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How to pirate a pirate

March 2nd, 2014 by

Another Sunday, another download day. Today I found a website containing descriptions of many cult movies, and more importantly, direct links to a hosting site where they could be downloaded. These are forgotten, non-DVD old films from the 60s, 70s and 80s that one would like to watch but cannot easily get hold of. Like the one pictured here. Many of them don’t even exist on Youtube, which otherwise is a good source for full movies.

she posterA great source for rare films in other words, the only problem being that the file hosting service had several restrictions; download speed was slow, only one download at a time, and a maximum of 3 GB per day (equal to about 3 movies). Of course, there was a premium account type available that lifted all the restrictions, and the price wasn’t bad either. However, I don’t believe that pirates should profit or even have cash income from other pirates. I understand that providing web hosting is not free – bandwidth, maintenance and hardware costs money, but in principle I prefer not to pay money to pirate providers, which this website was, to be honest.

What to do then? Well, I googled for premium account hacks, and within 5 minutes I found a Facebook page that offered 30 day premium accounts. Enough for me to grab all the movies I wanted, without restrictions. Even though these movies were all compressed AVI files and I prefer the full DVDs, I downloaded anyway because these movies are not available to buy, other than as used VHS tapes on Ebay, and that’s too much hassle in today’s convenient internet infrastructure world.

This touches another point I have mentioned before, but I would like to stress it again; if movies are not available to buy, nobody profits from them (at least officially – bootlegs for sale aside), which is the same case if I download them!

I feel I have done something good if I avoided paying money to a file hoster. Not a good deed for me, but for the creators of the movies. If the creators do not make any money from having their movies distributed, neither should file hosters. I do realize the irony here; today I contributed to making pirate file hosting less profitable, which in the long run would make these services disappear, but in reality the worst case scenario would be that movie distribution would shift to another format, another platform, another service rather that disappear. Case in point; how direct download hubs like Napster vanished in favour of torrents.

John


 

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The pirate world

March 1st, 2014 by

You’ll find many posts here about what I download illegally, how I do it, why I do it and why it should not be illegal anymore. That may give you the impression that I am greedy and naive and childish in my approach to media piracy. That is not the case. Many pirates, me included, are concerned about much more than free content. In fact, that may not even be the main purpose of digital piracy for most of us.

The Norwegian pirate party.

The pirate movement started with free content being possible and desireable, but it soon became much more serious than that. The internet, the online world, the digital present and the information future holds many problems and potential disasters. And it’s not about free content, although that is one part of it all. Pirates in the political sense are also concerned about:

  • Censorship
  • Legal and digital transparency
  • Surveillance and the recording of digital footprints
  • Patents and trademarks
  • Copyright reform for the benefit of consumers and creators
  • Alternative sources of funding for content
  • Keeping inventions, technology and knowledge free and open to all
  • The protection of investigative journalists, bloggers and whistleblowers
  • Removing and preventing digital obstacles so everyone can participate
  • Individual integrity and privacy
  • Improved consumer protection
  • Keeping the internet free (as in not controlled by corporations and governments) and for all
  • A full and open democracy
  • A green and sustainable economy based on all of the above
  • Anything else? Post a comment below

Grabbing free music and movies from the net is not so important in the context of the above. But it is a symbol of reform. And, this blog is about confessions. There are not so much to confess about if I was simply just another political activist who wrote about sending emails to political leaders or published photos of me at a meeting. The controversial part that needs to be confessed about is me grabbing stuff and being open about it.

John


 

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Almost free

February 23rd, 2014 by

Sunday is my big movie browsing day, wether it is buying or finding stuff to download. The rest of the week I burn, organize, shelf and sort my movies. And watch them, of course. And yes, I do buy movies. I do not account for all of them here, but today I bought some stuff from Amazon UK. And I started thinking….

What I bought was 5 DVDs. They were all unknown, somewhat “trashy” movies, except one. Together they cost 2.5 pounds, around 25 nkr or 4 dollars. They were cheap because they were used; those 4 unknown movies each cost 0.01 pounds, that’s free for all practical purposes. Five movies for 25 nkr, or about 5 nkr per DVD, that’s less than half the price of one chocolate bar. A great deal!

But then I checked out from Amazon. Postage: 9 pounds. OK, so I knew that postage from the UK to Norway would be expensive, and I don’t blame neither Amazon nor the sellers. After all, it’s the mail company that sets the prices, and I guess Royal Mail or whatever government entity that dictates postage rates do not care about cheap items becoming relatively expensive for mail order customers. I paid for the purchase, and was rather satisfied – I wanted those movies, had not been able to find them online as good DVD quality downloads, and even at a cost of 25 nkr per disc it was a decent deal.

However, what I started to think about, was that why don’t I do this more often. I can get 0.01 pounds movies or 1 pound movies from Amazon all the time. Disregarding that many titles do not have subtitles, which I prefer, those 9 pounds make great bargains less great. I’d rather pay 1 pound or dollar to the Red Cross than to Amazon or Royal Mail. And, more importantly as a point to make in terms of pirate principles, no movie studio, producer or actor is making anything from used DVDs that cost 0.01 pounds. Extremely low prices are just a way for a distributor or retailer to get rid of merchandise that don’t sell. Only Amazon and the mail carrier benefit, even though they don’t benefit much. Perhaps nothing in this case, labour and materials taken into account.

And “nothing earned” is also the case when I download data from the net; movies, music, software, books, fonts, etc. Just like any used sale. If I buy DVDs from a flea market or a junkshop or from a friend, no creator or industry participant make any money. Just like when I download. If illegal downloads are to be stopped, so must dirt cheap bargain sales too!

You can then argue that my friend who bought that DVD in the first place, contributed something to the industry, so a small income was made once in the chain of that specific DVD. Well, in my case, and I think many pirates do the same, we buy stuff and when our money runs out, we download more. We cannot buy a DVD or CD when our pocket money has run out. And just like lack of pocket money is not a threat to the entertainment industry, lack of payment for downloads is not a threat. Not in the big scheme of things, and not in the long run anyway.

I once wrote that I would no longer support Amazon because they shut down Lovefilm in Scandinavia. So now I buy 0.01 pounds movies from them, and the real money I pay goes to the mail carrier.

John


 

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