Tag Archives: pirates

Free Anti-Piracy Advice to NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX et. al.

According to a post on NewTeeVee:

Regardless of how many ads were shown, 90 percent of ABC.com viewers continued to say they’d rather get the show for free than pay to get it without ads.

Why aren’t the TV networks releasing copies of their shows to pirate sites complete with the ads built in?  While I do love my ad-free TV torrents, I tend to watch on Boxee even with the ads since there is simply no wait.  However, I miss being able to download and watch the show on other devices or outside of a wifi hotspot.

I think most people would be perfectly ok with downloading a show with the ads built in.  Sure, one could fast-forward past them but most people don’t bother, especially if the ads are short and varied.

Not only would the networks actually get to show advertisers an ever larger pool of eyeballs but they would be putting the pirates right out of business.

Just thinking aloud…

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Data Indicates Women are Pirates, Too

Jesse Metcalfe as John Rowland on Desperate Ho...
Image via Wikipedia

Probably due to my own prejudices, I have always assumed that men were more likely than women to be downloading pirated materal.

However, according to TorrentFreak, the top two TV shows downloaded last week were “Desperate Housewives” and “Gossip Girl.”  Now it is completely possible that these numbers are due to men who don’t want to admit they watch these shows but I don’t think so.

Instead, I think this indicates that women are quickly becoming just as active in pirating video as men.  More and more, I believe that the generation growing up right now will be the first to demonstrate little gender difference when it comes to the use of technology.

None of this explains why “Prison Break” remains one of the top pirated shows every single week…

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Cutting the Cable – How I Canceled My Cable, Saved $1000/yr and Still Get TV!

Image representing Boxee as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Just about two weeks ago I completely severed my Time Warner Cable TV service that was costing me right about $80/month.

This was not because I was tired of TV.  In fact, TV is part of my job and keeping up on what’s on is pretty darn important.  Also, I sort of like TV sometimes, so I was not trying to get rid of the content.

So, what have I replaced my cable with?  Here’s the rundown:

1) Boxee – Boxee is still in alpha but I love it.  It is an app that pulls all the major networks web portals into a convenient central location and is completely controlable by my tiny little Mac remote.  Boxee currently gets me access to Hulu, CBS, WB, CNN, Comedy Central and a bunch of other stuff.  Plus, with my Netflix account, the somewhat disappointing but still cool list of “watch now” films and TV shows are also a click away.

2) EyeTV – This is a TV converter that lets me run an over-the-air HD antenna right into my MacBook Pro.  Since I live in NYC this gets me access to HD versions of NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW, whatever UPN is called now and a few random things from Ion.

I also got a 20″ external LCD monitor for $99 at Staples and have a set of inexpensive speakers that go into the headphone jack.

This gets me a vast amount of programming for a very low cost.

The few drawbacks: Still some sports I will have to go to a bar to see – but fewer every day and more networks live-stream.  I bought a super-cheap HD antenna and think I will need to upgrade.  To get a really constant signal means a bit of moving the antenna if I change channels.  Still, the picture is great.

There are also a few shows I love that I just can’t get through any network-approved method.  In these rare instances I take advantage of BitTorrent.  While it might fall into the not-quite-legal category it seems pretty obvious how they can stop me – offer the programs online with limited commercials and I am there!

Overall, while it takes a bit more work to get up and running than just flipping on the TV, I find I am more thoughtful about what and when I watch and I also get a huge satisfaction out of the knowledge that Time Warner Cable, a crappy monopoly, is only getting my $40/month for RoadRunner.  If anyone knows a comparable service available in Manahattan please let me know.

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Top 5 My Media Musings for Tuesday

Cinema 4 at HOYTS, Forest Hill Shopping Centre.

Image via Wikipedia

Every day I probably scan a few thousand bits of information via email, RSS, surfing, chatting and even the occasional tweet.  Here are the top five things that caught my eye:

1) MGM putting up movies on YouTube – This is really only big news because YouTube is the biggest provider of video on the web.  I like the point made by TechDirt:

“You don’t see movie studios today looking to do exclusive deals with one chain of movie theater to distribute their movies. No, the idea is to get the movie seen in as many places as possible to make it as convenient as possible for whoever to watch it. The same should be true of studios who realize that they want their movies available for free online.”

2) Project Playlist vs. Labels – Project Playlist is another music site hoping to help people discover new music and are in the news because they just hired Owen Van Natta (formerly #2 at a little site called Facebook).  Question is whether or not they can survive on ad revenue and whether their linking to music is yet another form of music copyright violations.  As the NYT points out:

“The record labels have indeed proven themselves quite willing to settle lawsuits and license their catalogs to up-and-coming Web sites, so long as the sites pay a nine-figure upfront fee, a penny or so for every song played, and often a big chunk of stock as well.”

And we wonder why the music business is suffering…

3) OceanSpray to Replace Charlie Brown – It is becoming more and more common for brands to fully sponsor shows so I guess OceanSpray’s upcoming ABCFamily special “Cranberry Christmas” shouldn’t be so upsetting…but it is. Via MediaPost:

The story is about an antagonist, Cyrus Grape, who won’t let kids ice skate over the local cranberry bog near his home. The hero, a young girl, saves Christmas Day for the children by reclaiming their favorite ice skating spot and discovering the land’s rightful owner.”

Yeah, that’s much more in the Christmas spirit than some red-nosed reindeer.

4) Bond Breaks Free – The weirdly named “Quantum of Solace” has been released first in the UK meaning the larger US market has to wait to see the newer, darker, James Bond, unless they know how to use BitTorrent:

“…despite searching the bags of paying customers, monitoring movie audiences with Bond-style night vision goggles and proffering misinformation, the industry has failed to stop the movie leaking to the Internet.”

Gotta wonder how much people are willing to put up with after paying $12 for a ticket and another $10 for soda and popcorn – Would you rather be treated like a criminal at the theater or actually just be one from the comfort of your couch?

5) Women are Pirates, Too – I love looking at the top “pirated” TV shows downloaded via BitTorrent.  Not only is it constantly surprising to see “Prison Break” at the top of the list (who watches this show?) but I am also fascinated that both “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are always in the top 10.  I doubt lots of men are downloading Housewives and that means women are very much in the pirate game.

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Textbooks Ripe for Pirates – Overpriced and Under-supplied

Make Textbooks Affordable

TechDirt has a little look at the growing fight between textbook publishers and the students who are tired of paying thousands of dollars a semester and are instead finding more and more pirated scans online:

“…rather than responding to the root cause of the downloads, textbook publishers are trying to come up with systems that students can’t get around paying for, such as online subscriptions to “extra” information to go along with a textbook.”

Doesn’t anyone want to learn anything from the failings of the music industry?  The only way the textbook companies will beat the pirates is to offer their books for a fair price in a format that is open and friendly to the students.

Yeah, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, either.  So, expect to see plenty of new textbooks coming to a pirate site near you.  Supply and demand, people.  Supply and demand.

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More Theater Patrons Abused – This Time Thanks to Paramount

In a sort of followup to what has become by far my post popular post about the lecture my parents got from security at a screening of American Teen comes this amazing little note via BoingBoing:

“While at the cinema yesterday, I read a notice posted by the box office that Paramount has intentionally silenced bits of the soundtrack of _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull_ in order to deter and track piracy. The notice acknowledged that the momentary silences were annoying but that it was out of their control. Basically it said, please don’t bug the manager if the sound drops out, unless it lasts more than a minute.”

This is just another massive sign that the studios, in their losing attempts to stop piracy, are really just abusing and ripping off their own customers.  Who will be far more likely to be open to piracy after the experience.

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More Theater Patron Abuse – This Time Courtesy of Paramount

In a sort of followup to what has become by far my post popular post about the lecture my parents got from security at a screening of American Teen comes this amazing little note via BoingBoing:

“While at the cinema yesterday, I read a notice posted by the box office that Paramount has intentionally silenced bits of the soundtrack of _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull_ in order to deter and track piracy. The notice acknowledged that the momentary silences were annoying but that it was out of their control. Basically it said, please don’t bug the manager if the sound drops out, unless it lasts more than a minute.”

This is just another massive sign that the studios, in their losing attempts to stop piracy, are really just abusing and ripping off their own customers.  Who will be far more likely to be open to piracy after the experience.

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