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Archive for the ‘Oscars’ Category

FBI Tracks Down Oscars BitTorrent Uploaders

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Post from: TorrentFreak

FBI Tracks Down Oscars BitTorrent Uploaders

FBITwo Californian men have been charged with uploading leaked copies of Oscar-nominated Hollywood movies to the Internet.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, yesterday a federal grand jury indicted Derek Hawthorne of Moorpark and Owen Moody of San Marcos on federal copyright violation charges.

Hawthorne is charged with uploading ‘Australia’ to a torrent site known as Movie Hogs and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ to Demonoid.com. Moody is charged with uploading the hit movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ to The Pirate Bay.

The pair have been contacted by the FBI who ordered them to surrender to authorities next week. The charges are ‘Uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution’ which is a term under the tough Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, previously used to jail Star Wars uploaders at the now-defunct EliteTorrents site.

They face a possible punishment of three years in jail and fines of $250,000.

Authorities also arrested a third man last week. Jack Yates of Porter Ranch, an employee at a Los Angeles duplication company, is accused of illegally copying the movie ‘The Love Guru’. Yates was asked to copy the movie by Paramount so that Jay Leno could show a clip on his show but allegedly he also made a copy for himself which he passed to friends, one of which uploaded the movie to the Internet.

It’s alleged that Yates lied to the FBI so he faces stiffer punishment than the previously mentioned pair. The offense of copying the movie carries a sentence of up to a year in jail but for lying to the authorities he could get five years. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 16 2009.

Online Pirates vs MPAA – The 2009 Oscars

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Post from: TorrentFreak

Online Pirates vs MPAA – The 2009 Oscars

oscar torrentLast year we took a look at the excellent research carried out by Waxy’s Andy Baio, as he provided detailed piracy stats for every Oscar-nominated movie since 2003. Andy contacted us to announce that he’s been working hard again in 2009 – we take a look at his findings.

For the 2009 Oscars, 26 movies were nominated. In alphabetical order they are: Australia, Bolt, Changeling, Defiance, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges, Hellboy II, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, Milk, Rachel Getting Married, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Duchess, The Reader, The Visitor, The Wrestler, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Wall-E and Wanted.

Of these 26 movies, 25 were available online by yesterday’s nomination day – only Rachel Getting Married made the date piracy-free. An MPAA-worrying 23 of these were downloadable in either DVD Screener or Retail DVD format (Region 5 included). In the past months many of the nominees appeared in our weekly download charts, with The Dark Knight as the absolute winner topping 7 million downloads in 2008.

Of course, the MPAA is always keen to point to the ‘evils’ of camcorder piracy and has clamped down heavily on this in recent years. However, it doesn’t seem able to deal effectively with its own internal issues. Of the 26 nominated films, 20 were distributed to Oscar voters in DVD Screener format. Many of them leaked onto the web, with the exceptions countable on one hand.

In 2003 the MPAA temporarily banned Oscar screeners to prevent them from leaking, but this decision was eventually reversed. Since then, the industry has touted technical solutions such as Cinea to protect their content, but for various reasons it hasn’t stopped the leaks. This year the average time from DVD Screeners being delivered to voters and subsequently leaking out to the web, was just 6 days.