AfterDawn: Tech news

MPAA sues auction pirates

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 15 Feb 2006 1:33 User comments (46)

MPAA sues auction pirates The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed seven lawsuits in Los Angeles federal court against online auctioneers who allegedly were caught selling pirated copies of Hollywood movies including "Batman Begins" and "Million Dollar Baby." "People who abuse online auction sites like eBay to sell counterfeit DVDs are not only cheating their buyers, they are committing a crime and will be held accountable," said John G. Malcolm, the MPAA's executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations.
Individuals sued come from four states including New York, Illinois, Texas and California. They used auction sites like eBay to sell counterfeit copies of movies, a move that's not very clever. "What this shows is if you are going to try and break the law by selling pirated DVDs, eBay is probably not the place to do it because you are probably going to get caught and we'll help catch you," said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy.

These lawsuits are part of the MPAA's overall efforts against piracy on the Internet. "Our goal is to raise awareness and protect unsuspecting consumers from dishonest auctioneers in the online marketplace," Malcolm said. "Profiting from the sale of someone else's creative property is illegal, and we will not tolerate any form of copyright theft." Other movie titles involved in the lawsuits include "Sideways," "Stealth," "13 Going On 30," "Scooby Doo," and "Ice Age."

Source:
LA Daily News

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46 user comments

115.2.2006 4:14

How can anybody be this stupid? And why is the MPAA wasting money tracking these kinds of idiots. How much can they be making tricking people into buying "Scooby Doo" burns? Aren't there entire industries in China doing this by he millions? Its all about the press.

215.2.2006 4:55

Stupid...yes. Glad they are cracking down on people like this...yes. I say let them spend their money tracking down these idiots. Keeps them busy and gives us "casual" 8^) people 1 more days rest. Believe me I'm all for my right as a consumer to be able to have "fair use" of all the digital media I own. But these people who are "Profiting from the sale of someone else's creative property" deserve it.

315.2.2006 7:58

That's just human stupidity at it's best right there.

415.2.2006 8:55

The way I see it, is that movies that sell for the price of 25-40$ is ridiculous. The cost of the dvd is less that 7 cents I am told. Simple math suggests that 25/0.07= 357.1 Now lets say there are two dvd's, that's 0.14, the box 0.10 and the plastic another 0.10, ink pattern designs label 0.05 Grand total of 39 cents per DVD; *This amount is speculative on my behalf* 25 divided by 0.39=64.1 So that makes it 64 times the profit. Astronomical! Now let's be generous, lets say cost of production is 0.50 cents, that makes it 50 times the profit. Let's take it a step further and say it actually costs them 1 dollar a unit. Thats 25 to 40 (if dvd is sold for 40$) times the profit! That's crazy. If they were smart, they would sell all their new releases for 9.99$ a unit, and the amount of dvd's sold would cover any possible losses.

515.2.2006 9:19

I agree with hot_ice dvds are getting too pricey but it also don't help when the actors/actress ask for 10-100 million bucks a movie like come on and they don't do any of thier stunts, maybe it's because of all that plastic on them that they have no more commen sense. Me personally as long as i live comforable i couldn't give a damn on how much i made!!!!!

615.2.2006 10:34

Actors don't do their own stunts because silicone is highly flammable from what I hear. lol However, this is a purely speculative assumption on my behalf. I find it laughable, if not, ridiculous, when actors say:"OH! IT WAS HARD WORK." Working in a salt mine is hard work. Getting paid 40 cents an hour making nike's in third world countries is hard work. Getting paid a terrible 3 cents an hour in some regions in the world by multinational corporations...THATS HARD WORK. Being treated virtually like royalty and getting countless millions for effortless work... Oh! Yes! That's harder than people making 3 cents an hour. They are right, acting is quite difficult.

715.2.2006 10:58

LOL.... That is so true if a 5 year old can act then its pretty clear that acting isn't hard work, which brings me back to DVD movie cost why pay someone millions of $$ then expect the consumer to pick up the tab like come on u cannot tell me that poeple arn't going to pirate movies because they want to, it because the can't afford the price...Example: internet cost anywhere from 20-60$ where a dvd movie cost 20-40...HHMMMMMM i wounder whats cheaper and even IF i had no internet i would just wait until i see it on TV then record it. isn't that the same thing? In anycase if the MPAA wants people to buy more drop the price of movies

815.2.2006 11:18

well...just to comment on the ARTICLE... they...are stupid......lol everyone knows you're supposed to sell bootlegs in person to a close-nit group that won't rat you out! jk lol but anyway...I'm glad these morons got caught! ebay you rock!

915.2.2006 11:52
riplord
Inactive

Article=A+++++!! Stealth was a crap movie anyways.

1015.2.2006 12:05

I wonder how much they are getting sued for.

1115.2.2006 18:38

lol someone sold bootleg on Ebay!! Well, doesn't surprise me.

1215.2.2006 18:39

well they should crack down these kinds of "REAL" pirates,altho why do I feel they are seting up buyers and not going after the pirates that make them..lets jail all the pll that try and buy a cheap DVD that winds up being a fake >< morons....

1315.2.2006 23:34

With the company of a good lawyer, set ups are considered entrapment by the law.

1415.2.2006 23:40

With the company of a good lawyer, set ups are considered entrapment by the law, and deemed easy to get out of. Except serious crimes like murder and the really bad ones...

1515.2.2006 23:41

Oh sorry guys, repetition thing.

1616.2.2006 0:26

hot_ice least you dont make multi incoheront posts in one post like I do :3 gaaaa just call me the drunk of the net 0-o


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

---
Check out my crappy creations
http://zippydsmlee.deviantart.com/

1716.2.2006 10:13

Unless I read the article wrong, the MPAA is going after the SELLERS, not the buyers. I, personally, have bought over 40 dvd titles on Ebay, and truthfully, I would be pretty choked if I was sold a bootleg. Ebay is rife with bootleg sellers and it hurts the legitimate sellers. I know local stores that used to sell used dvds on Ebay and gave up for this very reason. It was no longer worth the effort. Many people do NOT know there is a difference between a counterfeit and legitimate disc, and of course will seek out the lower priced one.

1816.2.2006 11:42

Well There goes my big idea...

1916.2.2006 12:56

@Locoeng, I have many 2X originals that I WAS going to sell on EBAY. Many were OOP. But, after observing the trends, I gave up the idea. I'll just save for my family/friends and donate to local care facilities/hospitals.

2016.2.2006 13:04

I've actually sold a PS2 game on ebay, and I think the reasonable person, can easily determine what is Fake and what is authentic. I might be selling goblin commander on PS2, any takers? ehehehe

2116.2.2006 13:15

LOL It's like the same questions being asked over and over again at AD. These sellers did have "we only sell authentic/ no copies/bootlegs" but were still inundated with emails asking. It became tiring after awhile.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Feb 2006 @ 19:48

2217.2.2006 14:55

Having had some previous experience in counterfit goods being sold to me over ebay I would just like to say that I knew perfectly well what I was buying- especially for 5 for a brand new DVD that had only just come out in the cinema. What do people expect for 5? They are most certainly NOT going to get a proper DVD version of say Final Destination 3 at the moment. I think people have to use their intelligence in these circumstances- I bought cheap from someone who made a couple of pounds extra that day- the disc works fine and the movie is great- I'm happy - the bloke at the other end is happy.. its a win-win situation.

2317.2.2006 15:25

Quote:
its a win-win situation.
For us...LOL

2418.2.2006 1:32
oxygenuk
Inactive

its like selling dvds from a bag accross the road to a police station idiots lol

2518.2.2006 5:25
sanddevil
Inactive

How about those selling Pre converted films for an IPOD.. Just looked on ebay and loads are doing films converted into MP4 format. Its not as though you can buy a film for your IPOD so you must be able to convert your own film collection or at least pay someone to do it for you... or is this termed as illegal.....!!!

2618.2.2006 8:00

As a buyer, it gets really tiring weeding through the fakes on Ebay. Sorry, I want the real McCoy, just like "real" media to backup. It is a win situation for me as a buyer, I get to shop at places that don't sell on Ebay anymore. Some sell used dvds 5/$25, 10/$50 CAD. Heck, I got some of those silly "Sony" titles for my kids 2/$5 CAD, just have to wait longer for them to come available. I want the real thing so when my backups no longer work, I can just redo. My kids, even though they are in their 20's, still do not take care of originals.

2718.2.2006 9:36
rotwang
Inactive

hot_ice wrote "The cost of the dvd is less that 7 cents I am told. "Simple math suggests that 25/0.07= 357.1 Now lets say there are two dvd's, that's 0.14, the box 0.10 and the plastic another 0.10, ink pattern designs label 0.05 "Grand total of 39 cents per DVD; *This amount is speculative on my behalf* 25 divided by 0.39=64.1 "So that makes it 64 times the profit. Astronomical! "Now let's be generous, lets say cost of production is 0.50 cents, that makes it 50 times the profit. "Let's take it a step further and say it actually costs them 1 dollar a unit. "Thats 25 to 40 (if dvd is sold for 40$) times the profit! That's crazy. If they were smart, they would sell all their new releases for 9.99$ a unit, and the amount of dvd's sold would cover any possible losses." You've made so many mistakes it's hard to know where to start. But are two things: You left out the tens of millions of dollars it took to produce the film. And you're not buying a commodity, you're buying entertainment. If you go to a concert or an amusement park the incremental cost of your attendance to the seller is exactly zero. So it should cost you nothing to attend, right? Since when should something be priced as some particular multiple of its production cost? The price is based on what the seller believes the product will be worth to you. If you don't like the price someone is asking for something the moral response is to not buy it, not to steal it.

2818.2.2006 11:47
flower12
Inactive

How intrigued I am to read this article with the claim that ebay will help catch these pirates. After recently complaining to the trading standards (in the UK) regarding sueing ebay for allowing this practice after some of my work was pirated through ebay I was informed that ebay are covered because selling bootleg items is against their policy, and thus falls solely onto the individuals who do it. Fine answer, but for the question of all the money ebay is making from these bootleg items through insertion fees, sold fees and paypal fees. Ebay are as guilty as anyone else, because apparently if an item is reported as copyright infringement all they do is refund the insertion fees, but keep the fees made from selling these items. In other words if i placed 10 copies of a DVD on ebay priced at 10.00 GBP each, ebay would charge me 3.00 GBP insertion fee, if 9 of the items sold then the last 1 removed in breach of their policies I would receive my 3.00 GBP back, but not the 54p or so charged for each sale. That would mean 9 x 54p = 4.86 GBP profit for ebay for illegal sales. I think these people deserve what they get, but will ebay reveal their profits from these bootleg sales??? Please correct me if I am wrong. But if I am right, why is ebay not going to be in the dock also. I own a small business who authors learning materials (course handbooks, power points etc). A course designed by my company would cost the learner (or the taxpayer) around 225.00 GBP from which I get paid 5.00 GBP royalty fee. For every ripped off copy sold on ebay I loose 5.00 GBP. Who do I turn to for help, ebay themselves !!! their response, a standard email, thanking me for my time in reporting the infringement 'that my items have been sold unlicensed through them' I am still awaiting a reply from them (9 months and counting)regarding the money made by ebay and there sellers be used to recompense me. I am now thinking of taking my own legal action against ebay/paypal for compensation for loss of earnings and damages, watch this space. May I take this opportunity to thank you, in allowing me to blow off some steam.

2918.2.2006 12:49

@rotwang Why should the consummer pick up the tab of pricey actors and pricey productions? Personally, I don't like it. However, great movies can't be made without expenditures. I didn't make a mistake, I just didn't add the actors and production cost to the dvd. Besides, actors are paid too f*cking much. Scientists, doctors, etc should be paid more than actors, but they ain't and that affects us more than some stupid dvd.

3018.2.2006 12:50

Oh! And to me, its worth 9.99$ max. If you don't like my assessment, I invite you to turn a blind eye on my opinion. Hot ice yo!

3118.2.2006 14:25

""hot_ice wrote "The cost of the dvd is less that 7 cents I am told. "Simple math suggests that 25/0.07= 357.1 Now lets say there are two dvd's, that's 0.14, the box 0.10 and the plastic another 0.10, ink pattern designs label 0.05 "Grand total of 39 cents per DVD; *This amount is speculative on my behalf* 25 divided by 0.39=64.1 "So that makes it 64 times the profit. Astronomical! "Now let's be generous, lets say cost of production is 0.50 cents, that makes it 50 times the profit. "Let's take it a step further and say it actually costs them 1 dollar a unit. "Thats 25 to 40 (if dvd is sold for 40$) times the profit! That's crazy. If they were smart, they would sell all their new releases for 9.99$ a unit, and the amount of dvd's sold would cover any possible losses." You've made so many mistakes it's hard to know where to start. But are two things: You left out the tens of millions of dollars it took to produce the film. And you're not buying a commodity, you're buying entertainment. If you go to a concert or an amusement park the incremental cost of your attendance to the seller is exactly zero. So it should cost you nothing to attend, right? Since when should something be priced as some particular multiple of its production cost? The price is based on what the seller believes the product will be worth to you. If you don't like the price someone is asking for something the moral response is to not buy it, not to steal it. "" The incremental cost of the DVD is the actual cost of the raw materials it takes make the DVD. All the rest of the money goes to the store who sells it and the wholesaler. Then portions of the purchase price go as royalties to the actors and everyone else who gets a piece of the pie. Anything left goes to cover the cost of making and marketing the movie. The good movies, probably the ones being pirated, pay for their production costs during the general release at the movie theaters.

3219.2.2006 3:32

ANGELUSXL (Newbie) 17 February 2006 19:55 Having had some previous experience in counterfit goods being sold to me over ebay I would just like to say that I knew perfectly well what I was buying- especially for 5 for a brand new DVD that had only just come out in the cinema. What do people expect for 5? They are most certainly NOT going to get a proper DVD version of say Final Destination 3 at the moment. WRONG. Lots of stores sell used DVD of moview that were releases perhaps for to six months ago months ago (Exaclty like the examples) for $5 which is LESS than 5. I belong to a trading group that typically sells films for WAY less than 5 and NONE are pirate. If you check ebay, on any given day thouands of DVD's that are recent releases are selling for under 5 and eaily 99% ARE LEGITIMATE. I just sold my copy of Ice age for $2.50! Totally legit.

3319.2.2006 3:35

hot_ice (Junior Member) With the company of a good lawyer, set ups are considered entrapment by the law, and deemed easy to get out of. No offense but that is idiotic and totall wrong. The entrapemnt defense FAILS almost alwasy, including in the huge cases where people have the BEST lawyers. It is clear you haven't the vaguest idea.

3419.2.2006 8:47

One of my family member is a lawyer; there were cases where people have got off the hook. Besides logic dictates that if you use entrapment as a defense, it is because it has worked in the past!!! I think it is YOU who hasn't the foggiest of things. If you like to point the finger and say OH! he's so wrong! do it with the proper research and don't bother me. thanx

3519.2.2006 13:09

I am an avid collector of Disney dvds. Watching what sells on Ebay, I can tell you Disney is highly bootlegged. Disney is it's own worst enemy by releasing them for a limited time, putting them in the vault for 10 years, and then crying foul. Disney caters to only those that can afford it, not the average young family struggling to pay for housing, put food on the table, and pay for the bare necessities. I really have a hard time figuring out where they are at??? Family orientated, I THINK NOT!

3619.2.2006 16:00

I do not like to see bootlegs on ebay either. I hope they are only going after the sellers and not the buyers, because lots of times the auctions can be very deceiving. I have seen some DVDs listed on ebay that have very nice box art and the DVDR are printed on, so to the average person, this will look real. As for determining sale price of a DVD, companies are not conerned with the amount sold as much as the profit. It would be nice to just make DVDs $9.99, but there are many more things to consider. Determining cost is also difficult in this case, because DVDs are very volatile. I would imagine the DVD market to be a short term market (by this I mean Decreasing demand with time, not that a long term market does not exist). Also, the same pressing facilities are used to press different titles. This means that all DVDs are virtually the same. Therefore, this type of market can be stabilized by looking at the short term and long term as two different products being sold rather than the life span of a product. I think what Disney does is completely remove the Long term market and creates a several short term markets that when combined form a long term market. I would assume that Disney operates in this way to only consider Marginal Profits and only try to maximaze those. Now with that into consideration, the "vault" creates a seasonal product, however, since there are several short term markets, they are always operating at the peak of the season. Rather than operating like this, other companies also have the long term market as I stated before. Since this would be considered a separate product, there would be a different set of costs associated with this market (actaully a different cost structure). The reason that these DVDs can be priced as low as $5 per unit is that Fixed cost is not considered or it is neglegable. This would mean that the goal here is to sell whatever they can and produce as much as possible. If the short term market would be taken into consideration, it would lead to an average price that would be higher than the long term price, but lower than the short term price. I got a little off topic there, but this makes sense to me as how they operate and why they will not simply lower the price of new releases. I have not actually looked at how one of these companies operate and what I stated is just a theory, so do not take it as fact. However, even though I have stated a way that the price of New Releases can be justified, I do not agree with the way they operate and I also agree that lowering the price would decrease piracy. Actually, there are a few things that I would at least attempt to reduce piracy. Two possibilies are to authorize the selling of a pre-release version of the movie that is sold at the theaters and the creation of a low-cost product. The first would be a movie only at a low quality or something like DivX. The way to make it work would be to allow a person to trade in their ticket stub to be allowed to purchase the copy. This should reduce the theater bootlegging quite a bit. The second would be to release a low cost DVD. I would do this on a single layered DVD. I would use D2 rather than D1 to lower the quality to half resolution. Also, I would only have 2-channel audio, sub-titles and no special features. The menu would be a still menu with only a sub-title menu and a chapter select menu. What both would do is sort of legalize piracy by having the movie industry be the ones that sell the bootlegs. I do not think that doing either or both would lower the demand for a DVD, since neither is what the consumer considers a "DVD". The theater version has the potential to increase theater sales and the D2 version would only sell to people that would not buy the original or that wait until it is very cheap. There is also the chance that the same person will opt to buy both the original (when it is cheap) and the low quality version. I think both are a better alternative to the "scare tactics" currently employed by the MPAA. I can see this possibly hurting the rental market though... And just in case some company will consider using either of my ideas....I am the sole owner and anything that has been posted cannot be used or referenced in any way without my permission. Any unauthorised use would violate copyright laws and be subject to severe civil and criminal penalties...

3721.2.2006 17:46

One of my family member is a lawyer; there were cases where people have got off the hook. < LOL. You were refering to this case. there would not be any case for entrapment. You clearly did not read the article and just shot off a comment that wasn't informed about this case or legal issues at all. Cases involving tranactions, where a law enforcement agency is a party, are among the most solid type of prosecutions and the entrapement defense fails almost all the time.

3821.2.2006 21:36

I might of missed a few crucial points within the article, no matter, I stick by what I stated. How does the old saying go:"You pay a man enough money, and he will walk barefoot into Hell." The same applies to lawyers, but they are expensive critters.

3923.2.2006 13:58

My sister inlaw owned a video game store. One day the FBI came in, closed the store and pulled up all records of their games they had purchased from their supplier that may have been bootleged from Japan. After they called in all rentals, the FBI took them and had them tested. They were bootlegged, but the FBI ended up talking to their supplier who made the purchase and sold them to my sister inlaws store. Now I'm not tring to get off track, but remember to figure in the suppliers cost into the final cast of DVDs. You can even figure the cost of maybe 2-3 suppliers before it gets to the video stores. Same goes for cell phone companys. Remember when it cost about 3 times as much as it does now for monthly service. Technology is a hidden factor, there is a part of the DVD cost that is related to new tech. We might be buying movies one day on a 5 GIG usb thumb drive.

4023.2.2006 16:40

How much is her cost? We will factor it into our speculative estimated price of a dvd.

4124.2.2006 1:57

[i["Now I'm not tring to get off track, but remember to figure in the suppliers cost into the final cast of DVDs. You can even figure the cost of maybe 2-3 suppliers before it gets to the video stores." DVSs are not commodities, what you are discussing is not the cost. Cost of a dvd in this case would be the market price. If a plumber comes and fixes a leak and uses a $o.50 part but the jub takes an hour and the normal rate is $75, you pay him $0.50.

4224.2.2006 7:18

Costs are all expenses incurred in making the DVD. Cost of materials, royalties, marketing, distribution, etc... Cost of materials are those incurred to manufacture the DVD and to package it for sale. Market price is when the price the buyer is willing to pay is the same as the price the seller is willing to accept. Fair market value and market price have nothing to do with cost.

4324.2.2006 17:04

Back to my sister inlaw. She got a better cost when she would purchase alot of the same game. When BlockBusters moved in down the street, she was able to deal with them on some games. The only thing was, they rented games. After they rented a game for lets say 25 times they would sell the game cheaper then you could buy them new. That was their only ace in the hole. BlockBuster ended up doing the same thing, and they ended up closing their store because of that. Next thing I want to add is this. I heard that all the movie rental stores (chains) are getting movies next to nothing. The movie companies are almost giving the movies for free, they take a piece of each rental and then put the movie up for sale after so many times the movie is rented. If this is true then I guess that the middle man is the one losing out. Dont forget that clothing, and figures, and games also come out after some movies are out on DVD. That also helps cover the cost of the production of the movie.

4427.2.2006 16:12

|Taxman said "Fair market value and market price have nothing to do with cost." I don't know what kind of taxes you do, but you don't know accounting at all and don't seem to have ever looked at a 10q or a basic balance sheet.

452.3.2006 12:33

|||I don't know what kind of taxes you do, but you don't know accounting at all and don't seem to have ever looked at a 10q or a basic balance sheet. ||| S2K, I know enough to know you won't find "market price" on a GAAP basis balance sheet, an SEC 10q or 10k. You might, however, find Fair Market Values listed in the footnotes of an SEC filing. FYI, if you want to find out a little about market price, check your marketing 101 book. You can also google it.

4622.3.2007 10:10

Quote:
Having had some previous experience in counterfit goods being sold to me over ebay I would just like to say that I knew perfectly well what I was buying- especially for 5 for a brand new DVD that had only just come out in the cinema.
What do people expect for 5?
Plenty of older release brand new dvd films sell for this much money at major retailers.

Plenty of new release used dvd's (which are perfectly legal to sell despite the entertainment industry trying to stop that some years ago) sell for that much money at your local blockbuster.

Quote:
They are most certainly NOT going to get a proper DVD version of say Final Destination 3 at the moment.
WRONG. Genuine legit used copies of "Final destination 3" is being sold on ebay right now from highly respected sellers for $3 ... this is 1/3 of 5.

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