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Paramount Pictures To Release Film On Bittorrent 178

TheyreNotTheir writes "In a little over two months time, the long-awaited horror movie The Tunnel will receive its world premiere. Rather than a traditional theatrical release, the movie – which is set in abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, Australia – will make its debut online for free with BitTorrent. Simultaneously it will be released on physical DVD, to be distributed by Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures."
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Paramount Pictures To Release Film On Bittorrent

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  • MPAA will not care (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:26AM (#35515494)
    Smart money says people still end up in court being sued for distributing it anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zethreal ( 982453 )
      Unfortunately, I think you're right. Either that or they're planning on recording all the IP's that connect to it for "tracking" purposes.
      • by grub ( 11606 )
        That's what I was thinking. We must shop at the same hatter.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So encourage all your friends, family etc who never (as opposed to 'never') download movies to grab it, and watch it at one of their places. Go go gadget red herring :)

      • Unfortunately, I think you're right. Either that or they're planning on recording all the IP's that connect to it for "tracking" purposes.

        I'll wait till the put it out on USENET.

    • by Skarecrow77 ( 1714214 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:32AM (#35515584)

      It's a trap!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure they will, because despite all the asshole pirates claims of "If movie studios adapted to modern technology we wouldn't pirate", some asshole will rip the non free features off the DVD and put up a torrent.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Extremely likely. These same assholes are why we have so much ad ware on Android and now these pricks are working overtime removing ad ware from *FREE* applications; thusly ensuring the developers receive no income. These pricks literally have proven piracy is doing financial harm, if its not its sole reason for doing so, to lots of small companies and individuals. To not call them criminals is to be delusional. Worse, a lot of these scum bags will then take their stolen applications and resale them via mem

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @12:02PM (#35517726)

          I hate to break it to you, but the people modifying their apps or phones to remove ads are the types that never - never as in, never in their entire lifetimes - willingly click on ads. Your post has as much truth to it as saying that Chinese or Russian piraters cause massive financial loss (while ignoring that they never bought any paid apps in the first place).

          Also... I'm not going to lax my general iptables rule so I can view ads on your goddamn app. If your app uses internet connectivity only for ads then it's already broken.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's at best being terrible at sarcasm and at worst you're being deliberately obtuse. After all, it was posted HERE before that they planned on this all along as a way to drum up interest in the under-budget film already. Source. []

      That aside, I think everyone here who has ever bitched at the MPAA should at least do a little research and find out that, one of the many reasons that they're having trouble funding this film is because they're going against the grain and not opting for a huge distribution m
      • Oh, please. The MPAA is far too evil and closed-minded to ever get any consideration for this. The MPAA would still be viewed with suspicion if they donated a dollar to a homeless person or a million dollars to an orphanage. And by 'donated' I mean 'gave without suing them afterwards for depriving the MPAA of revenue that they believe was rightfully theirs'.
    • I also predict that the MPAA will use "lower than average sales" to back up their claims of losses due to P2P sharing and other downloading.

      It is really hard to prove a negative or that something isn't happening because of something else. This may be an attempt to create a heavier preponderance of evidence to support their claim of losses due to downloads.

    • How? If the copyright holder is releasing it for redistribution, then I fail to see how redistribution under their terms could be considered unauthorized, unless the DVD is higher quality and someone rips that and torrents it, in which case Paramount will have a legitimate case since they only authorized the lower-quality version for torrent distribution.

      I think their goal on this is simple. I suspect Paramount wants this movie to have absolutely abysmal DVD sales. That way, they can point at the sales f

      • If they really wanted to check their prices versus what the public is willing to pay they'd set up a "pay what you think is fair" website. They probably want to see how many people are really torrenting, and maybe get some inflated piracy numbers. Tracking IPs seems unlikely, but I suppose with the viral nature of a free movie saving on advertising and a negligible cost for distribution, they could easily invest big money in some digi-sleuth firm.

        Without knowing where the public's perception of a fair price

      • Actually it's even worst then that. What they are doing is a win-win situation for them. On the one hand if few download the content, Paramount can claim that people only torrent for illegal reasons. On the otherhand if lots download the content, Paramount can claim that people only want to torrent backing it's philosophy that it's cutting into it's profits. On top of that they get to datamine IP Addresses that can be researched for other infringement. So basically what I suggest is people ignore both th
        • This "legal torrent, honest!" deal is pretty much the Sheriff of Nottingham setting up the archery contest in order for Robin Hood and his men to reveal themselves.
    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      Smart money says this is an experiment to see just how prolific torrents and online use is. There is nothing here to suggest they will sue people. That's all in your head.

      If anything, this is a sign that they might be wising up.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:27AM (#35515514) Journal

    The question now is whether the film will be leaked onto Bittorrent before the official Bittorrent release.

    • Re:Will it leak? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:58AM (#35515964)

      The more important question is - how will you know it's okay to download it? I mean, what differentiates one movie on bit torrent versus another? It sounds like this just muddies things. After all, if one movie is okay to download on bit torrent (and I don't know what would identify it as being authorized to download by the copyright holder when you're looking at a torrent index) and a movie that isn't?

      • That's the trap. Trick people who don't currently download movies into doing it. Thus increasing the number of people you can sue to make money.

        • I really don't think there's even remotely a shortage of people to sue.
          • It's still good business to increase your customer base give an opportunity. I image suing has become a major revenue stream for the *IAA. So why segregate the rest of the market? Give everyone a chance to be sued.

            Just make it so you can throw darts at a phone book and pick names to sue rather then having to actually do some "research" or some such thing.
      • If I download software for free from the developer's website, then it is almost certainly legal. If I download software from someone's random rapidshare folder then it probably isn't.

        If I torrent a file from the official publisher's website, then I can safely assume it is legal. If I torrent something I randomly found on piratebay then it probably isn't. And if it is, it is almost assuredly available on an official site somewhere, so why bother with piratebay to begin with.

        Bittorrent isn't an amorphous clou

        • by Seumas ( 6865 )

          So when the same torrent is indexed by numerous sites out there, it suddenly becomes illegitimate, because the user clicked on it through an indexer rather than directly through the site? It's the same content from the same source, either way. You just got the index from a different location. How is it suddenly illegitimate if you ran across it on piratebay, if the tracker inside the torrent is the legitimate server in the first place? Unless they're somehow going to turn it into a private tracker that you

          • by pavon ( 30274 )

            You are being intentionally obtuse. No it doesn't become illegitimate, you just have no way of knowing whether it is legitimate. The point is that if you care about whether the files are legitimate or not you will get them from the official source, not some third party. Furthermore, if you can't find the files on any official site, then they probably aren't legitimate. It really isn't that hard to tell.

          • One of the best ways to track ants back to the nest is to lay out a cupcake.

            It would be interesting to see if the DMCA folks have deployed bots and will looking for this file in transit; leaving the courts trying to separate out leaches from newbies

            Certain parties in the name of copyright have already been cited as poisoning torrents as far back as 2005.

            Will they be tracing and then analyzing the UL/DL. If "private" torrents are encrypting having a well known file helps break or isolate the encryption in u

      • The more important question is - how will you know it's okay to download it? I mean, what differentiates one movie on bit torrent versus another? It sounds like this just muddies things. After all, if one movie is okay to download on bit torrent (and I don't know what would identify it as being authorized to download by the copyright holder when you're looking at a torrent index) and a movie that isn't?

        This isn't a particuarly new thing, its been possible to get legal movies from bittorrent for a few years; search for public domain torrents (I've not been there in a while, I think the site is or org or something).

      • by sorak ( 246725 )

        The more important question is - how will you know it's okay to download it? I mean, what differentiates one movie on bit torrent versus another? It sounds like this just muddies things. After all, if one movie is okay to download on bit torrent (and I don't know what would identify it as being authorized to download by the copyright holder when you're looking at a torrent index) and a movie that isn't?

        They could put a magnet hash on their site and have a disclaimer stating "This is the legal one. We can't vouch for what other sites host".

  • 1 - Make movie
    2 - Put it on torrent for free
    3 - Profit?
    • by pyalot ( 1197273 )
      FTFY 1 - Make movie 2 - Put t on torrent 3 ... 4 - Make a profit suing people
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people (claim?) to buy games/movies/software after "trying them out" from bit torrent downloads.

      This will be an interesting business model test.

      • by Xacid ( 560407 )

        Same thing I'm wondering. I'm immensely glad a company finally has the foresight to at least give it a try.

      • Re:Profit? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:38AM (#35515674)

        Hasnt the Humble Indie Bundle already done this??

        • Re:Profit? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:18AM (#35516230)

          No. The Humble Indie Bundle on bittorrent was just regular piracy. Of course it was only pirated because of the invasiveness of its non-existant DRM and its outrageous price of a whole dollar.

          • This comment made my morning.
          • by IICV ( 652597 )

            Like most things, it was pirated primarily because it was there, not out of some specific desire for the Humble Indie Bundle games. Statements like yours make the mistake of assuming that people pirate things like the Humble Indie Bundle because they want it; in fact, the case is exactly the opposite - they almost certainly pirated it because they saw no reason not to.

            Most people who pirate things are really nothing more than information packrats - they'll grab any interesting-looking set of files just beca

      • Re:Profit? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Stenchwarrior ( 1335051 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:55AM (#35515916)
        It's a good idea, but if they really wanted to see if it works then they would release a film with some big-name actors. This just looks like some B-movie pseudo-thriller.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... = When people download it from BT and realize it sucks balls and therefore don't buy the DVD, claim that it's evidence that the pirates are TEH EVIL!

      Note: I have no idea if the movie will be good or not, but it's a fair bet that the studios wouldn't do this with a movie they thought had a decent chance to make $$$ the old-fashioned way.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by lxs ( 131946 )

        It's a straight to DVD release, if I RTFA correctly, so my guess is that they expect it to aspriate orbs.

      • by Seumas ( 6865 )

        Chances are, they're using this to screw over the director or producer or someone else who has a stake in things. Kind of like when a musician is stuck in a shitty contract for two more albums and just releases shit to undermine the label.

    • by leuk_he ( 194174 )

      1. Make film
      2. Put crappy divx on torrent.
      3. Put superior dvd on sales.

      Guess which version will be more popular...

      BTW.. Next blockbuster might follow old Theathe -> rental -> DVD -> cable tv -> public tv model again....

      • 1. Make film
        2. Put crappy divx on torrent.
        3. Put superior dvd on sales.

        Guess which version will be more popular...

        The crappy divx on torrent. What do I win?

        • If the popularity of CAM and Telesync released on the internet have anything to say about it, you are probably right.
      • Re:Profit? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:07AM (#35516050)
        What would be clever is releasing the Divx on a torrent, but making the torren pan-and-scan and standard def, mono audio, burned in French subtitles, and corrupt the datastream a little so that every few minutes the picture hangs. Such a torrent might be "good enough" for people that wanted to casually watch the movie, and would divert them from a better pirated copies, particularly if you made sure it was very easy to find, but would be unacceptable if you actually wanted to enjoy watching the movie, and would stimulate you to go buy the real one.
        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          Someone would just rip a good version and upload it.

        • and would stimulate you to go buy the real one.

          I don't think so. Part of the reason people elect to not "go buy the real one" is because "the real one" has built up a reputation for not being as good as the pirate releases. If the torrent is pan-and-scan and has burned-in French subtitles and corruption, people seeing it will think, "Damn, the DVD must have been really bad for the cleaned up and improved version to be as bad as this."

          What they ought to be doing, is skip the bittorrent release altogethe

          • Remove all the reasons that people pirate, and publicize like crazy that they've done this.

            The studios would not be rewarded ... most people don't particularly understand what DRM is, and only rarely encounter it preventing them from watching a movie, and instead of making peace with a few torrenters it would just cause everybody to rip everything all the time. A consumer, who would otherwise be disposed to pay for a movie, would suddenly ask themselves "Why should I pay for a movie when a thousand kids on

        • Not really... as soon as the physical copies hit the stores they'll get ripped and the original torrent will die.
      • The same answer as always - which ever one is cheaper. It has already been proven when software selling for $1 in a DRM-free package is being downloaded on Bittorrent, unauthorized, for free. Given the option of having something for free, or paying, I would guess the majority of folks would choose free.
    • Wouldn't surprise me one bit if rather than fighting this around the world that they will succumb to blatant product placement throughout the movie. Look for lots of Coke cans, iPhones, laptops of a certain variety, certain car manufacture with logo prominent, etc...
  • by elsJake ( 1129889 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:35AM (#35515642)
    Donate and or buy it if you like it , they're testing new grounds and we need to prove we're not hypocrites.
    The slashdot crowd seems to follow the "try before you buy" mentality , so if you end up enjoying the movie , put your money were your mouth is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, you'd advocate a battered housewife go back to the abusive husband as long as he says "I won't hurt you *this* time!" right?

      And no, that's not to extreme. If anything, it's not extreme enough. The MPAA destroys families forever through their ridiculous tactics. At least bruises heal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:42AM (#35515722)


      Henchman 1: I know! Let's release a piss poor movie on BitTorrent, asking for donations. When it fails we'll prove it's a failed model!
      MPAA Bossman: Brilliant! But... which movie shall we release?
      Henchman 1: ???
      Henchman 2: ???
      Henchman 3: ???
      MPAA Bossman: Ha ha, you should see the looks on your faces. *throws a dart at the board* They're all piss poor!
      All: Huzzah!


        Submitter: Paramount Pictures to release film on Bittorrent for free.
        Slashdotter 1: Sounds cool. Let's show them this model can work.
        Slashdotter 2: No, it's part of an evil plot to somehow sue us.
        Slashdotter 3: Worse, it's part of a plot to show the free model can't work.
        Slashdotter 4: Yeah, they will trap us with a piss-poor movie to show us we are a bunch of thieves.
        Slashdotter 1: Guess you're right. Evil bastards!

        For once the movie studios are trying to do something our way, like we w

    • by Wiarumas ( 919682 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:56AM (#35515936)
      Seems like a strawman technique to me though. "Hey everyone, the movie pirates were liars - they didn't buy this terrible movie after downloading it for free off Bittorent!" If it was a half decent movie, I would most likely download it and buy it if I liked it... but a horror movie titled Tunnel? Not interested in even the free version.
    • LOL like THAT will happen! Why should you expect this free download to be treated any differently than any other? Contrary to rationalization, movie and music downloaders aren't making a political statement. They just want shit for free.

  • I think a real option would be to release low-quality versions as free, or discount ($0.99 movies, $0.10 music) downloads. You could certainly get the gist of it, but leave enough distortion to make people considering buying the full version. Plus, smaller file sizes for those low-qual dl's might actually save money? Someone sharing a full quality version wouldn't be able to use the excuse, and the low-quals would be free advertising.
    • I think the poster meant "someone downloading the full quality version wouldn't be able to use the excuse they can't afford the movie". Yeah, I'm positive that's what he meant.
  • The movie probably sucks, however this is surprising since I think it was Paramount that was the last one to start releasing movies on DVD. I don't quite remember the reason they gave, probably piracy or not wanting high quality copies of their movies floating around.
  • To be completely honest, I'm too lazy to download it off bit torrent. If I want to watch it I'll either get it off netflix or buy it off something like This probably isn't a big enough movie to move me to hit the redbox for it.

    I suppose I'm representative of a lot of 30-something's. I've got an income. I've got more responsibilities than I care to deal with. My time is precious and I'm more than willing to trade a few bucks to plop down on the couch, pull up the app, and start the movie
    • by slim ( 1652 )

      Hmm, I tend to bittorrent stuff because I'm too lazy to go the official route.

      Bittorrent: (assuming a BT client is installed) click link. Wait. AVI is on my disk.
      Official route: a bunch of form filling, trailer watching, requiring a viewer with DRM extensions, etc.

      I can watch non-DRM'd AVIs on my TV using my Xbox. I have to watch iPlayer on my laptop. Yes, I could plug my laptop into my TV, but there are various problems with that, which I'm too lazy to describe here, let alone resolve.

      • Yeah, using laziness or "my time is precious" as the reason to not bittorrent, is really weird. There are reasons not to bittorrent, but saving time or effort ain't among them. Nothing is as easy and point-and-click. All I can think of, is that this person's computer is hard-to-use, or he doesn't have an HTPC yet.

      • , I tend to bittorrent stuff because I'm too lazy to go the official route... I can watch non-DRM'd AVIs on my TV using my Xbox.

        In response to someone who says they use Netflix? If only there was a way to watch Netflix on your Xbox.

        And if not streaming, it's no harder to select a DVD on Netflixs than a torrent on BT.

  • Rather deliberate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Last time I saw a trailer for this, it looked ridiculous. With a rather small production budget too, it's being set up to fail. "Waaah, when we do what the pirates want, they still won't make us money!"

    Of course I won't. I don't have a habit of buying inferior products over an inferior mechanism, so why do they expect visa-versa?

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Vice versa ("with position turned", or some Latin equivalent, instead of "visa" versa, which comes via French meaning roughly "paper that has been seen" and, presumably, turned).

      And that would mean you don't buy good products over a good mechanism, because of the way you worded the sentence.

    • Maybe that is the point. It's possibly a shitty movie and perhaps the cost of getting it to theaters, promotion, etc is not worth the estimated return of doing it. So they release it on DVD, throw it out there on BitTorrent for free and hope to get ANYTHING for this movie at this point.
    • Of course it's going to be a low budget movie , no exec would ever approve busting open tens of millions of dollars on a movie so they can release it for free and "hope for some buys" without a serious dosage of crack in their coffee.
  • by The Evil Twin ( 217345 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:48AM (#35515828) Homepage

    Release a bad movie as an experiment.
    Watch nobody buy it because it sucks.
    Point and shout "You see? Nobody will buy this stuff without restrictive copyright law!!!!"

  • I bought twenty-five frames quite awhile ago now, anyone else?
  • It's a trick.
  • by airfoobar ( 1853132 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:24AM (#35516316)

    The summary is incredibly misleading, I think. It's not a trick, it's not a trap. Ackbar lied to you.

    What's happening is, the creators of the movie (who have always planned on releasing their movie on torrent) now also have a 'hard copy' DVD release planned. The DVD release is being distributed by Paramount HE, but it still seems quite clear that the rights are held by the movie creators, not the distributors as is usually the case. This is similar with what Paley did with Sita Sings the Blues, and it's a Good Thing (TM).

    If you people can now stop speculating and go support [] this initiative, it would be great!!

  • by Reeses ( 5069 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @10:52AM (#35516696)

    This is the first time I've ever asked for Slashdot to dupe a story.

    But, post this again, in 60 days, when the movie is out so I can get it.

  • I thought they were releasing a movie all about BitTorrent. Funny thing is I'd pay to a download of a movie about P2P if it were well made and objective. This? I won't even download it for free.

    • by srussia ( 884021 )

      I thought they were releasing a movie all about BitTorrent.

      Me too, I guess I was looking forward to something like "Bram Cohen's Trackula".

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      You're on Slashdot! They're telling you now because THEY want the movie early. And they figure that now that they told all of us about it, it should be on BitTorrent in 3..2..1...
  • That is called a "honeypot."

  • The film's production company, Distracted Media, is releasing it on BitTorrent, apparently with the consent of Paramount Home Entertainment Australia, who is handling the DVD distribution. Paramount themselves are not releasing the firm on BitTorrent. RTFA.

  • If they want to make this experiment real, DVD as the only source of payments is a huge mistake. They need a theatrical release AND a simple donation system along with DVD release, all from day one. They'll learn that:

    • DVD is pretty much dead. Round pieces of shiny plastic are for collectors, not for general consumers anymore.
    • Theaters are here to stay. Free Internet release will make the movie fail in theaters only if it really sucks. If it's at least halfway decent, it's going to amplify its success in the
  • 1. Release free movie over BT
    2. Sue everyone who downloads for $3k settlement
    3. Profit!!!!

  • I'd consider experimentally pre-releasing several, if not all, films on bittorrent for free. With a minor twist: they'd all be 80% of the screened version, that is, without the happy ending :-)

  • i'm not sure i could watch The Descent again.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky