AfterDawn: Tech news

TV show piracy enters spotlight

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 09 Feb 2005 9:37 User comments (36)

TV show piracy enters spotlight On 26th November 2004 I wrote a news article about TV series downloading becoming more popular, and the MPAA calling it a serious threat. I then asked if next we will hear complaints about Documentaries appearing on P2P networks. Well this has sort of happened now as the BBC have made some comments, and the BBC's excellent documentaries seem to be amongst the most shared educational material online, with the exception maybe of eBooks.
TV Stations and studios fear that the Internet has now become many people's person PVR delivering TV shows to them quickly. Production companies are becoming increasingly aware that the Internet is taking their audience. Many BitTorrent sites allow users to download and share episodes of TV shows quickly within hours of their broadcast. The BBC it appears, is not very happy about this situation.

"It's a big issue across the industry at the moment. We're not going to ignore it, especially if it's quite widespread," said Debbie Manners, the head of rights and business affairs at the BBC. When asked if the BBC would go after distributors of it's material, she said, "I'm not aware that we are. That would depend on the extent of it." I seem to remember the MPAA saying it had no plans to sue filesharers not so long ago.

Envisional, a company specialising in Internet monitoring is aware of the extent of such piracy. "All the major networks are concerned, though some are only starting to realise the effect it could have on their revenues," said David Price, an Envisional researcher. To most of the users of this site, the shock is not that this "TV piracy" is at such an extent, the shock is that the broadcasters are only actually realising now. The very people calling this a new threat are at least 5 years late, and they are supposed to be the experts.

The problem with TV series is that it's not usually available on DVD before it's broadcasted. In this case, how could somebody get a copy of a new TV show? The production companies should realise the potential of an open market for such sales online, although they would probably settle with over-priced online stores selling DRM protected content. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but I'm sure anyone can commit "TV piracy" by simply using a PVR, VCR or DVD recorder?

So as I did at the end of the news article I mentioned, I will now predict what we will hear next as the "new form of piracy". Within the next six months (more than likely sooner) I could almost guarantee that book publishers are going to realise the massive amount of eBooks and Audio books online and call it a new form of piracy that is now an immediate thread to the Industry, which will be quite false if you consider the years that eBooks have been around and co-existed with Publishing companies.

The Independent

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36 user comments

19.2.2005 11:22

Well, sure sounds like Tivo and its brethren have created a monster by leaving their systems as open as they are now and deserve to have their feeding tubes disconnected by the FCC and the MPAA. Creative, Archos and RCA poured gasoline on the fire by adding portability to the mix and now Sony wants to get into that part of the game with its PSP. I hope the boys at the FCC have stocked up on enough Alka Seltzer and Prilosec to deal with this one.

29.2.2005 11:58

Man this is all a joke. You have big companies producing all these nice devices knowing damn well whats going to happen, then as soon as someone cant afford their two dozen homes anymore they decide they have the right to bitch about it. If they are going to bitch about it so much then why the hell would they even allow these devices to be produced. I mean they all knew what was going to happen before the devices were even regulated by the FCC.

39.2.2005 12:12

Haha. VCR... They've never heard of vhs rings via snail mail before? Share your home-made movies! Wow. I just realized P2P has been around before the internet was ever born. We still pay for shipping. Duh. Ok, how come we're not getting paid for this stuff? I just had a brilliant idea on what the makers of recordable cd disks and vcr tapes could do, but I shall not disclose this information due to possible infringement on consumer rights. :) "Close down the US Postal system! That'll teach 'em! Erm, wait, we can't do that..."

49.2.2005 16:41

Ultimatley what all of these large corporations want is to change the relationship between them and the "consumer".In achieving that we would PAY PER PLAY on everything.Thats everything--Maybe they would like us to pay for commercials too.So much as they would like to see this happen,Im afraid they just arent willing to accept defeat when they so obviously have lost.What they need to do now is SWALLOW thier dignity,and admit that P2P is the bigger giant and they are the ones who've been stepped on.

59.2.2005 20:54

haha, these must be the same "experts" that just realized 5 years late that BitTorrent is a potential threat

610.2.2005 2:43

Please be aware TV companies including the BBC have deleted whole series of programmes (which cost tens of thousands pounds of license payers money to make) because of the cost of storing the tapes. Now if P2P makes it possible for a fan to obtain a programme which would otherwise be lost forever, who can blame them?

710.2.2005 2:54

Ppl can simply tape TV episodes using their VCR or DVD recorders. So why cant they just download the missed episodes using torrents? Its the same concept. Besides, isnt the TV episodes being released as torrents only after being screened on TV. So you are not actually getting the episodes before being aired. The only problem with digital downloads is the potential for altering the ads etc, and also making it available in countries which might not have released the TV series. One cant help such cases. Technically, DVDs with TV episodes can be shipped to different countries even without torrent technology. I dont think downloading TV episodes is piracy. Maybe the TV stations should have online versions of TV episodes for download whereby the television ads cannot be edited etc, and also you can skip them using the location bar on media software. Might be something worthwhile to think about.

810.2.2005 11:27

I can't believe they are crying over this. How is this taking money from them? Now they see that people want to watched shows they missed and want to sell it to them. So we are pirating potential money because they didn't have any intention of selling episodes individually.The only money being lost is those who could of bought dvr and now wont. The government should just take all our money so that potential entertainment is not pirated.Why not prosecute and fine the percentage that the MPAA says is stealing now and in the future. Instead of going after individuals just go after all of us.=( Isn't everyone getting paid from the commercials aired? I mean what percentage of viewers quit watching broadcasts? Is there one person capturing shows and the rest of us are just waiting for the torrent? Fukking greed. This extreme form of capitalism is revolting. US government needs to stop trading democracy for dollars.

910.2.2005 13:08

FFS! There tv shows!!! geez.... its the same as recording them on VCD or on your dvd player. MPAA always has to have a whinge about something dont they???

1010.2.2005 19:16

This is a serious treat? all of a sudden it's a problem now? I don't get it, we have been programming VCR's to record shows back in the 80's and now it's a huge problem? What is the MPAA pissed because they didn't think of this great technology.Tivo,PVR,VCR they all do the same freakin' thing record.The people from the MPAA must have lived in a cave at some point in time.

1110.2.2005 19:28

I heared on the radio 5 years ago that if you pay for cable that you are entitled to copy a show because you have already paid for it to air on your tv.I'd love to give the MPAA my 2 cents right now.They all need to change their rags at that place.

1211.2.2005 0:33
Inactive is GONE! DAMN! I was dl Tv shows from here. Who's next........ THIS IS JUST BULLSHYT! YOU CAN'T DL TV SHOWS NOW!!!

1311.2.2005 0:39

LOL! DAG! I'm glad I got all of Stargate Atlantis Season 1 episodes 1-20 from that site

1411.2.2005 1:55

lajr1980 : I wouldn't be laughing, MPAA has your IP :D

1511.2.2005 1:59

Since when do they have ur IP? mines not static anyways so why do i care or anyone?

Thermaltake.... cool all your life

1611.2.2005 3:38

loki torrent sold out. they gave those fockers a log of everyones ip address that downloaded torrents from that site. this is getting really serious, but i doubted theyll have the time and manpower to track everyone down, specially over something stupid.. as tv-shows

1711.2.2005 4:03

ru serious?? i downloaded heaps from that site....

Thermaltake.... cool all your life

1811.2.2005 5:21

yea. and supposively they've raised some money for lawyers fee.. $30,000 to be exact;and when things got really bad they just took the money and ran with it. Just becareful on what you download and whom you are downloading from. The MPAA is really after people. does downloading really leave traces even if you have a static ip?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Feb 2005 @ 5:23

1911.2.2005 7:03

I'm so damn sick of all this. I hope this leads to a massive revolt against the RIAA and MPAA for the shit they've caused.

2011.2.2005 7:29

TV Show piracy - that's kind of like collecting half-smoked cigarettes from ashtrays, isn't it? I mean technically that is stealing, but the collector is not begrudged his stinking treasure...

2111.2.2005 15:43

Well i dont have a static ip. so it dont matter

Thermaltake.... cool all your life

2211.2.2005 17:56

How is tv shows losing money? the first uploader gets it from them. Those that can watch it on tv will. Those that can't will download it. When it later comes out on Dvd more people would buy them because people that would not of heard of the show would have. Regular # of views plus increased future dvd sales = more money. This is a good thing for them. I really don't think people are going to have their cable or sat. disconnected because they download a few shows that probably aren't even aired on the stations they get.

2311.2.2005 19:29


How is tv shows losing money? the first uploader gets it from them. Those that can watch it on tv will. Those that can't will download it. When it later comes out on Dvd more people would buy them because people that would not of heard of the show would have.
--------------------------------------------------------- I think that their reasoning is that the people who have it downloaded on their computers will not buy the DVDs when they are released. (This is of course a crock because without interest there would be no point in releasing the show on DvD anyway. Freakazoid Anyone?)

2411.2.2005 23:49

i wouldnt buy the dvds anyways. cost way to much. 85 bucks aud for a season of a show...

2512.2.2005 14:06

Meh, television programming has become pretty lazy anyway. I'd wager that 90% of TV programming these days is just reruns. And when you consider the income from ads for that, anyone involved in TV should be making crazy money. If anything, the distribution of TV shows creates a wider market for the producers. More people will learn about their shows and consequently watch them on TV ('cause generally they are better quality and whatnot) and buy them on DVD. Piracy paranoia is rapant.

2612.2.2005 16:14

Well, from what I've been hearing, it's become a garden-variety technophobia issue these days. Much wanted features are being removed from forthcoming PCs, TVs and DVRs and their software/firmware at the behest of the MPAA/RIAA and soon old-fashioned VCRs could end up being a no-no. I wouldn't be surprised if the MPAA/RIAA had stormtroopers at the ready right now. Dump your log files everyone! :(

2712.2.2005 21:57

for those of you ignorant of IPs, which is apparently most of you, your great dynamic IP is just for your home network, so you're in trouble just as much as the next guy because the IP that is logged is your external IP assigned by your ISP. this whole situation is getting ridiculous, LokiTorrent has pissed me off big time. I'm glad I never donated to them. and I really, really hope they didn't log torrent downloads and connections to their trackers. unless they were hoping they would get to hand them over to the authorities, it would be pointless. if they did, I hope the RIAA has fun suing millions of people one by one. for those of you who want to download TV series, you can get some of the more popular current ones here: most of TV now is reality shows anyway...

2813.2.2005 4:49

It is ridiculous for the BBC to be moaning about this. Revenue is mainly gained from advertising and variuos rates apply to shows and the time that they are broadcast. Primetime earns more advertising revenue because more people are watching. The BBC does not have adverts (in the uk, at any rate) this is because the BBC is funded by the british public via a licence. if you have a tv you have to pay the licence fee, regardless of whether or not you watch the BBC channels. The BBC should be the tv company that shuns the rules because of it's very nature. All BBC programs should be available online as they are already paid for in the uk. I can see that the value of their syndications could be affected in other countries, but as I see it there are not that many people downloading tv programs (thousands, yes but not millions) the BBC should not just jump on the hype bandwagon, they have a responsibilty to the whole of the licence paying public, myself included. VHS did not kill off tv in the way that they all predicted, in fact it produced their most profitable revenue streams. DVD now continues that trend. I am not saying that piracy is ok, but the narrow minded views displayed by Debbie Manners is moronic at best. As a final note, if the the tv companies would broadcast series in different countries at approximately the same time, the people i know would not bother downloading. The time lag in broadcasting in different countries is excessive. For example, The West Wing is currently showing series 4 in the UK, (on terrestrial) yet in the US is is halfway through series 6. For a fan, desperate to see what is happening in their favourite show, it is just too tempting to download the next episode...

2913.2.2005 5:26

It's not about taping a show you have watched or want to watch. It's about distributing it accross the world where others haven't or can't see for a long time the content that the comapny would then sell on to other networks. Such as the popular american shows are show in the UK 9-12 months later ... where as you can download them the night they are aired on US tv. I don't agree that it's ilegal to copy a tv show then watch it, or even show it to your friends but distributing content that would not normally be not available is something else.

3013.2.2005 21:58

LOL! This is really the 21st century! The Information Age is growing faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssttttttttt!!!!!!

3124.2.2005 15:42

Blast the MPAA all to hell! I pay my digital cable bill just like everyone else. I don't always have time to sit down and watch my shows at the exact show time. What the hell is the difference between taping the damn thing to watch later and downloading it via the internet to watch later??????? I'm sick to death of this debate, and fed up with the idiots who are cying wolf!!!!!!! They're so deep in the poorhouse, and we just keep taking food from their babies' mouths, right? Righhhhhhht.....

3225.2.2005 10:27

What's next? Anime, manga, and comic book companies start targetting downloaders? Console game companies and computer gaming companies as well? I seriously think we're seeing a trend where all digital information/media/games are going to be policed pretty soon.

337.3.2005 8:25

For the argument that downloaded TV Shows have the cut out adds fine(and that advertisers loose money)...lets say that we leave them in and just FF throught them ..they will find another pretext to argue.. What about the issue of ``public airways``?..they send information(films whatever)and they say it`s free to acces??..ok make up your mind..(bcz if it`s not then i dont want the 2000 radio,televison satelite waves going through my house and through me 24/7..and i will sue your ass for the harm that they are doing to all of us) By the way,what`s the diffrence if i watch the show now..or five seconds later?? If there is one thenthe producers of: VHS , DVD-Recorders,TIVO should be in prison by now since they are specificly intended for such attrocities to take place. The fact is that they are not loosing money(they are just bitching bcz they see the potential for more money(as said before by many ppl)).however what they dont realize that there`s money to lose as well. .for exemple they produce 100 000 of copies of DVD`s of ``BLANk``tv show..and 80 0000 will be bought;that is a profit.. However if they take another show and it only sales 20 000 out of 100000 and they will loose money...simply bcz not everybody likes same shows..not all shows all as popular as SIMPSONS, .I download SCRUBS (since I`m at work while it`s airing )It`s in it`s 4th season and yet I still would love to have the DVD`s...which doesnt exist and I doubt that it will..bcz it doesnt have the audience for it.... ``that`s my story and im sticking to it``

This is all NuTZ..
So why shouldn`t I be TO

3417.3.2005 16:20

One point that appears to be wholly overlooked is the fact that the industry business model is obsolete. When you look at the knee-jerk reaction to the rapid adoption of PVR technology we see today, it illuminates the total lack of communication the industry has with its principal market. To me it appears as if the industry was ‘lookin that a way, when they should have been lookin this a way’. Why should we, as end users be punished for their total lack of responsible conduct of business? Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to invest some of their huge past profits in a little market analysis, instead of suing their customers and creating massive amounts of very negative publicity and an almost universal loathing of them? There are plenty of ways to make money from TV shows and movies if they are priced reasonably and they make sense to the consumers. It can be done, but it requires work and a little talent. The true problem is a disconnected, obsolete pathetic and scared industry, with incompetent management. The shareholders should revolt and require a sound and sustainable business model. The old days are gone and ability to copy will only get better.

3513.8.2005 7:17

They wont be satisfyed until they control it all.

3630.11.2007 2:32

its coz they get free dvds

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