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December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS" 
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Post December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
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Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:09 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I would wait for the 24 hours, it's a better option than to install torrents and definently wait months for the DVD. That reminds me:I have to watch seasons 3 and 4 of New Who. It sucks that people have to pay 60 bucks for either Showtime, HBO or CineMax. I only have Showtime.


P.S. James has a PS3? :o


Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:27 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
The BBC has always had a far more sensible approach to fans. Maybe it's because they're not really a profit enterprise. A perfect example would be the reconstructions. A group of Who fans have been using the audio copies of missing episodes and adding telesnaps, pictures, video clips and occasional CGI to try to "recreate" the old lost episodes of the Hartnell/Troughton years. The BBCs attitude has been that, as long as they take down any title BBC subsequently releases and only release on non-permanent media like video tape, they are fine with it.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:14 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
My cousin and I used to watch movie torrents (2003-2006) when we would hang out at his place. Some of the movies were sleep inducing for me, I can remember sleeping through parts of Doom, The Day After Tomorrow, Blade: Trinity, Phone Booth and School of Rock. There were other movies I didn't fall asleep during, but most of them weren't really all that great and we just watched them because we didn't have much else to do.

That being said, there were movies I saw at his place for free that I went out and bought. The three that really stand out in my mind are 40 Year Old Virgin, Matchstick Men and Dodgeball. I probably would have seen Dodgeball and 40 Year Old Virgin eventually by renting it or something. But Matchstick Men was something I wouldn't have bothered seeking out on my own. If I hadn't seen it illegally then I wouldn't have bought a copy of it otherwise.

Ultimately, we saw a lot of crap, but we also saw a few good movies that were worth buying and we wouldn't have bought if not for taking a free download. These days, his wife won't let us "steal" movies so we rent them on iTunes.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:32 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I hope you learned a very valuable lesson about actually watching your DVD's instead of letting them rot.

And corpen, you haven't been paying attention since James has mentioned he has a PS3 a few times.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:38 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Am I the only one who thinks JB makes too big a deal about this? Yes the studios are annoying and overzealous about the whole affair, but it's kinda hard to deny they have a point--even if they're getting not getting fleeced as much as they say they are, it seems they have more of a legitimate point than the illegal downloader does.

I don't, in fact, partake of the practice, but I do sneak into illegal "double features" in theaters by paying for one film and then going to see another. I'm not particularly ashamed of it, and can easily rationalize it by saying that there's no way I was going to pay to see Law Abiding Citizen anyway, so if I see it/don't see it the theater gets the same amount of money, and hey I might love it and purchase a copy later. Even though I love film, I don't feel that guilty, or think it's that reprehensible. But would you really listen to me if I went on and on saying that theaters should allow this behavior because it doesn't cost them nearly as much revenue as they think it does? I doubt it.

I realize that in this particular post JB is trying to propose a solution, which I appreciate, but I think it's fairly clear that he's on the side of the downloaders and while I don't work for the studio (or give much of a shit either way) it seems hard to get in the corner of people who are (by and large) doing something they know is illegal because they don't want to pay for it. With Reelthoughts being so rare these days, I'll confess to rolling my eyes when the first one in a fortnight turns out to be concerning--what else?--movie piracy. I hope Mr. Berardinelli finds a new axe to grind.

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Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:49 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I agree with this view completely. I frequently torrent movies, but usually only when I cannot get legal access to the movie itself. The movie may be between theater release and disc release, it may be a movie that I'm not assured of whether I will like it or not and I'm not willing to take a gamble on it, or if the disc is out of print, to name a few. Every movie that I have downloaded illegally that I have enjoyed (which is to say about 97% of them) I have purchased the disc from Amazon or a b & m retailer. Torrent downloads only motivate my spending towards the studios; it doesn't replace it for me. I prefer to have the disc rather than a file, personally. Sometimes, there are movies that I would like to watch once, but I know that buying the disc would be a stupid endeavor since I would never watch it more than once. That is another thing that will cause me to torrent a movie, and it doesn't result in a loss of profit for the studios since I'd never buy the movie. However, sometimes watching the film changes my mind and I choose to buy the disc because having the torrent convinced me that it'd be worth it for me to own it. Torrents only result in profit for the studios, not loss, and the action that the MPAA and the studios, as well as the RIAA and the recording studios, take on people who download torrents is reprehensible; they're punishing their customers, not enemies of the establishment or something like that. I like what Electronic Arts is doing with pirates: instead of punishing them, they give them a taste of the game and hope that they will want to become paying customers, and they often do. With Dragon Age: Origins, they put DLC in every new copy in stores and on Steam. If you pirate the game, you miss out on the DLC, which includes a number of powerful weapons, armor, and a large mission. With the Sims 3, they leaked a copy of the game to the torrent servers that only includes part of the full game. If you buy the full game, you can keep progressing from where you were in the illegal copy. A study has been quoted repeatedly that says that the people who torrent software, movies, and music are also the people who spend the most money on acquiring these things legally. This makes perfect sense if you think about it, as James has done here in this article.


Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:29 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
You're completely on the money, James. Especially with your definition of what constitutes Copyright Infringement. The definition needs to be changed. It's interesting to me. A recent poll in the UK found that more money is spend on CDs by people who admit to illegally downloading music than it is by those who don't illegally download music.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/3 ... 41231.html

Furthermore, I'm sure everyone remembers the X-Men Origins: Wolverine debacle, with the leak and such. That didn't stop the movie from making an astounding $85 million on its opening weekend. The point is, you're right: most people who download movies like that have absolutely no plan of seeing the movie in theaters. Either that or, as you say, they're downloading the movie because they already SAW it in theaters and don't want to wait for it to come out on DVD to be able to see it again.

Studios need to really start understanding that they're dealing with a different and changing world here. If they really don't want people illegally downloading things, then they need to start adapting themselves to ever-changing technologies.

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Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:52 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I'm against selling bootleg DVDs, but if you want to see a film online in stead of paying 10-12 bucks, then that's a reasonable excuse for your "misdeeds." I've recently seen Preceious and Bad Liutenent online. I loved both films.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:17 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I saw some films online, most of them were low budget horror films that were unavailible to me at the time as I did not yet have a means to [urchase thme online, I only saw 2 theatrical films online(they were Bangkok Dangerous and Pineapple Express if anybody cares) and they were both films I wans't sure about seeing, and neither of them were that great so I don't feel guilty about seeing them for free.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:53 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
James,

No offense, but I've read many and many of your posts on the piracy issue and it's all starting to get a little boring. What was my reaction reading (okay, scanning) your most recent entry? "Yawn. Why doesn't he do something about it."

I'm not saying you should take on the movie industry. But I'm saying that you seem to have some fairly strong opinions on the issue and, seeing how you're considered to be one of the premiere and most well-read web critics, why don't you start making some noise? For example, start a dialog with Ebert and his blog. Start a poll. Do something.

You've proposed countless times this theory that there is no significant loss in profits from online piracy and yet, as a scientist and engineer, is it not strange that you've made no effort to test this theory? You've said that there are something like 170 thousand visitors to this site every day? Why not make a (well designed) poll? Why not get other critics talking? I've stopped reading these piracy posts in detail because they're always churning out the same things over and over. Even if you're only interested in the academic aspects of discussion, this would be a step up.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:24 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Great ReelThoughts entry, James. I agree completely. I downloaded torrents simply to have a copy of a film I already owned on my iPod. Eventually I just downloaded films I wouldn't pay a cent for in the theatre (like Transformers 2, or New Moon); however, I would pay to support films like Inglourious Basterds, District 9, and the upcoming Avatar. Because of the economy, my family and I can't really spend much on seeing films in the theatre or on DVDs, but if its a film we really want to see then we will pay the price for admission because we feel it's well worth it. Some films I simply can't find in the theatre near me, or store, and until a time of sunshine and rainbows come, I don't think I'll have a Netflix subscription. Nowadays, I've come to rely mostly on my TV's DVR for older films. Overall, ya hit the nail on the head, sir. Well done.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:47 am
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I don't know if it's been mentioned yet on this forum, but something I found incredibly relevant to this ReelThought is a recent study put forth by the EU which claims that P2P does not, in fact, have an effect on the entertainment industry.

Quote:
A new study commissioned by the European Union has finally proven what many have suspected all along: internet users don't want to pay for content. Period. And nothing is going to change their minds. The report finds, in a surprising contradiction to what industry executives have been spouting for ages, consumers' behavior has nothing to do with the peer-to-peer technology (P2P) that has given rise to all-you-can-eat systems for free downloads of copyrighted content. In fact, many people claim that they wouldn't pay for online content even if all other free options were taken away.


Article about it is here.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:07 am
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
James, you misspelled "Syfy" as "Syfi" twice. Also, I'm not a teenager, but I did suffer from acne when I was, so your multiple references to a "pimple-faced teenager" were mildly offensive. Next time, please just write "teenager".


Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:06 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Quote:
Leave the pimple-faced kids alone and focus on the black market operations that cause the real financial damage.


Excellent Reelthought, James.

Does anyone else see a parallel here between copyright infringement and the war on drugs? What the movie execs are doing to what James calls "the pimple-faced kids" is similar to how police forces go after almost exclusively low-level drug offenders. Each can then quote trumped up, misleading statistics and convince those who will listen that they are doing something about their respective "problem". The real problems - the black market operations (movies) and the drug kingpins (drugs) - go largely unpunished and continue to operate profitably. To me, it's another example of an all too prevalent "style over substance" approach that does a great deal more harm than good. If you can convince people that there is a problem and it's being handled, who cares if you're, you know, actually doing anything to correct it?


Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:23 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
My sympathy level for Hollywood studios and their bottom lines rates somewhere between "nil" and "negative infinity". So they don't make a full profit from their films- to me, that's the difference between them getting a mansion with or without the olympic-scale swimming pool. They're still making money off of crappy films like Old Dogs and New Moon. When they start making MOSTLY films that are of high quality, ones that actually deserve to make money, then my support for anti-piracy strategies will increase. Basically, that means *likely never*.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:11 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
When they start making MOSTLY films that are of high quality, ones that actually deserve to make money, then my support for anti-piracy strategies will increase. Basically, that means *likely never*.


Pffffft. If Twilight had made no money, there wouldn't have been a sequel. (See The Golden Compass for a great example). People eat up the Twilight movies, Old Dogs/Wild Hogs type movies, and a million more terrible films. If you can get the country to stop seeing movies like that, Hollywood will stop making them. But as long as they are investing literally hundreds of millions of dollars in a product, it doesn't seem out of the question to assume they'll be annoyed that people are getting their product for free.

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Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:04 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
I don't, in fact, partake of the practice, but I do sneak into illegal "double features" in theaters by paying for one film and then going to see another. I'm not particularly ashamed of it, and can easily rationalize it by saying that there's no way I was going to pay to see Law Abiding Citizen anyway, so if I see it/don't see it the theater gets the same amount of money, and hey I might love it and purchase a copy later. Even though I love film, I don't feel that guilty, or think it's that reprehensible. But would you really listen to me if I went on and on saying that theaters should allow this behavior because it doesn't cost them nearly as much revenue as they think it does? I doubt it.


So you can rationalize theater hopping, but not downloads? I find that logic remarkable.

Let's say I paid to see Inglourious Basterds and downloaded G.I. Joe (I actually did both). Isn't that the same as paying for Inglourious Basterds and sneaking into G.I. Joe? I fail to see a significant difference. The theater gets the same money either way. In fact, one could argue that sneaking into the movie is worse than downloading it. If you get in early enough you might end up depriving someone of a prime seating location. If you spill a drink or popcorn you create more work for the cleaners. I'm obviously overstating things, but I hope you get my point. Both theater hopping and downloading aren't the most "moral" of activities, but if you can rationalize one then you should be able to rationalize the other.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:52 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Not to get snippy, but you completely missed the point of my post. I said that while I can rationalize theater-hopping, I would never build an argument on its legitimacy ("But would you really listen to me if I went on and on saying that theaters should allow this behavior because it doesn't cost them nearly as much revenue as they think it does? I doubt it.") I don't have that big a problem with illegal downloaders--what I'm annoyed with is the sense of entitlement that comes from people who do it and Mr. Berardinelli. If you do the crime, you consent to the time. Pay for movies instead of whining about how the movie studios are so evil. If I get caught theater-hopping (which I was attempted to equate to piracy, just like you) and kicked out of the theater forever, I'll deserve it.

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Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:30 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
When they start making MOSTLY films that are of high quality, ones that actually deserve to make money, then my support for anti-piracy strategies will increase. Basically, that means *likely never*.


Pffffft. If Twilight had made no money, there wouldn't have been a sequel. (See The Golden Compass for a great example). People eat up the Twilight movies, Old Dogs/Wild Hogs type movies, and a million more terrible films. If you can get the country to stop seeing movies like that, Hollywood will stop making them. But as long as they are investing literally hundreds of millions of dollars in a product, it doesn't seem out of the question to assume they'll be annoyed that people are getting their product for free.


It's the "Chicken and Egg" argument- do Hollywood execs only pander to the collective taste of the masses, or do they create that taste with their drivel? Either way, their main concern is with the bottom line and not with advancing film as an artform or a medium for entertainment. If someone peddles an inferior product, I'm not going to pay money for it. If someone let success get to his/her head and let his/her work slide downhill (eg: Sam Raimi and the rest of the cast/crew with Spiderman 3), I'm going to stop giving him/her my money. If that means downloading their crap to determine whether it's worth it to spend money on them, so be it.

IMO, the concept of downloading films is one of the greatest consumer protection tools ever invented. It's like listening to music in a record store to help determine whether one should purchase an artist's albums. The difference is that the film industry is quite stupidly expecting that everyone should pay for the "privilege" of watching their garbage, while the music industry is at least going more with the flow of the times and being smart enough to work WITH it rather than against it.


Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:34 pm
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