with Amazon for a couple months now. I want to get it for my father, the problem is it doesn't seem to be in stock. I can get bilked by the "used" sellers or eBay. But I want a new copy from Amazon (so I can add a few dollars and get free shipping). They even lowered the price of the item while it's been out of stock, but I have yet to find out when more will be in.

    Does the MPAA have anyone to blame but themselves when people pirate movies they can't, in fact, buy in stores?

    Disney is always doing the "this is the last time it will be available for awhile" marketting stunt to create a buying frenzy with their classic films, then try to figure out how to create sales the rest of the year, when they could just let things be steady year long.

    I want to get Sin City on DVD, but the one they released has way too small a list of extras. I fully expect a "deluxe" edition to appear (like with Pulp Fiction). Result? I'm not buying anything.
  • China (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nice2Cats (557310) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:38AM (#13443504)
    Why are they suing bitorrent users then?

    Because China has nuclear weapons and laughs in their faces.

  • by PsiPsiStar (95676) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @01:42AM (#13443522)
    "No studio is going to finance a film if the point is reached where their possible profit margin goes straight into criminals' pockets."

    Given the fraudulent bookkeeping practices used in Hollywood, it seems like studios are simply concerned about which criminal gets to pocket the profits.

    Or in the immortal words from "The Princess Bride"

    "You're trying to kidnap what I've rightfully stolen..."

  • by Goo.cc (687626) * on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @06:17AM (#13444350)
    "Why are they suing bitorrent users then?"

    Because they are distributing material that they have no right to distribute?

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