back to article Pirated Simpsons movie traced to phone

A man has been arrested in Australia on suspicion of filming The Simpsons Movie in a cinema on his mobile phone and uploading it to the internet. The unnamed 21-year-old from Sydney has been charged with copyright theft and could face up to five years in jail. An illegal copy of the hit movie was available on a streaming …

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  1. War Monger

    DOH!

    ...someone had to say it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    entire movie on a phone??

    Somebody recorded the entire movie on his phone? I think the 15second limitation on my oen mobile phone's video recording capabilityies is rediculous, I question how a different phone without such a limitation is able to fit an entire motion picture into a phone's memory capacity. Without my artificial 15second limitation (I hate you Verizon!) it still has a maximum memory capacity of 2GB. Sure, movie files can be reduced to easily fit into that, but not on-the-fly with the computational performance of a cell phone CPU. While this story could be true due to far better phones not available for my service provider that I'm not aware of, I find it hard to believe a mobile is capable of this feat.

  3. Alain Moran

    Easy to get a whole movie on a phone..

    Go checkout the nokia N91 ... if 4GB isnt enough for you checkout the niftily titled "N91 8GB"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they'd have any sense

    Right, so they're astonished over the speed of the spread... erhm... that's called "demand", something that Adam Smith and other pioneering economists have figured out about 200 years ago...

    How come that the Copyright Theft Ass. can't figure it out now...?!?

    Give consumers what they want!

  5. Anarchy

    entire movie on a phone, no prob

    Don't see why not, my phone records at 640x480, and I've made recordings 20 mins long which were only 100+mb, so a 100 min movie (dunno how long it actually is) would only be about 1/2 a gig.

    Maybe you need to upgrade your fone

  6. Stuart

    Bogus!

    I agree. A whole movie on a phone? This story sounds three eyed fishy!

    The quality would be terrible and then once compressed for upload and distribution on the net it would be even worse, potentially unwatchable!

  7. Chris

    Sad as it may be, yup the N91 or N93 would happily do this

    Make your arm ache though, holding it in the same position for an hour and a half!

  8. Brian Milner

    How did they trace it to his phone?

    see heading

  9. Adrian Jones

    RE: If they'd have any sense

    So, if people are demanding a whole movie for free, the studios should be giving it to them?

    Hmm. Wonder how they'll fund the next one...

  10. Dunstan Vavasour

    New Oxymoron - "Copyright Theft"

    I thought that copyright was necessary precisely because the items subject to it aren't goods, so can't be stolen.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give Consumers what they want?

    Sure consumers want stuff for free. However unless you achieve a reasonable balance with what creators want too - ie a decent living - you end up with nothing but junk

  12. Jim Cosser

    RE: RE: If they'd have any sense

    I think the first comment was more at making the film available online immediately so fans over the world can watch it in the way they want.

  13. Stuart Castle

    re: If they'd have any sense

    You can argue that until the proverbial cows come home, but the fact remains that there will always be people who want the product for free but will not pay for it.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that in a film. while we tend to hear (and think) about the star and the director, who may get paid millions, and may be in a position to afford to work for free for six months, we rarely think of the thousands of staff supporting them who don't get paid nearly as much, and cannot afford to lose money.

  14. Rob

    @RE: If they'd have any sense

    I think it is more a case of demanding to have it made available at all, than demanding to have it free.

    If they released films on DVD the same day it was out in the cinema, i reckon piracy would plummet to almost nothing. (yes, i am a professional reckoner)

  15. eddiewrenn

    What a bunch of tits... FACT

    (More than) 110,000 people wanted to watch this at home - not traipse out 20 miles to a cinema just to watch an 1-and-a-half cartoon.

    The day the technologically-backward idiots running the industry cotton on to the fact that we would quite happily shell out £1.50/$2 to watch the video at home, with a ZERO distribution cost to them, is the day most people stop going 'illegal'. Until then, they deserve to be laughed at for being absolutely ridiculous and people will not feel 'criminal' for browsing around torrents.

    Oh sorry, I forgot, piracy funds terrorism. My mistake.

  16. Simon Riley

    Write out 1000 times

    I bet whoever watched that copy had a massive laugh at Bart writing out "I will not illegally download this movie" on the blackboard.

  17. adam

    ...But seriously...

    ...how did they track down the SPECIFIC mobile phone? are phones adding identifying data to the videos they make???

  18. Tawakalna

    poor effort, Osama!

    yet another sinister terrorist plot aimed at undermining our democratic freedoms to be ripped off by global corporations is deftly solved by the intrepid boys-in-blue! Take that, Osama and your cinematic minions and their rubbish illegal copies!

    more to the point, how are they ever going to prove that this guy was responsible? if he deletes alleged video from phone, and there were no eye witnesses, all the rozzers will have is an IP address and if there's more than one person using that IP address, how can they prove that it was him?

    ah sorry, it's back to the War_of_Terror again; the authorities don't actually "need" any actual evidence anymore, because he "could" be guilty; ergo in the logic of the War_of_Terror, the post 9/11 paradigm of prevention means that he must be presumed guilty, especially as video and software piracy funds terrorism, as has been quite properly noted already ;) Better 10 innocent men go to gaol than one guilty man go free! (hang on, didn't Hitler say that too?)

  19. Leon Prinsloo

    I have a Motorola Ming/A1200

    It can film for 2 hours, as long as I have the space on my memory card. So I can easily believ he could copy the whole movie onto his phone

  20. David Paul Morgan

    easily avoided....

    ... by flooding the theatre with an infra-red beam. Have you noticed how camcorders & 'phone cameras see your IR controller as a beam of blue..?

    They could even put a slide of it showing the theatres address & the time of the event.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why watch a crappy cam

    When there's a dvd of the aforementioned film floating around usenet and the other usual places?

  22. james

    Uneducated discussion...

    This is different that buying content on a published/distributed DVD and converting the video to your phone's format so you can watch it on your phone. While "illegal" under the DMCA, this is "allowed" by the industry (e.g., MPAA, RIAA, etc.) because you have, in fact, obtained a license (even if that license does not allow viewing the content on your phone). The industry is not yet ready to attack that type of use.

    eddie wrote about "technologically-backward idiots" who should release the full content for $2.00 to stop "illegal" activity. What about the first group of people who intercept the video over a wireless connection and post the content on torrent networks? Where is the the "savings" or "profit" there?

    It isn't about the cost of distribution, it is about theft and people who don't want to pay for property. Like real property (...land), personal property has value. The owner of property, whether real or personal, has a "bundle" of rights. You, without acquiring a license or other right, have no "right" to anything in relation to that property.

    What would you think of a person who showed up on a parcel of property and stated that they owned it because the "owner" was not using it and didn't know it was "missing" (Assuming here that the period for possession had not run...)? What would you think of someone who rented a car for 1 week argued, upon his arrest, that he had rented (i.e., paid for) the car and should be able to keep it for a month? You, likely, would think they were "idiots."

    You would not walk into the store and steal a DVD, but you feel you have a right to not have to pay their asking price to see the same content if it is available "on-line" for "free." While I agree the asking price may be artificially inflated, I have a solution:

    Don't want to pay their fee? Don't watch it.

    Justifying theft by saying "it isn't worth the asking price" does not make logical sense (i.e., the "reason" does not justify your action).

    If you create something, should others get to watch it or possess it without paying you for the content or item (even if you thought it was too expensive)? Math shows that they are pricing their product to maximize their return (which may be different than maximizing their total profit)

    Whether it "funds terrorism" or is "right" or "wrong" does not apply (here or in many instances of the law). "It," copying movies without obtaining the proper license (usually for a fee), is illegal. Try to wrap your mind around that concept.

    If you don't like that certain "fair use" is illegal, contact your politicians and get them to amend the DMCA--tried many times, and none have succeeded (See H.R. 1201, the Digital Media Consumers's; Rights Act of 2005 that was introduced on 3/9/2005 for instance). Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    Just my 2 pennies...

  23. Stuart Jones

    Au Revoir le cinéma

    Whilst the cinema "experience" may be liked by some, the fact of the matter is my sofa is far more comfy than the cramped seats in our local Odeon (and that's only if you are lucky enough to get tickets to the latest films at a reasonable time). The argument for the big screen and directors vision is now removed with most HD TVs and a pretty basic surround sound setup.

    RIP Cinemas, nice knowing you but ultimately I couldn't care less if you were replaced with video on demand.

  24. Edward Pearson

    The real DOH!

    The real act of stupidity here lies in the fact that DVDRip copies of the Simpsons movie have been doing the round on the net for months.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Illegal downloads

    Oh sure, I've occasionally viewed a movie released on the internet, think of it as a sort of extended trailer. But I've seen the Simpsons Movie, and in a real cinema too, and let me tell you that it's worth seeing there (as are Alien, The Wicker Man, and a whole raft of others). Unless your entire house is hollow and you have a high-quality TV covering an entire wall, sometimes the cinema just beats the pants off watching ANYTHING at home. The Simpsons Movie was made for cinema, and is funnier and more intelligent and frankly more worth watching in that context. I'd happily pay to go and see it there again*.

    * saying that, I do work for a company as a part of whose employee priveleges I get cheap tickets at a big cinema chain, but that's beside the point.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cinemas....

    I go to the cinema three or four times a year. I only go for kids films.

    Why? Well for a start I resent cinemas making 700% profit on sweets/drinks/etc after you've already paid £30-40 for a family of four.

    Then we sit through 30-50 minutes of adverts for "local" companies and the fucking interminable Pearl & Dean crap! All of which you are paying for the privilege of watching lets not forget? Then that's topped off with a real dose of Americana in the form of thinly veiled accusations that you're a thief and copyright violations are criminal offences. WRONG! Not in England & Wales they're not - it is a civil matter, not criminal.

    So after being ripped off and accused of being a thief I frankly couldn't care less who is "pirating" the latest pile of dross. I assume that was the intention? If not then the RIAA and their UK flunkies need a miracle to recover from this marketing plan.

  27. David Jones

    how true

    >Why watch a crappy cam when there's a dvd of the aforementioned film floating around usenet and the other usual places?<

    indeed. they'll go after the people uploading cams of bourne next despite the fact a dvd is out

    seems like these RIAA/MPAA types are missing their brain cells

  28. Joe K

    Moron

    Like mentioned, the DVD perfect copy has been around the net for months.

    Even better, its a leaked screener complete with a FACT warning left at the start.

    I'm not a pirate, i just can't be arsed with putting up with kids and other idiots spoiling the cinema going experience, that and the godawful quality of screens nowadays.

    If they legally had it available for download i'd have happily paid for it.

  29. Lee Whitfield

    How they likely found him

    If this guy was not smart enough to follow a few simple steps then it would be fairly simple to find the guy.

    Depending on what phone he used to record the movie there would be metadata stored inside the recording such as the date and time recording was made, the phone type used to record it and even the serial number of the phone.

    The authorities would only need to track down the supplier, the store the phone was bought from, and to whom the phone was issued. Not too difficult if the government and the service provider are pressured from such organisations as the MPAA, etc.

    Much the same thing as what happened with the latest Harry Potter book.

  30. Richard Kay

    being told to spy on neighbours

    Last time I went to the flicks the experience of watching an excellent film was soured by being subjected to copyright fascist propaganda and being told to spy on our neighbours and report anyone in the cinema we saw filming. This reminded me of my mother's reported experience of what it was like to live in Nazi Germany when she couldn't have a conversation in a public place or with anyone she wasn't extremely close to without risking being spied upon and reported to the Gestapo.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah its a good movie but...

    as the MPAA like to accuse me of stealing, while I am watching a legitimate release of the movie, I don't feel inclined to give them or the movie companies that fund them anymore of my custom. I know its not going to make a difference but hey, it's my choice.

    I would have like to see the Simpsons movie, but I guess I can wait for it to turn up on free to air some time in the next 10 years. I don't need to see it now. I'm not hooked to instant gratification on content. There's plenty of good stuff which is raw and funny but not published by the big movie companies. I like finding stuff done using game engines (RvB being a good example). Go find it and other stuff, you wont regret it.

    After all, the other versions which are available and are being viewed by people not paying their dues do not have these warnings on them. So there you have it, the only people the MPAA are pi**ing off are the people paying for the product.

    As for that FBI warning, not in the UK mate, Stop that crap, it's mad boring. Mind you the way the UK Gov has bent over and taken it by the US Gov, it won't surprise me if they could ship UK citizens over there for this. After all they say its funding terrorist. Any day soon they will say that about every other crime is too, the way things are going. I stop believing that crap long ago.

    Basically after all that ranting I'm saying, just try staying off it for a while, don't buy CDs and DVDs or at least try to cut back, don't watch the stuff on either legit copies or otherwise, then they'll get the message. If you can't, that's okay, I understand, I do the fight for you.

    Don't get me started on the RIAA, I feel boiling blood when I think about them.

  32. Andy

    Title

    "and you have a high-quality TV covering an entire wall"

    Trigonometry.

  33. MYOFB

    WTF

    Can someone please tell me how . . .

    'An illegal copy of the hit movie was available on a streaming website and downloaded more than 3,000 times even before the official film was screened in the US'

    BEFORE!?!?!?!!!! IT WAS MADE IN THE GOOD OL' US of A!!' How come this guy got to 'film' it on a MOBILE PHONE before it was released!!!! Aaargh!!

    Wake up to that question FIRST!! before going on to whether or not a mobile phone can or cannot store said movie in a decent 'streamable' / 'downloadable' format or not!!

  34. Ants

    RE: Uneducated Discussion

    >James wrote:

    >eddie wrote about "technologically-backward idiots" who should release the full >content for $2.00 to stop "illegal" activity. What about the first group of people >who intercept the video over a wireless connection and post the content on >torrent networks? Where is the the "savings" or "profit" there?

    Itunes? Napster? Businesses adapting to what consumers want?

    >James wrote:

    >You would not walk into the store and steal a DVD, but you feel you have a right >to not have to pay their asking price to see the same content if it is available >"on-line" for "free."

    It isn't at all the same as stealing a DVD from a store, at least not in a moral sense. If you steal a DVD from the store, the store looses out (unless the store has some sale-or-return deal with the distributor). Those involved with the production before the retail stage have all had their share, putting the store and ultimately consumers out of pocket.

    But basically it's not that I disagree with you, its just that I think - like others who have posted here - that the film industry needs to wake up.

    Technology has transformed the media markets forever, but I thought the whole "beauty of the free market" was that companies would adjust and transform to cope with changes. Why then are they clawing onto their old way of doing things and asking for government regulations (which business leaders normally have a problem with) such as DMCA to solve their problems instead of pulling their finger out and doing what they're meant to do; provide their consumers with entertainment.

    At the end of the day, it isn't as if this hasn't happened before. "Home taping is killing music" was a warm-up act.

  35. Jimbo

    Cinema - A dying concept?

    Has the cinema heard the death knell?

    I personally believe so. The "Cinema experience" of which affictionados are so keen just doesn't seem to bear the same value it used to.

    Let's start by looking at what this experience offers, and I'll be generous and start with the positive points.

    First up, the silver screen. (I know that silver is no longer used, but I'm looking back to when a cinema trip was somewhat magical, through the vaseline soft focus of memory.) Yes, the picture is huge, the size of one side of a house. The ideal place to sit in order to get the maximum enjoyment is right in the middle of the room. The problem is, this is only optimum for about twenty people in a room with 200 odd people in it. I've been sat in the front ten rows before now, and within ten minutes I was at the front desk demanding my money back. If I'm watching a dramatic close up I like to be able to see both of the actors eyes at the same time, preferably without having to move my head. The equivalent with a TV or computer monitor is being about one inch from the screen. How often do you watch something on your computer with your chin resting on the keyboard? Probably not all that often.

    Next up, the sound system. I like the speech in a movie to be clear, and if there's an explosion I like to feel a thump that puts all of my internal organs into new and interesting positions. Surround sound also brings a new level of immersion into the action. The cinema provides all of this, and does the job well. Most televisions fall foul on this one (unless you have a seperate speaker set up). Reproducing the wealth of audio information through the two small speakers you get on the average telly gives you an idea of what the sound could be, you can tell the difference between the high and low notes certainly. But all the sound comes out in the same rough frequency range as the human voice. That's why someone talking when you watch TV completely obliterates the sound (worse for blokes, who are designed to mono-task. Especially those who turn off the stereo\TV when talking on the phone, you know who you are!)

    This point loses its impact though, when you think that most people who use a computer to view films have speakers that can re-create this effect, and if other people talking during the film really gets to you, lock them out of the room while you watch!

    Those are the only plus points I can think of, film buffs may be able to come up with more, but my experience is limited.

    Negative points....... Now here I will try to keep it brief in the effort to maintain a balanced argument.

    The cost. This one's a biggie. Seeing ten films at the cinema with a small bag of sweeties each time, washed down with the obligatory bucket of badly mixed syrupy Coke costs the same as:

    an external hard drive large enough to store all the films you download, and those your friends download.

    A set of speakers that will rival the cinema experience in any room smaller than a warehouse.

    A reasonably fast 'net connection for a few months (which not only deals with viewing media, but brings social networking and news feeds from such lovely organisations as ElReg....)

    I like to walk to my seat after getting the film going without the spaceage adhesive qualities of the floor removing both my boots and socks. I once saw a film three times in a row, as the floor had stuck to my bare feet and I had to be removed from the cinema surgically. (Ok, I exagerate, but you can see the nugget of truth there if you look hard enough..)

    I like to pause the film when I want to go to the bathroom. Two hundred people sat in a dark room full of exciting loud noises, all drinking their bucket of badly mixed soft drink, 'cos they can't charge you the best part of a fiver for a can. You can probably see where I'm going with this, and why you should be grateful that you never get to see the super sticky floor. But then again, if you are paying the GDP of a small country to watch a film you can't pause, I can see why you would be reluctant to walk the 2.5 miles past all the other screens to get to the toilets. Just avoid any Coke buckets left on the floor as you walk out. (There are always a few, as they never fit in the drink holders).

    Seating. When watching a film I like to assume the sort of boneless posture that would make a drowsy cat feel uncomfortable to look at. The person next to you does get all unnecessary when you rest your foot on top of their head....

    The type of seating with a drink holder too small to fit my drink in, but with ample room to loose my small bag of sweeties (which are worth more by weight than printer ink, and that's saying something!), coupled with a seat arm that's just slightly thinner than half the width of my forearm, but supposed to be shared by two people...Go figure.

    Having said all of that, I do know some people do enjoy the experience. That's ok by me, it's just that my opinion differs.

    I would like to point out at this juncture that I do not put terrorist children through college by downloading copies of films. Not me. No sir.

    I have trancended to the next level of evil, and only copy films where the direct result funds the invasion of Earth by aliens. The aliens are twice as evil as the terrorists, they just don't have the same level of PR budget.

    As a disclaimer against the omnipotent RIAA, I have never knowingly funded any terrorists or aliens by viciously stealing hideously overpriced media. Honest. I just like clicking on flashing links, and therefore am too stupid to be held accountable for my own actions. And I was out of the country/having tea with granny when any films may or may not have been downloaded.

    ;)

  36. Steve Sherlock

    RE: WTF

    "BEFORE!?!?!?!!!! IT WAS MADE IN THE GOOD OL' US of A!!' How come this guy got to 'film' it on a MOBILE PHONE before it was released!!!! Aaargh!!"

    Wasn't it released on the same day worldwide? Australia being so many hours ahead of the US means it would be released there almost a day earlier, allowing him to record, recode and upload it and still have time for pizza before it was released in the US.

  37. Dick

    Give consumers what they want eh?

    "Sure consumers want stuff for free. However unless you achieve a reasonable balance with what creators want too - ie a decent living - you end up with nothing but junk"

    Unfortunately the problem is that what we have now is already mostly junk - but it ain't free.

  38. Aubry Thonon

    I curtail my cinema experience.

    Bascially, unless I: 1) believe it's worth seeing on the big screen rather than on my wide-screen, and 2) can see it in Gold Class, I don't bother - I'll wait for the DVD to come out.

    In case no-one outside of Australia understand the term "Gold Class", these are special screening rooms put out by some of the bigger cinema chains over here. They typically hold 20 or 40 people, have recliner seats widely positioned in pairs, no advertising before the movie, no kids/underaged allowed, and have one extra piece of kit which I enjoy: the ability to order all kind of food (from Maltesers to a complete steak lunch/dinner) and drinks (inc alcohol - hence the "no kids" rule) BEFORE the movie and specify WHEN they get delivered to you. My personal mix is coke + maltesers at the start, nachos in the middle and coffee and cheese platter about 2/3rds of the way through. ^_^ And if you go during the day, the price of the ticket is about AU$15 per person (That'd be, erm, ~US$12 or ~UK£6) - food extra.

    It was PERFECT for LotR and Pirates. ^_-

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Australian Copyright should allow cams

    I can't see how recording the film from the screen runs against Australian Copyright rules, as this is part of your "license" - as carefully explained by the industry itself;

    http://www.mipi.com.au/documents/ButIthoughtthatIcouldcopymyCDs-changestocopyright.pdf

    However, providing a copy of that content to third parties is a no-no; so he did a wrong.

  40. Carlos

    Re: Uneducated discussion...

    Wasn't copyright law originally enacted to ensure that the body of creative work continued to expand for the public good? Authors where provided the right to control copying of their works for a period of time after which the work entered into the public domain. Thus providing the author with an incentive to create works and the public a reason to grant the author these rights.

    How this dovetails with your rant about theft of property I do not know. The pendulum has certainly swung too much in the direction of the agents of the copyright holders for your ludicrous ideas to have any currency at all.

    We (the public) give these people a temporary grant of rights.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real situation

    Ok all, you all had a dig at various aspects of the industry and the fact that if you know where to look you can get near perfect DVD quality copies of all the latest films.

    It could be said that before sending a young man to jail for 5 years for an act that technology has made freely accessible to him the film studio's should actually be looking at their own internal working & proceedures since most films are available as DVD Screeners on the net before most countries get the cinema release at all.

    Let's look st some facts, bit torrent is slow yet people are prepared to wait, news binaries normally cost you money as a monthly subscription, and lets not forget the DVD man/woman who still enter the local pubs with poor quality copies but they come with almost perfect quality covers!

    Therefore studio's could gain a sizible chunk of the piracy market by making some sort of download subscription service. In the UK you can now pay £10 a month and goto the cinema as many times as you like, so if that's a big multiplex that could be upto 10 new movies a month (for example), take the cinema's slice out of that then the studio's can't be making a lot there.....

    So what would the cost be.... $1.50 for a perfect divx/xvid download directly from the studio, that then can be streamed to a media center?

    Would that not capture more money into the studio as it is well within reach of the consumer?

    You are also correct in saying that people don't like paying for things, yes but they are regardless of how they dress it up!

    Also for all the uneducated out there, the numbers quoted for the people downloading are probably accurate (all be it rounded up) since all peer-2-peer services are monitored so everyone downloading files from services like bit torrent or Limewire etc etc are tracked.

    I think the studios need to evaluate a business model where the consumer is favoured, but the economics are hard here since the movie industry (as someone else pointed out) does just pay those stupid salaries to the star's, the support staff are on probably just 1% of one stars salary, then you have all of the related industries that would suffer as a studio broke down it's distribution networks, starting with massive job losses at the studio offices around the world, the replication companies, the prepress and print industry, the local dvd stores.......

    So think about it.... because you are a tight arse and don't want to put your and in your pocket to pay for what an industry produces, you would like to make 100's thousands of people unemployed!

    One last note...... Studio's should wake up about star's salaries, I mean 20 million dollars a movie that's more than most above average earners in London make in a lifetime, why does the studio pay that, because it makes them more money.... So simple greed both by the actors agents and the studios themselves. Get real!

    Just my thoughts!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I curtail my cinema experience.

    I assume that in Australia, as elsewhere in the world, films are 1.5 to 2 hours long? And you eat THREE times during this period? Christ on a bike.

    I assume these Gold Class seats are not only extra comfy but also extra large and come with a complimentary defibrillator...?

  43. Joff

    Piracy isn't the problem, cinemas are!

    Isn't it about time that the film industry scraps the whole cinema release and instead goes straight to DVD? I watched The Simpsons this weekend at a Showcase Cinema and I could honestly say I would have rather downloaded it and watched it on my PC at home.

    The seats were uncomfortable, the audience was noisy, the room was cold, the volume was too loud, the picture has artifacts and the refreshments overpriced.

    All that for £7 a ticket!

    And the films have the cheek to do their "say no to piracy" bit by showing how "bad" a pirate copy is... I'm sorry but I don't think people WANT to go to the cinema any more as the experience is so bad.

    As home cinema setups become better more people are going to shun the cinema in favour of on-demand content from Sky, Virgin, BT, etc.

  44. Bill Fresher

    Can't blame people for taking Homer's advice

    In the movie doesn't Homer ask, "Why pay for something you can see for free?"

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: "copyright law"

    >"Wasn't copyright law originally enacted to ensure that the body of creative

    > work continued to expand for the public good?"

    No, it was enacted so that the original creators of the work don't get shafted by someone copying all their efforts without the cost of production and flogging it cheaper. That is, so that the people who make something can get something for it, even when the something isn't tangible.

  46. Phil

    Luxury

    Some of us remember queuing in the rain outside the Odeon, the jobsworth with the peaked cap who wouldn't let anyone till they were ready to start the film, the 'B' feature, the broken seats, the fleas. If the film was really popular you could queue for 45 mins in the rain and then not get in. The modern multiplex is luxury ... luxury.

  47. Kane Silver badge

    Cinema Experience

    Gone are the halcyon days when you could look up a listing for a film, be given the start time and know that you only had about 10-15 mins of trailers before the film's actual start. Now, as an example, a film's start time will be 8pm. The film won't actually start until about 8:40pm. 40 mins of advertising? The cinema chain itself isn't making enough money already? With the over inflated ticket/snack prices? If it was 40 mins of trailers for other films, I probably wouldn't mind so much. But they are not. 40 mins of advertising - highly paid-for advertising I would imagine - 40 minutes of my life that I will never get back, for.....(hold your breath while the drummer starts his dramatic roll....) Television adverts.

    (I'm not going to use the well known interweb-thingy-abbreviation here, I'm going for the full-whack swearwords now....)

    What. The. Fuck?

    Why, oh why, do I have to see three different Ebay adverts in one sitting? In a Cinema? A 40 minute advert break? Of Television adverts? Not necessary.

    The last two films I went to see (Transformers and the recent Harry Potter) were worth seeing on the Big Screen, just for the level of special effects (not that I'm completely shallow in that respect, I can enjoy a movie just for the visual experience as much as any kind of deep and meaningful story content...) but when you are sitting in the equivalant of a partially furnished bucket for more time than any health specialist would recommend as a threat to the development of Deep Vein Thrombosis, I think that 40 minutes for an ad-break is a bit much.

  48. Gary McCabe

    Its not actually worth seeing..

    The movie, I mean. Its okay but... just okay.

    Gary

  49. Shaun Vizer

    Cinema's are antiquated

    I personally would agree with the raft of bad experiences with respect to going to the cinema's these days. the kids having a laugh in the seats behind, the shocking uncomfortable ness of the seats (especially with said kid kicking your seat!) and the general overpriced nature of the whole experience.

    I am not condoning pirating of movies far from it in fact but I would much prefer, and I believe others would also be very eager also, to see on-demand streaming of movies to be ramped up and for releases of on-demand to be the same day as cinema releases.

    I can appreciate that this would have a large impact on the movie industry as a whole but honestly if they are serious about the fact pirating loses x£millions(billions) each year than they should move forward as opposed to sitting on their laurels and keeping to the past.

    Have a look at iTunes and legal song downloads these initiatives have, if I am not mistaken, taken a good chunk away from music pirates.

    my 2p

  50. andy gibson

    Cinema costs

    If my local cinema wasn't charging £6.95 to see the movie (at 4pm on a weekday to boot) maybe I wouldn't have aquired a near-perfect DVD copy.

  51. Geoff Spick

    I lost hope in cinema...

    When I cheered as the laywer got eaten by the T-Rex in Jurassic Park and someone told me to "shhhhhh!".

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Paul The Half Swiss

    Let people download the movie all they like . . .

    . . . I have a cinema pass, £10.99 a month and I get to see all the films I like on the big screen, with the best audio you can get, exactly as the director intended it.

    On top of that, if people want to download a version recorded on a mobile phone with crappy sound and shaky video by the 110,000 then that means I don't have to put up with a load of idiots who think it's funny to throw popcorn around, laugh uncontrollably at each others jokes told too loudly to one another, put their feet up on the seat in front, rock or jiggle causing the whole row of seats to vibrate, fewer mobile phones being left on (let alone ANSWERED) during the show . . .

    And if you think I'm naive in thinking that's the only type of pirate out there, let them download Screeners or Airline DVD copies, with perfect sound and vision too to watch on their 17" monitor and 20cm high speakers . . . something tells me that a cinema screen and cinema sound still kicks the ass of whatever they are using. I'm getting a good deal and if piracy means these dumbass jerks stay out AND make them think they are getting a good deal out of it, thus making my £10.99 even BETTER spent and worthwhile well that suits me down to the ground. Download away, spotty little monkey . . . and get the hell out of my cinema!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who Cares?

    Who in their right mind is going to want to watch a mobile-phone recorded version of the Simpson movie?, I mean it not like after watching it you are going to think, “well not worth paying to see it now, we’ve seen it already!””, it may give the sad scenesters scene points, but most Simpson fans are going to want to see a decent copy of the movie either at the cinema or from a good copy pirate.

    As other posters have mentioned there has been a DVD Quality copy floating around for a while (although it was released a week after the movies release date, it hasn’t been around for months as some other people are stating).

    Hollywood’s anti-piracy policy is baffling to say the least, they release DVD quality copies in places such as Russia to the public, to ruin the financial opportunity of theatre insiders of running off Telecine copies, however by doing this they are providing the pirate market even better quality copies to download (Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four 2, Evan Almighty, Die Hard 4 and the Bourne Ultimatum are other Summer Blockbusters that have DVD quality copies around that can be easily and quickly downloaded).

    Personally I couldn’t give a rats ass if Hollywood loses money form its piss-poor quality $250 million dollar investments, if they care so little about the quality of the output and only have their eyes focussed on the ROI, instead of making a great movie frankly they deserve to lose their shirts on it.

  55. Tadger

    its not rocket science....

    How did they trace him ???

    Easy, his Ip address would have been logged and they would go to the ISP/Telco and get the MSISDN from the logs...

    Overpriced food ???

    Simple take your own food and drink !! When was the last time your bag was searched when you visited the cinema ??

    Trailers adverts too long ???

    Once again, simple.... don't bother entering your 'screen' until 20/25 mins after the film porogramme starts. I often have to do this with my 4 year old sone, as he gets bored by the adverts etc.. and wouldn't manage to watch the main feature other wise.

    I do actually agree with the fact that the picture/sound quality of cinemas has been surpassed by the Home cinema set-up. The sound in a theatre is 'aimed' towards the general audience, whereas most home cinema owners configure there set-up towards their arm chair or sofa, providing a much focused experience.

  56. Joe K

    Luxury?

    Christ, they are anything but luxury.

    Anyway, back then we all had 21" sets with one speaker and 4:3 aspect ratio.

    Now we have 32" (minimum) HDTV's for £400, with DTS soundsystems available for less than £50. I'll take the home experience anyday now.

    I guess the studios know that putting them up for download in HD would kill off 60%-80% of cinemas within months. And that would do wonders for the box office receipt/chart system on which the industry precariously relies on.

  57. threaded

    Who makes the money from a cinema goer in the UK?

    I think you'd be un-surprised to know it is local and central government in the form of taxes, licenses and other such crud, something like 89%

  58. James Butler

    2 Things ...

    1) THX (audio configuration)

    I don't give a damn what hype you bought when you set up your glorious home theater, you AIN'T getting no stinkin' THX at home. It's impossible, as the THX specs demand a space as large as most (certainly not all) cinema theaters. And if you ain't getting no stinkin' THX, there is no hope of recreating a movie designed for playback in a THX environment.

    2) Stealing

    Doesn't sound so bad, does it? And yet ... in some countries you could lose a hand or a head because you decided you didn't want to pay for something and you simply couldn't wait for it to become available in a different, less-expensive format that you could afford. Don't like going to theaters? Oh ... okay ... I guess YOU can justify stealing, then ... but not you other guys.

    To those of you who endorse theft for any reason whatsoever: You're immature, grunting pigs who need to start losing fingers before you poison the world community any further with your pissant bullshit. GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS: You are stealing product and compromising the livelihoods of regular people who happen to work in the entertainment industry!!! We're not ALL "movie stars", and it's hard enough to get good accounting out of the studios without having YOUR HELP. Every fucking time someone goes off about how easy it is to download unauthorized movies, YOU ARE HURTING US! You ... yes, YOU PERSONALLY ... are responsible for those of us lower down in the food chain of the industry taking ANOTHER pay cut, and falling victim to ANOTHER chunk of movie revenue that the studios keep TO OFFSET THE COSTS OF INTERNET PIRACY that no one can quantify except through rumor and hypothesis. YOUR scatological thought processes and YOUR ACTIONS are DIRECTLY RELATED to the crap you are complaining about.

    I'd be ashamed for you if I could overcome my revulsion. You make me sick. I guess it doesn't matter to YOU, though. Clearly, your selfishness and callous disregard for humanity makes you a happy, as long as you can keep getting your "free" movies.

    Oh. And, "You're welcome." That download was free for you, but it cost me money with every paycheck. You suck.

  59. Duncan Hothersall

    Re: 2 Things ...

    James, do yourself a favour mate and take several steps back.

    First of all, you totally over-egg your pudding; if you had a valid point, you have buried it in so much rhetoric and anger that it has been completely lost.

    Second, you appear to view the status quo of the entertainment industry as a permanent fixture, when in fact the studio/distributor/punter system is not designed to protect your livelihood, nor to develop great art, but simply to make more money for the big guys at the expense of whoever is stupid enough to contribute. If there is a problem with it, it needs to change.

    Third, you simply cannot equate the participation of an internet user in downloading copyright material with real world theft - it is a completely different act, with completely different motivations and effects. If something is stolen in the real world, it has gone and the owner has lost it. Downloading copyright material does not remove that material. People like you end up counting the amount of money which the downloader might have paid had he decided to buy the item, and then blithely stating that that is what was stolen. It is, frankly, a ridiculous and unsupportable position to adopt.

    If you want to convince people that there is a problem with what is happening, give up the ranting and the ridiculous comparisons. They don't help you one bit.

  60. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    40 minute adverts?

    Holy cow, where does this happen?? I need to know so I never ever go there! Over here it is about 15 minutes on adverts, tops. Fortunately, some of the best movies I can watch without annoying brats, as the Mexican rating system has no equivalent to the US "R" (which is "over 17" but allows under-17ers if they go with their parents). So any "C"-rated movie (18+) will have no steenkin' brats.

    Plus, we also have something like the "Gold Class" stuff someone mentioned: "VIP screens" or something like that, though that would be about MXN 75 (about US$7) instead of my usual US$4 on regular screens. Most screens are really comfortable over here; my only complaint would be the farkin extortionate prices for any snack in the cinema.

    As for home-vs-cinema, I prefer cinema, watching movies in crappy TV formats just doesn't cut it for me. Then again, I have a cineplex with VIP screens and IMAX facilites within walking distance... aahh the benefit of living in Mexico City ;)

    As for comparing movie piracy to land theft, well, that doesn't even equate morally. Theft *deprives* someone while someone else gains/profits from the action. Movie piracy doesn't deprive anyone, and (at least over here) doesn't diminish sales, as freeloaders or pirate movie buyers can't dosh out the money to legally buy DVD's anyway.

    Then again, maybe local culture helps, as someone buying "original stuff" is usually mocked upon for wasting money on something they can buy for much less or download for free.

  61. James Butler

    Re: 2 Things ...

    "Third, you simply cannot equate the participation of an internet user in downloading copyright material with real world theft - it is a completely different act, with completely different motivations and effects."

    I disagree about the motivations. Something for nothing is the common motivation.

    I disagree about the effects, as well. Just because there is a difference between an item being present or not, as in traditional theft, and whether there is an economic loss or not, as in Internet piracy does not mean that the effect on the economic strata is different. Both really do damage real people.

    I also disagree with Mr. Ballado-Torres in his assertion that Internet piracy doesn't diminish sales and his justification for that statement. Note the many entries in this very thread from people who would rather illegally download a pirated movie to watch on their superior home theater system than wait for it to come out on DVD when they could simply rent it for a couple of bucks.

    I do agree that my rant was quite over the top. I'm afraid I lost my head a bit. It's truly disturbing that the type of criminal act being discussed here is treated so ignorantly, particularly when there is (often) intelligent-seeming contributors supporting the activity with blithe dismissal.

    I'm not fond of thieves. I still remember a time when it was considered a virtue NOT to steal, whether it be ideas, material or objects. It seems like those ideals are slipping away faster than Americans' civil liberties, these days.

    I'm done.

    Go on with your rantings about how thievery is some sort of badge of honor.

  62. Shannon Jacobs

    Buy a fancy expensive phone, get busted!

    Not that I'd ever do anything illegal, even by accident, but it doesn't strike me as the most persuasive sales feature of the phone. "And every movie or picture you make with this phone can be traced directly to you!" You take a picture of a copyrighted image, even by accident, and there you go. Imagine you take a funny picture that embarrasses someone, and share it with a friend, and suddenly it winds up on the Internet and you wind up with a massive lawsuit...

    Anyway, I'm not trying to defend him as a criminal. It seems clear in this case that it was no accident. He didn't accidentally leave his phone running for two hours or accidentally upload it. However, the proposed penalty seems rather harsh and excessive. Is the experience offered by the best movie theater's really so comparable to the secondhand experience through a phone? This is really going to cost them so much money from people who otherwise would have gone to see the stupid movie in praise of stupidity? In my case, you couldn't pay me to watch it. (Okay, make it $100/hour and I'll watch it, but you have to provide refreshments, too, and I make no guarantee about staying awake for the entire time.)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will still download from torrent

    I live in the pirate capital of the world, besides the price of movie dvd's costing over a weeks wage to the locals, another problem is availability, we am unable to purchase a legit copy of most movies here, also we are unable to purchase from eg. Amazon USA as they do not ship here, so how do I get to see the movie?

    Good old torrent, keep it up lads, we love you.

  64. Aubry Thonon

    Re: I curtail my cinema experience.

    @Anon:

    " I assume that in Australia, as elsewhere in the world, films are 1.5 to 2 hours long? And you eat THREE times during this period? Christ on a bike.

    I assume these Gold Class seats are not only extra comfy but also extra large and come with a complimentary defibrillator...?"

    <sigh> Read what I wrote: the movies I go to see are of the 3+ hour mark. As for eating.. again, READ! I do not consider a small bag of Maltesers, a plate of nachos and a selection of cheese to be three meals... rather, it is a single meal spread over the 3+ hours (entree, main, desert).

    It really pisses me off when someone makes a derogatory comment, not only anonymously, but also without having thought about what I actually wrote.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous comments

    I love anonymous slander, who doesn't? And personally I think Aubry Thonon is missing out if he's never experienced the exquisite joy of anonymous name calling. For instance, didn't you think that James Butler was being a bit of a bellend? Next time follow that urge and tell him so.

  66. Jimbo

    The concept of theft.

    I am most intrigued by the idea that a download of a film is theft.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand that going into HMV and taking a DVD from the shelf, then leaving without paying is theft. The DVD has taken money to produce, and once it has been removed it cannot be sold to another person. But a copy of something? Immoral maybe, but criminal?

    It does take the assumption that once I have seen the film I will no longer wish to purchase it. There is also an assumption that I would have purchased it in the first place. Before it became easy to get copies of films through the internet There were many films I did not see, as I did not think the experience was worth the asking price. I have also purchased many legitimate copies of films. In the loft I have over 500 videos, and I have book cases with a current total of around 300 DVDs. The price I paid for these numbers in the thousands of pounds, the value now for the whole lot would probably be less than £200. The legitimate copies of films de-value faster than cars, and to be honest I don't think the drunken/stoned ramblings of the director/actor really qualify for the huge mark up over the cost of the raw materials. All I really want to see is the film, I doubt I have seen the extras on a fifth of the films I own.

    So what incentive do I have to buy a legitimate copy? The key idea behind ANY free market is that goods are only worth what people are prepared to pay for them. Many people are no longer prepared to pay the price that is being asked, and if that many people are willing to watch a film that was recorded on a phone surely this must raise a few questions in Hollywood. The upside of this golden age of communication is that a far larger audience can be reached, so far more viewings of a film can be sold. But greater numbers will de-value the product, and tha studios do not seem to have taken this into account. The works of Da Vinci sell for millions, but there aren't many of them. If you could reproduce each painting millions of times, and each was indistinguishable from the original, you would not be able to charge millions for every one of them, though this seems to be what the film industry is trying to do.

    As Bob Dylan sang, "The times they are a changin". The studios have made a phenominal amount of money for the entertainment they have provided, most of it when they had a strangle hold on the distribution. Times have changed, and in a very short space of time they have lost the grip they once had. Hard to adapt it may be, but adapt they must, as they cannot turn the clock back.

    And a quick note for those who say that there will be no profit in making films anymore, so the industry will be terminally damaged.. If that is the case, why has the music industry not collapsed? They had to make some difficult choices, and the transition was painful and is still ongoing. But the quality of music is improving as more artists can get their music to a larger audience. If it is good, people will pay, but you can no longer easily tell people what to like, you must let them make their own choices. $250m spent on a film will not guarantee the biggest profit of the year, a good story does not need the best special effects. Hopefully these changes will allow studios with less financial clout to show what they can do.

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