Next Generation 'Piracy': Piracy Goes 3D

from the but-does-it-matter? dept

Just as growing segments of the population are expressing that they're sick of too many movies being offered in 3D for no good reason other than to get people to pay more for it, it appears that the "pirate" community is jumping on the 3D bandwagon as well. They're getting better and better at offering unauthorized versions in 3D, either via applying a tool to make a 2D rip appear 3D, or through some new methods to fully rip a 3D Blu-ray. I'm sure we'll hear the usual fretting and complaining from the "content protection" staff at the MPAA, and yet there will be little understanding of or reflection about what this actually means. Hollywood correctly realized a few years ago that one way to "compete" with unauthorized copies was to add more value to the experience. That was a key driver in the 3D experience. The basic thinking was correct -- it's just that once they had a bit of success with it, they simply thought "3D is the answer!" without thinking much more deeply about it. 3D is one way to improve the experience, but simply adding 3D to movies with no thought as to whether or not it really is needed or makes the product better is silly.

So rather than complaining about unauthorized 3D versions of movies (and you can just hear the MPAA complaints about how the pirated 3D movies are even "more damaging"), why isn't Hollywood focused on actually thinking beyond just 3D towards actually making the overall experience better in ways that can't be pirated? I guess that's just too much "work," and it's a lot easier to hire another crop of lawyers who want to sue everyone, rather than take the time to successfully expand a business by offering more value.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 4:24am

    "easier to hire another crop of lawyers who want to sue everyone"

    Really, Mike? How dare you deny the chance to make a living for people with specific proficiency who are working completely legally within the framework of the law. Please do not mock these people. They have to feed their families and need to save up for their new yachts.

     

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    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 4:37am

    I'm disappointed.

    This article wasn't delivered to me in 3D. Perhaps it's time Techdirt offer glasses with the CwF package and make it happen.

    :P

    Joking aside, this is one aspect of 3D I hoped wouldn't happen, but given the blatant increase in price of 3D content by those who "own" it, it's not difficult to see why piracy would get involved, halve the cost, and still rake in money.

    I am well aware creating 3D works is more expensive, but as Cameron proved, just by throwing in 3D isn't sufficient to get people into the theaters (which the non-3D version surpassed financially).

    It is about the experience, but I will say much of this is also on the burden of cinema owners. I won't be paying $10 a person just so I can listen to babies screaming and inconsiderate asses talking on their cells during the movie.

    Then, there's that sticky floor. Good grief, just what is that stuff that can take off shoes?

    At any rate, perhaps this will mean Hollywood will now "give up" on throwing "3D" on everything just because a few titles sold well.

    Let's hope this propagates itself to electronics manufacturers now hell bent in charging $1000 for a "3D" television... which requires glasses to watch.

     

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    Kingster (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:09am

    Ugh. The only 3D I want is me physically giving the finger to 3D...

    I've seen other movies in 3D. I saw Avatar in 3D. That was the last one. Actually, not it wasn't - Despicable Me was. I'm sorry. It sucks. It isn't even CLOSE to "real". Sure sure, I know, it's not supposed to be real. But it is supposed to make me feel like I'm there, and not in some nasty theater that had some kid barf his 3-liter barrel of HFCS and his 2 pound box of sour patch kids all over the place.

    As to the making of 3D films costing more... Well, maybe. I'm not convinced. Sure, it would in theory double the number of cameras for "live-action", but the animations and CGI shouldn't cost any more than it already does. Most animators working on stuff like Despicable Me are likely already working in wireframe stuff anyway - that's how they get realistic shadowing and stuff.

    What has changed in the world of 3D is the glasses and projection equipment. Shockingly, the theaters have to buy these things. They likely get the same cut of a 3D movie as they do with a regular movie, except that their costs are much higher. So we pay more (like, double). For the same nasty theater, with a bit more eye-candy that sure isn't worth the 100% increase in cost.

    I'm sorry - when going to the movies is damn near the same price as taking the family to a major league sports event... And all you leave with is a stomach ache and the stench of barf on your shoes... Well... It's time to rethink movies and their prices.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:37am

      Re: Ugh. The only 3D I want is me physically giving the finger to 3D...

      The last 3D movie I went to the theater to see was My Bloody Valentine. The last movie I went to see in theaters was Saw V. I'll never go back. My home theater works well enough for me. If I want to discuss a movie (well, laugh at it) I'll invite friends over. Otherwise I'll just get some snacks and watch it at the house.

       

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      chris (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 10:46am

      Re: Ugh. The only 3D I want is me physically giving the finger to 3D...

      not in some nasty theater that had some kid barf his 3-liter barrel of HFCS and his 2 pound box of sour patch kids all over the place.

      have you observed a statistically significant increase in kid barf along with the proliferation of 3d?

      correlation doesn't imply causality, but you might be on to something.

      when going to the movies is damn near the same price as taking the family to a major league sports event... And all you leave with is a stomach ache and the stench of barf on your shoes... Well... It's time to rethink movies and their prices.

      uh, live sporting events are also in 3d. i think your anti-movie bias is showing :-)

       

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    TechnoMage (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    Tired of 3D already

    I dunno... I'm already getting sick and tired of "3D" in movies

    I purposely went out of my way to go see Gnomeo & Juliet in non-3D, and I was thrilled I did, I enjoyed it more than the 3D films I've watched recently.
    Afterwards I thought about it and I came up with these reasons:

    1) I didn't have to fumble with the 3D glasses over my real glasses. (hassle before the movie/during)
    2) My enjoyment of the storytelling wasn't broken by the fact that I had to "think" about the 3D to see it.

    So... Basically 3D has come to be a Rtn(not)B for me

     

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      Richard (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:48am

      Re: Tired of 3D already

      Some years ago we set up an MSc with the British Geological Survey.

      They showed us their 3D systems (which apparently assist the analysis of aerial photography and geological data0.

      We were one short of 3D glasses. For a while the person without the glasses was feeling left out. Then the situation slowly changed - "you have them" - "no thanks you keep them" became the refrain. Eventually everyone had taken them off.

      The fact is that 3d (like most immersive technologies) is marginally unpleasant to use. Once the novelty has worn off you need a very good reason to keep using it. I doubt if the film industry can think of enough "good reasons" to sustain the tren for very long. 3D has been and gone at least twice before. It will happen again sometime - but it will never last for long. The interval seems to equate roughly to the time it takes for a generation who have not seen it before to reach 30.

       

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        el_segfaulto (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re: Tired of 3D already

        When I was in grad school, we got to play in a semi-immersive cave for a semester. The setup was well over $3 million and each set of goggles cost nearly $600. The effects were far more stunning than anything I've seen in a movie and seeing some of the work I'd done become tangible was surreal.

        Despite this, there were still people who complained of headaches and an inability to see the images correctly. It's a nascent technology, and personally I can't see it catching on in its current incarnation. People's minds and perceptions are just too different for a cookie-cutter solution. Call me when we get the full VR setups that I was promised in the 90's.

         

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    WysiWyg (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    The future...

    I actually think this could be great for 3D (assuming that you like it), since it could result in more people buying TVs capable of showing 3D content.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:53am

      Re: The future...

      I believe that 3D will be the new Betamax.
      I'm wondering when a digital format will show up that will displace DVD's, Bluray so far has been slow, 3D is still a joke, if they keep up the movie industry will end up just like the music industry, without a physical format that people buy.

      I don't have Bluray and don't care about it, what I do care is my computer being able to play anything and that means I love ISO files.

       

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        BigKeithO (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re: The future...

        The digital format has shown up already, its called streaming. Netflix and it's ilk are the future, I would venture to say their uptake will surpass DVD's if it hasn't already.

        Physical media, for better or worse, is already on the decline.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:56am

      Re: The future...

      On another point, 3D capable TVs are the future anyway, everyone will buy one when they update their TV in 10 years.

      I just don't think many will be switching on the capabilities, it makes a lot of people dizzy(myself included) I get motion sickness from it and it gets so bad I have to lie down and close my eyes.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    For $97 bucks one can get a 3D cellphone.

    I don't understand what they want, they keep putting this ridiculous prices that only the top 20% can afford and complain the other 80% pirate things, but without the bottom 80% driving the demand they wouldn't sell anything, oh well I guess they are screwed either way.

     

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    Planespotter (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:01am

    So by ripping 3D movies the p2p/filesharing/freetards are helping the 3D glass manufactuers industry leading to better designs and implementations and expanding technology... w00t w00t!

    Sorry, just trying to highlight where the filesharing of 3D movies may be a "win" to us as humans.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      Maybe the movie industry should evolve into a TV/computer/theater industry? Use the movies as advertisement to sell hardware and tickets? It's a big win for them: you can't pirate hardware (yet).

      That actually sounds like a good plan.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    I clicked on this article hoping it was about Captain Jack Sparrow.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Ways to fix the movie industry...

    1) Make better movies. Cause really most of this is crap.

    2) Make better movie theaters. You cannot pirate an experience.

    Both of these are far too difficult to do so whatever.

     

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    PopeRatzo (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:43am

    spy vs spy

    While I would just as soon see the entire Hollywood film industry go down in flames, I have a question about one premise in this article:

    How is a Hollywood studio supposed to "actually making the overall experience better in ways that can't be pirated" for a medium like DVD or BluRay? What can they possible deliver with the DVD that a pirate can't?

     

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      Richard (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:58am

      Re: spy vs spy

      Sell the right to decide which films are made - and release the result for free (or the physical cost plus a reasonable profit margin on that.)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 7:11am

      Re: spy vs spy

      Forget about making a profit on plastic disks. If you MUST sell plastic disks, make them (I dunno), gold coated with diamonds, and sell that (i.e., make the DVD/DVD box/extras in the box REALLY special in some way), and only make a handful of them. Sell them for over $500. Low supply + (hopefully) high demand == $$$. And that cannot be pirated.

      Otherwise, you won't be able to sell the disks. Well, sure, you'll sell a handful of them at like $70. The rest of the people will either pirate it, stream it (from netflix) or watch it in the theater.

      The plastic disk business is almost dead. Time to adapt, or die.

       

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        el_segfaulto (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re: spy vs spy

        I would add in, sell them absurdly cheap. It can't cost more than a few dollars to press one. If you sold five times as many at a quarter the price, that's still a profit. I know plenty of people who simply don't feel they're getting enough when they spend >$20 on a shiny disc. $3-5 would be much more on par with what people are willing to pay.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:24am

      Re: spy vs spy

      Think about it, if your physical product will not sell in the foreseeable future why would you try to rescue it?

      They dumped production and the workforce, dump the product already, if you can't seel plastic discs, sell boxes and t-shirts, that is right people keep laughing but physical merchandise will be there long after the plastic disc failed.

      Also Warner is renting movies on Facebook apparently.

       

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      nasch (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 7:42am

      Re: spy vs spy

      What can they possible deliver with the DVD that a pirate can't?

      They're not even to that point yet. What they're offering isn't even as good as the pirate product, let alone better. If they make it as good (little or no DRM, no unskippable content, no release windows, no region encoding) for a reasonable price, they could gain a LOT of customers back. Just like Netflix has done.

       

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    Memyself, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:45am

    "why isn't Hollywood focused on actually thinking beyond just 3D towards actually making the overall experience better in ways that can't be pirated? I guess that's just too much "work,""

    Why would you assume they aren't?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      Tron 2.
      Yogi bear.
      Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D.
      Remake of some movie from the 80's 3: The remastering!

      Ok, that last one I made up, but you get the picture. Also, I don't watch many movies, but almost every time something hit the big screen in the last few years, it was a weak copy of something that had happened decades before, that was way better at the time, and has become mostly irrelevant on this day and age.

       

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        Memyself, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Inception.
        The Social Network
        The Kings Speech.
        The Ghost Writer
        Some high quality original movie from right now.


        Just because Hollywood is engaging in one practice does not mean it is not engaging in another. Regardless, the question here isn't the type of movie being produced, or the quality of the movie. Its the assumption that no one on Hollywood is attempting to conceive of new methods of improving the overall experience "in ways that can't be pirated". I see no evidence that Hollywood is NOT trying to conceive of said new methods. Particularly considering that modern 3D was such an experiment itself.

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

      Re:

      Why would you assume they aren't?


      Because they're not. No assumption needed.

       

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        Memyself, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

        Re: Re:

        You don't know that. You have no idea what studios are or are not working on. The development of modern 3D itself was an exercise in creating a better theatrical experience. Why would you assume that this development was an absolute end towards any endeavors?

        Just because you think something is fact, does not make it so. And simply saying " it's true because I know it is", doesn't actually prove anything.

        Please explain: How do you know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that your claim that Hollywood is not seeking to improve the experience in ways that cannot be pirated is true?

         

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    Joe Pirate, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Don't be blamin' me

    I have only one eye in me 'ead, and one ear, me hardies, and even if I had the depth perception, the confounded lenses won't set on me mug right!

    I have only one mistress, the sea! Spending my dubloons to set in some box wearing spectacles like a dandy, whilst some scurvy dog talks to his wench on his iPhone is not my idee of a grand experience.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    I have to love the logic. Rather than protecting your investment in a great motion picture, you should just lie down and let anyone and everyone take it for free, modify it how they like, redistribute it, and so on, all for free. Just bend over and let them all do it, because just like in jail, you will be someone's b-tch. You might as well stop struggling.

    Perhaps you can sell them some t-shirts.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      Yeah, that's about it. In the meantime, you can make a killing selling tickets and 3D-tvs.

      Ka-ching!

      Of course, your idea is good too...everybody needs shirts right? Am I right!?



      That guy over there thinks I am right.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        You played the standard twisted techdirt logic here. Just like any market, if people can get it for free, some of them will choose not to pay. So you make "less of a killing" off of selling tickets, because you are forced to compete with yourself.

        Sorry, but the logic just doesn't stand up.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What about using the content for advertising for stuff that cannot be pirated, like 3D capable TV's?

          I'm sorry, but content producers cannot expect that things stay the same forever. What if copyright infringement suddenly stops being illegal? Then what?

          Why not leap over your opponents today, by becoming a massive producer of 3D related hardware AND being the guy that makes the movies that run smooth a as vodka on that hardware? Why not also become the guy that makes the newest and coolest technology and the software that runs on it? Adopt the open-source model: give the movies and software for free; Charge for the hardware and services.

           

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      No. Cars is the worst-grossing Pixar film at the box office, yet it smashed all merchandise records for Pixar films. Think on that. Lowest box-office sales, highest-grossing merch. Seems like your argument is flawed.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Oh Hollywood. Always the victim, never the abuser.

       

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    letherial (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    I just bought dragon age 2 off steam, why did i do that? because i wanted to play the game...immediately,

    I didnt want to pay 60.00
    I hate there DRM,
    It could of been free in a few days

    Its simple, it was a impulse buy that i could do at the moment, because it was available.

    How about you stop playing these stupid little control games and just provide convenience, see what that does for your sales.

     

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    Dean, Mar 9th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    where can we buy the discs then?

    So, everyone's complaining about unlawful 3D downloading

    just exactly where can you buy 3D blu rays at the moment?

     

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    sehlat (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    How is 3D "adding" value?

    I mean, the migraines I get are presumably free with the tickets (the glasses cost $3 where I live), but how is this adding any value to the film, instead of to painkillers?

     

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    Nathan, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    I care but actually I dont

    Every time I read about the morality of pirating I just feel like... It's wrong but who guves a shit about hurting Hollywood? I mean assaulting a person is illegal but don't you love seeing an asshole get punched in the face?:)

    Until Hollywood stops producing over-priced and under-written, under-directed, and just plain shitty entertainment I won't lose sleep over stealing from them JUST to make sure I'm not being sold a turd wrapped in a pretty case

     

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