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Show HN: movies.io — torrent search like it should be (movies.io)
550 points by nddrylliog 1067 days ago | 487 comments



I don't like it that much.

Yes, it's deadly simple, but what I actually like on sites like PirateBay or demonoid is the discussion below the torrent. Yes, it is sometimes idiotic and distracting, but if it's bad quality/a different movie/contains a virus, someone will mention that.

With your website, I have no clue at all what I am downloading. What is the format? How is the quality? Is it nuked? Is it DVDrip/camrip/webrip/...?

I don't know any of that from your site. I see just a link and filesize. Who knows what the file actually is. I personally find the quality more important than the number of seeders/leechers.

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Power users are not well served with this version of movies.io

Results are usually "pretty good", but that's nowhere satisfying for a connoisseur such as yourself.

We're working on that though, but we'd much rather have people talking about the movie than about the torrent. A movie is art, it's emotions, stories, parts of our childhood. Much more interesting than a bitrate, a codec, a PSNR level.

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That last part is true - and it's evident from your application that you give more weight to the movie than to the technical details. And it's good, in a way.

But in my opinion, even to a less powered user, it's still important to know if he is going to watch a DVD-rip or a russian-dubbed camrip.

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More importantly, it matters that the first result is a the cleanest rip possible in english.

We'll add a dropdown for alternative languages etc., and subtitles, but we got to breathe a little first. Lotsa things in the issue tracker.

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Also, I'd really like to see the full filename of the movies I download. They include a lot of useful information, such as resolution (720, 1080, ...), filetype (mp4, mkv, ...), source (DVD, DVDrip, TC, SCR, ...), and release (eztv, ettv, ...). That is crucial especially for movie torrents.

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We're working on a good way to extract those and display them in both a user-friendly and useful fashion. In the meantime, hover over the 'Download' link to get the full release name.

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Thanks for the tip!

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This is beautifully done and rather well integrated. But it needs a few things to be better; I need to be able to see the codec, instantly. If I'm stuck with a DVD rip, there's a huge difference between 600MB DivX and 600MB H264.

As for discussions, unless you have some new way to find movies (which would be really cool), it's more important to see the quality of the files we're downloading. Even allowing user ratings of the specific torrents would help.

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There are other places for discussing the movie as a whole: a torrent discussion should focus on the torrent IMO.

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This is the reason I won't be using it. I have a TPB Firefox search bar that I can type a movie title into, then press enter and get results that are sorted by most seeders. I then open a few of the top torrents and read the comments on them. Movies.io is pretty but I need to know what I'm downloading.

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☑ Massive market opportunity

☑ Tons of room for product innovation

☑ Potential for significant revenue

☐ Ability to do business without being sued out of existence.

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And that's why it's not a business. Just a temporary solution for movie lovers until content owners get their stuff straight.

In the meantime, it's still a great product building experience for us, even if we make $0 out of it.

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The problem is that you might not get to walk away scot-free from this even when you want to.

One thing I can gaurantee will help you: make no attempt whatsoever to profit from this. Don't put up any ads. Don't have any affiliate links. Profiting from a (potential) crime or infringement makes it 100x more dangerous.

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Indeed, I guess I'll postpone that flight to NY.

No intentions to profit from this, except for the experience, the friends (and enemies) we make, and the excitement.

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I am surprised you are taking this so lightly. Are you sure this can not get you into trouble in France / the EU?

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Thankfully France is not the only french-speaking country.

Don't be surprised: I'm taking this "fuck it, we need to do something" approach. We've been trying to get heard by content owners for years but nothing has worked. If this is the only thing we can do, I'll do it.

I'm more curious than anything to see if this will get me into any real legal trouble. I believe what we do is legal, I also wish we didn't need to do it at all.

As mentioned previously, if I could have simply built a good front-end that calls an API to license content, I'd have very happily done it.

Coming from the music industry, when I hear the excuse "but it's hard to create a worldwide licensing system like you ask", I say bullshit. Both the movie and music industry are waaaaaaaaay behind in terms of technology, and everything is so inefficient.

Ever tried to obtain the rights to (legally) burn a CD compilation of your favorite songs? You'll have to send snail mail, make phone calls, wait weeks for confirmation (while you pay, of course), if you're very lucky you'll be done in 6 months with a lot of work. This is not the way it should happen.

Some start-ups (say, http://official.fm/) are working towards resolving the situation on the music side: providing a friendly licensing platforms for content owners is a good start. But that only works for small to middle content creators/owners. The big will never bow to that, they'll always go for their own, often crappier, solution.

So, I'm willing to work on their own terms: you give me an API key, a doc, and you decide the pricing. That's all I ask. Then we can all get busy building apps around content, which is what is dear to my heart.

Hope this helps.

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Don't forget that we (EU) have piratebay :) So he might (and hope he will) escape any consequences from big corps.

On the other hand previous french president was pursuing hardcore copyright/IP laws.

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Respect. You should totally allow people to download your databases (including those wallpaperesque backgrounds for each movie). Probably as a torrent. :)

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That's mighty purty.

Bug: if you try to type in something that doesn't exist, say an actor's name like Walter Matthau, it autocorrects so aggressively you can't finish typing

Feature requests: If it's available on Netflix/other streaming services, show a link.

Oh, and this seems like a very bad place to actually log-in.

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According to the Netflix terms for their affiliate program[1], they won't let you participate in their program if your site includes "illegal activities."

Seems understandable, but maybe if they allowed torrent sites to direct users to them they could help prevent some piracy AND everyone would make some money.

[1] https://signup.netflix.com/Affiliates

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Yup, that seems to be a stupid policy.

Anyway, linking to Netflix/others is nice in theory but clutters the interface. Until we find a good solution for that, we won't do it.

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It is a defensive posture against the mafia. Netflix is already bent over backwards as movie distributors try to run it into the ground with overt contracts, so they force them to use policies like these because they have the backwards idea that sharing will go away when they put their fingers in their ears and go lalalalala you don't exist.

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Oh, yes, I can definitely guess the thinking behind it, I'm just saying this thinking is antiquated and doesn't work well in 2012.

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But if you offer a link to any Watch Instantly-available film in the same frame as the torrent links, I think that would be great. Same with Amazon's and YouTube's streaming movie offerings.

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Working with the dexy.tv guy to make that happen for US visitors.

As for the others, there's no much we can do I'm afraid. We'll help where we can, but the offer is too fragmented in Europe right now!

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I don't know which I feel saddest about:

1. Whether or not this is actually illegal, it is clearly unethical and not in the spirit of good clean business and technology practices we should all be aspire to.

2. That it quickly made it to #1 on Hacker News.

3. That I seem to be one of the few who cares while most others nit on details.

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I'll bite.

Why do you think this "clearly unethical"? I don't think it's clear at all.

Everyone I know pirates movies, TV shows, and music. Everyone I know also jaywalks. I also know people who use drugs illegally, as well as participate in or facilitate underage drinking, and I don't have a problem with any of it. Are these unethical? Someone clearly thought so. Do I care?

You know what the truth is, for me, and everyone I know, at least? The truth is, we don't care about "other" people's opinions on ethics (where "other" people=people on the internet, in the government, in anti-piracy ads, etc). The fact is, it's socially acceptable, among my social circles, to pirate, to use drugs, and to {participate in,facilitate} underage drinking. So I have no qualms with people I know doing so, nor if I were to do so myself.

You don't pirate, ever? Because it's "clearly unethical"? Do everyone in your social circles hold similar opinions? Do you jaywalk? Have you ever used drugs, or facilitated illegal drinking?

Those aren't rhetorical questions, I'm genuinely curious.

I guess my point is, I don't think ethics matter. I don't think about whether what I do is ethical. I don't hurt people, and I don't steal (physical things), because I have empathy. I guess you could say I have ethics in that if you asked me why I don't, I'd say "it's wrong", but I'd never say something is "clearly unethical" and try to argue why. I'd say it's wrong because it's hurtful, and I don't like being hurt.

Is this just me?

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Disclaimer: I work at a legal online video streaming site.

Jaywalking, doing drugs, and underage drinking are fundamentally acts against rules, not acts against entities. A risk is being taken and the burden of failure is on the risk-taker.

Selling alcohol to minors is unethical. Do I need to get into that? Acquiring media in an unauthorized fashion is an act against the creator and their licensed distributor. That makes it unethical.

You can separate whether an action is justified, and whether it's ethical. There are clearly reasons to pirate - valid or not^, the act itself is not ethical. And I think it's clearly so.

^ personal opinion: mostly not

There's also the separate but related issue that many believe that entertainment is a right, or that it should be available in all mediums. While I do believe that it should be available anywhere at any time, pirating should not at all be considered an ethical recourse to acquiring it through other means. Art doesn't exist absent the influence of money. Entertainment is commercial art but that doesn't mean that its artistic value excuses the viewer from participating in the artist's (creator's) intentions for distribution.

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  > Selling alcohol to minors is unethical. Do I need to
  > get into that?
Let's.

Example: The legal drinking age in Detroit, Michigan, USA is 21 years of age. The legal drinking age in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (right across the river from Detroit) is 19 years old. A 19 year old US citizen drives across the Detroit River and buys a drink at a bar.

Is the bar acting unethically? If not, how is it any different (ethically) to sell alcohol to the same 19 year old while in Detroit?

Discuss.

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Few things annoy me as much as people who don't stop to think about this. And it's the same with all age lines that were created by people...

For example most people seem to think that having sex with someone who is [country/state's minimum age minus one month] would make you a monster, while [plus one month] is fine, as if that magical line (whether it's drawn at 13, 16, 18, or whatever) actually changes people from naive to "ready for sex".

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The bar did not travel state lines. If the laws allow it, they have fulfilled their obligation. If, on the other hand, they are actively targeting and soliciting orders for alcohol from 19-year-old US citizens to pick up and consume, for example, at parties, then perhaps they have done something unethical.

That is beside the point, however, as the questions of jurisdiction with respect to copyright are somewhat more well-established than that.

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The point I was making:

  ethical != moral != lawful

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I agree.

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The younger you start using an addictive substance, the more likely you are to become addicted.

Putting an age limit on drugs use is a matter of public health, and protecting people who are not mature enough to understand the consequences of their acts.

Some people take more time than others to reach maturity, so I agree that setting an arbitrary age is not ideal, but it makes some sense.

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If it were that simple, a country like the Netherlands which has a legal drinking age of 16 (for ABV<20%) should have way more problems with alcohol abuse and addiction than a sensible country such as the USA, which has the drinking age no less than five years later, so significantly less people in the US should suffer alcohol addiction, right?

Incidentally, we don't get to take a driver's license test until we're 18, so that's kind of reversed. Care to guess who has more problems with driving under the influence?

Won't somebody please think of the CHILDREN?!

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Your comparison doesn't make any sense. There are other factors, notably cultural, involved. For example, the praise of individualism in the US (which may encourage reckless behavior), and the limited social security net (poverty increases the risk of substance abuse).

When you control for other factors, the pattern I described emerge. See:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.1994....

http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=160&...

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005....

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1081/JA-120025123

There are more if you care to look for them.

Of course children have to be protected. That's the whole point of education, gradually removing barriers while you teach them (or let them learn) how to get along by themselves. Whether or not the society should have a word on the topic is open for debate. I'm for, to some extent, as you probably guessed.

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Nit picking: Jaywalking can put other people at risk if there's any amount of traffic. On a completely empty stretch of road it's not unethical, but the line between safe and unsafe jaywalking is extremely blurred.

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I don't feel think something being 'socially acceptable' in a group is a good way to measure if it's good.

If the existence or state of things is determined by groupthink in different circumstances the world is in a lot of trouble and doesn't have a strong foundation.

We live in a strangely retarded relativistic and selfish world where everything is everyone's and nothing is anyone's. A world with no measuring sticks yet many measurements.

I suppose that's a difference between a lot of people, there are those who think things are simply determined by who they're standing around whereas there are those who hold to more definite and progressive concepts of things that don't change as if a wave driven by the winds of the sea and tossed about.

Then again, I avoid jaywalking, which is seen as madness by some and is often trailed by some silly rant about police making money. It's viewed differently by others and those are generally the ones I prefer to be around as they're a little more uplifting and less vulgar.

I avoid cheating too, for example, classes at university finished yesterday for this semester and I had one last, small piece of assessment to hand in and I had done it incorrectly and I asking a friend how she went about solving it—it turns out my calculations and the like were correct, there was just something wrong with my logic—she said to just copy her answer verbatim which I couldn't do despite her arguments that it's not worth much, it's the last day or 'everyone does it' which sounded like a puppet talking.

No, it's not just you, everyone has accomplices.

I.

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Wow, finally a thoughtful, non-knee-jerk response. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

I don't feel think something being 'socially acceptable' in a group is a good way to measure if it's good.

I agree with that, I was more trying to say that I don't really choose my actions based on whether I think they're "good" or "bad". In fact, when I chide someone, I tell them what they're doing is "uncool". This made me realize I'm actually choosing my actions based on social acceptability, and I felt like, doesn't everyone? In fact, e.g. bus driver segregating the bus, we as a society even consider this ok.

If the existence or state of things is determined by groupthink in different circumstances the world is in a lot of trouble and doesn't have a strong foundation.

My impression is that throughout human history, the "state of things" has been determined by groupthink, and it will be basically until the Singularity (but that's any day now, right?). Now don't get me wrong, it's lead to all manner of problems (Godwin's law is relevant here), but it seems to me to be a fundamental element of the human condition.

We live in a strangely retarded relativistic and selfish world where everything is everyone's and nothing is anyone's.

Care to elaborate on "retarded"?

Do you not see this new relativistic, cosmopolitan world as an improvement over when people had absolute convictions? I was taught that they used them to justify what we now consider heinous crimes.

"selfish" being good is a capitalistic idea, but "everything is everyone's and nothing is anyone's" sounds quite socialist, so this seems contradictory.

silly rant about police making money

While I agree that a lot of people have an unfair bias against the police, it's not silly to be worried about unnecessary laws motivated by government revenues, do you think this never happens?

The rest of your comment:

Why do you avoid jaywalking, and why did you refuse to copy her answer? What do you think of people who jaywalk, and who copy other people's answers, and who pirate movies? Would you say what they're doing is unethical, or even "clearly unethical"?

I think the copying answers thing is especially interesting, because while there's controversial arguments about the hurtfulness of jaywalking and pirating, copying someone's answer to a problem you know how to do, with their permission, is the ultimate example of a victimless, but apparently in your eyes, unethical act. Is it just the principle of the matter, because you feel like you'd be presenting her work as your own?

There was a class at university I took where my friend and I would pair on working through the problems on the whiteboard, and she would write the solutions down, and I, who always procrastinated way more than her, ended up regularly copying her solutions (not verbatim, heavily paraphrased, but definitely not working it out on my own again). Would you do that? If not, would you judge me for it?

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I personally agree that copying answers where the copier knows how to do it is a victimless act. But to take the position of devil's advocate here, one could say that there are actually potential victims.

One potential victim is an employer who believes they are hiring someone with objectively-evaluated qualifications. I think this argument is easily shot down; institutional evaluations are not actually objective, and in fact the person doing the copying is actually in a better position to evaluate their abilities than the institution. But, someone else may believe differently on these points than me.

Another potential victim is the person being copied from. They may feel socially pressured to allow someone to copy from them whether they actually want to allow it or not, and they may submit to that social pressure (and this isn't made up -- in certain circles it would be considered a little rude to not allow your friends to copy your answers). But if the institution finds out about it, both parties (copier and copiee) may get in trouble. While this is probably a rare case, it's still true that a person knowingly using that social pressure to their advantage is doing something unethical.

Anyway, I basically agree with you on this point, but it's fair to say that this issue is not as definitively clear-cut as you make it out to be.

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"Everyone I know pirates movies, TV shows, and music. Everyone I know also jaywalks. I also know people who use drugs illegally, as well as participate in or facilitate underage drinking, and I don't have a problem with any of it. Are these unethical? Someone clearly thought so. Do I care?"

I love discussions like this, because something like this is not clearly unethical, but when GNU code is used without following the license (like in the thesis Wordpress theme debacle awhile back, people cry "theft".

"I don't hurt people, and I don't steal (physical things)"

This is a nice way of trying to legitimize piracy. As a business owner, should I really feel bad if I outsource to China and put 100 people in the US out of work? or how about if I automate people out of jobs?

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Interestingly, the GPL seems to come up every time there is a discussion about copyright law.

The fact that the GPL uses copyright is just an implementation detail. In a very real sense, the GPL is the opposite of normal copyright--it turns copyright law against itself. It goes further than not having any copyright (e.g. public domain/BSD/MIT): it not only ensures this particular work is free, it ensures all the works it can affect also remain free.

So the issue (from an idealist's standpoint) is not that the copyright of a GPL project is infringed but rather that additional limits are added on the project. The idea behind the GPL is to ensure that not only can everybody access the program, but they can legally and practically modify it. The people infringing are the ones who stop others from accessing the intellectual "property"--the very opposite of "pirates"!

In the open source world, the most direct analog of something like piracy is distributing a normally paid project for free, legally (e.g. CentOS vs RHEL). Not only is this legal, but it's completely reasonable--nobody's crying foul! (You are not allowed to use trademarks, but that's completely orthogonal to copyright.)

So really, the arguments against copyright and for the GPL are the same. If anything, the latter is actually more extreme: it ensures not only access but the ability to modify.

In the FSF's perfect world, copyright would not be necessary for the GPL--all software would just be free (as in speech) by default. So supporting the GPL and opposing other copyright is entirely consistent.

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1. That's actually very good point. I don't know anything about this "thesis Wordpress theme debacle", but if someone copied GNU code without attribution, for example, even though it doesn't obviously hurt anyone, I'd think that's wrong.

I think the difference is twofold: it's socially unacceptable, and empathically, I'd be offended if someone plagiarized my work.

2. I am not trying to legitimize piracy just because "I don't hurt people, and I don't steal (physical things)", and I didn't say so. What I mean, and what I tried to say, was that I haven't decided whether I think piracy is ethical or not, and I care little enough that I probably won't decide for the forseeable future.

As a business owner, should I really feel bad if I outsource to China and put 100 people in the US out of work? or how about if I automate people out of jobs?

I'm surprised you take it as a given that you should feel bad doing so. We live in a very capitalistic world, and I think most capitalists would say no, you absolutely shouldn't feel bad. Do you believe we should be employing people in obsolete jobs just to avoid putting people out of work? I will happily provide examples compiled by capitalists of just that, taken to the extreme, to prove how bad of an idea it is.

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So if someone produces a work in digital form, and it is explicitly their intent to earn a living from people paying them money to view this work, can you think of anything even remotely unethical about the release and downloading of the work on a torrent site?

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I would say it's clearly ethical, even required, to share knowledge and information with other people. That's pretty much the highest impulse a human has, right up there with "protect your offspring".

As Rick Falkvinge is so eloquent in saying, this is our culture, and permitting monopolies on it is just disastrously bad policy.

Copyright is a subsidy to distributors, not artists. And the distributors know it. There's no need to protect the business model of content distributors in a world that has the Internet.

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> I would say it's clearly ethical, even required, to share knowledge and information with other people. That's pretty much the highest impulse a human has, right up there with "protect your offspring".

I don't think you can assert this without providing some backup. It's certainly the case that sharing certain information with certain parties is a high impulse, but the idea that we have a strong impulse for all information to be shared freely is highly unintuitive to me, merely based on my experiences.

Furthermore, that something is an impulse does not make it ethical. We have many impulses (sex, food, violence), and acting on them unquestioningly would lead to many unethical things. We also do not categorically say that all of these impulses must be fulfilled in an ethical society. For example, most people would not agree that I have a certain right to act violently at times, because of my violent impulses.

> As Rick Falkvinge is so eloquent in saying, this is our culture, and permitting monopolies on it is just disastrously bad policy.

That's not what a monopoly is. A monopoly would be if only company could “create” culture. (Or if it was group, it'd be an oligopoly, but I'd still understand your point.) But we're not in that situation. Especially with the internet, we're not in that situation. Anyone can create culture, and they have the ability to choose how exclusive it is. I would guess, though I can't back this up, that at this point in history we have more free culture than ever before. We have the opposite of a monopoly on our culture.

> Copyright is a subsidy to distributors, not artists. And the distributors know it. There's no need to protect the business model of content distributors in a world that has the Internet.

It's both, and why shouldn't it be? The studio executives behind making Game of Thrones play their part just as George RR Martin and Aidan Gillen do. There is an argument to be had that perhaps the compensation for these roles is skewed relative to their importance, but I don't believe that argument would lead to “therefore, no one has any right to make money on Game of Thrones.”

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It isn't a 'human right' to be able to watch Game of Thrones or Batman Begins without paying for it I don't believe. It is ignorant to try and claim otherwise.

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Is it a 'human right' to make money off of Game of Thrones or Batman Begins?

Copyright is a monopoly granted by congress' interpretation of the constitution's directive to promote progress of science and the useful arts. I think it's time to reinterpret.

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>Is it a 'human right' to make money off of Game of Thrones or Batman Begins?

Is it a right to make money off of Game of Thrones? No. Is it their right to charge for content they've created? In my opinion, yes.

I am a huge advocate of open source software. I'm not an advocate of taking other peoples' software and forcing it to be free, against the creators' wishes.

Sharing a book, or facts from a library or notes from a university lecture is one thing. Downloading a copy of a movie, a video game, or software is another.

Let's say you made a startup that, rather than SaaS, actually wrote a thick client. They're cool, so let's make it easy and say it's DRM-free. Let's say it's a cool, new IDE.

You spent the last year of your life working on this IDE, and you see that it's up on The Pirate Bay. Sure, at first you'll probably be flattered. Then you realize, wait a minute, this is getting 1000x the downloads my actual product is getting. Maybe your sales increase as a result of the "free marketing," but that is the best case scenario.

If sales don't increase, you've worked hard and not been compensated. Do I think that most movies (especially in theatres) are overpriced and a rip off? Hell yeah I do, which is why I spend my money on Netflix which seems more sanely priced.

You don't have a right to all the software you want without paying the people who made it; you don't have a right to watch the latest movies and TV shows without paying the people who created them; you don't have a right to listen to that new CD in the store without paying the artists.

I think that big business/media generally rips off consumers. I don't think that pirates are evil; I think that they're desperate and that business needs to adjust to their needs. Have I ever pirated computer games? Sure. But when Valve's Steam became more convenient to use than a badly cracked torrent, that became my number one resource for games.

I used to pirate movies because renting or buying them was such a pain in the ass. With iTunes rentals and Netflix, that problem has been solved too.

If you want to make a stand, maybe against DRM with which you disagree, do so by purchasing from people who are making a stand too; for example, I hope you bought Louis C.K.'s $5 DRM-free show a couple of months ago.

>Copyright is a monopoly granted by congress' interpretation of the constitution's directive to promote progress of science and the useful arts. I think it's time to reinterpret.

How do you suggest we reinterpret? Should everyone get everything they want for free? Should all the tech startups that we read about on Hacker News and root for have no business model, because charging for software or media is so wrong? We live in a capitalist society, and in order to "reinterpret" science and arts as free-for-all, we'd need to completely reorganize our economic system.

I'm not saying that we've got it down perfectly (in fact, I'd say the opposite), so I'm open to your suggestions and ideas.

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My point was that copyright is not a matter of rights, it is a matter of business.

If I am going to spend a year of my life developing something I intend to sell, I should make sure it's a good idea not only to make it, but also to try and sell it in a form like a fat client. If I do it anyway and no one buys it, regardless of the reason it was bad business.

Nobody weeps for the carriage makers because we like our cars. No one will weep for the media makers who couldn't adapt to the new market forces.

Treating piracy as anything other than a force of nature will only leave you drowned when the DRM dam breaks. All the examples you cite of being willing to pay content distributors are examples of businesses who have adapted to the new realities of the market.

I don't think businesses should be forced to give away things for free, I just think they don't need artificial monopolies in order to profitably contribute to science and the useful arts.

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> How do you suggest we reinterpret? Should everyone get everything they want for free?

A Kickstarter-type patronage model would work: the creators of Game of Thrones ask for funding for a new series, then release it directly into the public domain.

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We are seriously looking into that.

I don't believe it would be wise for movies.io itself to engage into business (and profiting from content we don't own would definitely be unethical, from my point of view), but what we could do is work with a third-party platform that allows the financing of small productions (Movies, TV shows), and have a partnership with us so they are featured / show up in our results etc.

Exciting stuff happening there with the right partners, please contact us if you have leads.

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This will eventually be perceived as holding [Game of Thrones] hostage until there is enough money in their Kickstarter account.

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Ah, the false dichotomy that there are no other options between piracy and purchase.

> If sales don't increase, you've worked hard and not been compensated.

That's the same thing that would happen if nobody downloaded it for free but only a few people purchased it.

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>That's the same thing that would happen if nobody downloaded it for free but only a few people purchased it.

Agreed. In that case, I think it would make sense to conclude "there is little to no interest in my app," instead of "people want my app but would rather not pay for it."

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Yeah, there's a continuum of

don't want > I'll take it > I'd pay for it

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There used to be a dial on that particular machine that could be rationally set somewhere between "always free" and "locked away from society forever". Some very unethical people paid a lot of bribe money to crank it all the way up and then rip the knob off. We don't need to "reinterpret", we just need to use it like it was intended in the first place.

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I actually do believe it is a human right to have access to all the art and knowledge. Other people seem to think so too, thats why we have public libraries. I don't know what the solution here is but good things are happening like Spotify were people have the ability to expand their minds, listen to something new and support the artists at the same time. We probably wouldn't have had Spotify without the threat of piracy.

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It's contested whether Spotify really supports the artists though.

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And that's because artists have crappy deals with their record labels.

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No offense to you personally, jellicle, but why is this the top comment and why can't I downvote it? This is more of a tangential provocative comment than a response.

This is a rather extreme argument. You really think the impulse to share is universally stronger than the impulse to be secretive, the exact inverse, for example? Specifically, what about private data?

How far does this ethical obligation to share go? How much effort is one ethically obligated to expend to share? Before I knew what I was doing with HTML and CSS, some stuff I did didn't work due to what I am now quite sure were browser bugs. Was it unethical for me not to share that knowledge? Is it unethical now for me not to be trying to figure out how to reproduce those bugs again to share?

Is it unethical for artists, writers, coders, even mathematicians not to share unfinished works, code and proofs?

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> No offense to you personally, jellicle, but why is this the top comment and why can't I downvote it?

It's the top comment because HN's formula(votes, time lapsed) ranked it highest; and you can't downvotte replies to your comments.

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It's interesting that, today, it seems most ignored creative people would be content with merely getting and, for a spell, keeping some small part of the world's attention. To be richly compensated is really just a bonus.

That said, I suppose one nice thing about getting money is that it will stick around even after the spotlight goes elsewhere.

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Bullshit and you probably know it. You are not just destroying monopolies, but independents too.

>I would say it's clearly ethical, even required, to share knowledge and information with other people.

How about your personal data ace?

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Since you asked, I shall explain. Here is my working definition of something that immoral:

  Violating the written or unwritten rules of the society one
  lives in, in a way that is directly harmful to another person or
  group of people, though ones actions. 
So taking drugs is fine, since you are not harming another person. Downloading a film is also fine for the same reason. With selling drugs and jaywalking it depends.

Building a torrent site is different though, because under the rules of our society someone who made a movie can decide who sees that movie and who does not. You are taking that right away from them by distributing that movie. If the rules make sense or does not really matter (within reason), it is a rule that we as a society agreed upon.

EDIT: I don't think morality can ever be subject to loopholes and technicalities, it's governed by common sense.

However, the counter-argument that would let count is good intentions: if OP truly believes that the world might become a better place as the result of his action and he has no selfish motivations at all, I might consider it moral (at least from his point of view).

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1. To be immoral, something both has to violate rules of society in addition to being "directly" harmful? So if it's directly harmful but violates no rules of society (e.g. beating and raping women in societies where that's socially acceptable), or it violates rules of society but is only indirectly harmful, it's perfectly moral?

2. What's your working definition of "directly harmful"? Littering directly harms wildlife, does it directly harm people? Buying some drugs directly supports people who actively harm other people. Last I heard, there was mounting evidence that second-hand smoke was worse than what used to be believed; is smoking indoors "directly harmful" to other occupants?

3. I'm not sure what you mean by "counter-argument" (what are you arguing against? Your definition?), but you seem to be saying you feel like there should be intentionality in there somewhere but you're not sure where. I hope you don't need me to tell you that muddies the issue further, e.g. religious fanatics that really believe they're saving souls or the world when they hurt people.

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Are you seriously not understanding what I am saying or are you just looking for a discussion?

You asked (basically) why anyone would consider jaywalking, taking drugs, and downloading movies to be ethical, but not hosting a torrent site. So, I tried to give a rough stipulation of my own personal ethics. That definition was not meant to be universal, bulletproof, or exhaustive.

1. My point is that what is considered harmful or not is decided by the rules of society. Different societies agreed upon different rules about what the rights are of a person. If there was a society were there copyright is not commonly accepted then making a movie pirate site is (obviously) not a problem. If you don't agree with the rules, you should work to change them, but not take justice in your own hands.

2. Specifically, I was thinking about a situation where you buy drugs and that money gets used to finance a drug war. Even though, I think that is bad, I don't think it an deciding factor in this case if buying drugs was legal or not.

3. That's why I added "from his point of view". If I would consider it ethical in this case depends on whether I think it is reasonable or not, and whether the mean justifies the end in this case.

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I'm sorry, I now realize I didn't express that I was looking for a discussion, you seemed open to that.

1. I feel like you're conflating societies' notion of what people are allowed to do, which is what I'd understand "rules of society" to mean, and societies' notion of what counts as harmful, which I wouldn't consider to be the same thing.

2. I see...so what's your working definition of "directly harmful", and how do, say, littering and second-hand smoke fall into it?

3. I assume you meant "whether the ends justifies the means". So how does the reasonability, and whether the ends justifies the means, fit into your working definition?

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A torrent site is not morally or legally equivalent to "distributing that movie", however.

It may seem like a nit-picking distinction or technicality, but the law is made up of such technicalities.

With magnet links, the indirection is even greater.

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I believe we're talking ethically, not legally. I don't believe there are technicalities in ethics like there are in law.

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> Violating the written or unwritten rules of the society

Considering the amount of people out there that are torrenting, an argument can be made that it is an unwritten rule of society that this is perfectly fine.

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> if OP truly believes that the world might become a better place as the result of his action and he has no selfish motivations at all, I might consider it moral (at least from his point of view).

You only have my word (and the lack of ads/monetization) for it, but I truly do.

I also wish the situation would change and we can all license stuff easily and legally. (See my other comments)

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There are people who have been harmed by people taking drugs. There are also people who have been harmed by people drinking alcohol.

Is there really anything that can be done with absolutely no affect outside of their self??

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Actually drug taking very much affects other people.

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Ethics and morals are not the same.

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This is not a constructive comment. Care to explain the distinction and how that distinction is relevant to a discussion about digital piracy?

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allow me han, i still have notes from my social justice class in hs:

basically, ethics:morals::superego:ego, in that morals are internalized but ethics are imposed by an outside authority.

ethics are an outgrowth of human society/interaction on a large scale and almost always imply a system of agreed upon rules and behavior. for example, legal ethics define how a lawyere is supposed to act and conduct himself while in the course of practicing law. medical ethics do the same for medical professionals. these have nothing to do an individuals personal feelings about right or wrong, but merely what is agreed upon but society in a specific context.

morals, otoh, are an internalized set of rules that may or may not be part of a larger overarching system. these tend to be much less black and white than ethics. to make things confusing, morals can also mean a specific case of how an ethical system is applied, in which case a society can have morals.

practical examples:

doctors are ethically obliged to heal every patient he has to the best of his ability. a specific doctor might consider it immoral to let a murderer live when you have the chance to kill him/her. if a killer (to keep things less grey, assume that the killer is a killer with 100% certainty and no extraneous circumstances), comes before the aforementioned doctor with a wound, the doctor has a range of choices: kill the murderer/patient, heal him/her as best as possible, make a halfhearted attempt to heal the patient/murderer. anything less than healing the patient as best as possible would be unethical because the doctor is supposed to ignore personal biases when treating patients. according to the doctor's ethics, anything other than killing the patient/murderer is immoral.

almost all societies hold that killing another human is unethical. almost all societies have a standing army that is ethically obliged to kill enemies of the society. depending on how you want to look at this paradox, the exceptions to the broad ethical rule of not killing humans has many moral exceptions/loopholes on a societal scale, or you could say that soldiers live by a separate ethical code from the rest of society, under which killing is not forbidden.

there are at least two conflicting ethical codes when it comes to piracy/copyright infringement:

1) depriving someone of their possessions is wrong (aka stealing, ie if i am using it you can't use it), barring a few caveats 2) one should share one's knowledge freely (ie sharing is caring), barring a few caveats

deciding which ethical code takes precedence is a moral issues.

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See Grayling: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/10197-graylingsqu...

"'ethics' is either the organised philosophical study of the concepts and principles involved in systems of morality [i.e. a 2nd-order enquiry of morality], or it is the set of principles, attitudes, aims and standards adopted by individuals or organisations by which they live and act [i.e. a superset of morality]".

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You are declaring yourself entitled to other people's creative output. They go to work every day and practice their crafts. You benefit from their work, but refuse to pay the craftsmen.

Car theft is a stupid analogy because that deprives someone of a car.

The better analogy is that an electrician came and rewired your house. (The lighting rig for a single scene is probably thirty times as complex.) You paid for parts and gas, but decided not to pay for the labor listed in the quote you accepted. You've valued his labor at $0, which is fine, but not if you expect him to perform it.

I don't like making distributors rich either. I would love to see a nonprofit HBO-like studio selling online subscriptions. But the market hasn't yet created one capable of producing content I want. Sounds like a brilliant startup opportunity.

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laughinghan, I don't buy your physical / virtual goods distinction. Your argument is inconsistent - if you were prepared to shoplift the same movie from a store I wouldn't agree with your ethics, but you would at least be acting consistently.

Good point RE social stigma attached to this, but IMO it's simply a reflection of the penalty most territories attach to physical theft compared to virtual. The latter is also a lot easier to perpetrate.

I can't cite evidence immediately, but it's fairly accepted that length of jail terms influence per-capita crime rates of most crime types.

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It's parasitical. And dishonours the intentions of the content creators.

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It is not necessarily parasitical (and not at all dishonourable), because the only justification for imposing restrictions on people's freedom to share informational goods is the standard economic rationale, and we cannot a priori specify the correct extent of that. If copyright is actually too long (broad, etc.) a de facto reduction of it by illicit copying would be economically beneficial (and that seems most likely the case).

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Someone worked really hard to make something, then you take it without permission. You want others to live for your sake. That makes you a parasite.

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These are nonrival goods -- as many people can use and enjoy them as want to with no hindrance or loss to any. When there is plenty for everyone, why should any have a right to impose restrictions on others? The only plausible reason is a collective one: that we can in practice (by stimulating production) get a better functioning economy.

Living for others' sake is what being human is largely about, it is what cooperative systems like economies are about -- which are critical for us to live well. By maximising our costless use of nonrival goods we all gain.

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You clearly lack perspective: try to reverse the point of view and apply the same logic.

An employer wants others to live for his sake, does that make him a parasite? No. (The analogy fails to go any further, but your point is nonetheless invalid.)

Plus, if you had some intuition, you'd realized that 1) we too, have worked really hard on movies.io (and still are), and 2) we would love to work towards a legal solution. Discussing with people right now, will press release if/when that happens. But our requirements are pretty steep, cf. http://www.dontmakemesteal.com/

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An employer provides compensation for the work of the employee. If he didn't, and the employee wasn't working willingly, that would be slavery, which would definitely make the "employer" a parasite.

As far as http://www.dontmakemesteal.com, what gives you the right to blackmail a business into doing things? If you don't like their prices, don't watch the movie right now. Wait and watch when it's on TV. If you don't like the DRM, don't buy it. Market forces are strong when the market puts their money behind their intent.

I don't like the bullshit restrictions some companies put on their content, such as HBO but they have a right to whatever the F they want with their hard earned content. They put up the financing/energy/creativity/etc to produce the content. It's not my right to put them to an ultimatum: do things my way or I'm going to steal from you.

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You might have been taken more seriously if you didn't misuse the world "steal" but...

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STEAL: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/steal

verb (used with object)

1. to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.

2. to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.

3. to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance: He stole my girlfriend.

4. to move, bring, convey, or put secretly or quietly; smuggle (usually followed by away, from, in, into, etc.): They stole the bicycle into the bedroom to surprise the child.

5. Baseball . (of a base runner) to gain (a base) without the help of a walk or batted ball, as by running to it during the delivery of a pitch.

STEEL: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/steel

noun

1. any of various modified forms of iron, artificially produced, having a carbon content less than that of pig iron and more than that of wrought iron, and having qualities of hardness, elasticity, and strength varying according to composition and heat treatment: generally categorized as having a high, medium, or low-carbon content.

2. a thing or things made of this metal.

3. a flat strip of this metal used for stiffening, especially in corsets; stay.

4. a bar of this metal that has one end formed to hold a bit for driving through rock.

5. steels, stocks or bonds of companies producing this metal.

You're welcome and I accept your apology.

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I believe that he wasn't saying that you misspelt the word, he was saying that infringement does not equal 'stealing.'

Infringement is probably within the scope of appropriation which is the number 2 definition you listed, but maybe it shouldn't be. Conflating real theft with copyright infringement is confusing, and unnecessary.

If I've misinterpreted anything then please ignore.

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An employer wants to pay employees for their labour. It's a trade.

As to your second point, I mean, thieves work really hard on their heists... I don't think that's the strongest argument to put forward to be honest.

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If you want to argue the case then you'll need to find better analogies. The employer/employee relationship is entered into mutually and both parties gain from it.

Lets really put the shoe on the other foot. How would you feel if someone came along, took all of your source code for movies.io and hosted it on movies2.io. Not only that, but they now had way more users than you (for whatever reason). How would that make you feel? Would you consider them freeloaders? Parasites even?

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"2) we would love to work towards a legal solution."

You blew it right there parasite. It is unethical and everyone knows it. They just try to justify the stealing.

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Welp, time to get off HN. Nothing constructive happening there anymore.

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Most content creators that I know would be very glad if the whole world woudl listen to their music! More likely, I'm dishonouring the intentions of the content distributors. And I really don't give a fuck about them, they certainly don't honor anybody/anything other than cash!

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What did the content creators intend when they accepted investment to realise their works. Or what did they intend when they agreed to provide their creative input to a movie for a fee. Or what did they intend when they signed the rights to their work over to a distributor in exchange for some form of compensation or royalty payments?

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Being a parasite requires some sort of active harm. Since the cost of obtaining a torrent is essential nil, and the creator doesn't support it anyhow, you're not harming them in the least.

Now, you're also certainly not giving them any benefit, and perhaps you believe that they deserve some benefit, but that still doesn't make you a parasite any more than anybody who just didn't buy a movie.

Put another way: to the creator, the utility of your torrenting a movie is the same as the utility of just not buying the movie. Now, obviously the utility of your paying the creator is higher, but that still doesn't make you a parasite.

You are at worst a symbiont, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that.

Now, there are other arguments for copyright, but your point about being a parasite is just inaccurate.

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You're hampering the exclusivity which the creators rely upon to sell their work to distributors, and you're also forcing them to compete against another outlet (bittorrents) using their own work against them. That's pretty harmful.

By your logic, someone could set up a company called PBO which just mirrors HBO's cable feed, and there'd be nothing unethical about it.

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Pirating movies is stealing. There is no other way of putting it. I'll let you decide whether you find stealing ethical or not. It might depend on your social circle.

If you were a member of a gang, you'll find it socially acceptable among your social circles to kill people and sell drugs probably.

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Theft is defined as unlawful deprivation of use of property. Piracy does not stop the original owner from continuing to sell. It's a lost customer, not a lost sale.

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Am I even a lost customer if the original owner, never gave me the option to legally buy the product (in my country) in the first place?

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This is 2012. Are we still doing the whole pirating == stealing thing?

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Using drugs, "facilitating underage drinking" and even jaywalking are quite a bit different than stealing. You say you "don't steal (physical things)" as if that makes it ok, but you are stealing. It's a different form of stealing, but you do steal, you lack empathy for the act, and you are usually hurting the creators of that material in one way or another.

Even today, there are societies where it is "socially acceptable" to beat and murder women, to stone people for being heretics, etc. etc. "Socially acceptable" does not provide justification for unethical acts. Saying "it's wrong" and going no further than that makes you thoughtless, not humble. You do steal, and you do hurt people. You just don't care, because people around you are doing the same.

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You make one good point, but I think you overall misunderstand my stance. Firstly,

You say you "don't steal (physical things)" as if that makes it ok...

I don't think not stealing makes piracy ok, and I didn't say so. What I mean, and what I tried to say, was that I haven't decided whether I think piracy is ethical or not, and I care little enough that I probably won't decide for the forseeable future.

...but you are stealing. It's a different form of stealing, but you do steal...and you are usually hurting the creators of that material in one way or another. ... You do steal, and you do hurt people.

In my eyes (and maybe this is unreasonable of me, anyone else?), you lose credibility when you state, as fact, your own opinions that you know other people disagree on. The fact that everyone agrees on, is that you believe pirating is stealing, and that it hurts creators. Whether your belief is true or not, is not a fact that the participants of this discussion all agree on or stipulate too.

...you lack empathy for the act...

Minor point, but I don't think this makes sense, as a statement. My understanding of empathy is that it's possible to have empathy and do harm, if you don't realize you're doing harm and hence even though you would empathize, you don't. So I'm not lacking empathy "for the act", whatever you mean by that, but rather I think you mean that I don't realize I'm hurting people, as you say in the next part of your sentence.

Saying "it's wrong" and going no further than that makes you thoughtless, not humble.

I had trouble phrasing this, since I had two things to say about me saying "it's wrong": I wanted to both contrast with saying "clearly unethical", and explain how I would go further. To clarify, I definitely did not mean I would "go no further", in fact I later went further, and said I'd say it's wrong because it's hurtful, and I don't like being hurt.

Now, the one good point you made:

Even today, there are societies where it is "socially acceptable" to beat and murder women, to stone people for being heretics, etc. etc. "Socially acceptable" does not provide justification for unethical acts. [...] You just don't care, because people around you are doing the same.

Well, yes and no. Would I ever beat and murder women if it were "socially acceptable" to? I want to think I wouldn't, but I don't know that, and you don't know that you wouldn't. A couple decades ago, in some of those United States, bus drivers made anyone who was visibly of African-American descent sit in the back. Was that unethical? I think we all agree it was. Was the bus driver an unethical person? Well, we sure don't punish everyone who ever engaged in acts that we now consider unethical but engaged in them simply because it was socially acceptable at the time, like these bus drivers.

I want to believe that everything I do that's socially acceptable is ethical in some absolute sense, and that all those things that are socially acceptable that I don't think we should do (and don't do) are unethical in some absolute sense, but both of those things are almost certainly false. For those things that are unethical but I don't realize and do anyway because they're socially acceptable, how is "socially acceptable" not a justification? Surely it's unreasonable to expect me to know what is absolutely ethical and what isn't.

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In my eyes (and maybe this is unreasonable of me, anyone else?), you lose credibility when you state, as fact, your own opinions that you know other people disagree on.

You begin your comment by saying "You make one good point…" Is that a fact? No. Did you state it as a fact? Yes, in that you stated it without qualifiers. Does that mean you have no credibility? Of course not, come on.

For the rest of it, let's rephrase your own logic a bit: "I don't know if sending people to the back of the bus is wrong, but I care little enough that I probably won't decide for the foreseeable future" would be a pretty weak argument against declaring segregation unethical.

It hinges around the idea of whether or not you're hurting people. You started your original comment by saying that "clearly unethical" is a debatable point, but then you tried to draw an equivalence between piracy and a three more victimless acts. You then say "ethics don't matter" and follow that up with "I don't hurt people." I'm saying you do hurt people. It's debatable, but you dismiss debate of it by trying to argue that ethics don't matter and you're not going to think about it. That's not a good counter an assertion that piracy is unethical.

(As a side note, the Stanford Experiment and related studies suggest that both of us would beat and murder women if it were socially acceptable. Creepy stuff that, which is one of the reasons why I think it's important not to tie "ethical" too closely to "socially acceptable." It's also why your notion that "ethics don't matter, I don't really have to think about it" upsets me, perhaps more than it should.)

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You begin your comment by saying "You make one good point…" Is that a fact? No. Did you state it as a fact? Yes, in that you stated it without qualifiers. Does that mean you have no credibility? Of course not, come on.

Do you disagree that you misconstrued my stance and only made one other point? If not, I don't see how that applies to me. If so, I'm sorry, I should have used qualifiers, it wasn't obvious to me it was a controversial statement.

Your statement that "piracy is stealing" is a controversial statement, you know this, right? That you stated it as fact is why you decrease in credibility in my eyes. I definitely did not mean you lose all credibility.

For the rest of it, let's rephrase your own logic a bit: "I don't know if sending people to the back of the bus is wrong, but I care little enough that I probably won't decide for the foreseeable future" would be a pretty weak argument against declaring segregation unethical.

I agree that it's unethical. What I ask is, is it not ok for me to send people to the back of the bus, in such a situation? edw519's original comment said something was "clearly unethical", and I responded by saying, maybe, but is it not ok for me to do it anyway, due to the situation?

I'm saying you do hurt people.

Whether this counts as "hurting people" in some sense is debatable, but I hoped it was clear from context that by "hurting people" I meant direct bodily harm, which piracy clearly isn't.

It's debatable, but you dismiss debate...

I don't think it's debatable that someone would have made more money if I paid for something I pirated instead. I also don't think it's debatable that it is impossible to avoid causing people to be worse off due to our actions and inactions. Where's the line? Seems to me, the line society draws is social acceptability.

That's not a good counter an assertion that piracy is unethical.

I countered the assertion that "piracy is unethical" with "ethics don't matter, social acceptability does, and piracy is socially acceptable". Why is this not a good counter?

...your notion that "ethics don't matter, I don't really have to think about it" upsets me, perhaps more than it should.

I certainly don't like the idea that I'm turning a blind eye towards, perhaps even engaging in, unethical actions. But I can't painstakingly decide the ethics of everything I do. I try to do good in the world, I really do. But sometimes I don't know and can't decide, and I have to fall back on the tired old excuse of "social acceptability".

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For those things that are unethical but I don't realize and do anyway because they're socially acceptable, how is "socially acceptable" not a justification? Surely it's unreasonable to expect me to know what is absolutely ethical and what isn't.

There is no question that making decisions about what is ethical and what is not is difficult, which is why I question the fact that you don't care enough to decide whether your piracy is ethical. Acting ethically is difficult, and over the course of our lives we will all make many, many mistakes. But ideally I think we should at least try to act ethically, which requires that we put thought into our actions.

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"Stealing", as you call it, doesn't "hurt the creators of the material" any more than simply not buying does. In fact, if anything it helps:

    Among Canadians who engage in P2P file-sharing, our results
    suggest that for every 12 P2P downloaded songs, music purchases
    increase by 0.44 CDs. That is, downloading the equivalent of
    approximately one CD increases purchasing by about half of a CD.
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ippd-dppi.nsf/vwapj/IndustryCan...

You may say it's still wrong - and that's a valid opinion, 'though I don't share it - but "hurting the creators" is just false.

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That only works if you contend that every single person who pirated something would not have purchased the thing otherwise. I'm pretty sure that's wrong in the same way that saying every single pirated copy of something results in lost revenue (as the MPAA and RIAA contend.) It might not be as wrong, but it's still wrong.

And while there are plenty of studies that suggest piracy might help sales, there are also plenty that suggest that it does not:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-digit...

In fact, while the issue is plenty debatable I'd say that most of the evidence comes down on the side of "yes, piracy hurts sales, just no where near as much as the MPAA would have you think." (Though even the article above suggests that piracy wouldn't be as much of an issue if movies were released worldwide simultaneously.)

Furthermore, "hurting the creators" needn't necessarily be financial. There are many, many artists, programmers, etc. -- not big publishers, but creators -- who hate piracy with a passion. They often feel under assault by Internet companies the way that people here feel under assault by the MPAA. I think they're misguided, but it's irresponsible to just say "fuck you, this doesn't hurt."

So no, "hurting the creators" is not false, probably not financially and certainly not ethically (you're doing something with their work they don't want.) It's valid to say that the creators have to suck it up and adapt, and that many of them won't be able to make money in the ways they did before. But they are getting hurt.

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That only works if you contend that every single person who pirated something would not have purchased the thing otherwise.

First, downloading doesn't prevent purchasing.

Secondly, otherwise how? Either you download it or you don't. Do you mean, if it wasn't available to download? But that's not the "stealing" part. That's uploading/sharing, which is a different issue.

Thirdly, "hurting" potential sales is not inheritly wrong. In fact, that's what many - most? - startups try to do.

And while there are plenty of studies that suggest piracy might help sales, there are also plenty that suggest that it does not:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-digit....

That's not a study, that's a joke. 30 movies of an extremely biased sample over just a three year period?

I'd rather have a more global view of the movie industry: for example, the five years of consecutive record profits that the MPAA had right during the Bittorrent boom.

In fact, while the issue is plenty debatable I'd say that most of the evidence comes down on the side of "yes, piracy hurts sales, just no where near as much as the MPAA would have you think." (Though even the article above suggests that piracy wouldn't be as much of an issue if movies were released worldwide simultaneously.)

Most studies are paid by the industry. It'd be extraordinary if they said otherwise.

Furthermore, "hurting the creators" needn't necessarily be financial. There are many, many artists, programmers, etc. -- not big publishers, but creators -- who hate piracy with a passion. They often feel under assault by Internet companies the way that people here feel under assault by the MPAA. I think they're misguided, but it's irresponsible to just say "fuck you, this doesn't hurt."

I'm pretty sure file sharers feel offended by your inacurate accusations too, but that didn't stop you.

So no, "hurting the creators" is not false, probably not financially

Again, not buying is not buying. Whether you "pirate" or not is irrelevant - it doesn't affect the creator financially either way.

and certainly not ethically (you're doing something with their work they don't want.)

And I'm pretty sure MS doesn't want me to install LibreOffice on "their" work. So what? We, content creators, are not gods that have a right to demand whatever we want from our users. Is it unethical to lend or sell your car if e.g. Toyota doesn't want you to?

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Downloading and consuming some content removes the primary reason of purchasing something—to consume that content.

Now, the ideas of people on here and in the tech world in general really can't be further than that of those in the 'outside world.' When people I know who aren't technical people speak of downloading stuff many often make note of how awesome it is to consume something without having to pay for it.

Not paying. It's a big deal to a lot of people who pirate.

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Oh, I know plenty of people who say it's awesome to consume stuff without paying too. Of course, 90% of them wouldn't buy that stuff anyway since they're already struggling to feed and clothe their kids (Yeay for living in a country in a permanent economic crisis for the last 30 years!).

But the few I know that can actualy afford that stuff aren't spending less; at most, they moved to spending more on concerts and less on albums. Which is supported by real data in other countries:

http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e2012875f077e8970c...

So, sorry if your anedoctal "evidence" doesn't convince me.

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You can deliberately choose it to not convince you and in doing that, that won't make it magically disappear.

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My convictions are based on:

- multiple studies showing that "pirates" buy a lot

- data showing that artists are making, in total, more money than before

- data presented by the media companies themselves showing consecutive years of record profits

Yours are based on a study done on just 30 movies during only three years.

And yet apparently, I'm the one trying to delude myself.

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why are you so certain they would pay if they couldn't pirate

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Because they did before they could pirate (Before they figured out Limewire and now torrents) and other reasons such as wanting to fit in.

It's really not all that complex. Piracy also isn't divorced from other things people do.

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I'm not hurting them - I would never have bought what they are selling. I'm just letting them benefit me, and thus increasing the level of happiness in this world.

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You're saying that if tomorrow you could no longer download movies, music and tv shows for free, you would simply stop consuming all of these things?

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>you would simply stop consuming all of these things //

If he continues to consume those things at the same level (ie spends the same amount of money on them) then the argument still stands IMO.

I've seen articles saying that those who download a lot are often also ones who consume at higher levels; a movie buff can spend a huge amount of income on movies and still torrent.

Removing the torrenting won't necessarily increase the amount spent, indeed it could decrease it under models that come readily to mind.

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Most, yes. We would still have YouTube, though. Actually, I bought 1 CD this year, Parov Stelar's Princess, that I would have bought regardless, but that's about it.

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> Most, yes.

Then the answer to my question is “no.”

Even if you would stop, I don't think most pirates would. They'd probably consume less, and be a lot more discriminating, but I do think they would buy.

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Libraries do still exist.

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Great point! Shameful that I didn't even think about it.

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How is it stealing if you're not taking anything away from anyone?

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It's clearly not stealing.

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HN is dead.

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Really? You think yourself so above me, so better than me, in every way, that not only don't I deserve a response, but I herald the death of the HN as a place for insightful discussions?

Maybe there would be more insightful discussions if people had more to say than "HN is dead" in response to a confused, imperfect person expressing where they are on the path to discerning right from wrong.

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Well I am sorry if I offended you.

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You have plenty of responses. But you are probably right. I'm the problem.

-----


From your comment history, you sound very sour and jaded. I do not envy you.

If reading HN (and commenting on this kind of submission) makes you unhappy, why don't you just stop and focus on the things that make you happy?

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I would love to tell you what is wrOng with you but I am kind of busy

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I think the film-industry should be inspired by this. If they offered something which is as easy to use and as good-looking as this, piracy will certainly decrease.

Just put a "Pay here"-button before giving the user their download-link. Skip the DRM and the restrictions for different parts of the world and they'd have a killer-platform for selling their products.

I am not saying that piracy isn't "unethical", but that there are many ways it could be resolved without resorting to harsh laws.

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If Hollywood made this exact same product but with pay buttons, why would I as a user choose it over movies.io.

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Convenience and (the perception) of safety, both from law and malware. Paying a reasonable amount for a movie that is easy to find and watch is a no-brainer for me. Of course, my time to income ratio is low.

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And of course quality.

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Just because its possible to get a thing for free doesn't mean no-one will pay for it. Just look at bottled water.

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Where do you get bottles for free?

-----


1. Purchase tasty beverage.

2. Drink beverage.

3. Free bottle!

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Doesn't work in Germany, we've got 15-25ct deposit on all bottles.

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People don't buy bottled water for the bottles, otherwise they'd throw away the water, and keep the bottles. Instead they keep/use the water and throw away the bottles. The water is what they pay money for, you can get that for free at home.

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> People don't buy bottled water for the bottles, otherwise they'd throw away the water, and keep the bottles.

Speak for yourself; I personally have done this.

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OK, I'm sure there are counter-examples to just about ever rule. However I think it's accurate to say that the vast majority of the population buy bottled water for the water, not the bottles. My point stands.

-----


Free water from home tastes worse. Making the analogy, if they want to sell content they need to give extra quality than "illegal" download. Cinema large screens, live concerts, etc. I cannot see another way.

-----


Set up a bin anywhere people go that says "recycle" and you'll get plenty.

-----


Is the bin that says "recycle" free?

-----


I'd pay 5-10 bucks for a high-quality mp4 or mkv, even if the site's interface was terrible. Right now I rent movies, about once a year. I find myself wanting to buy them online once or twice a month.

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Because you want to support the making of more movies of the same kind. Because you have a conscience. That said, there will always be those who shoplift in stores, or pirate movies. I don't believe those people constitute the majority of the population.

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Because you want to support those who produce the content, if you like using it. Not supporting them while using their creation is sheer disrespect, regardless whether piracy is illegal or not.

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Because this site (movies.io) will inevitably get shut down within the week.

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I don't think it will. We'll try to maintain it up by any means possible as long as there's a satisfying worldwide alternative to buy/license this content.

In a way, it's a political stand. We're already in contact who could help us make an alternative that would be both legal and ethical.

EDIT: this is the manifesto I was looking for: http://www.dontmakemesteal.com/

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1080p, surround sound, perfectly mastered instead of being ripped from a dvd or a cam, and no threat of being sued.

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> If Hollywood made this exact same product but with pay buttons, why would I as a user choose it over movies.io.

Same reason you buy stuff instead of stealing them?

-----


But downloading is not stealing.

-----


Interesting, but would you take a stolen car? Doesn't quite compare, I know, but it's a bit silly to justify it by saying that.

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If it were also reasonably priced, users who wish to reward people who make this type of content possible would pay for it.

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I'm honestly pretty bad at pirating. I'd _love_ it if HBO threw up paid streaming for Game of Thrones. If they charged something like $3/episode I think it might actually even be cheaper than the time I spent trying to pirate it (granted, most people are probably better than I am at pirating).

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See eztv.it when you create account you can register which series you are interested in and then you will have a personal page on which you can get directo torrents for new/unwatched episodes

-----


I think your best bet is pirate bay plus adblock. Once you remove all the ads their site actually becomes usable.

-----


I should add: I'm looking for these episodes relatively quickly after they're aired. The PB links I get when I google for stuff don't seem to be for recent episodes.

A friend of mine generally finds a link through his own sources relatively quickly and shares it, though.

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There are plenty of easy ways to legally buy and download movies - certainly a lot easier than torrenting. See Netflix, iTunes, Google Play etc.

It would be both nice and pragmatic if they would drop the DRM that is clearly doing nothing to combat piracy. This is not going to achieve that.

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> There are plenty of easy ways to legally buy and

> download movies - certainly a lot easier than

> torrenting.

The Oatmeal disagrees: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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No there are not. Not if you don't live in the States. The US is not the only place on earth you know :) It's hard/impossible to get anything new (and most things old) in other countries legally streaming.

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Exactly. Eventually they'll learn, but it takes them a long time.

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Here's hoping your current position as comment #1 means you're not the only one who cares. You certainly aren't! But this kind of stuff has become religion here: I'm seeing perfectly valid comments being downvoted if they take the side that these things are unethical, and admittedly I get pretty hot when I hear the roar of "piracy is a-ok!" that now seems to drown out any contradiction.

I think the MPAA and groups like it bear the brunt of the responsibility for the creation of this mentality, though. I don't think they really understand how many enemies they made due to SOPA and things like it, or the level of bad will they're generating by consistently refusing to embrace better distribution models, or how much they undercut their own arguments by refusing to behave in an ethical manner while they demand ethics of others. And the worse it gets, the more they dig in to absurd positions.

Their behavior seems to have led many to conclude--fairly--that they're simply a mafioso organization and that there is no validity to any of their concerns. And so copyright ceases to exist, and it's hard to discuss, even here, without being accused of being an MPAA shill. But it started with the copyright organizations: they started calling fans thieves and demanding they all be put in jail or fined into bankruptcy, and then they started demanding that the Internet be locked down and controlled without due process, and now people are firing back with equal vitriol, and often an equivlaent unwillingness to listen to the other side. Sad indeed.

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Totally understand your position.

Hesitated a lot about this, and finally thought "fuck it, let's do it".

I think it's like people working in porn: they don't necessarily enjoy the industry, but at one point they thought "man, there's really something that needs to be done".

I'd much prefer a legal solution. I'd much prefer content owners to expose APIs for the licensing of their content, and have them let us create the front-ends.

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How do you feel about sharing all the code that you created for this site so we can use it for some projects we might have in mind?

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I feel good about it. We'll definitely start open-sourcing code, we'll announce it on the blog (still need to set that up). Open-source rocks.

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I second that request. Do you think what you have built so far could be made to work for e-books and publications as well?

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For much of this content there are 'APIs'.

Why not link people to an Amazon link, or netflix, or iTunes, for films which are available at those places?

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EDIT: Read below before downvoting, in USA the situation might be better. We're (Europe) still waiting.

Because they so clearly suck at both UI and content distribution.

I don't want to jump through hoops to watch a movie. And no I don't want to wait for the release window to clear.

I want you to give me the rights to get it by my owns mean, because I know how to do it better than you. Just let me pay for the damn thing: I got money, I'll pay for all I want to watch.

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On most of these stores, if you linked directly to the movie page, it'd be a one- or two-click experience between arriving and watching the video.

On Amazon for example, you click the "Buy Movie" button, and it turns into a play button, which launches the movie player. As long as you're signed in, there are no intermediate steps, the purchase just goes to your default credit card or bank account and you get an e-mail receipt while you're already watching the movie.

It's not that different anywhere else if you're already signed in, which many people will be.

You haven't really answered the question of why you don't "let me pay for the damn thing" by linking to these stores for the movies available there. If you're only interested in helping people pirate movies even if they're cheaply and easily available to them online already, just come out and say it.

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Most of your assumptions should end with "if you live in the USA".

Yup, life sucks for movie lovers in Europe.

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It isn't just streaming either. A month or so ago my housemates and I tried to purchase S1 of Game Of Thrones. It has been on TV here, shown a day after it was aired in the US. However it wasn't available on Netflix, Lovefilm, iTunes or any other digital service we could find. In the end we gasp went to a shop (!!!) and bought it a few days later (mainly due to our shoddy internet connection, and Amazon not having an Ireland presence so shipping takes a while).

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Yep and no; it doesn't suck; everyone just downloads them illegally as there is no other viable choice. Waiting for them to come out in EU is not viable; we live in a global, continues contact world; on Facebook people will be talking about the 'latest Game of Thrones' ep and you didn't see it.

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Does LoveFilm not work in Europe?

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Netflix is available in the UK and IE, however the catalogue is pretty lousy. It is mainly the same poor selection of films they show on TV anyway.

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UK/DK/DE/SE/NO only it seems. And probably very limited catalog, but will check it out nonetheless.

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Because most of them only work if you're in the USA and/or use Windows and OSX.

Torrented files have none of these arbitrary restrictions.

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Not to mention all of the legal solutions give you crippled files with DRM.

Also, I find my tracker has a better download speed than any of these services (though that's not really an important point.)

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Actually it is - I don't like waiting for ages when I want to watch a move right now.

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Well, but here's the problem: If I want to watch a movie right the hell now, torrents aren't a good solution, because the pieces you get are random. You can't start watching the movie immediately, you have to wait until it's loaded completely. There are some experimental p2p streaming protocols, but there isn't anything really good on the market just yet.

Sure, I'm on an awesome tracker, and I can download an HD movie to my seedbox within 5 minutes. No problem. Then I just stream it over my home connection (which is rather slow.) So there's a 5-10 minute delay, which I can live with. But, if somebody would offer me an insta-HD-streaming feature (Netflix doesn't count, I'm in Europe,) I'd pay for that.

But nobody does, so I torrent.

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Vuze (Azureus) has a 'Media Server' plug-in which works very nicely, even with 1080p movies.

They intentionally bury it, though, because 'play now' is their premium offering (a shady business model imho). You have to go to the torrent's files, right click the .avi/.mkv/.mp4, go to 'Media server' -> 'Copy stream URI to clipboard', and then you can use that stream URI in any self-respecting player (VLC, mplayer).

That's terrible UX though :)

(Small note: in-order download is generally frowned upon in the torrent world, becaues it's bad for a torrent's health. However, Vuze manages this nicely by both prioritizing the pieces in order and still downloading/seeding random pieces at the same time. I think it's a very good compromise.)

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It does link to IMDB, which offers such purchasing links.

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I'm wondering, why they don't link to rottentomatoes ? AFAIR it has API that they could use for this.

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It's planned.

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Conversely, I would say that (within current laws) it is clearly illegal but it remains unclear as to why would it be unethical.

I kind of correlate bits with thoughts. Contrary to what some shady associations try to claim, you can't possibly cause conclusive harm to anyone by merely copying bits any more than by thinking about illegal things.

Digital copies also obey the same law that thoughts do: you either keep them to yourself or let it out to the whole world. There's no middle point where you could selectively share your thoughts with certain people but prevent them from sharing them further. And last I checked, "ideas are worthless"; it's the execution (into a physical realm) that matters. Ditto with digital copies.

I've been arguing for a while that the best internet breakthrough and source of income for MAFIAA would be to pay Piratebay to add a "Pay" button to their service. And to others' torrent search engines. Just sell licenses to movies and music and let people get their data in whatever format they feel like.

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I don't know where it is "clearl illegal" but it must be a very strange law.

Would anyone sane make illegal someone that says: "You can download Game of Thrones from www.example.com".

That's basically what the torrents are, just a hint where to find the data you seek.

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If we are now trying to equate downloading a movie or tv show with some type of thought crime I think we've clearly run out of ways to try and justify our behavior.

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I don't consider it unethical one bit. I live in a country that has no business relationships with the west, and I couldn't buy a movie, even if I paid 10 times the price (and I also have to change my ip to be able to buy it from any western store). I don't watch movies (except for Kubrick's, who is dead) and specially hate Hollywood movies, so I'm not really the target audience of this site.

Ethics is not a set of rules fixed in stone. Killing is bad, but killing an animal beaten by a car is hundreds of times more ethical than letting it spend hours in pain and then die. Pirating/stealing is bad, but you should never fault a poor kid, or someone who is technically unable to purchase that in the first place.

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It tickles me to see a post on Hacker News decrying the ethical issues of creating a UI for a torrent tracker. If this attitude had prevailed 50 years ago, we wouldn't have Apple. This is Hacker News.

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Yea, if Steve Jobs hadn't played around with Blue Boxes, where would we be?

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That I seem to be one of the few who cares while most others nit on details.

For me it's you who is nitting on details.

The question whether filesharing is "ethical" or not is irrelevant.

Because regardless of the answer: The cat is not going back into the bag. No matter how many rivers are cried.

You could just as well complain that the job of the farrier has nearly disappeared because most people don't ride horses anymore.

A much more interesting discussion could be based on the following questions:

  * What distribution and compensation model will emerge as the successor
    to the current "pay-per-consumption" or "pay-per-physical-copy" approach?

  * What are the consequences for artists and content-producers?
    Are million-dollar blockbuster movies still possible in the future?
    Will "making a living" as a musician still be possible?
I.e. please discuss under the premise that the current model is dead, because that's what it is. We do have horseless carriage now, and the raw numbers tell you that most people consider the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages by far.

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The real shame is that this could have been a good money-maker had it been built to link to instant purchase options on iTunes, Amazon, and so on using affiliate links.

Or even taken a "pirate with a conscience" strategy and offered purchase links alongside the torrent links. That way, everybody who claims they only download movies from torrents because the experience is better can both purchase a legit copy and have the better download/viewing experience they desire.

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I hear http://www.dexy.tv/ is pretty good at that - dude just contacted me, we'll work together to bring that info over to movies.io for legal alternatives.

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People really ought to stop and examine this idea that copying information is somehow underneath unethical -- and that the special word 'unethical' can be uttered and that will tell people to behave.

Information is a nonrival good: it is an abundance with respect to access -- how on earth, in any rational conception of morality, can free access to an abundant good be construed as intrinsically immoral?

It is unethical only pragmatically: only in that (it is proposed) the economy will function better with some restrictions on copying -- which is the main purpose of the law. That is: it is unethical no further than it is illegal.

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Agreed. I have a hobby of collecting different snippets of people's personal info, just for entertainment purposes. Please send me your name, contact info, and banking information. I'd like to have it on file.

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Informational goods covered by copyright are ones already made public.

-----


You said something a long time ago that has stuck with me:

If you're willing to compromise your morals on something small, where will you ever draw the line?

I agree, this is sad.

-----


"Where do you draw the line?" is almost always a trivial rephrasing of the slippery slope fallacy. We live in a world where there are no lines, and we draw them in arbitrary places so that we can make the world work. If that bothers you, you are just going to have to adjust your worldview to be compatible with the reality you were born into.

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Help me understand how your comment doesn't imply that all ethics are situational and relative?

-----


As far as I can see, the two concepts have no bearing on each other whatsoever, but in any case, I can't help you to understand how something doesn't imply something else. You're going to have to justify how it does imply that. You can start by defining "situational" and "relative".

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I agree with others that this sounds a bit like a slippery slope fallacy. However, thought of a bit differently, that practicing on the smaller things helps you on the larger, makes more sense to me.

That said, I'm not sure if there's data to support that. Does being meticulous in your speech and not telling white lies make you less likely to cheat on your wife, say?

-----


I draw the line at something big.

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Firstly, morals differ a little, as illustrated by the discussion around. Secondly, appreciating craftsmanship does not necessarily imply approving of purpose.

-----


Breaking silly rules if it makes things better is part of the hacker ethic.

-----


Jobs and Wozniak started by building freaking boxes.

-----


Ahem. That's "phreaking"... As in phone phreaking. -- coming from an ex-phone phreak ;)

-----


Unless he's talking about the first Apple computer, in which case, they were literally building "freaking boxes."

-----


Wait, what Steve Jobs does determines your morality? He was obviously a great CEO, but not exactly a saint...

-----


friggin phreaking boxes ;)

-----


"phreaking"

-----


I believe you mean "phreaking" boxes.

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"...and not in the spirit of good clean business and technology practices we should all be aspire to"

Its not a business.

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I would not consider it immoral as long as there is no other way to access the same content without committing an illegal act. As a non-US citizen, I can't even watch half the content even if I would want to pay.

The fact that people had to pay multiple times for watching the same content in different formats and that it is considered perfectly legal is more immoral to me than any thing else.

-----


Why can't you use a US iTunes account? How is that illegal? It may well be a violation of the Apple/iTunes TOS but that is different to being illegal.

-----


I can't speak for the grandparent, but I have to change my IP address to be able to download from the App Store (or other stores including Google's Play, or even sites like code.google.com and sf.net), and that is illegal in my country.

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My rule is simple: anything I can get through iTunes I don't pirate.

I also have a cable subscription.

Yet living in a non-english speaking country MOST content I'm interested in is not available through these legal channels (No TV shows available through iTunes, also missing many new release movies (don't mean delayed release which I put up with, I mean released only to Blu-ray and never iTunes), most older movies, most documentaries, etc).

Funny how I don't have that problem with, say, iOS apps (e.g. have never needed to jailbreak my devices because something I want is only available in the US App Store). If only all content was this easy...

For profits publishers need to relax their control obsession and get on the ball.

-----


I agree, and I hate this.

Even more though, I'm sad that people are forced into a position where they have to run unethical services if they want to build services like this.

It is time content owners were forced to provide statutory licenses for streaming video content, just as they are forced to provide licenses for streaming audio.

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Dear god yes, that is the whole point I've been trying to make. Thank you for that.

-----


It is time for home owners to give up their ownership and hand over their property to the people.

-----


Do I detect some sarcasm?

The content industry has manipulated law-makers into giving them exactly what they want.

The way the political system works is that you can't just oppose something, you must have a counter proposal.

Statutory licensing is my proposal.

I'm not sure what you are proposing, but by the sound of it you think the status-quo is acceptable. Fine - but how do you propose to stop the creeping erosion of individual's rights?

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I'm in the camp (which might be naive) that if there are alternatives people wouldn't download illegally (as much). I never illegally copy Indie games or movies simply as they are easy to buy. The perceived pressure of 'pirating' might get people in the EU streaming content at the same time the US gets it within our lifetime. Without that pressure, there is no incentive for this. All people I know would never download/watch illegally if they could watch legally. This is simply not the case and so pressure needs to build in order to force the issue.

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I'm confused, wasn't this what pg meant with 'Disrupt Hollywood'? /srcsm

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I don't know which I feel saddest about: 1. Someone calling this "clearly unethical" 2. On a site named "hacker" news 3. That comment being top 1.

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Who let the MPAA in here?

Seriously, unless you are a massive copyright holder, attempting to exploit every red penny out of your brainwashed masses, I don't see how any user would have a problem with this. Maybe the movie industry should try to out-innovate?

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1. If you click his name, you will see edw519 is a long-time respected member of the HN community, who generally posts insightful comments, submits excellent articles, and writes riveting blog posts. This is no throwaway shill for the MPAA.

2. Do you believe no one in the world besides "massive copyright holders, attempting to exploit every red penny out of your brainwashed masses" dislikes piracy? That's a very simplistic and naive view. I hope you find these discussions illuminating.

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It's very difficult to out-innovate 'taking things someone else made and giving them away completely for free', when you have to make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to break even.

-----


So the best way to encourage innovation is give companies big fat monopolies like infinitely expandable copyright?

It is of course the exact opposite: it is very difficult to innovate when you have guaranteed monopolies, because they are effectively money for nothing, and the easiest way to keep the business going is to focus on manipulating the law and enforcement in your favour instead of working on innovation -- which is indeed exactly what the MPAA/etc. lot have been doing.

What are you going to do? Work hard to create new ways to improve the service, or call a lawyer and have the government shut down your competitor overnight? It is an all too easy choice, and it is one the media industry has been taking year after year.

-----


Apple bet against this notion and they won pretty big.

-----


Bottled water?

-----


Water isn't copyrighted.

-----


And yet they still make a healthy profit.

-----


It's very simple. As a creative person, who produces creative work, I desire a world in which it is possible for me to make a living doing that.

To put it in terms HN might be more comfortable with - how would you feel, if you operated a subscription website, if someone came along, and swiped your code and content, and put it up for free. Would you support that?

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>how would you feel, if you operated a subscription website, if someone came along, and swiped your code and content, and put it up for free //

Well if it was 15-20 years after I created it and it had already paid out for me then I'd feel mighty fine about it.

For me this argument works at the short-term and for the artists but fails to speak at all to why the government of a country should get involved in protecting the assets of those who have already received their living wage many, many times over for something that may well have been created by their great-grandchild's employee 100 years ago.

-----


I'm not sure about the rest here, but as I have said before and will say again; I PAY (a lot if need-be) for your creative work IFF (if and only if) you make it trivial for me to purchase it when I want it. I am not going to jump through hoops, wait for ages because I happen to live in EU etc. I buy nearly every nice indie game that comes out, I sponsor indie movies; both are always super easy to get, worldwide without delays.

Edit: case in point http://www.humblebundle.com/ => how much easier can it get?

-----


And yet somehow the human race produced creative work before the existence of copyright laws.

-----


We used to go to theatres, and see live performances of plays. It's hard to copy that.

A digital movie, however, can be copied a thousand times in a few seconds for next to no cost, and will be an exact copy.

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Because nobles in the feudal system would patronize great artisans to produce work. All the great composers were basically salaried employees of various lords, majors, dukes, etc.

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As a supporter of free (as in speech) software, I'd probably end up helping them fix bugs in the code, as long as they paid the favor forwards.

-----


How does any of what he said sound like it's from the MPAA? I don't like piracy one bit and I try very hard to find legal solutions to my media wants (not needs): Netflix, Amazon Prime, CrunchyRoll, Zune, Vudu, Red Box, Hulu, iTunes, Sony's Video Unlimited (not completely out yet?)

What is so bad about honestly getting permission to watch things you want to watch?

[edit: added more to the list]

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>What is so bad about honestly getting permission to watch things you want to watch?

Because the terms are offensive and anti-consumer.

Let us count the ways:

1. Overpriced

2. DRM encumbered

3. Bad UX (by way of 2)

4. Platform lock-in (by way of 2)

5. Geograhphy lock-in (again, by way of 2)

So basically, if I live in Europe, I can pay downright extortionate rates to access content in a format which goes out of its way to make my life difficult, (IF i can access it at all)

Or,

I can key in a random torrent site, search for what I want, it will be available in multiple, DRM-free formats, and I can click a button and have it on my local machine in less than an hour.

Which sounds like a better value proposition to you?

I'd rather cut a check to the artist directly and know that I'm not supporting N middlemen who actively campaign against my interests.

-----


Middlemen that footed the bill for the actual production of the movie and its advertisement?

Wouldn't that be akin to cutting a VC out of their percent of the earnings?

-----


You must have skipped the "actively campaigning against my interests" bit. Why should I care about the rights of someone who tries to make sure I shouldn't have any? At that point, my view on their rights is something along the lines of "Fuck 'em".

-----


Because they are rights, and shouldn't be violated? That's why they're called rights. Now, you can work on changing them if you like

-----


In the meantime, I'm not Gandhi. I refuse to respect someone who doesn't respect me. If this makes me an unethical jerk, I guess I'm an unethical jerk.

-----


By your same argument, I shouldn't object to people who rape women because I'm not one?

-----


I wish the MPAA would engage in a discussion here. Who knows what might come out of it.

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I think that the crowd here is growing more pro-piracy of late. I've been in a number of lengthy arguments here about this issue in the past year arguing the 'morality' of piracy or how 'justified' it is because of whatever, whereas earlier discussions I've had on HN were all more academic in nature -- "If Hollywood can't figure out digital distribution, of course there will be more users who pirate."

Even worse, the entitlement is much greater, and nobody seems to care that it's wrong, so I end up getting drawn into a million "can't copy a car" type of arguments and "I can't legally purchase" rebuttals.

Worse than that, I've felt like I'm in the minority on how I feel about piracy and as such, have pretty much quit rehashing the same old arguments.

So, while I hate that you're going through the same nonsense I did, at least you can save yourself some frustration by not being baited into the same frustrating arguments that deliberately "miss the point".

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It's not that "nobody cares that it's wrong", it's that they reasonably disagree with that: not everybody thinks it's wrong!

It seems the fact that copyright infringement is "wrong" is an axiom for you. Going from that position, I could see why the discussion seems poor: other people have different axioms! Of course, if people are arguing about something, treating it as an axiom is not productive.

Also, there are people who hold the exact opposite stance: it's not piracy that's wrong, it's copyright.

Take a look at the free software movement--not only do they believe you shouldn't legally limit people from distributing software, they actually go farther and believe you shouldn't even make it difficult to modify and reuse code! There are some very intelligent people in the FSF, and they've contributed immensely to the software world, all on the opposite premise: it's not infringement that's wrong, it's copyright.

Now, I could see how you would disagree with them. An unfortunate proportion of HN seems to--look at any thread about MIT/BSD licensing. But you shouldn't just dismiss their philosophy out of hand and implicitly believe that spreading information in spite of copyright is wrong.

Ultimately, it's not that "piracy" is justified, it's that it doesn't need to be justified in the first place. What needs to be justified is restricting distribution in the first place.

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In the event that I make statements that seem impolite, let me preface by saying that I appreciate the response, the thought that went into it, and the neutral tone you've taken in your response to my admittedly off-the-cuff remark.

I am aware of, and understand the premise of the 'copyright is wrong' party, and I was perhaps remiss to have excluded it from my earlier response, but the point was more to give edw some reassurance that he isn't alone. He seemed genuine in his question, and as I took a long time to type my response, there weren't any like-responses when I started writing (I was in the middle of something.)

So, to the issue at hand, which is thankfully not the "can't copy a car" sort of tripe I'm used to dealing with... I suppose my biggest trouble with the 'copyright is wrong' argument is that it seems to argue from a point of 'morality', meaning that it "isn't right" to restrict information or, to coin the old phrase, "information wants to be free."

The only good reason I can imagine for that stance (and I'm happy to be informed otherwise) is that it deprives them of things. What I think is 'right' is to give the author of a work the ability to do with it what they will. If they choose to share it, then great for them. If they choose to share it without the ability to reproduce it, I'd suppose that was within their rights. Just as it is within my rights to build a fence and disallow people from knocking it down. Those who seek to encourage open source also make that choice, just the other way; But they've still chosen to have their work treated how they wish (or not, in the case of MIT/public domain licenses). Even in open source, the author's wishes are to be respected, and I don't fault them (or closed source products) for having made the choice that they have. It's their work, they should control it as much or as little as they like.

Whether or not copyright is right or wrong (and I am certainly not going to suggest that it's perfect, or even necessarily 'good',) the author of a work, even in open source, is effectively licensing their work, but with a particular set of constraints. If a company uses GPLv2 code and does not release the source, what is the expected reaction?

I think that the biggest issue for me is that (at least in the arguments I've had) the proponents of eliminating copyright feel that it will promote the arts, and that it will remove restrictions keeping artists from flourishing but, at least in every scenario I can think of, it also removes the ability of an artist to make a living from their work as well as they could otherwise. If artists can't afford to pay their rents on their art, then they'll either stop producing it altogether, or produce less of it. Perhaps that will be offset by the newly unencumbered artists doing covers of whatever the current hot song is, but that doesn't exactly promote new creation either, and leads to a losing proposition for originality in art.

Effectively, the distribution costs are so low at this point, and people can clone music / pictures / etc so quickly, that in the absence of a controlled distribution, it's quite possible that a new song could get 'link-jacked', and its creation could be attributed to a copier with better promotion skills, making promotion more important than originality, which takes us 360 to where we are, only perhaps worse.

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Very well said. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to respond to all of your points, all of which are reasonable. (Also, I'm pathologically lazy.)

However, I would like to point you to a comment I made about the GPL[1]. Particularly, my argument is that the fact the GPL uses copyright is just an implementation detail--in a very real sense, it turns copyright on itself. The underlying premise is not that the creator should have absolute control over their work but rather that each consumer has certain rights which should not be taken away. If we think of proprietary software as x and public domain/BSD/MIT as 0 on a hypothetical "copyright control scale" then the GPL is akin to -x.

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4056864

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I don't dispute consumer rights, but those rights aren't obtainable without the author's permission.

If nothing requires the author's permission for redistribution, then where does the line stop? Should a person's private diary just be automatically published to the world? Can someone redistribute a recording of a song I was singing in the shower? Is my time in the shower video recordable, and public domain?

If I can't protect my own works, and/or keep them private, then what can I keep? Where are the boundaries? Why am I obligated to share every single thing that I come up with?

For what it's worth, I generally license code MIT, and I'm a proponent for free software, but with MIT, but I'm not so naive as to believe that no secrets ever need be kept, and even being a proponent of free software, should not be obligated to open source every thing that I ever do.

If only for the sake of my grandmother's chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have to believe that people have some ownership over their creations.

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The private diary issue is different - it's wrong to read someone's diary without their permission even if you don't disseminate the information. Same with trade secrets, there are separate protections for those.

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But why is it wrong? If it's right for me to take someone's work and distribute it against their wishes, why is the diary different? Why would I respect the protections of privacy or trade secret if I don't respect the rights of authorship? I'm not trying to set up a non-sequitur, I'm genuinely trying to understand.

Also, while I understand that trade secrets are a different issue with copyright, the only tangible differences are that they are 1) secret, 2) have a bunch of requirements to protect and 3) generally lose trade secret status when 1 is no longer true.

My diary is not protected by trade secret status.

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It's wrong because it's trespassing or theft. It directly causes harm to someone to disseminate their private thoughts, whereas a literary or artistic work is intended to be distributed.

Trade secrets are really more about contract protection than any right of authorship - the third difference is the key one. Once a trade secret is out in the open it's no longer wrong to spread it further.

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So, in a nutshell, if I intend to keep it private, I can keep it private forever, and anybody who treads on that is "wrong" to do so. But if I release something to the public, or some secret is bared to the public against my wishes, it is gone forever, and now belongs to the world at large.

And there's really no middle ground? There's no "I want to share this to you, but you can't have it," ???

If we can protect trade secrets though, then I should be able to come up with a song, and play it for a friend, but tell them to keep it secret. Make them sign an NDA even (that's how trade secrets are enforced after all). And THEN I can keep it, right?

So what's the difference between that and releasing a record, on the condition that you keep it secret? Why can't I do that?

Like I said, for me, the anti-copyright notion is too far a stretch. I get that copyright is perhaps broken, and it's certainly been skewed from its original intent, but I don't believe that getting rid of it altogether is the fix for that. I wouldn't support banning all airplane travel because a few have crashed, and I think that's what the anti-copyright extreme would basically have us do.

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I wouldn't quite phrase it like that, but yes, in essence. It's wrong to break a promise --- your friend who released the song to the world was in the wrong --- but once it's out there it's not wrong to spread it further.

I recommend 'Against Intellectual Monopoly' if you're interested in the issue: http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstne...

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Well we can all thank pg for the new tone of HN. Kill Hollywood? Might as well have Henry Ford saying kill horses. When a viable alternative exists it will gradually replace Hollywood, just like every other industry.

But don't worry, the Internet is still the wild west, the sherrif has to follow the laws but hired guns don't have to. Good for the goose good for the gander. Enter torrent malware.

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Everyone pirates everything and no one feels sad.

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>That I seem to be one of the few that cares.

Clearly many do care, but arguing is like facing an onslaught of Orcs.

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I built a somewhat similar product http://www.dexy.tv but it only links to 'legit' content (netflix, hulu, amazon, etc).

nddrylliog, send me an email if you're interested in potentially collaborating so you can list both kinds of content. Really like what you've done on the UI side.

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Do any torrent sites have affiliate links to legit content like Amazon? That seems like a good opportunity. If someone searches for a movie torrent, the movie might be available on Amazon (DVD or streaming) even if no torrents are found. And, more interestingly, someone might search for a movie torrent but see they can stream it from Amazon right now for just $5 without waiting for a torrent download.

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A lot of torrent movie downloaders check for the "type of" print available - CamRip, Blue Ray RIP, DV RIP etc. It would be great if you could display these after the search goes through. It would make the movie download decision 1-click.

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I ran into the same problem and I just moused-over the "Download" link. Scene releases almost always include basic info like TS, resolution, etc. in the .torrent filename.

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cf. http://hackerne.ws/item?id=4054667

Displaying by default would confuse lambda users. How would you solve it UX-wise?

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I notice you are trying to display quality, like HD1080 on this movie[1]. But doesn't this HD1080 label seem a little inconsistent with the file size?

1. http://movies.io/m/37

Another example[2], variously tagged HD720 and HD1080, with the latter clearly wrong.

2. http://movies.io/m/4o

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Definitely: some results are wrong. We're working from text data, so it's kinda inaccurate sometimes.

We plan to develop our own crawler (instead of relying on other search engines), and refine our heuristics for tags / flagging false torrents.

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Where does this term "lambda users" come from?

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"Lambda" is often used in french as an adjective for "average", "ordinary" or "typical".

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Thanks.

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I think you have almost already solved it [1]. You may think of having a pin tag with a small cross (while the mouse hovers). If you see, people clicking the crosses often it's a good feedback that the tag may be wrong. It can help you correct these tags if not appropriate.

In addition, you should also think about adding tags for CAM RIP, BR RIP, DVD RIP etc. Movie torrent downloaders do care about such information.

Disclaimer - I am a UI/UX autodidact.

[1] http://movies.io/m/4o

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The crosses are a nice idea, although we'll be hard at work at improving our algorithm first (one guy in the team is fulltime on that) and see how it goes.

We'll try to get as much as we can right by default until we ask for help from users :)

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I would be curious to know what kind of algorithms you would be looking at. I am a researcher with research interests in "text analytics" and "social media" & if works well I would be glad to contribute.

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We're currently working on an algorithm based on multiple criteria like filesize, quality, release group... Our first goal is to find the best torrent for a chosen movie. Maybe we'll use social medias for movie matching.

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Verified: nono13 is part of our team.

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is it legal to download movies from these torrents? I believe no, correct me if I am wrong

http://techland.time.com/2011/08/30/expendables-piracy-lawsu...

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No, it's not legal. But only non-MPAA-affiliated films are the subject of torrent lawsuits. The MPAA gave up that tactic a while ago. Movies like The Expendables and The Hurt Locker aren't MPAA-affiliated. Those lawsuits are being pushed by independent lawyers trying to get rich quick through mass settlements. Of course, that doesn't prevent them from suing in the future.

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Also, legislation differs depending on the country you live.

Get informed!

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How do you plan on staying online?

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- Not based in the US: check

- Not hosting any infringing content: check

- DMCA-compliant: check

- Not selling anything: check

- Not doing ads, not tracking you [1]: check

- Not trying to sell your data elsewhere: check

Lawyers will handle the rest. We're not interested in piracy, just very very good UI/UX. Stay tuned.

[1] We use Gaug.es and Piwik with IP fuzzing. They provide enough high-level metrics so that we can improve the interface while letting you guys off the hook.

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> Not doing ads, tracking you, trying to sell your data elsewhere: check

With the absence of a "not" there, it's not quite clear whether you're telling the truth or not, but a http request to "track.gif" could be construed as, you know, tracking us.

http://secure.gaug.es/track.gif?h[site_id]=4fb448ea613f5d5be...

> We're not interested in piracy

Sure you are. You're directly helping people perform it. I'm not saying what you're doing should be illegal, but let's be honest here. You are "interested" in piracy. One could argue you're even involved in it.

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Wanted to clarify on:

> Sure you are. You're directly helping people perform it. I'm not saying what you're doing should be illegal, but let's be honest here. You are "interested" in piracy. One could argue you're even involved in it.

To be, again, completely honest with you, no. If you could have that much exposure showing photos of shoes, we'd do it instead.

I see it as... a start-up without the worry to make profit. We use analytics only to improve the product. We use this as a product building exercise, that's all.

We don't upload movies, we don't run a tracker, we don't belong to any release groups: that's how not interested in piracy we are.

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  > We don't upload movies, we don't run a tracker, we don't belong to
  > any release groups: that's how not interested in piracy we are.
That's like saying "We don't sell crystal meth, we're not distributors for crystal meth, we don't belong to any drug production groups, but our site helps kids obtain crystal meth from those who do: that's how not interested in crystal meth we are."

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Your analogy is paired because both piracy and meth are illegal in the USA. However, the pairing lacks equivalence in my view because crystal meth is clearly (and by nature, not by law) harmful to the user, while piracy is not.

A better analogy might be a website that helps others circumvent the Great Firewall of China. It is illegal in one particular country, but circumvention does not harm individuals (only the society, one could argue). "We don't circumvent the wall, we don't run a proxy, we don't belong to tor: that's how not interested in circumventing the wall we are."

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"crystal meth is clearly (and by nature, not by law) harmful to the user, while piracy is not"

Methamphetamine is helpful for hyperactivity, obesity, and narcolepsy.

I am having trouble constructing parameters in which your statement is true, but does not apply to nearly everything. For example, Tylenol (APAP) is clearly harmful to a user's liver.

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Your censorship analogy is flawed, since copyright infringement is not legal in any country (im not sure, but Ethiopia might have started recognising foreign copyrights now)

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Downloading movies from torrents is legal in Canada (covered by a copyright levy on data storage media), for example.

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In Poland it's also completely legal if you don't distribute (seed) it. Legal for movies and music, illegal for programs/games.

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Same goes here in Switzerland. We have a tax on storage media that is supposed to cover that use case.

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In many countries or at least Mexico, copying or linking to copyrighted material != copyright infringement , copying + profit does.

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>since copyright infringement is not legal in any country //

Last time I looked there were still a few countries that weren't signatories to international copyright laws, PNG I think was one? Maybe Nauru, Tuvalu, Vatican City?

http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/summary.jsp gives details of those places that aren't party to _international_ IP treaties. Note Vatican City is in that list as "Holy See" and is a signatory to a few IP treaties.

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Linking is not considered copyright infringement in most of Europe.

Your analogy has no legs.

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I'm curious if you have a better analogy?

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In retrospect, you're right, we probably should blacklist Twilight from our DB.

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I find your comment disingenuous. I cannot take you seriously when you argue that you are not "interested" in the very thing you enable and are focused on.

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I can see why you would think that. However, if there were APIs to license all that content on an invidual basis instead of linking to torrents, we'd do it instead. Can't really argue beyond that, you're right to some extent.

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How about just linking to the movies themselves if they are available on Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Lovefilm, iTunes or VUDU instead then?

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Actually, we're planning on doing that for US visitors.

The rest of the world is way too much trouble to serve legally so far (it's not even consistent across providers, it's content-dependant..)

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A friend of mine runs a similar site for music [1]. I can't be sure, but I'm fairly certain he didn't do it because he was interested in pirating music (at least not entirely). He did it because he saw that others were interested in pirating music (er, finding links to music that may or may not be pirated), and that a service helping them do that would be useful/appreciated(/get him noticed).

[1] http://mppp.it

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> With the absence of a "not" there, it's not quite clear whether you're telling the truth or not, but a http request to "track.gif" could be construed as, you know, tracking us.

Fair point, reworded the above to be more precise.

Point taken.

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Vastly superior UX at http://torrentbutler.eu/

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Just heard of torrentbutler a few hours ago. It's interesting, and gets a few things right, but it's not what we're going for.

Hopefully the minimalist side of movies.io attracts a different kind of people.

Also, the whole watchlist+sharing aspect is missing in tb.

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If you added TV shows it would be better. Finding movies isn't hard, finding episodes of TV shows is tedious and error prone.

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cf. http://hackerne.ws/item?id=4054800, and you're absolutely right. We're working on reduce pain points, TV shows is an even more interesting challenge.

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There's minimalist, and there's functionally incomplete. Right now you guys are the latter as a torrent service, whereas TB are not.

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I'm confused. If you're not located in the US, why do you need to be DMCA-compliant?

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The extradition of the British kid who only linked to external content, and the extradition attempt of Kim Dotcom makes you wonder.

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Why create yet more problems for yourself?

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How are the movie screenshots and posters not infringing content?

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Suddenly we live in a world where you need to go to a rights holder to reference an image for discussion or non-profit display? The law may be divided on the issue, but I'm not.

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What do you mean by "the law [is] divided on the issue"? As far as I know, this is very clear-cut in the law.

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I liked the very very good UI/UX, good job!

What are the technologies involved ?

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It's a typical Rails 3 apps, Nokogiri used for scraping, PostgreSQL db (migrated from SQLite originally), jQuery+ui for the aucomplete (lazy, yay!), and that's about it :)

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If you don't mind me asking...where (and maybe how) are you pulling the super high quality images for each movie page background?

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The http://www.themoviedb.org/ are doing an amazing job. Using their V3 API right now, it's very nicely designed.

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Impressive. Your autocomplete suggestions are high quality, even in foreign languages. May I ask how you are ranking suggestions results? It can't simply be the TMDB api, right?

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Right now our search/suggestions is a direct API request to TMDb. Yes, they are that good (props to Fanhattan).

Re: foreign languages, they store very tidy information about all the available titles (basically a mapping from ISO 3166-1 to the title), cf. http://help.themoviedb.org/kb/api/movie-alternative-titles

Thanks for the feedback!

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Thanks for sharing!

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...but it's called movies.io.

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So? movies are illegal now?

Make watchlists! Share them with your friends. Nobody's telling you to download films you don't own.

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What is your revenue model, how do you plan on paying said layers?

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Very good friends, (less controversial) start-ups, that's about it.

movies.io is just a hobby.

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Not working in konqueror and midori. In opera I had to hit enter twice - but only once, then it worked normally.

Background images that are even bigger than 700 KB and every single click on a link has a new one? Is that really necessary?

While the search is all nice and stuff, what about browsing available stuff? Is that an intentionally lacking feature because you say "please don't download content that you haven't bought" anyway?

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Konqueror and Midori are not on our radar (although we know of them). We'll try to keep them in mind also admittedly that's not priority #1.

About backgrounds: the randomness is part of what attracts people to the website (bored? just reload N times). That said, for logged on users, there could be an option 'disable random background' or something like that.

Why is page size a problem btw? Are you browsing on mobile? We'll have a mobile-friendly website without random backgrounds.

As for browsing available stuff: there's top50, and you can share public watchlists. For other queries such as Year/Genre, etc. you're better served with a search on IMDb or similar and then come back to movies.io. It takes time to do it right and we didn't want to release something half-assed.

We'll look a lot more into recommending content (from your 'peers'), there's a whole social aspect of the website which isn't there yet (mostly because some people don't care about it, and just want a search engine).

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Not all people have fast internet connections. Seeing a background image loading 2+ seconds just isn't a good impression.

There are file specific things where imdb wouldn't help me:

What if I want to browse all 720p or better h.264 science fiction movies with a german audio track?

Stuff like that.

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So, a user setting would work then?

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I torrent stuff, like a substantial portion of humanity. Except music (Spotify) and games less than five years old. Movies I torrent without a care, unless they're indie or similar. Anyway, I digress, I'm just saying I'm not going to hypocritically pontificate, just comment on the product.

On the actual site: I like the straightforward process you've gone for. A search for 'Dracula' returns multiple, relevant results with the year of release where it's available. It's very easy to find what movie I want. A downside is the download options, all I'm presented with is some links with the filesizes, that's not enough information in my opinion, but I suppose there's not actually much you can do about that. It's a downside because it's not immediately clear if it has subtitles, what language it might be dubbed in and if it is HD or not.

It's a pretty well executed idea that's naturally going to be a bit rough 'round the edges, but it's a great start.

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I'm not too familiar with the inner workings of P2P technologies of torrent and magnets, but is "snooping" possible with magnet downloads ? Like in the case of torrents, MPAA often hops on to a tracker, doesn't send/receive any data, but all it does is log the public IPs of all peers on the tracker. Is this a problem with magnet downloads as well ?

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Definitely. See http://hackerne.ws/item?id=4055215.

Magnet links don't protect you, they're just a simple and standard way to refer to a torrent.

Thankfully, an IP address can't identify a person: http://torrentfreak.com/ip-address-cant-even-identify-a-stat...

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Magnet links are just a shortcut for getting the .torrent file, everything else still applies.

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I'd like to be able to set a minimum quality for torrents that appear in the RSS of my watchlist. This allows me to add it to the watchlist when it's widely promoted when it launches, and watch it when eventually a good torrent appears of the movie.

I've been looking for an aggregator that does this for a long time, but still haven't found it.

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Definitely, definitely, very strongly on our TODO list.

Consider this a first step :)

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Pretty.

I searched for the film 8 1/2 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056801/)

Two things:

1. The director's first name is wrong.

2. No results (maybe due to the ½ symbol.)

EDIT: here http://movies.io/m/fI

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Entirely agree, I suggest you edit the TMDb entry to make it better :) http://www.themoviedb.org/movie/422

We don't yet update our stuff from TMDb once cached, but will do soon.

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It certainly looks nice, but it's not really accurate. E.g. the page for Moon links to Twilight torrents: http://movies.io/m/9t

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Our algorithm tries to things: to flag the bad torrents so they're not displayed, and to not penalize the rare torrents you get for old/unpopular movies.

Moon has bad results because the title is only one word, and Twilight's sorry excuse for a movie happens to be the same year.

We'll definitely look to improve that, thanks for the feedback.

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When you click on the Genre labels (like on the Moon page, for example), they don't take you anywhere. Is this feature in the works? I was expecting to be taken to a page listing all Thrillers or Dramas. The Genre titles look like links, too.

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Definitely in the works.

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Hijacking the thread to ask you a question:

How do you do acquire the background image? That just blew my mind, it's an awesome feature. Do you have to pre-associate each film with an image, or.... ? Details please! In fact, I'd read a blog post about the frontend tech, the backend tech and the general UI philosophy. It's an awesome site.

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So, I'll take the time to set up our website blog, and then I'll let you check back for it :)

We'll communicate about our work on the site. We use GitHub a lot to manage issues / collaboration within devs, it's an awesome tool.

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I've always wondered why all torrent sites look like ass. Nice job with this.

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It's tracker sites that often look like ass.

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Gazelle is awful, and far too many private trackers use it.

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Gazelle really is bad. Is there an alternative? Maybe Ruby or Python?

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There are different projects in the works by different trackers. Check back in a few months.

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Is there anything better?

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At the moment, no. However, several trackers are working on replacements.

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what's so awful about it?

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  - Custom wrapper around MySQLi, which doesn't support parametrized queries
  - No separation of Model, View and Controller (in 10 lines, there's SQL, HTML, JS, PHP and if you get lucky, PHP generating JS or piecing together HTML)
  - Their idea of IRC integration is to write a bot in PHP, where different pages send it raw IRC commands to execute
  - is_numeric used for most SQL injection checks
  - User information stored in two tables (users_main, users_info), for no apparent reason
  - About 1/3 of the code is in a file named script_start.php, which defines a mess of global variables and functions
  - They store PHP-serialized data in MySQL TEXT fields
  - They store pipe-separated data in MySQL TEXT fields
I could go on, but you get the idea.

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Interestingly, movies.ioi is a relatively clean rails app.

Sure, we still have to refactor our TMDb client into a separate lib, stuff like that. But otherwise good clean MVC.

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once upon a time, I thought it might be fun to hack on the gazelle project and give back to the community. so I grabbed the source from svn, opened one file, and promptly rm -fr'd.

I have nothing against the UX of gazelle, but the code is very, very bad PHP

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"please don't download content that you haven't bought"

It's kind of hard to purchase The Avengers (2012) given that it's currently still running in theaters.

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Why? torrentz.eu is more generic and works better on fuzzy searches. And I don't care that you parsed wikipedia.

I've tried searching for some anime and it's not pretty, suggest offers you some transliterated or authentic japan which is confusing.

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We're not good at niches (japanese movies, etc.), yet! But we're working on better international support: Japanese, German, Italian, French movies have often confusing results, we'll display alternative titles and offer torrent search in multiple results.

Torrentz.eu works better for everything else, obviously :)

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Warning to those at work, there's at least one NSFW image in rotation on the landing page.

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Yup, sorry about that. The NSFW filter is off on our TMDb requests but apparently some go through regardless.

The rotation is random from all movies in the db btw, not featured or anything.

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If you just run the randomizer and get the first unique 100 or 200 and cull for NSFW, the effect would be the same without the peril.

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That's the thing though: we have 0 movies marked as NSFW from TMDB in our database.

We'd have to have a 'Report as NSFW' link somewhere to achieve that, and that seems easy to abuse.

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It was the first backdrop for Ali G Indahouse (http://www.themoviedb.org/movie/9298-ali-g-indahouse).

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What I meant is that you pull 100-200 out and go through them yourself, manually. Take a look at 15 or so a day and you'd be done in a week or two. Spread them out amongst the team and it'd take less time.

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Sounds like a good idea, we'll try to find some time to do that.

In the meantime, we've added a few restrictions as to which movies can be featured: they must have an artwork at TMDb, and a rating of over 5/10.

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There is one book from a portuguese writer where the argument is something like this: press a button, you'll get a million dollars and somebody (that you don't know) in a very far way place dies. Nobody will know about it just you. Will you press it or not? Piracy is the same. Is so easy to get and normally nobody will know, just a smaller reward and smaller consequences too. Most of people just press it..

disclaimer: I and nearly everybody somewhere during is life press it, specially if the "reward" is larger. A videogame in my country is around 75€, minimum wage less than 500€, unemployment rate among younger around 40%.

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Apparently Hollywood made that book into a movie: http://movies.io/m/TN

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I heard about that movie, is based on ("The Mandarin", 1880) by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Maria_de_E%C3%A7a_de_...

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See, that's the kind of info we'd like on movies.io.

There's so much more about movies than you can learn about from TMDb, some people do research, are passionate about a particular subject, especially niche movies that aren't available anywhere (not legally, even often not by torrent).

We'd love to nurture that. We're looking for a great way to manage that information: just 'comments' on the movie isn't going to cut it. Stay tuned.

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Press button, use money to save >2 lives.

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Morality is not maths.

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Nice job, the first thing I would like to see is a tag for CAMS and TeleSyncs.

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Thanks for the feedback!

The initial version had a lot more tags, but we've learned that lambda users even go so far as to ignore what 720p/1080p means.

It's a nice UI/UX challenge to accomodate for both beginners and power users. We have a few power users in our ranks and since we scratch an itch we'd definitely like to address our own needs as well.

Consider this version an MVP, good enough for most people.

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At least in Opera the search function is not really working. Neither pressing Enter no clicking on the magnifying glass does the trick.

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Reported, we don't really test on Opera, but we should.

(Do you have JavaScript disabled btw? That could be it: the magnifying glass doesn't do anything except change to a loading icon when it's fetching suggestions)

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Same thing happens sporadically in Chrome too.

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It needs to be able to distinguish the different types (DVDRIP, TS, etc...)

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I like the UI and the execution. I don't know why it is limited to movies. The UI could easily be used for music too.

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We bought http://shows.io/, which is the logical next step for us. Music is a lot trickier, I don't think we're going to attack it.

As for 'why it's limited': gotta focus on one thing at a time. We want to improve this one as much as possible, serve the community, improve content discovery/suggestion (that is personalized from your friends, not from some oracle rating stuff from 1 to 10)

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I can't argue with that. I'll certainly keep this one in my mind when I am looking for a movie. Good job. Stay focused.

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http://www.coda.fm gets many things right when it comes to music.

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Agreed! But http://www.take.fm/ leaves things to be desired, hence our attempt.

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Focus is a good thing. Having it just be movies means he can make a much richer experience.

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True. But sometimes I like the "one stop shopping" things. When I want to look for a torrent, I go to my "go to" site regardless of what type of thing I'm looking for. I would love to see a UI like this that scaled to other stuff.

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Again, planned for later.

We are (obviously) still refining our copy with movies.io, but when we're happy with it, there's still a lot on the plate: responsive design, releasing an API, mobile apps. RSS feeds are a killer feature: add a movie on your iPhone, it's downloaded when you go back home.

Once we have the "final" look of the website, we can apply the same design elements to finding TV Shows, etc. The sky's the limit, really. Oh, and one account for everything, of course.

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Hi. http://www.consoleshop.nl/ is a dutch online console store. Good design but nothing amazing. But if you just click on another tab (ie http://www.homecinemacenter.nl/) you switch to a totally different store but you barely realize it. Shopping cart is in common.

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I'd like to hear some talk about how the post went to the frontpage very quickly, generated some very interesting comments and then got buried (atleast temporarily)?

Was this a result of people flagging the post due to the (some would argue) unethical function of the site?

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if you hear more about this, let me know: I'm as curious as you.

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I want this except with paying to get an actual license.

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We really want, too. We'll try to make it happen. In the meantime, don't dl movies you don't own.

Oh, and the watchlist functionality is pretty cool too.

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How do you choose the splash screen for the different movies? It seems that for each movie I tried you have a very good screen-cap that is obviously not something random, and yet it is also not the official poster.

Did someone select these screens by hand?

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Feature request: The background images look very nice. I'd like to be able to easily hide all the text and just view the background (But, please don't 1) dim the text - completely hide it, 2) use one of those stupid LightBox thingies)

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We hate lightbox as much as you do. No, more!

Yes, the backdrops are awesome (thank the amazing guys at http://www.themoviedb.org/ !), we'd like to find a cool way to let you show them without crowding the interface.

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Tmdb and their API is awesome. But I wish they would provide a dump of their database. I wonder how did you get a copy of all their data, did you build scraper and grab every movie?

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Apparently they're using an scraper. See his/her other comment here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4054755

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The TMDb API v3 is good. We're scraping Torrentz for the results, might do our own indexing later.

Oh, and "his".

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right click on background -> show background image

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YES! Thank you! I have been thinking about building this forever, but have never actually implemented it due to the fuzzy legal issues (read: it's totally illegal) and imminent shut down.

Love the interface. Love the simplicity. Love the graphics. Love the lack of [unnecessary] technical details and inclusion of details about the actual movie (rating, genre, summary, cover photo, etc).

Only thing I can think of to improve this is including a trailer on the download page. Yeah, IMDB is linked and that has trailers, but not quite as cool :) Also, related movies would be awesome.

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There is nothing illegal about this. It provides magnet links, so it is not even linking to the files themselves, they aren't hosting infringing content...

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I wish you were right, but I don't think Johnny Law agrees with you.

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Better trailers yes. Like maybe youtube search for movie_title + ' trailer' and embed the top result...

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TMDb link to some trailers, but the quality is quite poor. We want a good solution or none at all.

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Why not youtube? Against their terms?

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The TMDb API links mostly to YouTube trailers. Of the ones I tried, 1/3 were online but 480p at best, 1/3 were simply offline, and 1/3 were unavailable due to country restrictions.

So, yeah, it's pretty bad. We've also looked into http://www.traileraddict.com/trailerapi but there doesn't seem to be any reliable way to get only trailers from there (you often have DVD bonuses, making of, etc.) and their embed is pretty messy.

If you find a better solution, let us know!

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BUG:

- Resource interpreted as Font but transferred with MIME type text/plain: "http://movies.io/assets/Lato-Reg-webfont-6690edfe4c4ab548613...

- Resource interpreted as Font but transferred with MIME type text/plain: "http://movies.io/assets/Lato-Lig-webfont-653131606c56b81c0ae...

(Safari 5.2 beta, OS X Lion 10.7.3, though that is clearly irrelevant!)

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Aw fuck, missing mime-type in the nginx config.

I clearly suck at sysadmining.

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I miss the time when torrentz.com (now https://torrentz.eu/ ) used to have magnet links. Now I have to click through to piratebay (or worse).

Although I don't plan on using this, nice job. One point - I don't think you should move the search bar around. It would be better if it was in the same place all the time, whether there are results or not.

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Fair point about the search bar, we'll try to think of it in the redesign.

Do you have any idea why torrentz pulled magnet links? Seems insane that linking to sites with .torrent files is easier to defend (legally) than having directly magnet links.

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Maybe someone got scared? I don't know.. but my guess would be a better CTR on sponsored links that are shown alongside trackers.

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Ah, fair point.

The Torrentz guy seems paranoid indeed (lots of disclaimers everywhere) but that seems to serve him well, it's been online for 8 years.

Also, hamsters! http://torrentz.eu/img/hamster.jpg

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rplnt, you should try using a magnet link extension (or greasemonkey script) for your browser.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dmknbldjfdgmfecaai...

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NICE! It would be nice if I knew the rip quality of the trackers though, I'm not gonna blindly download a crappy telesync without knowing

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Hover over the 'download' link and you'll see the full release name :)

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The only reason I still use tpb is the comments will usually let you know if a torrent is of poor quality, passworded, etc. Consider adding peer ratings for video and audio quality.

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Passworded torrents? Dear god, where have you been?

As for poor quality etc. here's our stance: by default, the first search result should be a release of 1) reasonable quality 2) reasonably well seeded.

For power users, we're working on user settings to adjust your preferences for release groups, etc.

Of course, working from a .avi/.mkv/.mp4 file would be optimal because we'd be able to get a lot of codec info from there, but we won't go so far.

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I just got a fake game of thrones torrent the other day trying to download it shortly after airing. Granted this wouldn't be a problem for a torrent that isn't very recently created.

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>"Passworded torrents? Dear god, where have you been?"

That's actually pretty, pretty sad. Last week I've downloaded the most seeded torrent of the movie "In Time" and it came passworded.

I got all surprised because it was THE MOST SEEDED.

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Yeah, indeed.

Wow, I've only seen passworded rar files on, say, DDL. We gotta be careful about that, thanks for the heads up!

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I don't know about other software, but uTorrent has ratings and comments that get distributed through the swarm.

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Does anybody actually use that? Vuze has some sort of commenting system too but it seems buried.

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It only seems to get use on torrents that use open trackers, with no originating website.

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Oh nice tip.

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But still not great from a UX perspective. It would definitely be a plus if this is added.

Some method to let other users curate the content would be great too. On the TPB this can be done at looking at the colored skull or the comments. Improving on this method would be great. I don't know whether linking to a release site is practical and desirable?

EDIT: also order by date. If I type hunger, hunger games should be on top.

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Ordering by date is a good idea, although maybe unpractical? ('relevance' is the criterion right now).

And, agreed, relying on tooltips for critical info is not good. But, again: how do you separate beginners (who would be confused by the release name) and seasoned users (who are pissed that it's not there by default) ?

Linking to a release site would be over the line. There's a lot to do for user-curated content, watchlists are a first step, but we're going to go a lot further. We just have to think carefully about it: just enabling comments would result in a whole lot of garbage. We'll try to do something smart instead.

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Ordering might be improved by also using the IMDB rating. If it's an old movie that has a low score, I'm probably not interested. If it scores well, it's probably still quite popular and thus of interest.

Maybe you can signal the type of the release with an icon?

I'm very interested in what you come up for curation, good luck with that!

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it's pretty, but it's a worse experience than legal alternatives like netflix because you have to take the gamble deciding which copy to download. I value piracy for pushing the user experience forward (without the competition it provides, i doubt we would have netflix instant streaming now), but nothing here seems different than anything before it, just prettier.

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The first result should be reasonably good. We're working on that to improve the algorithms and find the best possible torrent.

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Just a thought. If you consider the site as kind of a model and example for films distribution, why can't you add a [Donate] button, and direct all the funds to the corresponding companies who produced the movies? They might even get a better idea that convenient service without any DRM junk brings them revenue. Without such option the site is questionable.

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What you suggest raises several important issues: first, we'd expect of these companies to go the extra mile of taking our money and redistributing to the rightful owners (which costs, it's a great deal of work to find out who owns what, be it in the music or movie industry).

Second and most importantly, there would be no way for us to guarantee that the donations you make go to them and not us. We'd get shot down because we'd then try to 'profit' from it. Which we don't and we won't.

So nope, no donations directly on the website, ever. However, we'll start displaying legal offers (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) for US visitors, and we're working towards featuring Open / Creative Commons / Libre movie content.

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Well, first part is possible to resolve (but requires effort to find out who's the owner, yes). Second part can be resolved if you technically build the transparency system. I.e. those who pay will have a tracking mechanism for the transaction and would be able to confirm that their money aren't used by you. But in general I agree, it's more of a wishful thinking, in practice it requires effort. But you went so far as to make the site which offers a way to get the content completely for free. It would be fair to put at least some effort for enabling the backwards flow. If you are scared of being shut down, why not being scared of acting without respect to the creators of the movies? Linking to DRMed channels kind of defeats the purpose, since you are promoting a DRM free way.

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Regardless of what you're searching for, it is a really nice site and very functional. Yes all other torrent sites are hideous and full of horrible spammy adverts pretending to be download buttons (so I'm told), but this one is nice and clean, has a gorgeous UI, and makes great use of movie art in the design.

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Thanks a lot for the feedback! Glad you like it. We really love movies, hope it shows.

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You can't even pay for this if you live in Europe.

There's a reason Pirate Bay originated from Sweden...

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Love it. Really nice site, I'm going to have to try and remember to use this over torrentz.eu. Killer extra feature: Suggestions. But before you go reinventing the wheel, can you implement this? tastekid.com. Best recommendations I've seen. I believe they have an api.

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Reinventing the wheel is part of the fun. Recommendation algorithms are not that hard once you know the math behind. But, sure, it goes further than being a Rails dev.

We'll compare with Tastekid for quality :)

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I really like what you've done. Torrent sites never had a clean look, and you are making it first. You are trying to make the world suck less, and i dig that. keep up the good work, and I really hope you can establish a legitimate business model based on this.

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Thanks a lot. I plan to make a living out of my programming & product building abilities but not in this domain, it's too messy.

However, I hope we can reach an agreement with content distributors at least in some countries and replace the torrents by available legal sources.

Thanks a lot for the positive feedback, got a lot of hate uncalled for here, that's refreshing :)

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You will, of course, be making all code and all data you produce in your career publicly available as a torrent?

If not, why not?

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To quote one of my favorite personas on the internet: "You's trolling".

I buy a lot of indie content, I hope that it helps them make a living. I'm currently contacting people to try and start a legal offer for indie content: apparently nobody got that right yes (if you know of any, let me know).

As for sharing my code, part of it, yes, open-source has been very beneficial to the software industry in the past... 30-odd years, and we plan on keep doing it since it seems to work out on everyone.

I probably shouldn't even have replied to that comment, but from all my comments here it's pretty obvious what I really want to happen: it's not movies.io, it's a 'Steam' for movies. Who cares if you don't have the latest mainstream crap (read: BF3, etc.) as long as you have a sort of 'quality seal' and very very easy payment/access ?

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Nope, not trolling. Just making a point.

All of your comments aside, your actions, not your words, indicate that you're completely happy making the fruits of other people's labor available for free.

You're not willing to do the same for your labor.

It's not at all "obvious" that what you want to do is make a Steam for movies, because that's not what you're doing.

If you want to enter into agreements to license the content easily and cheaply, then do so. That's not what you've done.

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Then again, I'm not exactly finished yet.

But I understand your point of view. Reading my other comments here would give a more complete overview of how I feel but I don't think many people have the patience to do that.

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Hey, bug report: you didn't check if the password I entered second time matches the first one.

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What metadata are you using to distinguish movies from other videos (and other things)?

I did a test search for two European TV shows: Forbrydelsen (aka The Killing) and Braquo. The second didn't even try for an imperfect recommendation.

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I like the high resolution background image, maybe you could find a more graceful way of introducing it. Try fading it in after it has finished loading, like bing.com, instead of making the user watch it "build down".

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you should add collections like can be found on whatcd and passthepopcorn[1] that users can link to and search

[1] http://i.imgur.com/PXFRE.jpg

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Actually, we have our own watchlists, but they seem to be inferior in features to what you can find on whatcd/ptpc. We'll keep working on that. Thanks for the tip!

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I want to see something like this for music; I hate how badly sorted most public music trackers and search engines are. What.cd is fantastic, but I hate that they're private and don't use them.

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Very nice. Very slick. A little too slick though for my tastes concerning movie torrents. I'd like to have some info on A/V codecs, bitrate, etc. before I even think of downloading.

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Understood. Real power users aren't well served by the current version.

We might go further in that direction, but we'll weigh our legal options first.

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Looks nice. There seems to be a bug with the movie titles though. I clicked the top 50 and most of the torrent links for the movie Safe were actually for the movie Safe House.

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Should be greater a modal link (fancybox or facebox) with trailer! This project is awesome!!!!

It's available code via Github??

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Very nice, I love how clean the iface is. Adding imdb info to search results is very classy as well. Thank you!

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Oh great... Now the MPAA will overreact and ICE will shut down YCombinator in the name of "national security".

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Needs better search logic & display results.

Clicked on #2 "Safe" and 4 out of 5 were for "Safe House".

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Yup, short film names currently give not-so-good torrent results. One guy in the team is working on much better algorithms for the following:

  - Torrent ranking for a given movie

  - Better heuristic to detect the quality of release, language, and 'advanced' tags: there's a lot you can guess from the release name without having to download/cache the files yourself.

  - Movie recommendation (stuff like "3 of your friends want to watch the same kind of movies, why not watch them together?")

  - Hell, who knows, matchmaking? "You and X would probably get along well, since you're both hardcore Tarantino fans"
In any way, clean design is not the only way we try to differenciate ourselves.

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I like the 1080p indicator! It would be cool to add similar ones for other formats (CAM, SCREENER, 720, etc)

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http://torrentbutler.eu/ seems to have a better UI.

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Came here to say this. I love the wall of movies, no need for searching.

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Pretty site, it sure is a nice way to 'share' torrents, although its pretty illegal.

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Without file formats it's a non-starter (unless, for me, they are all x264).

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Hover over the 'download' link, see full release name, often x264/h264 is present in the name.

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I sure as hell ain't downloading any movies from mystery trackers.

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Look again: there are only magnet links on there.

Trust the DHT :)

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As someone not too familiar with p2p technologies: What difference does that make for the user?

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I love to teach! Here's a small run-down:

Previously, .torrent files were the preferred method to distribute torrents. They contain meta-data such as the size of the torrent, its name, whether it's a single file or a folder, the file structure, and more importantly, a list of trackers (think of them as "matchmakers" for people who participate in the torrent) and SHA-1 hashes of all blocks of the torrents.

However, recently, magnet links seem to be preferred: instead of sending all the info above, you just send the SHA-1 hash (20 bytes) of the torrent. (We add in some extra stuff, such as the torrent's name and size so it displays faster in torrent clients).

From that hash, torrent clients will join the Distributed Hash Table ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_hash_table ) and ask around if anyone has seen this torrent. If yes, the content of the .torrent file is transmitted directly from peer to peer, and you can start downloading it like a regular torrent.

It's a very neat trick, and it allowed bringing down the size of ThePirateBay to 90MB total: http://infworm.com/fit-the-entire-pirate-bay-site-on-a-usb-d...

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Magnet links are great for trackers dodging liability, but the risk to the user is still the same, correct? The RIAA and MPAA can still monitor connected peers.

I think Mike might be making more of a reference to non-private trackers.

I wish I had your great interface for trusted communities I'm a member of...

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Yes magnet links do not make things more secure to the user. It has advantages to the user, the torrent site they use is harder to shut down.

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Definitely. We're thinking of open-sourcing it, but we want to clean it up first.

Just a Github button away...

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nah... community is always good at cleaning-together :)

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I'd love to meet that community :)

Communities are generally pretty bad at product design though. Having a BDFL that has ears open but a straight cannon. We're trying to do that here.

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Off-the-charts awesome!

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you incite the wrath of the gods. hope you know a lawyer.

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Several!

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It's awesome! Is there any change to made this legal??

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cf. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4058057

We're looking into it.

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Beautiful. The background HD image was a nice touch.

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Thanks! Blame http://themoviedb.org/ for all the nice image resources. These guys do an amazing job. Props!

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What torrent sites are you scraping with nokogiri?

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looking good - though it seems like you're filtering porn. obviously slightly less useful without pornography.

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Wow, this is quite a nice UI.

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this doesn't work anymore! I can't download anything :(

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the downloads don't actually work!!!

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[deleted]

what? HN submission is still alive for me. Or are you talking about something else?

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Ah, disappeared from the frontpage for a solid 5 minutes. Back on now!

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Your torrent results are absolute crap. Downloaded 3, won't say which, but they all turned out to be crap for lovelymovies.com which is a spam site.

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This is beautiful. Thanks! <3

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My only tip: for the rating of the movie, while giving a decimal grade is good and acceptable, using 10 stars is distracting and breaks with the overall good UX.

Would go better with just 5 stars, or just ditch them and think on something else.

For instance, if the grade you are showing is a derivative of multiple sources, why not try to derive something on the line of: "5 of 10 reviewers found this movie good".

By the way, always cite your information sources, where does the rating come from? Users? Review sites?

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But where are the flashing penis enlargement banners???

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Sorry, we don't have that feature yet. Or ever :)

Just got contacted for an ad campaign and turned them down.

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heh, i watched http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html i don't ever care about copyright anymore

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Wow, top voted submission. I'm rather disappointed with the HN community. I guess it's time to stop visiting this site.

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Oh. It's not possible to down vote such a comment. I guess it's time to stop visiting this site.

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