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The Long, Slow Decline of BitTorrent (2017) (plagiarismtoday.com)
399 points by uptown 35 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 532 comments

I can't read the article because the website is down. But I have something to say about torrenting movies.

Late last year, my old parents who don't speak English came to visit me for a couple of months in the US. I'm just a graduate student with a limited budget, and my mom is car sick so we couldn't go out every night. I didn't want them to waste time on Facebook after dinner until we went to bed, so I had to think of something to do. We would spend time watching classic movies together every night with the little projector I have. I would have to download the Vietnamese subtitles from subscene and play the pirated movies with VLC. Sometimes the timings were a bit off but VLC allowed me to fix it easily.

There was no streaming service offered at any price that allowed me to have native language subtitles with those movies. I'm very happy for the time we had together, it might have been the very last chance we had in our lives. I am very thankful because BitTorrent and VLC allowed me to do what would be otherwise impossible.

Torrenting for me has always been about convenience, not money. I recently wanted to watch a new show called A.P. Bio. It's free on NBC's website. But after struggling through one episode with lags and ads with no volume control, I gave up and just torrented the show.

Until they master such exotic technologies as "streaming video" and "volume control" they're going to keep driving people to torrenting. Netflix figured this out a decade ago, and I wonder how many people have ever "given up" on Netflix to go torrent a show? I can't imagine it's a lot.

The law/studio deals have to change. Netflix offers great movies and they lock it down to certain countries. For example I am big fan of Back To The Future. I can watch may favourite movie every month when I'm in UK but when I am in Poland then no luck. Same goes in other direction. While being in Poland I downloaded via Netflix National Lampoon Animal House to watch on plane. I watched half of it on plane then tried to watch rest in hotel and Netflix refused to play it because I was in UK. Funny thing is that when I switched to plane mode I could watch it. My question is what's the point? I as a person, am going in to agreement with Netflix that they will provide me movie. Nothing changes apart from my geographical location (I am paying the same amount of money, I am paying the same taxes, everything stays the same) and yet I can't watch the movie just because I am in different spot on the glob. I don't understand what is the profit for movie companies in narrowing down their own market.

I don't understand what is the profit for movie companies in narrowing down their own market.

The movie company sold the rights to show that movie in the UK to some other company instead of Netflix, probably for more money than Netflix offered them.

Also, you're paying a fixed monthly fee, and unless you're part of the small minority that travels a lot, you're not likely to drop Netflix over not being able to watch certain movies in foreign countries, hence they didn't lose anything.

Licensing a movie in such a way that it can be played in France but not Poland seems as ridiculous as licensing it such that it can be played in Pennsylvania but not Minnesota. When will this Stone Age practice go away?

Are you saying it shouldn’t be legal? Or that the business practice doesn’t make sense?

Let’s say you’re a French movie distributor. You know the French market, you know which movies will sell, you know how to market to French audiences. Because of this you can bid more on the rights to distribute movies in France than a global company that doesn’t have any specific knowledge about the French market (your return is likely to be higher and you’re liekely to have fewer failures). Same in the Czech, Romanian, etc markets.

But let’s say this movie conflicts with the release of some other movie you’re distributing so you want to hold it back for three weeks.

What’s your proposed solution? Tell the studio they can only sign deals with global distributors? Tell them to accept less money?

> What’s your proposed solution? Tell the studio they can only sign deals with global distributors? Tell them to accept less money?

Stop signing exclusive deals with regional distributors. If you're going to put something on Netflix, put it on Netflix world-wide. That doesn't mean you can't also put it on a streaming service based in France that concentrates on French language movies -- do both. Let them each pay you for non-exclusive global rights.

You get paid more per service for an exclusive deal, but you also get paid by fewer services. Which is increasingly looking like a bad deal as the many different services proliferate. Having a hundred buyers is more profitable than having only one buyer that pays ten times as much.

It's the same game they're playing with regional exclusivity to begin with -- get more buyers by dividing up the rights. Rights in one country aren't worth as much as rights world-wide but you can sell them to more people.

The difference is that regional exclusivity makes customers angry and non-exclusive licensing makes customers happy.

Distribution rights for huge back catalogs were sold to third party local to a given country/region distributors long ago. There's a lot of entropy there, and each has exclusivity to control distribution for the given region.

It's not that easy to work away from. Which is why Netflix has been paying more to create or co-create content (most Netflix content isn't world-wide exclusive it seems).

> Distribution rights for huge back catalogs were sold to third party local to a given country/region distributors long ago. There's a lot of entropy there, and each has exclusivity to control distribution for the given region.

Which is another reason not to use regional licensing going forward, and pass laws to disfavor it in general. It increases transaction costs -- then when Netflix or any of your hundred other buyers wants global rights to a particular film, they have to negotiate with a hundred regional distributors instead of just the original creator. The transaction costs go from "N" to "N times M" where N and M are both large. And transaction costs make otherwise profitable transactions either less profitable or not happen at all.

> Which is another reason not to use regional licensing going forward, and pass laws to disfavor it in general

I'm curious what your proposed legislation would be. Just outlaw exclusive licensing? Would you prohibit vertical integration between content producers and distributors or just force vertically integrated companies to license content to competing distributors?

How about a distributor that has an inherent market advantage and so can bid higher on the rights than other distributors? Would that be allowed? Or would you require producers to charge some lowest common denominator fee so that you can't create releases that are effectively exclusive?

I just can't imagine how you would ever effectively police this without taking away a lot of free market rights from participants.

BTW, just so it's clear, I fully support the current EU Digital Single Market rules that try to enforce the fact that you should be allowed to watch your content while you are traveling. I think that's much easier on all sides of the equation because you're not forcing anyone to make additional deals that they don't want to make (i.e. distributing content to other companies when they want it to be exclusive). I just think it's a big step from that to actually legislating away exclusive distribution deals.

> I'm curious what your proposed legislation would be.

A big thing would be to just discontinue legislative support for it. Get rid of any law preventing third parties from circumventing region locks, so that major companies can overtly thwart them.

Then you can get a "tell Netflix I'm in..." selector from your ISP or bank and the problem gets solved by the market itself.

Correct. I've used Netflix accounts in Canada, the US, Taiwan/HK, Japan, and the UK. They all have different content. But access the content is tied to the account's home region rather than your location (at least for the short term on trips).

yes, it shouldn't be legal. EU single market and all that.


The single market helps with physical media (e.g. DVDs) and the digital single market helps with electronic sell through (e.g. the Apple model where you buy a movie digitally and download it).

But there are still two big gaps

1. Even for physical or download to own media, you can still strike distribution exclusives and you can make them based on language. I can make a deal with a German distributor that they're the only ones that gets to distribute the German version of my movie. They can choose to delay the release of the German version for as long as they want. If you only speak German then you can't watch the movie even if the French, Italian, Spanish and Polish versions were released 6 months ago.

2. This really doesn't help with SVOD (e.g. Netflix-style) services. I can make exclusive deals with an SVOD provider in Germany and one in France. If the French provider decides they're going to hold back the release of the movie on their service then, sure, with the EU single digital market the German provider has to let you sign up, but now you're signing up for SVOD services all over the place.

Telling people who have already licensed the movie in any territory that they must stop because $newlocale could resolve beautifully at $7 a showing for 5 in 4K VR, or that they need to go fund the footwork of censoring it for DPRK in 2018Q3 is evil. It's fine to let people seek a fine new venue available in locales they mean to not be seeing hurricanes in (but might.) New Search should get you. But not like 'Dear Farenheit 451' tyvm.

When people in Poland earn as much as people in France, hence the local distributors can charge the same amount for a movie regardless of the country in which they are operating.

>The movie company sold the rights to show that movie in the UK to some other company instead of Netflix, probably for more money than Netflix offered them.

This is being actively addressed by the EU:


Unlucky for this guy that wont help him after brexit.

While only a small minority might travel (across country borders) a lot in the US, I imagine in Europe it's a much higher proportion of the population that regularly travels to other countries.

There are regions where people commute daily over the border, and even more where people commute weekly.

e.g. I have a colleague who lives in Malmö (Sweden) and commutes daily to Copenhagen (Denmark). Lots of people travel into Luxembourg every day.

When I lived in the UK, the director's family lived on a pretty island in Spain, and he went every Friday for the weekend. Not exactly good for his CO₂ emissions, but people do this kind of thing.

Yay, cheap airlines. When I was interning at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in the UK, I met a cleaner who was flying back to Poland for the weekend every other week, to attend university ("extramural" is the proper term, I think?). I was pretty shocked that one can afford this on a salary of a cleaner in a government facility.

Europe is small in comparison to US and in EU borders virtually do not exists exactly like between states in US. You can go and work in any country in EU if you are EU citizen without any permissions or special paper. Plus there is a lot of countries like Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and couple more which are so small/have so good highway system that from any place in that country you can cross the border in under 2 hours which is basically like driving from SF to Sacramento or from NYC to Philadelphia. The point is that a lot of people travels cross country in Europe, very often it's they daily commute.

In my case, my life is spent between France and China where Netflix is inexistant. I won't cancel the subscription since my family in France is using it, but it would be almost pointless to keep paying only for myself.

I don't understand this practice as well, when you are paying for a DVD or a VOD service which allow you to download the file, you can still watch it anywhere. Is it illegal to bring a DVD abroad? Why don't they give you the catalog you paid for in first place, everywhere, depending on your country's bank card? Then, no more need to setup a VPN blockade.

I feel these copyright companies often pick the most inconvenient option, even if it's costing them more in the end.

Well.. region codes (do those still exist?) certainly make (made?) it difficult to watch DVD's from abroad on many players.

Unless for some odd reason your going to buy a Sony or Panasonic DVD player then most DVD players work for all regions, infact if I went to the local supermarket in Thailand I think I would struggle to find a DVD player that still embraced region restrictions. Don't forget the gold plated HDMI cables

The Digital Single Market should improve the situation in the European Union.

Start from https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/digital_en – I've read something about them solving (or aiming to solve) exactly the situation you describe.

Netflix isn't locking it down, the company they are buying the media from is locking it down.

Netflix is enforcing it. They do the actual technical action of blocking access.

They are required to per the licensing deal they made with the content owner.

This always reads like an excuse. They don't have to enforce it as strictly. Content owners don't specify the exact technical details Netflix has to deploy. If the deal says "no access for users outside country x", Netflix could just ask the user from which country they are from. Then, depending on the answer either show it or not.

On another note, some companies like this. Take Valve with Steam. They are definitly in a position to dictate "no region lock bullshit", yet they still make them available. Because it means more money.

You're free to think that, and possibly some less important companies could get away with it.

However, in reality, the content owners really aren't that dumb and incompetent. There are very punishing legal implications to breaking the contracts, especially your relationship with others. And the content owners don't just do nothing; there's quite detailed questions and requirements they give when you renew their content, and they very often discover things they want to change after.

It's obviously a problematic enough relationship that netflix doesn't want to be a part of it anymore. More power to them; I wish this could be done for all industries as easily/well.

>You're free to think that, and possibly some less important companies could get away with it.

In the EU most people have identity documents... and enough services that provide identity verification. The said verification is mandatory in some industries like online gambling.

There is no intrinsic hurdle to remove the retarded IP block. Using VPN to bypass it is just yet another step away but again, why bother with VPN when I can get it via torrent?

That doesn't matter. The studio doesn't care that you live in country X. They just care that it's being viewed in country Y. I disagree with this practice as well, but I doubt even a company like Netflix has the clout to negotiate better terms.

> but I doubt even a company like Netflix has the clout to negotiate better terms.

I think they might be getting there - they've shown they can generate their own content that people want to watch and that they're a "destination" site - both pretty big sticks to wield at the next relicensing discussion.

(Imagine trying to explain to your investors that your next 10 years of films won't be on Netflix...)

I don't really think they're getting there. Stuff like Disney planning to pull most of their content off Netflix in favor of their own streaming service they're going to release makes me wonder how strong Netflix really is. I feel like studios could all develop their own walled gardens, avoid giving Netflix a cut, and do quite well.

That’s just the EU though, no such service exists on the US side. Also again these restrictions are put in place by the content owners, not netflix. It is very feasible to remove said checks but the content owners want them in place for their reasons. One can argue all day about how inconvenient this is but until they make more money without the geographic restrictions they will remain in place.

The OP complains about not being able to see movies within the EU (Poland/UK), hence my reply.

> They don't have to enforce it as strictly. Content owners don't specify the exact technical details

The deal can include whatever the content owners want it to include. And the content owners want it to include strict enforcement.

They can specify the specific technical details of enforcement, if they want. That's a legal contract, and one that they have a financial incentive to offer. Or they can specify an acceptable level of enforcement failures, or they can specify financial penalties for insufficient enforcement, or they can specify Netflix carries liability for infringement that it allows.

Or they could leave Netflix to do as they will, but threaten to pull their content or to sue Netflix for contributory negligence or whatever if Netflix doesn't comply. The fact of the matter is, the content owners have leverage and Netflix is not (yet?) in a position where they can blow off such concerns. Netflix is trying to get into that position, by creating its own content, but right now the majority of their content is dependent on other parties finding Netflix an acceptable content partner.

As a side effect, btw, you can't watch Netflix if you habitually use a VPN (as they block proxies).

> if you habitually use a VPN

depends on the VPN...

if you mean 'commercial vpn service', then probably yes.

if you mean 'routing it through some other machine you own', 'your access to <xyzpq network>' then probably no..

vpn != commercial vpn service

I was running my own Netflix VPN service (admittedly on a low cost VPS), and was blocked within a day when Netflix introduced their new policy.

Try from a residential IP block; off a simple raspberry at home for example.

Yeah, they are blocking most VPS providers. You'll need an obscure VPS host or a residential IP

Surely because they have to if they want to continue to have access to content.

Yeah but what would you expect Netflix to do? Just illegally stream it anyway? They'd get in trouble...

You can use playon cloud [0] which is an online dvr service for sites like Netflix, Hulu, etc. They appear to be legal which is good.

  [0] https://www.playon.tv/cloud

PlayOn desktop works pretty well too. That plus Plex is way more convenient when travelling internationally and in places with poor network access.

Do you really watch the same movie every month?

That doesn't have anything to do with it. Many folks don't - but their children are likely to do so. People watch the same shows every month, depending on their viewing habits. People research movies and shows at different times than they watch them, only to find out they can't actually watch it when they get to the other country. And it sucks.

Movies no but I often watch comedy series like a "re run". Just turn it on when I am doing stuff in the kitchen to have Friends running in the background so I don't have to pay full attention to it.

This is also not the full story. Recently I was watching one TV series on Netflix and when I was in the middle of the season Netlfilx informed me that by the end of January they will remove it because of copyright deal (they could stream it only for certain period of time in Poland). Of course that series is still available in UK.

This is how Steam basically single handily defeated video game pirating. Newell himself is on record saying that piracy is an issue of not making something accessible enough, and he was obviously right. People will pay for convenience. We are no longer in the age of, "I want to watch/listen/play something, lets drive to the store". If the platform they use sucks, it will have the same problem. Last pirating site I was apart of that had a game library, you would see games on shittier platforms pirated more often.

Convenience, sure, but don't forget that games on Steam are often deeply discounted compared with off-the-shelf prices. PC games (at least in Australia) are often $60 - $90 on the shelves. Many of these games can be had on Steam for $20 or less, and sometimes for only a few dollars in a bundle or on sale.

Steam also sells games very cheaply in Russia specifically to compete with piracy.

(For reference: the launch price for all AAA releases is 2000 RUB (~35 USD), while the same games on consoles often go up to ~$60 and even beyond. Especially on the Switch: Zelda is ~$80!)

People here kinda grew up with the idea that paying money for non-physical things is just ridiculous. And still many people only pay money for multiplayer games that rely on official servers.

Steam offers the multiplayer AND good launch prices AND sales with huge discounts AND a very convenient interface for downloading and launching games… so tons of PC gamers did get sucked into it :D

An $80 packaged game on a shelf probably nets the developer the same profit as a $20 digital version of the same game delivered via Steam. Packaging, distribution and retail markup are a big chunk of the price.

As an aside to this, I find it astonishing that you even still see packaged games on the shelf. The last couple of games I bought from a retailer were just a carboard box, a dvd sleeve inside and a business card with a download link on it inside that... No need to pay a markup for literally nothing.

funnily enough, sometimes the cardboard box is cheaper than buying the digital download.

I assume a motivations of it are a) to have presence next to console games and b) gift-giving? If there were at least the basic versions of the games on the disc, you could add c) people with slow internet to the equation, but that seems less and less common.

Around here (Central Europe), it’s ALWAYS the case. Steam has Europe-wide pricing, local stores’ normal prices are often 40% lower on launch day.

Not so much at release. Big titles at release will match, more or less, their store counterparts in cost. The discrepency only appears after some time, when Steam pushes for discounts to older titles to maintain sales whereas the store simply just keeps the price at more or less the same level until it's dumped into a bargain bin.

This is part of why the grey market for keys has surged here - when Steam and the stores are both about the same amount for a new release, the only cheaper avenue is to exploit the real vs perceived forex difference, and (moreso) the fact that grey market key stores don't price in our consumer protection laws (and in turn, the buyer doesn't get any of those protections).

It's more expensive to put a game on a retail shelf for many reasons, not just the retailers cut. Steam also takes a cut. For retail you have to manufacture, you have to distribute (world wide), you have to maintain an inventory, you have to get packaging ratings and comply with retail rules. It only makes sense to do for the titles you have the most confidence in. Which tends to be the premium ones.

Yes, price is certainly part of accessibility. To sell to a customer, you need to provide a product they want at a price they are prepared to pay.

This is why I predict that the $10 per month unlimited video streaming services will work, and the $10 per month unlimited music streaming services will fail. I don't think enough people are prepared to pay that price for unlimited music.

And you can also get redeem codes from secondary markets so there's always a way to get a deal.

I don't use Steam, but I also haven't pirated a game in a very long time. I basically only play free to play games nowadays. You can install Starcraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, World of Tanks, Guild Wars 2, Paladins and few other games and play for months if not years without paying anything.

When I started pirating things regularly many years ago, I'll admit that some of it was just the fun of having such a huge library of content available for free, combined with my "f* the RIAA/MPAA" attitude.

I mostly grew out of that phase, and began pirating things mostly to discover new obscure content. What.cd was amazing for music discovery, and I definitely went to a handful of concerts and bought a handful of CDs of bands I almost certainly never would have discovered without what.cd. Same goes for old and indie films.

These days I do very little pirating. I'll occasionally pirate a TV show or film that I can't find on the handful of VOD services I or my friends subscribe to. Say what you will about the bad aspects of the modern media ecosystem: DRM, "stream instead of own," fragmentation, etc. But, at least for me, the industry has done a decent job of competing with piracy on convenience.

> But, at least for me, the industry has done a decent job of competing with piracy on convenience.

It has, but the fragmentation that you mentioned is starting to seriously erode this progress. If the situation worsens on this front, I can definitely see a resurgence of piracy, again because of convenience.

That’s true. I should also say that I watch a lot less content than I did in college and before, so that’s another big contributing factor.

Agreed.. I'm paying for Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu... I'm not paying for another service at this point. Not to mention UK content I can't get at any price. I also pay for a seedbox in another country to avoid local issues.

The convenience factor is already catered to by illegal streaming sites mentioned in the article.

Anecdotally, out of the people I know, only two still pirate, but a lot use illegal streaming sites.

what.cd was amazing. Sad that it was shut down :(

Much has been written about it, but I agree that it feels like a “burning of the library of Alexandria” moment.

I miss napster for that... I bought so many CDs when Napster was around (the original), that I bought in the many years since.

I have a wireless audio configuration which introduces 200ms latency. This is usually unnoticeable because I watch almost all my video through mpv, which lets me set a 200ms delay on the video to compensate. I can't play Netflix titles through mpv, and as far as I've been able to tell, the Netflix player doesn't have an AV sync setting.

My setup is idiosyncratic, and I wouldn't expect Netflix to build in every feature of power-user video players like mpv and vlc. As long as Netflix uses DRM, their service will be inadequate for some small segment of the population, and that segment will pirate their content, because their DRM has done nothing to stop their content appearing on torrent sites within hours of its release.

> My setup is idiosyncratic

No, it makes sense. You want to play videos in a video player. Until those services let you choose your video player, i will remain sceptic.

This works on the old silverlight player, not on the modern HTML5 EME-based player. I've been able to find some hidden keybindings that work, but those only display information. Let me know if you know how it can be done.

My tv can do this. And I think my Apple TV can also.

should have bought a digital monster cable instead..

would have had just as much utility and impressive shinyness without the latency..

I think you might be joking. In case you're not, get back to me when they release a wireless digital monster cable.

> Netflix figured this out a decade ago, and I wonder how many people have ever "given up" on Netflix to go torrent a show? I can't imagine it's a lot.

I did as Netflix had continuous problems with keeping high quality stream at all times. Playing local file I have guaranteed HQ content without stops to buffer more data. Even with 250 Mb/s connection (measured using Netflix's own fast.com).

Although, now you can download Netflix (and Amazon) shows for later viewing. (I only do that for travel though. Even with a fairly modest Internet connection, I rarely have issues.)

> Although, now you can download Netflix (and Amazon) shows for later viewing.

Incredible, that this is worth mentioning. But here we are (no offense to parent, it's just funny that downloading a movie is a feature).

Think about how incredibly less complex Netflix's tech stack would be, if it's just a big fat file server offering all shows or seeding torrents.

I don't see download option on my TV running Android. Is this only for PC? On the other hand video files work seamlessly (there is MX Player for Android TV).

Sure, there is extra hassle for getting them in the first place but Netflix still has small library for my family (e.g. has Frozen but not Tangled).

It's only for films or shows produced or distributed by Netflix. The download option doesn't include shows/films that they license.

at least some of the documentaries from PBS and BBC are downloadable as well.

That's not true, we've downloaded plenty of children's shows for the kids to watch on the train that aren't produced/distributed by Netflix (eg. Octonauts).

Ah. Hadn't noticed that. Most of what I watch on those services, especially when traveling, is their original content so I hadn't noticed it wasn't for everything.

It’s probably only on mobile devices.

> But after struggling through one episode with lags and ads with no volume control, I gave up and just torrented the show.

It amazes me how actively hostile most of the TV networks are towards viewers. It's very obvious that we're the product and the advertisers are the customer. If the NBC app crashes in the middle of a show you're forced to re-watch all of the ads from the beginning. If an advertisement doesn't load for any reason, there's no timeout or error handling, you're just done watching that show until you kill and restart the app (and re-watch all the ads again).

I've been around some TV news people. They can't imagine why we aren't glued to our sets because they told us to come at 6pm and 10pm. They think they teased a good story earlier in the day. They think they are being so generous to let us watch something when we want to. It is already a huge leap to break the schedule and play on demand.

Yes, someday they will realize most people under 45 don't watch TV news. That someday will come when their current viewers die. The stations will be lost -they already "tried" streaming. Who wants to bet that they will desperately add more advertisements to any stream they can.

They're not specifically hostile, it's more the industry - like many others - selects True Believers who cannot understand the outsider/consumer point of view.

And yes - ultimately it's about ad sales.

I second GP's problem with subtitles and availability. For me torrenting always been about media I cannot get in the way I want - their release is delayed in the country I stay in, or it's only available dubbed or it doesn't have the subtitles I need (e.g. to watch Japanese, Spanish, French or Italian speaking films for me or anything other than Japanese for my Japanese wife).

Where I come from around half the marriages are between people of different nationalities and a significant percentage of those between people of different languages. Even when people are fluent in a language, subtitles still allow a much more comfortable viewing (and also learning a language better). This is something that all those US-centric services just don't get. Netflix is improving with its own content, anyone else is far behind.

Netflix is improving in some locales, but remains a shitshow elsewhere (experimentally: countries with under 40M population). E.g. there are German and Polish subtitles for everything; there are almost none for Czech. They do things like providing them for only season 1, but not the rest, or don’t bother even with their own high-profile shows. Slovak viewers can choose between Slovak, Polish and Ukrainian subs, but not Czech - even though the entire country fluently understands Czech, an extremely closely related language. Netflix doesn’t care. Or have even nominally-useful support.

If the Netflix app allowed side loading my own subtitles, it’d be fine. But of course it doesn’t and won’t.

So guess what I do when I finish Narcos season 1 and discover lack of subtitles in season 2. Or when a show available on Netflix doesn’t have any (and I want to watch it with my spouse who can’t read English subs quickly enough).

Interesting. I don't think I have ever come across anything that didn't have Danish subtitles. The same goes for the other Nordic languages that for some reason are available on Danish Netflix.

Same. I have the budget for it, just there is no legit service that will give me the movies I want to watch. I have zero interest in the latest fast & furry or marvel movie. I'm rather: pull the filmography of Robert Duvall and let's watch the movies I haven't seen already. Easy to do on bittorrent, impossible on any streaming service. The only alternative is buying DVDs and Blurays on amazon which I also do, but that requires some patience/planning ahead which I'm not good at, and then I have to rip them on another machine, it's just not convenient.

This might sound like a dumb question, but have you checked Youtube much? Their catalog of "pay to stream" movies is (to me) surprisingly good. Definitely not just the recent blockbusters... they've got all sorts of older and less well know stuff. Just for shits and giggles I pulled up the Robert Duvall filmography just now and check and found even the oldest and lesser known ones on Youtube, most for around $3-4 to watch.

Strangely enough, since discovering this aspect of Youtube, that has become my goto site for most movies, and definitely helped cut down on my pirating activity.

Thanks for the tip. Will look into it.

It's free on NBC's website. But after struggling through one episode with lags and ads with no volume control, I gave up and just torrented the show.

I had a similar experience last year trying to watch "The Orville" using the Fox Now app. First they place restrictions so that you can only watch the 4 most recent episodes.

And then the Android app itself was horribly slow and crashy. The interactive ads were annoying, but I could have lived with it if everything else had worked smoothly.

I'm so lazy these days that if it isn't already available on Netflix, I won't bother watching it. There's enough stuff on there that I can just watch something else. I'm also cycling through some Stanford physics lectures by Leonard Susskind, which satisfies my desires for intellectual simulation right now.

I was about to argue that Netflix is still not viable for Linux users but then I googled it and apparently Netflix now works out of the box in Google Chrome.


Does that include Chromium though? I think probably not. I will give it a try in Chromium but if that doesn't work then I will not be able to use Netflix still.

Netflix also works in Firefox on Linux since almost a year or so.

It should work with Chromium, IIRC, however you'd need to install the Widevine DRM plugin to make it work. It's available in the non-free section of most-distributions, being closed-source and all...

Yeah, I've been happily using Netflix on Linux for years. (As well as on an Android tablet and a Roku box for my projector.) Like many others, I'm entirely happy to pay money for content; my torrenting was about convenience.

I'll still torrent when I buy a movie on DVD, because it's way easier to download than to rip it myself.

I've been fairly happy with it on Linux, but it still drives me crazy that despite paying for a 4k plan, the best I can view in my browser is 720p. I'm guessing it's a piracy prevention mechanism, but I'm not sure there's much value in this as it's released in 4k on torrent sites within an hour of the release.

You can happily use Netflix on Linux, but not in 1080p. :(

Cannot agree more. It's only convenience for me as well. An mp4/mkv file has no ads, doesn't care about my browser version and will play perfectly on the plane or in any country. Ah, and I can have it in any language available with any subtitles. Sorry, but all that proprietary crap out there can't beat that.

You made me curious about the show, so I went to the NBC page.

It says: "Sorry, this video is not available from your location."

Oh, God no!

I like to watch the first episode of a new show to see if I'll like it. But this is one show I deeply, I say again deeply regret watching. I'll never get those 22 minutes of my life back.

The show is cringeworthy. It's one of the un-funniest sitcoms (can they call it that?) I've ever seen. It's that bad.

Everything has a price, but I wouldn't watch another episode unless they paid me $100. And if the second episode was as bad as the first, they would need to keep doubling that payment for each additional episode.

I've been tagged for torrenting things which were broadcast over the air. The way I saw it, there was no way to get the show on my device and on my schedule, and the content provider was actually getting someone watching their program--with ads intact--for no additional effort or expense on their part. Financially, they won. They didn't see it that way :)

Financially they lost. They can’t sell advertising based on the number of people who pirate the show. Yeah, the advertisers made out (assuming you didn’t skip the ads) but the content producer did not.

This was their choice. They could have simply made it available for streaming during or after the show was broadcast, adverts and all. It isn't like most folks I know sit there and watch adverts on "regular" channels anyway. They can offer an ad-free service for a charge. When they don't offer such things on a fairly broad (global) scale, I don't see how they can be surprised when folks watch it illegally. And I seriously don't understand why the courts aren't asking the providers to do such things.

I don’t really disagree with you, but my point was that the original assertion that they made out because the OP pirated the content is false.

I also had major issues trying to stream A.P. Bio on NBC's streaming website. I wanted to see the new show with Glenn Howerton.

The video was really laggy, skipped dialog due to lag jitters, and served up 15 minutes of ads for 22 minutes of content.

Ended up not watching the show because of NBC site not working right.

Yes, lag is one thing, but the NBC website was literally skipping dialogue. After missing three jokes in a row I gave up.

> Until they master such exotic technologies as "streaming video" and "volume control" they're going to keep driving people to torrenting.

They won't master. They focus on monetization before they got the basics in place. Case in point MSNBC. Unbelievable where in the world the page is loading scripts from and phoning home to. Add weak streaming and of course the experience is brittle and virtually unusable. If MSNBC wants to share information with serious partners they may do that but the cheap way they let everyone add a tracker is embarrassing.

This. Me and my lady enjoy watching [some abysmal show that I won’t admit to] which is currently broadcast on one of the Australian networks. I don’t own a TV receiver, so everything is streamed.

Their site is so pitifully bad I refuse to use it. I tried, I really did. But when the ads break and you’re forced to reload the stream, only to be put back to the start, with no ability to skip forward? Sorry, no.

I wait a day and torrent the show with the ads removed. And I don’t feel the tiniest bit bad about it.

Torrenting for me was because there was no other way. When I lived in Australia the internet was so bad and there was no access to Netflix, Hulu or anything. Once I moved to singapore I instantly went from adsl2+ giving me 1.8mbit to 1gbit giving me 800mbit average. And I could sign up for Netflix and Hulu.

The last time I used BitTorrent must be 6-7 years ago now.

Plenty people still give up on Netflix to torrent. Especially when Netflix doesn't carry all that much content in some countries.

I wanted to watch Lord of the Rings the other day, and to my surprise they pulled it from the available content in my country.

I've attempted to pay for some shows and movies but after a while I've become sick of drm, slow downloads or crappy streaming. It is simply more convenient to just get it from a high quality source.

I'd like to know the ratio of "legitimate" viewers to pirates for Netflix and major network shows. Does the quality and convenience of the Netflix player reduce piracy?

Certainly worked for Steam. Totally revitalized PC gaming. The hassle of downloading games, applying constant cracks, and what not. Now you pay $5 for a humble bundle full of steam games.

I suspect it used to back when Netflix was more of an archive of "classics" and less supplier of their own content.

Also, it depends a bit on where in the world you lived. Netflix for the most part was a US phenomena, and even as it spread elsewhere the library offered often lagged what was found in the US. So people would use proxies and similar to access the US library from abroad.

Ah yeah good point about region. In this case we'd have to look at just US viewers of Netflix Originals. The entire dataset would be interesting though.

small anecdote: when spotify vecame available in my region (Lithuania), I instantly became paid subscriber because it was really convenient. And my colleagues did the same - it’s just simpler to use Spotify with its was library instead of wasting time in torrent sites looking for some new music. Same applies for me with netflix.

After Steam took off I did the same, it's much more convenient than piracy.

The only exception I make is when software has overbearing DRM in place. I will not hand over money for a tainted product when I can get better for nothing.

With video media I'm largely covered with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video but there is still plenty of content I'm missing. Instead of doing the right thing many networks are rolling their own half arsed subscription streaming services. Nobody in their right mind is going to stay subbed to the likes of CBS All Access when the only thing half worth watching is Star Trek Discovery, I've seen many people ditching their sub now that the season is over.

In my experience it is. Streaming apps come integrated into all kinds of devices, giving a plug and play experience close to the old fashioned way. It's not much, but don't forget to consider trust at that. Why risk shady piracy when a convenient app is built right into your $device.

Whether that reduces piracy or rather the legal enforcement which pushes torrents into the shadows of its former self does not hinge on the quality of the delivery.

I would subscribe to a torrenting plan anyday. i don't even care if it's like $30/mo. Just give me access to high quality content in a legal fashion.

On my case it's the same, I torrent shows I can watch for free on Amazon Prime because for some reason their DRM never plays properly.

There is a Google Chrome extension[1], which allows you to do this. It basically replaces the site's player with its own and you can even search for subtitles from within the player itself.

1. https://www.google.co.in/url?q=https://chrome.google.com/web...

That is really cool. Seems like there is an extension for everything. Thank you.

This is a major issue with streaming services. Netflix usually doesn't offer even English subtitles to an English-speaking movie if you're in a non-English speaking country! At least with DVDs you could rip it and add subtitles yourself if needed.

> Netflix usually doesn't offer even English subtitles to an English-speaking movie if you're in a non-English speaking country!

Sadly, this has nothing to do with streaming and everything to do with rightsholders (aka "Hollywood").

The rights on the subtitles are held by the company that makes them, are then sold to the company that distributes the movie, which are then resold to regional distributors, separately from the rights to show the movie. This means that if you want to show, say Transformers, you have to negotiate with one company to show the picture, another company to license the sound, and yet another company for each set of subtitles.

It just isn't worth the effort in most cases to negotiate the Transformers English titles in France, for example.

Movie industry licensing and asset packaging are stuck in a time when you had to move physical reels of tape and film around, and still haven't caught up to digital technology.

> Movie industry licensing and asset packaging are stuck in a time

Relevant quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

Until they see disruption or increased profits, I don't expect they'll change. I expect them to actually be disrupted before seeing it coming.

It's already happening. Netflix and Amazon have both got into the content-production game, and one of their stated reasons is that when they make their own content they don't have to deal with region-specific licensing issues.

I don't see how English subtitles for an English movie can even be copyrighted... they're definitely not a work of art, not transformative, just a plain old transcript.

I could see an argument made that the placement of the subtitles in an arrangement for ease of reading, without blocking key visual information, placed such that a viewer can identify which subtitle is spoken by which character, timed such that jokes are not given away prematurely, has a creative aspect in order to make sure that all such constraints are met when creating subtitles.

It isn't a good argument, but I could see it being made.

Subtitles are literally just the scripted dialogue in textual form, so the copyright would belong to the studio (having purchased the script from the screenwriter).

Translated subtitles would be copyrighted by the translator under a derivative license from the studio owning the film.

Subtitles of the type you suggest don't currently exist as standalone products; the level of detail and information you are describing would require the subtitles to be part of the film itself (see e.g., Atomic Blonde or John Wick for good examples).

ASS subtitle format is rich enough to encapsulate this. You see it in anime subs. They're distributed with the product, but it's a separate stream in the MKV.

Well, yeah, the script of the movie is copyrighted.

The copyright of the movie script & audio track extends to the subtitles. It's not an independent work of art, but it's part of one - and the copyright holder certainly can licence you only part of their work or only certain forms of their work, and they've chosen to grant you one transformation and not another.

I guess all that licensing explains why airlines so rarely have English captioning for English-speaking movies. Which really sucks for the deaf and hearing-impaired.

Like the enduser cares about whos fault it is. Netflix could at least allow the loading of custom subtitles.

Nah. Netflix has been enormously disciplined about preventing feature bloat, and I really admire them for it. When this problem gets high enough on their list to solve, I'd much rather they did it right (buying the rights or doing their own subtitles) than some sort of half-assed thing that 90% of humanity won't be able to get to work.

It is very easy actually. Drag and Drop the subtitle onto the screen. MPC-HC and VLC do this. I would safely assume that Netflix could achieve such simplicity too. And even if it's for 10% of the users, people with hearing problems are more in percentage.

There's a lot more to it than that though, especially if you're targeting normal people and not the HN crowd. What if the subtitles are delayed? What if there are problems with the encoding and there are question marks all over the place? All of this is very solvable, but you can't just say "it's very easy actually, just drag and drop".

I can, because it is. Normal people can do that too. I would argue that VLC is mass-compatible.

Since using your own subtitle file, Netflix just doesn't have to do anything besides displaying them. Finding the correct subtitle is the users job, not Netflix. After all this would be called "use your own subtitle here" and I think Netflix can handle Unicode. Not everything has to be spoonfed for the dumbest user alive. Also, I don't think there is a reliable way to detect delays in the subtitle, especially if it's in a different language then the audio track. If you have a reference subtitle track, this might work, comparing time of first appearance. Any subsequent offset might be due to 25/23,976 which could be detected, but again, this is not Netflix's problem.

To me, whenever I hear someone (seems to have died down) about abundance/scarcity economics, that's exactly is exactly what I think of.

Everyone could have access to all movies/songs/books ever written with every subtitle file, dvd-only extra and whatnot they want. Could in the sense that it already exists and the marginal cost of delivering it to people is 0.

All that dealmaking, liscencing and such that you are describing... They're not strictly necessary. At least, they are not required to deliver the "goods." They are required in order to get revenue. Revenue requires pricing which requires exclusion, scarcity.

Not giving everyone everything is wasteful.

This means that if you want to show, say Transformers, you have to negotiate with one company to show the picture, another company to license the sound, and yet another company for each set of subtitles.

Sound is part of the film license in the US and Europe. This includes music and songs within the film. Studios pay out big bucks to license songs for films.

For example: my current employer would pay a license of approximately $500 to license major label music that will be played at an event to a live audience, broadcast globally, and streamed to 10 million viewers. (The total music budget for a 3-day event is maybe $5000, and that covers hours of music.) A movie studio licensing that same song for a movie would pay a minimum of $25,000, just for that song, assuming that it's part of the back catalog. A song that made the top 100 of the Billboard lists when it was released could command more than $100,000.

That's not entirely accurate. The song is only licensed for certain uses. For old TV shows especially, digital streaming wasn't a thing, so it wasn't included in the license. They have to be renegotiated for streaming.

That's why sometimes the songs in the shows on Netflix are different than the ones on the DVDs, for example.

But they always seem to offer English CC though, just not the regular ones (for many movies). And the regular ones should just be a simple transformation of the CC ones (strip all "\[.*?\]" stuff). That said, the other day I watched the movie "Easy A" which did happen to have both English CC and normal English subtitles. Still the only one I've found so far though.

English CC is offered in English speaking countries probably for legal reasons. They are not available elsewhere in the world. In Germany you get only German subtitles.

For whatever reason this is not the case for series in Netflix, which most of the time contain also in English subtitles. Wouldn't have helped the original commenter's case of course.

English CC for English speaking countries is actually for deaf people. There's some new rule/law that is actually making websites include English CC's in order to be compliant, though I'm not sure what the penalty is for ignoring that (probably fines).

That’s not correct. All recent shows I watched on Netflix in Germany (on a German account) had English CC subtitles in addition to typically a range of others. This includes Originals and external content such as Star Trek TNG

Yes as I mentioned most series have English subtitles, while movies do not. I don't have a clue what's behind this difference.

Technically it is easy to create the subtitles, but legally that would be a derivative work of the CC subtitles, so again, it comes down to copyright law. :(

Wouldn't it be a derivative work of the original movie instead? (Assuming that the person creating them didn't use the CC subtitles as a reference point)

Just curious about the technicalities of copyright law.

Well I only phrased it that way because OP suggested running a regular expression on the English CC subtitles. :)

Netflix seems to be pretty opinionated about subtitles. Try watching Narcos without subs, you can't. "Off" means the Spanish parts are subbed, and switching it to Spanish means the English parts are subbed!

Netflix, a Californian company, simply couldn't fathom that some people might understand English and Spanish.

> Netflix, a Californian company, simply couldn't fathom that some people might understand English and Spanish.

Or they just decided the path that serves the most people without complicating matters is to assume you want subtitles for any language not selected as the primary audio language.

I think the relevant question here is how would you design a control panel that allowed you to define which of the many languages which might be in the movie should be subtitled or not? I think the people that care about this (that is, those that speak both languages and find it annoying) is vanishingly small.

I don't agree that adding Off/Auto/Language-of-choice setting is complicating matters. Having an "Off" setting that isn't actually off is not good UX. A huge portion of Spanish speakers in the US also speak English, so I wouldn't say this is a niche feature.

44% of Californians speak a language other than English at home, and 1/5 nationwide [1], yet Netflix' product doesn't seem to cater particularly well to those audiences.


Yes, exactly. Netflix is militantly opposed to feature bloat. That means picking the case that works well for most people.

And I'd add that what to subtitle is an artistic choice; directors carefully decide what languages to use and what they want to subtitle or leave untranslated. Plus Netflix have to deal with source material from hundreds of companies. Creating clever subtitle features quickly gets out into very deep waters.

> That means picking the case that works well for most people.

On the web, you can serve customized content to every single client, because the tech enables it. It's just wrong to go for "one size fits all".

In the app settings you have a list of languages and the user selects the ones they speak. When CC is on subtitle everything, when CC is off subtitle what is not selected.

Yes, that's probably the right way to implement this, but it is still more complex.

No one on this site will have problem with that UI, but I personally know people who have issues with much simpler things.

Sane defaults are easy to set in this scenario so the average user gets the same behavior as today but those people who want more control can still do so.

Add an English and Spanish audio language.

It's really not hard. The real problem is that because it's closed-source software, the user must rely on the creator to think of every edge case.

It would be so much better if the user could just watch the encrypted video feed in just any player they want (provided they interface with a libnetflix library...)


The only reason I have left to pirate a movie that is available to me on netflix is to get more stable playback, the ability to play slightly faster, and the ability to use Smooth Video Project.

It's obvious that DRM-based platforms have driven TV manufacturers to implement expensive frame-interpolation into their displays, when it can be done much more efficiently at the decoder level, on machines where it makes sense to already have a fast GPU. This is the thing I find most frustrating with this situation.

If the show or movie has both Spanish and English subtitles, when you go to turn subtitles on/off just show each language with its own toggle. There could also be master toggle to show turn all on/off. I doubt most shows would have more than two, if at all.

That’s a far far saner interpretation of “off” than the alternative

On hbo Nordic, (The Scandinavian hbo go) off means -OFF- and it’s absolutely infuriatingly stupid to expect that I can speak Spanish, or Russian, just because I don’t want Scandinavian subtitles when watching an English movie

I feel like English-speaking product design in general has not caught up with the idea that there is a substantial audience of very competent second language speakers. Most educated Continentals I know have similar complaints.

To help out: in the most of Hollywood movies spoken Russian is usually beyond unnatural with a heavy accent... to a point computer synthesized voice acting would be an improvement.

Do the same thing happen in Russia when they feature spoken English?

(Likely) it used to in the 80s when I was exposed to Russian movies but nowadays I cannot judge due to lack of exposure. (Russian is my 3rd language.)

Heh, that's actually funny. I'll be that is a technology issue and not a rights issue. The again, how do you indicate that you understand both languages? For a standard movie, the "foreign" language is always subtitled (unless the director specifically sats not to), even with subs off.

But that's the same for BluRay and DVDs. It's just a limited use case and probably just difficult to program for.

edit: never-mind I responded to the wrong post

You'd need more "settings" too because some people want only foreign language subtitles turned on (language impaired) and others want subtitles for everything (hearing impaired). And what if you're multi-lingual but hearing impaired? You might want all subtitles for languages you speak in the original language.

Perhaps they can fathom it, but the percent of the audience that is spanish/english bilingual and cares about subtitles was too small for them to care about.

Burned in subtitles maybe?

Netflix and their subtitles is so strange. I have an account but the subtitle selection is so limited. The rip of a Netflix show, especially recently, will have upwards of twenty subtitles, I assume from every region they're allowed to show the movie. In the actual app, you're lucky to have more than four, with two of those being English and English for the hearing impaired.

It may depends on the country. I'm in France, and I almost always have english subtitles. On the rare occasions there is no english subtitles, I always have french subtitles. I never had to watch anything without subtitles on netflix (which btw, is one of the clear wins of netflix to me compared to pirate streaming).

Yesterday I saw that 'Lord of the Rings' is on Netflix.

I thought to myself 'Cool, I have not seen this movie since it's initial release. I remember there is an extended version, let's check it out'.

Nope, you only get the base version on Netflix. And that's until netflix removes it from it's library.

I am pretty sure that for such a well known movie, I could be watching the hires version of the extended cut with all its goodies after 2 minutes of research if I wanted too thanks to bitorrent.

Thank you for sharing this story. I hope you and your parents are able to connect again when you finish school.

Technology is really beautiful for reasons precisely like this and I'm really happy that there are real life cases and stories such as yours to underline and define the most positive side. It'll never be talked about nor trotted out in defense of allowing things like this to happen but I'd be willing to bet there are many more stories like yours than the demonized stories you'll hear lawyers tell to explain the "seedy underbelly" and "plight on humanity" that pirating and torrenting cause.

I have zero moral qualms about pirating things that the copyright holder refuses to sell at any price. If they don't want my money, I'm under no obligation to give them any.

Bittorrent has kind of given me real sparks in life that I could have never attempted to experience.

This is in terms of amounts of books that I have downloaded! Most associate torrents with audio/video downloads. But any books lovers here - should check out the wealth out there.

I sincerely want to 'buy' all books I have downloaded after I own a house and a dog.

This. X 100.

Bittorrent and VLC gives you 100% control over how you view content. And subtitles are a huge part of the watching experience for many people.

That's a sweet story, thanks for sharing.

Would you mind contacting me about this, my email address is in my profile.

Open solutions are by nature more flexible.

The reason why for me, someone with a netflix and amazon prime account in Germany, bittorrent is neither dead nor declining (for movies and TV shows):

a) Being on time. If you want to take part in the online discussion about tv shows, you have to watch them on time. For a ton of shows I can't even buy episodes on the day they come out. Torrenting is still the far superior choice.

b) Languages. Yes netflix, I know that I live in Germany. That does not mean that I don't want to have the option of watching anime in Japanese with English subtitles. And Amazon, it's great that I found out you are now showing advertisements before every episode, but it's also in German. While everything else on amazon.de is in English for me.

c) Quality. I don't care that your algorithm thinks my network is not fast enough for HD. Just let me tell it that it's wrong. Or I could torrent and download something in actual HD within just a few minutes.

The worst thing is that all of those are completely artificial. There is no technological reason for any of those problems to exist. And ignoring if I want to or not, in most cases I don't even have the option of throwing absurd amounts of money at them to make them go away. Because of greed, laziness and/or stupidity, torrenting is still the superior option in most cases. For me.

PS: Mostly thanks to Bandcamp.com music torrenting is completely dead for me.

> PS: Mostly thanks to Bandcamp.com music torrenting is completely dead for me.

Seconded. My music search these days is

    Find interesting band
               v               not sure I can
        Is on bandcamp? +-no-> be arsed to even
               +               check torrents
           buy entire 
         discography on

I love bandcamp. It only takes 10% to 15%, unlike Apple/Google/Amazon which take >= 30% from artists.

Really I prefer buying CDs at shows. Artists usually get to buy CDs from their own labels for $1 each, where if you buy it on Amazon/iTunes, they have to pay their label back for the recording costs, so they get like $0 until they hit some number (usually a few thousand). So if I buy a CD for $12, they're probably getting at least $10 of that.

To be fair, most bands I but from don't have the "problem" of having a label to worry about ;)

I'm so tired of this evil label narrative. It's unfair to reduce them to those 5 major labels.

Particularly on Bandcamp there are countless small, honest labels that act as a curator and really help to develop their artists while taking a fair cut. Being featured on one of them is a huge opportunity for most artists.

I make it easy for myself. Any label that's a member of RIAA of IFPI is evil, the others I throw money at.

A very simplified view.

As I said, I'm making it easy for myself.

Torrents don't really work for music. Soulseek is your friend there, super old-school but great community and it has basically everything.

I also buy almost everything I find on Bandcamp. Excepting those über-hipster techno artists with 100-copies vinyl-only releases (but those you can usually still find rips on Soulseek.)

Before there even was Bandcamp, there was Oink's Pink Palace [0], not only one of the best sources for music (NiN's Trent Reznor was a member & user of the site), some (lesser known) artists even released music exclusively on OiNK.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oink's_Pink_Palace

To add to your comment is the interview of Trent Reznor and Saul Williams from 2007 [1].

Begin excerpt from said interview:

What do you think about OiNK being shut down?

Trent: I'll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted.

If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn't the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc.

Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that's what's such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it?

People on those boards, they're grateful for the person that uploaded it — they're the hero. They're not stealing it because they're going to make money off of it; they're stealing it because they love the band. I'm not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.

Cease excerpt from said interview.

Flash forward 11 years and there still isn't a legal alternative to OiNK' Pink Palace (OPP) that can hold a candle to it. I love music, but the music that I love I can not find on any streaming service.

The bands I like are old enough that they are no longer touring or producing music and since I can not find any of their "old" songs on any (legal) streaming or downloading sites I am left with zero options to support the bands I personally like.

[1]: https://www.vulture.com/2007/10/trent_reznor_and_saul_willia...

>Torrents don't really work for music.

Redacted has almost anything that's not the most obscure of the underground.

+1 for soulseek. I still boot it up quite a bit, no where near what I used to, but still quite regularly.

Although for the more obscure things, youtube-dl is #1 where soulseek fails

>Torrents don't really work for music

How come? I know What.CD closed down, but I remember that RuTracker had quite a large selection of high-fidelity music records.

Oh the other hand, if it's on iTunes it's almost an instant piracy. Not only you can't buy it without installing a huge application, you can't even preview it either.

Can anyone speculate on why Apple has never made iTunes purchasing available as an online store? It's the prospect of installing iTunes that keeps me away as well.

I've used Google Play when I couldn't find something on Bandcamp because it lets me purchase and download the album in a browser. But even then you have to have an account.

It's all part of their one-size-fits-all approach.

They want to make sure everyone uses their software that runs on their overpriced hardware, and DRM is yet another way to enforce that.

well to be fair iTunes isn't as bad as it is on windows. granted it was better when I started using a mac. around ~10.9 but I regulary buy music there. it's simple and iTunes is fast on mac and I like how it organizes music.

but yeah I never liked it/like it on windows.

I never had an issue with it on Windows. Recently, they even added HiDPI support!

I was this way with iTunes for a long time.

iTunes successfully turned me off pirating music, why would I do it when I can pay 99p for a song and have all the metadata correct, including album art, perfectly synced to all my devices in perpetuity? And no DRM means I can play them on my non-apple/iTunes devices and media players.. great!

Well, unfortunately I want to own my music, so I don't like to use streaming services and there was an issue[0] with some music going missing. So for as long as apple are pushing their subscription model so hard I'm going to go back to ripping from youtube or downloading FLAC torrents and converting them myself.

(sorry, I'm a little bitter that the entire UX around apple's media player changed to push this bullshit so hard)

[0] https://blog.dijit.sh/importance-of-self-hosted-backups

> all the metadata correct, including album art


I even… buy music on iTunes… and overwrite all of their metadata with MusicBrainz's.

Why, is it better?

Not sure I understand why, if you want to own your music, you don't just ignore the premium streaming services and continue to buy what you want. I admittedly have a big library and am generally less interested in a lot of newer music but I currently just have the "free" streaming Amazon Prime service and just buy anything in particular I want.

Amazon prime does not operate where I live (Sweden) and buying has a lot more friction than it used to.

I haven't tried bandcamp but iTunes is annoying for me today. Features like the "complete my album" and recommendations no longer exist except inside Apple Music.

Heh. Pretty much exactly like that for me :)

Don't forget youtube-dl, the bridge between the streaming world and the download world of yore. Song you like on youtube? youtube-dl -x. It supports so many sites too - at least all the major video sites plus bandcamp and soundcloud.

>b) Languages.

It is so damn hard to find media in other languages, and there is no reason for it. The US and Germany are both very technologically advanced countries producing a great amount of media in their own majority languages, but as a German speaker in the US, Harry Potter is about the only German language novel I can reliably find. I like Harry Potter, sure, but I like other books too. I shouldn't have to fly to Germany to find them.

Reminds me of the story that when the last book of the series was released in English, a German fan group sat down an translated a portion each. They finished the task in something like 48 hours. And they did it because supposedly the official German translation could only be started after the English release for fear of leaks.

> b) Languages.

Another thing. I buy most movies I like on iTunes, but I have an issue with the films one of my favorite directors; Werner Herzog. The company that distributes his films on iTunes has decided to mostly make his films available with only a dubbed English soundtrack rather than the original German with subtitles. Even though I don't speak German, hearing the original actors voices gives me a better feel of what the director was doing. Herzog actually shot and edited two different versions of Nosferatu, but his ear for english, or his actors comfort with English make the english version clunky and stilted. In Aguirre, the Wrath of God, the voice actor doing the English for Klaus Kinski can't convey the delusional desperation in the closing speech to the monkeys on the drifting raft the way Kinski's voice can.

Interestingly, I recently bought Almodovar's Women on Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It defaults to a dubbed version, so every time I watch it, I have to reconfigure my AppleTV to play the Spanish, but add english subtitles (a setting that I have to back out when done because it screws up all my other films). Its funny because several of the characters in the film are actors that do voice dubbing, and there are several scenes where they are dubbing an American film into Spanish. Translating that to a english language film it seems like she is dubbing an English language film into English. kind of absurd.

Maybe you can switch to the German store for German language movies. Does that work or do you need a German address?

Even if it was possible, you'd have to switch back and forth between stores and maintain 2 separate accounts. Piracy seems like the more convenient option here.

> Quality. I don't care that your algorithm thinks my network is not fast enough for HD. Just let me tell it that it's wrong. Or I could torrent and download something in actual HD within just a few minutes.

This is so true. I have a decently fast connection (75mbps) and Netflix's own speed test tells me the pipe really is that fat. YouTube can play 1080p60fps content without breaking a sweat. But Netflix is always blurry af. I tried firefox Chrome edge and even the native windows app. The quality is always lesser than what you can get on YouTube. It's the same on Android. I think it doesn't even show me 720p on my 1440p phone. Even when I pre-download something so the network strength is not an issue.

On the other hand, Amazon prime content is crispy clear 1080p most of the times.

1080p and 4k streaming on Windows currently only works on Internet Explorer\Edge.

Other browsers are at a lesser resolution, I believe it was 720p but that could be wrong.

Edit: yup, 720p on everything except IT.



    Google Chrome

        Up to 720p on Windows, Mac, and Linux

        Up to 1080p on Chrome OS

    Internet Explorer up to 1080p

    Microsoft Edge up to 4K*

    Mozilla Firefox up to 720p

    Opera up to 720p

    Safari up to 1080p on Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later

I know, that's why I tried IE, edge and also the native Windows app. The quality is still crappy. In fact I wanted to watch the movie Pacific Rim, and the quality was so bad that it was unwatchable. I torrented a 1080p copy and watched that instead.

As I said, the weird part is that their is no improvement in quality even if you pre-download the content.

Maybe your ISP is specifically throttling Netflix, but not their speed test?

I'm pretty sure their speed test (fast.com) is designed to hit the Netflix content servers making it difficult (impossible?) to throttle either independently.

Also don't forget a much narrower content selection. I'm happy to pay for Netflix, but if you live in the wrong country, it has like 10 times less good content than the US version.

I understand that there are business and licensing reasons for that, but it is still a bummer to use a much inferior second rate version of the website.

The US version is losing content every month. Brazil looked a lot better, my guess is that they know Brazilians will not pay for anything, haha, even if they could.

a) Being on time. If you want to take part in the online discussion about tv shows, you have to watch them on time. For a ton of shows I can't even buy episodes on the day they come out. Torrenting is still the far superior choice.

I generally found that buying a season pass on iTunes typically gives you episodes as soon as they come out. They often offer shows in the original version and with German subtitles/audio. In original versions, the shows get released in parallel with the US. And if there's something missing, I use an US iTunes account (Apple TV 4 permits quick account switching).

Except if it’s a japanese show. Then it won’t be on itunes or you’ll see it in a year.

Because apparently fuck japanese shows, both ways (right holder side and distributor side).

Netflix is getting better at this game, but worldwide same time release is still more of a miracle than a standard procedure. If it ever gets release outside of japan in the first place.

Is it possible to watch stuff on iTunes without downloading their software? Because I have limits.

In my case, iTunes doesn’t work in linux.

That’s very similar to its status on MacOS and Windows.

I mostly use streaming sites instead of BT these days.

Got burned once when my flatmate downloaded family guy and we got "mail" by an attorney of 20th century fox...

But yes, I got Netflix and Amazon Prime too. They simply don't have everything in every language.

> I mostly use streaming sites instead of BT these days.

Why? You have to get through tons of ads, have to hope they are of decent quality, etc. With BT I download, and in about 5 minutes I have the whole thing in HD.

Netflix and Amazon rarely show ads, normally just a short 30 second recommendation at that.

All streaming in HD in about 5 seconds.

I think he wasn't talking about legal streaming sites as that was kinda the point of my original post.

> All streaming in HD in about 5 seconds.

Yeah, until it's not. I mean sure, 20 seconds of low quality is not the end of the world. But there is no reason it should be that crappy. And they are competing against easy and free, having only "moral high ground" as the competitive advantage. So at the very least, they shouldn't be worse.

Yeah, until it's not. I mean sure, 20 seconds of low quality is not the end of the world.

I literally never have 20 seconds of low quality on Netflix et al. It is sharp HD from the moment that I start streaming (UnityMedia with 200 MBit/s downstream).

200 Mbit down as well and I had 20s one time yesterday with Amazon Prime Video binging Bosch

“A short 30 second recommendation” sounds like an ad to me.

It's also illegal, and this isn't the 90s or early 2000s -- copyright laws are being enforced.

Ah, if only there was a 1:1 correspondence between what is "legal" and what is "ethical/fair"...

Regardless if it's "ethical/fair" or not (and it's really concerning that you're conflating the two words) it's still illegal and you can get hit pretty hard for it. Saying it's ethical doesn't get you out of court or a hefty fine.

Give me an example of something that is ethical but unfair, or fair but unethical

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Solomon is unethical but could be considered fair (with respect to the putative mothers, if not the baby).

A fascinating story!

Feel free to use ethics as your legal defense when you get sued... as for me, I'll stick with a solution that's both ethical and legal.

https://bitport.io/ or a VPN like https://speedify.com/ to get around that

Is German Netflix that bad? In the USA, I can choose the audio and subtitle language pretty easily; it's even supported on their Plex app and so forth.

Example: I just watched "Dark" and it defaulted to English dub, but it just took a second to switch it to German with English subtitles.

We are using Netflix in Germany and it works fine. Though we primarily use it for Netflix originals now, they usually come with English and German subtitles, as well as English and German audio.

(Being Dutch, I am used to having subtitles, so for some reason I prefer English subtitles over audio only. I guess that I have to concentrate less with subtitles.)

It always depends, this is what I get for Darker Than Black: https://imgur.com/a/KFF8R

Am living in a Spanish speaking Latin American country, the netflix options here are 1/10 of the options in the US (spanish language programs).

Plus the connection is not very good for streaming, so torretning is the route to go. We tried cable, but the number of adverts and the length was insane (I'm originally from the UK, I seem to recall being annoyed at the sheer quantity of ads when have visited the US as well)

I’m in a small European country, my wife is learning Spanish so she’d like to watch TV shows in Spanish. I think Netflix here has maybe 3 shows in Spanish or with it as an option.

Even worse is although most films at the cinema come out dubbed in our language or at the very least with subtitles, Netflix doesn’t have any content in our language or subtitles. It does have an option for Russian, but most people under 40 don’t speak it.

We're currently in Austria and my daughter likes to watch "Mia and Me" which she used to watch back in England, in Austria the only option is for German dubbed audio, English is the source audio, I've no idea why it isn't available here.

Netflix provides Plex app? Where? I would really like to use Netflix in Plex.

> b) Languages.

I wrote above about why this is, and you're right, it is artificial, but it has nothing to do with technology.


Yeah, I know about that. It's why I said there is no technological reason for any of these.

Same for me. Just music torrenting was replaced by my Spotify subscription. For the very few things that arent there (e.g. Joanna Newsom) I just use Youtube.

P2P forced the industry to adapt and now we have good streaming services, but the content selection is nowhere as good as what you can find on torrent sites.

What the Popcorn Time devs did was simply amazing. It had a Netflix-like interface plus a huge selection of content that you could watch right away. The industry should learn from these guys.

Just make your content available, easy to obtain and people will pay for it. It's that simple. There's no reason, in 2018, that I cannot go online and legally stream/download any movie/TV show I want. Classics, old movies, 90s movies, whatever. Just make it available at a reasonable price, in a easy to use UI and people will pay. How is that hard to understand?

When one uses any of the popular commercial streaming services they also submit to non-free software (proprietary software, untrustworthy by default), and tracking.

The media one gets from such services contain DRM (digital restrictions management; I use this expansion of the term because I side with the people who are subjected to the restrictions, not with the publishers who subject others to those restrictions). DRM is anti-user, always implemented with non-free software, and (even on its own greedy merits) routinely fails to achieve the claimed goal of preventing unauthorized copies. But DRM achieves a little-discussed goal of giving someone else control over one's computer. In this time of remote control and mass surveillance, it's worth noting that DRM is rightly seen by those subjected to it as a threat, not a friend.

And there's nothing incompatible with commercially distributing DRM-free copies of digital works via a free software client. Private BitTorrent trackers work and could be set up and used by authorized distributors to implement commercial distribution. But years into the existence of the commercial streaming services there's no indication that they care to try.

These issues aren't explored at all in the wholly lacking article; these issues are ignored as reasons why people would want to retain full control of their computers and copy data via a free software BitTorrent client.

> Just make your content available

Agree. Regional licensing restrictions (music & video) and timed availability (video) seem to be lingering issues for legal streaming services and until they're solved/ forgotten the Popcorn Times will always have a place.

It is lawyers all the way down, sadly. And old old old contracts...

> Just make your content available, easy to obtain and people will pay for it. It's that simple.

No, that's just easy from a consumer perspective. But it's not simple at all from the business perspective. Making movies and TV is expensive and complicated. Getting them to break even means a lot of careful work to maximize revenue and profit from a variety of revenue streams. It means dealing with a lot of players that are trying to maximize their own revenue and profit.

Things can and will get better. But not by ignoring the essential complexity of the domain.

Except people would happily accept variable pricing for content provided it was centralised.

Steam gets this so right - games change price all the time, go on sale etc.

It's the same phenomenon you see with landlords - rental properties go unoccupied for huge periods of time because they believe they'll get a better deal just in the future - with media we've let absurd copyright durations do the same damn thing, and probably at the expense of artists and content creators who I want to support.

Valve have absolutely nailed the consumer-centric business model. Gabe Newell was the first person I heard the concept of "piracy is a service problem" from and they've turned it into their core competency.

However, centralization of the marketplace, even from a publisher standpoint, isn't a Good Thing. Steam's degree of control over the game publishing platform market is pretty pathological from the view of developers.

A better solution from the content creators' standpoint is a marketplace with competitors. In gaming, this doesn't really exist (maybe GoG/Humble?) but in streaming media delivery, it does (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video).

Sure. Consumers like this and Steam likes this, because they get a cut of everything on their platform. But game makers are maybe not so interested in having their industry collapse into a monpsony situation, where their choices are 1) give Valve whatever Valve wants and accept whatever Valve gives them in return, or 2) don't make games.

Free markets don't promise perfect efficiency in each case. They promise to be reasonably efficient on average. They also don't promise perfect happiness for just one side of the market; they're a means of reaching a compromise between all participants.

What if the correct licensing entity could receive the micropayment made by the viewer?

What hidden complexity am I missing on the delivery / payment side?

Not speaking of making content free, but making content easily accessible, at a nominal price.

The easily accessible part has been proven solveable, by hobbyists, already.

You are missing that movies are not primarily paid for through direct sales and micropayments. Movies have an extremely complicated system of distribution to many audiences and through many media. The point of this system is to maximize producer revenue. If they don't do that, they can't afford to make movies.

US movie studios are reasonably good at making movies. They are maybe not so good at translating them into Chinese, figuring out how to market them in China, and distributing through the many channels there (first-run theaters, second-run theaters, VOD, DVD, streaming, and probably more). So they sell distribution rights to other companies.

If you want to replace that, you have to come up with a system that is better both for consumers and producers. Yes, hobbyists have figured out part of what's better for consumers. (Although those technologies are terrible compared with Netflix, so only a part.) But optimizing for one criterion is way easier than optimizing for two or more.

Netflix is trying and they are a huge business. If it was easy they would have been disrupted by now.

They had things going for a time, but then they switched to their own branded content (supposedly because the big guys wanted more of the pie and so set up their own services).

At least where I live, Hungary, torrenting was decriminalized some years ago as long as someone isn't doing it for profit. It's still illegal but they stopped going after end users. The biggest private tracker has 770k users atm with an exceptional 1452% seed to leech ratio. Basically almost everyone (ie daily internet users) is using it in the country.

Also they introduced a "blank media" tax on everything (CD, DVD, SSD, HDD, USB flash drive etc.) as a compensation for the presumed losses.

Until the EU want to do a new trade deal with the US, and the US decides it wants to co-opt your legal framework to enforce its commercial appropriation of European culture, history and stories through Disney and Hollywood. And then you'll be getting lots of enforcement.

The whole copyright thing is just a US export thing, as soon as it becomes a problem for them, they'll force the EU to make it a problem for you too.

Since the EU has stated they won't be doing any trade deals with anyone not in the Paris climate agreement, it looks that this won't be a problem with the current US administration.


Where are they going to get microprocessors and hard drives?

Considering most microprocessors are manufactured in Taiwan and Korea and a lot of hard drives come from Singapore and Thailand, the EU doesn't even have anything to worry about on that front.

I first wanted to write something in that direction, but realized that is not true. Since the common cpus are all produced by US-american firms, they'd indeed be affected by something like this. Though you are of course correct afaik, the real production happens in Asia.

Companies like IBM or Intel are international, not "US-american" in any meaningful sense.

Maybe, but it is definitely meaningful in the sense discussed here: In what it means for US copyright overreach and the USA applying their jurisdiction on those companies/products.

You don't need a trade deal to import stuff.

That's true. Until there are viable desktop and server CPU competitors, it'll just mean increased costs for European consumers.

Copyright has a hilariously convoluted story.

The term is from England, but many of the rules are from France. Because in France they came up with "rights of the creator" that included things like the estate being able to deny someone the use of a play or song after the creators death.

Then these two got merged via the Berne convention on copyright. But USA didn't sing that one until the 1980s(!).

So for a long long time, USA used a variant of the English copyright law, that only concerned itself with the printing of books (then as the tech came online, they expanded it to cover the likes of recorded music and computer software).

One thing to keep in mind is that the Berne convention requires that the signatory nations respect copyright duration of the nation of first release. And thanks to France we have this whole thing about death plus X years.

And like i said, USA didn't sign any of that until very recently. And thus we had situations like Tolkien becoming popular with hippies because an American publisher picked up a copy while visiting the UK, and went on to print a pile of cheap copies back in the US.

Anyways, thanks to global media corporations, lobbyists, and the whole Berne thing, we now have a constant ratcheting of the whole death+X duration thanks to the lobbyists playing on national fears of being out-competed by others with "better" terms for the corporations.

IANAL and all that.

With the EU in accession and the US in decline on the global stage, I suspect the US will have less ability to force these issues in future negotiations with the EU.

> With the EU in accession and the US in decline on the global stage

you're kidding right?

after brexit the EU has lost 70 million citizens, its second biggest economy, its largest city (which also happens to be the world's financial capital), and its main military/cultural power

whereas Trump will be gone in a few years

Great Britain wasn't ever really with the EU on most things. The joke was that UK were the US's mole in the EU/world stage everyone knew it (e.g. lapdog jab in "Love Actually").

Brexit took that rent and tore it open, but if/when Scotland secedes from the UK and rejoins the EU, that might affect things.

Trump being gone doesn't necessarily mean the US is going to suddenly regain it's former prominence. This discussion, of course, is ignoring the Elephant/Tiger in the room (China).

"enforce its commercial appropriation of European culture, history and stories"

How do you actually mean by this? It seems to me that the vast majority of big Hollywood movies are of US origin and not European. For example see here, http://www.businessinsider.com/highest-grossing-movies-of-20... where only Beauty and the Beast could argued is "appropriation of European culture". If anything, it seems like the EU not enforcing copyrights is an attempt by the EU to itself commercially appropriate US culture. The US populace generally isn't spending its money on imported films from the EU. The reverse on the other hand happens quite a bit.

You've got it ass about tit, Europeans can't create works based on US culture and sell it to them, but the US did just that to them 100 years ago but then forced crazy copyright on the rest of the world.

No-one can sell derivatives back to the US. The US can use elves, orcs, dwarves, vampires, werewolves, Repunzels, Thors, Lokis, fairy godmothers, Romeos, Juliets, etc. commercially all they want.

But we can't use Supermen, Wolverines, Mikey Mouses, etc. commercially.

I'm not saying it's a bad move from the US pov, but let's not claim it's done for the sake of artists, it's done for $$$ tax revenues and keeping US entertainment as a dominant export.

It's basically an extremely effective one way, heavily US favourable trade embargo that they've codified into international trade law.

While there's little question that the US has extended copyright protections for too long (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act), it truly baffles me that anyone could assert that copyright isn't, in the first instance, done for the sake of the creators. It costs incredible amounts of money/talent to create stories, characters, entire worlds for film or the written word. That some believe creators shouldn't have rights over original stories in order to recoup those costs still makes no sense to me. Let's reward innovation and creators for their contributions to society.

It seems to me that you may be more opposed to a seeming US monopoly on entertainment than you are to the effects of copyright law. You don't argue against the merits or lack thereof of copyrights but rather make distinctions about the US vs Europe. Don't fall victim to mood affiliation.

Obama has already tried doing that with ACTA (remember that one?) and also with the newer TTIP. He failed.

this might be an unpopular opinion, but I think copyright is a good thing, as it allows for artists to actually get paid for their work


- Company hires a bunch of artists to make something, pays them one time, keeps gathering checks decades after the artists are dead, and even longer after they're getting any payment for the work.

- Artist collects money from their work, dies, and the estate continues collecting for decades.

The purpose of copyright should be to encourage artists to create works for the enrichment of society as a whole, by giving them a monopoly on sale of those works for a limited time, followed by a release of the work into the public domain.

Instead, we've got constantly-extending terms, slim-to-no chance of something still being culturally relevant by the time its copyright expires, and people besides the artists receiving the most benefit, in many cases.

Copyright itself can be a good thing, but the current U.S. implementation of it sucks.

It's worth noting that the Copyright Term Extension Act (aka the Sonny Bono Act aka The Mickey Mouse Protection Act)[0] passed a bit over 20 years ago (and the term was extended by 20 years), so I think a certain amount of vigilance is warranted this year for (stealthy) attempts to retroactively extend copyrights.

But if that doesn't happen, then next January will finally see works start entering the public domain again, starting with ones from 1923.[1]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/hollywood-says-i...

The time limit on copyright seems to be just an inefficient form of taxation.

If Disney keeps copyright of Snow White the government can tax Disney's extra profit to pay for cancer research. Isn't that more socially useful than giving everyone the right to watch Snow White on YouTube for free?

> Isn't that more socially useful than giving everyone the right to watch Snow White on YouTube for free?

Why stop there. Wouldn't it be ever more socially useful to hire vandals to break windows and graffiti houses so the government can collect the taxes on the repairs. See also: war.

Just because something generates economic activity, doesn't mean it's a net benefit to society.

OK let me drop 'socially useful' from the question: Is it better to (a) allow anyone to watch Snow White on YouTube for free; or (b) fund cancer research with a tax on Disney's sales of Snow White?

With vandalism the costs clearly outweigh the benefits. With copyright extension it seems to me the benefits outweigh the costs.

The alternative of course is that someone could use the Snow White IP to create new media, in the same way that Sherlock Holmes has generated numerous films. Guy Ritchie's two Holmes movies have netted over $1B USD at the box office. That wouldn't have happened if the Doyle estate still held the copyright.

Not to mention the fact that the Snow White character itself was pulled from the public domain.

> pay for cancer research

This is an appeal to emotion. It's not very honest to cherry pick a nice sounding example. How about taxes spent for wars and so on?

> Isn't that more socially useful than giving everyone the right to watch Snow White on YouTube for free?

The money that people saved by not paying disney do not disappear. They will be spent, perhaps on cancer research, or something else.

> This is an appeal to emotion. It's not very honest to cherry pick a nice sounding example. How about taxes spent for wars and so on?

In some countries petrol tax must be spent on building and maintaining roads. Similarly, can't we have an 'expired IP tax' which must be spent on cancer research?

> The money that people saved by not paying disney do not disappear. They will be spent, perhaps on cancer research, or something else.

Some people might decide to work less because they no longer need to pay for the movie. Hasn't the money 'disappeared' in this case?

> Some people might decide to work less because they no longer need to pay for the movie. Hasn't the money 'disappeared' in this case?

No, you don't generate money out of thin air by working. It's a transfer from somebody else.

Besides, for many people working less is obviously valuable, otherwise you'd see a lot of people working 100 hours a week.

> In some countries petrol tax must be spent on building and maintaining roads. Similarly, can't we have an 'expired IP tax' which must be spent on cancer research?

Are you trolling?

You're comparing a petrol tax used to maintain roads, to an "expired intellectual 'property'" tax which hypothetically would be used to fund a completely unrelated activity, one which cannot be argued with, because how could you be against cancer research, you heartless bastard? What about the children with leukemia? You monster!

I will therefore raise you a "let's put a cancer research tax on EVERYTHING! No disposable income until cancer is cured! You have to be in favor of it, or you are a cold, emotionless hater!" You can't disagree with me, because "no enemies to the left, no friends to the right."

Do you see how this goes? All I have to do is out-extreme your extremeness, and you can't disagree with me, because emotional appeals to child cancer research. It's an intellectually dishonest form of argument, so please, knock it off.

Seriously, do you not realize that you are proposing to give the government ownership of all expired copyrights? What part of "for limited times" and "public domain" do you not understand? You actually want the government to own everything in our culture?!

i agree that for patents, monopolising an invention forever allows innovation too much. but for art? the world will survive without getting able to copy a specific artist's work for free.. they created something out of thin air, there is very little reason for them to benefit from it, including selling it's rights or them moving on to their successors, like all other things that have value

An artistic work that came from thin air? That didn't derive partially from the society in which it was created or take inspiration from preceding works? I don't think such a thing exists.

the part of the shared social contribution that is true for all sources of revenue (because this is also true for engineering, business, etc) is usually paid for by the taxes paid the person who will have said revenue

The societal contribution is also present "in the air" for everyone, but only one artist ever makes a particular work. That would suggest that the key contribution comes from the artist, not from society.

> i agree that for patents, monopolising an invention forever allows innovation too much.

patents are largely unrelated to discussion of copyright. the durations are separate, and in fact, patent durations are largely harmonized to be 20 years, now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_patent that's nothing compared to the ~75 years of copyright.

I agree, but the current landscape is such that it feels like seeing a street performer only accepting tips in Bitcoin. Do you want my money or not?

It's made clear to me every time I want to go watch something and am willing to pay money for it but it's not available on any of the platforms (read: middlemen) I pay to subscribe to; I have to subscribe to yet another one just to see that show. Or it was there until yesterday, then it was removed without warning.

I found myself in a position recently where the only way I could watch a particular show would be if I went down to the store and bought the box set on DVD. But I don't own a DVD player, haven't needed one in years, and wasn't about to buy one..

So just don’t watch it. I don’t get why that’s so hard.

Nobody here got anywhere in life by making a habit of giving up at the first sign of resistance.

You know you are talking about tv shows and movies right?

people survive when if they don't get to watch their favorite show

Totally. Which is why it ends with the author's death. OH WAIT.

But it's totally necessary; back before it existed no one ever made any money for their creative works, so with no incentive no one ever made anything creative before copyright law. OH WAIT.

1. things that are worth something (like money) don't disappear at their owners death

2. this is disingenuous. it is already the case that the massive majority of artists have a very hard time generating a sustainable revenue stream from their work, and this has always been the case. the goal of a copyright system is, amongst other things, to try to help with that.

1. The author no longer receives value for it. Per another comment, allowing the paid transfer of copyright, but limiting it to a small amount of time since creation/publication (i.e., 14 years), to allow the owner of the copyright to milk it, still provides plenty of value and incentive, while also allowing things to return to the public domain as part of our shared culture.

2. So with copyright it's super hard for artists to live off their work. How is that defending copyright? If you're claiming "Well, it'd be even worse -without- copyright!", you haven't actually made a case for that. Certainly, if we want to fix the fact artists have a hard time, perhaps an alternative monetization scheme, irrespective of copyright, is the right answer?

What if the author is a company? Like Disney.

Then they should get copyright for 14 years since publication, like in the first copyright law, the Statute of Anne. There is no benefit for society to extent copyright past that point, since it does not induce creative corporations to publish more works: profits 20, 50 years into the future are not relevant to current business decisions.

The original idea was that copyright is a compromise that maximizes the social welfare, people give-up their natural right to copy and share for a limited time so that more culture is created. Of course, once the system was set in motion, the holders of valuable works had a very strong motive to exert political pressure to extend the copyright to absurd lengths and push the notion of "intelectual property" at face value, instead of the original social compromise. No one was left to fight for the public domain and now we have these huge dynastic corporations that are strongly anticompetitive, using warchests of past works that new creators haven't yet amassed. If not for the internet and long tail consumption it enabled by lowering entry barriers, a few companies would own all comercial culture.

Even 14 years is an eternity in our fast-moving world… how about 4 years.

I disagree with the premise that the company could be an author. It's the employer of the authors, commissioning them to create something. I'd call Disney the copyright holder.

Walt Disney was an actual person and one of the founders of what became The Walt Disney Company.

Yes? Companies are made up of people and have founders who are "actual people". He also acted as an artist in various positions within his company (producer, actor, director, writer, animator). On the whole, his copyrights were owned by the company, though. He died in 1966, and that has no bearing on when copyrights owned by the Walt Disney Company will expire.

Who, specifically, is that 1928 copyright still encouraging to create new media? How does it benefit society more to have insanely-long copyright terms than it would to free up creations earlier for riffs, remixes, and so on?

My point was that copyright is not going away after the holder dies if the IP is transferred to a company.

And my point was that it shouldn't be that way.

IBM can't patent anything if none of the inventors sign on. Copyright can be the same.

This kind of rhetoric is quite tiresome, please don't.

This rhetoric might be tiresome except for the FACT that it is so devastatingly true. A significantly different copyright legal framework might be defensible but the current system is simply laws bought by the highest bidder

This kind of complaint is quite tiresome. Please don't.

Seriously, I tire of this notion that discussion must be dry and boring. Holding discussion hostage to "don't say anything that might offend, police your tone, and say everything as plainly and factually as possible"-type rules allows intellectually dishonest participants to game the system, i.e. bullshit asymmetry. Clever use of rhetoric is an effective tool for highlighting disingenuous arguments. In this age of information overload, we need it.

He's not wrong, though.

Yes, he is right of course. The "mock surprise" way of delivering a point isn't at all conductive to a discussion though.

The point I was replying to was either equally flippant, or it was incredibly naive. I am assuming someone on HN, posting about copyright, is the former, not the latter. If the person was literally so naive to believe that the only way for a creator to be paid for their work is to have the copyright system we currently have, then I apologize for my tone.

@make3: I think you're fine to have that opinion and I think its reasonable (despite your downvotes). I'm going to +1 you because you are truly contributing an important opinion to the discussion and you shouldn't be downvoted for that.

The main issue is that "Artists to get paid for their work" seems to work against copyright in many respects. Consider CD Project Red, which has DRM-free downloads on Good ol Games. Basically all modern copyright protection schemes are effectively outlawed on the GoG platform and yet "Witcher 3" manages to do incredibly well. (As well as many other games on the GoG platform)

In contrast, the heavy-handed approach with DRM and Lootboxes on Steam and whatnot seems to be failing hard at capturing audiences and letting people feel like they're actually contributing to the artists / creators of various works.


Another model: the Patreon model, seems to be the #1 source of new upstarts around the internet. Youtube Stars and high-quality content like "Smarter every day", and also lots of... unsavory... lower quality content... gets paid through the Patreon model (which is wholly independent to copyright).

You can destroy copyright tomorrow, and ALL Patreon stars (comic-artists, Youtube stars, minor video game developers) will continue to be paid for their work.

Even in the music industry: it seems like "gigs" are the main way for bands to make money. Some money is made from iTunes / Amazon downloads, but most of that money goes to Sony (or other Publishers). Not the artist themselves.

As such, the general feeling is that "copyright protects the Corporations", not the artists. Corporations deserve a cut of course: middle men are necessary in a lot of fields. But I think almost everyone feels like the current copyright system provides too much benefit to the middle-men, and not enough benefits to the artist.

You mean, it allows corporations to make money. Actual artists derive most of their income either from salaries, or are paid for performances.

I agree it once was a good thing, but not anymore. It once was a good compromise where we gave up our right to share for a limited time to incentivize the distribution of works. This was a good compromise as 'sharing' at the time was very hard (required hand copying or a printing press). But today it is a terrible compromise as not only is distribution no longer a problem, they have stretched limited-time out so far as to be meaningless.

Unfortunately that is rarely the case especially in the US.

You are probably right that individual users won't be pursued but that's more of a political issue than a legal one -- torrenting via such a big site is certainly not legal. Even though the new 2013 criminal law indeed allows for downloading and uploading (this part is new) if no income is generated -- but you are missing some very important words which are there ("indirectly" and "income" -- not profit!) and some which are not. Be very careful with legal texts, the wording carefully and deliberately omits mentioning whose income it is -- the tracker site you are using generates income via ads and donations.

How do I know it's deliberate? Because some twenty years ago it was me who informed the Hungarian public about downloading being legal if no income was generated -- even if upload was not --- in a series of articles in Chip Magazin after a very long interview with Artisjus (the Hungarian collective rights management agency) and they have had at least a significant role in wording the copyright law then (if you would want to be a less careful journalist you would even accuse them writing it) and I'd bet anything they have had ... some ... input into the current law as well.

Do note the tracker sites themselves are illegal, this has been established last summer by the highest court in the EU. http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&doc... (change the doclang argument to HU to read it in Hungarian).

When I briefly was a subscriber to FREE internet in France, I was amused to see that their cable box came with a Bittorrent client enabled by default, despite some strong anti-piracy laws on the books in France.

Free (aka Online.net, aka Scaleway) also offers a uTorrent with web ui in their distro installer for their servers, out of the box.

The blank media tax is probably a compensation (i.e. not a tax) for the right to do private copies of legally acquired media. At least, this is what it is in France.

At least in Belgium, that right has existed for ages without the compensation on blank media (cassettes, VHS tapes, ...). When they introduced the tax it was quite explicitly stated that it was a compensation for illegal copying.

Why I, who never use my CD/DVDs for copying anything but homemade content, have to pay for someone else's illegal copying is not clear to me. Especially since the tax doesn't change anything for the person who is making the copy - it's still illegal.

I agree on the hypocrisy of that system.

In Poland, downloading movies, music and books (but not software) as a regular person is completely legal. What is not legal is distributing them, so you have to make sure to disable uploading in your torrent client.

Of course, that'll slow down your torrents a lot, as leech detection does exist and most clients will punish pure leechers.

Kind of ironic that they are using the law to enforce bad behavior.

There's one caveat that's often missed: downloading pirated content is illegal nowhere (at least, nowhere that I'm aware of). The violation of copyright comes in distribution, which is to say uploading. The industry stopped its lawsuit programs against individuals in part because they found it very difficult to actually prove copyright infringement.

Putting Kodi under "Streaming Piracy" is pretty inflamitory. Kodi isn't there to enable streaming piracy. (There are non-offical plugins that do that, but they've made many announcements about Kodi's stance on Piracy)

Yup, a lot of piracy-oriented products use Kodi e.g. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/five-suspects-ar... But putting Kodi itself on the list is like putting Xerox on a list of elementary-school textbook piracy companies.

But let's be honest, 99.99% of Kodi and Plex use is purely for pirated content. Otherwise, I'm not sure where everyone is getting all these non DRM digital downloads.

And most aren't using special plugins with Kodi, they just use Kodi to play their content they get from torrents and Usenet.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I only use Plex for format-shifting DVDs I've purchased. While this may be a violation of the DMCA's prohibition against breaking copy protection, it is not piracy or even actionable copyright infringement.

I knew I wasn't the only one. Once I have a disc in hand I'm going to handle it once, get it on the NAS and watch it on any device in my house without thinking about the media that it was purchased on. Throw an old laptop SSD, a raspberry pi and a USB wifi into the mix and you can stream your collection while driving across the country.

I have little kids who can't be trusted to keep physical media from being damaged. :-D

In UK this is tortuous again, having been made specifically allowed.

Apparently people watching DVDs they've purchased somehow harms the public good. Yay, go Tories!

I would ask that unless you have solid statistics, please do not assume this. I feel it is incredibly disrespectful to the developers who put out a great product that is legal and people legally use. Like other comments, I use Plex to format shift my legally purchased DVDs and CDs onto a media server. I also use it to legally DVR OTA TV.

There are also countries outside of the USA in which format shifting DVDs is explicitly legal (France for example).

Granted, it's a guess. And 99.99 is hyperbole. But if I had to make a real guess, I'd say more than 90% of kodi installs are used for piracy.

Sure, there is a contingent of people using it to rip their own movies, but if that was really a core usage of Kodi, it would be a core feature. But it isn't. If you rip DVDs or bluerays, you have to integrate third party software.

What is a core feature of Kodi? Grokking large numbers of video files that use usenet/torrent naming standards as well as a nice API that virtually all torrent clients integrate with.

Ripping physical media for personal use is not piracy despite what the MPAA would have you believe.

Yea but who goes through the trouble of ripping blu-rays to put them on plex?

My home setup is entirely digital. Just a Shield Android TV attached to the back of a TV. I don't have any spinning disc players anymore. All discs are ripped, put on my NAS, and served with Plex.

<chimes in> Same here. I still have all my physical CDs from the past 25-odd years but they are in sitting in boxes after being ripped. 99% my "TV watching" is time-shifted using the Shield, with a combination of streaming and downloaded stuff. I have weaned myself off of all physical media except for vinyl records (don't ask - it's a hobby). I wired my house with Cat5e and everything lives on a fat XFS formatted RAID array.

Now that I have a streaming subscription to Tidal (CD quality) I find very little reason to look to alternative music sources. With Amazon Prime the same goes for a lot of TV and movies. But for niche stuff there will always be torrent sites.

Speaking only for myself, blocking commercials is probably the biggest motivator for myself in seeking DVD sets and/or series of TV shows. Once you have stopped watching "live TV" you'd be surprised how sensitive you become commercials blasting every 10 minutes. Kind of like turning off your ad blocker (I honestly don't know how people survive the web without those things). I'm willing to pay for the "privilege" of not being yelled at every 10 minutes...

In the UK, we get three or four per hour on the most popular commercial networks. We record everything we want to watch on a Humax just so we don't have to suffer the ads, and pause for a piss, drink, or surf as and when. Or rewind parts we didn't pay enough attention to. Or skip bad segments. I wouldn't bother otherwise. I'm sure it's provider dependent, but US shows appear to have ads every 5mins, and that looks like torture.

I do, because I only have to find the disk once to rip it. From then on I don't have to get off the couch!

Except that is a DMCA violation and just as illegal as downloading from a torrent site. Although, I would say, a morally superior option.

People who get busted for torrents are charged with commercial-scale distribution, because torrents upload as well as download. It's not at all the same thing as ripping your own disc.

Edit: I mean yes, it's technically illegal but I've never heard of anyone being charged for personal use. And if it did happen the penalty would be a lot smaller because the damage done would be the price of a new blu-ray.

I have been 100% digital media (we're talking movies, music, PS3 games, PS4 games, Nintendo Switch games, iOS app store, Mac app store, and Steam/Origin Client/GOG on PC) for over 10 years now. Maybe even 15.

This is where things are going IMHO.

Sometimes this has forced me to spend more money on drives/other storage (for example, I manually upgraded both my PS3 and PS4 to the largest capacity drives they support). And I have a NAS with a bunch of drives in it. Worth it, IMHO.


Most publicly available pirated content is terrible quality anyway. If there are shows and movies you really love it's worth it to make yourself a high quality rip. Emby/Plex are super convenient, especially playlists. Who wouldn't want their own private streaming service with all the content they love. The discs sit in the basement as disaster recovery.

I don't know where you are looking, but I have no problem getting fully digital rips of current run TV shows in 720p/1080p that are wonderful - excelled only by BluRay rips from the box-sets when they come out.

Most have no problem getting "remux" versions of movies too. Which is the raw digital copy from the Blueray, so of equal quality.

I do! And my parents and brothers and sisters families do, too. And once the DRM is gone we can share from each other in ways that we find ethical (these are the same people that I'd happily lend a physical Bluray disc to).

That'd be me. It's almost meditative.

<raises hand>

(Well, added to my iTunes library, actually, but - you know.)

As a Kodi, Plex, iTunes, Windows Media Center, etc. user I've converted hundreds of movies, CDs, and TV shows into a format and library that easily moves countries and continents. It has been that way for me since I installed XBMC on the original Xbox.

> But let's be honest, 99.99% of Kodi and Plex use is purely for pirated content. Otherwise, I'm not sure where everyone is getting all these non DRM digital downloads.

Do you count digitizing my existing DVD collection with Handbrake "piracy"? I don't.

Nobody does (or should)-- it's not copyright infringement.

It is in multiple jurisdictions; please be careful to be specific if you're talking about a limited geography.

In the us it is illegal. Dmca violation since virtually all DVD and Blu-ray has DRM these days.

Sometimes people group it with piracy since technically it's a DCMA/DRM violation

> But let's be honest, 99.99% of Kodi and Plex use is purely for pirated content.

While you're grouping them in that category, why not put Microsoft Windows Media Center, XBox Media Center, and Playstation Media Center, and Apple TV in that category as well.

Sure, but Plex and Kodi are geared for library and collection organization. They take your files and parse filenames based on common naming patterns used in Usenet and torrent sites. Then create a beautiful collection from them.

The one off video players are more likely used for home videos or one off video files.

They're just players though. Are you going to get onto VLC or mpv because they majority of their users play pirated mkv files?

They aren't just players. They are way more than that. They are specifically made to organize and display large collections of movies and TV shows. VLC or wmp doesn't have an integration with IMDb to download all the titles, descriptions and cover art for movies based on their Usenet/torrent standard naming conventions.

I'm not saying there aren't plenty of legal uses for Kodi and Plex, I'm just saying that people aren't paying for a Plex pass or spending countless hours on Kodi to catalog their personal home videos.

Neither program is even well suited to that. There isnt even an easy to use interface on either for including custom content.

But drop in a file names the.big.bang.theory.s05e11.720p.brrip.mkv and they both know exactly what to do.

A few people I know just check out movie from the local Library on DVD and Blueray, rip them and then watch them from Plex.

Which does fall under the umbrella of piracy.

Yep, but the motivation may be simply one of convenience. My DVD player loops the menu all night long if you happen to dose off - and it's a struggle to get up and stop it. Even selecting and starting a movie on a DVD can be a trial.

If that is illegal, then I am breaking the law when I modify a computer program for personal use.

As far as I am aware, if they are not distributing their changes, there is no copyright violation.

I'd be interested to see what laws they are violating.

You're mistaken. The clue is in the name, you commit tortuous infringement when you copy without permission.

It is the copying that is the tort. Distribution is a separate tort/crime.

You don't mention your jurisdiction but this is common to international law and applies in almost all countries.

I'm reading a tiny bit into the comment so let me state it plainly:

> A few people I know just check out movie from the local Library on DVD or Bluray, rip them and then watch them from Plex, [and then return the DVD or Bluray without deleting the ripped copy].

This is textbook piracy.

Again when it comes to the USA copyright law, it is about distribution.

A person who copies a specific work and does not distribute it is not breaking the law as far as I am aware.

That is why I'd be interested in seeing what laws have been broken.

It's certainly a DMCA violation if you broke any DRM to make that copy. That does not require distribution.

It's not piracy at all.

If they watch the movie again without a license then it would be copyright infringement.

Assuming they live in a jurisdiction that allows format shifting they've not made a copy without a license or right to do so.

I use plex to share home movies which were ripped from DVD (and converted earlier from VHS) 100% legally (although the MPAA is probably trying to make it illegal to record home movies these days too /s)

Home videos is an edge case use for Kodi and Plex. They have built in integration with services like IMDb for goodness sake. They don't even have good interfaces for namings and cataloging home videos. Getting custom stuff into Plex is basically kind of hacky. Not nearly as easy as dropping in a movie and letting it sync all the info from imdb automatically.

Kodi is the only way I've managed to get my HD HomeRun cablecard adapter to work for my local TV channels through Comcast. So it's not purely pirated content...

We're using Emby to play OTA recorded (via HDHomeRun) 2018 Olympics coverage because we don't want to stay up all night to watch it. We do this for all the OTA television shows we'd like to watch. It works out really well for us.

I don't think so. Would youtube account for less than 0.01 % av Kodi use?

Ya, probably so. YouTube is not even an officially supported service for Kodi. You have to install a 3rd party plugin.

Besides ripping owned physical media, I've also used Kodi to watch OTA broadcast TV that I've recorded via software from a HDHomerun tuner.

Back in my day we ripped dvds to our systems.

I use mine exclusively for the DVDs and BRays I've ripped from my collection. No more scratches!

I'm not sure how you can claim honesty and then immediately pull that statistic out of thin air.

The article is on a site called "Plagiarism Today," so they may not be entirely unbiased on piracy issues.

Seems to be down. Their CDN (distil[0]), which bills itself as a "Bot mitigation" company, shows a CAPTCHA to the Wayback Machine archiver[1], effectively making it useless.

[0]: https://www.distilnetworks.com/

[1]: https://web.archive.org/web/20180212161645/https://www.plagi...

Yeah, it's almost like they should use some sort of peer-to-peer distribution system to allow scalable distribution of their content...

Reminded me of the Coral CDN [1] project. Shame it's dead now.

[1] http://www.coralcdn.org/

Wow, I had no idea this went away (although that would explain why I never see that style of link anymore)

What's more interesting to me is using BitTorrent not for pirated movies but as a content distribution system enabling more free services like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a super heavily visited website, so must pay a lot for hosting. They manage to pay for it all with donations, but other sites can't.

For example: What if Open Access journals used peer to peer for nearly-free content distribution? That'd allow the open access publication fee to be basically eliminated, and what costs are left could be handled by donations.

> What's more interesting to me is using BitTorrent not for pirated movies but as a content distribution system enabling more free services like Wikipedia.

That should be much higher in Wikimedia's TODO list, IMHO. There is a browser extension called WikipediaP2P for chrome, but if I'm not mistaken the author is not affiliated with the Wikimedia foundation and it's only for chrome.

I donated money once to the foundation so now I receive emails from times to times, asking for more money. It nags me when I read the claim that they need money to pay for servers and yet they don't seem to make any effort to distribute Wikipedia in a P2P way.

But do note that hosting is actually only a very small percentage of where money goes.

In 2017, Wikimedia received ~87M in donations while only ~2M were spent on hosting. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/d/da/Wikim...

What the hell? Why do they need my money if they have 50 Million dollars in cash or cash equivalents? Am I reading that right?

And who the hell are their employees that are getting paid 33 million dollars a year? How many employees are there?

EDIT: Reading a related comment's linked OP-ed, it appears that the Wikimedia Foundation spends a lot of money on non-wikipedia things. That is disturbing to me. I would like to donate to Wikipedia, not Wikimedia. Wikimedia may or may not be worthwile (I'm simply not familiar), but it isn't where I want my money to go.

They have ~300 employees. So 33M is not a crazy price to pay. ~110k USD/employee/year. Considering the industry they're in (information and tech) this is totally reasonable.

Otherwise no big deal that it may or may not fit your values to donate to Wikimedia.

Not crazy, no, but surprising that they have ~300 employees.

Somone I went to college work works there

https://datproject.org/ with https://beakerbrowser.com/ or the upcoming Firefox extension is the most currently-promising project in this space.

A bit similar to Opera Unite circa 2009:


> That should be much higher in Wikimedia's TODO list, IMHO

Wikipedia's TODO list has only one item: beg for more funding

I volunteer myself and some of my servers to run software to support Wikipedia, Sci-Hub, The Pirate Bay etc if I can do it and have some safeties in place: - Everything encrypted all the time, I have none of the keys - ... I guess I'd just want to be reassured I'm legally and practically safe.

Are there any projects like this already?

In another thread someone mentioned PopcorntimeXSci-hub which sounds about right with maybe some Tor sprinkled in, and I have seen http://sciencefair-app.com/ (Encouraging but very early).

Would you run encrypted hosting for Wikipedia|Sci-Hub|PirateBay?

Built on the dat project https://datproject.org/ - my little finger tells me dat will take bittorrent's P2P place in the not too distant future.

It's written on NodeJS. I have a very hard time believing in a systems project written in JavaScript.

Advertising generally scales linearly with distribution and bandwidth is cheap. You can make money serving 100 Megabyte files files with a few banner ads, so I don't think bit torrent really enables much in that context.

You're right that bandwidth is cheap, so in some ways BitTorrent was made (partially) obsolete simply by availability of cheap bandwidth. But ads are not necessarily desirable for something like Open Access. And generally speaking, I think we should encourage empowered decentralization wherever possible.

One thing a peer-to-peer architecture for Open Access distribution could enable would be the ability to put a whole bunch of experiment data and supporting documentation online for cheap/free as part of the journal article. Part of the reason it's difficult to replicate some scientific results is lack of access to the data and poor documentation. A series of photos and video of the experiment, access to the full experimental data set was never practical for traditional journals, is expensive to do with traditional Open Access as the researchers would have to pay the hosting fees (indirectly as part of the publication fee), but would be trivial with a peer-to-peer distribution model for the data. It'd also allow a really easy and cheap way for enthusiasts to contribute to science by acting as seeds for non-profit open access journals.

From personal experience, I produce tens of gigabytes of supporting data, photos, and video for each experiment that never gets published, in part because justifying the hosting fee is difficult. Peer-to-peer distribution of this data as part of an open access journal article would make it a lot easier.

Doesn't the supporting data etc. go into an Institutional Repository?:


But you would have to host it somewhere, if only to seed

This is practically the thesis of IPFS.

It's a shame Big Browser doesn't have any intention of supporting torrents as a standard protocol.

Fortunately, new browsers such as Brave are already working on supporting IPFS and other decentralized protocols.

I believe they Firefox has opened up to answering ipfs URLs in the near future.

As long as channels like The CW will play 5 minutes of ads (half of them being for The CW) for every 10 minutes of "The Flash," torrenting will never die. Sorry, but that's fucking ridiculous.

As long as I learn that a show I wanted to watch today on Netflix was taken away by Netflix yesterday, torrenting will never die.

Especially if you use a neat service like https://bitport.io/ and/or a VPN like https://speedify.com/

>Cause 5: VPN Usage

>The real problem here is that there’s no way to know just how much of VPN traffic is growing or how much of it is BitTorrent. Though different traffic studies look at the internet from different vantage points, some simply would not be able to see VPN-obscured BitTorrent traffic.

I'm on a VPN all the time, and torrenting without a VPN, to me, is living on the edge. I'd constantly wonder: how long before I receive a stern letter? Every day would be a desperate roll of the dice. I'd turn to alcoholism to dull my anxiety. That kind of life's not for me. So the hundreds of gigs in shows and movies I torrent (can't purchase those anywhere without DRM, can you? And paying for them indefinitely to get them [if the licensing doesn't run out] with streaming compression seems silly instead of just downloading them once) is obfuscated! Yay!

At least sometimes I'm grateful that I'm living in 3-rd world country, where most of the people including police don't realize that copyright even exists (every Windows XP in police I saw seemed to be pirated, LoL). I can use torrents at 1 GB/s without any fear. I don't have much choice anyway, legal services usually completely out of touch with their insane prices and provide very limited selection, so they don't even close to compete. I don't know anyone who would pay $10 for album, it's ridiculous pricing. Make it $0.01 for song and someone might pay that for easy of use.

> I'm on a VPN all the time, and torrenting without a VPN, to me, is living on the edge. I'd constantly wonder: how long before I receive a stern letter?

That's really a USA thing.

Yeah, I suspect something like that. I'd be much more worried about a (relatively cheap) VPN provider ratting me out than my ISP.

Or most of Europe (France, Germany, ...).

While it's true that BitTorrent as a protocol has significantly fallen out of favor as the go-to technology for John Q. Pirate's needs, there are still many niche torrent sites that stay alive by differentiating on quality and community.

Most of these sites are invite-only, and each tend to specialize in a specific type of media. One site might accept only movies, another TV shows, a third comic book scans, and a fourth might be the go-to repository for textbooks and e-learning materials. Not all that into blockbuster movies? Just join a tracker that specializes in older and more obscure films.

On many of these sites, the material uploaded often includes many more choices in format and quality than is commercially available. A movie, for instance, might offer the option to download a 1080p encode in various video and container formats, or even a full bit-for-bit rip of the BluRay disc. This level of detail and dedication to the pirate media also tends to spin up a community within the site. After all, the people who dig through bargain bins of comic books to scan and upload them (or who scan the big Marvel/DC releases each week) are probably a lot more interested in sticking around and discussing their favorite comics than the drive-by downloader who is only interested in getting his hands on the latest Walking Dead issue.

It's an interesting ecosystem, and while commercial products have caught up greatly on the convenience side I think there is a way to go still on baking in quality, variety, and community.

> BitTorrent as a protocol has significantly fallen out of favor as the go-to technology for John Q. Pirate's needs...

Out of curiosity, what would you say is the go-to technology for pirates now?

For me, at least, I still use torrent//magnet technology on The High Seas.

I'm not sure if this is because I am yet again unaware of What's Next until it's too late, or yet again Simply Stubborn on what tech I use, or whatever Option Three is this time.

Rather than search a public torrent site and download files themselves, I see most people I ask using streaming apps like Kodi plugins or streaming websites to watch content like movies and TV. Some sites, like defunct Popcorntime, used torrent protocols in the background but a knowledge/use of torrents isn't really required as much these days. At least among my experience talking to family/friends/coworkers.

These communities are my favorite on the internet. One of the most insane things is how active the userbase is (granted, inactives are pruned.) But on my favorite trackers, it's common to see 33% of users logged in within 24h, something like 50-60% in the past week, and ~75% in the past month.

The private tracker world is in decline too though - these communities are dying off faster than new ones can be founded.

The article claims that p2p traffic is dropping and quotes percentage numbers which appear to be a percent of total web traffic. This doesn't actually tell me if p2p traffic is dropping. It only tells me that its not growing with - what I would expect is a growing pie of internet traffic.

Furthermore, I would consider the source (plagiarismtoday.com) when choosing to trust some of the items in this article. I've never heard of them - but my initial inclination is to believe they have an agenda.

BitTorrent is going nowhere. Some uses are being - temporarily or not, we'll see - less popular. It remains critical.

So show actual decline the article would have to use some metric based on absolute bitorrent bandwidth. Instead it uses percentages of total traffic. So it could just be showing that Nefix has gotten popular, not anything about bitorrent.

Most of the hard core bittorrent users have just switched to using seedboxes. They briefly mention VPNs at the bottom.

Especially since we know that Netflix has grown to be a ridiculous percentage of all traffic

yeah I take issue with the way the stats are presented in this article, and I hoped that more people would be saying it in the comments. a smaller share doesn't directly mean smaller usage, it might as well mean bigger usage of services (which we know increased) while p2p remained constant. the fact that it hasn't grown with the rest of the internet doesn't mean that it isn't as big as it used to be

I think the main takeway is that people not necessarily want it for free, they just want it convenient.

Why would I buy a game in the store when I can just illegally download it? Why would I pirate games when I can easily get them on Steam? Why would I download a series when I can watch it on Netflix? Why would I try hard to pay for my non-netflix series when I can just download it? Why would I go out and buy a CD when I can just illegally download it. Why would I download MP3's when all is available on Spotify anyway.

From this reasoning, I think the future might hold: why would I open a bank account and do slow wire transfers when I can just use cryptocurrency?

Because if someone steals your money from a bank or you lose your PIN there is still a way to get your money back. If you lose your private key or someone steals it you can't get your money back with crypto.

The article concludes that:

> The internet is now dominated by legitimate choices for video streaming.

I really, really would love that to be the case, so that copyright holders stop freaking out about their presumed losses due to pirated content, and would just leave the pirates be.

I absolutely agree.

I personally really love the patron model (e.g. Patreon) where people who have the money and care about something can promote it for all of humanity.

As a (relatively) poor kid I pirated a lot because I didn't have a good alternative. But now that I'm better off, I'm really happy to pay and support content creators while allowing others who are not as lucky as me to get it for free.

Patreon has been getting worse over time as people have explored what it is capable of (both on the corporate and user side).

At first, it was just a recurring paypal where subscription got you access to a private forum.

Then creators started putting development materials and bloopers on it.

Then extras and previews.

Now a lot of patreons are just turning into paysites. All the content is on patreon, all of it behind tiered paywalls. Its no different than technology we had in abundance in 2004.

The difference is that with paysites the owners of the site handled the payment processor. Now those creators have forfeited their autonomy for the (probably worthwhile as web centralization has shown) increased exposure and convenience of being on THE recurring payments site. Now one corporate entity can arbitrarily kill someones business on their own whims while taking a cut of all their fans contributions.

From the article:

> The real problem here is that there’s no way to know just how much of VPN traffic is growing or how much of it is BitTorrent.

That's a show-stopper problem for the entire article. All of the claims made in the article hinge on the idea that BitTorrent use is undergoing a "Long, Slow Decline". But the author provides no way to back up that claim and buries the lede suggesting why: they don't have the data to back up the claim in their chosen title. The article is largely a joke, a collection of baseless speculation, propaganda (including uncritical use of "piracy", "Legitimate Alternatives")[1], no awareness of why people share data via BitTorrent, and nothing that indicates an awareness of how laws differ around the world (an American bias is unacceptable since the Internet, BitTorrent use, and alleged activity are all global). Sadly some of the feedback on this group echoes the same sentiment: claims about what most people do without posting any sources to back up the claims.

On top of all that, the article is hosted on a service that could use a more resilient underlying infrastructure. As one poster here pointed out, it's as if the article should have been hosted on a service that lets people pass around verbatim copies of the article.

[1] See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html on how these and other terms are unwise to use without explaining what you mean. One of the giant risks is conveying an undisclosed viewpoint that colors your take on everything else: "unauthorized copying" or "prohibited copying" could have been used instead of "piracy", for example. I'd add "legitimate" to that list of words for the same reason: the word implies that such copying is illegitimate where it is illegal. But as that gnu.org article also points out, "[L]aws don't define right and wrong. Laws, at their best, attempt to implement justice. If the laws (the implementation) don't fit our ideas of right and wrong (the spec), the laws are what should change.". If we're to have a reasonable discussion of this, we ought to admit to our views and speak of them clearly, not hide behind propaganda without ever explicitly coming to terms with their implications.

Kim Dotcom on Twitter: "How to stop piracy: 1. Create great content 2. Make it easy to buy 3. Same day global release 4. Works on any device 5. Fair price" || https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/380757105298268160

I hope torrents stay strong. No way I could've cultivated my love for films and music without Karagarga and What/Redacted, respectively.

I have a theory that the current generation growing up with their young artists only working through streaming platforms are going to have a tough time in 20 years reliving songs they loved of their youth because the streaming platforms they listened to them on will be long dead and no one bothered pirating it and sharing it.

Case in point it's super easy for me to find discogs of even unusual artists I grew up with on torrent sites. But if I search for artists mentioned a lot in the indie music press today I really struggle to find anything on the torrent sites.

I don't trust corporations to look after their own cultural artefacts. Karagarga is a beautiful example, passionate individuals will mash together video from one movie release, audio from another and subtitles from another to create a competent release of a film because no perfect copy exists. They'll do it purely for their love of the source material.

> I have a theory that the current generation growing up with their young artists only working through streaming platforms are going to have a tough time in 20 years reliving songs they loved of their youth because the streaming platforms they listened to them on will be long dead and no one bothered pirating it and sharing it.

This is what happened to a lot of the songs by amateur musicians on mp3.com when it shut down in 2001, and that was all downloadable. I still have a few songs I downloaded from mp3.com that I have not seen hosted anywhere else. For streaming this has been an ongoing problem with SoundCloud for a long time. A lot of musicians delete their accounts or get blocked, move on with their life, and there is not a download option so all that is left are "check out this cool track" dead links.

This is ironic when you consider that a lot of mp3 blogs of the 2008-2011 era were about "rediscovering" amateur cassette and little known vinyl releases from the 1970s and 1980s.

oh boy RIP what </3

> Better Legitimate Alternatives

By no way can a vendor-locked, regionally-policied, DRMed thing be considered a "better alternative", IMHO. I would rather pay twice (or even more) the price of the legitimate alternatives to just legalize the usage of unlimited, no-nonsence, DRM-free standard-format files exchange if only this was legally possible.

1,2,5 strike me as by far the most impactful. Legal alternatives are much more prevalent and convenient than ever before. By the same token, people used to streaming from YouTube or Netflix look for the same experience in their piracy, and pirate streams offer that. For people who want a collection of files to pore over, a VPN is a cheap and reasonable service most in that demo will be familiar with.

Finally, a lot of piracy around the world took the form of downloading files and burning them onto discs form physical distro, which has also changed for the most part.

I think it's important to separate:

* People who just want to watch "something", often while multitasking

* People who like a show / movie, and want to own it for future re-watching

"Watch something" has vastly improved. There are huge collections of content available online, TV/movies from all eras, Youtube's "amateur" video content, Twitch streams, and of course social media as a passive entertaining time-sink.

But the experience for fans, in my opinion, hasn't improved much.

The choices are: buy disks, or pay for multiple subscriptions to content owners (eg HBO Go for Game of Thrones). Otherwise you depend on a subscription that may drop content in the future, or a purchased stream (eg Amazon instant video) with variable performance and online-only availability. I'd argue we regressed - disks and disk players are more expensive, while streams are added costs if you want to buy the disk. It's also getting harder to rip disks for personal archival. I still regularly pirate movies, even after purchasing the movie - stealing is sadly the easiest way to get a non-DRM digital copy.

That having been said, torrenting in some ways seems healthier than ever. On a median retail connection I can download an entire season in 30 minutes while I'm getting ready some food, or the first episode in 5 minutes and get started watching. When I was a kid and still used torrents regularly, it wasn't like that. Much of that has to do with better connections and cheap bandwidth, but it's a fact of use nonetheless.

In short, I'd have killed 5 or 10 or 15 years ago for the torrent speed/quality/content that's available today. That says something.

Site is down, but I noticed recently that the bit torrent client is looking more and more like 90s malware every time I download it. It has been streaming commercials for a while now. Ive decided to look for an alternative client next time I need to install one

I suspect you're referring to μTorrent, which has been descending into awful spam-infested garbage for a long time now. As another user suggested, give qbittorrent a go.

qbittorrent is the best out there for windows imo. my only complaint is that it seems to have no dpi awareness whatsoever.

Check out PicoTorrent. It's very very lightweight and simple. And DPI aware.


that actually looks fantastic. thanks for the recommendation!

Transmission is pretty good. Lightweight and looks same on Linux/Windows

If you're using uTorrent to stream movies, I suggest using [Soda Player](https://www.sodaplayer.com/). It has no ads and lets you stream the movie instead of waiting for it to finish downloading

qbittorrent is pretty good

rtorrent https://github.com/rakshasa/rtorrent

Plain text, runs in a terminal (which means screen or tmux allows for remote, headless, operation).

No ads, just torrenting.

I've used transmission before, its a bit basic vs bittorrent/utorrent.

That's because it does everything you need. It hasn't had much in the way of updates for years.

There are quite a few open source clients, which you may inspect before compiling and using

It's interesting to me that all these people who don't use BitTorrent themselves are commenting on how they've "over heard" how it is mostly being used for this or that. It is easy to say people should pay for content when you live in a high GDP country. When you earn 200-300$ per month you can't afford to pay 10$ for a movie or thousands of dollars for software.

You're getting downvoted because HN.

I'd pay for entertainment, if it was quick (streamed) and maybe per episode. Seems really easy to do. But no, it's either a whole season on outdated media in English (that includes foreign movies, it's always dubbed) or nothing. If it's geographically limited, I can't get it.

So, no, fuck you all, I'll torrent and more importantly, seed, as much as I can.

Even with the government cracking down on the Internet, torrents are still seemingly unscathed, so that's one good thing.

And if you can't afford it, well I'm of the opinion that you should still get it. This is how Windows and Word became the most used software in the world. Ultimately, brought more users than it lost.

This article fails to see the difference between streaming services and p2p downloading.

If I want to watch content more than once, I contribute to increased traffic every time I stream that content. In other words: Streaming = certain amount of traffic, every time content is viewed.

P2p downloaded content is usually downloaded once, but can be watched infinitely without touching the internet.

The article also fails to touch on the fact that the internet itself is now much more mainstream (especially globally) than it was in 2006.

Of course there's less torrent traffic today than there was in 2006. Streaming services are big for mainstream content that is being consumed by the mainstream. The non-mainstream continue to fill their increasingly cheaper storage devices with downloads. The difference being: they don't contribute to internet traffic every time they consume media.

Kind of renders the article moot for me..

It's still popular for anime. Sites like HorribleSubs or Nyaa make it a breeze to download and watch anime, without having to deal with crappy Flash players of anime streaming sites or having buffering hell because the site is having traffic problems. cough Crunchy Roll cough

I have a netflix subscription, but I download all movies from bittorrent, for three reasons:

1. Quality, especially audio, on many netflix movie I just cannot hear the voices. VLC is much better at mixing 5.1 to stereo for my speakers (not mentioning having multichannel when I watch on TV)

2. Being able to apply filters. I don't use many filters, but when I watch movie on my computers, I like to change the gamma of VLC, as my monitor is calibrated for color accuracy. In the browser, the color balance is wrong, I can adjust that in VLC without changing my monitor calibration.

3. Subtitles, I want subtitles on the black borders when possible. What I often do is applying a crop filter to have only one black border at the bottom and I place the subtitles in it.

Do you do this with VLC or another media player? I have a 16:10 monitor that often has space in the letterboxes for subtitles. I took the time to do this in VLC for a foreign TV series, but the next time I went to use subtitles it was broken and I didn't bother to tweak it. This really ought to be a built-in feature that just works™ without fiddling.

Actually, for subtitles, I use mpv.io with --video-align=-1 which is smart enough to place the subtitles at the right place.

This piece and its sources focus on the share of p2p and BitTorrent traffic as a percentage of the whole, which doesn't tell us anything about its absolute rise or decline. Of course its share is going to fall as other intensive types of traffic become popular.

In order to have torrents, someone has to buy the DVD or BluRay. If fewer people are buying that stuff, there are fewer torrents. Could be a factor? Only takes one person though for a given movie.

There is a trend now that the encodings are larger. A 110 minute movie can be anywhere from 5 to 10 gigabytes or more in full high def. Sometimes you can find newer movies in smaller sizes; sometimes not.

Downloading and storing that is inconvenient compared to streaming. It takes longer; less powerful mobile devices don't decode the large stuff very well; you may get skipping if you happen to view these huge downloads over shitty Wi-Fi in a crammed airspace.

An 0.8 to 1.5 gig download is still a reasonable alternative to streaming.

I was traveling back in January and crammed 16 movies into as many gigs of free space on the 32 gig SD card on my tablet for watching on planes and in hotel rooms. I did that by running almost each one of them through ffmpeg to get the bitrate down. In some cases I tweaked the resolution. In one or two of them, I re-coded the audio to a lower bit rate (256 kbps to 128: it wasn't a musical movie, WTF!) Almost no perceptible loss of quality; all perfectly watchable.

Pain in the butt to do that, though!

Basically, I have this theorem that two hours of a perfectly watchable movie with good sound do not require more than around 1.5 gigs of H265+AAC data. When I see larger sizes, I tend to become kind of reluctant to pull the download trigger.

They do not understand that it's just protocol and service. It's useful while it's handy in solving problems. Waiting for articles about HTTP declining in favour of HTTPs and TCP over UDP.

Does anyone know if there exists an updateable torrent which lists other torrents?

That is, a torrent using http://www.bittorrent.org/beps/bep_0046.html to keep an up to date archive of magnet links or something?

If not, does anyone if any of the major trackers offer an API to scrape all magnet links + tags? I don't want to take on the liability of publishing said tracker-torrent, but I can certainly write the software to make it easy.

BitTorrent serves a purpose even when unused, like nuclear weapons. All media companies know that if they put ridiculous hurdles in front of content consumption, piracy will pick back up.

Claiming about BitTorrent usage just on declining bandwidth doesn't makes a lot of sense. Since, now ISP has started caching things and using solutions like Torbox to enable their customers to enjoy torrents on high speed.

This might be affecting overall bandwidth numbers of bitTorrent. But from usage point of view, I absolutely do not see any decline. Programs like Popcorn time are actually phenomenal in terms of their UI/UX, thus it's getting adopted crazily.

To me, torrenting has become the new SMS. When Hangout, whatsapp, imo, and whatnot fail, I always resort to SMS which simply work.

I have access to netflix, amazon, and Youtube, but when they fail, in the most ridiculous ways, there is always the guarantee of torrents in the highest possible quality.

do we have a mirror? Its down for me.

How coincidental that a website about the decline of a P2P technology went down under heavy load

I pay for access to these services but they all require in browser DRM to watch. My media PC doesn't have any non-free stuff on it so I basically have to torrent the stuff I already pay for. It's super annoying but oh well...

That is one of the most poorly written articles I've ever read. Aside from the jarring punctuation marks littered throughout, why is there a Kodi logo next to "Streaming Piracy?"

Bittorrent is declining because the big mainstream stuff that people want is now after years available for convenient streaming. The industry has finally adapted.

If you want to read Ever17 bittorrent will aways be there keeping it available to mankind. Since I DO believe creators should be payed when possible I see this a win. Piracy for me was always about being a library of Alexandria. Not a way to steal the latest Hollywood trash.

Decline? I don't know about bittorrent as a client, but torrent use in general is very widespread and probably one the biggest sources of piracy

I still enjoy the integrated verification of bittorrent very much. No need for post download md5 check and retries.. just coast along comfortably.

The fact that companies can connect and see the IP of all downloaders is an issue.

A newer iteration needs better anonymity to become ubiquitous again.

It's only a problem in countries that enforce copyright laws fiercely, e.g. USA.

It's only a issue when there aren't laws preventing ISP's from handing over your information without a court order along with sane limits on how much a copyright holder can go after you for.

Movies and TV shows are a lot less watchable now. I'm not really as excited about the new block buster as I used to be. Maybe this is the perennial "I'm getting old and don't realize it" but I also understand box office and movie revenue to be down. Definitely steaming is a big source as well

For most people, convenience is king. Netflix etc. didn't have to compete on quality or catalogue size, only covenience. And they won. With that we lost some of the greatest collections of human culture ever assembled. Those were only available with BitTorrent.

Stremio with a popcorn time plugin is the new way to pirate movies. Convenience and performance is roughly on par with legal services like netflix. It's typically used under a vpn, so I'm curious about how popular it is... who uses/ or knows about people who use it?

I am learning Japanese. Ever since d-addict took down their torrent section. It was almost to impossible to find quality content with Japanese subtitles. I now rely on Netflix Japan, but the content is still very limited.

I tried looking for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, something I was 100% certain would be up on torrent sites. Couldn't find a single one. Ended up logging into the NBC Sports app and streaming it that way.

more interested in seeing what the younger demographic is doing. the legal alternatives are good, but with monthly services being offered by everything and everyone, i wonder if there will be some eventual pullback

The legal alternatives are a start. I wouldn't say they are good.

Outages, exclusive availability, time-delayed availability, poor quality transcodes and poor overall quality, and literally every damn service decided that $10/month is a good price.

Which it might be, for any one service. I don't want to start paying $10/month (or equivalant) for Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, Sportify, etc.

The legal alternatives are good? What a joke. That might be partially true in some parts of the world, but is plain wrong in most of the world.

I'm not really a fan of torrents anymore, got a two DMCA's a few years back.

Now I just xdcc stuff from various IRC networks or I just search via Google with "index of movie_name_here 720p mkv".

The most obvious is that people are more on phones today than on full-featured computers. You're not going to run p2p uploading on such a device. You're going to be streaming.

I hope bittorrent doesn't decline too much. A lot of open source software offloads their downloads to torrents to save space/bandwidth/etc and lower costs.

I'd gladly pay for a "Better Legitimate alternative" if there was one. Executing proprietary software and DRM are deal-breakers for me.

Always wanted to augment http to use BT as a transport, but with the rise of https I’m not sure that would even be possible any more.

Netflix stopped serving It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and now those torrents are really really popular =)

the answer is, #1 and #5. the "enforcement" and "demographics" reasons are bullshit. I've never heard of a "streaming pirate" site but keeping a long term connection open to a pirate entity's site seems like a crazy thing to do just from a browser exploit point of view.

It would be nice if we had substantial public funding of the arts and the results were free to copy.

P2P is alive and well on enterprise networks, with Kollective leading the pack.

Saving movies to disk doesn't make much sense. The files are huge, and rewatching is not that common. BitTorrent is great for music, sadly we lost what.cd to law enforcement.

Saving movies to disk makes a lot of sense - I like not having to rely on either a big company's services or library nor some sketchy, slow illegal streaming site. Not to mention a vast number of movies are not available for streaming illegally or legally in a convenient way.

If I download a movie I know it will always be available and work 100% of the time regardless of internet connection or money. If I delete it after watching, BitTorrent gives me a similar guarantee provided I can be online.

I don't use streaming, and it's interesting how when I go to someone else's house, I'll be like "It should be on Netflix" and it's not .. but it was a few years ago.

I recently met up with an old roommate who still keeps a NAS with TV shows and movies and he had tons and tons of stuff on there that you simply can't find anywhere. Lot's of old kids shows for his daughter, old stuff that you could only get on MySpleen.

With everyone moving to streaming and not having the wall of DVDs/BluRays/VHS tapes, we have lost something, but stuff isn't on streaming forever. Things rotate out, and fewer people are actually buying media. Even with eBooks, you're paying for a license to see that media for a limited use.

The major BitTorrent clients have an option to prioritize files pieces in-order, which works well for streaming with a player such as VLC or MPV.

I have 500 GB of disk and am barely using 100 GB. Files are huge compared to what? 1-2 GB seems tiny to me.

1-2GB doesn't cut it for a movie in the HD era. These days you're generally looking at 5-6GB for a passable 1080p rip, 8-10GB for close to Bluray quality, or as much as 50GB for 4K/HDR.

I know I'm not alone because the top seed for each title on the pirate bay is almost always either the 700mb or the 1-2GB version.

Yes, but the quality of those releases is utter crap. Bitrate massacre deluxe. Maybe you can save some dignity of the movie by using x265.

You're not alone. I intentionally download the 2nd highest quality file because I don't want to waste time downloading a humongous file that might actually slow down my PC when watching.

Yep low bitrate x265 movies, I saw some recent animated movies for about 250mb in 720p. Most live action TV show episodes are that size too.

>Saving movies to disk doesn't make much sense. The files are huge, and rewatching is not that common.

still, you can get much better quality (bitrate, not resolution) via torrents, which is why i don't use streaming sites.

The majority of people use Bittorrent to download movies/shows to watch once, and only once.

From what I overhear from discussions between download enthusiasts, a large fraction will even remain unwatched, just feeding a collector habit.

I mean it kinda makes sense; when you decide you want to watch a movie, you want to have multiple movies you haven't watched to choose from. This kinda requires that you download a lot of movies that you don't watch.

I don't see a ton of point in bittorrent for anything smaller than a movie file or Linux live-cd, at this point. I've got 250 mpbs down, and while I only ever get that much bandwidth from the speed-test sites, anything that is in the tens to low hundreds of megabytes downloads in seconds.

It's a far cry from the early days, when you'd start downloading an album of compressed mp3s on LimeWire, and hours later realize you got some pieces corrupted and they wouldn't play.

I like having a personal archive. I even download most of the YouTube videos I watch to make sure they're not lost forever.

>sadly we lost what.cd to law enforcement

Not really. The admins called it quits because they didn't feel like continuing.

what.cd has a spiritual successor that is fairly close to its former glory (redacted.ch)

you don't happen to have an invite for that?

This strikes me as an area where distributed apps on a blockchain could have a big impact.

Currently, top piracy options like torrent websites and Kodi addons constantly get taken down by the government (through methods described in this article).

But what happens if a distributed YouTube exists with every movie in pristine 1080p quality, that lives on a blockchain so the government can't shut it down or issue DMCA takedown requests?

You can't really put huge amounts of data on a Blockchain. That being said, I've wanted to start a distributed YouTube project, where every video you watch gets downloaded/cached and then reserved up. People running a browser plugin could stream movies off each other rather than from Google.

This would keep movies alive after take-down requests, but you'd need to ensure the video wasn't poisoned (someone broadcasting they have a video when it's actually something entirely different). You would need to hash the video and store the hash on the blockchain. If Youtube changes the video (removes audio) you'd need to keep multiple versions of that video on the chain and clients would vote to confirm that those hashes were legit for when that version was up.

You'd also want to have some system to let you know if videos you have are no longer on YouTube (incase you want to delete them or if they have illegal content) and videos could still disappear, but only after everyone who has a copy decides to stop hosting them.

It would totally violate YouTube's TOS, but it would be the start to a more robust, distributed and democratic video hosting ecosystem.

Bittorrent is already a distributed method of file sharing. How would a blockchain work any differently? You would still need people to run software on their computers that host the file.

The blockchain itself would be too expensive to store a large amount of data, so they would only be storing magnet links much like most tracker sites currently do.

Is anyone currently storing magnet links in a blockchain?

It seems like one of the more appropriate types of data to be storing on blockchains.

Why can't goverment DMCA requests work for blockchains? How is your suggestion much different than bittorrent? The goverment could just as easily take down links to the blockchain as they could takedown links to a torrent.

Exchanging trackers for pow isn't a real advantage. Especially for large datasets (Youtube) where a third party will have to index the blockchain for reasonable to access it.

Even more CO2 is released into the atmosphere and even more global warming happens.

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