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At Least 25 Million Americans Pirate Movies 392

ThinSkin writes "Roughly 18 percent of the U.S. online population has illegally downloaded a full-length movie at some point in the past, according to a telephone and online study of 2,600 Americans. A typical movie downloader is 29 years of age, while 63 percent of all downloaders are male, and 37 percent are female. Kaan Yigit, director of the study, observes, 'There is a Robin Hood effect — most people perceive celebrities and studios to be rich already and as a result don't think of movie downloading as a big deal. The current crop of 'download to own' movie services and the new ones coming into the market will need to offer greater flexibility of use, selection and low prices to convert the current users to their services — otherwise file-sharing will continue to thrive.'"
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At Least 25 Million Americans Pirate Movies

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  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:36PM (#17760354)
    I can't speak for the Californian ones, but having looked over a friends here in Vancouver, that's an industry that desperately needs to trim the fat.
  • It's easier! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:37PM (#17760382) Journal
    One of the reasons I personally pirate movies is it's easier. I don't have to mess around with anything, I just find a torrent (easy as pie), click 2 buttons and I have it within a couple of hours (on a good torrent under 1 hour). Why ever would I goto the cinema or to a shop to buy something I can get for less effort and money?
  • Re:18%? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hjf ( 703092 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:38PM (#17760386) Homepage
    Dude. Bearshare. Ares. eMule. BitTorrent. Do you need to be smart to use any of these?
  • Convenience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack ( 534373 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:40PM (#17760424)
    This is what the MPAA doesn't quite get. Most people I know over the age of 21 hate going to the theater. It's a fucking hassle.

    So when a blockbuster is released like LOTR the options are:
    a. suffer in the theater
    b. wait half a year for the DVD
    c. download the torrent

    Just make the first runs available for download and guaranteed the piracy problem will be minimized.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:42PM (#17760448)
    Gee, I wonder why people do not think that this is stealing. Maybe because loss of potential sales does not equal stolen product?

    The reality is that these groups hate to admit that technology is devaluing their product. Basically, for the first time, these groups have realized that they are unable to set their price to whatever they like. Now that a consumer is able to download their product readily, their product is not as valuable as it once was. As hard as they try, this will not change because it is a structural issue...
  • Re:It's Still Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:47PM (#17760514) Homepage
    Agreed. Let's not forget that copyright is a recent notion, proposed by a few people in Western Europe only a few hundred years ago. It did not exist in antiquity--Roman poets such as Martial had no problem with their works being copied and sold as long as they were given credit on the title page--and even today most of the world finds it a nonsensical concept.
  • Re:18%? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @08:09PM (#17760864)
    We are looking at a lot of people being out of work as a result. Not the "stars" but the studio grunts and the folks in the promotions and marketing departments.

    Really? Even if there were no copyright laws and the US basically had piracy like China there would still be multi-million dollar movies made because they still make more money than not making movies.

    Come to think of it... There have been a great deal of large scale movies coming out of China/Hong Kong lately. Like "The Promise" and that other that I can't remember its name right now but was made by the same group that did Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
  • Re:18%? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @08:10PM (#17760870) Homepage Journal
    There's no way that there are 54 million people actively downloading 4GB movie files..."

    well, since you backed that up quite logically...

    Now, if you had read the article:
    " U.S. online population"
    and then noticed the head line says 25 million.
    Any one of these would indicate to someone of average or greater intelligence that it's not al Americans.

    Based on the actual artical, 18% seem pretty reasonable a number.
    Now if broadband is at 50%(adjust for easy of math), that mean 150 million americans have
    broadband. Pretty cliose to 18%.

    Please. Try. To. Think.

  • Supid Peopel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by da_yingyang0 ( 1048770 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @08:26PM (#17761118)
    Who was stupid enough to admit to that over a phone survey where they have your name, address, and phone number?
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7.kc@rr@com> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @08:51PM (#17761480) Homepage
    For most adults going to the Theatre stinks, the seats are too close, the 30 minutes of commercials are annoying and by the time you pay for one ticket, an 8 dollar tub of popcorn and a 5 dollar drink its cheaper to buy the dvd 6 months later.

    When I was a kid I would go to the movies a couple times a month, now its a couple times a year. I actually have more free time to do so, but the negatives far outweigh the positives so I stay home.

    Legal downloads are insane, most of them are more expensive than DVD's, have crappier resolution, and have so much drm they are basically useless. If streaming movies were available day and date with DVD or PPV releases at a cost similar to PPV it would probably go over much better.

    I know Divx (Not the encoding but the format pushed by Circuit City) wasnt popular in the store, but something similar would be a pretty decent solution for downloads, a limited play but burnable download for $3-$4 sounds alot more attractive than driving to a rental place.

    Whatever happened to Mark Cuban's experiment with day and date theatrical releases? It sounded like a good idea, I really dont think the theatre crowd will shrink much, the few times I go it seems its mostly teenagers there for the hang out so they will still show up. Movies that have to be experienced on the big screen will still draw crowds.

    I suspect alot of the fear with day and date releases is that streaming or downloads will even the playing field, at the theatre you get anywhere from 1-20 choices where with an online service you could potentially have hundreds, suddenly art and independent films have the same marquee as the big studios which will only hurt the big studios.
  • Re:18%? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by esobofh ( 138133 ) <> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @09:46PM (#17762148)
    Funny.. because I'm 29, and this article has me dead on. I'm not impatient like I was when i was a young buck (don't need to have everything NOW!) and I have more important things to spend my money on (like investments, mortgage payments, groceries, etc). My broadband connection is consistently fast and reliable and I have huge hard drives. I setup a number of bittorrent downloads and let them complete when they will. There are always 5-10 on the go, and there's always something new to watch when I have the time to sit down and enjoy a movie. The ones that are corrupt or fake - not a big deal, i delete them and move on to the next 100 downloads.

    So.. the thrill of stealing of movie? Not so. I had that thrill stealing chocolate bars when i was 13 - downloading a movie doesn't give me that thrill. Fact is, I think the only real stealing going on is what movie houses, rental places etc.. charge for movies. Especially because they're churning out crap lately.

    The fact is, this 18% represents where the market needs to be. Fast, easily downloaded, watch-when-i-want movies. I would pay a nominal fee for this. The structure has to change. Going out to the movies is fine for 15 yr olds.. i'm not going there to pay nearly $50 for my wife and I to have popcorn and catch the latest flick.

    Instead, i'll sit at home, comfortable (where i can pause the movie to pee or get a drink), watch movies when i want, eat what i want and enjoy high quality sound and picture with the home theatre gear i purchased with all the money i saved not going to the movies.

    C'mon movie industry.. catch up. Delivering a service means giving people what they want - the people are telling you in a very obvious way now, you aren't doing that.
  • by cyberscan ( 676092 ) * on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:14PM (#17762400) Homepage
    To tell you the truth, if I had to watch cartel product, I'd prefer "pirated" movies to store bought DVD's simply because I am not forced to watch or skip all of the damned advertisements. I have seen these movies on home made DVD's at other people's homes. I am amazed at their high quality. It should be high time that the movie and music industry stop suing and start listening to their customers. They can start doing this by removing Digital Restrictions Management from their products and stop overcharging. The only reason why these cartels have gotten away with their overcharging for so many years is because they have shut out any competition. Thankfully, those days are over.

    With that said, I also want to state that I download video and music from the Internet all of the time. Just about everything that I download however, is not owned or copyrighted by the entertainment cartels. This is not because I have any moral qualms about doing so, rather, it is because most of the stuff produced by the entertainment cartels is pure unadultrated crap. It is a good thing that there are so many people "pirating." I hope that the piracy rate goes even higher until the entertainment cartels finally get the message. When the cartels finally accept the fact that they can no longer overcharge for their product and put unreasonable controls over how their product can be watched, they may regain some of the customers they have lost.

    Much of what has been put out by the cartels these days has been little more than glorified reruns. If I want original entertainment, I go to the Internet and such sites as You Tube. The entertainment cartels will most likely never again make the kind of money that they once made now that they have competition, however people will be better off, and new producers will be able to enter the market. Yes, "piracy" is good, and no, it is NOT STEALING.
  • Re:18%? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @10:42PM (#17762668) Homepage

    I don't imagine the bit torrents are tearing up Bergman flicks.

    I've gotten 20 Bergman films from Bittorrent already over the last several months.

    In the US anyway...

    I don't live in the U.S.

    anyone who knows who Ingmar Bergman is has the funds to purchase his films

    No. His work is quite popular with intellectuals and students, who tend to be poor. I myself haven't been employed in six years. While I get some money here and there and have bought a few of his films, it will take years to get them all in the expensive Criterion Collection or MGM sets.

    His last US filmography credit is from 1996 according to IMBD, BTW.

    His film Sarabande was released in 2003.

  • by BillGatesLoveChild ( 1046184 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @11:00PM (#17762866) Journal
    Ask the guy who wrote Forest Gump. the movie studio rigged their accounting so he didn't get a cent. Peter Jackson is suing Newline for ripping him off on royalties. This is called "Hollywood Accounting"

    Yes, piracy is stealing, but so are the studios when they steal from these guys. I doubt the Forest Gump author would shed a tear if you told him you stole 'his' movie ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @01:51AM (#17764626)
    FBI warnings are laughable (they can't find Bin Laden, you say they're going to rush in my living room SWAT-style and arrest me for a download?), but if it was only that... There's about a million reasons why I prefer to download:

    -lots of DVDs that you buy have those previews you can't skip (along with FBI warnings indeed)
    -I hate most DVD menus with a passion
    -most DVDs are overpriced (30$CDN+ is not uncommon at all)
    -DVD cases take a fair amount of space when you have a lot (vs 700MB AVIs on a network share on cheap HDs), not counting you have to dust 'em (no thanks) and buy shelves (and make place for those, and my place's already full). I'd have an entire wall covered in shelving.
    -lots of the stuff I like can't be bought locally (lots of old movies, like say, Louis De Funes or Terence Hill & Bud Spencer), and even some of it can't be bought at all (most of my DVDs are PAL/R2 imports!)
    -renting online is cheap, but most of the titles I want are only available at different places (rent from one, cancel, rent from another, etc), and they tend to ship not in the order you want them (I rented the back to the future trilogy one time, I got the 2nd, then the 3rd, and a month later the first of the 3... heh). Also, scratched discs. And frequent trips to the (somewhat distant) post office.
    -buying a DVD requires me to get ready to go shopping (get family ready, drive there in city traffic, go look for movies -- not that Best Buy has IMDB reviews on the DVD stands either), wait in line, etc, wasting a few hours in the process. Sometimes I download them faster than it would take to go buy it downtown.

    Downloading them is simple (2 clicks and it's underway) - no wasting time driving/at the mall, takes basically no space, costs nothing (already paying for broadband), no work required to copy/reencode it, sits nicely on a network share (ready to be played with XBMC, load up the laptop before traveling, or any way I so please), no discs that get scratched, easy to share with friends/family, anything you could ever want (and more) is available, along with IMDB reviews, no pesky FBI warnings and annoying menus, etc. It's just SO much more convenient.

    Theaters are bad in their own way too. Expensive tickets is just the beginning (although expensive tickets for the whole family quickly gets expensive -- more than the DVD would cost), but a fountain/carbonated beverage & popcorn costs even more (lots of my friends like to have some beer with their movies or such - can't have that at the Theater!) You have to wait in line a while. Then you sit in uncomfortable chairs. Watch 20 minutes of previews. People talking, cell phones, all kinds of annoyances. Can't pause the movie if you have to use the bathroom. Large screens are nice, but otherwise it SUCKS. And large screens are getting affordable: a non-HD projector that will give you a 100" picture at home can be found around 600$ locally. Compare that with (10$ for ticket, 10$ for popcorn & drink) * 4 people. It pays for itself after 8 movies only (a bit more if you pick a nicer projector). Movies don't play when you want 'em unlike at home. Lots of time wasted again (driving both ways, wait in line + previews) -- about an hour or so (almost as long as the movie is). And you have to go there when it plays (adapt your schedule). At home, I can even watch movies in my PJs.

    Again, downloads are just SO much more convenient.

    No wonder people are pirating.
  • by MasaMuneCyrus ( 779918 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:52AM (#17766916)
    You missed permanence in the Pros. That is, a retail DVD will last damn near forever. A DVD burnt on a DVD+R, even if it's a Taiyo Yuden DVD+R, will last for a maximum of about 10 years. And DVDs stored on a HDD will only last until the HDD gives out. So every couple of years you end up having to transfer your movies to a different disc or new HDD, whereas you can just leave DVDs sit on a shelf and never have to move them.

    At least, that's one of the things I think about when downloading.
  • Re:18%? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by THE ROCK ( 127208 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @11:53AM (#17769458) Homepage
    For the record I am 33.

    In the last 10 years, I have only very rarely paid for music. I have also not paid for any retail DVD in almost 6 years now. One reason is because literally 99% of what is being commercially released (musically) is absolutely horrible, and I would feel ripped off if I paid a nickel for it. The numbers are movies are not quite to extreme IMO but they are still way up there.

    p2p has come a very long way. I think that even a functional retard could figure out how to use bittorrent. Burning DVDs and CDs is not rocket science either. The other (and main) reason that I download music/movies (and tv shows) instead of paying for them is because its so damn easy. Even a dual layer DVD movie can be downloaded in about 6 hours, and I can even seed that up to 1.00 in just over a day on my $40/month DSL if I want to keep the mods on my favorite tracker happy. TV shows and music releases (even lossless ones, which thankfully are getting more popular all the time) usually take only a few minutes to download.

    As far as quality and reliability goes, this too is almost never a problem if you know what to look for. The scene is downright anal about enforcing their quality rules. Just try watching the PRE database for 10 minutes if you have any doubt about this. Anything as minor as a typo and a release gets nuked by one of several nuke nazis. All releases need to be packaged in rar files and furthermore have an sfv for an additional level of checking of you want to be absolutely sure the release you downloadeded is pristine. I would say that out of everything I download, I have problems with corruption literally less than 1% of the time. It is simply not an issue.

    As HD becomes the norm, bandwidth use and requirements will increase and that demand will be met by ISPs, just like it always has in the past. In my case, I dumped cable for DSL because even tho my cable company didn't worry about its infrastructure for 10 years, my phone company did (and they still are.)

    I've got income too, it sounds like we just spend ours in different places. It also sounds like what both of us do is working for us, so its all good. After all there is something to be said for buying get nice packaging, some recourse if you get a flawed product, and you know your media will probably last a lifetime.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin