People downloading bootleg movies online causes just as much controversy as downloading music from peer-to-peer networks. Some of the arguments can vary, but the end result is the same: You are compromising copyright laws.
Music downloaders argue that they tend to buy more CDs because they hear one or two songs from an album and want the entire CD. The peer-to-peer advocates also fend off the copyright hounds by saying that you can't find all the songs from an album anyway. That forces them to purchase complete albums.
On the opposite side, obtaining bootleg movies gets you the entire film. You don't get chapter one or a section of the last thirty minutes, so you can't really decide whether you want to buy the whole movie: You get the whole move anyway. Besides, the motive of users downloading movies is to make money. The motive of people buying the movies is to be one up on everyone else or to be cool.
It's harder for the movie downloaders to justify their actions because if they are not sure if they want to see the movie, they have a few choices. First, they can just not buy the movie at all. Second, movie downloaders can determine the quality of the movie from previews, blogs, chat-boards, and Imdb.com. Lastly, they can just rent the movie.
What Is Lost from Downloading Bootleg Movies Online
The biggest thing you lose is quality. Some bootleg movies are captured with a camcorder in a movie theatre. The picture is grainy and shaky; outlines of people are in the foreground of the movie; and the sound is tinny. Not even HD cameras can make up for that.
DivX is the compression technology that worked for movies like Mp3 did for music. People posting movies for download on newsgroups use this technology. Even though you get higher quality flicks, you still lose something else which can be important to collectors. Most movie fans are true movie fans. They want liner notes, the case artwork, and the second disc in a two-disc special edition. True movies fans want to add it to their collection. As a collector, getting bootleg movies online won't give you that satisfaction of showing off the latest Denzel Washington movie in all its glory.
The main risk you take on is infecting your computer with viruses, spamware, spyware and anything else that can infiltrate your computer. Browser hi-jacking and programs that phish are two other ways you can harm you computer by downloading bootleg movies online.
The other big risk of course is jail. You've seen the FBI warning at the beginning of tapes and DVDs. You are engaging the possibilities of shelling out a $250,000 fine and living in prison for up to five years. Do you think you are small potatoes to the FBI? They take the copyright law seriously and so should you.
It is easier for Hollywood to track down movie bootleggers because they aren't sharing just one or two movies with other people online. The bootleggers are in the business to sell movies, just illegally. Whereas lawyers and the RIAA usually need go after the peer-to-peer software companies instead of the actual music downloaders, the MPAA and their attorneys can prosecute the bootleggers directly.
Hollywood Isn't Big Business
Very few movies make money. Sure, you see the millions of dollars a film takes in on the weekend, but keep in mind that movies are taking many more millions of dollars to make. There are usually hundreds of people involved in making a movie and if you download these movies, you are depriving them of their share of the profit. Be a sincere movie fan and pay for theatre tickets or purchase DVDs legally or make sure that the site that promotes free movie downloading is, in fact, free. That way, you get the satisfaction of watching a quality movie and getting the people who made the movie the money that is coming to them.