A few thoughts about piracy

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Peer, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Peer

    Peer Redfox Development Team Staff Member

    I've been scanning through the many, many posts from the recent days and especially one post with a link to some blog entry over at torrentfreak ruined my day a bit. It's not the actual message (for who didn't read it: it's all about the poor pirates, now having no tool for their glorious doings).
    After all, torrentfreak is all about file sharing and it's not my place to judge what's right and what's wrong (though I do have a strong personal dislike for piracy).
    What I found depressing, was how this places SlySoft next to the pirates and makes it sound as if piracy is what we were doing this for.

    Pirates were never the intended audience. If SlySoft could have shaken them off, they would have.
    In fact - some people seem to think, that without piracy, SlySoft wouldn't have existed (I'm defining "piracy" here as making copies and mass-distributing them - for money, for shits and giggles, for feeling a bit less like dirt, whatever gets them going).
    The exact opposite is true. Pirates only made a very small percentage of the AnyDVD userbase. And - given that they are pirates, it's a valid question whether they were even paying customers.
    AnyDVD was created out of the frustration of a few people, who got fed up with the unplayability (yes! that word is fitting!) of DVDs and later on Blu-ray discs.

    So, of course, SlySoft could have easily done without the pirates - and had they, SlySoft might even still exist.
    It's not that the AACS-LA wouldn't have gone to the same lengths trying - don't mistake them to be fighting piracy, their goal is a more immediate one, which is to justify their existence.
    They have this huge money-making machine, collect fees for every BD ever being sold without having to really, well, do much (god, I wish I were the AACS-LA), while promising to protect the discs in return, which effectivly doesn't work - so they have no choice but to fight back.

    So that's one reason why they come after SlySoft and not the actual pirates.
    The other reason is: it just wouldn't work. Pirates have a higher level of anonymity, and they are also too many. So even if this was (just) about piracy, SlySoft would remain the main target.

    Piracy is an issue. You can't deny that it is hurting the movie industry. And you can't deny that we were involuntarily helping piracy. Just like the glass cutter involuntarily helps burglary.
    Though you can argue over the numbers. They like to pretend that every single downloaded movie is one sold disc less. Of course that is utter nonsense. A lot of that stuff gets downloaded simply because it's there. At least 99 out of 100 downloads are done by people who wouldn't even consider paying for the disc. And I'm willing to bet, that 99% is too cautious an estimate.

    Personally, I think the whole industry is getting off track with their DRM. It does make sense to have it in place. As I said, the pirates are a real problem.
    But they want to gain more and more control over what the consumers do. Sort of finding a second purpose for the DRM already in place.

    People are running for the streaming services.
    Yey, streaming!
    That is already a service that puts you in chains. Even when you "buy" a movie on a streaming platform, you're asking for permission every single time you want to watch it (which is why I'm hesitant to call it "buying", you simply don't own the thing).
    Have the platform go dead and your "owned" movies are just as gone. You think Netflix is going to exist forever? They're likely to be around for quite a while, but things change so fast these days, especially with anything having "Internet" in its description. Maybe they decide to sell rubber boots someday (sorry, that joke will mostly make sense in Finland) and close down the streaming business, because the competition ruins the profit.

    And the AACS 2.0 specification (for UHD discs) is trying to get there too. With the - so far - optional possibility to have the disc fetch decryption keys from some server each and every time.
    Reminds me of the recent Internet failure here, just a couple of days ago - TV, phone and Internet all broke down at once, what was left was my collection of discs (yes, all bought and paid for) to spend the evening with. Unless of course I'd need permission to watch from the studio. Over that dead Internet connection.

    I'm not even diving too deep into the whole backup and fair use thing - I think everybody knows about that. Some of the DVDs my kids have been using look like they've been treated with sand paper. Some of the more "busy" ones actually look like sand paper. Blu-ray coatings are a lot more resilient - but unfortunately Blu-rays are also more sensitive to scratches. And some cease to play without any visible damage.
    I have 7 or 8 damaged BDs among the non-kids category that I know of - possibly many more, because most discs I never touched twice, so I wouldn't know.
    Meanwhile I transfer the most precious ones to my server.

    So, sorry MPAA, AACS and all you people with the fancy acronyms - we can't help you with the piracy, but since no one is helping us with the movies, we're picking up things ourselves.

    Think twice.
  2. BRCS

    BRCS Well-Known Member

    Very well written Peer and so True nice Job.(y)
    John Vail likes this.
  3. jim2664258

    jim2664258 Well-Known Member

    Good post.

    The crux of the matter is they cannot allow fair-use backups or conversion to different formats for personal use without also allowing pirates to do the same thing and distribute them to others. Since they have not found a way to solve that problem, they simply default to treating everyone as if they were a criminal. That's not right, and it is completely counter-intuitive. Unless all you care about is making the maximum amount of money with no care for a purchaser's rights. And they get away with it because they own the lawmakers.
    BRCS and John-John like this.
  4. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    So many people over the years have completely misunderstood what AnyDVD is ACTUALLY intended for. Real-time decryption so that we're not shackled by artificial annoyances. Ads, anti-piracy warnings (really?), and all kinds of other nonsense. Not to mention being shackled to "licensed" players that don't offer the amazing power of things like madvr. I have well over 600 legally purchased blu-rays in my collection. Screw piracy. I just want to be able to enjoy the content I PAID FOR the way I want....which is not some piece of crap licensed player that barely functions half the time. (I have to add an audio delay in powerdvd just to get it to play the goddamn discs in sync....not so for MC21). SlySoft was never about piracy. It was about end user empowerment.
    Jito463, Slinger07, TaeOH and 6 others like this.
  5. Ch3vr0n

    Ch3vr0n Translator NL & Mod

    They just never learn the mpaa, riaa, aacs-la and cohorts. People have the right to make a backup of something they legally own. Just because they do so, doesn't make them pirates, no matter what the "powers that be" say. They can fill discs all they want with warnings, ads like SamuriHL states above. People will always find a way around that one way or another.
    BRCS likes this.
  6. Prospere

    Prospere RedFox Development Team

    Bull's eye!
  7. rotty dog

    rotty dog Guest

    Absolutely. The Studios would have been asking LA for some years now, as to why they are paying an absolute fortune to them to protect their content, when all a person has to do is put the disk in a PC drive, and its completely Unprotected.

    Pressure would have been massive.

    DRM reminds me of Prohibition, the same mistakes. LA have created the Criminal Market for them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2016
  8. Prospere

    Prospere RedFox Development Team

    I would've continued this with " as a form of self justification."
  9. rotty dog

    rotty dog Guest

    The other problem is of course, that the cost of each disk to us is artificially high because of payments by the Studios for DRM.

    P.S. Just to add, as Peer said, we of course understood that Slysoft was NOT in the Piracy Market, nor condoned Piracy in any way.

    The problem was, how on Earth could they Discriminate the end user(s).

    BUT its the existence of the Piracy Market that is/always has been the problem, a problem NOT of Slysoft making, a self produced Market.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2016
  10. DrinkLyeAndDie

    DrinkLyeAndDie Retired Moderator

    Well stated, and essentially sums of my general thoughts, Peer. You worded it much better than I could have, however. :)
    whatever_gong82 and BRCS like this.
  11. sub0ptimal

    sub0ptimal Active Member

    Re: the added cost of DRM.

    Those of us that have been around a while remember the 80s and VHS rentals. VHS has no DRM, and yet most VHS movies cost over $100, in 80s dollars, because the studios wanted to "price for rental". Same goes for laserdiscs. It wasn't until the bulk of releases went to "price for retail sale" in the 90s, and the DVD era started in mid-late 90s, that it was reasonable for consumers to own movies.

    The cardboard and plastic in a DVD/Bluray box costs more to the studio than the DRM fees.

    It certainly appears that we are in the last third of a 50-year-era of home video that started in the late 70s. Streaming is the most economical delivery for the copyright holders (studios), and has been widely embraced by non-enthusiasts and casual viewers.

    Re: the cost of piracy to the film industry

    The movie business has record profits. Studios are in as good a position as they have even been. The problem - and it is a huge one - is that piracy has forced studios to make product that is best experienced in a theater. Tons of CGI, pointless 3D spectacle movies. There is basically no market for a $40M adult drama. You have $100M blockbuster special effect showcases, and $2-10M indie films that show in art houses and then go to streaming.
  12. CrescentMoon

    CrescentMoon Member

    I don't think that piracy forced the studios to make movies like this. It's just what the demand is for.
  13. newton54

    newton54 Active Member

    I appreciate the comments on what you call Piracy. I just call it theft. It is apparently a business of making counterfeit movies and selling them. That is theft. I don't see a lot of difference between that and making counterfeit watches, or shoes or anything else. Having said that though, I don't think it is your responsibility to police this. There will always be thieves, unfortunately, and I just don't see where you have any control over that. There are a lot of what I consider to be legitimate reasons to copy a movie and that creates the need for the software. That some people subvert it for the wrong purposes is unfortunate, but the analogies of other legitimate purposes for other technology and products that get subverted are simply endless. Other than to ban anyone who you know pirates discs (if you happened to find out somehow) I just don't know what you can be expected to do.

    I also agree with the comments from others about the cost of a movie disc. It is ridiculously high. I am not surprised that they have a problem with people trying to find a cheaper way to enjoy a movie. Most Blu-Ray movies around here are over $25 each. That is just ridiculous to me. That is another fight, I know, but nevertheless it does not cause me to feel real sorry for the movie industry. Even going to the Cinema anymore is just crazy by the time you buy tickets for your family. Anyway, enough of that, but it gets to me.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  14. gereral1

    gereral1 Well-Known Member

    Speaking for myself torrents for movies suck. I expect excellent quality. This is the only reason I buy blurays. As for the movie companies, give me a break, they make tons of money world wide in theaters then release the Blu-ray. At least the cost to buy a Blu-ray has gone down. Maybe in 10 years I might upgrade to 4k. I'm guilty of the Napster days though!
  15. gereral1

    gereral1 Well-Known Member

    As for selling copies. In truck stops lurk these loosers trying to sell porn and burned movies out of their car.Maybe a call to the cops might teach them. For personal use I think it OK as long as you payed for the movie.

    No log no support....... Oh my friend has my disk. Sound familiar........ Hmmmm
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  16. DarkQuark

    DarkQuark Well-Known Member

    Great post. But one thing mentioned was that piracy hurts the movie industry. Technically that might be correct but I don't exactly see a lot of movie stars or directors etc strapped for cash. I am not saying it is right I am just saying they ain't hurtin.

    I am sure some of you are a little older like myself and recall the whole MP3 and Napster thing. I believe we are in a similar situation. The market is SCREAMING for digital products and the old guard is just hanging onto the disk because it is a method of control. Eventually they will fold and you will be able to download your favorite movies. This is already somewhat the case but it happens via a vehicle like Amazon's or Google's market/player. I think eventually it will come full circle. I would say within 5 years.

    Just my 2 cents.
  17. moose

    moose Well-Known Member

    Not to mention studios releasing movies in different countries at different times or not at all. Or releasing them with limited subtitles support.
  18. OverTheAir

    OverTheAir New Member

    An illustration of "unplayability" brought right up to date in this blu-ray.com article http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=18524 illustrating the (in)compatibility issues as the reviewer attempts to watch/review 4K UHD disks. Note that all the equipment was supposed to be HDMI 2.0a and HDCP2.2 compatible.

    Frumpalumpoulus likes this.
  19. LogicDeLuxe

    LogicDeLuxe Active Member

    Pirating was never my intention either. For me AnyDVD was very helpful for:
    - DVDs and Blu-Ray, which are not available or only available in inferior quality for my region, thus circumventing regional locking was a solution.
    - DVDs and Blu-Rays which have ridiculously annoying intros and don't allow to skip them, and also no support for resume. This is a pain especially on TV shows. Removing user prohibitions or ditching the menus altogether is true joy on those discs.
    - Blu-Rays of TV shows with German dubbing pitched down. I need a way to watch them in PAL speed to correct this issue. Many TV shows' dubbings have this issue since they frequently (but not always) were done on sped up material for PAL TV. The French speaking audience in NTSC territory also have this issue on DVD. Most of the time, the studios just don't seem to bother and ignoring any complains regarding this. With ReClock and MPC-HC, I can easily fix this, thanks to AnyDVD that is.
    - For movies which I like to watch in German, but no German track available on any DVD or Blu-Ray. In that case, I use the audio from a TV recording or VHS release and multiplex it with the high quality video to enjoy.
    - I also got my experience with norm conversions, thanks to AnyDVD. I really hate 3:2 judder, but many TV shows in the 80's and 90's were shot on film with 24 fps and then cut in NTSC ignoring frame patterns, which makes good norm conversions rather complex. In many cases, I managed to do much better conversions then officially available PAL DVDs, thus I can enjoy the show without the judder and still have a decent picture quality.
    - I also like to copy discs to a hard drive in order to reduce noise level.

    And I did not upload nor did I sold anything of that. I respect their copyright. I bought hundreds of disks. Sometimes even more than one version, just to combine one video with the audio of another.

    Also I don't think that piracy would be much different if AnyDVD didn't existed, as it only can defeat disc based protections. Pretty much all major movies are illegally available even before they are released on disc.

    If steaming should be the only way to get a movie one day, I really hope that our fox gets a relative which makes it possible to back up your streams then. I wouldn't "buy" a stream, if I can't.
  20. Prospere

    Prospere RedFox Development Team

    A sort of "Ok, I've taken enough money, now let's help my buddies take it too"
  21. CrescentMoon

    CrescentMoon Member

    Well I'm sure "steaming" won't be an option in the near future :) Seriously though, streaming picture quality is nowhere near Blu-ray quality. I really hope that by the time physical media dies, there will be a high quality download option (riddled with a dozen layers of DRM probably that I'm hoping could be stripped) that I can keep and watch any time regardless of internet connection / server availability / business decisions.