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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

LucasFilms suing 'net Pirates 211

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the getting-legal-on-your-ass dept.
Tony Garcia writes "Apparently, LucasFilms was not happy to find out that PM videos were being distributed over the 'net; they hired a mean team of badass lawyers to take care. The story at SiliconValley News. "
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LucasFilms suing 'net Pirates

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  • But one needs to recover one's investment if one is to create the next piece of art. Cartooning can be done cheaply. Movies are a bit more expensive.

    Still, you are free to create any art you wish, and give it away if you choose, or sell it for what you choose (if someone else is willing to pay).

    It's fine to think of the ego gratification that one would get from creating a work of art, but it may be expensive to create, and in that case, somebody ends up paying for it.
  • god damn, those ASFs *SUCK* I mean really, the quality is *horrible*!!!!!!! I got the matrix and the 13th floor, bot look only a little worse the a standard VHS tape.
    I have an 800meg copy of american pie, it's "ok" but the screen is full of artifacts the whole way though.
    the copy of "the blair witch project" is about 300 megs or so, it fit on 3 zip disks. it looks *terrible* infact I couldn't even watch the damn thing! Instaid I went up to my room while my sister saw it, I didn't want to "ruin" it with the crapy 15 fps, turn to mud whenever there was any full screen movement "version"

    damn, when are we gona get wavelet compression!!!
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Well, I was "not too happy" with the general suck of the new movie... can I sue for that?

    Yeah, I came out of the theatre feeling as if I'd just watched an SGI showreel, or a demo from one of the NGPS houses!

    The whole film should be a free download from apple.com, just to show off their quicktime stuff, or maybe the effects houses could give it away for free in their marketing literature.

    But then again, I've never been much of a capitalist.

    Capitalism states you can only charge as much for a product as the market will stand. Certainly repeat viewings will form a major part the revenue; I wouldn't waste my $ on going again tho'.

  • Most people don't live in NYC...
    althoug it does sound nice : )
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • If you don't like the law change it, but until you do obey it. Lucas invested to bring us this movie, no payback no new movies, (gee that math is not too hard.) Besides that, a lawyers retainer is a whole lot more than the price of the movie (in Georgia ~ $5.50), and considerably less than the price of the tape once released.

    Never mind that it wasn't as good as the hype.Unfortunately they won't give us back our money for that either.
  • that looks pretty cheap, and much better then starwars, to.....
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Very true. Thousands may be a more accurate estimate, however, those people are the ones that have hardware hookups and stuff too. So they burn the copy for other people with the instructions "Just open your dvd player and put it in", even people with no concept of VCD or Warez or FTP sites has access to it. But I will totally agree with you that if it stays this way, then the industries are safe, and I don't think it will develop any further, because at that point, the SPA, FBI, etc get involved and thats why those kind of sites are not on Yahoo =] Its the geocities accounts that are on Yahoo, and its a given they WILL go down, just a matter of when.

  • What kind of grafitti would they employ?
    they'd find some way to force the wall owners to put there names up for them

    Attack people with brief cases insead of guns?
    Lawyers woudln't need weapons, they'd make you so afraid of going out of bussness, or to jail that to other gangs would ether do what they say, or pay another lawyer to talk the first one down...

    by the way, did you not see the (TM) next to my orgional sig? "Chad Okere the self apointed, unquestioned lord and master of the internet(TM)" I think that's how it went, I don't have enough room to pu tthe TM back, but clearly you are in violation of my copyright. remove the offending sig now, or I'll be forced to press charges........ (nevermind that its a parody...)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • How can they give you a call mr AC? you gave no link and no email addres, much less a phone number...

    I suppose I could a search online, but I don't know how likely it would be that I would even find you... I don't think I would want to depend on *you* to find this stuff...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • a T1 line costs about one thousand dolars a month, with a $3k setup charge.

    most of the stuff is being served of cable/xDSL and dorm room ethernets (like I'll have in just a few weeks woohoo)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • 9 out of 10 Lucasfilms Lawyers agree!
    Jar Jar still sucks!

    ~GoRK
  • this may be about the movies, but you are all complaining about lawyers taking down web pages over illegal material...

    LUCAS MADE THE FILM, HE DESERVES THE MONEY FOR IT!

    It is just like what should be happening. People who bootleg and distribute it should get busted... I am not being hypocrytical here, I never have dl'd a movie, nor will I. If I really want to waste time, I will go see it for $7. I look at it as saving me $7 on my DSL charges... I can waste my time dl'ing something worthwhile.

    Get over it guys. He is doing what is right, and stop getting all annoyed over it.
  • I'd be willing to bet that more living people in the world have seen TPM then have read shakespear on there own (not in school)

    and yes that movie really did suck......
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Couldn't agree more !

    What if someone just posts parts of the movie on usenet ? drops it on their (unpublished) ftp server ? copies it onto cd, gives it to his friend, and their friends who then copy it on to their http server ?

    It's all over the place already, I've been offered the movie [on|off]line in a variety of different medias from at least 6 people.

    As far as money losses go, I went to see TPM 11 times before I found the movie in mpeg on two CDs. I think Lucas made his fair share from my hard earned COBOL hackin' butt.

  • Ya, its the other people that need their money, he just needs enough to get by on, say 2 Billion or so.

    Oh, maybe he made that on THX 1138.
  • If you don't defend a trademark, you can lose it.

    If you don't defend a copyright, you don't lose anything, except perhaps money.

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • Some of your arguments were what the theaters used early in the game when TV first came out in the 1950's and was first getting adapted. In essence what happened was the quality of TV was crappy at first but was thought to be dangerous. The same reasoning could be applied to a story about war and the real thing. "Well with real war, you can actually get hurt by bullets have blood and brains spilled on your shirt, stand in a trench, and have a miserable time not for 10 minutes reading it but for a couple of years fighting in it what could be better?"
  • What if I live in Cuba or Iraq and have a web page with the movie? Would it be possible for someone to prevent that from being released? How big is this thing anyway? And where could it be retrieved from? I can't think of many ISP's or anyone who just has an extra 25Gb to spare for just one file.
    Normal vcd movies take about 1.3GB - so no need for your 25GB HDD.. but basically you're right, you can't get such a space from most ISP's easily.
    --
  • I wonder how the author of the article sees the ability to threaten people into stopping the flow of any kind of information as a Good Thing (tm). If anyone with enough money (or anyone theoritically) can accomplish this, then there really is something to be concerned about. What if I said that I thought that the author's article should not be posted on the web because it was counter to ideals that I held. Then I went out and called his or her ISP and threatened them in order to get them to shut down the web site. I've accomplished the author's goal of removing information that I'm opposed to, but I've also violated the basic right of free speech. Now I'm not saying that piracy is free speech. I'm saying that the generalizations made in the article lead to some, IMHO, bad conclusions.
  • by RSevrinsky (10305) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:18AM (#1778826) Homepage
    What's absolutely clear from this exercise is that you can really make it uncomfortable for people who do irritating things on the Internet. And the way to do it could be a lot like what we see here.... So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice. We can stop most of it with a little determination.

    Episode I (part b)

    THE NET MENACE

    Turmoil has engulfed the Internet. The wholesale pirating of MP3s and lousy movies on outlying websites is in dispute.

    Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly lawsuits, the greedy LucasFilm Federation has stopped all Internet traffic to the small ISPs....

    - Richie

  • If these lawyers have done such a fine job keeping this material off the net, then why do most of my friends who are barely computer literate have copies of Phantom Menace!?
  • Simple what is implied is that it just dosn't matter if it gets bootleged at all since it just sucks. I would get one right now it I could. Hmm.. If I leave tonight I can go to China and purtchess a copy in Bejing??? Hmm... Bootlegging.
  • "But then again, I've never been much of a capitalist."

    Hey at least you came out and said it, and you do have a good point about people liking the movie so much they downloaded it. However, the beauty of capitalism is that it rewards those who give what society wants. I don't think Star Wars would exist as it is today if there wasn't any money in it. If George Lucas makes a heap from Star Wars good for him. I think he deserves it.

    No capitalism isn't fair (its more laize faire.. hehe), but it works and the US proves it.

    JOhn
  • by mackga (990) <eatshitanddie@slashdot.org> on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:23AM (#1778832) Homepage
    Did anyone else find this article particularly lame? I mean, this quote:

    "But these were no ordinary lawyers. They had a second whole computer system ready to press their case. The bootlegger ran to another Web site, and the lawyers followed. Then the Internet Service Provider stepped in and shut the bootlegger down."

    Gives me an oddly unsettling picture of caped-crusader 'net-savvy, cyber-clued geeky lawyers out to save the world (wide web) from the bad ol' Internet pirates in thier skull&crossbones black matte t-shirts. Jezzum. Makes me want to retch.

  • August 19 is the premiere date for TPM in Sweden. If Lucas just would have released it sooner in Europe, this problem would never have occurred.
  • Of course, how good is your net connection going to be? I'd hate to download a GB from Iraq.
  • Don't get me wrong, I loved Star Wars, but I saw The Red Violin two weeks ago because I remembered all these people on Slashdot saying how great it was. They were right! So not everyone here is a Neanderthal :)
  • Get real a stupid movie like TPM compared to Shakespeare, The Bible, Koran, Milton? Hardly!
  • I used to respect Lucas - he made some great movies. Then comes the extreme hype (I don't want to see Anakin on my bag of chips), the mediocre at best movie, and gustapo tactics. He's already filthy rich (and getting even more rich), and I don't see him giving it away. He seems to be going out of his way to alienate fans.

  • Apparently, LucasFilms was not happy to find out that PM videos were being distributed over the 'net; they hired a mean team of badass lawyers to take care...

    Well, I was "not too happy" with the general suck of the new movie... can I sue for that?

    Seriously, though... I've always felt than art should be done for arts' sake. Art as expression, not as market campaigns, will still surely capture our imaginations. Given the same state of integrity, it will surely serve us well. (neil peart) I'm opposed to the idea of a movie which can make the gratutious sums that this one did... however, given the society we live in, the laws must be obeyed.

    All I can say is that if I ever made a movie, I'd be happy that people were taking the time to download it on modems... that's a sign that I made a good piece of art.

    But then again, I've never been much of a capitalist.

  • I, for one, pay my $4.50 to see TPM. It took so much time and effort to put together, that ripping it off would be a smack in the face to all who love Star Wars, by not giving them the compensation for their wonderful work.
    Andrew G. Feinberg
  • by WSmith (69317) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @05:50AM (#1778846)
    toward the masses. It seems to want to provide a convenient security blanket for those who want to believe that the flow of information can truly be controlled on the net. The fact is that it can be controlled somewhat on the web, but certainly not on the net as a whole. The people sending things back and forth just need to practice a little more ingenuity than setting up a public web page.
    From what I read, said lawyers were not monitoring DCC bots on IRC nor FTP sites that act as online dumping grounds for such files (should I say FiLeZ :). ) Yes life can be made more inconvenient for the less clever of the ripper kids out there, but information will still be tranferred.
  • The collected works of Shakespeare and all the religious books you want could not compete with the coolness of TPM.

    But then . . . my opinion of Religious books and the works of Shakespere is pretty fragging low so . . .

  • was there anybody else who followed the link, read the page, and thought "Nice intro, where's the story?"

    People rip off ST:TPM.
    George Lucas gets pissed, hires a bunch of lawyers, and threatens lawsuits.
    You can do it too!

    One more thing. The last part of the blurb pointed out that anyone can stop privacy violations and infringements on the Net.
    As long as you can afford a team of top lawyers, that is...


  • So Lucas' lawyers sent out cease and desist orders to a couple hundred bootleggers. If they (or this Moira Gunn who wrote the article) think that what Lucas managed to do is control the flow of information on the internet they are dreaming.

    If you want a copy of TPM you will be able to find it on the net or on irc and there ain't a damn thing that Lucas can do about it.

    To quote Gunn "So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice. We can stop most of it with a little determination."
    Ms. Gunn you obviously have no clue exactly how the internet works so don't try to spout off some Lucasian propoganda which has no basis in reality.
  • Your logic is completely and totally wrong. You are saying that because a lot of time was spent on it, THAN you shouldn't rip it off. The unstated part of this is that if not much work was put into it, than go ahead and rip it off. WRONG!! It shouldn't be ripped off because it is illegal. That and that alone is the reason. We can have a whole seperate debate about whether or not this law should be obeyed or not, but my point here is that your logic is seriously flawed.
  • Everybody that has ever looked at any of the ripped copies of SWE1 will notice that they will not get the whole emotional feeling without having seen it on the big screen. So everybody that took the time to download it was surely disappointed and went on to watch it on the big screen. So there is no loss there. Most people that are likely to d/l the movie have watched it more than once I would bet.
    So why would he bother? Why would he bother with such court costs? He is doing nobody a favor, especially not his image in the public.
    The only thing I can see hurt is the VHS and DVD sales but since Lucas wont have them released for a long time from now its his own fault...
  • It's really not leize faire (hint the Sherman Anti-trust act). That stopped happening in the 1880's or there abouts.
  • A car speeds down a residential neighborhood at three times the speed limit. A policeman steps out in front of the car and holds his hand up. Same situation, only a forty-ton rock falls from the sky and lands in front of the car.

    Ability and authority may be, and often times are, two different things.
  • god, everyone from the guardian angels to jerry fallwell has been trying to do this ever since the everyman's conception of the internet widened beyond the myopic view provided by aol.
    the only thing that frightens me about that entire article is the arrogant and overconfident tone that the whole thing takes on.

    sorta off the point, i don't think that lucas will ever make a movie worth seeing. the whole savant genius thing got buried under a pile of money and a busload of fratboys with boba fett tattoos.
  • Correct the only reason he makes any money of this is that he just decided to wait for 10 + years to release the next installment to this. He could have put something like Barney meeting Luke Skywalker and it would sell.
  • A gang of lawyers. What kind of grafitti would they employ? Business cards? Attack people with brief cases insead of guns?
  • You are correct, that if you lived in a non-US-friendly country, it'd be difficult for LucasArts to do anything. However, most non-US-friendly countries don't (yet) have much bandwidth.

    The VCD of a movie (MPEG compression) is usually around 1.2 gigabytes or so. An ASF version (which is lower quality) is usually around 300 or 400 megabytes.

    I agree, it is not easy to find space on an ISP for these files to be hosted. However, there are millions of people with T1 connections provided by their universities, and millions more with cablemodems or ADSL lines, so while there is no central place for obtaining pirated movies, there are thousands of 10-20 user FTPs and DCC bots that provide them.
  • That article is pure flamebait, the idiot pundit who wrote it, has no clue about the issues, or the technology involved.

    Companies that react with the legal department first, well. Shows that they have a limited comprehension of things besides torts, and suits.
  • I know I could sell anything if I had enough money (say like Bill Gates) in America. Even some old senile man sitting in a chair swearing and mumbling incoherently would sell with the right advertising.
  • Do they really think that even the lamest of the "31337" are going to waste their time downloading over a gigabyte of movie where "use the force" sounds like "OORGH A WORTTSHK!"

    Well I haven't seen any of the early versions that were released but the latest screener version (with foreign subtitles) is very high quality. At least that's what I hear 'cause I certainly wouldn't violate any copyright laws.

    As far as wasting time... I don't see how it wastes time any more than distributed.net or seti@home. With a cable modem and forte agent it's pretty painless to d/l huge files from usenet. Just point and click then minimize it and go about your business.

  • You are right, Lucas is doing what he has a legal and (probably) moral right to do. However, the sucess of his product does matter.

    Compare these:
    1. A starving man procecutes a man who stole a loaf of bread from him (say, a full day's meal).
    2. A rich man who has more bread than he can reasonably want procecutes a man who stole a load of bread from him (one that was just going to go stale and be thrown away anyhow).

    Which one are people normally going to approve of? Both are acting within their legal and moral rights.

    The reason that people hold his army of lawyers against him is that he has no demonstrated need for the money that he is protecting. Also, consider the wrongs being done here. On the one case, he loses some portion of $8. On the other, the bootlegger gets a $50,000 fine and years of imprisonment. He's now doing that to people when he has no demonstrated need to. Yes, he's within his rights, but come on. Doesn't he have anything better to do than get people who did him very little harm very large punishments?

    That's why people hold it against him. Because he can easily afford not to go after these people and the net suffering of humanity will be less then when he goes after them.

    So is he in the right, in a sense, yes. He may be completely in the right. I don't really know. His soul is his own business. But this is basically the case of the big man bullying the smaller ones. Remember something about rights - Shylock was within his rights in demanding his pound of flesh from the merchant of venice.
  • I saw it at the Uptown opening night (I was on TV afterwards), it totally ruled. It was probably one of the best movies ever made.
  • by root (1428) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @10:33AM (#1778868) Homepage
    >Why not have a `Cyber Patrol` which is constantly vigilant, watching the World Wide Web?

    Because the internet is not a US only entity, fool! I'm sure it's just totally shocking to imagine, but US laws are not applicable outside the US, and what's more is that the US concept of legal and illegal on certain issues may be totally the reverse in other soverign nations. An example:Son May Records. This is a company in Taiwan that sells CDs, DVDs, VCDs (MPEG1 movies on CD), etc. They sell 'The Matrix' and probably PM by now too. All of their merchandise is copied from elsewhere. No money is paid to the copyright holders. No 'rights' were obtained in any way. And... hold on to your enchiladas...THIS IS 100% LEGAL in Taiwan. Son May is not an underground company. They are locally licensed, pay taxes, and follow all local rules and regulations. They are following the law! IP law is simply non-existant in Taiwan. It's a different philosophy in the East. It's not "backward" or "wrong", it's just different and as equally valid as we hold out own perceptions of copyrights/patents to be (gasp!). Deal with it. The 'net, however, brings radically different cultures and ideas together in a way that's never been done before. There's no "right side" and "wrong side" here. Some people just happened to believe that knowledge or art can't be "owned". This just freaks some people out. Accept it. And cutting off chunks of the world that don't play ball your way won't work either. Isolationism ultimately hurts more than it helps. One must look at the big picture. Cutting off Taiwan for piracy would do far more economic harm to US businesses than the piracy it sought to stop. Recognizing and accepting each other's differences will lead to a better world and a more propserous society.And before anyone laughs saying I'm just taking advantage of Taiwan's "errant lawlessness" let's look at a quick counter example: PORNOGRAPHY is illegal in many nations (not just "backward and oppressive" ones). Many hardcore sex videos are illegal in the UK. This porn is LEGAL in the US and there are countless porn sites on the web up and running in the US. They are legal, the owners are taxed. They follow local laws and regulations. Should they be shut down by the UK because guys in London are downloading porn MPEGs? Should their laws apply here? Should the US shut down these legal businesses for violating forwign laws? How would Americans react if MI6 agents from the British Isles raided local porn web sites operating on US soil? We'd be outraged!Now tell me again that "pirates" worldwide must be stopped because it is "the right thing to do" or "the law". We may not agree with it. I don't agree with Taiwan's stance on IP law, but we must tolerate the world so long as we expect the world to tolerate us.
  • First, I'm not a communist. I simply believe in freewill. Capitalism is actually better for freewill in general than communism.

    I agree with you that much of our modern economy is based on these laws, and much of what happens would not happen without these laws. Without greed law to allow license agreements, Bill Gates would probably be on the streets begging for change.

    The thing I don't agree with is throwing people in prison for sharing intellectual property. The reason I call it greed law is because laws are used to scare people in to spending money on things. If you spend money on something, it should be because it is a superior product, not because we are forced to buy it.

    I think we should make it illegal to copy Linux, becuase otherwise, groovy software wouldn't get made. Yeah right. OK.


  • With a victory like this Episode II should be out on usenet and IRC feeds sometime in the next year:)-

    THe person who wrote this article evidently has a problem with the Big BAd INternet. Look at the opening paragraph..

    Another clueless reporter making a living on bad ink.

    Sad to say she has an audience.


  • One thing to remeber..dealing with bootlegs is a crime. You may not like the fact, but unless you get your ass out of your computer chair and change the legislative branches of the .gov thats the way it is. All the Rage Against My Cherios sounding rhetoric wont make it change.

    So if you are going to deal in an act of less than legal standing..SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT!

    Can you image the stupidity of a criminal who offs someone and then jumps on line with a web page full of gifs and mpegs of the act....

    Its like those idiots who videotaped themselves robbing houses. Darwin will out and hopefully this level of genetic damage will filter out of the gene pool.

    Get smart and stay smart. An undergound activity that is raised to the light of the mass market is worthless.

  • Bah. Nerds are interested in whatever is interesting, which for the most part is everything. So maybe all of us don't know why the 74S is nearly obsolete, but I would venture to guess most of us are interested. (If I remember correctly, S is fast, but drawbacks to it. heat/power... something)

    Every time I read an article, I see someone who has written in there "Is this REALLY news for nerds?" The answer, in short is, yes. No matter what you pick, you can find a group of nerds/geeks/hackers who are interested in it. This is probably true for everything up to Disco, and then we'll go with a "maybe".

    So let up on the posters, get a life, and don't worry about what type of TTL is in your machine.

    As far as the _topic_: I think that the people who produce a work, be it a painting, a piece of music, or a movie, these people should be able to have control over their own works. On the other hand, these (heh) lawyers (rotfl) have about a snowballs chance in hades of stopping anyone from downloading anything.

    >>>>>>>>> Kvort
  • I'm afraid you are not a worthy vessel, oh little one.

    heh
  • But lets get real here. We're all either geeks, pirates or both. The VCD scene has been getting bigger and bigger (The Matrix seemed to kick it off) for months now. Star Wars hit the internet just under 2 days after is public release in the US. I have personally seen over 5 different copies going around the latest of which features surround-sound and widescreen. Im not saying this is a good thing, Im just saying its a fact. If poor Lucas thinks he can win where music companies for months and software companies for years have lost... he's got another thing coming. In 5 minutes online Ive seen the matrix, american pie, star wars, the blair witch project, the haunting, and 2 other movies Ive never heard of online available for download in both asf and mpeg format. VCD's online are here to stay, not to sound like a pirate supporter, But get over it!
  • Staring Bill Gates as the evil emperor in black (who is that guy supposed to be anyway?)
  • $6 to see a movie that cost $1e8 to make strikes me as an incredibly good deal. What I don't like is paying $1.50 for carbonated sugar water or $3.00 for grease-covered puffed grain.
  • shhh!! don't tell them how to really find it.... :)


  • And not even then, apparently.

    First drink coffee, then read /.

  • This is so typical of people who think the Internet is just Email and the WWW...they aren't even looking on Efnet and Undernet for these things. I don't think I've even attempted to download phil3z off webpages because it's totally unreliable...I always prefer to grab my tarballs from FTP sites because it's faster and ncftp can resume in case something pukes.

    If these lawyers are serious about cracking down on VCD trading, they should hire some 14-year old kids for minimum wage to spend 8 hours a day on IRC and write down the domains of the FTP servers...and knowing lawyers, they probably realize this but opt to get paid the big bucks for doing relatively nothing.
  • But one needs to recover one's investment if one is to create the next piece of art.

    You are 100% correct. We know how poor lucas arts is and how little money they made from SW:TPM. I mean, if they had commercialized it a little more and put out more official SW:TPM products then maybe they could afford to let people distribute poorly recorded copies over the internet.

    I mean, seriously, I'm sure all of us, with our T1s, have been spending the 12 days to download the hacked up movie and I'm sure most of us have sold it rather than freely distribute it once downloaded, cutting into Lucas Arts profits.

    We really should respect the wishes of a company
    so wonderful as to give the world Jar Jar Binks.

    -Z

    (a bit of sarcasm)
  • Well, wasn't Scientology well known for their very 'determined' ways of stopping anyone spreading information about their organisation, be it with lawyers or by other means?
    I'm not to happy about the message that the people with the most money and hence the most 'determined' lawyers can control the flow of information, but i'm also not too surprised about it.

    R.
  • I don't know anything about sv.com but the article seemed like a joke. It was a complete fluff piece. Moira Gunn obviously has no idea what she is talking about. Lucas Film didn't exactly switch to targeting the piraters rather than the isps. They had no choice. The isps just laughed at them. You can't go around threatening other companies like that and expect total cooperation. The funniest line is by far:

    But these were no ordinary lawyers. They had a second whole computer system ready to press their case.



    Is she kidding me. Thad had another computer with a different ip address. How clever of them. I bet some one got a raise with that idea. And here are some more great treats:


    For the `Phantom Menace`, it was a success to have simply stopped the great bulk of the bootleggers.

    So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice.We can stop most of it with a little determination.



    Wow, those are some bold statements. The funny thing is that I know a ton of places to get the VCD. In fact, all of the places I know of have not been shut down or aproached by lawyers. And just wait until the new semester starts. This VCD stuff is going to be huge. And I was the industy I'd be really worried. Sure the quality isn't great but it is good enough.

  • These are the usual weak arguments that are brought forth. There is no possible moral defence to pirating movies, its not a necessity of life. You can't afford to see the latest Hollywood hundred million dollar plus epic waste of time? First of all you haven't missed much, second of all there are a lot of free entertainment options that don't rely on infringing on somebody elses property.

    There is no moral imperative that insists that he essentially donate his works to freeloaders who can afford 600 megabytes or more of storage space, a net connection to download it and a machine studly enough to view the file. There isn't even any moral imperative that he say insist that a certain number of seats are set aside as freebies for the poor.

    People shouldn't shed any tears at all for smaller men who get bullied by bigger ones because they choose to start the fight.

  • by jjoyce (4103)

    George Lucas: a guy that got rich because he made a movie basically about rebels fighting an evil empire.

    How ironic.
  • Lucasfilm has themselves to be blaimed for most of the demand on the bootlegs from outside USA. If they had decided to start showing the movie at about the same date all over the world, instead of for instance withholding the movie for three whole months before showing it in Europe, the demands on the bootlegs would not be as large, and thus neither would the supply. The tickets will be released next week in my country, but most people I know have already seen it ... I don't blame them.
  • Again, this is a flawed argument. I see it over and over again and its really starting to bug me. The GPL only protects things _against_ copyrights. It depends on copyrights to do this, but the whole purpose is to prevent somebody from copying the source and RELICENSING it. THIS is what a copyright does. If there were no copyrights the GPL would not be necessary, since the "copy" of the "GPL'ed" could be again LEGALLY copied, and resubmitted into the public domain.
  • You said:

    No capitalism isn't fair (its more laize faire.. hehe), but it works and the US proves it.


    Oh you are so so so wrong. Lets look at your definition of the word "works." Who does it work for? The gigantic corporations which can give huge contributions to campaign funds to control politics, which can hire high-caliber lawyers to control the law.Sure yeah, it "works" for them, but what about the other guy -- the individual who gets taxed on gross income, verses the business who gets taxed only on profit. The small business which has none of the legal benifits and incentives that large businesses do. Nothing that is "not fair" can work. It may *seem* to work, but that is all dependant on your perspective.

    In the Middle ages, feudalism "seemed" to work for kings, queens and propertied gentry. In all less than 5% of the population. It "worked" for many hundreds of years. But for the majority of the population it did not even close to work.

    I think if you asked "everyone", the majority would say "yes, capitalism is working." The thing is that unlike the medieval peasants, they _don't even know_ that they are getting screwed by the system. That as a wage earner a person barely makes enough to stay even and in an industrialized society which has capacity to produce far more food and goods than are needed, the average wage earner still has to take out a *huge* loan to buy a house, and even a vehicle and get raped for years by interest.

    Capitalism does not work.
  • "He could have put something like Barney meeting Luke Skywalker and it would sell."

    That might have been *preferable* to Jar Jar.

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • You might want to think of the US Economics system (which we will loosely call 'capitalism') as just one economic meme. Each country has a different (some more so than others) economic system. It just so happens that the meme called 'capitalism' has been wildly more successful than any other that has been invented to date. Feudalism: Dead. Socialism: Mostly dead.

    This capitalism meme has mutated, as do all good memes, as it has propogated throughout the meme-pool of economic systems. This is why the US variant is different from Germany's, etc.

    If some new economic meme (let's call it 'foobarism') were to be created, it would spread/replicate to the extent that it was more adaptable and virulent than the other existing memes. The upshot is that if foobarism were 'better' (in the memetic sense), it would spread and overtake capitalism in due time.

    So if you're so sure that Capitalism does not work, you just need to invent a new economic meme, call is foobarism, and then hope that it is more virulent than capitalism. If your meme is better, it will become the dominant meme, and all of us poor capitalist bastards will have to deal with it.

    -jason

    P.S. You would appear to be attending a University that is (1) private, and (2) founded by two entreprenurial capitalist pigs named John Boynton and Ichabod Washburn. I suggest you transfer to a state-funded, publicly managed university as soon as possible.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One problem with the amount of material on Usenet is that there is so much of it that ISPs just can't handle it. My ISP for example has a full newsfeed but purges the binary groups every 24 hours to avoid overwhelming its news servers. This is fine for .jpg and .wav files but for the big bulky stuff, it can be pretty inconvenient. So I can download MP3s and MPGs but half the time, they'll get purged in mid download.

    That still hasn't stopped me from downloaded a couple of hundred MBs of the stuff.
  • "spread so more people could see it."

    Are you kidding? TPM is one of the most-seen films in the history of the world! Indeed, probably among the most-seen works of authorship of all-time. Still further, I doubt you can get to more than a few digits by counting the number of people who would be capable of obtaining an internet copy who have not already seen it at least once in a theatre.

    Exposure to his art is not George Lucas' problem. He has that problem licked, and it is not at all apparent to me that any free distribution would accomplish as much or more widespread interest than his proprietary closed model. It would appear that the IP/market regime is doing just fine in terms of satisfying his concerns for his art so far as distribution is concerned.

    Make no mistake, this art costs money to make. But for the astronomical revenues the work can produce, it would not have been produced.
  • for $9.25 should receive a free copy since it was so bad. I personally think they made plently of money on the movie...what is the difference if a few hundred/(thousand) people have a crappy copy with bad sound and peoples heads poking into view from the row in front of the filmer...it isn't going to take any money away from the movie. If you see the bootleg and like it your going to see it anyway because you want the good sound and better visuals...if you don't like the bootleg you won't go see it. Think of it more like a "try it before you buy it" deal. After all the movie did blow...I'm sorry I spent MY money. Jar Jar must die
  • I suppose I'll get flamed for this. And it it somewhat off topic (how do we get off on these subjects??). Oh well.

    Sure, capitalism isn't perfect. And depending on your definition of "works" it may or may not work. (However, even those who are "just scraping by" in the United States do better than about 90% of the rest of the world.) But as long as most people are mostly honest and until everyone in the world can be depended on to be completely honest, nothing else is going to work nearly as well.

    When society is perfect and everyone is honest, some "shared wealth" program would probably be the best way to go. Unfortunately, this probably won't happen anytime soon. And when it has been attempted in the past, generally a few dishonest people run off with the spoils.

    When most people are fairly honest, capitalism generally works pretty well, and I haven't seen anything that works better.

    When society is completely corrupt and dishonest, some domineering economic strategy is necessary to protect people from each other. That is when things get bad. I would venture to say that we are headed in this direction with more and more lawsuits, antitrust actions, etc.

    Anyway, just my 2c. I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm thankful for what I have, and my discussions with people from foreign countries have reinforced this opinion.
  • I think you are completely wrong. I'm pretty sure most of the people who downloaded the movie did so because they LIKED it. It gives them something to watch while we have to wait for a year or whatever between the time it leaves the theatres and shows up on DVD/VHS. I would also guess that the same people who download it are going to buy it when it comes out on DVD/VHS. The people who wanted to see it first, saw it in the theatres. The people who didn't like the crappy first release, would probably just download the newer, widescreen version.

    Downloading movies now a days is a lot quicker and easier than ever before. As much as people don't want to admit it, I think its here to stay.

  • I'd pay to see that--bitter old people rule. Note the swearing woman in Lake Placid.

    However, it isn't totally about throwing money at advertising. Lucas is a marketing genius, far better than he is a film maker. It's unfortunate that a lot of people confuse the two.


    Using Microsoft software is like having unprotect sex.

  • by biya (15095)
    This is lovely. Too bad there wasn't an article there after all that lavicious worship of Lucasarts lawyers. Pirates of the stripe that take in cameras to movies and then sell the tapes are less than ethical, but lawyers will always be somewhere down there with them.

    Choice quotes from the article:

    "The lawyers actually got organized back in April. They started out by warning some 700 Internet Service Providers they would be held responsible for anyone offering bootleg copies on their services."

    In other words, in a typical corporate lawyer maneuver, they threatened and hassled a good number of people/ISPs who probably never engaged in piracy of SW:TPM or presented resistance to Lucasarts, now or later.

    "But these were no ordinary lawyers. They had a second whole computer system ready to press their case."

    This doesn't make a shred of sense. Perhaps she meant they had another IP to come in from? (Probably just something caught up in techie-jargon-to-journalist translation.)

    "In the end, some 300 Internet Web sites were shut down and hundreds more individuals withdrew their offers to sell stolen copies. All in all, it was a great success."

    Until site #301 opened up somewhere in a former Eastern Bloc nation for free (this is a possible EXAMPLE). Of course it was a great success - one doesn't tell one's clients otherwise, epsecially if they happend to be a one Mr. Lucas. This is just a publicity statement.

    "Why not have a `Cyber Patrol` which is constantly vigilant, watching the World Wide Web?"

    Of course. Those of us who are law-abiding citizens have nothing to hide, right? *shudder*

    "So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice. We can stop most of it with a little determination."

    Pirates get what they deserve, especially if they sell their stolen wares, but that line gives me the creeps. How would we like it if that quote came from Louis Freeh, let alone some corporate lawyer?

    Again, it appears mainstream press and corporate lawyers do not understand the concept of information: once it's out, it's out, regardless of legality or origin. (Or regardless of accuracy for that matter...)

  • I just want the clip of the final lightsaber scene (with the Gungan battle edited out).
  • Because the internet is not a US only entity, fool!

    spot on!
    -
    this is the only way we can fight jar-jar. on his own turf...
    which brings me to the next point, cgi (therefore jar-jar) is taken from the internet. he is happy to take the use of internet for his advantage, but is not willing for the internet to work the other way...

    besides i'm sure every pirate is 'geeky' enuff to watch it at the movies and buy many of the products
  • Look people: copying a movie is THEFT. George Lucas made the movie. The movie belongs to George Lucas. If George Lucas doesn't want the movie distributed on the internet, that is George Lucas's decision.

    Technically, yes, it is Lucasfilm's decision to do it, and legally they are in the right on this. But a lot of people will do it, never get caught, and honestly will never care.

    This is similar to what I see on the freeway on the way into work every day. The posted speed limit is 55 MPH, and you're supposed to obey the speed limit...but almost no one does. Usual cruising speed is 65-75 MPH, and not even the traffic cops care anymore unless you're doing around 90 or doing something truly reckless (like weaving across the road aimlessly). The thing is, while it may be illegal for everyone to do what they're doing (speeding 20 MPH over the limit is considered reckless driving in VA, I understand), the fact that everyone does it makes the rule nearly impossible to enforce in this case.

    The same is true of warez/MP3/VCDs. It's illegal to make and pass them around, and the IP owners all wish that they could stop it (and lord knows they try), but the fact is, it's not going to go away. People, as a whole, like freedom and will pass these things around no matter what anyone else says.

    I really hope that, in the rush to "protect our rights," that the IP police don't go too far and turn this into another War on Drugs. Again, it's not something you're supposed to condone, but maybe if the offended parties would just pay attention to the REAL cause (inflated, unfair prices being one of them, especially in the music area) instead of going around sniping at anyone who copies a CD or downloads MP3s, and perhaps lighten up about things like lyrics databases, then they'd get some cooperation.

    -lee

  • Well, for the people who wasn't fortunate to live, or visit the USA at the time of the premiere, actually getting a copy of the movie 2-3 days after it's screening wasn't such a bad thing.
    I think bootlegging of TPM was successfull in other countries because Lucas for some fubar reason decided to wait 3-4 months releasing the movie to other countries (god knows why) and a lot of people was very eager to see it.
    I agree that the movie definately belongs to the big-screen, but waiting for 3 months is hard when you can just see it today.
    What's the price of free bandwidth and `screen`, anyways ?
  • You can also get it from news groups too..
  • The point of here is not that you can totally stop the information from flowing, but by aggressively policing the net, you can stop the average web surfing person from easily downloading the information

    The other point I would like to make is that ISPs are probably the next ones to feel the heat. If they are notified there is a violation, they are supposed to "monitor" that user to ensure that they don't put up the infringing material.
    Also I bet after a few ISPs spend a couple of thousands or tens of thousands losing a court case, they will quickly shut down any infringing material (and unfortunately they will probably start shutting down people for the weakest reasons, look at whats happened to anonymous postings)
  • by substrate (2628) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:59AM (#1778922)
    Copyright violation is copyright violation. George Lucas is using legal means to slap the wrists of little kiddies who distribute property he holds a copyright on. Good for him. It won't really work but its amazing so many people hold it against him.

    If I tomorrow grab the source tree for Linux, strip out all that nasty copyright information and redistribute it sans license (or maybe under my own license) hoards of screaming Free Software zealots would beat down my door bearing torches and rightfully so.

    The success or lack of success of the object who's copyright is being violated doesn't make a difference except in the minds of the deadbeats who think everything everywhere should be free regardless of the authors intent.

    Is violating the GPL on Linux any more ethical now than it was say 4 years ago when it was less successful?
  • I certainly don't feel I'm ripping George Lucas off. I've seen the movie in the theater seven times at $7 a pop. Each time, I brought my girlfriend. Sometimes I would bring other friends along too. I always payed. This adds up to over $100 for his movie. I plan on getting the dvd and vhs movies when they come out. I've spent an assload of money on merchandise. Also, the movie isn't even in the theater here anymore so if I want to see it, this is pretty much the only way unless I'm in the mood for driving for a few hours.
  • This is just like pirating anything else. Nobody's making money off the piracy (well with the exception of a few lamerz and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), it's all about collecting baseball cards in the 90's. I've got this, I've got that, watch it once then burn it to a cd which will soon be dust-covered and forgotten. Lucasfilm isn't losing any quantifiable amount of cash from this because as someone said earlier, anyone who takes the trouble to download it has probably already paid the dough to see it in the theatre. And who in their right mind would pay to see it twice?
    At any rate, art shouldn't be so expensive. Not even bad art at that. Eventually, will people have their memories erased after seeing a movie? Because once you watch something, you remember it, which means you have an illegal offsite copy of something that's copyrighted! I can hear the thought police lawyers now...
  • > It seems to want to provide a convenient security blanket for those who want to believe that the flow of information can truly be controlled on the net.

    That may be in our best interests. If the masses knew how slippery information really is in the net, they might have the politicos step in and actually do something about it.

  • I like the sig.
    I just saw a bumper sticker on a pickup truck last week that said:

    One Country, One flag, One Language

    next to a picture of an american flag. Really makes you wonder what kind of people worry about a symbol being burned as well as other people in the country only knowing a non-english language. And worrying enough to put a bumber sticker on their truck over it!
  • These prices you're throwing around are *way* below the average. Here in my tiny little upstate college town, movie tickets for evening showings are $7.75, the carbonated battery acid is $3-5, and the puffed starch is $4-6. Taking a family of four to the movies costs about $40-$50.

    If you want to hit the theaters where it hurts, ignore the concession stand.
  • by KevCo (2333)
    I always think it odd when people talk about the problems of stuff like this (ie porn, warez, mp3, bootleg movies, etc) being on the web. It would seem to me that the bandwidth concerns along with the risk would make websites impractical.

    OTOH there are tons (er, I mean gigs) of this material available on usenet. I know that a very high quality MPEG of TPM was just posted last week (in addition to the lower-grade copies that have been around for some time). Not that I would download it of course. I just happened to notice that it was there. Really.

    On a completely unrelated topic. Does anyone know how to "overburn" a CD 'cause I've got a 750MB file that I'd like to move off of my HD.

  • This is, of course, NO excuse for piracy. Although I do think it is sad that we live in a society which demeans art by making it a commodity, I will respect those laws. I am not trying to justify film piracy here... only pointing out how sad it is that there is a price on viewing art.

    Creativity and inspiration should be (and can be (and is, if you are childish enough :))) free.

  • ``Phantom Menace'' is not the only film to be peddled on the Internet. Several publications have reported that ``The Matrix'' and ``Shakespeare in Love'' were among the films that could be found in recent weeks.

    These guys are really out of the scene if they think that these were the only movies being moved around two weeks ago. Shakespeare? Um, didn't that come out almost a year ago???


    ``This was cutting-edge stuff,'' McMahon said, noting that the law firm staff worked around the clock, seven days a week for much of May and June scouting for pirates.


    Achieving that required some serious cybersleuthing, McMahon said, though he declined to provide any technical details. Those are trade secrets, the lawyer said.


    Gosh, wish we were all privy to those 'trade secrets.' He sure is smart.

    There were certain spots that they would regularly patrol. ``You have to know the dark street corners of the Internet -- the bad neighborhoods,'' said Neel Chatterjee, another Orrick, Herrington lawyer who worked on the case.


    Oooh...the 'dark street corners' of The Internet. Thank god those lawyers are patrolling the bad places for us, and making The Internet safe for everyone...
  • by Drath (50447) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:03AM (#1778950)
    Once again it all comes down to the money, I heard Lucas in a previous interview say "If I could do it for free I would, but the other people want their money". How noble. If Lucas really cared more about the art and less about the money he would want the movie to spread so more people could see it.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:04AM (#1778952) Homepage Journal
    You mean emotions like disgust at having paid $6 to see the movie? :)

    I do agree with you though, the people who are willing to find and download the entire movie are probably the ones who saw it on day 1.

    I don't agree that everone who downloaded it was disappointed with the poor quality/emotional feel of the video and then went to see it on the big screen. It seems more likely to me that they were disappointed in the movie itself and didn't go to see it on the big screen.
  • I never meant to say that the people who pirated Lucas's work were justified. I never said it, either. I just said that noone is going to be particularly sympathetic to him because he doesn't need the money. That and do you really think that $50,000 fines plus up to five years in prison is really justified by cheating Lucas out of some portion of $8?

    My point wasn't that people should pirate Lucas's work, they're not justified in doing it. Just when you compare relative evils (stealing Lucas's work (less than $8 dollar value to lucas) versus $50,000 + five years imprisonment), which do you think is worse? That's why people are against Lucas. Not because he's fighting innocent people, but that he's breaking ribs in return for insults. The retribution is many fold more than the crime.

    This actually is due to the fact that if you made the punishment fit the crime, noone would care about the penalty. Still, does it make sense to make the punishmet 1000 times more significant than the crime just so that the punishment acts as a deterrent? I guess the argument is that the damage is done to the fabric of society, and that's what the punishment is about. Maybe. I don't really buy it, though. Society did just fine without copyright for too long to believe that we're that dependent on copyright now.

    Besides that, there's just too much piracy going on right no for me to believe that piracy really is going to rip apart the fabric of our society.

    Oh, and I saw the movie in theaters twice, and I never saw it in bootleg copy on the net. If Lucas keeps up this money-grubbing unforgiving greed that he seems to be displaying ("I wish that the toys were cheaper but it's the manufacturers who are driving the prices up, my licensing fees don't have anything to do with it... really."), I may not see his next movie on the principle of the thing. Given how much money the guy is making, it really doesn't make sense that he cares about the piracy going on. It's got to be a drop in the bucket, when you get down to it. As you pointed out - how many people actually have the systems and bandwidth to get a bootleg copy and didn't go see the movie?
  • Just another happy, fluffy story of how the "good guys" (big filmmaking corporations and their equally big lawyers) kicked the "bad guys" (those nasty internet pirates! Fear!) squarely in the pants. Not quite.

    Wow, they caught 300 people selling TPM? That's barely scratching the surface. They only trolled the WWW for pirated copies, nothing else.

    The lawyers actually got organized back in April. They started out by warning some 700 Internet Service Providers they would be held responsible for anyone offering bootleg copies on their services.

    How can they hold an ISP liable for stolen information? That's like the FBI holding the owner of a parking lot liable for any stolen cars found in the lot.

    Then they switched their focus to the bootleggers themselves. With Electronic Cease and Desist Orders at the ready, the lawyers lie in wait, constantly patrolling the Internet. When a bootlegger would pop up, they'd email the order, threatening the possibility of a $2 Million fine and 10 years in jail.

    Most complied immediately, but some cyber-pirates didn't take kindly to these digital equivalents of bad news on legal letterhead. One indignantly replied, `Who do you think you are?` and promptly cut the lawyers off their Web site.


    Can someone explain this last bit of drivel to me?

    Why not have a `Cyber Patrol` which is constantly vigilant, watching the World Wide Web?

    Who would control such an orginization? The government? A private company? Who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

    For example, what about those Web sites that offer personal information about citizens like you and me? Does the world really have a right to our home address and telephone number?

    Sure does. Ever heard of a phone book? (BTW, how did this article shift from "bootlegging" to "loss of privacy"?)

    Here, I think we can take a page from George Lucas' book. For the `Phantom Menace`, it was a success to have simply stopped the great bulk of the bootleggers.

    So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice. We can stop most of it with a little determination.


    "Great bulk"? "most of it"? Yeah, sure.

    What a load of crap. With the insane amount of money Lucas has made off of TPM and its marketing blitzkreig (please stop playing those damn Pepsi can commercials with that rapping idiot; I couldn't care less about finding the Golden Yoda) I don't think he needs to worry about loss of revenue from bootleggers. Anyone who wasted enough time to download a copy of the movie almost certainly saw it in the theater first.


    paranoid.android
  • by drwiii (434) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @06:06AM (#1778980)
    The lawyers actually got organized back in April. They started out by warning some 700 Internet Service Providers they would be held responsible for anyone offering bootleg copies on their services.

    And the ISP community at large laughed them back into the shadows. Some even sent back forms to the lawyers describing their hourly consulting rates for finding and deleting said content, and included an application to start consulting service.

    Why not have a `Cyber Patrol` which is constantly vigilant, watching the World Wide Web?

    Because you're on crack? A good portion of trading happens independent of the public, and independent of the World Wide Web. Policing those means would be a breach of privacy for the traders, and therefore would be unacceptable.

    Does the world really have a right to our home address and telephone number?

    Of course they do.

    So, the next time someone tells you -- `You just can't stop information from being passed around the Internet!` -- think twice. We can stop most of it with a little determination.

    No you can't. 99.99995% of the time, it'll be mirrored somewhere. That's the good thing about digital media. Providing you have the space to store it, there's really no cost for materials to reproduce it, aside from possible bandwidth costs.

    And you can't track it. Most of the best stuff is being traded on the inside, you are only privy to the stuff that bubbles to the surface.

    Truthfully, most of the crap that comes out of the big studios isn't even worth the disk space it occupies. Especially the Phantom Menace.

  • While it's true that the "underground" as you put it is alive and well, I think you are greatly overestimating it's size. In order to reap the benefits of these private FTP sites, you have to make a significant investment of time and effort in order to be accepted and gain access. The vast majority of people are not going to bother making that investment (even if they could figure out how.) While you say "millions more downloading it from private ftp sites", I would guess that the actual number is probably more like thousands.

    What the studios, Lucas, RIAA, etc, are worried about are easy to find pirate sites. If somebody has a high speed FTP site, and gets a link up on Yahoo so that anybody who searches for "Phantom Menace" gets back a working link that says "download your own copy here", Lucas is going to have a problem. So, he hires a few lawyers whose job is to make all the pirates keep their heads down so that 99% of the population can't find the goods. Trying to catch that last hard-core 1% just isn't worth the effort on their part (especially considering the fact that they aren't likely to be successful anyway.)

    If the pirate underground was really home to millions of people trading goods, the entire commercial software industry would have collapsed years ago. The reality is it is not easy to find out exactly where to go to find reliable sources of warez. And once you do find out, it's still a pain in the ass to actually find what you want and get a copy. And then it's often of dubious quality. All the studios have to do is make sure it stays this way. As long as the underground is actually underground, they don't have anything to worry about. If it manages to become highly-visible and reliable, then they are screwed.

  • I know the following isn't what most /. readers want to hear, but I think it needs to be said.

    Certain Slashdotters characterize how "easy" it is for them (and thus, their friends) to obtain bootlegs, inferring from this how ineffectual it is to undertake enforcement activities with respect to these works. Taken in the broader context, this misses the point, and all evidence is to the contrary except in the narrow context of those statements.

    I am here to tell you that media clients do not casually call a lawyer to chase flies -- in exchange for the sizeable fees they pay, they want measurable accountability. They wouldn't do what they are doing and pay what they are paying if it didn't accomplish what they wanted. Arguing that LA is not getting what LA wants because they didn't eradicate piracy is merely pounding upon a straw man.

    The bottom line of LA's activities to date is that it is no longer trivial and cost-free for average joe to obtain his bootleg, or to manage and distribute a bootleg haven. Despite allegations made here to the contrary, I think Lucas has the better of this argument.

    While it is easy to find TPM bootlegs when you know where to look, only a small percentage of the population (and our immediate friends) know where that is. Yes, yes, with sufficient perseverence, it is possible to find whatever you want on the net, but Average Joe doesn't have that attention span, and AJ's parents won't let him risk the family abode to watch a movie. AJ's ISP will auto-punt on receipt of a DMCA letter, and by and large, the deed was done precisely as LA wanted it.

    The goal is simply to assure that the vast percentage of AJ's out there won't have a bootleg, and won't harbor bootleg sources.

    Lucas isn't trying to STOP piracy (he would like that, but it isn't close to important to do so), he's trying to preclude a piracy so rampant as to have a financial impact on his revenues exceeding his cost of enforcement.

    And with all respect to my colleagues here, I think it is hubris for us to presume that our estimates of the financial costs of piracy are better than those of Lucasarts and media players. Unlike us, LA actually measures the cost of piracy and demonstrates faith in their beliefs by paying Yankee dollars for enforcement. They budget these costs based upon actual research and agressive bean-counting. If they didn't think the expenditures were justified, they wouldn't do it.

    In short, they are never going to have the straw man absolute non-piracy, but who cares? They are getting enough protection to suit their purposes and satisfy the market infrastructure whose purchases are their primary source of revenue -- good enough for Jazz, so to speak. And they are getting protection whose value exceeds the costs of enforcement (or the cost of non-enforcement) -- or else they wouldn't be paying those costs.
  • "I just saw a bumper sticker on a pickup truck last week that said:

    One Country, One flag, One Language"

    I woulda taken a black marker to it if I'd seen it in a parking lot, and written "one bigot" under that line. It would have made me feel good.

    Some people really do suck.

    - A.P.
    --


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