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[TorrentFreak] – Independent Films Benefit from Being on BitTorrent December 15, 2007

Posted by King Nerd in Uncategorized.
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Talented independent filmmakers are benefiting immensely from having their movies distributed for free on BitTorrent. Films that might never have been heard of before are now being watched by millions of people.

BitTorrent, A Boon To Independent FilmmakersToday, several of the top movies on BitTorrent sites such as mininova are independent films produced by small movie studios. “The Man from Earth” and “Day Zero” are two recent examples of films that became known to a wide audience thanks to BitTorrent.

The Man from Earth” in particular has become immensely popular due to its distribution on BitTorrent. After RLSlog reviewed the film and linked to a torrent of it and to the official site, the producer wrote to the blogger, thanking him for reviewing it. They had received some 23,000 hits in the days following the review and went from the being the 11,235th most popular movie on IMDB to being the 5th most popular one, and the most popular independent film in a matter of days. He said:

Our independent movie had next to no advertising budget and very little going for it until somebody ripped one of the DVD screeners and put the movie online for all to download. After that happened, people were watching it and started posting mostly all positive reviews on IMDb, Amazon and other places. Most of the feedback from everyone who has downloaded “The Man From Earth” has been overwhelmingly positive. People like our movie and are talking about it, all thanks to piracy on the net!

Day Zero“, too, hasn’t even been released yet. But a leaked DVD screener of it has been making its way around the Internet. The movie premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival , but will only open in a few theaters in the US on the 18 of January ‘08, which will be followed by a wider release in the weeks after. Despite mainstream audiences having practically no access to this film, it has become popular online and is the 5th most seeded movie in the Drama category on mininova.

Of course there are still several independent Film producers that would rather not see their creations up for grabs while they are still running in theaters. The following quote is taken from an email that was sent to a BitTorrent site by one of the producers of Cashback. The film in question was downloaded nearly a million times over the past few months, reaching a much broader audience online than in the movie theaters.

Is it possible to remove it from your site for say 6 months? At least then it gives the filmmakers a chance to see how popular viewers really think it is, and for us to make our living. I can’t really attack film piracy, because reality is, it’s inevitable.. but until we find a real solution that works for everyone is it possible that we could have a bit of compromise from your end?

The reaction from the producer is understandable, but I dare to argue that the popularity of independent films on BitTorrent does more good than harm. A pirated copy does not equal a visitor lost in the movie theater, similar to music, independent films might actually profit from filesharing. It generates a lot of word to mouth advertising.

More and more people start to recognize the potential BitTorrent has. Last year filmmaker Mark Achbar released a torrent of the award winning Canadian documentary ‘The Corporation’ here on TorrentFreak. He was one of the first to realise that filmmakers can profit from BitTorrent, even though the official distributors did not agree.

It isn’t hard to see why filmmakers are starting to look at “piracy” in a different light. The more hype their movie gets early on, the greater the chance of someone wanting to buy the DVD or go see it in the cinema. It’s really as simple as that. Independent filmmakers don’t have the same promotional and marketing budgets as Hollywood studios, and getting the word out about their film is really the biggest hurdle for them. We’ve seen producers of TV shows start to leak content to BitTorrent and embrace filesharing, so why not movie producers too?

ThePirateBlog Hiring Writers December 14, 2007

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Note, that this job does not get you paid.

I am looking for 1 or 2 dedicated members to fill a few writer positions. You will be able to write articles for ThePirateBlog, as well as be acknowledged in many places.

Why ThePirateBlog? We are a great publication, and we are interested to adding the opinion to the facts. Though we only write about 1/2 our articles, opinions are very important here. If you think you have what it takes, e-mail me at madatbaker@yahoo.com with ThePirateBlog as the subject. Thank you in advance, and we know you will become a dedicated, wonderful member of our staff.

-KingNerd

[Torrent Freak + Commentary] – First FileSharer Convicted in Russia December 14, 2007

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With rampant piracy across much of Russia, one could be forgiven for thinking they don’t care about copyright there. That assertion is now up for debate as the first BitTorrent user in Russia is sentenced for illegally distributing software, with anti-copyright activists calling for people to jump on a torrent in protest.

According to a report from rusya.ru, a man has made history by becoming the first person in Russia to be convicted for using BitTorrent to infringe copyright. Sergei Avramov appeared in court in the city of Rostov-on-Don, accused of the illegal distribution of pirated software. Despite his actions being strictly not-for-profit, he was found guilty and received a 12 month suspended sentence.

Avramov was accused of using uTorrent to illegally distribute a piece of expensive business software called 1C which is apparently an application allowing the automation of day-to-day business operations. It’s entirely possible that Avramov upset the wrong businessman in targeting this unusual software.

Now, some Russian self-described ‘anti-copyright activists’ are seeking others to join them, to demonstrate against Avramov’s sentence. A .torrent file for the actual 1C software has appeared on The Pirate Bay, with this included in the description:

“We, the group of anticopyright activists from Russia, ask you for help.

The point is that 04.12.07 there was the first time in Russia when a man was sentenced for filesharing. Sergey Avramov created a torrent for a software of the russian company “1C”.

We think its just the first step, after that will follow new repressions towards filesharing supporters. In our view, the only appropriate way to put pressure on the company is to create a new torrent on an independent server outside Russia and the forthcoming promotion of the link.

This step will show the uselessness of repressive actions towards users of filesharing networks.

We ask you to create a torrent seed for the software ‘1c_enterprise’.”

An .nfo relating to the 1C software carries a message which may well be seen more often in the future as BitTorrent seeders are being encouraged to include it in their own releases. Apart from the regular information it says:

Dear Filesharer,

We hope you enjoy your download.

Did you know that filesharing could soon be a thing of the past?

All across the world, media corporations are lobbying and pressuring national governments to change legislation to allow them to persecute filesharers more efficiently.

We disagree with their idea that piracy is theft. We feel theft involves depriving the owner of something. When a copy is made, the original remains.

The changes of legislation suggested would involve drastic changes of laws protecting personal privacy. We feel that the legislation changes suggested in the EU and the USA are out of proportion.

We believe in changing copyright laws.

If any of this interests you, please visit:

—links—

There are several political parties fighting for your rights. If you would like to vote for one of them in your next national election, please visit:

http://www2.piratpartiet.se/international/
Upcoming election for the Swedish parliament on 17th Sep 2006!
http://www.pp-international.net/forum/
International network of Pirate Parties.

If you’re not interested, please accept our apology for using your bandwidth to spread the word.

Thank you for your attention!

If you believe in our cause, please include this file in your next seed! There are enough of us to make a difference!

It’s not clear how many .nfo’s it will take to help turn around anti-torrent big business, but spreading the word to the masses via this powerful medium will certainly help get the word out to millions of file-sharers worldwide.

What The Pirate Blog Thinks – While this one isolated incident is not very large, it shows that even the world’s safe havens are going goodbye.  Iceland, Norway, Canada, Russia.  What’s next?  China?  Add this text to every nfo you upload.  This is getting closer to an all-out war.  We’ll keep you covered w/ all your war needs at The Pirate Blog.

[ZeroPaid + Commentary] – Sci-Fi Producer Thanks File-Sharers for Downloading His Film December 12, 2007

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The Pirate Blog’s Opinion – This is a long article, so our opinion is going first here. The industry, as I have said before, is seeing a revolt. First, the indies turn against them. Because the indies expect to make little money, they do not lose from filesharing. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Then the public, then the actual artists. We have seen this in the music industry, which, by many, is considered to be at the forefront of piracy. Sci-Fi producers are very open to ideas, and this just proves it. Torrentrical releases are seeing more and more interest. Artists and producers are finally looking at their priorities, and realize that piracy can only help. Let’s see where we go from here.

Original Article (ZeroPaid) –

“Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth” sees ranking on IMDb MOVIEmeter go from #11,235 to #6 in two weeks, and the independent film is now ranked as the 14th best Sci-Fi film ever.

While the conundrum facing the film industry over Internet piracy heats up, one producer of an independent low-budget film has taken matters into his own hands.
The day after the November 13th DVD release of his film “Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth,” producer Eric D. Wilkinson took the groundbreaking step to directly address suers of P2P and file-sharign services. On the blog rlslog.net he thanked them for downloading his film. He also requested that they spread the word, buy the DVD, and donate money for their viewing to the film at www.manfromearth.com.
While Wilkinson, a home entertainment business veteran and Southern New Jersey native, hardly condones illegal downloading, he realized that the genie was already out of the bottle. Wilkinson figured it was better to embrace the phenomenon than try to fight it. “Am I upset… surprisingly no”, Wilkinson commented to www.rlslog.net. “Thanks to everyone who has downloaded this torrent and watched the film, our awareness level is through the roof. For that I say, ‘Thank You’!” His posting has since spread to numerous blogs and websites and has inspired hundreds of responses from around the globe.

(more…)

[TorrentFreak + Our Opinion]::Swiss Anti-“DMCA” Campaign Interview December 12, 2007

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The law, dubbed by many to be a ‘Swiss DMCA’ was slipped through on October 5th with little fanfare, and overwhelming legislative support. Annoyed, Florian Bösch started the ‘No Swiss DMCA’ campaign to do something about it. Unusually, Mr Bösch is actually a coder that works on DRM systems. He agreed to talk with TorrentFreak to discuss the law and his aims.

TorrentFreak – What brought this law to your attention

Florian Bösch – BoingBoing, through slashdot

TorrentFreak – The law wasn’t publicized at all?

Florian Bösch – It was, but it’s… a convoluted topic, and I don’t care about politics. There’s a trail of press releases and actions that accompany the passing of this law. It just didn’t gain any mainstream attention. Don’t know if it did now, I certainly hope so. You see I didn’t really know I cared that much about all of this, but somehow the news hit me and I knew it did.

TorrentFreak – Have you contacted your representatives in either council?

Florian Bösch – I didn’t contact the representatives in the councils no. Two reasons mainly, I don’t think it’ll help anything (with exception of two all voted for this law, no abstains), and I was pretty busy of late. (I have a day job too, one with deadlines) It’s a bit controversial, I work as a programmer for a company that sells DRM technology and services.

TorrentFreak – I would think that would put you in support of this law

Florian Bösch – I’m not. I think it’s a bad law, for the industry as well. See I think the DRM industry does just fine, it doesn’t require laws to protect it. They’ll make a shoddy product that will not be able to compete with actually free content once that becomes commonplace. And the cynicism of the industry is somewhat ungraspable for me.

TorrentFreak – This 50,000 signature rejection, is it common knowledge, or is it something brought up on rare occasions?

Florian Bösch – It is a very commonly known that it’s possible.

TorrentFreak – is it utilised often?

Florian Bösch – Yeah it’s usage is commonplace. Usually parties hold it up as a Damocles sword for discussions, at any time there’s 1-3 referendums running. It’s a bit rare that it’s started by people with no backing and clue how to do it.

TorrentFreak – How has this drive been met by the general citizenry?

Florian Bösch – I don’t know actually. I started last Friday (November 31st), spent the weekend doing the website, buried myself in mailing around and talking to people to do something, organized stuff.

TorrentFreak – What’s the response been like so far?

Florian Bösch – By the people who come to the mailing list and to the IRC channel, I’d say thankful and concerned. By people who worked on that law openly hostile (such as here). They basically think this law is the best we can manage, and the next one will be worse, so if we now abolish it, we will have to fight again, and it’s not sure it’s going to be better. (or the worst happens and the people vote for this law)

TorrentFreak – According to that thread, you believe DRM will soon be impossible to circumvent?

Florian Bösch – So hard it won’t matter, yes, I think that. See the DRM as you know it is already the past. That’s kiddie stuff, the future is polymorphic DRM that changes algorithm and inner working with every content item, because on it will be some bytecode that executes on a secure VM. Whilst it certainly won’t be uncircumventable, it will just be hard to keep open.

TorrentFreak – Yet, there’s the possibility that it will become undesirable

Florian Bösch – Yes, actually I think it’s inevitable this becomes undesirable, but I rather see it happen sooner then later.

TorrentFreak – More and more are going away from DRM and copy protection, and some of the best arguments came from a company called StarDock when they released the game GalCiv2 – that the only person it hurts and inconveniences are the legitimate consumers.

Florian Bösch – I don’t think that’s true. It hurts the whole content industry.

TorrentFreak – How so?

Florian Bösch – See we set-up music services for say mobile network operators. to do that you need players on mobile phones. To get content from the labels you need to prove that you do effective DRM. Then you have to explain to your client what he can and cannot do with DRM. It’s always funny when you get to the point where they absolutely want ripping to CD of your music, but insist that everything must be quite protected. Plain content on iPods (you got to support iPods) so the company I work for has this really good DRM, and your non-techie customers rip it apart with their real world business cases. Not that I mind, it’s just ironic. Then there’s the nature of obscurity. It permeates the whole system, you have to keep track of device IDs and userIDs and public keys and do the right dance against some piece of patented software to be privileged just to hand out a download url. I mean, something essentially simple, handing out a file, has become a huge and complex task.

TorrentFreak – So its log jamming itself, and that’s part of what is the problem with these laws, it not only hurts the consumers, but also the industries its intended to protect?

Florian Bösch – Exactly. it encourages the industry to more of that when it should do less. DRM in your business case is not quite yet the kiss of death, but it feels quite familiar.

TorrentFreak – How many signatures have you collected so far?

Florian Bösch – Embarrassingly few. we keep track here. It’s a lot more probably, but who knows.

TorrentFreak – and the signatures all have to be verified by the canton government?

Florian Bösch – By the municipality of the signatory; there’s about 1000 municipalities in Switzerland. The trouble is we should collect on the order of 2000 signatures a day. Those all have to go to the municipalities first and then be collected centrally; it’s a huge task. I think the important thing that happens isn’t so much the signatures as that people are talking more about this now then before. I’m happy I could help with that at least, and It’s a very interesting experience to go trough the signature collecting thing, I’ll write a tutorial/howto about it so more people can do it.

TorrentFreak – How do you plan on ‘expanding’ the campaign over the next few weeks?

Florian Bösch – I have no idea honestly. I try to make a breeding ground for like-minded and get them to talk to each other, and I hope we can form a network of action to have more local effect. I do just one thing, I express that I’m not happy with this law, and I thought I was not alone, and others might join in.

TorrentFreak – A laudable aim. Thank you for your time.

More information on the campaign can be found at http://no-dmca.ch

What The Pirate Blog Thinks – DRM is in our opinion fairly irrelevant. As long as there are smart people who work on security, there are equally smart people cracking it. While this campaign is an excellent step forward, this will have little effect on the overall piracy battle. Don’t get me wrong, TPB is behind this all the way, however, it is irrelevant.

The increased penalties and punishments, as well as actual enforcement, is a serious issue, however, it is unlikely this campaign will stop the corporations.  Too much cash flying around, and they are willing to play dirty.  If  most of the public gets behind it though, they have a chance.

The idea for this campaign could aksi be used to abolish United States filesharing laws. The idea is to get the public excited, and to get behind something. This is slowly happening in the US, with both the public and artists getting behind filesharing. A major revolution will follow, possibly coupled with all-out war.

We’ll keep you posted here at TPB.

[Torrent Freak] – Top 10 DVDRips on BitTorrent December 11, 2007

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We do not link to actual torrent files because linking to files that link to files that may be copyrighted is something that might get us in trouble.

The data is collected by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only.

RSS feed for the weekly DVDrip chart.

As of December 5, 2007…


Ranking (last week) Movie (rating)
1 (5) Rush Hour 3 (6.4)
2 (2) Stardust (8.1)
3 (new) American Pie Beta House (5.4)
4 (3) Futurama: Bender’s Big Score! (7.9)
5 (1) Superbad (8.1)
6 (new) Resident Evil: Extinction (6.4)
7 (new) The Flock (6.1)
8 (4) Balls of Fury (5.0)
9 (7) Rescue Dawn (7.9)
10 (6) Transformers (7.7)

Thanks to TorrentFreak for compiling this report.

The Pirate Bay Investigation Comes to An End December 10, 2007

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    After confiscating all TPB’s servers last year in a raid that made international press, The Swedish Police finally finished going through all the evidence for The Pirate Bay. 4,000 pages of legal paperwork were delivered to TPB, and now it awaits the official court verdict. After many extensions of the trial against the operators of TPB, the police is finally ready to prosecute. Below, the evidence is shown.According to Brokep (Peter Sunde, the head TPB admin), the papers consist of mostly a list of files and top torrents from The Pirate Bay’s trackers in the period before they were confiscated. With this evidence, the prosecutors, including Håkan Roswall, are charging TPB with facilitation to infringe copyright. Brokep notes that he would like an extension, as he has better things to do on New Year’s than go through 4k pages. On an interesting tangent, Brokep, being the stunning environmentalist that he is, bought 5 trees to compensate for all the wasted paper (certificate here).

    Not only has the police been analyzing the files on the servers, according to Brokep, they looked at the tracker code as well. Aside from finding a bug, police as well analyzed the tracker’s code. A bit too late, as we recently covered the switching of TPB to OpenTracker. Oh well.

    In my opinion, brokep is fairly fearless. The Pirate Bay is now the center of all FileSharing battles, replacing SuprNova and LokiTorrents where they were several years ago.  The important thing is to see how the music industry responds. They can go off on several tangents here. One would be to threaten Sweden with several measures, as they have done. Then, Sweden would change the law, and possibly put brokep into jail. Another is they take Canadian suggestions, as well as many peoples opinions, and begin charging flat fees. Or they can die. Here’s to hoping we will find a compromise.

Until then, we’ll keep you posted as things develop. Happy holidays.

China Bans Hollywood Movies December 10, 2007

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In a recent move by the Communist government of China, China has banned all Hollywood Movies and American productions until February of 2008, and possibly later.

Little is known, however no US studios have been given release slots in January or February of 2008.

This move probably comes as a result of trade issues with China, as well as the United States honoring Dalai Lam, causing Chinese anger.  Very few people in China, including the enormous State Administration of Radio Film & Television, do not know anything of the ban.  The rumor as of now is that the orders came from very high up.

Many supporters of this law say the United States is stifling local film production, as well as creativity.

According to ZeroPaid, this is not the first time US movies have been banned from China.  From June 20-July 11 and from July 21-August 12 mark other bans.

How does this apply to filesharing?  One of the causes of the ban was an argument between the US and Chinese government when the United States tried to put pressure on China to stop its gargantuan pirated movie industry.  This industry includes bootleg movies, as well as BitTorrent and direct downloads.  This is a huge hit for movie studios, as the main way they capitalized from the enormous economy in China was to show movies in theaters; very few people bought legal DVD’s.

We’ll keep you current over at The Pirate Blog.  Until next time, happy holidays.

[Slyck.Com] – Canadian Songwriters Demand Legalization of P2P December 9, 2007

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Summary – A major group of Canadian songwriters is pushing for the Legalization of P2P, at the same time as the CRIA is trying to obscenely increase penalties.

From Slyck.Com –

Canada’s copyright debate is headed to a boiling point. What the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) has demanded, on behalf of artists, that people who download unauthorized music face penalties similar to that of the United States. Unfortunately for the CRIA, the paradox in their demands has been the simple fact that the artists themselves are demanding the exact opposite. Not only do they say they don’t want to litigate music fans, but they also say that file-sharing should be legalized.

The Songwriters Association of Canada has put forth a proposal on a system that would allow anyone to download music for free legally while still compensating artists. Within the proposal is a system that suggests that there be a five dollar fee for every internet service provider. The money would then go to the respective rights holders as compensation – similar to that of a blank media levy.

Within the file-sharing debate, compensating artists has always been a sore issue. In the mean time, it seems that the blank media levy on CDs and DVDs also has been a sore spot. An unofficial argument has been floating around for some time that says that because Canadians pay a blank media levy to entities like the CRIA, copying music with little legal consequence gives quasi-legitimacy to its source – typically file-sharing networks. This argument has moved the CRIA to do everything possible to strike down the levy because they don’t agree with the argument. Whether or not this is because it stands in the way of potentially filing lawsuits against copyright infringement is a matter to be debated. At this point in time, the CRIA has been unable to strike down the levy.

In the mean time, it appears as though the proposal has gained traction among other artists. The Canadian Music Creators Coalition, who represents many of the major musical acts within Canada, have issued a response.

“This is the first progressive proposal we’ve seen in Canada to address file-sharing,” said Andrew Cash, CMCC spokesperson. “It’s telling that creators, the people who actually make the music being shared, are the people showing leadership and pushing for a made-in-Canada approach to file-sharing. We can only hope that the Canadian government will follow the Songwriters’ lead and begin exploring alternatives to the failed ‘locks, lawsuits and lobbying’ strategy of the major labels.”

“We don’t know if the Songwriters have all the answers,” states CMCC member Steven Page, “but we do know that this proposal moves in the right direction. The Songwriters’ proposal offers tremendous value to both consumers and rights-holders. The Songwriters have given us the framework to come together to talk about digital music. The CMCC wholeheartedly endorses the Songwriters’ efforts, and looks forward to joining all Canadian stakeholders in considering the merits of this proposal.”

It is suggested that such a proposal might not be heard given the current political climate. Many experts including Michael Geist have not only concluded that a Canadian version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that is within the laws of the United States is on the way, but have voiced a number of tough questions as well. The Canadian government has officially announced that the copyright reform bill is coming on December 10.

What We Think – This business model will no longer work for the recording industry.  Without support of their artists, or their customers, they will either adapt or collapse.  And it looks like with 50 Cent, RadioHead, and others turning against them, this will not last.

50 Cent – FileSharing is OK! December 8, 2007

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With more and more artists revolting against the unfair fines, cruel punishments, and general opposition of filesharing, today, a heavyweight joins the ring.

Curtis Jackson III, AKA 50 Cent, started out as a drug dealer. Since launching his career as will as a record label, he has been shot many times, and he rose to fame.  He even started his own band, G-Unit, and his own record label to go with it.  A few weeks ago, 50 cent was reportedly sighted taking cocaine on stage (videos available on YouTube), and it is for this reason he was interviewed for Kjendis in Oslo. Before his preformance, he fully denied taking the drug, but he also had some things to say about filesharing.

“What is important for the music industry to understand is that this really doesn’t hurt the artists,” he says, on FileSharing. He, as many people do, feel like the industry needs to adapt. The easiest way to do this is to increase concerts. Whether fans steal or buy music, they come to concerts.
“The concerts are crowded and the industry must understand that they have to manage all the 360 degrees around an artist. They, (the industry), have to maximize their income from concerts and merchandise. It is the only way they can get their marketing money back.”

50 can also be seen talking about the fact that the music industry does not pay enough to its artists. The artists get a tiny cut, and the studio, who does nothing but release the album, get almost all the money. “Something needs to change.”

I agree that something needs to change, fast. But in the meantime, let’s buy as many 50 Cent CD’s as we can.

Full Interview: http://www.kjendis.no/2007/12/08/520577.html