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365 comments

Disturbed (2, Insightful)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243956)

"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

It actually disturbs me deeply that someone in the U.S. Justice Department is admitting casually that the war on drugs is useless and a waste of lives and money.

Re:Disturbed (5, Insightful)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243977)

How can you be disturbed by the truth?

War on drugs is a huge waste of money and can never be won. You will not even get close. It would have been much better if they accepted the fact that not all drugs are the same and differentiated between soft and hard drugs. That would ofcourse empty the prisons of a lot of people and make room for the real criminals rather than a potsmoker. But then the statistics would not look good...

Re:Disturbed (2, Insightful)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244124)

No, what's disturbing is that they continue to waste money and time on something that doesn't work and is an abridgement of a person's rights anyway.

Re:Disturbed (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244354)

I find this to be an interesting point of view. You speak as if there are actual inalienable rights that people have. This is a nice, ideal position. It isn't as true as you would probably like to think. Go read the Declaration of Independance or the Constitution of the United States. Those documents both claim their power from the people. So here in the United States, you get a nice tidy result where you have those handy inalienable rights. But those rights don't come from the Constitution, they come from your neighbors, and everybody else that is a citizen of the U.S.

Attempting to come to a point, in our current society, people don't have a right to grow a plant in thier garden and then light it on fire. Ridiculous to me, but true none the less. You may desire to live in such a society, and even see growing a plant as a natural right, but it really is not currently a right. This is a choice that society has made. Perhaps not an informed choice, but a choice has clearly been made. To the tune of hundreds of thousands of people in prison.

Re:Disturbed (0)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244470)

"Attempting to come to a point, in our current society, people don't have a right to grow a plant in thier garden and then light it on fire. Ridiculous to me, but true none the less. You may desire to live in such a society, and even see growing a plant as a natural right, but it really is not currently a right."

My wife grows Sage in the garden and burns it in ceremonies.

Re:Disturbed (2, Insightful)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244543)

Rights don't come from other people, unless you want to get into a stupid semantic argument.

The founders of the country felt that rights were inalienable and NOT created by society or other people. That is, you had natural rights.

I recognize rights on a philosophical level, myself-- basically, anything that does not put force on another person. Putting something in your own body does not, under just about every conceivable circumstance imaginable, force anything on anyone besides yourself. You are not stealing, damaging their property, or hurting them.

I do not live or feel comfortable with your idea of an "ant colony society", where the individual is at the whim of the majority.

So yes, I have the right to do any damn thing I want whether other people like it or not, as long as I do not damage their property or harm them explicitly.

Re:Disturbed (0, Flamebait)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244254)

Ugh, how can you compare something that causes people to completely fuck up their lives (drugs) to something that is a supposed to be a compromise between greed and the flow of works?

Drugs: give people (criminals) money for fucking up people's lives. Financial benefit for bad acts.
Copyright: gives people (artists) money for creating new works. Financial benefit for good acts.

Thus, in principle, copyright potentially can be a good thing. It is supposed to give fair compensation to the artists -- the thing that that compensation is not given but instead seized by **AA/record labels/bean counters/etc/etc is a different story. Of course, an unhindered flow of works is something much more beneficial to the society, and it used to lie at the base of our culture for millenia.

Drugs are something inheretly bad. Piracy is just working around a misused system.

Re:Disturbed (4, Insightful)

mrdaveb (239909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244418)

Drugs are something inheretly bad. Piracy is just working around a misused system.

Unless you are some kind of Christian scientist, I presume you are only refering to recreational drug use. Regardless of whether or not you personally would choose to drink beer, smoke pot, eat magic mushrooms, etc. I don't see what gives you the authoritity to declare them 'inherently bad'. marijuana != heroin. Have you been listening to your politicians again?

Re:Disturbed (1)

rvega (630035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244429)

Drugs are something inheretly bad.

That's just your opinion, not a fact. And it's such a sweeping statement that it ignores the significant differences between different types of "drugs", as well as the differences between individual people and their uses of them. Ludicrous.

Re:Disturbed (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244301)

But then the statistics would not look good...


Right! It is and always will be cheaper and easyer to fork out a few billion dollars/euros in military aid to napalm strips of jungle or rocky hillside (aka, suspected coca/poppy/marihuana/hemp plantation) in country X than it is to deal with the root causes of drug use at home.

Re:Disturbed (5, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243994)

How is saying "we're trying to keep problem X in check" the same as saying "we're just wasting your money by spending it on problem X"?

That was quite a "logical" leap you made there. Are you superman? Because that was a hell of a chasm to cross to come to the bizarre conclusion you did.

Re:Disturbed (3, Insightful)

mothlos (832302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244229)

A leap of logic, yes... but not completely unfounded.

The "war" on drugs has been charactarized as something that was winnable. The cost and the damage to people and society is a reasonable one because someday it won't be needed. Try to remember back to Vietnam (or civics class for the youngins in the audience) and remember when we were stuck in a war where we had no clear conditions for success and no exit strategy or conditions to impliment it in case of failure.

This statement shows an official admitting that there is no clear strategy for success in the "war" on drugs, it is essentially a quagmire where we keep throwing resources at the problem without a net gain. For many this change from a winnable situation to one with no clear resolution would doubtlessly cause their view of the situation to transform from one of useful expenditure to wasted money.

Re:Disturbed (3, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244274)

"The "war" on drugs has been characterised as something that was winnable."


I agree completely. Now if people would realize the "war on terrorism" is not, and that it's a war on muslim-extremists with a vague title allowing the "changing of the enemy" whenever more tax dollars are needed, we'd be off to a good start.

Re:Disturbed (1)

rvega (630035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244468)

If the DEA, et al, framed their purpose as keeping problem X in check, it would lead logically to the conclusion that education and treatment, not criminalization and military aid abroad, would be the correct path to pursue. Prohibition is a kind of extremism: It has nothing to do with finding a healthy balance.

Re:Disturbed (1)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244003)

"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."
That's exactly the phrase that caught my eye.

I wonder - when will the geniuses we have elected to run this country finally realize that their proposed solution to the problem will never work? Or will they continue to live in the state of dementia they currently occupy?

Re:Disturbed (2, Insightful)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244090)


"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war,"

Or when will these geniuses realize that the same is true about the war on terror? Of course there are even more lives and money wasted on fighting it...

Re:Disturbed (2, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244009)

Where is he saying that it is useless and a waste of lives and money? He merely states that there are limits to its success.

Re:Disturbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244111)

if it's unwinnable, then it's a waste of lives and money to keep fighting it. there were limits to the successes of the u.s. in vietnam, too.

Re:Disturbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244135)

the fight against disease will also never be totaly won - there will always be something going wrong with human bodies. Does that make all the money spent on medicene a waste?

Re:Disturbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244292)

That's a stretch...

What he is saying is that the FBI is struggling to contain the problem, much less reduce it. For every hacker they bust, 3 new ones come into the scene. This annoys them, for obvious reasons.

In other words, yes they are fighting a losing war, and they are likely failing, but imagine what would happen if they stop...

My God... Movie studio excutives might... be reduced to driving a Mercedes. The horrors... /on the other hand, they're more likely to just lower the wages in the printing facilities... //imho any industry that files lawsuits aginst 12-yearolds deserves to burn.

Re:Disturbed (2, Insightful)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244034)

What I want to know is why there even IS a "U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force". This is (or should be) a civil matter, not a criminal one.

Oh wait, duh. The RIAA and MPAA and their "politican contributions". Ca-ching!

Re:Disturbed (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244088)

Because umm Copyright's are protected by federal law http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html

You know when they wrote "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness"? They really ment, "Life, Liberty, and Property" And you know, Movies and whatnot are one's property, and it is the governments job to make sure that people have the right to control their own property.

Re:Disturbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244125)

Yeah, intellectual property.

Re:Disturbed (1)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244190)

I'm aware, but property/copyright disputes should be civil matters, correct?

If I crash into your mailbox I don't expect to be taken to criminal court, I expect it to be a civil matter.

Re:Disturbed (0, Flamebait)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244283)

In the event that you are WILLFULLY and with the INTENT TO PROFIT from the process of reproducing copyrighted works, it is a misdemeanor if you distribute or reproduce 1 or more copies of one or more copyrighted works with a total retail value of more than $1000.

In the event that you are WILLFULLY and with the INTENT TO PROFIT from the process of reproducing copyrighted works, it is a felony if you distribute or reproduce 10 or more copies of one or more copyrighted works with a total retail value of more than $2500.

In the event you do not fall under these criminal statutes, for example, because you are not atttempting to profit from the distribution or copying, you cannot be dragged into a criminal trial. You can, of course, be sued shitless.

Or, to put it more bluntly: you are an idiot. As is typical of a slashbot (i.e. "idiot"), you have no idea what you're talkling about it, but that's not stopping you from pounding your manly chest as if you had a clue or a point.

Re:Disturbed (0, Offtopic)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244351)

You miss my point entirely, then flame me. Good job!

Re:Disturbed (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244569)

And, your point would be what? Because the "flamebait" above comes right from the federal guidelines for prosecuting piracy as a criminal offense rather than it being a civil issue requiring a lawsuit in civil court.

You can expect whatever you want, but PIRACY - copying and/or redistributing copyrighted material for the purpose of making a profit - is a criminal offense.

Re:Disturbed (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244508)

Not all federal laws are criminal. For example patent laws are federal, but they are not criminally enforcible. AFAIK the DoJ doesn't care about patent infringement one bit.

You know when they wrote "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness"? They really ment, "Life, Liberty, and Property"

No, that's not true. First, Tom Jefferson was perfectly capable of cribbing 'property' from Locke if he wanted to. He deliberately did not because he didn't believe there was a natural right to property.

And you know, Movies and whatnot are one's property

No, they're not.

And again, Jefferson would have disagreed with you as well. Google for his letter to Isaac McPherson, and skip down to the bit where he discusses the nature of the patent system, property rights, etc. The same concepts extend to copyright as well.

and it is the governments job to make sure that people have the right to control their own property.

No, it's not.

The government MAY get involved in this, but there's nothing at all that says that they have to all the time.

Re:Disturbed (1)

latroM (652152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244096)

"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

Why not eliminate the "problem" by making non-profit copying legal? Maybe the activity shouldn't be illegal when the half of the population is doing it and doesn't even consider it wrong. Too bad the term intellectual "property" makes this kind of consideration hard, just like the big media wants.

You Are An Idiot (1, Troll)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244171)

And how, exactly, do you propose to keep any sort of reasonable industry afloat if said industry is required to make its products free? Are YOU willing to work for free, living off entirely random donations? I'll bet whoever employs you would LOVE IT if you were required by law to make your services free of charge and the only loophole they had to jump through was to figure out a way to balance the books such that it's impossible to show how your services contributed to the bottom line (a trivial task for professional number-crunchers, at best).

Idiots. It just never occurs to you pea-brains that regardless of who winds up producing content, whether it's a huge conglomerate like the *AAs or an individual artist, somebody at some point in time is going to have to pay for that production, and they're not going to want to do it for free. More importantly, it just never occurs to you that people don't WANT to see traveling musicians like in the 'olden days'. They want polished, professionally mangled music and movies which is why they keep buying the goddamn things.

Get the hell over yourselves you content-stealing jackasses. The majority of people would scream bloody murder if the professional content industries crumbled, and that's exactly what would happen if your communist "utopia" were allowed to happen.

Re:You Are An Idiot (1)

latroM (652152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244321)

You Are An Idiot, ...Idiots. It just never occurs to you pea-brains... Ad hominem times two.

And how, exactly, do you propose to keep any sort of reasonable industry afloat if said industry is required to make its products free?

I didn't write anything like that. I was only writing about a revision needed to the current copying monopoly law.

Get the hell over yourselves you content-stealing jackasses. The majority of people would scream bloody murder if the professional content industries crumbled, and that's exactly what would happen if your communist "utopia" were allowed to happen.

Yeah, we need stronger "intellectual property" laws to make sure that they will remain in power forever, owning the ideas of yesterday, making it impossible for new "disneys" to use them in clever ways nobody thought before.

Intellectual property has you.

Re:You Are An Idiot (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244420)

Yeah, we need stronger "intellectual property" laws to make sure that they will remain in power forever...

Intellectual property has you.

It must be hard to argue with people when the best you can do is draw tired old parellels to The Matrix (oh, the irony of lifting the tagline from a copyrighted big-budget hollywood film to whine about how restrictive copyright laws are holding you down and keeping you from using material in new ways...) and retroactively apply statements to me that I never made.

The way I see it, your last post vindicates my original post. You ARE an idiot, so it wasn't an ad hominem, it was just an observation.

Re:Disturbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244397)

Amen,

It should be obvious to slashdotters that there are two interelated problems at play: first, the unbriddled greed that dominates corporate organiztions and second, the demand for the product.

They feed off each other and the only way to solve these problems is to look at things in a realistic light. People as consimers will always want the cheapest products when the quality is consistent among the products. But as anyone in business knows, you want a niche market (or several) where you can charge more for a better quality product.

Unfortunately, corporations feed this consumption pattern by having uniformly mediocre quality products which they try to differentiate with marketing and charge niche market prices for mediocre quality product.

In a true free market economy, someone should always be able to build a better mouse trap and put it into the market place in an attempt to establish it's own niche market. But in the corporation's greedy little minds, that's competition which must be crushed. So any means possible are ok by them.

Now we have a wonderful market place for ideas, with opportunities galore for new niche markets, and especially for knowledge, ideas, artistry and innovation. Basically I see it as the ultimate free market place we have to date.

And you know what that means: instead of trying to create their own new niche markets taking advantage of Internet, corporations are trying to crush it because they find they can't control it. And since business is war by other means, that is the same approach that government takes with all its problems.

From the war on drugs to the war on terror, the approach is the same as the RIAA and Corporate IP terrorism a la SCO and Microsoft. If you can't control it, crush it. Which is a shame, because in medical terms, this is only treating the symptoms instead of the disease.

The sane approach should be to stop the problems at the source, like treating a disease. If drugs are the problem, look at who are the users and find out what makes them want more and more. The drug traffikers are just another group of business men trying to control the consumers like they were slaves.

If the drugs are the only relief from poverty, mental illness, or boredom, then figure out how to get the drug users to do productive work, treat the mentally ill as true patients who may need life long medical care, and find the bored something meaningful to do. There will always be some that cannot be helped, and the truest measure of a nation is how it treats those few who need the most help.

For intellectual property issues, like software and music, the tools exist to allow the creator to control how the IP is distributed. If it is being ripped off, then look at who is ultimately wanting the IP. If it's home users who want it for personal use and will never try to make money off the IP, why not make your own distribution system and look at it as the ultimate marketing tool ? Give it away as freeware and under the GPL-esque licensing, if you are going to use it to make money, then the ethical (and sensible/prudent) thing to do it to pay the creator a retainer so you have some support if it doesn't work or you need changes to suit your situation.

Of course this means that we would need to police the Internet in some way, and I think the move to full PKI implimentations will be a step in the right direction. In any market place, you have to be upfront about who you are and what you can do. Or you don't stay in business for long.

Please excuse the rambling nature, but I wrote this out during waits while some software was grinding away on data.

D.

Not like the war on drugs! (1)

ites (600337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244267)

The only similarity is that law enforcement agencies enjoy spending large amounts of tax payers money on campaigns that never end. It's fun!

But the drugs business is number 3 in the world after oil and arms, and the "war" on drugs is mainly about protecting what has become a very lucrative taxation system.

Whereas drugs destroy entire cultures, the worst that movie piracy will do is close down the video stores. Cinemas will continue to flourish.

Still, the guys in the USJD love a fight and a new budget. Roll it on! /me wonders where the "war on spyware" is... now that'd actually be a useful way to spend $$$.

Free movies, then and now (5, Insightful)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243966)

"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."

Aside from what this says about the drug war, which is another post entirely, this pretty much sums it up. People are always going to find ways to get access to movies without paying for them.

In the bad old days it was one person goes into the theater and props open the emergency exit door so all their friends could sneak in. (And this probably still happens.)

These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

Re:Free movies, then and now (4, Insightful)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243991)

These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

The difference is that these 'friends' are tens of millions of people online. There only needs to be one guy capturing the movie, and the entire world has access within a matter of hours. That's the difference.

Re:Free movies, then and now (3, Insightful)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243993)

If movies were simultaneously released on DVD and in theaters, would anyone even go anymore ? I sure wouldn't. Between the cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home.

Re:Free movies, then and now (3, Interesting)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244000)

If movies were simultaneously released on DVD and in theaters, would anyone even go anymore ? I sure wouldn't. Between the cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home.

And if the movie would be on tv at the same time as on dvd, would you still buy the dvd ?

My point is, there is a reason that movies first appear in theater, and that a dvd is released before it airs on tv.

Re:Free movies, then and now (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244296)

The reason is they want you to buy it twice. Thanks but no thanks.

Re:Free movies, then and now (3, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244406)

Um... I don't buy it twice, unless it's a really good movie. Case in point, for Christmas, I got Spider-Man 2. I never saw it when it was in theaters, and given the price of tickets in the area, between those and the snacks, I probably would have spent the same amount of money to see it once as I would have paid if I bought the DVD myself.

I don't go to movies any more, because we've gone from a point where it takes years for the movie to be released on VHS/DVD (how long was it between the theatrical release of E.T. and the VHS release?) to now, where a movie can be a summer hit, and available for sale before Thanksgiving.

Plus, like was said earlier, I don't have to deal with the annoying habits of other people when I watch the DVD. (And they don't have to deal with mine. I tend to talk during really bad movies... although I was told by several rows worth of people in the theater that I only improved Mystery Men.)

So, the choice, for me, is wait for the movie to come out on DVD and get it then. Avoid the theater, avoid the overpriced snacks, and be able to watch it as many times as I want. No piracy needed, thanks.

Kierthos

Re:Free movies, then and now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244451)

Kierthos, a lot of people go out, for example on a date. The movie is not really important, it's just to have a good time with someone.

I guess that if you prefer to sit at home on your couch and think the ideal world is one where everyone works from home, orders groceries, books, movies, music etc. online and has those delivered, then you probably don't have a girlfriend (and probably never will).

Re:Free movies, then and now (0)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244518)

Then don't buy it twice(or at all)! Don't watch it either. If you disagree with the MPAA, then don't consume their products. It's a pretty simple concept I would think.

If all you really want to do is use/enjoy their content for free, then admit it's not a copyright issue but a "you don't feel like paying for it" issue.

Re:Free movies, then and now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244028)

Fine, stay at home, but please don't think that having a crappy cinema experience gives you the right to rip off the film.

Re:Free movies, then and now (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244554)

> cell phones, commercials, children climbing the back of my chair, and the dude smoking in front of me, I think it's a safe bet I'd rather stay home

Sounds like MY home.

Re:Free movies, then and now (1)

robnauta (716284) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244333)

These days one person goes into the theater and copies the movie and distributes it in DVD or VCD format so all their friends can watch it from the comfort of their own couches. Which are much nicer than those cramped movie theater seats, don't you think?

The idea that people record the movie using a camcorder in the USA for friends is just naive. Piracy is rampant in asia, where movies are pirated using camcorders and then sold on streetcorners in VCD format.

These VCD's end up on Internet, but internet piracy is a byproduct of real piracy. This is also the reason cam movies are in 2 or 3 parts, because of their VCD origin. It's not like people sneak into theaters and film a movie just for the fun of releasing it on Internet. That would be insane.

Pirate copies of screeners (copies of VHS/DVD movies sent to journalists who don't want to go to the movies to review a movie), those are mostly USA-originated.

If the MPAA wants to stop internet piracy, they should stop releasing movies in Asia at the same time as in the USA. A month delay would do it. But for them the quick bucks are more important than internet piracy.

Re:Free movies, then and now (3, Informative)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244460)

If the MPAA wants to stop internet piracy, they should stop releasing movies in Asia at the same time as in the USA. A month delay would do it. But for them the quick bucks are more important than internet piracy.

Actually, many movies are released much later in many Asian countries. However, delaying releases doesn't solve the problem much. Only CAMs will be delayed, and not many people actually download CAMs anyhow.

Screeners and Telecines are a lot more popular.

Re:Free movies, then and now (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244469)

the difference is that guy now lets in 13,000 people from all different ountries, none of which he vaguely knows.
So a very minor problem becomes an epidemic.
If you ran a burger bar and saw 13000 people charge in and grab burgers without paying wouldnt you be miffed?

Please, no moralising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11243985)

Please, no moralising about whether copying movies is right or wrong. These digital files of movies released are out there, we can get them free, and it won't be stopped. It's not much use defining something as wrong, because it doesn't actually HURT anyone. Not the studios, not the actors, not the writers.

What *IS* wrong is the methods the MPAA will use against people who copy movies. Watch them chew up the courts redefining what is right and wrong

Re:Please, no moralising (4, Insightful)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244113)

What do you say to the investors that took enormous financial risk in funding the production of the movie you are copying? How are they supposed to recover their cost of production in a world where you are making free copies without their persmission?

Here is some homework for you: Produce a popular new multi million dollar feature film. Allow free copying from day 1. Report back to Slashdot on how you are recovering your production cost.

Re:Please, no moralising (1)

latroM (652152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244178)

How are they supposed to recover their cost of production in a world where you are making free copies without their persmission?

Isn't it like that today? None of my friends even care about the copyrights in movies, they leech, share and watch all the time. Despite of that movies still get people to the theaters and people buy DVDs.

Re:Please, no moralising (1)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244578)

In your world, your click of friends does not have to pay for movies. Then, there are some people who do pay for movies. Let's call them 'The Others'. I can only assume that you feel a sense of entitlement to free movies while The Others still pay. Where does this sense of entitlement come from?

Re:Please, no moralising (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244243)

What do you say to the investors that took enormous financial risk in funding the production of the movie you are copying? How are they supposed to recover their cost of production in a world where you are making free copies without their persmission?

Capitalism doesn't work for me, good friend, so I don't work for capitalism.

Note: Socialism and Communism, also, do not work for me.

Re:Please, no moralising (2, Insightful)

goldenglove (845644) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244269)

I agree, no moralizing this. To be blunt, DVD sales are not hurt by piracy, and they have not been proven to do so. Basically, DVD sales are independent of online sales, and there is only a small correlation coefficient between the two variables. Those end-users who were planning on buying the DVD will buy it, and those who download instead were not planning to buy the product in the first place. This puts in place the face of "social darwinism." Those movies that earn the high ratings, successful stories, plots, cinematography, etc, will be bought by the enduser (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, anyone?) In contrast, those movies that bomb (who wants to pay to see Fat Albert?) will 'die off' because they were not fit to compete in the marketplace.

It's fairly simple to realize the reasoning that Hollywood is putting this false emphasis on piracy causing the downfall of their 1.5-5 rating IMDB movies, because scapegoating is extremely easy to do. By pointing the finger at piracy groups online in order to 'save themselves,' they no longer have to have the self-realization that their movies have been dropping in quality while increasing in quantity for years now, with few exceptions.

I am not attempting to convey that piracy is positive, or even legal, trust me. I know the laws state that copying someone elses intellectual property, and spreading it around is illegal when the product is licensed. Yes, I know that. My argument is simply attempting to realize that instead of making an enemy out of this FASCINATING underground, why not befriend it? Use it's amazing power to distribute legal content to all, rather than squashing one of the most powerful (if not the most) distribution systems on the Internet.

Re:Please, no moralising (1)

max born (739948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244402)

Morality has nothing to do with it. The Internet is by design one giant file sharing mechanism. We can moralize all we want, it will change nothing.

How are they supposed to recover production costs? They can't. The world is changing.

It doesn't seem to be much of a mystery. (1)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11243987)

Most of the WaReZ and films released by these groups include details about what they need, how to get recruited, etc.

I always liked the ANSI art associated with warez group BBSes back in the 1980s and early 90s.

MMMMmm Renegade BBS all hex edited up and looking perty. /good old days

Re:It doesn't seem to be much of a mystery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244085)

My contribution to the computer age.

Renegade BBS.

You're welcome.

(Altho i stole it from tag and wwiv)

Re:It doesn't seem to be much of a mystery. (1)

wheelgun (178700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244262)

Is that you Cott? I loved Renegade. It provided me with the right right combination of configurability and simplicity I was looked for.

Re:It doesn't seem to be much of a mystery. (1)

isolationism (782170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244114)

I used to draw in a smaller one. Actually spoke to Lord Jazz on the phone once or twice. Good times, good times.

OMG! Online groups responsible... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11243998)

...for all that stuff that is online. Now this is reporting!

I still don't get (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244031)

what is the reason people make personal multi-thousand dollar investments to do this?

what is the motivation for the alluded to 'top' level, something about buying a 15k camera for prestige of having an illegal copy first sounds like utter bullshit.

everything in this article about what motivates people to this depth seems wrong, except for MAYBE the high school kid, who does it for access to better sites..

Re:I still don't get (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244107)

You're assuming they paid 15k for it when it might be stolen or significantly discounted merchandise.

Re:I still don't get (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244187)

It's not usually one person but a bunch of people, and its not retail; its either stolen or discounted merch.

And the reasons in this article are very true. The people do it for no other reason than to be faster than the next person. There is no need for making cash out of it, and if you do fellow pirates will shun you.

If you think pirates are in it for the money you are wrong.

Re:I still don't get (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244376)

for the sheer thill of it, I can imagine it is quite the rush knowing that you personally helped get a pirated copy of something out before it was supossed to. At least I think it would be.

All these years the Wired guys were downloading... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244033)

...and they finally get around to reading the .nfo. I guess they had been too busy wielding their prowess at layout.

ACs out there whining about moralising (3, Insightful)

CodeWanker (534624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244039)

Let me be the one to point out (and point out with my identity shown) that copyright is protected by federal law [copyright.gov]. I'm not going to talk about right and wrong, but I am going to point out that the monkies out there who have a copy'n'paste "copyright is a civil issue" for every piracy story on /. have no idea what they're copying and pasting about. You may now continue with the rationalizations of your illegal activity already in progress.

Re:ACs out there whining about moralising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244099)

I do not live somewhere that is bound by said federal laws which classify copyright as a crime on par with rape & assualt, with respect to punisments meted out.

Copyright is a civil issue in my country.

Re:ACs out there whining about moralising (1)

doofusclam (528746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244108)

Let me be the one to point out (and point out with my identity shown) that copyright is protected by federal law [copyright.gov]. I'm not going to talk about right and wrong, but I am going to point out that the monkies out there who have a copy'n'paste "copyright is a civil issue" for every piracy story on /. have no idea what they're copying and pasting about.


Yes, but this isn't the case in Europe (yet), so hows about telling your government to stop pressuring us into toeing their line? Cheers.

Re:ACs out there whining about moralising (1)

canavan (14778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244115)

And how does the distinction between civil and criminal laws, and federal and state laws correlate? I'd say they don't, but maybe that's because i'm neither a lawyer nor a citizen of the us of a.

Re:ACs out there whining about moralising (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244118)

Who cares. At this point in the game, many of us dont really care.

With the tactics they have been using, i only wish that "piracy" was puting them out of business..

Its not however.. thats just a lie to get support.

I used to care.

*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244048)

As per usual Wired are putting their sensationalism spin on everything. If you believed everything they wrote at face value then we'd all be running around like Jonny Mnemonic with a few hundred GB worth of pirated porno and music in our heads. Which I guess is true with the average slashdot user...

Wired is the magazine you read if you're a wannabe "cyberpunk". Lets watch as the general media now go into a frenzy because of this article no doubt with help by the RIAA and MPAA.

You are misunderstanding the point.. (5, Informative)

goldenglove (845644) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244102)

Personally, I feel the central point of the entire article (beyond the obvious revealing of the inner-workings of the scene,) was to reveal the POWER of the scene, and its distribution system. Specifically, near the end of the article, the article mentions a company named "JunGroup [jungroup.com]" that distributed MP3s over P2P, IRC, and FTPs to promote products. Now that consumers actually understand the basics of The Scene, they can begin to accept untraditional business models that utilize the piracy avenues for legitimate distribution. If you look at the JunGroup site, they have a link to their "The Scene [welcometothescene.com]" TV series, a TV series about the inner-workings piracy from a desktop perspective, revealing (graphically) the majority of scene practices (both good and bad.)

I had a roommate... (5, Interesting)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244083)

I had a roommate in college in the late 80's who reminds me of all these pirates. He was into cracking software, not so much to enjoy the software, as to prove he could do it. I'd guess he's probably one of those guys doing this today.

(His "crowning" achievement at the time was cracking a particular game in which the code was stored encrypted, then once loaded from disk, decrypted before running - basic self-modifying code. He dug around the assembly code and figured out how to copy the decrypted code back to disk, and disabled the decryption routines, so the disk only contained the real runtime code. This proves if it can be protected, it can be cracked...)

Also, I had a relative (now deceased, but not from anything the RIAA did... *grin*) who was into downloading these cracked films. When we were going thru the estate and cleaning his house, we found around a hundred CDs burned with copies of all kinds of current films. I looked at a couple and was shocked at how bad they were. I don't think he ever watched more than a few - he was a compulsive collector (like his hundreds of Elvis CDs) and just had to have them, not watch them. He never would have spent money on them.

So it seems to me that the danger from these guys is incidental to Hollywood. I can't see that they're really losing that much money from these pirates. It's about bragging rights, not enjoying the movies.

Now, this doesn't condone the practice. I still consider it to be theft (no, this isn't flamebait), since someone ends up losing money at some level whenever someone else doesn't pay appropriately to view a movie or listen to a CD legally. Depriving someone of legally due money is theft, no matter whether it's property that is removed or information that is copied.

But in the end, I suspect that the monetary damages due to this copying are less than the net costs to Hollywood from aggravated and disenfranchised consumers.

Re:I had a roommate... (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244307)

Unfortunately, you said theft in your post. So now anything you may have said will be entirely ignored as you get flamed on the definition of theft. Enjoy!

Re:I had a roommate... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244489)

the motive of the cracker is irrelevant. The result is what matters, and the result is that potential customers can get the stuff for free.
If the cracker wants to prove he can crack a game, why can't he just crack the exe to display his logo, then crash the game. that way he proves he outwitted the game developer (who is probably 100 times smarter, these guys actually have to write a game as well as the copy protection) and yet no *real* harm is done.

Re:I had a roommate... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244565)

Do you still call it theft if the person doing the coping was NOT going to buy the product ( or pay to go see it ).. And if it wasnt available to download, it would not have been viewed/watched/et...

Nothing was 'lost'..

Just curious.

But dont worry, i wont get into the details of how theft is defined and that no one was deprived of ownership.. etc etc..

What a load of bullshit in the article! (5, Informative)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244091)

I know that media news about technical issues are rarely accurate, but this article's mistakes are a little bit exagerating, I think... "Unlike popular file-swapping networks where millions of files -- mostly for music -- are shared relatively easily, it takes more than a casual effort to even begin to find the right place to download a movie." -- what? "Typically, large movie files are broken down into text that appears to the naked eye as gibberish. Files are distributed through news groups or made available through so-called top sites or private computer servers accessed by File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, an early conduit for exchanging data on the Internet." -- half-right... There are other examples, and if one cares to think about it, many of the stupid statements (like the second one I've shown) only happen because they try to explain things too much. Who cares how the movie files are "broken"?

Re:What a load of bullshit in the article! (1)

Squatchman (844798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244132)

They couldn't just say that the movies are compressed and split into multiple files now, could they?

Re:What a load of bullshit in the article! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244435)

Stop voting the parent insightful. There is no such text in the article as the parent "quoted".

why are subject lines needed on existing threads (4, Interesting)

Robocoastie (777066) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244101)

Oh come on! It's also just a freaking hobby man. How many of the new people in the media industry today got there thanks to learning to computer copy tv shows and edit out commercials of their favorite ones and so on? Probably every single one of them! Maybe I'm completely naive but what I used to d/load was Enterprise and the last season of Roswell because my cable company (Warner/AOL) doesn't have UPN! I d/loaded the occassional movie but they were always cheaply made, didn't keep me from seeing it in the theatre or dvd rental still and were just cool to see as a hobby especially when you see those asian language subtitles and stuff and occassional munching of the cameramans popcorn it was funny. I'm also convinced that some of them were intentionally distributed on the net by the production company as free advertising to generate hype for it. I dunno know, maybe I'm a rare case but I was at the movies yesterday and it was packed, not a seat left in the house so I don't see a dent in the movie business due to file sharing at all. If anything there profits are UP especially when you consider they make us sit through freaking commercials now instead of the good ole fashioned cartoon before the movies like the old days and yet our ticket prices keep going up. But as usual the media industry will fight new technology instead of grasping it and using it to their advantage.

explanations (5, Insightful)

FnH (137981) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244141)

From the article:
Private Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, which is a precursor to the modern instant messaging software, or Usenet news groups that function like bulletin boards.
I still think of instant messaging software as a dumbed down version of IRC and of webbased bulletin boards as poorly implemented frontends for usenet.

I must be getting old ...

Surprise! Another Wired link (1, Funny)

whiskeypete (305461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244148)

We know from experience that nearly EVERY story in this months issue will eventually be a Slashdot article. Why don't we save time by posting a default wired link at the beginning of each month, instead of slowly trickling out one story each day?

Strange.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244168)

While entertainment companies have targeted popular file-sharing services and their users with litigation in recent years, they have not been able to discourage insiders who supply the ripping groups with their crop of advance film screeners, DVDs and other content.

Yeah, as someone that gets paid $7/hour, I find it very strange that these employees ain't discouraged from supplying the gruoups..

Re:Strange.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244223)

Its only a matter of time before projectionists are no longer needed anyway.

Soon enough movie theaters will operated on a closed network with massive distributive powers, and movies will start based on computerized timetables and some centralized mook pressing a big red button.

or not.

Look at the numbers... (5, Insightful)

xasper8 (137598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244184)

The MPA and the RIAA need to keep things in perspective! The article acknowledges that these 'groups' are hard to gain access to - >>"The scene is a very close network. Everybody knows everybody else but they haven't met them," said Bruce Forest, a Norwalk, Conn., digital media consultant who says he belonged to the scene for years and now advises entertainment companies. "It can take years until you can get access." will loose their jobs and not get paid b/c you are stealing their income" is ridiculous. In an industry that produces a product that can generate $100 million in a matter days - not to mention the amount of money that is generated over the entire run of the film + additional revenue to movie rentals + 'over seas' releases is hardly in jeopardy b/c a hand full of nerds download a few films.

Look at the numbers:
http://us.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegros s

Keep in mind these number are just for domestic lease - only in the United States and do not reflect global sales or rentals.

#1 is Titanic - $600,799,824 in domestic sales. Breath taking - now lets say 1000 people download the movie and 'stole' $8 ea. From the studio... the studio 'lost' $8000... that's .00001% of total revenue. To put that in perspective, to put that number in dollars and cents... for every ONE MILLION dollars gained the studio lost 10 CENTS!

Now lets say the article is wrong and these groups are rampant and it's easy to get ahold of these pirated movies and 100,000 people download them (I'm being very generous here)... so now the studio looses $800,000... that's still .0013% of total revenue or $13 dollars for every ONE MILLION dollars gained.

Granted Titanic was the #1 movie - look at #100 on the list - you can do the math at home... the number are still unreal...

To further my point in 1999 Michael Eisner was paid $589 MILLION dollars for his annual salary. If the poor set designer is worried about loosing his/her job to internet privacy, maybe they should stop looking online and start looking at the real pirate.

This is nothing more than greed - who is stealing from who here?

Don't even get me started on the RIAA...

Re:Look at the numbers... (1)

Squatchman (844798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244232)

Attempting to rationalize theft by putting numbers in front of it doesn't change what it is. There is no gray area here.

Re:Look at the numbers... (2, Insightful)

xasper8 (137598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244329)

Agreed. Theft is theft. However, is it worth all this publicity and legal wrangling?
Is the RIAA really justified by suing some student for $20k b/c he has a few 'illegal' MP3's? The MPAA and the RIAA are making examples out of people and the punishment hardly fits the crime.

Why can I record a song off the radio but not download one? I know, I know - it's against the law... but show me any record executive or musician who NEVER taped a song as a kid...

For that matter when I get a song or a scene from a movie stuck in my head and it plays over and over - am I stealing?

Re:Look at the numbers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244335)

I agree that piracy probably accounts for a mere pittance of losses when compared to the overall gross of "big" movie, like Titantic.

I also agree that movie executives, and record executives are most likely overpaid. To generalize a little further, most executives are probably over paid but that's another issue for another day.

Here's the problem, Mr. Eisner or any other high level executive isn't willing to take a pay cut. Nor will the studio(s) cut their pay. So you see to ensure that the set designer, who has 3 kids one of which is in college, can still put food on the table and pay tution needs my 9 dollars. Because the guy at the top of the heap gets 8.95 of that. A gross generalization but you get the idea.

I agree their greedy, but piracy isn't going to cause any studio to stop paying their executives large sums or money; nor will any executive suddenly say I'm being paid to much.

It's a systemic issue which I have no idea how to possibly stop.

--J

Re:Look at the numbers... (2)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244356)

The point of the article isn't (or shouldn't be, since it's really badly written) that the existing "secret" communities harm the movie makers because they provide a place where to download movies. The point is that they capture the movies before they even get to the theaters, and that they are the starting point for sharing movies (eventually they will reach DC++, Kazaa, Emule and Bittorrent networks/servers)...

You aren't being generous by presenting 100,000 people downloading a movie. You're being naive.

Tr0llkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244201)

resound a.s fitting file w4s opened

This wasn't a big problem until recently (1)

ZeeExSixAre (790130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244208)

Newsgroups and IRC were too nerdy for average joe to get in on this. P2P made it easy for your grandma in a wheelchair to download music/movies... well maybe that's taking it a little far but you get the point.

RIAA/MPAA would be so happy to shut down P2P... they probably wouldn't go after any newsgroups or IRC rooms.

drugs != files (1, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244227)

There are a lot of similarities with the drug war ...

Except illegal drug distribution is linear, file sharing is exponential. Big difference.

Re:drugs != files (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244289)

Except illegal drug distribution is linear, file sharing is exponential. Big difference.

The distribution of drugs for money is the problem whereas in file sharing it's the distribution of files for no money that is the problem.

Civil or criminal ? (5, Insightful)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244346)

Different from drugs. Drugs can kill people; it is unwise to take them except on advice from a qualified doctor. Supplying drugs (except on proof of such advice) is a criminal act, I want my tax dollars used to stop it.

Copying files may be legal sometimes; maybe the guy has permission ,maybe the file represents something more than 80 years old, maybe it's some other kind of 'fair use', maybe it's a file produced by the US Government, etc. Matter of opinion, for a judge to check every time. It is a civil problem; I don't want my tax dollars used to stop it, and I don't want my prisons filled up by someone on the wrong side of this law.

Copying files and then taking money off someone under the false pretence that there is permission is a crime, though, becuase of the 'money' side, and also if intimidation happens along the way. Also might become a tax crime later, if the 'money' is not declared.

Use my tax dollars to stop the money-changing-hands fraud, the intimidation-if-it-happens, and the tax-evasion-if-it-happens.

Gangs? IRC a precursor to USENET? ROFLMAO! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11244483)

Whoever wrote this technically inaccurate and morally juvenile article was surely interested in creating hysteria over nothing. For starters, IRC was not a precursor to USENET.

Referring to file traders as "gangs" and thereby evoking the aversion to violence in one's own neighborhood, is unwarrantedly hysterical when applied to people using computers and watching movies.

The sad part is, Hollywood's surrogates such as this article's author will likely succeed in creating this kind of unwarranted hysteria. It's all a part of your unnatural conditioning.

A more balanced article would have given coverage to the debate over whether anything is actually "stolen" during the process of noninvasive duplication... and whether the artificial concept of "intellectual property" has a basis in any reality other than commerce.

When commerce is not involved (i.e. copying for free, when one would not have ever paid for it anyway) it is difficult to understand how the owner of this "intellectual property" has somehow been deprived of anything whatsoever.

Yes, the duplicator also gains something for his efforts, but this is the inherent nature of information itself. It is something fundamentallly nonmaterial, which lends itself naturally to replication. Value can be multiplied, and for free.

The very term "intellectual property" therefore contains a contradiction.

Though it is possible to keep secrets, ultimately nobody can truly "own" information.

If I memorize a song I hear on the radio, and later sing it with a friend while driving, have I somehow "stolen" this song? I'm not even pretending to have written the song; I'm simply repeating it for pure enjoyment. That is an innocent act. I'm sure that similarly, movie traders all have the dignity to leave a film's credits intact.

If you really believe that duplication constitutes stealing, then whenever the owner of the song I was just humming finds out it is missing, they should try to file a police report on the missing information, and see how far THAT gets them.

Oh wait... nothing is missing? Well then!

The BitTorrent effect (4, Interesting)

asliarun (636603) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244484)

Interestingly, the entire modus operandi cited in the Wired article falls apart in the case of BitTorrent. The article admits the same thing too. However, the article claims that:-

"Without this duplication and distribution structure providing content, the P2P networks would run dry. (BitTorrent, a faster and more efficient type of P2P file-sharing, is an exception. But at present there are far fewer BitTorrent users.)"

Huh? When was this article written? In Jan 2005, when this article was posted, they don't consider BitTorrent a major P2P player?

Warez Scene != Drug War (3, Informative)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11244536)

Members of these so-called ripping groups, also known as warez groups, have created a community referred to as "the scene." It exists primarily on the Internet's back alleys -- private Internet Relay Chat, or IRC

"There are a lot of similarities with the drug war," said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. "You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth."
I'm not sure wheather to laugh or cry. Remember kids, dont copy that floppy.
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