Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Great Way to get Arrested, Put on Trial, Fined and Jailed

A Great Way to get Arrested, Put on Trial, Fined and Jailed

If you want to get your hands on intellectual property, one elegant solution is to buy it. Or rent it.

When I wanted to watch the movie LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA I found an illegal copy floating around on the Internet. But, rather than committing a serious crime by making my own equally illegal copy of that pirated counterfeit, I went to Tsutaya, the local video store, and paid 400 yen to rent an authentic DVD copy for a week. (At current rates, 400 Japanese yen is roughly four New Zealand dollars, ie significantly less than US $4.)

The reasons why I hired a DVD instead of pirating one were two in number. First, Paris Hilton has already gotten out of jail, so what's the point of heading in that direction? Second (and more critically) the only software I have to get the illegal copy is frustrating and doesn't seem to work consistently.

The software in question is bittorrent 6.0, available as a free download from bittorrent.com.

This software works with torrents. A torrent is a file which points you in the direction of a data repository somewhere online, for example a video or an album in mp3 form. The torrent allows you computer to use a bittorrent program to download the bits and pieces and to put them together in a coherent fashion.

Many people (millions of them, at a guess) have been putting illegal videos and music CDs online, and have posted the torrents that you need to get at these stolen goods.

To find such torrents, you can do the following search on your favorite search engine:

[bittorrent "stealthis" free download avi English]

where "stealthis" is the name of the movie or album you want to steal.

The words "avi English" are advisable for two reasons. First, some files, particularly movie files, are in cryptic file formats which make no sense, so you can't figure out what software might be able to play them. By contrast, an avi file can be played by Microsoft's Media Player.

The word "English" is advisable because, unless you are a keen student of the Russian language, a Russian-language version of Shrek Three will be useless to you, particularly if you are in a shrekless position. (As I am, having never seen either Shrek One or Shrek Two.)

Having found the torrent for what you want, you then download the torrent itself, which is very small, and, when you click on it, the target file itself (the movie or the music CD) starts to download. All going well.

But, when I try this, a lot of the time nothing happens. My own copy of Bittorrent 6.0 seems to work on a "sometimes I will, sometimes I won't" basis, with "won't" the dominant player.

Presumably I'm doing something wrong and should find an online manual and read it, but I am oppossed to reading manuals on principle.

The standard reading of the Holy Bible is that we are all sinners because we have inherited the guilt of Adam and Even, who ate of the forbidden fruit, the fruit of the tree of knowledge, when they were in the Garden of Eden.

Well, if that's true, then, surely, as a payoff for being victims of the sinner label, we are entitled to having knowledge granted gratis, without going and reading any stinking manual.

That principle (plus a reading of the said stinking manual) will take you, given time, to Computer Enlightenment. Meantime, however, where torrents are concerned I am struggling in a decidedly Unenlightened state.

Which is not my fault. The Bible is quite clear: Adam and Eve went and did what they did off their own bat, and they are the ones who should carry the can.

After quite some trying to get at Clint Eastwood's latest project, I succeeded in downloading a trailer for LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, but, in the end, after many failures I gave up on stealing the whole thing, and went to Tsutaya to hire the DVD.

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