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Why Are Studios So Worried About Movie Downloaders?

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Why Are Studios So Worried About Movie Downloaders?

Old 11-21-02, 03:54 PM
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Why Are Studios So Worried About Movie Downloaders?

We frequently hear reports in the media about people being able to download movies and that many of the movies currently in the theatre are being downloaded all the time.

I have never been able to successfully download a movie. I'm on cable and it simply is too much hassle for me to get anywhere with it. Connections go down, files get corrupted, etc.

Then I saw this table with typical download speeds.

DVD Download Speeds

It looks like the only way someone could get anywhere is if they have a T3 or a T1 line (which mainly businesses have - not the average user). Everyone else will take more than 13 hours to get anything with the average connection.

I don't see broadband for the home majorly increasing in speed beyond what is available now (cable or DSL), so why the worry from all these studios? It seems like someone would have a better chance of getting a bootleg from Ebay vs. downloading over the net.
Old 11-21-02, 04:02 PM
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The problem is that is today, tomorrow's technology could easily allow people to do it very quickly with no problem. I think they are worried about nothing, but that's just me.
Old 11-21-02, 04:04 PM
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I think seeker was talking about this since Lucas was basically begging people at COMDEX to stop piracy.

I believe it was in the MOVIE TALK FORUM or something.

Yes there are other forums.
Old 11-21-02, 04:04 PM
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I'm on cable at home. Downloading movies is trivial. Mainly, you just have to know where to look.

Firstly, if you're just interested in getting them quickly, then look at usenet. The selection ain't great, but it's usually pretty current.

deleted content on specifics for downloading movies, randyc


But you ain't downloading no DVD quality movies. Most are VCD or SVCD or DivX, which is better than VHS, but not by much. And new, still in theater, movies are typically screeners or guy with a camcorder type bootlegs, so the quality is generally crap. But any movie that has a DVD out is most likely a direct rip, and the quality is very good indeed. Just not full out DVD quality.

A 2 hr DivX encoded movie will fit on a single 700 meg CD or so. Not great quality at that bitrate, but watchable if it's a DVDRip.

Last edited by Otto; 11-21-02 at 04:10 PM.
Old 11-21-02, 04:36 PM
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The problem is that is today, tomorrow's technology could easily allow people to do it very quickly with no problem.
I don't think technology is progressing as fast as they would like people to believe. I read somewhere that only 15% of homes are on broadband. Most people I know still use 56K because they can't even get affordable broadband in their areas and 56K has been around for awhile. My broadband provider is getting ready for a big rate increase in January because they got burned by the @home meltdown and promised not to raise rates until next year. If it goes too high, I'm not sure that I even need it.


But you ain't downloading no DVD quality movies.
This is what I'm talking about. I've seen one movie that was downloaded by a friend and it looked pretty bad. There were ghost images and the colors were fading in and out. It was terrible. What's the point of doing that if you really want to see it? It's not too much to wait for most movies to be released to DVD in about 6-9 months anyway then rent them.
Old 11-21-02, 04:37 PM
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One misleading thing about the site you post shaggy is that it lists the time and speed for down loading a full DVD (4+GB). Many of the rips people download are a fraction of that. Usually about a CD full (700MB). If you want something faster, you take a hit in quality, but with some sharing programs, you can get a full length movie in about 2-3 hours. Just download overnight and you have it the next day. Like Otto said though the current movies in theaters are usually horrible in quality. They don't really do a movie justice, and if you're really interested in the movie, you see it in the theater anyways.

DVD rips, yeah, they're nice to have, but I would not substitute them for a DVD that was really a great movie or a fantastic package of extras and such. They don't compare. Plus you do have to do some work to download all these movies, so the average consumer would probably still go out and buy the movies or see them in the theater. The techies like to use the power of the computer to swipe stuff in my opinion.

Last edited by VinVega; 11-21-02 at 04:50 PM.
Old 11-21-02, 04:44 PM
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Well, yeah, okay, but what if you're not really interested in seeing it enough to pay $10 to do so? There's a lot of movies I downloaded, watched, and deleted because they were such garbage as a flick. I'm certainly glad I didn't pay to see 'em.

Hell, I downloaded and watched a superb quality screener for the Scooby Doo movie. And I still felt ripped off afterwards. I mean, damn, that was terrible.

If you *really* want to experience a movie, then you'll buck up. But if you're only curious and not really wanting to spend the time/energy/money to go to the theater to see it, then you might download it and not give a crap about the quality. I mean, I'm not archiving this stuff, you know. This isn't like a DVD where I'm keeping a permanent copy. I watch, then delete.

Like I'm really going to pay money to see the latest Adam Sandler crapfest. I might download and watch it because he has funny moments sometimes, but beyond that, meh..

Quality is not the end-all and be-all of entertainment. If it's watchable, then quality can take a back seat, IMO. Broadcast TV quality is fairly crappy, but I can watch it without any problems. I'm more interested in the content than the quality. I record a lot of TV in basic quality on my Tivo. To many people, that quality is terrible and unwatchable. I've never had a problem with it.

And a lot of people agree. One reason that HDTV is taking so bloody long to take off. The quality is cool, but it's not the primary reason you have TV in the first place. It's not big enough of a reason to spend the time/money/energy on it, for many people.

Last edited by Otto; 11-21-02 at 04:48 PM.
Old 11-21-02, 04:45 PM
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I agree that movies are just slightly harder to find than mp3s... but no harder than mp3s were to find back in 1997 or 1998.

The movie industry is watching the Napster|Kaaza|Audio Galaxy debacle very closely. They have the benefit of time, but they know that they will be in the same spot in five or six years. They are concerned, but not concerned enough to risk a major customer backlash like the record industry is doing. They hype it up a bit here and there though, because what's good for the RIAA will be good for the MPAA in just a few years.
Old 11-21-02, 04:52 PM
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I've done it with dialup
but I already owned the movie in question on vhs and wanted a digital copy that wouldn't wear out
I then bought it on dvd a few months later when I saw it on sale
Old 11-21-02, 04:56 PM
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Moved to Movie Talk

Please keep the discussion focused on the issue of studios, quality of movies, future trends, etc.... and not on specifics on how to download movies or where to download movies or how to burn them to CD. Thanks.
Old 11-21-02, 04:57 PM
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Downloading movies probably hurts the rental market more than the theater market. Why? Because people are more likely downloading these low-quality movies that they don't care much about seeing. I mean, I certainly don't want to see the new LOTR on my 17" monitor, pixelated, poor sound, and possibly with people's heads in the way I'd much rather go spend $9 (or less at matinee) to see the movie the way it was meant to be seen -- on a big screen with awesome sound.

However, I can see how people might download something like Emperor's Club -- and then skip renting it when it hits the shelves.

Or possibly even downloading a movie they already seen and really liked in order to hold them over until the release date on DVD.

The truth is though --- it's very easy to download movies. I know people who have done it. Then you simply burn the movies on to a CD and distribute it to friends who want it.
Old 11-21-02, 05:02 PM
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The issue at hand that worries the studio's is that some people settle on these bootlegs as the final thing in there collection and in many cases, some people skip out on the theater altogether and just download it.

Why deal with such crappy quality on your pc? Well some folks really don't care aslong as you can see things and the such.

As for finding them, they are everywhere. I was able to find Signs about 3 weeks before it was released. I downloaded it for the novelty sake of it all. But you know, I can't say that I have seen the movie complete on my computer. Why not? Well because it's crap quality. on opening day of the movie I went to see it in theaters and the only thing I ever did with the boot was simply jump around some of the scenes I enjoyed. since then I believe I just deleted the movie. Now if people kept it to pretty much this instead of taking that bootleg and burning it as a VCD and then selling it on the streets, then it wouldn't be a problem. as it is when those folks burn them and sell them it becomes a major issue because of the buyer now settles with that bootleg and does not support the studio's creation by seeing it in theaters.
Old 11-21-02, 05:06 PM
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I am one that cares enough about quality that I have no interest in downloading a movie. If it's only about content, I would just read the book.
Old 11-21-02, 05:12 PM
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Well that table is misleading because thats download times for 4.7 gigs of data. The average movie found on the web is at medium quality 650 megs or at higher quality two parts at 650 megs.

I've downloaded movies on cable without much problem. Takes somewhere between 1 to 12 hours depending on the source. I'm not doing anything with my computer during those times (I'll often start a download at night) and just leave the computer on while I sleep.

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Old 11-21-02, 06:25 PM
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Those sizes aren't quite right. For a VCD movie (which is the format that camcorder/VHS screener sources show up in) you need 10 MB per minute. So a 90 minute movie is 900 MB. Those might get compressed further down the line for people that don't want to download that much, but then you're losing quality, and you won't be able to watch it on your TV through your DVD player any more.

Personally, I don't want to watch camcorder sources. I usually wait for the SVCDs made from the DVD to show up, which really can look pretty close to DVD, but only have matrixed stereo surround. Those are usually 1.6GB, sometimes 2.4GB for a longer movie. That can take a little while to download, at least 2 or 3 hours if the server is reasonably fast. You also have to wait a few more months for them to show up (for reference, the most recent ones are Signs, Minority Report, K-19, and then Femme Fatale because of the earlier R2 DVD release.) You also need to get your lazy self off the couch to switch discs in the middle if you don't have a DVD changer.

But I never went to the theater much before I got the DVD player and started downloading movies, and I still buy DVDs of things I've already downloaded if I think it's worth it. So I just don't think it really has much of an impact...
Old 11-21-02, 06:39 PM
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I've seen SVCDs made from DVD sources and they look pretty similar to the picture quality of the originals. I know the sound is not nearly as good, but it's probably good for people with low-end audio systems.

I've also seen pretty decent VCDs made from VHS screeners. I've actually downloaded a couple of these myself to tide me by for the period inbetween theatrical release and DVD release. Downloading one of these would never prevent me from upgrading to DVD when the movie becomes available - but I'm sure others would disagree.

Cams suck and you couldn't pay me to watch one.
Old 11-21-02, 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by Peep

Cams suck and you couldn't pay me to watch one.
most cams suck but not all, I just got the new HP & it's terrific. I couldn't even tell it was a cam till I heard a couple cough.

I get just about every new movie that comes & the quality ranges from barely watchable to decent. Movies that I really want to see I still go to the theater to see, & I always upgrade to DVD if the movie is good.
Old 11-21-02, 07:20 PM
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Re: Why Are Studios So Worried About Movie Downloaders?

We frequently hear reports in the media about people being able to download movies and that many of the movies currently in the theatre are being downloaded all the time.
Its out there, I know of plenty of people that don't mind the terrible quality as long as they can save $10. Hell I've seen people selling these things too.

I have never been able to successfully download a movie. I'm on cable and it simply is too much hassle for me to get anywhere with it. Connections go down, files get corrupted, etc.
Although what you say is true, its not as much of a hassle as you think. I tried to download films before, (American Pie 2 and Swordfish), both done successfully, and in under 5 hours. Qualtiy on both were horrible, and I ended up buying American Pie 2 and renting Swordfish anyway.
Old 11-21-02, 09:06 PM
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i know ppl that download the movie, but then buy the dvd when it comes out, so who are they 'hurting'?
Old 11-21-02, 09:41 PM
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As others have said, I really do not see any harm done with downloading . . . the quality, the time it takes, having to watch it on a computer monitor . . . hey, if you want to deal with that . . . you're not much a movie fan anyway and your dollars aren't going to be missed, as they aren't going to be spent on legitimate forms anyhow.

I still feel all the anti-piracy people have really missed the boat . . . even with music, yes, I used Napster, yes, I've downloaded albums (even legally through places like www.emusic.com which has a bunch of great independent music by the way) . . . but there's nothing like having the original. If I like it, I'll buy it. I've discovered whole new genres of music this way. I replace those mp3 copies with the original. I've actually bought MORE because of "illegal" copies not less.
Old 11-21-02, 10:01 PM
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Problem with your thinking Jarsim is that how do you "have" the original for movies still in theaters? the difference between movies and music in this priacy issue is pretty big. Music allows more spread of the album and/or band. When it comes to films. A bootleg will not want me to watch it again because of the quality.
Old 11-21-02, 10:49 PM
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They are worried about movie downloaders simply because they hve observed that music can now be widely downloaded for free. Which is good because the RIAA needs to be first against the wall when the revolution comes. But I digress.
Old 11-22-02, 01:13 AM
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Why Are Studios So Worried About Movie Downloaders?

Simple answer is that people downloading movies are not paying for them. That's money lost to the studios. Bigger issue is on the issue of intellectual property. People who download movies owned by someone else are people who don't believe in intellectual properties. This threaten all studios because without intellectual property, there is not much incentive for them to make new movies. Why create something new when you can just copy from someone else and make a profit from their creativity, right?

Put yourself in the artists' shoes, would you even bother creating something new if you know someone else will copy your work and not pay you for it once you finish your work?

Last edited by mookiemeister; 11-22-02 at 03:38 AM.
Old 11-22-02, 02:56 AM
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I've downloaded a number of movies.

Most of them, I wouldn't have bought, or even rented, anyway.

I usually d/l movies when I'm not sure about whether I'd like it or not. At $8.50+ at the theatre, and $3.50+ at Hollywood / Blockbuster, it's hard to pick a decent movie out of all the crap that's out.

Most of the time, I'd watch enough to realize that it's crap (Godzilla) or that it's an incredible movie (Fight Club).

I've spent just as much money as I would have, downloading or no downloading. I'm just spending my money more effectively now. I never would have discovered Fight Club if I hadn't downloaded it first. Now, it's one of my favorite movies.

And, no. I deleted all movies I downloaded, and bought those that I liked. Got Fight Club on DVD 2 hours after first downloading it.
Old 11-22-02, 04:36 AM
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Originally posted by darkflounder
I've downloaded a number of movies.

Most of them, I wouldn't have bought, or even rented, anyway.
I'm quoting you because you're the most recent to say this, and not to single you out, as it's a sentiment I've seen posted many times.

It seems to me that this is a big part of the studios are afraid of: you are essentially seeing something they spent millions of dollars to make for free. Just because you wouldn't have watched it any other way doesn't make it ok.

They make movies with certain expectations of audience response, in the theaters and later in the rental and retail store. People downloading their movies for free changes that dynamic, and as it becomes more and more common, it starts to eat into their sales.

Ultimately, they don't make these movies to guarantee you a good time, that, after all, is impossible. So saying that you shouldn't have to pay to see something you might not like ignores the basic economics of any form of entertainment. Moreover, saying your only watching something you wouldn't pay to see anyway isn't entirely true either. The time and resources you devote to downloading a film costs you something. Obviously less than the price of a movie ticket or DVD, but the potential viewing experience is still worth something to you. The studios paid to make it; you should pay them to see it.

Regardless of the above, or perhaps in part because of it, I think the studios are being just as foolishly narrow-minded as the music industry has been.

What they both should have done is embraced this new distribution channel as a way to deliver cheap previews of their product. What if the music industry had started to make low quality copies of their music available online in with an easy to search database for a low monthly fee, or a cheap per download charge? Sure there would have still been people who traded files, but most people don't understand all that crap and don't want to mess with something that's not legal. They would have had, at a very low cost, a brand new distribution channel for their new music and catalog songs. And aimed at a young and spend happy market segment. What a wasted opportunity.

Similarly, the movie industry should be allowing people to download the first half hour or so of a low quality version of their movies at a nominal cost. People could then download, quickly and cheaply, any movie they want and check and see if they really want it. They'd then be able to go buy the DVD or see the movie in the theater. Throw in some market research

Even better, as high speed access spreads and improves, they'd have a built in way to circumvent the retail and rental stores as it becomes more and more sensible (time and quality-wise) to download these titles over the Internet.

They have, I think, every right to be royally pissed at people who are stealing their livelihood. But the solution is to take over the marketplace, not ignore it.

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