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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

Bootleg Star Wars AotC Debuts on Internet 575

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the goes-with-the-territory dept.
Arctic Fox writes "Matt Drudge is reporting that bootleg copies of the new Star Wars movie have been appearing on the internet one week before the movie's big screeen debut. The article says that they have used a tripod mounted camera at a pre-screening to tape it. Not known is if anyone is seen walking in front of the camera." I gotta admit, I find this amusing, although I'd never bother downloading it: I've had 12:01 tickets ready to go and there is no way I'm gonna spoil it watching a low quality divx.
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Bootleg Star Wars AotC Debuts on Internet

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  • Publicity (Score:2, Funny)

    by CptSkydrop (577286)
    Maybes it George wanting to get some more publicity ?
  • This is one case where I wish the DMCA WOULD swing into action...
    • by soap.xml (469053) <ryanNO@SPAMpcdominion.net> on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:09AM (#3496473) Homepage
      If you give the DMCA any place to work, even with something like this, you are validating it as a law. The DMCA is not the solution here. It is simply copyright infringment. Plain, old fashioned copyright infringment. Its illegal, period. We don't need some stupid new law to tell us that. But my personal take on it is simply this. If you want to dl it.... go ahead. I won't, I'm watching it the day it comes out. Then I'll buy the dvd when it comes out, after lucas releases all of the dvd's Ill have a big star wars party and we will watch them in high quality, legally.

      Those with the low-qual divx may see it frist, but nothing beats the "big screen" :)

      • You do realize that if your friends don't own a copy of the movies, they are not allowed to watch them.
      • DMCA != DMCA (Score:3, Informative)

        by yerricde (125198)

        The DMCA is not the solution here.

        The DMCA is not the "DMCA".

        There are two laws both called the DMCA. One DMCA consists of 17 USC chapter 12 [cornell.edu], which prohibits cracking 8-bit XOR encryption used as an access control device. The other DMCA consists of a takedown procedure (17 USC 512 [cornell.edu]) that ISPs can follow to maintain a safe harbor. There are also several riders on the DMCA that reverse MAI v. Peak, protect vessel hulls, and affect some operations of the U.S. Copyright Office. See this PDF [loc.gov] for more information.

        It is simply copyright infringment. Plain, old fashioned copyright infringment. Its illegal, period.

        I agree 100%.

    • Jeez ... some people fail to see the sarcasm. NO, I don't support the DMCA. I've just read some horrid reviews of this thing, and
  • by Yoda2 (522522) on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:50AM (#3496336)
    Yeah but to watch it now and then go to the first screening and ruin all the good parts for those sitting near you might be a kick.
  • hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hadlock (143607)
    befre anyone says "we don't need no stinking movie news! i'm here for /computer/ stuff!", we should suggest a movie box?

    what's next? "new movie, blah is to be released in 8 weeks. the first copies of it on divx are already appearing on the internet. this release beats the old record by 3 and a half hours."?
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by ChazeFroy (51595)
      Here's a link [isonews.com] to the group's NFO file that released it. The only thing of value in it, aside from the usual cast, plot, etc:

      SUPPLiER....:[TEAM FTFVCD] SiZE:Cd1:xx/50 CD2:xx/45]
      RUNTiME.....:[132 min] FORMAT....:[NTSC VCDTS ]

      We are pleased to bring you this early release of One of the most anticipated movies of the summer. We enjoy helping the scene out wherever we can. Haters don't bother us, fans we appreciate.
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Funny)

      "Bootleg Star Wars AotC Debuts on Internet"

      Yeah, this happenned before the movie officially came out. I am sure we are not suprised.

      But I will laugh uproariously if a slashdot poll asking people what they thought of the movie appears before the movie officially comes out.

      Slashdot Poll: AOTC?
      1. Only Better than TFM
      2. Beats all other StarWars
      3. It nearly beats the Spice Girls Movie
      4. I miss Jar-Jar
      5. Sorry I only have 28.8K.
      6. CowboyNeal told me it was GRRRREEAT!

  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:51AM (#3496343) Homepage
    ARG...Taco, you keep bragging about that damn ticket, I am gonna have to drive over to the west side of the state and take it just so you won't brag any more.

    you still suck though for having it :-) have fun.
  • by Skirwan (244615) <skerwin@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:52AM (#3496346) Homepage
    For those who haven't caught on yet, this is why the MPAA and RIAA dislike technology so strongly.

    --
    Damn the Emperor!
    • well, if the MPAA would do a better job of searching folk before they let them come into the prescreening, then this would not be an issue would it.
      • well, if the MPAA would do a better job of searching folk before they let them come into the prescreening, then this would not be an issue would it.
        So, let me get this straight... when they go out of their way to prevent piracy, via CSS or protected CDs, that's wrong... but when someone does pirate something, it's their own damned fault for not trying hard enough to prevent it?

        Double standard much?

        --
        Damn the Emperor!
        • So, let me get this straight... when they go out of their way to prevent piracy, via CSS or protected CDs, that's wrong... but when someone does pirate something, it's their own damned fault for not trying hard enough to prevent it?

          If, in order to prevent piracy, they also prevent (or greately encumber in a pure artificial manner) perfectly lawful uses, that's wrong. It's called "throwing away the baby with the dirty water".

          It's just simple as that.

    • For those who haven't caught on yet, this is why the MPAA and RIAA dislike technology so strongly.

      Oh yeah, these 'perfect' copies remind me of trying to watch softporn through static on TMC.

      "Standard" piracy isn't any better, or more widespread, than it was in the 80's.

      Sure there's high quality stuff out there, but there's high quality drugs out there too.. Which do you think you'll get a hold of?

      I think of it like Fort Knox:
      Where do you find pirated movies? The Internet.
      Where do you find Gold bars? Fort Knox.
      Where CAN you get pirated movies. The internet, sort of, if you know the FTP site, or manage to have a complete news server, then MAYBE..
      Where CAN you get gold? Fort Knox, if you have a small army with you..

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The movie is completed already. The MPAA refuses to sell you a CD copy of it, so they are leaving it up to the pirates to fill a market demand that they don't want to bother to satisfy.

      A large percentage of the piracy situation involves just this exact sort of situation: the material is out there, and the company won't sell it, so piracy flourishes. This has nothing to do with denying profits to creators, since they have decided that they don't want the profits by not selling it.
      • What nonsense.

        They did not decide they "don't want the profits." It's their property. They spent $140 million creating it. They aren't under any compulsion to sell it, profits or no.

        How about I come over to your house, make copies of your home movies of you getting banged by your boyfriend, and then sell them on the 'net. You COULD have made a profit from them, but choose not to. And you still have the originals, so I'm not really "stealing," am I?

        Nobody here but us rational economic actors.

      • Just because the movie is ready NOW and not released or not on DVD does not make it ok to pirate it. The studios are certainly within their rights to release it whenever they want for whatever reasons they want. They after all footed the bill to make it. I'm tired of all the flawed logic people use to justify their crimes.

        Using this same logic can I rape a woman I am on a date with and then in my defense say that she told me she wasn't ready yet but did say she was interested in me but would like to wait just a little longer? This happens and guys go free with the right defense team and many women get hurt and sometimes emotionally damaged for life. Naturally this is a lot worse than pirating a movie or CD but the point I am making is when you start along that path of justifying crimes you make it easier to overlook some of the more serious evils out there.

        Let the copyright holders control their content. When it comes to the point of them controlling how you view or use your legitimate copy of that content within your domain (and I ain't talking about no internet domains. *grin*) then you can cry foul and scream fair use.

        "Information doesn't necessarily want to be free. I just can't afford all that I want right now." -Me
    • The problem isn't that they don't like people watching their movies or listening to their music without paying. The problem is that they go way overboard with the actions to prevent it.

      When you shoot everyone with the same hair colour as the bad guy, you shouldn't be surprised that people start to hate you.

    • Have you actually downloaded it and watched it?

      Has anyone?

      In looking around I have seen files with the name, but they are always bogus. Big time bogus. Different movie, not large enough, etc.

      Has anyone for a single second considered that this could be a disinformation campaign created by the MPAA?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's out, it's real, it's not very good quality but it's not a DIVX. You may find it in DIVX form but it was not released as such. Yes 99% of the DIVX crap you find on kazaa / gnutella / whatever is mislabeled but that's just because p2p networks blow.

        As for quality, I would post a screenshot but slashdot does not allow attachments so I'll simply tell you how it was made. Someone took a high quality digital camera, put it on a tripod, attached a direct audio feed (no hollow theater sound), and recorded.

        I have no intention of watching it in this form, quality isn't good enough but I am very impressed by the early release. Nice job FTF.
        • Once again, prove it.

          Which network did you find it on?

          What was the filename?

          Which IRC chatroom should I go to?
    • For those who haven't caught on yet, this is why the MPAA and RIAA dislike technology so strongly.

      And you think this is really going to cut into Lucas' bottom line, how? If anything, this should stand as a perfect example of why such things don't matter because I'm sure Star Wars is going to make beaucoup bucks this weekend despite the availability of bootlegs.

    • This problem is not one of technology, but one of trust between the theater owner/operator and the movie industry.

      No amout of DRM will prevent this kind of piracy.

      Of course they can try to outlaw camcorders...
    • For those who haven't caught on yet, this is why the MPAA and RIAA dislike technology so strongly.

      Yeah, they're under attack... from the clones!

      Ba-dum bum.

  • by dstanley (244917) on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:53AM (#3496351)
    I downloaded a bootleg version of LOTR when it came out. It realy spoils the awe that accompanies seeing the film on the big screen for the first time. Having made the mistake once, I won't do it again. After all, the wait is just like waiting for Christmas as a little kid.

    Thats what I think, anyway.
  • thank jesus (Score:2, Funny)

    by tps12 (105590)

    SPOILER WARNING FOLLOWS

    I just downloaded it off Napster, and it is not that great. Jar-Jar gets trained in the ways of the Jedi, which is cool, but then he gets killed by Yoda.

    :(

  • I bought some 00.01 tickets for me and my friends, and I'm not willing to destroy all the tension and curiousity about it by such a f****** divx.
  • I gave up on downloading cams when someone promised "Spider-Man - 1 of 2 - Real!!" And it was ACTUALLY Part 2 of Changing Lanes. Man, KaZaa is a mixed blessing.

    On the other hand, I am fortunate enough to live within close proximity to one of the "sacred places" specified by Wired that have digital projection. Cinemark started selling tickets Monday morning, but didn't advertise them until Tuesday. By then, word of mouth had already sold out the 12:01am show online, and I had stopped down Monday afternoon to the kiosk in the Valley View Cinemark lobby to claim my tickets.:)

    Next thing you know, I'm EVERYONE's best friend. I ordered 12 tickets (the most I wanted to spend on tickets on my credit card wa $100) and they were gone to friends and co-workers in 2 hours. The next day and a half, I got 4 calls from people BEGGING me to bump other confirmed viewers! :(

    I just told them to pre-order for Thursday or Friday night. In the mean time, I'm taking a Jedi Holiday on Thursday, with my boss'es blessing, because Wednesday night I'm lining up! I may not own any Star Wars costumes or merchandise, but the movie is going to rock, and the cultural experience of being there opening night with the HARD CORE SW folks is too unique to miss.
    • why download ts and cams? i always wait for the dvdrips to come out..

      this movie is going to suck anyway and you know it. why not spend your money on some QUALITY movies instead that deserve your money, not this hollywood crapovera.

    • I have friends with 100's of cds of movies downloaded from the net. as DIVX is non-streamable, there are some programs to make a valid DIVX file from a download from Kazaa/Morpheus/etc, just to check if the rest of the movie is worth downloading.

      I have friends with lots of movies obtained this way. If one of them downloads a new movie, it will be shared among all the others.

      The thing that strikes me odd in the previous post is the people that rename movies to fool others into downloading them. It's not like a few years ago in BBS were we had the upload/download ratio, and sometimes we just pumped something in with a goodlooking file name to be able to download something. These are p2p networks. They will get nothing more from the network, and will probably pay for the bandwith to upload the movie.
  • by RedCard (302122) on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:55AM (#3496375)

    Now, I forget exactly which slashdot editor it was that posted "the lone gunmen are dead" several hours early...
    ... but whoever they are they should be forced to watch the divx BEFORE being allowed to see the movie.
    And the divx should be as grainy, low quality, and stuttery as possible.

    Poetic justice.
  • by nemesisj (305482) on Friday May 10, 2002 @09:59AM (#3496405) Homepage
    Having lived in Asia for 15+ years, I can say that this is the way that almost all new movies makes if over there.

    Somebody sneaks into a screaning with a camcorder and films the movie. It's always fun to see whether the guy will use a tripod (most don't for fear of getting caught), who's going to stand up during the movie, whether the dude will be eating popcorn (always a little hard to hear the dialogue), and what the audience finds funny.

    These bootlegs are almost always sold as VCDs instead of DVDs and they are so low quality that if you have a prayer of seeing the movie at the theater, you don't touch them. Sometimes you get the ultimate surprise of watching "It's a Bug's Life" instead of "Jurrasic Park III", but it's all part of the experience.

    P.S. to the MPAA - if you actually sold movies in China that were legal, this sort of thing would never fly with the public.
    • by mh_tang (307188) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:56AM (#3496762)
      This is not exactly the case of someone sneaking a Sony HandyCam into a theater and taping among the audience. According to VCD Quality [vcdquality.com], the FTF release of AToC is a TELESYNC, which basically means that it's a high-end camera pointed at a screen, with audio recorded from the source (to eliminate audience noise). So it's better than most Cam recordings that you're alluding to. Check here [vcdhelp.com] for definitions of how movies are bootlegged.

      That said, it's still a pretty crappy release in terms of quality. I'm sure that within a week, they'll have at least SVCD screeners or workprints available for downloads.
  • Better Info here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:02AM (#3496419) Journal
    Matt Drudge is citing the report in the LA Times (free reg required)

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-051002starwars. story?null [latimes.com]

    which is rather extensive, but is somewhat of a showcase of antipriracy arguments.

    • which is rather extensive, but is somewhat of a showcase of antipriracy arguments.

      Priracy, is that where privacy and piracy collide? :)

      Priracy! Sounds good to me; add it to the /. lexicon! It should be close enough for Taco!
  • So someone took a camcorder and filmed AOTC. They did it before, and they'll do it again. When TPM came out, I managed to get an early camcorder VCD copy and sat and watched it at home and was totally thrilled - not by the film itself, but by the fact that I was able to watch this film early, and that finally a new Star Wars film came out.

    When it was released, I went and saw it at our local cinema, and it was obvious that a huge number of the people queuing to get in had also seen the film early, and yet we were all still lining up to pay money to see it again (I copied the AVIs from the CDs to my laptop and had watched it lots of times.) Sure, it made the cinema trip less of an occasion, I pretty much knew the film line for line, but the bootleg film, for me, was a huge part of the whole Phantom Menace experience, and I'd do it again (and probably will as soon as I find a copy online.)

    This time though, I won't follow it up by going to the cinema as well. I felt that the fact that the sound was kind of ropey for the first half hour or so, and the picture was washed out and less than perfect added to the story - it was supposed to be set decades before ANH and the copy I had actually looked like some kind of archive footage.
  • AP Story... (Score:2, Informative)

    by silent_poop (320948)
    The AP is also running a story [yahoo.com].
  • by ringbarer (545020)
    But I'd be even more impressed if a movie with all the crap bits edited out does the rounds before it appears on the big screen!

    Phantom Editor, you have one week!
  • by dioscaido (541037) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:06AM (#3496453)
    Will this have any impact on ticket sales? Obviously not! I would dare anyone who would trade a grainy 320x200 shot of the movie for the real thing in the movie theaters.

    LOTRs was out on Morpheus before the movie came it, and it still had amazing revenues.
    • by Nehemiah S. (69069) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:45AM (#3496710)
      If it sucks as bad as TPM did, then it might. I dl'd TPM and didn't bother seeing it on dvd or in the theater, and I will probably do the same here.

      By the same token, I dl'd matrix and saw it afterwards in the theater 4 times. Same with LOTR (I only saw it at the theater twice though).

      The point being that P2P services are hollywoods worst nightmare- because if everyone has easy access to free movies, they will only pay to see good ones at the theater. Lucas doesn't want to be forced to make a good movie, but he wants to make $200M anyway--so he will fight KaZaA etc. with everything he has.
    • by Sodium Attack (194559) on Friday May 10, 2002 @12:15PM (#3497333)
      Will this have any impact on ticket sales? Obviously not!

      Here's a post [slashdot.org] from someone who admits he won't see AOTC in the theaters, now having seen it on the internet. Obviously, it will have an effect on ticket sales. (How much is debateable, but it's clearly a non-zero amount.)

  • by Lethyos (408045) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:06AM (#3496456) Journal
    ...that nowhere in any of the existing StarWars movies (don't know about Episode II yet) does there appear a "marketing droid". I mean, how could George Lucas do without such a potentially important character! "Marketing droids" would be crutial to the development of the plot line... perhaps they would be responsible for funding the Evil Empire...
  • Each and every time I see something like this I want to say, "Show me the money."

    How do we know this isn't disinformation from the MPAA?

    I have looked on all the normal underground channels for it, but haven't seen it. There have been filenames that would make you think it is it, but it's a bogus file.

    Has anyone actually seen this?
    • Look here. [vcdquality.com] It's real, but crappy, like you'd expect it to be.
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:08AM (#3496471)
    I wouldn't waste my time if I were you. The ending doesn't make any sense, it's just some crazy lady dancing.
  • No Harm, No Foul (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:10AM (#3496490) Homepage Journal
    So, to see these you need to incur a gig of download and all you get to see is two crappy VCD's of a movie that's coming out next week.

    These are obsessed people, my friends. Nobody is doing this to avoid paying $8 at the box office. The people who download this will probably be first in line, dressed up as their favorite StarWars character. And they'll probably see it 6 times, even if it sucks.

    Noone is loosing money here.
    • I don't think it's even that. I don't think a real fan would take the risk of ruining the experience by watching a small pixelated crappy sound version of the movie instead of waiting a week to see it on the big screen. I think instead people downloading it are kids who somehow think they're sticking it to the man by seeing it early. They think they're so incredibly cool for having done something that someone as rich as Lucas didn't want. Aren't they great.
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:40AM (#3496690) Homepage
      • [The people who download films] are obsessed people, my friends. Nobody is doing this to avoid paying $8 at the box office.

      Hmm. Sounds reasonable, until you consider the guy sitting right behind me. He's currently downloading four films to his home machine over his cable modem (using VNC to drive it from work) and has just started looking for AOTC (based on me telling him that it's out there). He basically downloads everything, just because it's free, and it's there. He's getting megabits per second that he's not paying for, he's got a 120GB hard drive, and CD's are dirt cheap. Downloading a film involves half a dozen keypresses, two mouse clicks, and bingo, it's waiting for him when he gets home.

      Would he have spent money at theatres to see all of those films? Probably not, but he's damn sure not going to now. The main point is that he's not a hard core Star Wars fan (he's too young), so it's not just the obsessives who are doing this. Remember, original Star Wars fans are all 30+ now, there's a whole new generation coming up who are seeing films not so much as something you go and watch as something you download to see if it sucks.

      I can quite honestly see why the movie industry is worried. However, I think that the solution is to make fewer and better quality films, and (personal gripe) to show them in theatres with a strict "Shut the hell up and don't bring your damn chattering hyperactive kids, you morons" policy, rather than doing what they're doing, which is dumbing down, going for quantity over quality, and shrieking for legislation to protect their profits.

      • Re:No Harm, No Foul (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Thing 1 (178996)
        Emphasis mine:
        However, I think that the solution is to make fewer and better quality films, and (personal gripe) to show them in theatres with a strict "Shut the hell up and don't bring your damn chattering hyperactive kids, you morons" policy, rather than doing what they're doing, which is dumbing down, going for quantity over quality, and shrieking for legislation to protect their profits.

        Just thought of a solution for that: have a headphone jack installed in every armrest.

        For the fancier theatres, they can even provide headphones (rental, most likely, to avoid damage/theft).

        And (to be on-topic) this has the side benefit of giving tapers a way to avoid sneezes/laughter/that hollow sound. ;-)



        The jacks would be a somewhat large expense, however; perhaps they could simply install a couple wireless headset broadcasters (different channels for adjacent theatres, of course). Then rent either headphones or a receiver with a headphone plug if the viewer wants to bring their own.

    • by 3ryon (415000) on Friday May 10, 2002 @11:11AM (#3496849)
      The people who download this will probably be first in line, dressed up as their favorite StarWars character. And they'll probably see it 6 times, even if it sucks.


      You clearly have no idea how the market works. The MPAA will lose a tremendous amount of money due to this. Here are some quick numbers. There are 200 Million people on the Internet, MPAA gets $3/ticket sold, the average viewer will watch the movie 3 times, thus the MPAA will lose at least 1.8 Trillion dollars. You obviously need to read the news more closely.

      • Maybe we should start the Obfuscated Mathmatics Competition. We could get AOL/TW, the US Government, Oracle and California, the Democratic and Republican Parties, and the RIAA/MPAA all together competing against each other.

        x = number of people on the internet
        y = number of people watching movie
        z = some arbitrary encrypted number covered by the DMCA use DVD style encryption
        i = number of times average user sees movie

        ((y - x)*i)*z = -1,800,000,000,000

        Now using algeabra we should be able to figure out 'z' but since it's encrypted and covered by the DMCA that would be illegal.
  • by CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#3496500)
    Those guys who have been waiting outside since february?

    Are they still there?
    Maybe we could give them a laptop and a DivX...
  • Coding Films? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:17AM (#3496539) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering why they haven't resorted to putting some coding, some object or image that is digitally dubbed into a few frames in an inconspicuious position to identify which of the films this was so they could simply deny that party furture access to preview or any other films. The power to police this doesn't require the DMCA or courts, but some very minor effort on the part of producers/distributors. In case anyone wasn't aware, film distribution is a cartel; films which they don't like, don't get distributed or they apply various pressures and threats to get their desired results.

    Other news, more digital theaters, [yahoo.com] unfortunately shy on details, but there's a listing of some on DLP. [dlp.com]

    • Re:Coding Films? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      I'm wondering why they haven't...
      [..taken steps to id and punish the guilty party]

      Maybe they haven't done it, because it would just discourage people from doing it in the future. This type of low-quality piracy probably causes less loss of ticket revenue than it makes up for in free marketing and hype.

    • Re:Coding Films? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suwalski (176418)
      Paramount does this with scripts, and I'm sure others do too. They purposely put typos on various pages of the script to see who leaks a script and nail the person whose copy it was. The same could be applied to movie screenings, and I'm a little surprised it was not, considering all of the other precautions and anal-ities George Lucas was taking with AotC.
  • Suprised this [prequel-spoilers.com] didn't make the news (surfaced in early April). I've seen both the ASCII text and a 3B ZIP of GIF/JPG scannned off a printed copy.

    Seems it's an early revision of the script, as some scenes from the trailers don't appear or an elaborate fanscript simulation: who would print some 100 pages, then scan them back in, them run them thru OCR.

  • I'd drop an extra $20 on a DVD if I could get it within, say, two weeks of the premier - even if there were no extras to speak of. I'd much prefer to stay at home rather than go to the theater. Why? For the price of a good HDTV, I put in a 1366x768 HiDef Projector and 120" 16:9 screen. Hooked up to my audio system, it's every bit as good as the movie houses, and quite better in most cases. Plus, I never have to deal with the hour spent in the car, uncomfortable seats, sticky floors, $5 drinks, and the kid behind me who likes kicking my seat!

    They still get the first couple of weeks for the hard core viewers, and they get my money directly (rather than filtering it through the traditional disto channel). Are they worried about pirates or "personal" showings which they won't get a cut of the profits? Well, piracy obviously exists despite their best efforts and public showings of the discs are already illegal.

    As an added bonus, the hard core DVD watchers will purchase the later-released, Special, Collectors, and Mutli-disc Ultimate editions when they come out.

    *poof*

    Oh forget about all that, I just woke up. Nice dream, though...

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#3496618) Homepage

    "Damn this digital copying technology!" cries the MPAA. "It makes it really easy for a single copy to be rapidly distributed to many sites!"

    Which is true, but these early copies are all taken from pre-release showings of celluloid. Given that the studios clearly can't keep control of the celluloid, it's no longer giving them any benefit. In fact, they're a bloody liability, as it takes time to make many celluloid copies and to distribute them, worldwide in this case. Consider the problems of trying to make and ship thousands of celluloid copies all around the world, weeks before the first screenings, while trying to keep an eye on them and stop reviewers filming the showings (or people in the distribution chain just pocketing copies).

    Hey, here's a solution that I can think of. Give up on it. Keep a single digital master, say "FUCK the reviewers" ('cause half of them don't watch the damn film anyway before writing their review, and some of those who do are filming it!), transmit digital copies the day before showing start, and only start your celluloid printing there and then. Digital copying technology makes it really easy for a single copy to be rapidly distributed to many sites, remember? Hey, we can figure that out.

    George wants to encourage more digital screens, right? Great, do something about it. (Assuming Episode 2 doesn't suck), then consider if Episode 3 screen times were:

    • 16th May 2005 (Digital screens only)
    • 23rd May 2005 (other screens)

    Get the point? The digital genie is out of the bottle, and it can't be put back. Celluloid is a security liability. Distributors might as well get with the 21st century and start using digital technology rather than weeping over how much it's costing them.

  • What is the point? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfn5 (524972)
    What the hell is the point? Episode II is going to suck just as bad as Episode I did, therefore, it isn't even worth downloading.
  • Being that Mr Lucas filmed the entire movie in a digital format, the preview showing (which this would be a copy of) almost certainly was in a digital projection theater. Perhaps the projectionist merely copied the files and downconverted them to VCD? :-)

    Seriously, I wonder how big the digital projection files for this would be. Would they fit onto an iPod?

  • Is this just a trick of the MPAA?

    Think about it - make a honeypot and see how many people stick to it.

    Star Wars : Episode II - Attack of the Clones could be the MPAA's poster child, just like Metalica was the RIAA's poster child.

    I'm guessing this was all set up by the MPAA, and that they've figured out how to track who downloads it - just like the RIAA figured out how to track who downloaded Metalica.

    Of course, I could just be paranoid...
  • by mh_tang (307188) on Friday May 10, 2002 @10:40AM (#3496692)
    It looks like the article got the Drudge Report got their screen capture images from VCD Quality [vcdquality.com], a website that reports release news for pirated movies in VCD, SVCD, and DivX formats. Drudge even snipped out VCD Quality's URL from the image... Pretty shady reporting.

    But from the reviews, it looks like this bootleg of ATOC isn't worth your download time. It's currently polling at 5.7 out of 10 for image quality, and 6.2 out of 10 for sound. Even for a VCD, that's pretty low. And of course, the JPG screen cap looks like a blurry mess. However bad the quality is, it is impressive that FTF was able to release SW Ep2 so early. Check out the comments forum to see what people (well, if you consider "5kR1p7 k1DDi3z" to be actual people) are saying about this bootleg.

  • ...that they're selling the movie theater experience as much as the actual movie? Like Taco said, even if somebody plunked a DIVX copy of AOTC in my hands right now, there's no way I'm gonna watch some shitty DIVX when I can pay 8 dollars for to watch it on a screen that's bigger than my apartment, in a comfy chair, with booming digital sound.

    In any business, you think about what you're offering that's UNIQUE, whether it be price, quality, features, or convenience. What do theaters have that's unique? Certainly not the movies, since they're freely available via the Internet, or cheaply available via rental several months later. It's the theaters themselves (and the associated trip-to-the-movies-with-friends experience) that are unique. Now, this experience SUCKS in some ways (lines, rude employees, partially-chewed Goobers under your feet in the theater) but that's all the more reason to improve it.

    Theaters ARE starting to catch on, with features like comfy stadium seating. I'd like to see them take it a little further. A lot of art-house movie theaters have nice interiors and lounges, with food that's nicer than the usual horrid crap at large theaters, and it often costs less. It would be nice to see slightly more upscale mainstream theaters. Also, they should sell beer. :) I'd pay a few extra dollars for a ticket to a more upscale theater.

    Sure, lots of people are gonna download this flick off the net, but I really don't think many of those people were gonna PAY to see the movie in the first place.
  • by alispguru (72689) <bane.gst@com> on Friday May 10, 2002 @11:25AM (#3496961) Journal
    ... the more bootlegs will slip through their fingers.
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Friday May 10, 2002 @11:27AM (#3496976) Homepage
    This is either a prerelease screener for review or for movie theater employees (I'm guessing the latter)... It's good quality, not fantastic, obviously made from a quick and dirty optical print dubbed to VHS... Not shot in a theater or with a camera...

    If you look at the sample MPEG, you'll note a fuzzy edge to the bottom and right side of the video, which indicates masking that normally occurs in a film to video direct transfer- They usually invest more effort in making retail versions cleaner...

    A camera captured version would usually be a little off kilter, chop off a significant portion of the screen, and as was mentioned, occasionally have another audience member either walking through a shot, or coughing, or their cel phone would be going off here and there...
  • Oh, NO! (Score:5, Funny)

    by El Camino SS (264212) on Friday May 10, 2002 @11:43AM (#3497102)
    (Somewhere on Sepulveda Drive in L.A.)

    RED ALERT! RED ALERT!

    "Boss! We've got a problem! There is a crappy copy of the new Star Wars out a week early on the internet! And people who have cable modems or better, underground internet connections, an interest in seeing it, the understanding of what an alternative media player codec is, big enough hard drive space left, a file sharing app that still works, the knowhow to get it to run, and the interest of watching it early on a computer monitor are STEALING OUR MOVIE!"

    "So how much of our movie audience is that?"

    "Well, probably .02% of the American population, sir!"

    "Oh. HEY! Look at this! We just made all the papers across the country. Man you just can't buy advertising this good! Get my clubs. We're going golfing lackey."

    "Right on it, sir!"

  • Idiots... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stubear (130454) on Friday May 10, 2002 @11:48AM (#3497133)
    People who pirate movies like SpiderMan and Star Wars: Episode II (to name tow recent ones) only undermine the efforts of the EFF and groups like them to reign in copyright protection. Even if copyright were returned to 14/14 like the copyright act of 1902, these would still be gross violations of intellectual property rights. Think before you download this movie REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE GOING TO SEE IT IN THE THEATERS!!! By downloading this movie or engaging in file sharing of copyrighted material you are spitting in the face of those in the EFF who are trying to protect our rights.
  • by adam613 (449819) on Friday May 10, 2002 @12:45PM (#3497557)
    I didn't have any desire to see Blow. Then I got a shitty bootleg from gnutella. It looked like a very good movie. So I paid the NYC theater mafia $9.50 to see it on the big screen. So they actually profitted from me downloading a bottleg. I may even buy the DVD one of these days.

    But the MPAA doesn't want you to know about people like me.

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

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