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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » MPAA: Kodi Abusers Are Growing Video Piracy Threat (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: MPAA: Kodi Abusers Are Growing Video Piracy Threat
Harold Hallikainen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 763
From: Denver, CO, USA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 10-04-2017 10:54 PM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Motion Picture Association of America has warned that the Kodi open-source media player software is abetting the emerging global threat of streaming video piracy.

In comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on "the world’s most notorious markets for content theft," the MPAA said that while Kodi was not itself illegal, it can be easily configured to direct web users to pirated TV and film content.

"Websites enable one-click installation of modified software onto set-top boxes or other internet-connected devices," the MPAA said. Then the software taps into an "infringing ecosystem" of content add-ons and portals, with more than 750 websites offering such infringing devices or software.

Related: Illegal Streams of Mayweather-McGregor Bout Reach 2.9M Viewers: Irdeto

"Online content theft undermines the economic success of film and television, threatens the livelihoods of millions of creators, and harms consumers by spreading viruses and malware," MPAA told the USTR. "In particular, streaming device piracy – enabled by preloaded piracy devices and unauthorized add-ons – poses a significant and evolving challenge. Today, 6% of North American households own a device with software configured to access pirated content."

MPAA also said that of the 38 million active Kodi users, 26 million use piracy add-on repository tvaddons.ag.

The group said such infringing traffic hurts not only copyright holders, but users who are more subject to malware, which is a revenue source for pirate sites.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/currency/mpaa-kodi-abusers-are-growing-video-piracy-threat/169069

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12207
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-05-2017 07:34 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This sort of action really IS affecting the cinema industry. I've already watched it kill a local theatre. Kids (and even their parents) don't see the harm in their "free" downloading of in-release content, let alone content available legally for the home). They don't seem to understand the notion of "stealing" someone else's work. Why pay for a movie theatre when you can have the same thing for free?! It is very tough to compete with free.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 10-05-2017 10:52 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
Why pay for a movie theatre when you can have the same thing for free?! It is very tough to compete with free.
These morons need to ask themselves if they would do their own jobs for free. Can they survive without a paycheck?

Plug and Play Piracy is yet another example proving America's population is far more gullible, stupid and naive than we would like to believe. I've been in arguments with people who swear up and down what they're doing and watching with their "fully loaded" Kodi boxes and hacked Amazon Fire Sticks is legal. They don't bother to question any of it. The stupidity element comes into play when you ask them about the movies that are literally videotaped from a movie theater screen. How is that content legal? "Um, I don't know."
[Roll Eyes]

Deep down I think they all know that what they're doing is wrong. It's no different from the free for all feeding frenzy that happened in the late 1990's with Napster. Even though Napster and other file sharing systems like Kazaa got shut down the music industry never fully recovered. Most music-listening activity is legal these days, but it's being done via single song purchases and listening to streaming services like Spotify. Album sales are in the toilet.

Arrests are finally starting to happen to people who sell Kodi boxes and Fire Sticks already loaded with piracy software. Amazon, eBay and Facebook are cracking down on users who sell fully loaded boxes on their sites. A couple of Kodi plug-ins called Navi-X and TV Addons, which make it much easier to watch pirated movies and TV shows, have apparently shut down and stopped working due to active or pending law suits. There's no doubt some other kinds of piracy plug ins will take their place (if that hasn't happened already).

The users of these Kodi boxes and modded Fire Sticks probably don't realize they're opening themselves up to more trouble than just a brush with law enforcement. Crooks can embed malware into these devices or attack vulnerabilities in them. They can take over a connected TV set and get any personal information stored inside. Worse yet, it's possible for them to use the TV as an entry point to attack anything connected to the home network. The boxes and sticks can be used to spy on people, taking note of everything they did.

People are naive though. Plenty grabbed pirated music, movies and software off Kazaa despite the risk of malware infection. They're going to keep using these plug and play piracy devices until they stop working.

Movie studios and TV networks are just going to have to up their game at securing their content. We've all pointed out the stupidity of studios making screener discs of movies for VIPs. If they stopped doing that crap and made these douchebags watch the pre-release screening of a movie in a theater then a bunch of this movie piracy would stop. All that would remain is the shitty camcorder bootlegs.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1974
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 10-05-2017 12:07 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think most people sincerely believe they are legitimate and legal. After all, you can buy one right off-the-shelf at the local hardware store here so why would anyone think there was anything shady going on. And since they paid for the gadget, then the money they paid for it must cover the cost of the content too, right?

Most people aren't going to go to, say, a farmer's market and buy some corn, and then question whether that corn might have been stolen. The question simply wouldn't cross their mind. Same thing with these pirate boxes.

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Harold Hallikainen
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From: Denver, CO, USA
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 - posted 10-05-2017 04:08 PM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I heard a similar argument years ago on stealing music. People reasoned that it must be legal or you would not be able to buy equipment to copy music. There are infringing and non-infringing uses for this equipment. People often do not see the difference. There is very little respect for copyright in the general public. A lot of behavior seems to be regulated by what you can get away with versus what is right. How much over the speed limit can you drive and get away with it? How many false deductions can you take on your tax return and get away with it? How much pirated music or movies can you get and still get away with it?

Harold

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
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 - posted 10-05-2017 04:40 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Harold,

I think there is a difference in your examples between government imposed rules on behavior (speed limits) or the game they have made out of taxes (if you don't know the ever changing rules, you pay more!) and stealing someone else's (private or corporate) work.

The rationals I've heard are:

1)If I had to pay for it I wouldn't have bought it anyway so they aren't losing anything.

2)It isn't stealing like stealing car. Me taking it doesn't deprive anyone else from seeing it.

3)It is too expensive to pay for (theatre, cable, ...whatever) so this is the only way I could see it.

They are all rationalizations and they are all illegal and stealing from the copyright holder(s).

Napster absolutely killed music stores and this sort of stealing will kill theatres, if not the movie business. If the making of the movies/showing of them cannot be monetized the industry will collapse. It isn't free to make a professional movie, far from.

Unlike music where "kids" now download just the song(s) they want rather than an entire album there isn't an equivalent model for movies (just download the chase scene).

Rather than wasting time working about theatres being the source of copyright theft from camcording, Hollywood should really clamp down on this illegal streaming business. There are people that rationalize and those that actually think these movies somehow are free and that is a cancer on the industry, for sure. As I said, I've already seen it kill a small town theatre where the kids just stay home and watch first run there.

Hollywood really should lengthen release windows between theatrical and home rather than help the thieves get it faster and steal the revenue.

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David Buckley
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Oxford, N. Canterbury, New Zealand
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 - posted 10-05-2017 06:03 PM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I even got telemarketed by someone trying to sell me "free TV and movies" for a one-off purchase cost of a few hundred bucks. "Totally legal!"

Here's their website

It seems they have had a call from SkyTV, and lawyers are involved, so they are currently not selling, but they were.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 10-05-2017 06:52 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I went to visit her family. I had never heard of Kodi before, but her brother brought it up to show how any movie he wanted was right there to watch. I was absolutely astonished to see how easy it was for people to access pirated content. Worse is that some of the family members were under the impression it was a totally legitimate and legal service since they were streaming instead of downloading.

I wasn't going to start an argument with my girlfriend's family over the legal or ethical ramifications. But I have to assume this service will be bad news for our business if people can access the content so easily. The interface wasn't substantially different from Netflix or any of the legitimate streaming services.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 10-05-2017 07:12 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I've said, people really do genuinely believe it's legal.

They bought it in a store, it came in a professionally designed box and the gadget looks like any other gadget that you would have in your house. If it was a bare circuit board with wires and globs of solder hanging off of it and you bought it from Vinnie in a back alley it would give a different impression, but it's not. It looks very professional, it's sold at legitimate stores, and it works just as well as any other internet-enabled device when you get it home and plug it in.

A huge percentage of the customers who buy this device have no idea that there's anything shady or illegal going on. It's a magic box that hooks up to my TV and I bought it at a local store. What could possibly be wrong with that?

The hardware store here used to sell (and maybe still does sell) subscriptions and equipment for satellite television. I don't think folks see these pirate boxes as being anything different than what they used to have on the shelf there. "I paid for this box fair and square, and even paid sales taxes on it. How could it possibly be illegal?"

A couple of weeks ago I had a girl phone me. "Are you playing It this week?" No, I played that last week. This week I'm playing something else. "Oh. Well, that's ok since my boyfriend downloaded it already anyway."

People see nothing wrong with that. I don't say anything about it either -- why pick a fight with a (potential) customer over an issue that you can't win anyway.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 10-05-2017 08:32 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
People only think "stealing" is "walking off with something that isn't yours." They apparently don't think movies really exist -- since they're not walking out of a store with a disk, they figure they're just TV programs. And since the airwaves are full of TV programs that are all just "there" all the time, so if something is available on a device you pay for, how could it be stealing?

I think Bobby is right, that most people would say they "had their doubts" and the whole thing is "too good to be true" but at the same time....they want those movies, dammit!

My wife works in another city, and does not have cable TV or internet at the apartment she lives in for the few days a week she's out of town. A co-worker suggested one of those "enhanced" Kodi devices to her. She said it seemed suspicious to be able to watch all the movies for free, but the co-worker had insisted it was completely legal, and since he was a smart banker dude, and worked in the IT department of the bank, she figured it had to be legit. He even gave her some printout that explained how it all worked and went on and on about how it was TOTALLY LEGAL.

Needless to say, after I set her straight about it, she told him she was not interested, but how many people are out there not having a clue what they're doing and not having a theater owner telling them the truth about it?

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

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 - posted 10-05-2017 09:31 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
People only think "stealing" is "walking off with something that isn't yours."
Almost every time I have caught people theatre hopping they have said something to the effect of "I didn't think it was an issue since we paid for a ticket and it's not crowded". I think many people don't view it as stealing because they are not taking something with a finite supply.

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Dave Bird
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 - posted 10-06-2017 04:05 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Recently I've seen that whenever I post the pictures for our program, I'll see someone (usually an attractive female from Asia) post a link for the same film. "Watch full length movies - FREE!" it usually says. Of course I delete and ban the "user". It seems as though it's the picture that triggers whatever it is that posts.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 10-06-2017 08:06 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gotta love bots. Is that on Twitter, Facebook or another forum?

quote: Steve Guttag
Hollywood really should lengthen release windows between theatrical and home rather than help the thieves get it faster and steal the revenue.
The movie studios and their media company bosses are still fixated on shrinking theatrical release windows ever shorter. They're doing it for two ploys. One is the positive cash flow game of minimizing interest payments on borrowed movie production money. The other is trying to cut marketing costs. They say the theatrical ad campaign can sort of double as the home video campaign as well if the release window is short enough. Maybe the studios still have the fantasy that more people will buy copies of a specific movie if it gets to home video faster.

The problem is the home video business of selling movies has gone to hell. Neighborhood video rental stores are an endangered species, and extinct in many small to medium size towns. Brick and mortar stores that specialize in selling movies, music and/or books are also endangered. Many people have switched from collecting movies on disc to merely streaming them via Netflix. Or they watch pirated versions on those Kodi boxes and modded Amazon Fire Sticks. After all, it isn't just theatrical release screener discs and camcorder bootlegs being uploaded. Retail Blu-ray discs and digital downloads are also ripped and uploaded to these piracy sites as soon as they become available.

The movie studios have also kind of screwed themselves with making their movie discs less desirable to buy. It seems like they're deliberately minimizing the effort they put into these retail products (uninspired packaging, few if any extras and sometimes even dodgy video encodes). They've made no secret they would like to cut out retail partners like Walmart, Target and Best Buy as well as online merchants like Amazon. The studios want to sell movie downloads and/or streams direct to consumers.

But just how many consumers are actually buying movie downloads? Personally, I already have too much in the way of computer files, images, media, etc. backed up on hard discs. I don't need terabytes worth of Hollywood movies to add to that burden. If the customer is having to stream his movie purchase from the cloud then why not just watch the same movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime (or Kodi)?

I certainly can't speak for the buying habits of others, but I personally rarely ever buy movies on disc anymore. I've never bought a "HD digital" download movie. Most of the money I spend on movies is spent at movie theaters.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 10-07-2017 12:14 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The last movie I bought on disk was "The Founder," a really good flick about the guy who built the McDonald's empire. We didn't play that film and I really thought it looked good, and I wasn't disappointed. I have had zero desire to own any other movie this year, so far.

We have a Netflix account but my wife uses it more than I do, since she's without internet or cable TV in her "work" apartment. Most of my Netflixing is standup comedy shows... I can't remember the last time I watched a whole movie on it.

I will admit, however, that I'm not exactly the average bear when it comes to TV watching. Since I own a theater, I'm tired of most movies by the time we're finished playing them so it leaves me with little desire to own them. Far as I can remember, the last movie we played that I had a strong desire to buy was "Sully," and then I didn't buy it because it was too freaking expensive. Maybe I'll look for a used one right now.

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Alexandre Pereira
Expert Film Handler

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From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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 - posted 10-07-2017 09:06 PM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Streaming and piracy is just one big joke - meant to destroy the exhibitor business by devaluing content. First why would anyone pay for anything when it is free on pirate bay and endless free streaming sites?
Netflix and Kodbi boxes are just for those too dense to realize that all it takes is an internet connection to get anything.
Kodi is bad enough - but at least the super lazy can just plug it in and scroll endless junk. Netflix, however, is for the truly even more dense who need the absolutely worse interface - knock off of emule 2002 and a paid subscription to watch already free content.
The solution is very simple - but the money whore studios do not want to put up the cash and partner directly with ISP's. If signatures were placed on all streamed content - at the ISP point - similar to basic IP filtering that would be the end of free streaming. At least Kodi would be stopped - torrents that is another story but it could also be curtailed if studios actually cared.
Once again the issue with the money whores is that they do not want to pay for the pipe - letting the likes of netflix do it for them. Race to the bottom.
Ultimately the issue is - do people want to watch movies at home where they always sit surrounded by the lameness and sameness of their 1984 future or do they want to sit at the multiplex where at least you can see more of your own replicants and enjoy a large golden topping popcorn?

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