Fox is lucky half the fans of Glee don’t know how to download TV shows for free | LiveJournal enables massive file sharing for fans| June 23, 2010 at 5:09 PM EDT
We’re guessing some of you already knew this, but it came as a surprise to us that sites that host illegal file-sharing activities cannot get in any trouble, and therefore will not take down the operation/files. That is, unless someone important like Kathryn Bigelow personally complains. So, if you want to download movies and TV shows for free, you can head over to LiveJournal.com, which has got to be one of the most lax websites there is when it comes to this topic. You’re not wrong to sense that we’re annoyed about this.
Talking about illegal downloading is tough, but having a dialogue about it is important. It makes sense that if the people in charge won’t make items easy to find and use for a fair price, people will do it on their own. We take a specific issue with people who file share TV shows, and we’ll expand on that below. There needs to be a happier middle that lets people from more than just the U.S. have access to the newest entertainment, and that will let creators get paid while not making anyone feel they need to go broke if they want to follow the letter of the Law while still enjoying what they love.
LiveJournal is a journaling host that is home to many communities that practice file sharing. The communities that do this sort of file sharing are kept secret, locked, and labeled as closed or a grouping of people who just really love Sharpie’s. In other words, other than whistle blowing from the inside, there’s no way for companies to ever even be aware what’s going on. And according to LiveJournal.com in a statement to one of our writer’s, the only way LiveJournal would ever be bothered to take action is if the copyright holder (I.E. a network, a director, or someone higher up and pissed off) complains and wants to sue.
Looks like True Blood isn’t safe either. Link.
We wouldn’t say every illegal download is horrible – sometimes people miss a show, or the DVD they bought is lost. There are so many valid reasons for why sometimes a free download feels or can be harmless. But when people only ever download a show’s entire season (thereby pulling down the ratings/viewership numbers the business execs see) and even then burn that season to DVD in order to by-pass ever buying the Series on DVD…. It’s understandable to us why some think piracy is so much more than harmless stealing.
Because we want our favorite shows (especially the cult hits with small audiences) to survive, we need the networks to have a true gauge of their viewership. If you bypass your DVR’s entirely, you effectivley pull yourself out of those numbers. And think about how many people do this. It’s a lot. If you can’t openly support your favorite shows by using the solid, non-annoying, free options that you might have (Hulu is great if you’re in the U.S) then how can you hope that your show won’t get canceled for bad ratings? And adding to this, they like to see their DVD seasons sell. If people have already burned them all to CDs, those box sets won’t sell. But why do people burn them? Convience is one factor, selfishness can always be one, but the prices of those DVD seasons is always alarmingly high. If a middle-ground could be found to allow people to watch TV shows online, posted quickly after airing, and with very few commercials…maybe people would do that. And if the cost of those DVD seasons was cut in half, maybe people would buy those.
But the thing is… right now, no one really feels they have to change their ways (on either side). What’s interesting is that while we’re told that illegal downloading will get us in trouble, the reality is that there are lots of ways around that. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects any server that wants more viewers/members/traffic in the DMCA Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (“OCILLA”) which creates a “safe harbor for online service providers.” As long as they publicly say they are against file-sharing, they can do it all they want unless the specific copyright holder or copyright holder’s agent contacts them. This means that almost any site can host downloads of “illegal content”, whatever it may be.
Need an idea of what LiveJournal communities share illegal files? We wrote about it already, but we do not endorse more than a very casual downloading habit for whatever shows or files you can’t get easily elsewhere. Extreme file sharing for TV series is going to have a very real consequence on our favorite shows.
Here is what LiveJournal told us about the file sharing that occurs on their server:
Dear LiveJournal user,
Thank you for your report. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to take action on your behalf. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) sets forth very strict guidelines concerning the specific procedures that must be followed to produce a valid report of copyright infringement, and that report must be received from the copyright holder.
Furthermore, for confidentiality and privacy reasons we are unable to complaints from anyone other than the directly involved individuals. If you feel that a copyright that is held by another is being violated, we invite you to contact them regarding the potential infringement and invite them to file an official report. To file an official notification, the copyright holder should visit http://www.livejournal.com/legal/dmca.bml.
When we have received a report of copyright infringement that is properly formatted under the provisions set forth by the DMCA, we will take prompt steps to remove the offending material.
LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team
This is our rough translation of that e-mail:
Dear one of our many members who probably helps make us rich (We’ve created a “middle man” of ourselves by helping present “stolen” product for free!),
We truly could not care less that you contacted us. We do not plan to do anything about this situation. And it’s not our fault. It’s an important Copyright Act that says we can! So, we’re in the clear.No one can sue us, and whoever is getting hurt or affected doesn’t know what’s going on.
If you feel it is wrong that everyone downloads episodes of Glee from our server, then you need to have Ryan Murphy himself tell us specifically he would rather people not break the law. After all, what is a law except something to avoid whenever possible. Well, here’s the website that Murphy can go to if he wants – but you don’t know him, right? Good. It would be a bummer if anyone ever did anything to stop us. By letting people host files on our site, we benefit. We don’t want that to stop. We have sponsors and ads and we even have people pay us money to send their friends tiny images of diamonds and goats to post on their profile.
We’re not following the general law (which would be “no stealing” – or is that The Bible? We don’t know, it burns our hands when we touch it, ahh!) unless we have to. Why don’t you just reap the rewards of this system? Why should anyone care about anyone or any group/company/etc more than themselves and getting what they want?
If you think you can best us, you’re a very silly individual. Our logo is a GOAT. And he has a name. And who are you? Just some concerned citizen who wants to meddle? How boring. Where’s YOUR goat?
I have a shit-eating smile here,
The never-does-anything-except-when-it’s-about-Harry-Potter-fanfic Team
The Consequences of Movie Piracy Which tackles the ‘I wouldn’t have bought this if it wasn’t free’ method of justification.“But no one can say with a straight face that, prior to the availability of infringed works online, at least some of those infringers would have been among those purchasing tickets. Lost sales are a reality.”
It’s an odd thing that we have more to fear from the backlash of angry people who want to download illegally in peace, than any Politician, Hollywood Director, or Federal Agent who wouldn’t like that we don’t simply say “don’t download anything illegally, ever!” The law of the people and unspoken peer pressure seem much stronger than any of those other “forces.”
This is an obviously unpopular opinion. It doesn’t mean it’s without merit, or that it’s wrong just because you don’t like it. Comments are closed from the get-go to eliminate the inevitable “you guys suck” comments.
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