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MPAA Chases Uploads, Ignores Open Sales of DVD-Rs? 156

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-they're-just-lazy dept.
rbrander writes "Go to TVBoxSet.com and find a remarkable sales site for box sets of TV shows, including not only surprisingly cheap deals, but offerings not found elsewhere. For example, they have a set with all ten seasons of 'JAG'. The problem is that the production company is only up to season 4 so far. Google "tvboxset" and find every link below the first is to a complaint or news website complaining of the scam. Those who do shop at the site get a product that appears to be a DVD-R recorded off of cable. The really odd thing? They're still in business! A story at the Montreal Gazette about the scam is six weeks old. Now what's in it for the content industry to beat up private citizens with $220,000 judgements or scrambling to get DeCSS sites shut down within hours, while corporate scammers openly sell pirate DVDs for months on end, unopposed?"
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MPAA Chases Uploads, Ignores Open Sales of DVD-Rs?

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  • by Zarhan (415465) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:04AM (#20886065)
    "There's been a new venture in home video market - instant DVDs. They are out in stores before the movie is finished!"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm confused about the redundant word usage: "corporate" and "scammer".
    • by StormyWeather (543593) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @07:21AM (#20886827) Homepage
      Why in the world is this insightful? I own my own small business that is incorporated even though I'm a 1 man show, and I try to uphold the greatest ethical standards possible. I truly believe that the vast majority of rich people become rich through ethical means, and a horrid amount of hard work. All you hear about are the greed is good crowd just like all you hear about with professional athletes are the ones who are arrested and who do stupid things. I incorporated because I didn't want someone to slip on the curb outside, crack their skull open, and sue me for everything I own. The most they can get from me is the business, but not my kids college funds. Does that make me an evil person?

      Most companies are full of good people, run by good people who try to do the right thing. Just because publicly traded companies are sometimes forced by the shareholders to do things that aren't cool it doesn't mean business is bad, or even that big business is bad.
      • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:25AM (#20887381)

        Just because publicly traded companies are sometimes forced by the shareholders to do things that aren't cool it doesn't mean business is bad, or even that big business is bad.

        Most of the time, it's not that they are run by evil people, it's really just what happens when a (very) large group tries to think. It all becomes reduced to the lowest common denominator, causing the decision-making to be more selfish and more short-term, and replaces the ethics of an individual with a poor substitute, which is a need to follow any regulations and avoid legal liability. If there is to be a coherent organization, then there is simply no other mentality that a 10,000 person team could share other than "is this in the interests of the company?" with good employees separated from mediocre employees based on how much they care about that question. It's the effect that this singular focus has on any group consensus reached (either by being a decision-maker or by losing your job if you don't play along) that can be perceived as evil, although really it's amoral.

        Most companies are full of good people, run by good people who try to do the right thing.

        If you really look around you'll notice that most of the harm done in this world is not done by deliberate malice; it's done by people who have good intentions and fail to consider the full repercussions of their actions. No totalitarian government ever arose because "Do you want to live in a fascist police state?" was put to a vote. Even when this is the intention of a leader, it's always sold as a way to protect public safety, stop terrorists, etc. so that naive people can support feel-good measures with foreseeable negative side-effects while patting themselves on the back for how good their intent was.

        The GP painted with a broad brush but your attempt to defend the good name of giant multinationals (the main cause of that perception) in terms of your personal, ethical, hard-working, money-for-kid's-college-funds-and-grandma-and-apple-pie one-man operation is not a valid comparison.
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          The GP painted with a broad brush but your attempt to defend the good name of giant multinationals (the main cause of that perception) in terms of your personal, ethical, hard-working, money-for-kid's-college-funds-and-grandma-and-apple-pie one-man operation is not a valid comparison.

          He didn't try to defend giant multinationals, he defended "most companies". Most companies are not giant, ethically impaired multinationals. Giant multinationals are the abberation that make the rest look bad.

          • by causality (777677)

            He didn't try to defend giant multinationals, he defended "most companies". Most companies are not giant, ethically impaired multinationals.

            Giant multinationals are the same idea taken to its logical conclusion by those relative few who proved themselves to be better players of the same game. Therefore they take a subtle flaw that does not usually reveal itself at a small-and-local level and make it scale until it is large and pronounced and no longer deniable.

            Giant multinationals are the abberation that

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        That's not really the problem with the RIAA, copyright laws or even counterfeiting laws.

        IMO the problem is that copyright and counterfeiting laws were written when it was difficult to catch people that were producing forged goods or currency on a huge scale. For example, the minimum penalty for counterfeiting is a $250,000 fine, 5 years in prison, and the confiscation of all equipment used in the counterfeiting. That law makes a lot of sense when you're after someone that's made a printing press and is

  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Perseid (660451) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:09AM (#20886091)
    A season of X-Files, presumably bootleg, is $56. I think I'm in the wrong line of work. Anyway, perhaps the reason they aren't being pursued is that they may not be in the US. If they are in, for example, Russia, allofmp3 has shown how much fun suing them can be. Single mothers with Kazaa, on the other hand, tend to be easy to pick off.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShaunC (203807) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:23AM (#20886153)

      Anyway, perhaps the reason they aren't being pursued is that they may not be in the US. If they are in, for example, Russia, allofmp3 has shown how much fun suing them can be.
      TFA makes it fairly clear that this operatiion is based in Canada.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Informative)

      by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:29AM (#20886185) Homepage
      The article says they're based out of Montreal..
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShaunC (203807) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:38AM (#20886227)

      A season of X-Files, presumably bootleg, is $56. I think I'm in the wrong line of work.
      Oh, and that reminds me. The X-Files is my absolute favorite television series of all time. Through Blockbuster Online or Netflix, you can rent all nine seasons on DVD for far less than $56. They appear in your mailbox on DVD, one right after the other. IMO, it's better to go the legit route. You get a real, honest-to-gosh DVD to hold in your hands, and watch, and do whatever else you might do with it.

      There's really no sense buying the junky bootlegs on a street corner. I honestly don't understand how any for-profit duplicators make it these days. It was one thing in the age of VHS tapes, but in our current environment, it's far easier for the average consumer to get his hands on a legitimate, high quality copy (and "back it up") than it's worth attempting to purchase a counterfeit copy.

      Alas, the penalties for downloading (or uploading) a movie via, say, BitTorrent are tens of times more harsh than the penalties for buying or selling a counterfeit DVD on the street, or for just shoplifting the damned thing. So I guess I don't understand why these guys get into the business. They'd face less potential jail time if they set up a rape/murder cartel.
      • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @05:17AM (#20886365)

        IMO, it's better to go the legit route.
        The problem is people think TVBoxSet is a legit route.
      • by Solandri (704621)

        There's really no sense buying the junky bootlegs on a street corner. I honestly don't understand how any for-profit duplicators make it these days. It was one thing in the age of VHS tapes, but in our current environment, it's far easier for the average consumer to get his hands on a legitimate, high quality copy (and "back it up") than it's worth attempting to purchase a counterfeit copy.

        The MPAA has been busy trying to destroy or make illegal people's access to DeCSS, which is what you need to "back it

        • How difficult can it be? There are several ripping applications (some of them free of charge) that effortlessly back up the DVD and strip out all CSS, copy protection, UOPs, etc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tweekster (949766)
        I find bootlegs to be of higher quality than the original. No FBI warnings, no user prohibitions on skipping more warnings etc.

      • by torkus (1133985)
        [quote] for just shoplifting the damned thing[/quote]

        And this is my problem. You potentially face a worse 'punishment' by downloading dookie (knee-slap greenday) than you do if you went into wal-mart picked up the CD and walked straight out the door.

        Shoplifting is what, a class C misdemeanor? Potentially 30 days in county jail ... varies by state/jurisdiction. That assumes the judge throws the book at you. Without a substantial prior record you're probably looking at 40-100 horus of community service, m
        • by Bobartig (61456)
          Not only is there less risk, but 1) Most retail outlets don't press charges, and 2) the RIAA has already made its cut, so they're already sated.
      • by Blkdeath (530393)

        There's really no sense buying the junky bootlegs on a street corner. I honestly don't understand how any for-profit duplicators make it these days. It was one thing in the age of VHS tapes, but in our current environment, it's far easier for the average consumer to get his hands on a legitimate, high quality copy (and "back it up") than it's worth attempting to purchase a counterfeit copy.

        There are actually some very high quality bootleg copies of movies and television shows out there. Search a torrent

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I wouldn't at all be surprised if they're just going to these pirate operations, threatening them with criminal and legal action, then quietly making a deal with them to cut them in for a share of the profits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bruins01 (992422)
      I think it has more to do with the public's perception of legality. What I mean to say is that the public, in general, knows that what this website is doing is illegal, so all of its customers will be people who know they are breaking the law and don't care. People who engage in the petty downloading and "making available" or songs, such as the defendant in the Duluth case, are choosing sides in a battle in which neither side has a great moral advantage over the other. It is well-publicized that many filesh
    • They're the only place you can buy the original Bionic Woman or Six Million Dollar Man TV shows on DVD in the U.S. or Canada. Apparently, both shows are mired in so much legal red tape that they can never be released here legally (even in the wake of the new Bionic Woman TV series). It's sad that fans have to go to a bootleg site to get these shows. They hold up surprisingly well after all these years (they're not nearly as cheesy as you might imagine).
  • Wrong purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:17AM (#20886127)
    If the purpose was to go after infringers in order to recuperate lost sales, they wouldn't be going after housewives or children who pirate for personal use, they'd be going after commercial pirates. Y'know, the people that the ridiculously high penalties were created for?

    Instead the MPAA's purpose is to create an environment of fear. This is presumably so people will forget their fair use rights and give them up so the MPAA studios can put even more DRM on their products.
    • by ShaunC (203807)

      If the purpose was to go after infringers in order to recuperate lost sales, they wouldn't be going after housewives or children who pirate for personal use, they'd be going after commercial pirates.
      Take two minutes to read the article; these are for-profit commercial pirates. They're selling shit-quality DVD compilations of classic TV shows, often ripped directly from TVLand and other cable channels. This is very much a for-profit copyright infringement ring.
      • by renbear (49318)

        Take two minutes to read the article; these are for-profit commercial pirates. They're selling shit-quality DVD compilations of classic TV shows, often ripped directly from TVLand and other cable channels. This is very much a for-profit copyright infringement ring.

        You misread his post. What you stated above is his POINT. They aren't going after the commercial pirates like these. Instead, they are choosing to go after housewives, but pursue penalties determined by laws that were created with commercial pirates in mind.

        Obviously, they aren't THAT concerned with recouping lost sales. They'd much rather intimidate their customers.

  • by ClippySay (930525) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:19AM (#20886137) Journal
    / This is a home pirated version of       \
    | Clippy. Please turn to your local       |
    | Clippy retailer or a professional Jolly |
    \ Roger-compliant pirate.                 /
           \     ____
            \   / __ \
             \  O|  |O|
                ||  | |
                ||  | |
                ||    |
                 |___/
  • by tech10171968 (955149) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:28AM (#20886177)
    Personally, I believe they're getting off scott-free because TVBoxSet.com is a company, but P2P networks and their filesharers are not. It's easy to compete against another company (like TVBoxSet.com), especially one which allegedly offers questionable content; on the other hand, with P2P, how in the world does a company compete against free? I may be wrong but I can't think of a business has yet figured a way to do that (Microsoft is presently trying to answer that question as it pertains to GNU/Linux and FOSS). Seems to me that , correctly or not, they don't percieve a much of a threat to their bottom line coming from TVBoxSet.com as they do from some kid with a torrent client.
    • I suppose it depends on where they think TVBoxSet's customers will go if they manage to shut it down. Or maybe they think if it's a scam then it'll blow itself out when word gets around.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:54AM (#20886291) Journal

      Personally, I believe they're getting off scott-free because TVBoxSet.com is a company
      That's a pretty dumb line of thought.
      If anything, they're easier to go after since they have a business address & a bank account.

      As a side note: Why would anyone contact the MPAA and not the CRIA about a situation with a Canadian company?
      • by loganrapp (975327)
        No kidding, the CRIA just forced a favorite torrent of mine to shut off all Canadian bandwidth. Those guys are tough.
      • As a side note: Why would anyone contact the MPAA and not the CRIA about a situation with a Canadian company?
        Because it's a movie, not a musical recording. Motion Picture Association [wikipedia.org] represents the MPAA members' interests worldwide.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nightgeometry (661444)
          Surely that's the point the MPA [wikipedia.org] is what you linked to, but the MPAA [wikipedia.org] is what he was asking about. The MPAA would have no jurisdiction in Canada (I assume) and so you would have to contact the CMPDA [wikipedia.org], though not the CRIA.

          Yeah, I got bored of adding Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] links by the time I got to the CRIA =)
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by tepples (727027)

            Surely that's the point the MPA [wikipedia.org] is what you linked to, but the MPAA [wikipedia.org] is what he was asking about.
            If MPAA and MPA operations are so separate, then why is MPA Canada [mpaa.org] hosted on mpaa.org?
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Raptoer (984438)
            But in this case the jurisdiction doesn't work that way. The copyright holders (no idea if its in fact the MPAA or whoever) have copyrights in America, however when they do sue they have to do so according to Canadian law. It's not that they cannot sue, it's that they have to do so in a different fashion.

            The most likely reason nobody has gone after these guys is that the guy in charge of figuring out who to go after has never even heard of these guys or for that matter doesn't understand that its these kind
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think you are right. eBay has probably hundreds or thousands of bootlegs for sale at any one time. Does the RIAA/MPAA does anything? Nope. The Federation Against Copyright Theft in the UK are similarly not interested in going after eBay. The reason is obvious - companies have huge legal budgets to throw at any lawsuits coming from RIAA/MPAA and there is no certainty that the latter would win. It's bizarre: distribute songs for nothing and get a $200,000 fine. Sell them and get away scot-free.
      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @06:14AM (#20886585) Homepage Journal

        That's simply not true. My wife bought a DVD box set from eBay recently that turned out to be bootlag. In the process of trying to get a refund, the seller was shut down by eBay due to piracy complaints. The whole thing made matters worse for my wife, who was accused of turning the seller in and who generally went from "slightly nuts" to full-on "Maybe we should get a restraining order".

        Generally bootleg sellers on eBay don't last long. The issue right now is that policing them is a little more difficult. Unless the eBayer is selling something that's never been on the media offered, or is stupid enough to directly admit the item is bootleg in the description, the copyright holder actually has to buy a sample before he or she can be certain that copyright violations are going on. This is in contrast to someone redistributing a studio's movie via BitTorrent, where the movie has never been released in a form that would allow for that redistribution legally. It's immediately obvious a violation of copyright is occurring and the studio can immediately start legal action.

        Even then, the number of BitTorrent movie redistribution copyright violation cases is tiny. A lot of people here seem to be conflating the movie industry's efforts with the music industry's, but these are two entirely seperate actions, and the music industry isn't exactly reknowned for sitting on its hands when it comes to commercial piracy either.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Unless the eBayer is selling something that's never been on the media offered, or is stupid enough to directly admit the item is bootleg in the description, the copyright holder actually has to buy a sample before he or she can be certain that copyright violations are going on.

          So I'm guessing you've missed all the Slashdot stories about people who were selling single, legitimate copies of software they did not need or no longer needed getting their auctions quickly shut down by eBay for copyright infringeme
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by squiggleslash (241428)

            No, I haven't. The fact that Microsoft is making bogus copyright complaints and clearly abusing the law does not mean the movie industry has some obligation to do likewise.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I wonder if they are legal because of the the DVD-R media tax in Canada.
      If I remember correctly in Canada media is taxed to pay for piracy. If you are selling DVD-r and have paid the copy fee then maybe it is legal?
  • I'd like to see if more public attention makes them go after the site. I doubt it, but maybe... Hah.
  • Why is the production company only up to season 4 so far?

    (Well, I would guess, they sell the seasons 5 to 10 still for broadcast in other countries, but six years delay is IMHO too much.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by canuck57 (662392)

      Why is the production company only up to season 4 so far?

      Maybe the bit torrent servers they were using were shut down or didn't pay their cable bill?

  • The #1 reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @05:00AM (#20886309)
    The payouts they can get for one copy of a given film or TV show being shared over BitTorrent are higher than the payouts they can get for many illegal DVDs of the same film or TV show.
    • The other reason is probably also that an individual is more likely to roll over and pay the extortion, sorry, "out of court settlement" money, where as a company is more likely to fight it (or call bankruptcy and try to vanish without a trace).

      Call me cynical, but why else would they pick on the little guy other than they're the easier target? It's just standard predator practice. Lets hope someone patented it!
  • by 1mck (861167)
    I actually received a pirated DVD from EBay, and I contacted all the right authorities such as EBay, Universal Pictures, the local Police, the Sheriff, and the FBI. Guess what happened??? Diddley squat!!! Months later they were still hawking their pirated DVD's with the soundtrack, and even added in more movie stills, and bigger banners to suck everyone into buying their crap! I can honestly say that I'll never use EBay ever again because of this, and as far as the warnings that everyone sees at the beginni
    • by bi_boy (630968)
      That is until they find someone doing this who is not an actual company and is unable to afford lawyers.
      • by tompaulco (629533)
        Somehow I expect that these counterfeit organizations are not rolling in money to near the extent that the movie industry is. I would be very surprised if the average pirate company has much more than $10,000 leftover after expenses.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      A friend of mine bought a bunch of DVDs off Ebay from a seller in Malaysia, and surprisingly (yeah right), they were all pirated. However, they were much better quality than the legitimate DVDs: the paper DVD case inserts were better quality, the discs were region 0, no FBI notices to wait through, etc. Of course, they were also much more reasonably priced.

      I highly recommend buying DVDs from Malaysian sellers on Ebay.
  • From the article:

    Canada Post - which is used to deliver the products - has an internal investigation under way, spokesperson Manon Clément confirmed.

    "It seems like a pretty big dossier," she said, noting the company under investigation "is a client operating under a number of names."

    The RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and Montreal police departments said they neither confirm nor deny that they are investigating individuals or firms.

    If Garcia Media or anyone associated with it is dealing in bootlegs of copyrighted material, there are legal consequences.

    Multiple aliases? Looks to me like there's a well documented criminal mail fraud investigation underway. Sounds like the police are at least notified of the situation as well. Should the MPAA jump in with a potentially premature suit, prior to the completion of criminal evidence collection and the presentation of charges?

    It seems that as far as the MPAA is concerned, this is a pending matter already referred to law enforcement. Whether criminal investigation bears fruit or not, I'm sure th

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      There's nothing to investigate: send one check for a pirated version, trace the transaction, seize the bank records and assets. This is basic behavior for credit card fraud, so it's not like it's a new procedure.

      No, the federal and local police usually can't be troubled to pursue such "minor" crimes. Sometimes it's for jurisdictional reasons: the local police want the FBI to do it, the FBI thiknks the Secret Service should do it, and the Secret Service thinks it's not worth their effort. I'm tired of it, to
  • by spagetti_code (773137) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @05:36AM (#20886437)
    From TFA:

    Westmount resident Brian Wrench said he recently had a bad experience ordering programs through tvboxset.com.


    At the end of June, Wrench bought what was advertised on the site as all 278 uncut episodes of the Carol Burnett Show, spanning 11 seasons on eight DVDs.


    Holy cow - 278 episodes of Carol Burnett!!! This guy deserved to get ripped off.
    In fact, shoot him. We'd be doing him a favor. The judge would surely accept this as a mercy killing.

     
  • by kju (327)
    I wonder what the MPAA has to do with this case. Shouldn't the CMPDA [wikipedia.org] be the more appropiate organisation to handle a scam-company in canada?
  • Ok, the problem is, right, the RIAA are still using old SCO UNIX computers for all their accounting calculations, and, well, let's just say that for various reasons the software updates have been a bit slow coming in the last few years, so, right, the thing is there's this unfixed bug with negative wraparound when they're adding really really big numbers together on that machine and so when they realized about the DVD pirates the execs were all like "hey we're gonna make oodles of cash, man, at $20.95 per D
  • The problem is.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by americanincanada (887832) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @08:38AM (#20887125)
    They have been running them 'out of town' MP3Sparks was once AllOfMP3. TVBoxSet was formerly DVD-Series. Based out of: Strawinskylaan, Amsterdam 1143 XX Netherlands From they're own FAQ: "Is my order SECURE? You bet! When placing an order, Dvd-series.com uses..." It would appear someone forgot to update the page when they "moved"!
  • Are easier to sue.

    They learned from the mistakes of the 'war on drugs', if you curtail the market, the sources dry up.
  • by Jay L (74152) <jay+slash@nOSpam.jay.fm> on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:47AM (#20887497) Homepage
    If you read the summary, you can see that TVBoxSet are up to season 10, while the production company has only produced up to season 4. I'll bet that the MPAA plans to ditch the production company, and source the episodes directly from TVBoxSet. Just think of the money they'll save: No scripts, no cameras, no sets, no production costs. This is the future - literally. Why should I (as a network) pay millions of dollars to Castle Rock or New Line for a new series when for $150 I can buy residual-free DVDs of the series before it's even written?
  • Now what's in it for the content industry to beat up private citizens with $220,000 judgements or scrambling to get DeCSS sites shut down within hours, while corporate scammers openly sell pirate DVDs for months on end, unopposed?

    There's probably a payoff involved.

    Or maybe now the world is so inverted that it's only a crime to share things for free. Making a profit off of selling copyrighted materials isn't such a high priority. Perhaps the MPAA feels that because actual money is involved, less people

  • Its about controlling the distribution channels. That's why the MPAA doesn't freak out so much when people sell boot-leg DVDs. Its not a fundamental threat to their business model.

    What the record and movie labels fear above all else is Disintermediation - the elmimination of the middle-man. Because THEY are the middle-man.
    Internet distribution of media makes them totally irrelevent.

    If DVDBOXSET.COM was selling downloadable AVI movies of complete TV series, you can bet they'd no longer be in business today.
  • If you set up a stand selling heroin on a busy street corner you will have a line of customers around the block - until you get busted. And you will, eventually, get busted.

    Contrast this with a lemonade stand with no customers.

    The difference in the US is that people will go out of their way to do something they believe (a) is illegal and (b) has a low risk of consequences. Movie and music pirating fall in this category. This company, doing business from a foreign country with several different names will
  • by tompaulco (629533) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @04:22PM (#20890441) Homepage Journal
    I have a Beauty Salon, and we decided we could make a little extra income selling products on the internet. We researched the legality of it and found nothing illegal about it, and even found that Amazon and some other big names were selling the exact same products. We also read our applications from our suppliers and found nothing preventing sale on the internet, and we talked to one of our suppliers and they had no problem with it.
    Our other supplier through a fit when they found out, and demanded we stop advertising the products they sold us, or they would stop selling to us. So we stopped selling their products even though we didn't appreciate their attitude or heavyhanded threats.
    Then we got a cease and desist letter from one of the manufacturers. Their position is that it is unfair competition for us to sell on the internet, and that it is against our reseller agreement. Well, we fired a letter right back saying that we don't consider it unfair competition that we happen to be enterprising enough to put together a website. And secondly, we had never signed, nor even seen a reseller agreement. Thirdly, what we DID consider unfair competition was the fact that they plainly allow Amazon.com and other sites to operate internet sales of the products with impunity, while demanding that actual brick and mortar stores not be allowed to sell on the internet.
    The letter went unanswered, and we still have never seen a reseller agreement, nor could we find one on the internet. For the moment, we have taken down the products from that manufacturer, but we will probably put it back up, since they were not able to provide evidence that what we are doing is wrong, and their arguments for us not doing it are all anti-competitive, and thus illegal. However, they did threaten to stop selling to us if we persist in selling on the internet, which is also anti-competitive and thus illegal. If I was just an internet sales company, I wouldn't care, but we have a lot of stylists that use those products, and if the company stopped selling to us, we would probably lose those stylists and the business would end up folding.
  • I don't know about the legality of it (maybe they found some loophole), but sounds like a good service to me. It is silly that it takes "production companies" often years to put a show on DVD, often adding bogus menus and "features" that make the DVDs less usable than a straight recording.

    I think we should consider legalizing this kind of service by allowing them to record and redistribute recordings from on-the-air or on-cable broadcasts by paying a flat fee of, say, US$2/hour of video.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday October 08, 2007 @09:24AM (#20897765)
    It's really very easy to understand why TVBoxSet.com is in business and the MPAA seems to not care.
    1) They operate out of the Philippines. I don't know how strong or weak copyright law is in the Philippines, but it could be that these boxed sets are legal there.
    2) Not that many people know about them, so sales really aren't all that great.
    3) From everything I've read about them (I knew about them a long time before this article on Slashdot), the quality is bad. The MPAA may know that and figure that the product is so bad that letting people buy crap teaches a better lesson than fighting it publicly and making sure that a lot more people know about the website than do right now. Right now not that many people know about the website and a lot of those who bought product from it aren't real happy. Unhappy customers work in favor of the MPAA.
    4) Going after file sharers is low hanging fruit and doesn't involve the complications and risk and cost of dealing with foreign legal systems. I can't speak about the Philippines as I have never been there, but I can tell you from personal experience that if this was happening in certain parts of the ex-USSR that any court case would not at all be about laws but it would be all about the bribes and whoever paid the highest bribe would get the decision in their favor. The local guys would have huge advantages over the MPAA. The local guys would have access to the judge to pay him off, they would be able to hire hitmen to kill any attorneys working for the MPAA in the country, and so on. The MPAA might be afraid to try to bribe the judge or believe it or not, actually get outbribed by the locals. It happens. The locals could pay a big bribe to the judge and then get him to rat out the MPAA for trying to bribe him, even though he got bribed already by the local guys. Fighting such a court case in a place that has strong rule of law and low corruption is one thing. Fighting such a case in a country where justice goes to the highest bidder in something else.

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

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