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The First HD DVD Movie Hits BitTorrent 537

Ars Technica reports that the first HD DVD movie has made its way onto BitTorrent, showing that current DRM efforts to prevent illegal sharing of copyrighted content are still futile and fighting an uphill battle. From the article: "The pirates of the world have fired another salvo in their ongoing war with copy protection schemes with the first release of the first full-resolution rip of an HD DVD movie on BitTorrent. The movie, Serenity, was made available as a .EVO file and is playable on most DVD playback software packages such as PowerDVD. The file was encoded in MPEG-4 VC-1 and the resulting file size was a hefty 19.6 GB."
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The First HD DVD Movie Hits BitTorrent

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  • Sky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:57PM (#17632778)
    Burn the land and boil the sea
    You can't take the sky from me
  • Link? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:58PM (#17632792)
    No direct link to the torrent? What kind of submission is that?
  • by Boap ( 559344 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:58PM (#17632798)
    At 20GB this alone will limit pirates as having even 100 of these movies will take up about 2TB of space.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      At 20GB this alone will limit pirates as having even 100 of these movies will take up about 2TB of space.

      Well, there are always more insecure computers to use as temporary storage. Maybe they'll come up with a distributed storage system where the pirated file is split up over 10-20 machines.
    • by solevita ( 967690 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:03PM (#17632874)
      Not really - Hard drive space is still cheaper per GB than HD-DVD is. If you want to store big movies, it's cheaper to do so by downloading them than it is to buy them on disk.

      In other words, if you can't afford to keep 100 HD-DVD movies on your computer, you really can't afford to keep then on HD-DVD.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:04PM (#17632910)
      Until the burners become affordable. The limiting factor is really the bandwidth, not the storage space.
    • by Chang ( 2714 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:04PM (#17632912)
      I'm sure we'll never have a solution for limited drive size ;-)

    • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:05PM (#17632916)
      If you buy 100 HD DVDs you will have spent upwards of $2000.

      With 500GB of storage costing $150 or less, 2TB of storage space will set you back $600.
      • If you buy 100 HD DVDs you will have spent upwards of $2000

        Oh sure, they do now. HD is still very bleeding edge. But history has shown that prices for storage media drop exceedingly fast once the drives become readily available. Single layer DVD's were expensive just a few years ago. Now, you can buy them in the grocery store for $0.50 each or less. Dual layer DVD's are between $0.50 and $1. We won't see HD or Blu-Ray disks get cheap until one of them becomes ubiquitous (not for a few more years, at
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by seneces ( 839286 )
      Plenty of people, myself among them, keep high-definition movies now. In MPEG-2, they usually end up being 11-14gb each, and that isn't unreasonable with today's harddrives. Once HDDVD gets adopted widely there will probably be drives big enough to make a 20gb movie not too much of an issue for people who want to keep it in its original quality. Plus, once we can burn hddvd/bluray discs, space won't matter.
    • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:11PM (#17633032)
      > At 20GB this alone will limit pirates as having even 100 of these movies will take up about 2TB of space.

      I'm sure people made the same observation when DVDs first became available a decade ago. 4.7 or 9GB over dialup or even early cable modems stored onto hard drives barely able to hold a single disc was not a threat to DVD sales either. But bandwidth and storage keep on improving while a media standard like DVD or HD-DVD remains constant for years. The reality is that if an HD movie is fixed at ~20GB the cost to move/store that will soon drop to managable costs.

      With the copy restrictions removed it is an absolute certainly that they WILL be copied. For now just to prove it is possible, to stick it to the man and to prove 313t3 5k177z but eventually it will be as commonplace as Divx;) CD-R copies are now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Angstroem ( 692547 )
      Is this news?

      The CD was safe until we started to accumulate several Gigabytes of storage space. Noone was going to distribute CDs when a single CD would occupy at least a third of the entire drive, not to mention the fact that every measly Megabyte travels at least one minute via Modem.

      The latter again was true for the DVD, which was safe until more storage, bigger bandwidth, and also enough CPU power to en- and decode the rips was there: Here, I'd say, one driving factor also was that people were pissed wi
      • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:19PM (#17633238)
        Is this news?

        Absolutely. If pirates are willing to rip off a HD version of "Serenity", then there should be enough demand to make another movie.
        • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:55PM (#17633924)
          Not necessarily. A download doesn't equate to a lost sale, no matter how much the like of the MPAA and RIAA say so.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SilentChris ( 452960 )
            But do you think it's going to result in a *produced* sale?

            Say I'm a hip, young, 20-something marketing guy working in the entertainment industry. I tell my boss "Hey, Serenity didn't sell that great, but look at all the downloads! Clearly people want a sequel."

            Now, this is me as the 60-year old gruff old guy: "You mean we're producing and marketing stuff to people who don't want to pay for things? That's wasted money. We're never doing a sequel of this! Let's work on that next Britney Spears album!"

        • by codemachine ( 245871 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:51PM (#17635166)
          Actually, DVD sales have brought back TV series before, so if anything, buying the actual HD-DVD or the regular DVD would be a better move if you want another movie. Showing interest is not enough to help a studio profit.

          Though I assume you knew that anyways. The real news was back when the HD-DVD protection was broken. The fact that rips appeared online was inevitable after that point. One might argue the breaking of the DRM was inevitable too, but still possibly newsworthy to report when it actually happened.
    • by MartinG ( 52587 )
      That's exactly what everyone said when software started coming on CD instead of floppy and suddenly the data sizes got much larger.

      Bandwidth is getting faster and cheaper and storage is getting bigger and cheaper. Just give it a couple of years and a 20GB download won't seem that big.
    • For now. Maybe. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:18PM (#17633200)
      Think back about 5, or even 10, years. Could you have imagined downloading 3-4 Gigs just for a movie? Or a game?

      When the CD came into existance, it was not thought that copy protection could ever be necessary, people did hardly have the space on their HD to store those 650 Megs on. Today, a CD is not even a deterrent to downloading it, storing is even less a problem.

      Give it a year, and you will probably not even think twice about transfering 20 Gigs just to check out the movie (and deleting it immediately afterwards when you notice that it is indeed copyrighted material, of course).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Malc ( 1751 )
      Nah, that's what Blu-ray burners are for ;)
  • I have a great idea. Just don't sell the product, or release it for distribution of any kind. I guarantee there won't be any piracy, but you'll have a hard time making money!

    Everyone complained about piracy when tape decks came out, but everyone knows in retrospect that the bootleg tapes, even the good quality ones (which could easily be as good as the one you bought) were actually helping bands get noticed. This is all about just controlling the supply line so that only studio-backed projects can get money. They want the ability to sh*t can a movie by not distributing it, and vice versa, to make money from only the ones they are investing in.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:11PM (#17633056) Homepage
      I think that the only real solution is to not allow the movies to be played on a computer. Only on dedicated set top boxes. I realize that the cat is out of the bag now, but I think this is the only way to prevent these movies from being copied by the average Joe. Look at the GameCube and it's proprietary discs. While it's possible to get pirated games, it's just too much trouble for the average joe to bother. As it stands right now, I don't think too many people would buy into a technology that wouldn't play on your computer, since we already have DVD, and that plays fine on the computer. There was a lot less piracy going on when you had to dub the tape, instead of just clicking on a link. There is a big difference in terms of how much stuff you can pirate when you are putting music on tapes versus putting them on a hard disk. And the quality of the copy was pretty inferior.
      • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:41PM (#17634906) Homepage
        "I think that the only real solution is to not allow the movies to be played on a computer. Only on dedicated set top boxes."

        It is my opinion that unless a new medium works on the PC, it will never become all that important.

        Think about all the laptop computers that are sold with DVD drives in many cases to allow travelers to watch movies as they travel. If those people can't do that, then they'll just stick with DVD's.

        So the market for the new-fangled-DVD-replacement will be limited to people with large TV's who just want to watch in their living rooms and never watch it anywhere else, despite the fact that we have desktop & laptop computers, slingboxes, Video iPods, Zunes, etc etc.

        I mean, if that's the market, god bless them, but I want to see someone with that pitch before the board of directors.

        Maybe it would be cheaper to just do something where people have to go to a large room and watch it with a bunch of strangers. They'd pay like $8-10, and buy popcorn, and hope the people next to them will shut up and let them watch in peace. Hey! I may patent this idea. I'll call it "Moving Pictures in a Dark Theater" or something snappy like that.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      OK. So what are you saying? Piracy is OK because it help the artist? Or it's OK because we should hate big business? And do you REALLY want people to be unemployed, or content to stop being created? I'm failing to see how your rationalization is a good thing in the general sense regardless of one's personal feelings towards the RIAA/MPAA/Steam/Text Book Publishers/SlashBaddie of the week?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'm not saying any of that, I'm just saying that the attitude towards piracy is actually costing the industry more money than would a strategy to embrace people's willingness to be very cheap distribution engines. I mean, how is it not in the industry's interest to distribute a movie with zero overhead? It's their own fault they don't monetize that transaction.
    • Tapedecks had one sigificant disadvantage over really buying the record: Quality. We all know, good music has to be played LOUD. Now, when you play a tape loud, the noise becomes more than just a nuisance.

      Today, copying does not mean loss of quality.
  • by Jordan Catalano ( 915885 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:00PM (#17632826) Homepage
  • We win (Score:3, Funny)

    by MasterPoof ( 876056 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:01PM (#17632840)
    Case closed. Give it up, MPAA, your days are numbered. Just like Windows, soon you won't be needed anymore.
    • Re:We win [not] (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:39PM (#17633614)
      Case closed. Give it up, MPAA, your days are numbered. Just like Windows, soon you won't be needed anymore.

      Ah, because "Serenity" (since that's the movie in quesiton) would have been just as good if made collaboratively by a bunch of volunteers with little or no budget and no expectation of making enough money to pay back good acting, writing, animation, and other talent? Who do you think the MPAA is, anyway? It's a trade association populated by the companies that moviemakers, actors, writers, tech people and all the rest choose to work for. People compete to work for these companies, and to make projects that will be well received and which will reward the risks taken.

      You may have no use for the trade association these creative people support, but you'd better also have no use for films as good as Serenity. No money, no Serenity. You don't "win" anything by ripping off the very people that you're hoping will scrape together the money, talent, and time to make another movie you'll like.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        There was talent involved with the production of Serenity?
  • Moo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chacham ( 981 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:02PM (#17632856) Homepage Journal
    The First HD DVD Movie Hits BitTorrent

    News at 11:00.
    On Bit Torrent at 11:05.
  • I might download it.

    Which, I'm perfectly legal to do as I'm using direct FTP so the sharing is done by the uploading side.
  • Oy! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:03PM (#17632880)
    "It's so big they'll never have enough storage space!"
    "It's so big they'll never have enough bandwidth!"
    "It's so big they'll never have enough ... !" -- Fill in whatever.

    These are no serious impediments. Pirates routinely download 5GB (and 9GB) DVDs all the time and they don't have problem with that. Their ISPs don't suddenly cap them. They don't suddenly find their quality of life has depreciated because they can't download enough porn.

    It doesn't happen like that.

    ISPs increase bandwidth. Hard drives get bigger. Writable media gets larger. Compression gets more advanced.

    It's no big deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:04PM (#17632892)
    I'll be in my bunk...
  • At these file sizes, I, for one, do not aim to misbehave.
  • by mandelbr0t ( 1015855 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:05PM (#17632928) Journal
    I was skeptical when I saw the first article about HDDVDBackup, but there's definitely a posted title key on the Doom9 forum to correspond with this release. I guess the other 2 keys they posted should be released soon as well. The only way to truly implement volume encryption that can't be beaten is to avoid the software player altogether, as the title key needs to be in memory, if only briefly. The posts on the Doom9 forum claim that this is the way that title keys are extracted, and I'm inclined to believe them.

    Good job beating the DRM MAFIAA again! Information truly was meant to be free :)

  • Yo. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neimon ( 713907 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:06PM (#17632956)
    Not cool. Joss needs the money so he can make more cool stuff. Go buy the DVD.

    'nuff said.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paganizer ( 566360 )
      I did.
      right after I downloaded it to make sure it wouldn't suck.
      But i'm a browncoat, so I probably would have bought 2 copies anyway.
    • Re:Yo. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xerotope ( 777662 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:28PM (#17633392)
      Mail him a check for $5. I'm sure that's more than he gets from the studios for an HD-DVD sale.
  • by Rorian ( 88503 ) <> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:08PM (#17632976) Homepage Journal
    Of course, this will just make them work harder to fix up the faults in the encryption software/hardware before they really start to mass-produce players / discs, so releasing a pirated movie this early will just make further piracy that little bit harder.

    However, I really don't understand why the RIAA/MPAA bother at all - There are just to many people out there who find it _fun_ to spend their time cracking things simply because they can, and it is a great challenge to take on. It's not the money, it's not the legality, it's probably not even the fact that they want to rip the movie onto their hard-drive. It's the fact that when the RIAA says "You can't do this", their first thought is "Just watch me". No-one can compete with that, not even multi-billion dollar companies. And I love that fact :)

    Also.. 20gb?! Somehow I enjoy the thought of piracy a lot less when everything I save in not buying movies, I spend in buying hard-drives / bandwidth! :)
    • Also.. 20gb?! Somehow I enjoy the thought of piracy a lot less when everything I save in not buying movies, I spend in buying hard-drives / bandwidth! :)

      not really.

      1 HD-DVD : $20.50 at

      1 500GB Hard drive : $159.99, also at

      for the price of the drive, you can buy 8 movies, but the drive will hold roughly 25 movies.

      actual cost per downloaded movie : $6.40 (not one cent of which goes to the MPAA) so you save $14.10 per movie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheoMurpse ( 729043 )
      Just wait until the movies are compressed. An XviD encode of a 20 minute episode of The Office which is 960x544 is 350MB (290MB is video data, 60MB is audio). Double each dimension (to get approx. 1080p), and the filesize will grow, with 4x290MB+60MB=1220MB as an upper limit (of course, it will be smaller than this). Thus, two hours of XviD at 1080p would be, at most, 7320MB. Factor in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 audio, and you still won't exceed the size of one dual layer DVD. Then, use the x264 codec instead of XviD,
  • For all the people saying size will be limiting factor, just remember that this is just the first HD DVD movie posted.

    This medium (or blue-ray or some hybrid) will be around for years to come. In two years time, 1 terabyte of storage will probably be standard on mid range computers.

  • Price of HD players (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EmagGeek ( 574360 )
    I wonder if this is going to cause downward pressure on HD DVD player prices as people can now just use their computer to play the films? I wonder if the HD-DVD player makes will have a monetary claim against the hackers who are responsible as such.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:08PM (#17632994)
    The article says there is a battle between the pirates and the content providers and imply the pirates are winning.
    I am not sure that is the case. I have not been interested in a format that has no provision for backup or ability to shift to other players -- like linux laptops. I have no interest in a disk that won't look as good as a DVD if I play it in my 1 year old non-HDMI HDTV.
    If HDDVD disks can now be reliably ripped, I am interested.
    I'll buy a set top player and a computer drive sooner.
    I'll pester Blockbuster to start renting the disks.
    If Muslix64 et al. are blocked, I am back to no interest.
  • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:12PM (#17633072) Homepage Journal
    ...but I bet the MPAA is watching the peer list on this torrent very, very carefully.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Threni ( 635302 )
      > ...but I bet the MPAA is watching the peer list on this torrent very, very carefully.

      "Dave...what's this TOR thing I keep seeing on the ip list?"
      "It means we have no chance of catching whoever's sharing their files though it"

  • I think that the prohibitive cost of HDDVD drives, as well as (small) doubt that the format will survive the Blu Ray standard counterbalances the weighty file size.
  • by s31523 ( 926314 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:16PM (#17633156)
    Several posts gasped at the 20GB file size... Come on, its HD. The discs themselves are 30-50GB, what the hell did you expect the ripped torrent file size to be? You want the file size to be small, relatively, then go pirate the non-HD version!
  • by F.Prefect ( 98101 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:17PM (#17633186) Homepage really can't stop the signal. :-)
  • by Lester67 ( 218549 ) <ratels72082.mypacks@net> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:18PM (#17633202)
    They have gone to enormous trouble to find your little friend... and found her they have. Do you all know what it is you're carrying?

  • but its even bigger at a 30GB download, besides the wasted time, my dual athlon mp 2800+ w/ 1.5GB of ram is not powerful enough to play it (albiet its 3-4 years old now)
  • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:41PM (#17634912)

    From the writeup:

    ...showing that current DRM efforts to prevent illegal sharing of copyrighted content are still futile and fighting an uphill battle.

    Well, I just happen to know:

    • Lots of retail stores have anti-theft measures -- tags on the merchandise, cameras, store detectives, and so on.
    • Yet probably somewhere in your town, somebody has shoplifted something within the past hour.

    Does this mean that all of those Sensormatic tags, all of those cameras, and so on are "futile?" Not hardly. You wouldn't make such a ridiculous statement because you know that retail anti-theft mechanisms are meant to be a deterrent. Nobody -- least of which the retail industry -- expects these measures to prevent 100% of retail theft.

    And so it goes with DRM. If we pretend that the content industry expects it to prevent 100% of piracy, then yes -- we can have a jolly laugh at their expense. Why then, "futile" does sound like a good word, and after this little warm-up straw man exercise, we're ready to hit Burning Man. But it's intellectually dishonest.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:56PM (#17635272) Homepage Journal
    Product design for HD-DVD player: $8 million.
    DRM Engineering team: $1.2 million.
    Marketing for release of first movie: $3 million

    Having some wiseass kid from Sweden post a torrent of your movie the day before the commercial release: Priceless.

  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:10PM (#17635538)
    I know it's redundant, but... Seeing as to how my university caps all users' total bandwidth (combined upstream & downstream) to 5GB per any 7 consecutive days, this would take over 4 weeks to download if I did not share at all. I say over 4 weeks because I still require some bandwidth for my typical habits like listening to distant radio stations and downloading software updates. Now, if I were to download this on bittorrent, it would take at least 6 weeks if I'm a jerk, 9 weeks if I'm nice and get my ratio back up to 1. At this rate, I'd rather just buy the damn disc than wait 2+ months. Then again, the only HDTV I have is at my family's home, and I'm too poor to buy the 360's HD-DVD player, and I'm also not sure that my computer can handle outputting something at that high of a resolution without losing frames. Anywho, I suppose I should buy a DVIHDMI cable sometime before this summer so I can play Pro Evo on the new TV, but that would also require a new video card.... New video card or a month's rent, hrmm.....

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham