LawMeme has a well considered

  • LawMeme has a well considered essay on the appearance of new movies, like Spiderman and the new Star Wars, as bootlegs on file sharing networks and pirate VCDs/DVDs. Especially nice is the author’s explication of the “digital copies are more dangerous” myth, by noting that most analog pirates (like a VHS tape bought on the streets of NYC) are just one or two generations away from the master, whereas the downloaded file is at least one generation from the master. But, most importantly, the downloaded file is in a lossy codec, where lots of data, and quality, has been chucked out to make the file small enough to transfer over the web. Even the transfer from a DV camcorder tape recorded in a theater to a DVD-R requires some lossy data compression that can and probably will affect quality. (and my experience with most consumer-level DVD/MPEG-2 encoders says that there can be quite a bit of quality loss, especially if you’re source isn’t pristine). Long live common sense.

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