Shrek 2 and 0-Day Movie Piracy

Shrek 2 debuted in wide release yesterday, though probably a bit wider than Dreamworks wanted… Shortly after the first matinees had ended on the East coast, the entire movie was released into private file-sharing networks and then onto Usenet.

The NFO file bundled with the release explains that it’s a new releasing group called MPT, or “Movie Premier Team.” The file claims the movie was released in theaters on Tuesday and on the Internet today, but I saw this posted no later than 4:30PM PST yesterday, which indicates their timezone may be at least eight hours ahead of the U.S.

The video is a Telesync (“TS”), a camcorder video with a direct audio source, usually recorded from in-seat headphone jacks provided for the hearing-impaired. (Without sourced audio, a video is usually called a “Cam” instead.)

The quality of camcorder videos is surprisingly good. This one-minute 10MB sample file was uploaded separately to demonstrate the quality of the complete video. (If you have trouble playing it with Windows Media Player, try the excellent Media Player Classic.)

It’s a testament to the efficiency of the bootlegging community, that a feature film can be captured, encoded, released and distributed on the Internet within hours of its commercial release. For what? As far as I can tell, “MPT” doesn’t get anything more than bragging rights, though their release will inevitably be downloaded and commercially released on the DVD black market overseas, and possibly domestically. Who’s to blame, the non-profit teen playing the releasing game or the big-time bootleggers getting rich off of piracy? Eh, probably both.

Me? I paid a ridiculous $20 to see it on the big screen last night with my wife, but it was worth it… The baby’s due in around three weeks, so it’s the last time we’ll be going to the movies for a while.

12 thoughts on “Shrek 2 and 0-Day Movie Piracy

  1. I love how there’s such competition between groups to get this stuff out as fast and with as good quality as possible. It reminds me of the heady days of alt.binaries.warez.ibm-pc, when a new release of 3DStudio Max would cause a mad blitz of releases from the competing groups (“Warez Bearz from Russia” was one) to try and get the working copy out the door first.

    At least then you could see how downloading might be hurting profits (although I would never be plunking down $3k for a 3-D editor anyway), but nowadays when you have a stinkbomb like “Van Helsing”, you just spend $30M on adverts, don’t allow the press to see it ahead of its release, and you’ll be sure to make your money back, and more. People love the experience of going to the movies, and they’ll also pay to see utter crap. The MPAA should be helping people have a better movie experience at home while figuring out how to get their cut, as opposed to cracking down on sites (which make no money) and not streetcorner vendors.

    /rant off

  2. My girl and i went and saw kill bill 2 the other night, to the tune of $20 too. There were 5 long commercials, longer than 30s, then an MPAA warning about how pirating movies hurts joe-setdesigner. I was pretty aghast at the audactity of the MPAA. I also had not seen the full length commercials before movies like this before.

    Unless this gets better, i’m staying home watching my purchased DVDs.

  3. and thank you mr waxy for not planning on bringing an infant to the theater

    it is a favor to us all

  4. Who cares about the commercials? You’ve got three weeks! See every movie you want while you can.

    The alternative is Reel Moms, whatever one movie they deign to show on Saturday morning, in a theater full of crying babies.

  5. “private file sharing networks” yeah, thats a great way to describe the scene. and thats just in the first sentence.

  6. I’m trying to write for the layman, and trying to keep it non-technical. Instead of “private file-sharing networks,” I could’ve said “a combination of private FTP sites, private BitTorrent sites (like Torrentbits), private IRC chans, and P2P darknets like WASTE,” but it’s too technical and wordy. What’s wrong about it?

    Are you just upset that I linked to Nforce.nl in this entry? I prefer VCD Quality, but you guys were having some downtime issues.

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