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How do you get DVDs of a just-released movie?
January 4, 2004 12:35 PM   Subscribe

One of my nephews (the lucky one everyone in our family loves, featured in this thread) presents us every week with a faultless DVD of a just-released-in-the-U.S. movie. How does he do it? [More inside.]

Years of avuncular grilling have produced little in the way of answers, besides saying he belongs to some sort of swap club and that downloads take up to seven days(!). Now, I've watched Asian pirate copies and they're unwatchable - in some of them you can see members of the audience sitting down and getting up. These, however, are pristine and, shockingly, have perfect Portuguese sub-titles (better than the legit translations which eventually emerge). As you might know, there's a one or two month gap between American and European releases - so how does he do it? There is no underground market of DVDs in Portugal, so far as I know.

In other news, certain far-flung internauts (of which some may or not be members of MeFi) have access to the full texts of newly published U.S. and U.K. books. I realize this is all highly illegal but I'm still curious as hell as to their methods and techniques.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
 
I'm assuming he's downloading some version of other from a peer-to-peer network, most of which have new movie releases on or before the day of theatrical release, then possibly transcoding it into MPEG-2 VOB format from whatever format it was previously in (likely DivX or Xvid or some other MPEG-4 variant), and burning it to DVD with the appropriate hardware.

Likely the same with eBooks. Get thee unto Kazaa/Overnet/eDonkey, Miguel.
posted by majick at 12:45 PM on January 4, 2004


Your nephew is a copyright pirate maven, probably using a variety of P2P networks, bittorrent, and usenet to get his copies. It's all illegal stuff, and I'm not sure how much detail anyone here can safely go into it.

Jump into one of these underworlds and explore for yourself, or better yet, talk to the lovable little scamp until he fesses up with some of his secrets, and then don't post them here, as it is all of questionable legality.
posted by mathowie at 1:03 PM on January 4, 2004


Probe his computer when he's out of the room...
posted by billsaysthis at 1:07 PM on January 4, 2004


I'm thinking "screener", Miguel. The MPAA has been going on and on about it lately. The studios love to send out DVDs (and before that gaudily-packaged laserdiscs and gaudily-gimmicked VHS tapes) of theatrical releases as publicity stunts to video rental chains, movie stars they're trying to seduce into working with someone else, Academy Award voters, etc etc.

The studios obviously do NOT love the recipients of these gifts treating them like gifts, however, as they want you to use them in only the way THEY prescribe. Which really lessens the value of the gift and the sentiments behind it, don't you agree?

Of course even the MPAA will tell you that screeners are a small part of the whole "piracy" picture. There's other ways stuff gets out there. Hollywood is very, um, incestuous. And much of it completely clueless about how computers and the Internet work together. And outsourcing.

Or ... so I've heard.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2004


don't post them here, as it is all of questionable legality.
If this were my site I'd say: don't post them here, as it is all of unquestionable illegality.

When I experimented with Kazaa Lite (to see if any of my favorite obscure '70s recordings could be found... they weren't... no surprise), I read the text at the "Terms of License" where it said "This software is illegal". Truth in labeling.
posted by wendell at 1:17 PM on January 4, 2004


MeTa

However, if a person were to try and do what Matt recommends - are there Mac options? Someone I know has a Mac and they may have tried LimeWire to find movies, possibly, but not found anything. Any equivalents of kazaa and the like? Theoretically speaking.
posted by bonaldi at 1:26 PM on January 4, 2004


Thanks for the insights - I think I have some leverage now to crowbar my way into his secret inner sanctum. I should repeat I'm just interested in how he does it - I don't want to do it myself, so no specifics need be mentioned. I should add that, to my knowledge, I've never downloaded anything from P2P sites or remotely illegal. I'm very straitlaced and old-fashioned - the only music I have (apart from the songs MeFi buddies send me) was all paid for. I have never "burnt" or copied anything in my life. I'm a buyer and a registerer. Just to reiterate Matt's and wendell's warnings.

Also, my nephew's only 17 and doesn't even share with friends - only with his immediate family, who, truth be told, are who keep asking him for this or that particular movie.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2004


Theoretically speaking, if one were to partake in peer to peer file sharing on a Mac (e.g. for publicly available high-in-demand movie trailers or other non-illegal files), I imagine you could use Poisoned or Acquisition.
posted by adrianhon at 1:31 PM on January 4, 2004


They are not screeners. I've seen some of those here too, and they also have perfect (well, not always) Romanian subtitles.

I believe them to be leaked copies of the original DVD, coming from Asian markets. And most certainly, there is an underground Portuguese DVD market.

Regarding the books, some kind souls buy the books, scan & OCR them and then share them on undernet channels or other places. The difference between the DVD pirates and book pirates is that the latter one do it out of passion, not for a profit.
posted by Masi at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2004


I have seen (but cannot admit to owning) a number of DVD-5's from China. They have often have motion menus and are clearly telecine from the original film. They have a tendency to lose sync (I think the audio is not multiplex'd, but I haven't examined them extensively).

Cost?

$1.00 each.

Now, all that has to happen is the image hit a P2P network.
posted by filmgeek at 1:42 PM on January 4, 2004


When I experimented with Kazaa Lite (to see if any of my favorite obscure '70s recordings could be found... they weren't... no surprise), I read the text at the "Terms of License" where it said "This software is illegal". Truth in labeling.

This is because it is an unauthorized derivative work of the original Kazaa -- not because it is a peer-to-peer file-sharing application.
posted by kindall at 2:18 PM on January 4, 2004


Thanks also to those who sent explicit e-mails - specially for not mentioning specific links but explaining the whole process! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:19 PM on January 4, 2004


I hope the little scamp's bandwidth isn't metered, or the family's in for a unpleasant billing surprise.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:12 PM on January 4, 2004


[...] access to the full texts of newly published U.S. and U.K. books. I realize this is all highly illegal but I'm still curious as hell as to their methods and techniques.

Just send me an email if you're still curious, Miguel. Not that I engage in such activity personally, of course, but I can certainly share some information on how it works.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:17 PM on January 4, 2004


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