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MPAA Targets TV Download Sites 810

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the buy-our-dvds dept.
KenDaMan writes "ZDNet.com is reporting that the MPAA is targeting websites that serve as traffic directors for BitTorrent swaps. From the article: 'Continuing its war on Internet file-swapping sites, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday that it has filed lawsuits against a half-dozen hubs for TV show trading.' Apparently it is OK to record TV as long as your aren't sharing it."
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MPAA Targets TV Download Sites

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  • what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by austad (22163) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:28PM (#12515356) Homepage
    I thought the MPAA only dealt with movies? Are they just going after TV sharers for the hell of it?
    • Re:what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by chrispyman (710460) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:30PM (#12515375)
      Not quite. Their member companies produce most of the TV shows as well.
    • Re:what? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Demoknight (66150) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:32PM (#12515392) Journal
      Next thing we'll hear the MPAA going after porn torrents... I mean assuming they're out there.
      • Re:what? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Luigi30 (656867) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:40PM (#12515455)
        Of course, but only after downloading it and analyzing it frame-by-frame to see if it truely is copyrighted material.
      • Re:what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Saeger (456549) <farrellj @ g mail.com> on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:19PM (#12515734) Homepage
        Next thing we'll hear the MPAA going after porn torrents... I mean assuming they're out there.

        That they are. The "suprnova" of the porn torrent sites is Empornium [empornium.us]. Pro: leeching is limited by ratio and you cant just create new leech accounts, so the download rates usually saturate your connection. Con: the admins are arrogant assholes.

        • Re:what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Friday May 13, 2005 @03:13AM (#12517185)
          Con: the admins are arrogant assholes.

          Reason: because they have to deal with the worst of the worst kinds of adolescent assholery. They're strict with their rules, and there are generally no second chances. If you want your porn for free, you follow the rules; the fact that the site is so popular is a testament to how many people agree with the mods' enforcement policies.

          Or, so I've heard.
      • Re:what? (Score:3, Funny)

        by NutWrench (875543)
        There's PORN on the INTERNET?
  • by smileyy (11535) <smileyy@gmail.com> on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:28PM (#12515360)
    Apparently it is OK to record TV as long as your aren't sharing it. Think you could loosen your grip on the obvious just a little? It's starting to turn a little blue in the face...
    • by zapp (201236) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:09PM (#12515656)
      Explain to me the problem with allowing other people to distribute your program for you? if you ask me, torrenting shows should be encouraged.

      What should be illegal is removing the commercials, then they need to find a way to track the # of people that download a show (ie: if THEY hosted the torrent).

      The internet is clearly a viable way of distributing media to the masses. if they welcomed it and embraced it, they would see a lot more happy viewers, and a lot more money.

      But I guess that interferes with all those contracts giving certain networks exclusive rights to broadcasting, doesn't it?

      • by 4b696e67 (670803) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:34PM (#12515814)
        The tv/movie industry is facing the same problem that the music industry has faced/is facing. They see that thier stranglehold on distribution is in trouble. If it got to the point where people could download any syndicated show from the people who make it for a small fee, then companies like Time/Warner/AOL/etc. couldn't sell their air time for profit. Companies that base their business on being middle men are never going to be for a way to do business without them.
        • Ah, wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by shmlco (594907) on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:38AM (#12516857) Homepage
          Companies that base their business on being middle men are never going to be for a way to do business without them.

          First, the process you're trying to elucidate is called disintermediation.

          Second, there will always be a place for "middle men" if they provide sufficient value.

          Do I want to deal with every publisher on the planet... or buy from Amazon? Do I want to comb every newspaper for stories and deals... or check Yahoo and eBay? Do I want an acount with every movie studio or NetFlix?

          Do I want to try browsing every site on the web for the information I need... or do I do a Google search.

          They are all "middle men" and they all provide a useful service.

  • This Blows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhive01 (832162) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:29PM (#12515366)
    I don't own a TiVo, but using BitTorrent I've been watching HDTV quality shows on my PC for about 3 months. Man is it sweet. I hope those **AA bastards lose. When are they gonna learn to adopt a new distribution system rather than beat it with fancy lawyers.
    • Re:This Blows (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jdreed1024 (443938)
      When are they gonna learn to adopt a new distribution system rather than beat it with fancy lawyers.

      They have one. I, for one, am happy to pay $29.95 to get a whole season's worth of, say The Simpsons, (yes, they start out at $45, but they go down after a while), or Futurama, without commercials, with deleted scenes, and often interesting directors commentary. In fact, you get a better deal than the torrents, because with shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama, when they're shown in syndicati

      • Re:This Blows (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:20PM (#12516130)
        Most of the torrents still have the commercials in them, and are the syndication versions. Or, they have "ads" for all the warez kiddies who distribute them.

        What? I've been downloading TV torrents for over a year now, and I have yet to see one with any of the commercials left in or any warez group ads added. I've never seen TV warez groups release a recorded-off-the-air version when a DVD version is available either (as would be the case with your syndicated-and-edited episodes).

        Either you have an unnatural talent for finding the absolute crappiest warez sources, or you're just making shit up. I'm guessing the latter.

      • Re:This Blows (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mbaciarello (800433) on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:01AM (#12516707)

        As a foreigner who happens to like some American TV shows, I'd like to add a point...

        Aside from pricing, which you may or may not agree with, resorting to season DVDs has one huge disadvantage for me: inability to try before you buy.

        Take Firefly. I read very good comments on Slashdot. I thought I'd like to give it a shot. What better way than the pilot episode? Whoops, no one (I'm aware of) sells only that.

        The show does not, and most likely will not ever air in my country. Even if it did, that would be on pay satellite TV, and it would be dubbed: that, I couldn't stand.

        I could buy the complete series on DVD but... What if I don't like it? At $35 plus around $15-20 for shipping and (in worst cases) 30% customs duty, it's quite an investment on a show I've never even seen an ad for... (Except for Slashvertisement, that is... :-)

        DVDs are not an option in these cases, although I admit they represent only a small fraction of online piracy. However, there are many countries which might collectively represent a decent market for a show like Firefly, and where dubbing is not the routine (as opposed to subtitling.) These markets, IMO, are not fully exploitable until content is delivered in a more granular way than DVDs -- the "iTunes Video Store" way?

      • Re:This Blows (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Silverlancer (786390) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:56AM (#12517771)
        It would cost me 30 bucks per DVD (with 7 DVDs!) to get a badly translated first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Or I could spend a few hours downloading a better translation, with subs that are easier to read, completely for free.

        At least in my experience, downloaded TV shows are far, far superior to what you will find on a DVD, if not simply from the ease of use perspective. For example, if one of my friends wants to watch a show, I can grab two DVD-RWs, copy everything onto them, and give them to him. Can't do that as easily for 7 DVDs.
  • by mangus_angus (873781) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:30PM (#12515379)
    To see Piratebay.org's response to their letter!!
    • by John Seminal (698722) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:06PM (#12515641) Journal
      Appears slashdot did what the MPAA could not.

      Warning: mysql_connect(): Too many connections in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 16

      Warning: mysql_select_db(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 17

      Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 19

      Warning: mysql_connect(): Too many connections in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 16

      Warning: mysql_select_db(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 17

      Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /var/tracker/www/include/statsdb.inc.php on line 19

      Anyways, I wonder how the hell these fuckers are able to stick their dicks in the air agianst powerful studios and lobby groups.

      • by Keruo (771880) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:17PM (#12516112)
        simple answer, the law itself

        They are in sweden, MPAA/RIAA cannot touch them, since they don't violate any swedish laws.
        And they have their own lawyers to consult any possible borderline areas.

        But this isn't going to last very long.
        Sweden is changing their copyright law, though it's only proposed law now, and if it passes as it is, it might kick in as early as june or july.
        The law focuses on taking down people making profit with illegal filesharing.
        You can guess twice if they're paying for all [thepiratebay.org] this [thepiratebay.org] from their own pockets.
        This page [thepiratebay.org] is pretty much the thing that makes piratebay illegal under the new law. If they could pay the stuff from their own pocket without accepting any donations, the law couldn't touch them.
        They're in trouble if they keep the tracker running and continue with the current way.
  • MPAA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deafpluckin (776193) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:31PM (#12515384)
    What about non-US sites that are "pirating" US television. Do they have to respect US copyrights?

    It is technically legal to download anime that's copyrighted in Japan but not yet licensed in the USA.

    • Re:MPAA (Score:4, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:34PM (#12515405) Homepage Journal
      Copyrights are internationally honoured. Unless you're in one of the few countries that hasn't signed the international treaties on copyright then you are bound by US copyright just as much as you are bound by Japanese copyright.
      • Re:MPAA (Score:5, Informative)

        by iamghetto (450099) on Friday May 13, 2005 @12:36AM (#12516570) Homepage
        Copyrights are internationally honoured. Unless you're in one of the few countries that hasn't signed the international treaties on copyright then you are bound by US copyright just as much as you are bound by Japanese copyright.

        It's not quite so cut and dry. What is illegal in one country may not be illegal in another. Take America for example, half the laws in America these days seem to be written for the lobby groups and not the citizens. What is considered a copyright violation may not be considered a violation in another country.

        Last year (or maybe two years ago) it was ruled in Canada that sharing music was perfectly legal. The judge ruled that having a "shared music folder" on your computer where other users could download copies of the music was tantamount to the public library letting a citizens use photocopier to copy pages of a given book. That is the exact analogy he used.

        So while in America sharing music might be illegal and said to violate copyright law, in Canada it is perfectly legal. Even if the MPAA thought we were violating American copyright, they have no course of action to take against us.

        While Canada & America and countless other countries are bound by international copyrights, what violates a copyright in each respective country can be very different.
    • Re:MPAA (Score:3, Informative)

      by _KiTA_ (241027)
      Actually, persuant to the Berne convention, it's just as illegal to pirate Japanese cartoons as it is to pirate American ones.

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but Animesuki and 4chan are just as illegal as thepiratebay and suprnova -- it's just that the Japanese publishing houses usually don't CARE, because the people downloading the torrents usually buy DVDs and overpriced toys.
      • Re:MPAA (Score:3, Informative)

        by MKalus (72765)
        Actually thepiratebay is not illegal per se (and definetly not in sweden) as they do not hold any copyrighted files.

        One could argue that they (or whoever runs the trackers) are aiding in the process, but it seems that at least under swedish law this is not illegal (yet?).
  • by infonography (566403) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:31PM (#12515389) Homepage
    However, if the sites in question are not holding the actual torrents, then they should be able to claim to be news organizations. Being a 'News Organization" is open to massive abuses. Look at Jeff Gannon. Still I wish them luck.
  • Yikes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:32PM (#12515393)
    I hope they don't find out I'm a fan of the Gilmore Girls
  • True story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:33PM (#12515398)
    So, my mom calls me in a panic the other day. My dad forgot to record one of her favorite shows, and it was the series finale, and she really wanted to watch it.

    What are her options? Hope they repeat it in a few months, buy it on DVD in a few years, or maybe locate someone who has a copy? All of these options are pretty iffy.

    I have another choice, though: Break the law downloading it to make my mom happy. Why can't the TV people sell it for download themselves so my mom can be happy legally?

    (Insert the "your mom" jokes below.)
    • Re:True story (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BrianH (13460) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:19PM (#12515736)
      Yep, I agree. I've downloaded three TV shows from BitTorrent in the past year. Two of them were series that I record on my DVR regularly but had been timeshifted due to sporting events. The other was a show that I'd accidentally deleted before I could watch it. In all three cases, I deleted the shows after watching them.

      What the MPAA doesn't get is that there is a fundamental difference between MP3's and DVD quality AVI's. With the exception of a few hardcore swappers, most of us simply don't have the disk space to store dozens or hundreds of movies. Since even broadband users often have to wait many hours for a show to download, the idea that downloaded movies are going to replace the DVD in the same way that MP3's are replacing CD's is simply unfounded. Couple that with the fact that few people really want to watch TV on their computer and even fewer have any kind of connection between their PC's and home entertainment systems, and any reasonable person would conclude that movie swapping will never become mainstream. They are spending FAR more money on these legal actions than they'll ever lose to swappers.

      If the MPAA really wants to improve their revenue streams, they should start offering these themselves. I'd have gladly paid a buck to watch those shows.
      • Re:True story (Score:3, Insightful)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        With the exception of a few hardcore swappers, most of us simply don't have the disk space to store dozens or hundreds of movies.

        Who needs to store it? Watch it, delete it, good to go.

        That said, I have 4 200GB drives that I've bought over the course of a year, which is enough to hold several seasons of a variety of TV shows, along with every decent (in my opinion) movie released in the same amount of time in xvid, and still not be hurting for space. I don't have a desire to re-watch most things, so I wo
    • by moe613 (846786) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:21PM (#12515740)
      ill be 18 in 4 months.

      then ill be able to make your mom happy legally ;)
    • I know its "technically" illegal to download tv shows. But I have a fairly expensive cable subscription... In my mind im already paying 80$ a month for TV (yeah I know ... adelphia). So whats the difference if I download it and watch it, or if I tape it or watch it? The difference is, tapes SUCK. I dont know how they do it, but the stuff on these sites is *far* superior quality to vhs, *EVERYTHING* looks like shit on a 62" HDTV.

      I've also realized something, Im 26, and advertising is simply not aimed a

  • Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poietes (753035) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:33PM (#12515401)

    They should be thanking us for taking their garbage out. How many quality TV shows are there? How many really? One in every hundred?

    Most TV Shows these days are advertisements anyway. They don't want us to distribute ads?

  • idiots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aendeuryu (844048) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:35PM (#12515407)
    I downloaded the latest Apprentice because I missed it. I'm in Korea with no VCR and I was out of town that night. How the hell else am I going to watch their show? They DO want people to watch their shows, right?

    Just another example of these people dropping the ball and trying to fight technology. Hell, if they were smart, they'd offer their own shows with commercials for download. If they came up with a system that was as fast and easy as bt which had commercials, and maybe even more reliable, I'd probably get that version and watch the damn commercials anyway, or at least, pay as much attention to the commercials as I would if it was a regular broadcast.

    But instead, these guys are like creationists, dragging us kicking and screaming back into technologically backwards times when we've already gotten a taste of enlightenment. Good luck with that. Idiots.
    • Re:idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvilCabbage (589836) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:43PM (#12515477) Homepage
      "They DO want people to watch their shows, right?"

      No, they want people to watch the adverts that come with the show, buy the associated lunchboxes, CD singles, T-shirts and beer holding hats.

      TV shows are really becoming vehicles for product launches. Just take a look at MTV and the Xbox unveiling.
      Hell, maybe it's always been that way and I'm only now old enough to appreciate it. When I think back to some of the cartoons I would watch as a small child, they were obviously just 30 minute advertisments for a toy line, same thing we're seeing these days with Pokemon and whatever card collecting cartoon series is big this week.
  • Here we go again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cecil36 (104730) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:35PM (#12515408) Homepage
    This stuff happens all the time. I'm sure that people are still using VHS tapes to record their favorite shows and loaning the tape out to their friends. Heck, if I knew that I was going to miss **insert random TV show here** on a given night and my wife wanted to record something that aired on the same night at the same time on a different channel, heck, I'd find a friend of mine who would either record onto tape or DVR the show and give me the copy on tape or DVD. When will the **AA farknuts learn?
    • Re:Here we go again (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:41PM (#12515464) Homepage Journal
      Wow, that argument follows as much as the conversation between Bart and his one time employer, Fat Tony.

      "Is it wrong to steal bread if your family is starving?"
      "No, I don't guess so."

      "And if you have a large family, is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread?"
      "No"

      "And say your family don't like bread. Say they like cigarettes. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of cigarettes?"
      "Hell no!"


      Fair use is the worst thing that ever happened with copyright law. If people didn't have a way to weasle out from under the jackboots of copyright we'd have had the revolution a long time ago.
  • Fair Use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:37PM (#12515426)
    Apparently it is OK to record TV as long as your aren't sharing it.

    uhmmm... Yeah. That is what the whole debate over fair use, and backup copies is about.

    It's okay for me to use it for my own personal pleasure, but it isn't alright to rebroadcast it to the world.

    And we wonder why every mass-market electronic media outlet is DRM'ed to the gills.
  • Damn! (Score:3, Funny)

    by EvilCabbage (589836) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:38PM (#12515439) Homepage
    And just before the series finale of "Lost" too ;) We're not even halfway through the first season screening down under, and I have a crack-like addiction to the series. It's shameful, I know, but some primal part of me really digs the idea of being stuck on an island with Maggie Grace [go.com]
  • by Mazem (789015) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:40PM (#12515453)
    Clearly there is rampant downloading of TV shows. Although the big companies are having a hissy fit about it, to me it is a sign that there is a huge untapped market, much in the same way as the napster phenomenon was indicative of a market for legal downloading mp3's (which iTunes took advantage of). All they have to do is this:

    1: Offer fast TV downloads for free, or offer legal torrents.

    2: Include the advertisements in the shows, and track how many people download them.

    3: Profit!!!

  • Share! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jamienk (62492) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:43PM (#12515478)
    I share. That cool guy over there shares. That hot chick, she shares too! Doctors share. Artists share. Judges share. Priests, milkmaids, garbagemen, executives, teachers, uncles, mailmen -- they all share. Old and young, smart and dumb (dumb, but nice!), people with good taste and people with conventional likes and dislikes; Chinese and Amsterdamish, Black, Brown, Yelllow and Red, Whites too; young girls (giggling), pippled-faced boys, pregnant women, bearded professors -- they ALL share!

    Isn't it about time you shared too?

    Have a nice day -- AND SHARE!!! :)
    • Re:Share! (Score:5, Funny)

      by snuf23 (182335) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:03PM (#12515624)
      Yeah I am waiting for the MPAA/RIAA to push through legislation to change our educational system to teach kindergarten kids not to share, because sharing is evil.

      Bobby: "I want to play with the blocks, can I have some blocks?"

      Suzie: "No! Fuck off Bobby, sharing is Evil! Teacher! Bobby's trying to make me share!"

      Teacher: "Now Bobby you go and take a time out - you KNOW sharing is bad!"

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:44PM (#12515487)
    Apparently it is OK to record TV as long as your aren't sharing it.

    Yeah, that would be the whole "for private home exhibitation only" clause you saw scroll by when watching rented movies. :rolleyes:

    Really, would the fact you are distributing the program for free interfere with the studio's business of selling the series on DVD? I wonder...
    • Re:Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jo_ham (604554)
      I guess it depends on the quality of the show.

      There was no way I'd have been able to watch the new Battlestar Galactica on Sky - for one, the frequent open-heart-surgery-length advert breaks would get on my nerves, and second it was always on at a time when I was busy - 8pm isn't really my ideal TV time.

      So, I downloaded them bia bittorrent to check them out, and was very impressed. It was a necessary trial before going out and buying the DVDs - both the series 1 box set and the mini series. There's no way
  • Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Josuah (26407) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:45PM (#12515494) Homepage
    Apparently it is OK to record TV as long as your aren't sharing it.

    Duh? Television shows are still copyrighted material. Distribution is not your right after recording it. Fair use only applies to personal use of the recorded show.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @09:55PM (#12515555) Homepage Journal
    Of course it's legally OK to record TV for your own consumption - that's a fair use of the copy you were given by the copyright holder. It will be good news when the copyright holders associations (primarily the MPAA and RIAA) acknowledge that fact explicitly. Especially now that their (MGM's, really) lawyers have acknowledged it in their Supreme Court arguments.

    And it's not legal to make a copy beyond that use. The right to copy is what "copyright" restricts to its owner. However, there are other fair uses of personal copies that should be protected in some online sharing that is exactly like in-person sharing. Our right to bring a record to a party, and listen to it with friends (and friends of friends), is protected. As is our right to loan our copy to a friend. If one of those friends makes a copy while they have temporary access during a protected sharing transaction, that copy is illegal - the unauthorized copier is breaking copyright law.

    Those scenarios are fair not because of any feature of the physical copy, or the physical proximity of the friends. Rather, their recognized fairness is in recognition of the ancient tradition of friends sharing music, which the recent "temporary" artificial monopoly created by copyright didn't dare infringe. So our right to share music that way, in a shared simultaneous experience with friends, should be protected. If we're both tuned into a simultaneous stream of my music, that's fair use that's new only in the "space-shifting" feature, which doesn't define the sharing experience. The sooner we get the traditional fair use boundaries defined in terms of new technologies, the sooner we'll all be enjoying those familiar scenarios using the newer, freer media. And the sooner copyright owners will be reaching modern markets which want to use their material fairly.
  • by meanfriend (704312) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:06PM (#12515638)
    ... I wouldnt be watching Lost now. It's a densely packed storyline and I missed a couple episodes a while back. When I finally got back to it, someone who I thought was dead was alive and I didnt know what the f**k was going on.

    I was able to catch up on BT, and now I can follow it when it broadcasts. Otherwise I would have said to hell with it, and they would have lost a viewer (no pun intended).

    If past episodes were made available for download at a reasonable price, I would have paid for a handful of previous shows. I wouldnt even care if it was full commercials and DRM'd up the wazoo. For $2-$3 per episode, I would consider it just like a rental or buying a movie ticket. ie. a disposable purchase.

    Though I wonder how many people would download torrents instead of buying the inevitable DVD release. The quality of the episodes I saw was so poor that if I was really such a big fan of the show, a 300 MB divx would be no substitute for the proper DVD boxset. For many people though, if the downloaded episodes are 'good enough', then I could see how it could potentially impact DVD sales.
  • by Ka D'Argo (857749) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:07PM (#12515645) Homepage
    I've gotten my fair share of tv shows from online, some through BT some not.

    What's funny is the MPAA and other companies scream up a storm of how it's illegal and wrong, have they ever stopped to consider how much of a fucking monopoloy tv is?

    Case in point, I'm a huge sci fi fan. Take Trek as a main example. Sure if I'm at home during the day around 1pm I can catch TNG/DS9 reruns on "Spike" TV but most people with day jobs aren't home at that hour. Sure I could Tivo/DVR/VHS tape it but then again you have to deal with the inconsistances of stuff being prempted, etc Not to mention you're paying to record the stuff, those VHS tapes and blank DVD's aren't free, if you record it yer at least spending X amount of money on blank media.

    So as most people are unlucky to not be able to tape shows, such as my example, what options do we have?;

    - Wait till reruns begin/occur. Some shows are already in rerun syndication on other networks. Take Stargate. It has new episodes of SG-1 on the Sci Fi channel. but if you turn on say, the WB at 3 am some nights you catch old reruns of it. This falls into the above example of being able to record such things, as such times, in an affordable manner. And that doesn't take into account the current season of a show. Smallville just ended it's season (I think), so if you missed the last few episodes of the season you gotta wait till the end of Summer when the reruns of that season "catch up".

    - Buy the seasonal DVD's. Ok this is my main deterent. I'm a huge Trek fan, have been for 15 years. I own not one season or movie of Trek on DVD. Why? Walk into the cheapest department store there is. Seriously, go to Walmart or K-Mart or Target. See those prices? $80-100 for ONE season of basically any Trek. $80 fucking dollars. I don't need 20 extra DVD's, sure their nice but I just want the series, in DVD format in DVD quality all in one nice little package. I honestly cannont justify paying more than $30-40 per season of a TV show. If you want all 7 seasons of a Trek series, it's almost $800......I can buy a god damn CAR for that (or at least put a downpayment on a nice one). Now some DVD's have become more, economical. This past Christmas when Buffy season 7 came out, they released a holiday package deal, all 7 seasons for around $200-250. That is reasonable. I can justify that purchase for the cost. And you still can find a deal here there, Amazon.com knocks off a couple hundred bucks on big series like Trek, but still not much... Now remember when I said go to a department store? Try a large chain store like Best Buy, EB, Suncoast, Media Play, etc..Double those prices.

    - Avaiblility. Remeber how I mentioned the cheap stores and big expensive chain stores? What do you see most of in the dvd sections at Walmart or Kmart? New Releases. Sure they have a handful of tv seasonal dvd's but most likely the last that was released (i.e. you'll find Stargate Season 7 but not Season 1...). So what are you left with? Going to a store that specializes in electronics and shit like Best Buy or Samgoodie, whom have a nice HUGE selection of DVDs and such but charge INSANE prices. ($1200 for all of DS9 last time I checked...)

    The quality of tv just doesn't justify things in the end. I mean, for every Trek dvd or Scape DVD that's fairly expensive you'll find CRAP like American Idol or the latest incarnation of Survivor selling like hot-fucking-cakes for half the price. Hell I haven't watched anything on the Fox network in years (except 24) cause every night it's their prime time lineup of "Reality TV" shit. ABC, CBS etc follow either in the same suit or throwing out the 14th different spinoff of CSI or Law & Order o_O

    When prices are reasonable or tv schedules become more flexible in correlation with recording media prices then maybe I won't use BT for my source of entertainment.

  • by HillaryWBush (882804) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:08PM (#12515655)
    The BFAA (Burger Flipper Association of America) served me with a lawsuit for $2500 last week, due to my "refrigeration of as many as three pounds of copyrighted food". Apparently their business model is based on consumers consuming consumables immediately. "If you don't eat it while it's hot, it's like stealing from us," they said. What can I do? I don't like sitting in their restaurant because it smells like hot grease. They insist I have to because the advertisements in the joint are being delivered bundled with the food.
  • by Fortyseven (240736) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:09PM (#12515659) Homepage Journal
    Christ, leave us the fuck alone, you greedy fucking little corporate twats. TV swapping does NOTHING to bother you, except exist.

    I'm tired of this shit. Really fucking tired of it. Just leave things as is. People watch it first-run when it airs, you sell your fucking commercials.

    Holy shit I can't even formulate fucking words to express how goddamn angry I am right now.

    "Every television series depends on other markets (such as) syndication and international sales to earn back the enormous investment required to produce the comedies and dramas we all enjoy," MPAA Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman said in a statement. "Those markets are substantially hurt when that content is stolen."


    You fucking short-sighted asshole. By that logic selling series sets of shows on DVD must 'hurt syndication sales'. Bullshit. A set of 20+ HDTV Divx rips of a show taking up precious space on my hard drive isn't going to beat having a neat box DVD set of my favorite show with commentary and extras.

    And international sales? Bitch, if it wasn't for TV rips I wouldn't be watching getting into the seventh episode of the new Doctor Who. There's already a 2005 series DVD box set sale in me when it comes out, thanks to people making copies of the show for us to enjoy. I'm sure I'm not alone.

    You don't have to control every fucking little inch of your property with an iron fist. Sometimes the fans (remember what fans are?) can help bring in the cash better than whatever half-baked bullshit excuses you try to serve up to the media.

    ADAPT OR DIE.
  • by Bruha (412869) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @10:30PM (#12515790) Homepage Journal
    And how many had to record it on a dvr only to find out that the movie went 5 minutes past what all schedules published for the movie. My tivo missed the end and I had to download it off the net and view the end on my PC.

    Personally I consider it fair use if I already have a copy of the content I obtained legaly but I'm using the internet to get it in a different format instead of paying for utilities to do it I just basically leech off someone elses work.

    Course back in the real napster days I had a lot of cd's of mine stolen so I used napster to restore my muisc collection. Subsequently the drive carrying all that music died a year later. Which lacking napster I just quit buying cd's.

    And a warning to the MPAA and RIAA in the last few years I have severly cut back my cd/dvd purchases. You have put out nothing but crap lately. Hell last night I made the mistake of renting that damn steve zizou life aquatic movie. If there was any part of that that was interesting it must of been after the first 45 minutes I suffered and gave up on it being anything..

    I guess if I want to be entertained I'll just pirate your movie trailers. All the good parts are usually in there anyways.
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:25PM (#12516160) Homepage
    I rarely use the Internet distribution channel as a backup to my P/DVR. Occasionally I'll forget to check settings and recordings won't have proper padding, so front/back may be clipped. Also, the VCR tape may break and cause the loss of the entire night. The Internet is also useful for the rare instance that an affiliate refuses to carry content and/or has technical issues.

    For example, the show Family Guy recently went back on the air. The local Fox affiliate had technical issues that blocked analog transmission. DirecTV was also out since they were forced into only keeping the local feed (they should carry local and national feeds to the networks). Through Internet distribution, I was able to watch the show (the local affiliate eventually re-broadcast with network approval).

    The networks need to allow free or cheap downloads of aired shows. At least until a DVD set is released. Start offering free or cheap downloads and it will shut down some of these channels. The offerings will also bring greater validity to legal cases (because what is so wrong with distributing aired shows to others that may enjoy it?).
  • by Proc6 (518858) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:33PM (#12516200)
    I would pay $30 a month for just streaming Comdey Central where I refuse to pay $50 a month to Mediacom for Comedy Central and 30 other steaming piles of shit channels.

    Surely there's a way for "channels" to sell themselves on their website as well as part of a cable package?

  • by icedphoenix (883685) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:41PM (#12516241) Homepage
    Seriously, I don't think these guys get it. Anyone remember the latest Harry Potter book? Remember that part where Fred and George set off a multitude of fireworks in the school and Umbridge was forced to run around extingiushing them all? I believe what she tried to do at one time was stun one out of existence and it just ended up multiplying.

    So, imagine. MPAA and RIAA executives, whose collective IQ is about half that of a kid with Down Syndrome. They're Umbridge.

    Their goal: make torrent download sites obsolete.

    Take the RIAA . They succeeded in shutting down Napster and they rejoiced that it was the end of music swapping... or not. Napster died, Morpheus, Kazaa, WinMX, Gnutella, and Bittorrent rose to prominence and actually made the problem worse.

    So, the MPAA seems intent on killing Bittorrent. They managed to get to suprnova, Lokitorrents, and few other sites. The result? A plethora of suprnova clones that are alive and thriving.

    Do these organizations remind you of a dog that chases his own tail?

    It almost makes me want to stop teaching and go into business because if these executives have IQs of -4 and still manage to make millions, imagine what me with my IQ could accomplish.
  • FEAR NOT! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnovos (447128) <`ten.deppihc' `ta' `sovong'> on Thursday May 12, 2005 @11:41PM (#12516245) Homepage Journal
    If it's not on cable (i.e. broadcast via normal radio waves OR sattelite) and it's being broadcast in an area near ME, then you have nothing to worry about... I own the rights already, and I feely allow you to redistribute the content.

    You see my body has an EULA. In order to pass radio waves through it, you must agree to the EULA. This EULA states that you transfer the intellectual property rights to all your content (radio & teleivion are specified) to me for a perior of 347 years from the date of using my body as a transport medium.
  • Dr. Who???? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bill_kress (99356) on Friday May 13, 2005 @12:10AM (#12516406)
    I kinda got used to the new Dr Who! It's pretty good! How am I supposed to get it in America now? I guess eventually DVDs MIGHT go on sale, and they MIGHT be playable in American DVDs...

    You'd think the BBC could just open up all its content as bit torrents (I understand they have opened up quite a bit!) and just charge people to be able to decode the videos. Why not?
  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by el_womble (779715) on Friday May 13, 2005 @04:42AM (#12517504) Homepage

    My one gripe with 'stolen' bittorent TV is that they rip the advertisments out. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather watch TV without adverts, but I also understand that making TV is not cheap and that somebody has got to pay for it and until Apple gets it together and start selling TV that means adverts.

    I understand that its not a perfect solution. At the moment, advertisers pay networks, networks commission production houses and production houses pay the staff. But whilst they still exist distribution networks should be embracing this as, so long as the adverts are intact, they are getting paid for nothing. Geeks rip the TV using legal software and distibute it at their own expense. Advertisers hit a bigger market, and if the networks are savvy they can charge advertisers more. Where is the problem?

    Here is my prediction for a happier TV future

    1. Regular TV. Bored? Watched your faourite shows already? Why not sit back, open a can of beer and channel surf for a bit. Sure there are more adverts, no pausing and you can't choose whats next, but who cares?
    2. Free Internet TV. Download your favourite shows from network websites for free with the adverts on. Sure they're released after the show was aired, but if you could have watched it then you would have.
    3. Apple TV. ITMS expands to show your favourite shows 2 weeks early, with no ads for $0.50 a show. Sure its expensive, but the quality is l33t, and you feel like your a TV god. Its got DRM which limits Joe Public from distributing it legally. Apple modify the Bittorent protocol to reduce bandwidth costs.
    4. DVDs and merchanise. Fans love em. Geeks love em. The highest quality money can buy, with additional bonus material and a cool box. They released just before the season finally on TV and generate an additional income for shows that are genuinely good.

    The technology is there already. TV networks need to wake up and start doing this now.

  • by TrentC (11023) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:35AM (#12517663) Homepage
    I'm so glad this happened.

    See, I've been without cable for probably going on 3-4 years now. And we get crappy reception, so broadcast TV doesn't work well either.

    I was pretty happy with my lack of TV until someone told me where I could get full episodes of The Daily Show via bittorrent. So I downloaded Azureus [sf.net] since it has a couple of nifty RSS plugins and started gathering them.

    Then I noticed other shows on the list. Wait a minute, is that really the new Battlestar Galactica? I watched the mini-series at a friend's house, this is great! I downloaded them all, and I told my friends who watched it when it finally aired on Sci-Fi in the U.S. I also started to get Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, since those were a couple of weeks ahead of the U.S. (and I was basically getting mega-doses at a TiVo-owning friend's house).

    I was renting Smallville through Netflix, but when I hit the end of season 3, I started getting those through bittorrent as well. Then the new Doctor Who showed up, and I was thrilled; the show is good, and I was telling my friends in the hopes that it would eventually hit the U.S. in DVD form.

    I was basically starting to reconsider getting cable again -- the downloads are nice, but I have a small hard drive, and I work a swing shift, so they're not always done when I get home -- and perhaps even springing for a TiVo since I can't be home to watch stuff when it normally airs. Then I got home to read this article.

    So I have to say, thanks MPAA! With this incredibly fucktarded move on your part, you have lost a potential paying customer, probably for good.

    You almost made me forget what short-sighted, greedy fools you were. I'll not make that mistake again.

    Jay (=

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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