Posts

Eye Spy

I caught an interesting article in InformationWeek. TorrentSpy, basically a search site for torrents, was shut down late March. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) won a $110 million judgment and a permanent injunction against TorrentSpy for distribution of pirated video. This despite the fact that TorrentSpy never distributed any material.

I goggled torrent and received about 153,000,000 hits. I guess the MPAA should also move against Google.

The MPAA claims that their industry loses more than $18 billion annually as a result of movie theft. Illegal Internet distribution costs more than $7 billion in losses. The numbers came from this report — a very technical analysis.

I wonder if the MPAA is going down the same road as the music industry. Instead of embracing digital distribution and finding ways to get the content to people at a reasonable price, the MPAA is trying to protect yesterday’s distribution channels. To be fair, the MPAA does outline legal digital distribution channels. But can I make a compressed digital copy of my DVD to view on my laptop?

The technical answer is no. Although you may have a right to make a backup and watch the backup, you are not allowed to circumvent the Content Scramble System (CSS) which effectively means that you cannot create unencrypted copies of the content. Most commercial DVDs are protected by CSS. You can purchase a portable DVD player and take the DVDs with you or pay for movie downloads from legitimate download sites. If you can find one in Canada.

“Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order […] and the like.” – Justice William O. Douglas