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.