I view the Internet as a medium that can be both amazingly good and horribly evil. I see the pro’s and con’s of it as a whole to the snowboard industry. The new evil is in the form of a bit torrent site.
Here’s an article from Transworld Business describing the problems.
The file sharing site ExtremeBits.org is a BitTorrent tracker that allows users to upload and share copyrighted action sports videos for free. The site is supported through member donations and exists behind some serious cloak and dagger server masking which allows them to remain anonymous. The stated goal of the site is ” to provide users a portal for sharing material and experiences related to extreme sports.”
Said sharing of materials has filmers up in arms about their work being distributed for free, often shortly after release. A recent post from “Java” on snowfilmer.com reads as follows:
Just and FYI. There is a bit torrent website out there at the moment called “extremebits.org”. They regularly take snowboard movies etc…and host them on their site just days after they have been released. There are others that do the same thing, which sucks, but extremebits, especially sucks because of the email I saw this morning from a good friend of mine who was venting to me. Here’s what it looked like:
From my friend:
“Hey there, I just found my film on your site, “** ******* ***” by **** **** ***********. We would really appreciate it if you take this
film down. We worked really hard on this snowboard film and really don’t
appreciate it being on here. I really don’t want to get into a debate
over the ethics of downloading movies, but as a film maker who has made
snowboard films for the last 10 years, I would really appreciate it if
our film which has been out for less than two weeks was taken down off
this site. It’s one thing to put up older films (even this I have a hard
time with) but how do you expect us as film makers to keep producing
quality work (something you guys obviously seem to like if you’re
willing to steal for it) if there is no way to make any kind of profit
(which isn’t a lot by the way)
Thanks a lot,
**** ** ***** ***********
Here is extremebits.org’s reply:
‘As you might have noticed, your account at ExtremeBits.org was banned. I
still feel you should get a response though.
I love how you say you dont want to get into a debate about the ethics
of downloading movies, and yet, you do exactly that when you inform us
how much of a hard time you morally have with it, and call it
“stealing”. What you really meant to say was that you have the right to
voice your opinion, but we for some reason should refrain from doing so.
If you need money so badly, maybe you should set up a donation-button on
your site, and people who dont want to order a version pressed on a
plastic disc can donate whatever they feel the movie is worth. People
are not going to buy square wheels when there are round ones. If you
want profit, stick some ads in there, get some sponsors, what the fuck
do I know. Or maybe, you know, as they say “dont quit your day job”. As
far as Im concerned, if you dont think you have the best job editing
movies and snowboarding around all day, you can stop doing it. See if
100 kids with a laptop and a camera aren’t around to take your place.
I hate how you guys have become the new hollywood. Snowboarding used to
be about doing rad shit and sticking it to the man. For you its about
profit. You are the man and people are sticking it to you.
You should be proud people are excited about your film.
The ExtremeBits.org staff’”
The forum goes on to share some quality detective work on where ExtremeBits.org’s servers are hosted and the tracker experienced a distributed denial-of-service attack shortly thereafter. An error message on the site reads “Hi, we have experienced about 12 hours of downtime because of a DDoS attack on our DNS server. The DNS has been relocated, so some users might still have issues with accessing the site.”
Numerous BitTorrent trackers have faced raids and shutdowns due to claims of copyright infringement. However, this is often hard to prove as BitTorrent metafiles do not physically store copyrighted data, therefore, it has been claimed that BitTorrent trackers, which only store and track the metafiles, should be legal since the data they store is not technically copyrighted. Despite this claim, there has been massive legal pressure, usually on behalf of the MPAA & RIAA’ s around the world to shut down BitTorrent trackers.
Many governments around the world are cracking down on BitTorrent site hosts, and in Latvia the largest hosting server was shut down in August and all of the administrators were arrested. The UK and Finland have also shut down sites and arrested admins and owners, recently, but it is proving difficult to get convictions due to a lack of stored copyrighted material. There have also been numerous arrests and at least one conviction of registered BitTorrent users who actually uploaded copyrighted materials. This neo-Napster type software, which is specifically designed to transfer large files such as movies, has resulted in arrests of its users in the UK, Finland, Latvia, and Hong Kong to name a few. The first conviction for this type of infringement took place in Hong Kong in 2005 where a man received a four-year sentence for uploading three movies.
Whether this ultimately turns out to be deemed illegal, the fact is that these sites are prevalent globally and allow huge volumes of movies to change hands without compensating the people behind them. A brief scan of the snow movies available on ExtremeBits.org turns up more than 325 features including “It’s Always Snowing Somewhere,” “No Correct Way,” and “Down with People.”Members of the action sports video industry are increasingly working to fine tune their business models in a digital age where sites like this are proliferating along with the number of films being released each year.
Frankly the way the guy owning the torrent site acted is pretty shitt and shows his lack of caring. I’m saying to anyone reading this that you need to support these companies making movies. Otherwise the trend thats already started with the internet stores will continue and eventually you will just be doing direct order gear from the company and movies will suck.