I used to steal every single game I played. Even games that had online play, I would play on cracked servers.
These days I buy every single game on Steam, and if it's not on Steam I still buy it on Play.com. Steam is easy, fast, convenient, and simple. Games are one click away. My Steam account contains over £2,000 worth of games.
It's easier than stealing.
- Annoying unskippable 'don't copy this disc' messages.
- Movies are sometimes not available at the local rental or retailer.
- High prices of Blu-Rays.
- Downloading is legal in my home country.
- Downloading from Usenet was less effort.
iTunes solved most of these issues, and made it easy to 'impulse rent' movies. Nowadays, we just rent movies via iTunes, since it is less effort than verifying/extracting/converting movies and finding subtitles. Also, it feeds the makers.
So I still pirate TV shows as they come out, even if I could buy them on iTunes. (I quite often buy the DVDs later.)
Second - I have to take issue with one sentence, "you’re at risk of being sued for a lot of money and maybe even loosing your home internet connection. "
Sure, you're at risk, but far less risk than other methods of violating copyright. Nearly every Usenet provider offers encrypted traffic. Most by default, and many as the only option. Which means that your ISP has no freaking idea what you're downloading.
Many providers also allow payment in bitcoins, or go out of their way to accept other anonymous methods of payment.
And finally, unless you're uploading to Usenet (wich most people aren't) you're participating in a much less volatile and essentially never prosecuted form of copyright violation.
Usenet can be a pain to setup, but once you're up and running with the tools the author listed, you'll be using far-and-away the easiest most user-friendly method of obtaining movies and TV available.
Most providers do not log downloads. To cite the policies of two of the biggest providers, Giganews and Astraweb:
> Giganews does not track the specific articles you download; however, we will track the volume of your downloads for account maintenance and download limit enforcement purposes (if applicable).
> We do not store any specific information about your downloads. We only store the amount downloaded, date and access IP address for accounting purposes.
To the best of my knowledge, to date these headers have only been used to nab child pornographers. I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble just for downloading copyrighted works on Usenet. The worst uploading incident I've heard of was years ago when all the members of sd-6 got their Easynews accounts deleted. Granted they were posting non-stop and all using the same NSP. I don't remember any charges being pressed or subpenas being issued.
Makes you wonder why someone in the studios hasn't sat down and gone "There's nearly 10 million people paying $15 a month to get hold of movies, we could charge $20 and it's legal and get even more people and we'd be filthy rich", but entrenched behaviour is tricky to shift.
I don't bother with it now, it gets to a point where you're trying to manage data in the terabytes and it's just more of a pain than it's worth.
If you could ensure that only Usenet converts could use it, or pirate converts, that might be one thing.
But chances are, their average revenue per traditional customer is >$20/mo, and thus this kind of service would cannibalize their traditional business.
Reminds me of Windows discs. I never felt that Microsoft took fighting non-business-based piracy seriously, just did their due diligence because the problem was small enough to be nearly irrelevant and the solution would disrupt their normal business.
Which makes you wonder. Since such a service would largely kill piracy over night, do they not do it because the profit margin lost is actually greater than what they loose to piracy? Evidence they're really not loosing as much as they lead us to believe.
There's probably double that in users of alternative Usenet providers (including ISPs). Then consider that there's at least 10 times as many people who don't know about Usenet that would use it if they knew. So the potential global amount they could be making is 200 million times $15.
Three billion dollars. Think the grand scheme might be interested now?
I know, I know, a guy can dream.
Access to [American] Netflix has made it so much easier to view the content my family and I want with out the need to queue terabytes of data.
I download things, chuck them on a hard drive that is only 1TB, if it starts to get full I just delete a chunk of stuff.
LOL, I know exactly what you mean. Except in my case, it's bittorrent and not Usenet. And it's not even entertainment, it's more like business related books / audio / video, and/or self-help / pickup / NLP / etc. stuff. I probably already have more stuff downloaded than I'll ever have time to read/watch/listen to. And now I spent more time than I should, on moving stuff from one portable drive to another, backing stuff up, reorganizing, etc.
There is absolutely no excuse for not having a cheap platform streaming every pre-2000 movie, except pure greed from the copyright mafia.
I'm not so sure about that. The movie business is notoriously crappy - most movies never recoup their costs. It's the few wild successes that keep the studios afloat.
On the other it is true that the marginal cost of selling digital downloads of back catalogue movies is close to zero.
Maybe the solution to the HN problem is moving it to Usenet :)
Hell, if you have to change the port numbers and the name of the system to get around ISPs that fear it, that'd even be fine.
With bittorrent caches, wouldn't you still be limited to people providing seeds for each item? The sustainability of Usenet is now driven by commercial demand. Wouldn't BT be limited to people donating bandwidth/resources at personal will?
That's the only thing that keeps on confusing me when it comes to usenet. I don't get why people don't just use cheaper providers but flock to the ones with massive ads and referal links.
There are a lot of 10 USD / month providers without caps and the same retention.
I get that it might be easier just to pick the one that you're pointed at, but for a recurring 10-20 USD/month, it might be worth the 15 minutes or research.
It's not that they haven't tried the cheaper services. It's that those services just don't have the same quality.
There are e.g. Eweka (http://eweka.nl/en/usenet_toegang/specificaties/) Or The Cubenet (http://thecubenet.com) which don't fall short compared to the expensive counterparts with the large advertisement budget.
EDIT: Here's a small overview about who resells what: http://www.usenet-providers.net/newsgroup-resellers.php
Cox used to offer a base NNTP service, for example, which was part of my cable subscription. I stopped using it because they had awful data caps and horrible retention.
Then, they died.
I think there was a SaveDeja campaign for a while before Google finally bought the archive.
I was not thrilled with what Google did with the archive after that--hugely disappointing, actually--but first the stupid and then the dying happened before Google touched anything.
I just hope the industries adapt by the time usenet starts deteriorating.
I mean, few people realize how ridiculously, amazingly simple it is to download a movie or even an entire series using Usenet and NZBs. Click a file and start downloading at full bandwidth. That's it. No torrent seeding bullshit, no download caps or mirrors to find. It's incredible. And we're scared it might become popular.
Usenet posts are, for all intents and purposes, anonymous. Sure there's some source header information, but that's extremely easy to spoof and there's already dozens of SAAS upload services which hide the user's identity.
Downloaders are as anonymous as their NNTP provider makes them, thanks to SSL encrypted connections.
The only attack vector for copyright holders is to go after the service providers, which _should_ fall under safe-haven rules. The worst they can do is issue DMCA takedowns for individual posts, which can number in the hundred of thousands for just a single video.
If safe haven didn't apply, usenet itself is distributed, take down one host and people will simply move to another.
Source? I haven't heard of DMCA takedowns propagating to other separate companies. Resellers sure (same company). Many users have specifically avoided Highwinds resellers due to the large number of takedowns they receive, implying that whoever else they find isn't getting (or observing) the notices.
Not that I have taken to Usenet, just saying that there is more to it. It is also tiring to look for movies and find they are not available (mostly for political reasons, no doubt).
Reddit really sucks for discussion and it's one of the (many) reasons I don't go there anymore.
With reddit, it's easy to see at a glance (particularly with the enhancement suite) just what comments/posts you have made have been responded to.
Granted, there simply is no web-based discussion format that rivals firing up "trn" and using 2 keys to flip through several hundred threads in just a few minutes. That, and you can sync the posts offline, read and respond to them offline, and post your replies in a single batch once you regain connectivity. Pure ASCII was such a great medium for discussion.
Content providers need to offer a flat rate for resellers, and sure, they'll have the occasional exclusive and better deal to specific online stores.
But compare this to a real world store: they can sell anything they can buy. Yes, they have to negotiate with a distributor but it isn't nearly as ridiculous as the digital marketplace is.
I should be able to set up my own ebook / movie / tv-show / game online store and be able to sell anything that isn't locked into an exclusive agreement.
The current fiasco of "losing" all your electronic purchases on death because they're non-transferable is criminal abuse.
There's a big difference between paying a monthly subscription to stream versus buying digital files that are hosted on your hardware and you can't transfer them after death.
It's quite reliable, and if your upstreams are good about filtering spam, then many communities are quite useful, too.
A good threading Usenet client like slrn is pretty much the peak of discussion interfaces. Web forum stuff rarely comes close in terms of usability for someone who takes ten minutes to learn it.
You might be interested to hear that not everyone feels that way.
In fact, the lack of what I considered an acceptable client is what made me stop reading Usenet. I was running Linux at the time, and I thought all of nn, tin, rn, trn and slrn had very bad user interfaces. (I forget if Pine had a Usenet reader in it. If it did, I tried it, too. I also tried the Usenet reader in Lynx, and in fact that is what I was using when I gave up on Usenet. Lynx's user interface bothered me a lot less than the others, but Lynx had severe performance problems when I "pointed it at" a busy newsgroup.)
The user interfaces of all the clients I just mentioned are text-mode, but that is not the main reason I stopped using them: I continued to use Lynx as my web browser and text-mode Emacs as my editor for many years after giving up on Usenet.
trn is the client I spent the most time with. Probably the biggest problem I had with it is that is discouraged contemplative reading. Specifically, every other device or contrivance for reading I have used allowed me to go back and re-read what I was reading a few minutes ago. In trn, I could usually succeed in going back (using the = key or using the arrow keys combined with the "tree view") but some small but significant fraction of the time going back was impossible (or prohibitively difficult and tedious) because in the mean time I had reached the end of the unread articles in one group and had been automatically taken to the next group with unread articles or (if I remember correctly) I had finished up reading a huge subtree and been taken automatically to some other subtree.
My second big problem with trn was that it tempted you to get a "stupid high" by using it to overload your brain with a constant stream of information or novelty in much the same way that watching TV does.
Although some probably considered that a feature, I concluded that it was unhealthy.
The main contributor to this "dynamic" was the decision by the designer of trn that all a user would have to do was keep on hitting the space bar (or more realistically the space bar and the n key, which skips to the start of the next article) and he would continue to be fed new text. In contrast, browsing the web requires a person to make a steady stream of decisions about what to see next, and although these decisions seems very easy to make, this constant stream of decision points seems to prevent the use of the web to get the "stupid" high that certain people like myself were tempted to get whenever we used trn to read Usenet.
If I remember correctly, slrn shares the two problems I just described with trn.
I do realize that many people feel as you do about these text-mode Usenet clients that came out of the Unix tradition. I also realize that Usenet had certain "pro-social" and "pro-free-speech" properties that the web does not have. Also, note that I spent many thousands of hours reading Usenet, back when it was still a more important medium for online discussions than the web was.
(Actually most of the rec.games.roguelike branch is fairly active, but RGRD has a special place in my heart)
Ever since google groups changed formats (earlier this year) it has been really great at eliminating spam too, which has had a positive impact on activity, as far as I can tell.
This more than anything proves that cheap and easy media is king.
Anyone here on Usenet earlier than that?
For some reason, I seemed to pick on csh a lot back then: https://groups.google.com/group/net.unix-wizards/msg/ab37210...
That's kind of puzzling, because I've never been a csh user as far as I can remember.
We don't have hulu, netflix, bbc iplayer, spotify, whatever since the world wide system of copyright is too complicated. Media providers have a huge hassle to simplify the process.
As long as it's easier for millions of people to set up a giganews acc, couchpotato and download every single blockbuster in HD quality months before it's available on BluRay, VoD et cetera, people will do this.
The day when one eco-system provides me with state of the art resolution movies which I can buy _and_ collect (not VoD) , no matter where I live, that day will be the end of my filesharing career.
I'm not sure that that's the correct lesson to learn here. If anything same-day delivery only applies to the most popular shows. And even then it's not a guarantee. And even if it does show up you still have to wait for it to finish downloading, which may take more than a day if you have a slower internet connection.
So, what's the real takeaway?
I think it's that users will do almost anything to have physical control over content. Having your favorite movies and TV shows and music on a hard-drive that you own is well worth the cost and the time-investment for a huge number of people.
Global distribution that steps over the above is a first step to a solution. Country ISP level firewalls and DRM are not.
It is now well know, and it's about time for the major companies to understand it, piracy is not their biggest problem, their biggest problem being their uninventive, old, broken business model.
Until they finally figure this out, more money will be spent on Usenet access, rapidshare accounts, etc.
Or in other words: How many Naggums is one "Twilight-Eclipse-1337-0-day-aXXo-xvid-sucks-720-SWESUB.mkv"?
The reasons are many and varied. Some folks simply don't want to pay, others are frustrated by the content providers insistence on their way or the highway.
IMO the recent Oatmeal says it best:
I pay $70/month for cable, I would probably pay up to around the same amount for a free varient of usenet that could match the availability of new shows. Sports is a tough point, the main reason I got cable is for sports that weren't possible to get live on any other service. So if someone could nail on demand new shows and live sports there is a massive market opportunity there.
So you don't actually need to load up a full client and start searching all these different groups for files anymore.
But with uploading, you can claim a cut of every single download that other people could have done from your file. This can be run into many thousands of pounds per file.
Looks like their position is pretty clear to me - even if it's not worth actually prosecuting.
- Since the content-as-property itself is intangible, you do not deprive anyone else of its use by downloading, hence you have not "stolen" anything.
- Since you did not legally purchase a license to the content, you are not bound to uphold its terms with the distributor.
- Your possession of licensed content without a license may constitute evidence of a criminal conspiracy, on your part and the part of the uploader, to defraud the distributor.
- If the material was only distributed in a form protected by DRM, then your possession of unprotected content may constitute evidence of circumvention, which is a crime under the DMCA.
Also, from an ethical standpoint, since somebody has to upload it, you're relying on someone else to take the risk of paying fines or going to jail in order for you to circumvent the intent (if not the effect) of the law.
As others have mentioned, the risk is low and it's a lot more user friendly than people realise.
Don't turn it into... well... what the rest of the Internet has become.
That's the entire point, right there. It is stunning to me that media companies are oblivious to this, and it's possibly even more stunning that they're still trying to control their shows as if it's 1985. You may as well try to hug water.
Like shocks says, when the studios build a Steam for media (e.g. Hulu but without the bullshit), they will come.
The network is here. It has made their product into a service whether they like it or not. They need to provide it as a service.
Now we at first think, "this is impossible, where there are bits, there are ways to copy said bits". But don't forget What happened with DirecTV at the turn of the century. They implemented an "unhackable" card that stopped all satellite piracy on their network. No biggie, pirates just moved over to the hackable DishNetwork and began purchasing FTA boxes and hacking them to emulate cards. Dish spent a ton of money implementing their new "unhackable" Nagra3 encryption and mostly eradicated the problem. Sure you have a few people doing some sort of private card sharing... but effectively, satellite piracy is dead. I don't want to sound like chicken little... but let's at least consider that these draconian ways could persist and push us back to the dark ages.
It seems the pirates just tow your ship to land and rape and pillage from there.
There are just far too many ways to evade detection. Remember, bits copy easily. Controlling that is very difficult, near-impossible, and with encryption and other tactics, it's darn near impossible to detect.
Reality is not on their side.
EDIT: data point here: an alternate Internet. Imagine what would happen if the media companies really did start to succeed in controlling and suing "piracy" out of existence. This is what would happen: http://www.reddit.com/r/darknetplan