Weekly News Roundup (27 December 2015)

Merry Belated Christmas. I’m going to watch the new Star Wars film again tomorrow. I once convinced myself I would never be the type of person to watch the same film twice at the cinemas, but I have now been seduced by the dark side (damn you Disney), having uncontrollable immersed myself in all things Star Wars since seeing the film on release day. The film is far from perfect, but things in the Star Wars universe has never been about perfection or even trying to achieve perfection (leaving that for Star Trek) – the movie is fun, it has moment you want to watch over and over again, and what more could you ask from a Star Wars film?

So I’ll go watch it again, this time in a Dolby Atmos enabled theater for maximum aural pleasure, and maybe able to pay more attention to the film, something I wasn’t able to fully do the first time around due to a mixture of excitement and the fear of the thing turning into another Phantom Menace.

With the holidays in full force, as you’d expect, news wasn’t particularly forthcoming this week, although we still have a couple of interesting stories to look at.


Screenshot from pirated cam version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Pirated versions of The Force Awakens already available on most torrent sites, but ticket sales are still breaking all records

There is of course another way to watch The Force Awakens again without having to pay, or even to leave your home: piracy! Cam versions of the film are now flooding the torrent-o-sphere, and while they vary in quality from the very poor to merely the poor (compared to the real cinema experience, that is), it may very well be the true fan’s best chance to more closely examine the movie until the Blu-ray hits sometime next year and breaks all Blu-ray sales records (you know it’s going to happen).

And this brings us to an interesting point in regards to piracy. I speak about true fans possibly wanting to download the cam copies as the only current way to “own” TFA and to watch it more closely. These same true fans have probably already paid to see the film twice or more. So in this case, who exactly is getting hurt by piracy? Of course, the people that are happy to have had their first and only experience of TFA via the format of a cam release, are probably not those that will pay for a movie ticket anyway.

In the same story linked to above, there’s also the news that a bunch of DVD screeners have been leaked online due to a security breach related to Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment. Now, if a DVD screener copy of TFA does get uploaded, this might be slightly different than a poor cam copy – some will find the DVD screener more than adequate in quality for their viewing needs, to the point where it may affect their decision to pay for the movie (to be fair, a decision that was already teetering on the brink of “no sale” to begin with). Hollywood really needs to start doing something about leaked screeners, it’s almost where all pre-release piracy is coming from these days, especially during awards season.

Peter Sunde's Kopimashin

This little device can generate millions of dollars worth of copyright “damages” every day

So from piracy that may actually hurt the bottom line to a form of piracy that definitely doesn’t, take a look at Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde’s Kopimashin. The Raspberry Pi based machine continuously makes illegal copies (and then deletes said copy, or more precisely, sends it to the Linux black hole known as /dev/null) of the song ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkely, and thus theoretically generates $10 million in damages each and every day.

Part art project, part protest movement, Sunde has plans to build 13 of these ‘Kopimashins’ to eventually generate billions, maybe even trillions of damages and drive Downtown Records, the label behind ‘Crazy’, to the point of theoretical madness and bankruptcy.


And that’s it for this short and sweet WNR. Expect even less news next week though, as it has always been the case. I might come back to just say hi and a Happy New Year, otherwise, see you in 2016!



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