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Still trying to destroy Western Civilisation [Nov. 26th, 2008|09:33 pm]
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[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I got an infringement notice for downloading Stargate: Atlantis! MGM doesn't want people downloading their stuff, which when Channel 7 doesn't want to show it, is basically the equivalent of MGM not wanting people to watch their stuff.

Here is my reply to them


Hey folks, sorry for any trouble I have caused. The Stargate Atlantis files have been deleted.

That said, I would appreciate it if MGM could bring pressure on the TV networks that own the rights to their product to give it, and the people who wish to view it, some respect. Channel 7 in Australia is not only well behind on the series, but when they do show it, they will tend to change timeslots and days with no notice, and will regularly take it off the air for weeks at a time.

As you will understand, people become frustrated with this treatment, and so turn to downloading. Other series I watch are shown on different channels, and they treat their viewers with more respect. Episodes are shown weekly, seldom pre-empted, and most of the other channels are only a month or two behind the US at most.

Currently Channel 7 Australia hasn't even begun showing season four of Stargate Atlantis, a series which is halfway through it's fifth season. When this is happening, of course people will download. If the series is shown in a timely fashion, there is no need to download at all.

As a fan and collector with well over 1,000 commercially bought and legitimate DVDs, if I like a film or TV show, I buy it. I won't buy a series I haven't seen. And thanks to Channel 7, and this action (which is fair enough, I've no complaints about your handling of this, nor MGM wishing to protect their rights), I will now no longer be seeing Stargate Atlantis, and so will be unlikely to purchase season five when it becomes available - I have enough shows competing for my money that I won't buy something I haven't seen in full.

I doubt that I am alone in this. So, if MGM would like to cut down on illegal downloads, and potentially sell more DVDs in Australia, they are way more likely to get results by pressuring Channel 7 than stopping individuals.


I *may* be wrong about season four having not been shown, but I certainly haven't found anything to contradict that.

While I have a limited DVD budget, I have a list of shows I will be buying. Enterprise Season 4, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica (I'm waiting for the show to finish so I can buy the box set), Middleman, The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Mighty Boosh - all of which I have seen through downloading, all of which I will be buying legitimate copies of because I downloaded them, or were given downloaded copies of them.

Preventing me from downloading these shows would mean that I would not be likely to want to buy them. Which would work out fine really, because I have so many, many other shows and films that I want to buy.

So who really loses out? Not the people who would do illegal copies anyway, and does anyone think this would stop them? I may not get to see a show that I would like, but I have lots of good shows to watch already, so no loss there.

All it really means is the network ends up with no chance of getting my cash.

Glad they don't need it.

[User Picture]From: callistra
2008-11-26 11:10 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-11-26 11:16 am (UTC)
It's not a disaster, just means I won't be watching Stargate Atlantis any more. Given I have DVDs of original Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Professionals, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Quantum Leap, etc. it's not like I'm short of things to watch :)
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From: gutter_monkey
2008-11-26 03:46 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Monty Python, they've just started their own youtube channel.
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[User Picture]From: prk
2008-11-26 11:25 am (UTC)
Whilst it's too late now - replying may not have been the best idea.

If it's the standard AFACT infringement notice, it was sent to your ISP as a date / time / IP Address, on behalf of MGM (ie not from MGM itself) and they've (your ISP) correlated that with your connection time and forwarded it to you.

At that time, the sender of the infringement notice had no information about who you were.

By replying you may have given AFACT (or whomever sent it) that contact information and effectively confessed to the copyright violation. They are now more able to take legal action against you directly, should they choose. Eg to make an example.

I would suggest to anyone else who receives a notice, that unless it's directed to them specifically by name directly from the organisation (ie not relayed from your ISP) that they do not reply. If they are doing what the notice alleges, and it's illegal, they should certainly stop it. But don't reply.


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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-11-26 12:18 pm (UTC)
It was actually an overseas company acting on MGM's behalf, contacting the ISP who then contacted us. The ISP was good, but in order for the notice to be closed, we had to reply via the company's website, since it was our IP that had been tracked. That IP had to be the one used for replying. Not closing it wasn't an option. And to my mind, I could have lied, said they were mistaken, etc. but then what happens if they find out I gave a false statement?

Reading through all the guff, there was no harm in replying. Basically they make it pretty clear it's not worth them going after someone unless it's an ongoing thing, and there's no danger of being sued if you remove the material. Which is reasonably civilised, compared to the companies that try to make examples of people. The company MGM uses also has a bunch of protocols in place which mean they can't legally share my details with MGM unless I'm caught doing the wrong thing some more, but they can pass back anything included in the additional information box anonymously.

And my attitude is still one of fighting the crap where I find it. If MGM had a system to pay for and download the episodes, I would be happy to use it, so long as the prices were reasonable. If they pressured Channel 7 into actually showing the bloody show properly, then again, I wouldn't have been downloading it.

Actually, what I would love to do is track the IPs of all the MGM bigwigs, and see how much illegally downloaded stuff is in their homes. You can't tell me their kids aren't downloading stuff on the sly :)
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[User Picture]From: kaths
2008-11-26 10:49 pm (UTC)
I just wrote back to them quoting the bit of the letter from MGM to them which said something like 'this letter is not to be redistributed' or something like that, and told them it was ironic that they were telling me off for breaking a rule when they were doing that themselves by forwarding me the letter when that was expressely forbidden.

I stopped downloading it, and then started again later. No more letters.
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2008-11-26 11:34 am (UTC)
You can also only dl torrents using Hotspot Shield which creates a Virtual Private Network for you.
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[User Picture]From: buoy_wonder
2008-11-26 11:53 am (UTC)
or http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/

Which is quite good.
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[User Picture]From: hibikiryouga
2008-11-26 04:29 pm (UTC)
I got hassled several years ago from MGM myself regarding my downloads of Stargate SG-1. My response was very similar, only I also stated that I had been ordering the DVDs from the UK and still got the episodes before Channel 7 got their act together to start screening them. I added to the e-mail a photo of my Stargate SG-1 DVD collection, stating that my DVD collection was ahead of what had been screened in Australia. I also made similar comments to the likes of "Stargate is screened free to air in Australia, what difference does it make how I obtain my free viewing, if my my purchasing of the DVDs gets me to watch the episodes months, even over a year before it gets broadcast free anyway?"

I then installed a mod to my torrent client called Safe Peer which doesn't allow particular IPs from seeing my collection. I haven't been hassled since.
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From: ozdragonlady
2008-11-26 09:42 pm (UTC)

I would imagine that ..

the reasons for not showing US material are largely - there is a restrictions on the percentage of OS material they can show (as in, their licence mandates x% Aus content) and Stargate competes for time with all the other attractive OS material they buy the rights to
and - the US material is fscking expensive.

And timeslots .. whilst we might find Stargate riveting, unfortunately the carp they put on in family timeslots attracts more watchers and thus more advertising funds. A lot of it is made in Aus - under even more expensive licences. They pay $xmillions for the privilege of making Deal or no Deal, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, etc.

All of which means I dont watch much tv these days. Especially now we are going into "Xmas mode".
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-11-26 11:22 pm (UTC)

Re: I would imagine that ..

Actually, starting with channel 9, lot of the major stations discovered that sci-fi rates really well in Australia, so if you put it on late, you can charge prime time, or near prime time rates to advertisers. So basically, they get extra income from sf that they wouldn't otherwise get.

Not all shows do this well of course.

The thing is, 7 has a dreadful track record even with its own product. They made the decision not to have Roy and HG on the Olympics this year due to the time difference - they felt they would have had to show it at a time that didn't work for them. Given how well they've rated in the past, wouldn't pre-recording it and showing it at a decent timeslot still work?

Like you, we don't really watch much TV these days. I'm quite happy to sit through commercials, but I'll be damned if I'm going to have to consistently wade through a half-hour or even hour overrun of a show I don't like, only to have the show I was waiting for canceled. Then there's the other issues I mentioned.

Commercial TV is in the early days of learning a harsh lesson, they just don't know it yet. And companies like MGM also need to learn that the more people who watch their product, in any form, the better. Since a percentage of those people will ending up owning it legitimately.

Christmas is usually the time of the obscure, short run shows. You can find some gems late at night, if you're lucky.
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[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2008-11-26 11:43 pm (UTC)

Re: I would imagine that ..

Channel Ten however has concluded that all the geeks who watch SF will have the latest equipment and moved most if not all of their SF to the HD only channels.
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From: ext_98582
2008-11-27 06:42 am (UTC)
I don't think I even have my TV set up to receive commercial channels. My pattern is to buy new seasons of things I know I enjoy once they become available on DVD - so if I've seen some Battlestar season 1 I'm quite happy to buy season 2, 3 and 4 on spec. I don't download much because quite frankly my backlog of unwatched DVDs makes a mockery of acquiring new media.

What this means is that I'm not seeing new shows. Which sucks. The logical solution would seem to be for, say, YouTube to set themselves up as an international TV station and feature new content with either embedded ads or banners/images on the site. They license the content in the same way as any other station and stream it. Possibly also offer it for download, with the ads embedded. I realise this would mean changes to current licensing arrangements around issues such as exclusivity but it would be a pretty much overnight solution to the problem - no good reason to go to possibly unsafe torrent sites when you can get the same content in the same media safely.

The industry made a noise about people videotaping from TV - it's the same content, at the same price, only timeshifted, and it's clear that your hommemade media does not directly compete with a nicely packaged official release. I'm not sure I see what the difference is with downloads of free-to-air TV.
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From: ext_98582
2008-11-27 06:43 am (UTC)
*never*. *Never* made a noise. LJ needs an "edit comment" option.
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[User Picture]From: pedanther
2008-12-01 01:01 pm (UTC)
LJ does have an edit comment option, but perhaps it's only available to people with LJ accounts.
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