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Movies Piracy Your Rights Online

Why I Steal Movies (Even Ones I'm In) 753

Jamie found a link saying "Like a billion other people, I download things illegally. I'm also an actor, writer, and director whose income depends on revenue from DVDs, movies, and books.This leads to many conflicts in my head, in my heart, and in bars."
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Why I Steal Movies (Even Ones I'm In)

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  • Nice article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:42AM (#32236298)

    Very interesting read.
    I want to check out his show now.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:56AM (#32236434)
    You are absolutely correct, if you go into a store and steal a DVD it is exactly the same as any other theft. On the other hand downloading copyright material is not theft. It is copyright infringement. You have not deprived anyone of the original. It seems that you have succumbed to the propaganda of that trailer, which if you watch carefully avoids saying that illegal copying or downloading is theft because they know it is wrong. It is the old association trick:

    You wouldn't steal a bag
    You wouldn't steal a car
    Downloading videos is piracy
    Piracy is against the law
  • by JeffSpudrinski ( 1310127 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:56AM (#32236438)

    The author of the article makes a few good points...particularly about the creators of South Park (a show I loathe) not particularly minding torrents of their stuff on the 'net...especially since there's not really anything they can do about it.

    Also in that he made a video promoting a UK band, then EMI went out of their way to limit the audience of the promotional video to only UK viewers...why limit who can see a band's promotional video? Shouldn't EMI want a much larger audience?

    Everyone would a lot happier if they just stopped fighting it and tried to find a way to work with it. A good example is that back "in the day" (and I'm giving away my generation here, so get off my lawn) the television stations had even tried to make off the air taping of their shows illegal (it was for a while)...then they realized how ridiculous it was to fight it when everyone did it for convenience (plus the supreme court of the US made it legal to do so). Next thing you know, the stations were finding ways to *want* you to record their shows, knowing that they were getting more viewers if they did so. That led to TIVO-type set boxes (that they've now tried to limit electronically).

    If "they" would just realize that if they tried to work *with* new tech instead of against it, they could find a much much larger paying audience.

    For the record, though, I'm against piracy in all its forms. People being so blatant about pirating music and games is what's led to corporations fighting it. If I have an MP3 in my collection, then I have either purchased it electronically or have a physical media of it that I've purchased.

    Just my $0.02


  • Re:Why?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hatman39 ( 1759474 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:20AM (#32236704)
    Well, that. Also, let us assume that

    1) Car theft was a legal minefield like downloading copyrighted material is.
    2) The chances of getting away with it are rather good.
    Now, add to that the notion that one would not deprive the previous owner of his car. Yeah...how many people would steal a car? For an example, look at the Bosten police strike:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Police_Strike#Strike [wikipedia.org]

    With the chances of getting caught going to zero, the incidence of crime skyrocketed.....I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
  • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:21AM (#32236714) Journal
    You might be contend with the restrictions imposed, we are not. I have dozens of DVDs *still in the plastic wrapping*, I just buy movies that are good but when I want to watch them again why would I go trough the trouble of finding the DVD and sitting trough the fucking adverts? The only thing I'm concerned about is if I can honestly say to myself that I do the good thing here, and I think I do. The entertainment industry (music/movies/series/games) gets shitloads of my hard earned cash, and in return I expect to be entertained as was promised in exchange for that money. Why would they care if I stick in the DVD or play the torrent, they've got their cash???

    And of course I downloaded crap without buying it, but guess what: in the offline-era I might have borrowed it from a friend but sure as hell never bought. One good example: the only reason I downloaded music was because there was no acceptable unrestricted download format for years... but now there is and since then I happily purchase CD's for download as MP3. It has never been about stealing or about not wanting to pay, it's about me being a consumer and a fan who was severely disappointed in the lack of unrestricted content. It has taken the better part of two decades for the industry to start listening, but give it another decade and we might finally get what we demanded all along... And if they don't listen to our money's vote we will unite and use our democratic vote... let's see how the industry likes it when the consumers are actually represented! I for one have put down my autograph supporting the Pirate Party.
  • Addicts by design (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:21AM (#32236722)

    Sure, the players involved all think it's real, but the whole game is nothing more than a means of squeezing an extra bit of stress reaction from the population.

    TV and general media opiate is such a fantastically successful means of keeping people asleep that it will not go away until it is rendered redundant by guns, barbed wire and processing plants. The copyright thing is a means of turning everybody into a criminal, and thus gives a valid excuse to introduce those guns, barbed wire and processing plants. -Because milking the human race for anxiety is all fine and nice for the aliens, but greed and stupidity dictate the necessity for a huge whollop of energy which can only be extracted through physical trauma on a planetary scale. A couple of senseless wars here and there just don't cut it.

    Have a nice day.


  • Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a comparable business model for the movie industry - unless they all want to go back to live performances.

    Um, we already still have live performances. They seem to do very well. Ever hear of A Chorus Line? How about Les Miserables? Or Cats? Or any other live play/musical? The Tony Awards are specifically for actors and actresses (and assorted other folks) in the live performance business. Patrick Stewart (you know, Captain Picard from ST:TNG) is supposedly a classically trained actor.

    No, Hollywood (and motion pictures in general) has no comparable business model. It and TV dramas are probably unique in that (I don't even think most TV shows have a live audience, just a good laugh track that's probably 10+ years old) regard.

    Now I'm not defending the idiocy that the MPAA engages in by any means. Just addressing the specific point of comparable business models.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:30AM (#32236826)

    It seems there is a section of society that thinks that stealing from the public is fine as long as they can make money at it.

    The same section thinks that there is a right to profit and that, once having made a profit, the law must be changed so that they continue to make a profit even if the situation changes.

    And that same section thinks that just because someone else is making money off "their" product, whether they are making money off it is irrelevant and that they should be allowed to take all the money made AND MORE from this entrepreneur who found a market and worked to make it happen.

    This section then thinks it odd that after all their stealing and justification of said theft has led to others justifying their theft...

  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:36AM (#32236924) Homepage

    > The right to consume is not recognized by law, nor should it be.

    This is what that whole "Public Domain" thing is about. After awhile, all of that "property" turns to dust and you are free to copy it all.

    If the law had not been beaten out of shape by industry lobbyists, much of what people are getting large jury verdicts handed down over would be free for anyone to spread around as they choose.

    Although even that really pales when compared to the fact that we have all been conditioned to expect media to be free since before your grandparents were born. People fixate on today's technology and completely miss the fact that a lot of this stuff has deep roots. It's even older than TV. It goes back to the very first forms of broadcast and mass communications. Mass communications have always presented the consumer with a free ride.

    It's nothing even remotely new.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morari ( 1080535 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:44AM (#32237056) Journal

    You had better believe that I would steal a car in a second if it meant that I'd get an exact copy of said car, without depriving the original owner of their property at all.

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:50AM (#32237148) Journal

    He goes through some pretty good justifications for his "illegal" downloading.

    His best justification is one he doesn't realize though. He stated that he lives in London but yet has created an iTunes account to access US TV shows because 'it's legal' when it actually isn't. The iTunes conditions of purchase say that you must be in the country of the store when downloading because the US store does not have the rights to sell a US TV show to someone in the UK. The reason being that Hollywood has likely sold the rights to the show to a British broadcaster who will be very annoyed if they lose audience (and revenue) because someone else is illegally selling the show to their viewers.

    Personally I think that it is only a matter of time before Apple start using GeoIP to restrict store access....like the BBC does for iPlayer. What we really need is some sensible, international way to access content. As a Brit living in Canada I would love to be able to watch BBC 1+2 on iPlayer - and would happily pay an equivalent to the UK licence fee to be able to do so (and no, BBC Canada is NOT the same).

  • Re:Why?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:53AM (#32237220) Homepage

    So I generally don't really "pirate", and it's for a couple of reasons. First, I often do want to support the people who bring these products to market. Second, I don't really want to go hunting around the Internet for a good copy of something; I'd rather go to a site, pay a couple bucks, and be done with it.

    But here's the thing: I watch "Dexter" (a show on Showtime, if you don't know), and they recently finished their 4th season. I don't have cable, so if I wanted to watch the fourth season of "Dexter", I would need to order cable and Showtime just for that show (something in the neighborhood of $50/month for as long as the season takes).

    Now I already pay for Netflix, I watch things on Hulu and make no effort to skip the ads, and I sometimes even buy stuff on iTunes. I'd probably buy more stuff on iTunes if it were slightly cheaper, didn't have DRM, and everything were available in HD, but I think the price iTunes charges for video generally isn't worth the product you get. Dexter wasn't available for any of these. I was going to wait a year for it to show up on iTunes as I have done in the past, but then I started hearing spoilers about what happened during the season, pretty much ruining the whole thing.

    So I went looking to see if Showtime was putting Dexter online in any form, and I put, "watch dexter season 4 online" into Google. Within the top could of hits, there was a site that had the entire season available to watch in a Flash player. The quality wasn't good, but I didn't need to download anything and it was as easy as watching Hulu. It's not even clear to me that I was doing anything wrong-- I didn't distribute anything or copy anything. I went searching for a legitimate way to watch a show online, and I found a site offering the show. Is it really my responsibility to ensure that the site had distribution rights?

    So anyway, I watched the season. If Showtime had bothered to offer their own distribution channel, I would have been willing to watch ads or to pay them. I bought a previous season of "Dexter" on iTunes. The *only* reason why Showtime didn't get any money from me in this case is that they weren't willing to take my money. They'd rather play marketing games with pricing and availability.

    Similarly, there have been one or two times in the past few years that I've downloaded music through unauthorized channels. And when I say "one or two times", I mean something like maybe as much as 1 album per year. But again, here's the thing: Every one of those albums were unavailable for online purchase. I went to iTunes and Amazon, and it wasn't available. Again it's, "Here, record company, take my money," and they say, "no thanks." Ok, fine, if you insist I'll just download it somewhere.

    I'm convinced that all of these media companies would make more money if they simply made everything available for sale online in a high-quality DRM-free version. Not only could they sell more product, but they wouldn't have the pay the salaries of whatever marketing geniuses are spending their days deciding not to offer "Dexter" for sale online.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Barrinmw ( 1791848 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:54AM (#32237230)
    If I buy a DVD and attempt to view it on my computer and it says I can't due to copyright protection so I view it in VLC anyway, an immoral law is one that just said I can be sued for $500,000.
  • Re:Why?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RegularFry ( 137639 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:27AM (#32237776)

    As long as there is someone who needs a better vehicle *for themselves*, there is someone who has an incentive to pay for development. Development would continue, just under a different financial model.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:31AM (#32237868)

    If I have an idea I can choose whether or not I share it. If I choose to share it with another individual, we can form an agreement that the other individual will not share it further. If we accept that legally binding agreements can exist, such an arrangement can exist and be legally binding. I see no reason to exclude ideas from such agreements. Unless the law explicitly forbids contractual agreements with respect to ideas, then the ownership of ideas exists by default due to the freedom of choice of person who had the idea. The right to expect contracts to be fulfilled guarantees ownership of ideas.

    Copyright generalizes these agreements to avoid explicit contracts for each copy but the fundamental principle remains the same. I believe that the law should provide a reasonable expectation that contracts be fulfilled and otherwise be as permissive as possible. Explicitly prohibiting contracts on intellectual property is more restrictive than necessary and is not constructive.

  • Me too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:32AM (#32237878)

    I'm lazy, impatient, have a sense of entitlement AND a cheap-ass.

    Plus I sometimes want to watch a movie or listen to music. It's a freakin' movie or tune, OK? How much god-damn effort do I need to put into it? I don't want to record music or make a movie. Does Fiskars have a case against me cause I'm too lazy to mow the lawn with scissors? If you want to make a movie but feel that only the worthy should see it, I suppose you can. Just don't expect to profit from the endeavor. You make things too hard, too expensive, too time consuming or require some sort of morality test for your customers to overcome, then they're gonna find another way to get it or just find something else altogether.

    So, to summarize, all that "lazy, impatient, have a sense of entitlement AND a cheap-ass" really means is that I'm a discerning consumer trying to find something for the lowest cost possible. I suppose to be consistent, you'd have to also accuse someone producing a product that insists that I come somewhere to buy it at his convenience, when he's available and for whatever price he sets as "lazy, unmotivated, having a sense of entitlement and a greedy bastard". Except that we're talking a company here, so they're exempt of such accusations, right?

  • Re:Why?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:39AM (#32238014) Homepage
    if the people who design cars had a replicator of their own, they wouldn't need to keep designing cars to make money, because they'd be able to replicate whatever they needed to survive.

    Beyond that, if they truly enjoyed designing cars they could continue doing so out of the sheer enjoyment.

    It's important to note that ultimately, plots of land will be the only thing you'll never be able to completely replicate.... It'd be an interesting world should that technology ever become a reality. On the one hand it could go horribly wrong with people replicating implementations of destruction until we bomb ourselves out of existence, on the other hand it could cure problems of world hunger and material greed and allow us to concentrate on more social and environmental issues as well as advancing education and technological pursuits.
  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:27PM (#32238966) Homepage

    An opinion that seems very prolific on Slashdot is that consumers have a right to consume anything that has been created. They don't. The right to consume is not recognized by law, nor should it be.


    I suppose that people should not be obligated to share things; if you write something in your diary, for example, you should not have to let other people read it, nor should other people be able to compel you to let them read it. And if you wanted to destroy that only copy of the work, which was in your possession, you could, though it would be nice if you wouldn't. However, if you have granted other people access to a work, then they do have a well-recognized right of free speech which would permit them to copy it. Since they'd own those copies, instead of you, they could grant others access as they liked, and things being what they are, sooner or later someone would grant access to the whole world.

    A justification that I see fairly often is that if someone couldn't possibly buy a product then piracy of that product is ethically neutral because you can't be causing a loss of sales. I disagree with that because it is still a violation of the right that the copyright owner has to control the distribution of copies

    Copyright is utilitarian, through and through; it is amoral, as are the creators, copyright holders, and infringers who interact with copyright.

    Though if morality were a factor, surely it would be on the side of the pirates who put information to productive use, who spread it to anyone who is interested, and who preserve it (if only by there being so many copies floating around that at least a few will survive a calamity -- which is how classical works survived the Dark Ages, and how works that the BBC destroyed its own archival copies of show up from time to time, to name but two examples). Surely it's not actively moral to try to keep a stranglehold on creative works just to turn a profit. Maintaining the privacy of oneself or others might be moral, but we are talking about works that are intended for publication to anyone with enough cash, so privacy just isn't relevant.

    Why should a right to consume trump a right to control the distribution of your ideas.

    Because it is impossible to control distribution without controlling the exercise of the right of free speech by others. Censorship, whether by the state, to prohibit dissent, or by a business, to prohibit copying, is offensive and inherently unacceptable. It might be tolerable under the right circumstances -- concealing troop movements in a time of war, or granting copyrights where they produce a greater benefit to the public, even taking into account the costs, than doing otherwise -- but the onus is on he who would censor to prove his case, and even then he might find that no one is willing to tolerate it. In a legitimate government, where the right to govern stems from the consent of the governed, that's an entirely acceptable outcome.

    No one has the right to tell me what I may or may not say, even if I merely repeat verbatim the words of someone else. All that they can do is either not tell me those words to begin with (in which case I can't compel them), or convince me to respect their wishes, either personally, or through a government that I am willing to be governed by. It's entirely possible to do this (in fact, I think that copyright is a good idea, and is capable of being good in practice, though it might not be any good in its current implementation), but it is up to those who want copyright to do so. They don't magically deserve it just by being authors. Authorship doesn't transform someone into a superior human being, with veto powers over the human rights of someone else.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobDude ( 1123541 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:44PM (#32239290) Homepage

    You typed a lot of words - but I'll just point out the important ones....

    'We're paying for the research'

    See? We agree. Without $$$ things don't get done.

    Here's the best part of the whole argument. There is nothing that says ideas HAVE to be protected under the law. *YOU* can come up with an amazing idea, an amazing concept, a movie, a song, whatever you want. And *YOU* can say, 'Hey - we don't need IP laws....they are silly! I don't own this software I spent the last year building! Everyone can have it!'.

    You could do that.

    But then you'd be giving up something of value. And that's not fun.

    It's always people arguing that other people, who have already done something, be forced to give up that something. For free. Because they want it!

    There is NOTHING AT ALL stopping people from saying, 'Screw all these headaches with DVDs. I'm going to make my own movie, pay my own actors, write my own script and make it awesome, and give it away!'.

    But nobody does. Some people try - and they produce crap. And as much as rag on Hollywood for making crappy movies, their level of crap is so far above the level of crap seen in elsewhere...it's not even funny.

    Given that
    1.) You can give away your IP
    2.) All of the coolest stuff I see is created by people who do not give away their IP and try to profit from it

    I'm left to conclude that IP is good.

    You could prove me wrong. You could make a movie - a blockbuster movie - a huge hit - and let the world download it. And if enough people did that, and I started to notice that the best movies were free and the old movie studios weren't as good - I'd change my mind.

    I'd be like, 'Wow - look at all this great stuff that was created without any IP laws! Those IP laws were so silly'.

    But - I haven't seen that. Until I do, this is just a hypothetical argument where a bunch of d-bags try to justify why they should get the benefit of other people's work for free, because they want it.

  • Linux... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:46PM (#32240656) Homepage Journal

    I never understood the fuss over being unable to skip the previews until I had to watch a DVD on a Windows computer. Turns out that for the first decade of the DVD's existence, I had been using Linux to watch DVDs, and had never seen the unskippable previews. I honestly didn't even know they were there!

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:20PM (#32241242)

    What region?

    I think it highly depends on what region you're in. Depending on the amount of copying in your area, they think they can get away with more unskippable BS.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan