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TOPIC: Pirates Online

Pirates Online 24 Feb 2009 18:08 #30963

  • lionheart
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Not long ago, I asked someone if they were planning to see Gran Torino. He said that he had already seen it. I asked if he had gone to another theater to see it. He said no, that he had seen it on DVD. I asked where he got it because it wasn't out on DVD yet. He said that it came from Hollywood. I said that it may very well have come from Hollywood, but that it was very unlikely that he had a legal copy. He admitted that the DVD he had was obtained by downloading it off the internet. He went on to say that probably half the people in our area have the program that allow them to do these downloads. He said there is a company out of Brazil that sells software for about $80 which allows their customers to download and copy movies to DVD.

I expressed to him why it was wrong... you know... a violation of copyright and that it was literally going to cost me money if so many people in the area are using this program, not to mention the folks that made the movie. He understood, but didn't volunteer any more information.

I wasn't all that surprised by this revelation, but wasn't aware that it was so widespread.

Then a few days ago, I had a plumber at my house working on a leak. We were talking about a movie when he said that he had seen it already. It turned out that he had a friend who used the same or a similar service.

I don't honestly know if these individuals downloaded the movies themselves or obtained DVDs from others who did the downloading. It wasn't all that clear.

Today, I decided to do a quick search on the internet for movie downloads. I easily found sites that promised full downloads of movies such as Gran Torino, Taken, and Mall Cop, some saying they could be copied to DVD. And I only spent a few minutes looking. If the problem is truly this widespread, should I assume that the film distributors already know about it? I feel helpless to do anything about it. I keep thinking that this should be something that could be blocked from U.S. internet users without too much effort. I'm sure the technology exists to block piracy websites from being accessed through U.S. ISP's.

Does anyone know if something is being done about this widespread piracy?

I feel like I've been very naive about this whole dark side. I always heard about pirate DVDs being available on street corners in big cities, but I never dreamed that it was available from nearly any computer in my small town.:(
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Re:Pirates Online 24 Feb 2009 19:07 #30964

The distributors are well aware of the problem. Look what has happened to the music industry since digital music "sharing" began in the mid 1990s.

NATO is also well aware of the problem. Legislative bills have been passed in some jurisdictions to increase the penalty for getting caught.

The dilemma of movie theft is not going away anytime soon. It is difficult to prevent and more difficult to prosecute.

Many people believe they aren't doing anything wrong, since "everyone else is doing it" and the chances of them getting into any real trouble are slim, if not non-existent.

Studio screeners of award nominated film are sometimes available online for illegal download before they are even in theatres. Internet sites offer live-streaming of pirated movies, which does not even require a download.

Even some non-awards season screeners have found their way to the Internet. I personally viewed live-streaming Internet showings of TAKEN, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LIKANS and PAUL BLART: MALL COP, all of which originated from studio screeners.

If the pirates can't get their hands on a screener, then they resort to digital cam-recorders. The recently released FRIDAY THE 13th had a decent quality cam version available online by Sunday the 15th.

Movie theft is a serious threat to the exhibition industry, whether it originates from cam-recorders or studio screeners. The solution to the problem is not going to be easily executed. Every theatre owner should consider implementing their own anti-movie theft plan, in conjunction with their local law enforcement agencies, NATO and the MPAA.

"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re:Pirates Online 25 Feb 2009 00:34 #30968

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I understand how pirates get their hands on films through screeners and by using camcorders. I also know the reasons many people think it's ok to steel copyrighted material, although I strongly disagree. What I am most interested in learning is what is being done to stop online piracy.

I agree that everyone should have a plan to stop piracy in their own theater, but having a plan to keep someone from using my theater as a venue for illegal activity doesn't do much to prevent the overall problem. Enacting stronger penalties for lawbreakers doesn't prevent the laws from being broken either. It might help a bit, but most people don't worry about getting caught.

What I want to see is proaction, not reaction. Can something be done to prevent at least some online piracy?

I found the following article that was posted online just yesterday (Feb. 23, 2009). If the Irish music industry can do something, surely the U.S. can as well.

Here is the link to the original, followed by the article:
Ireland's largest ISP and largest telecommunication group, Eircom, has announced that it will be blocking music file sharing websites following lawsuit threats from the Irish Recorded Music Association.

The IRMA said that they would sue ISPs which would not block websites such like Pirate Bay; it is understood that Eircom is the first one to have signed an agreement and could pave the way for Ireland to become the first European country to blacklist "hundreds" of file-sharing websites.

IRMA has drawn an extensive list of websites that it claims are ruining the music industry by providing free music tracks. Eircom will not oppose any request by IRMA which means that any site could potentially be blacklisted.

Eircom had previously bowed to IRMA's pressure and implemented a "three-strike and you're out" policy that would have disconnected customers found guilty of illegal file sharing three consecutive times.

Some like Alex French, CEO of wireless internet provider BitBuzz, acknowledged that Eircom's decision to block some P2P websites could set a dangerous precedence for the relative freedom on the web and could give rise to excessive web censorship
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Re:Pirates Online 25 Feb 2009 14:05 #30978

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Besides college and high school students who scoff at my anti-piracy posters, I have been surprised at the cross section of people who bootleg movies.
Young adults with kids, professionals who make good money. I was told by a pirate downloader, he can get a fast copy in a few hours or a high quality in about six hours. He told me not to feel bad, he still might buy a ticket on a special movie. Cuemarks
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Re:Pirates Online 04 Mar 2009 10:36 #31075

Pirate Bay Trial Ends; Verdict Due April 17

Special correspondent Oscar Swartz reports.

STOCKHOLM -- The Pirate Bay trial wrapped up here Tuesday amid a media circus as attorneys for the four accused founders of the world's most notorious BitTorrent tracker proclaimed their clients' innocence to charges of facilitating copyright infringement.

One of the attorneys declared the 2-week trial a mockery.

"These kinds of abstract case are not supposed to be brought to the court at all," attorney Per E. Samuelson said during his argument. "The prosecutor has not managed to keep calm in light of the enormous pressure and lobbying from record and film companies."

Scandinavian television teams and journalists descended upon this small courtroom to see the final hours of a case generating international headlines. The three younger of the four defendants are by now media celebrities in their own right and seemed at ease with the frantic attention they provoked.

Documentary filmmakers working on a third part of Steal This Film were feverishly capturing the drama. Reuters turned up with TV cameras and conducted interviews in English in response to "demand from our international clients."

Open culture artists like Sebastian Lütgert who ran the Pirate Cinema project in Berlin had flown in to show support for the four Pirate Bay co-defendants. One spectator showed journalists an authentic police report from a station in Stockholm where he had reported Google for facilitating copyright infringement.

For Pirate Bay fans, however, the day started in a subdued mood but ended in a bang with Samuelson's oration.

Defense lawyers for defendants Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg seemed to mostly nitpick about technicalities, but did not seem to punch significant holes in the prosecution.

Peter Sunde's lawyer, Peter Althin, turned up the heat by orating a historical exposé of how vested interests have tried to block development through legal wrangling. He mentioned that musicians fought radio, that the VCR was almost outlawed and that authors even questioned libraries. He claimed his client was only a spokesman for the tracker and challenged the industry's claim of $13 million in damages.

Althin reminded the court that industry bosses testified that CD and movie-ticket sales were dwindling on account of the Pirate Bay, which claims some 22 million users. But his own witness testified there was no scientifically established causal link between file-sharing and diminishing revenues.

All the while, defense attorney Samuelson captivated the gallery.

Formally representing Carl Lundström -- the 48-year-old outsider business executive who provided bandwidth and rack space for the Pirate Bay -- Samuelson spoke for all the defendants and handed over a stack of legal cases to the court.

"I don't think the prosecutor ever considered that such a case is not supposed to go to court," Samuelson stated confidently. "It comes into conflict with basic Swedish criminal law. There is not a single law textbook that does not clearly state that in order to be an accomplice you have to be aware of the concrete main crime that you are supposed to facilitate."

This was not the case here, he said. None of the defendants had any specific knowledge of the 33 copyright infringements charged in the case. "It is not enough, according to Swedish law, to have a general knowledge that crimes may be committed."

He said the entire case was "illegal according to Swedish law."

After it was over, the Pirate Bay crew was seen cracking jokes with prosecutor Håkan Roswall and others in the courthouse lobby.

The panel of four judges is expected to issue a verdict April 17. The defendants face up to two years in prison each and $180,000 in fines plus millions in damages.
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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