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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Can you believe this, not even ten o'clock and we've already run out of yacks bile!"
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February 26 2007

Download 'Firefly' legally with Bittorrent. Along with something wacky called 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and 'Angel'.

You need to live in the US of A, run Windows XP, the latest version of Windows Media Player, have broadband and supply at least 2 pints of blood.

Torrents cost money?
When did that happen?
;)
It's always good to have it available in more ways. Still, I vastly prefer cheaper DVDs (look at per-episode cost) that have special features, better quality, and play on my TV to crappy downloads infested with DRM and limitations on where and how you can play them.

But it's great for someone to try before they buy (ie buy the 1st episode - then get the DVD when they like it.)

I wonder... do they seed these torrents well? (Since you need to pay for the privilege of using them.) Kinda interesting to note that less popular purchases would download slower (due to how bittorrent works.)

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2007-02-26 20:25 ]
And Whedonesque does it again. When I first looked at the page, it loaded correctly. Now, 5 minutes later, it no longer works.
ETA: No, it's back.

[ edited by Lioness on 2007-02-26 20:28 ]
It's ok guys. If you just want to try it out you can always come over to my house and watch my DVD's with me. But bring your own popcorn.
Wow. Legal Bitorrent files. I feel so confused.
This must be what going mad feels like.

What next, the MPAA admits that P2P is not the direct cause of terrorism and Osama Bin Laden's favouritist thing in the whole world ?
I don't live in the States, don't use Windows - 'bout all I got is the blood!

[ edited by Ruadh on 2007-02-26 20:57 ]
DRM? Windows? No thanks.

Next!
So I'm reading a BBC article about the new BitTorrent legal download service and this quote caught my eye:

"We're really hammering the studios to say, 'Go easy on this audience,'" said Ashwin Navin, co-founder and president of BitTorrent. "We need to give them a price that feels like a good value relative to what they were getting for free."


But they're offering Firefly for the exact same price that iTunes and Direct2Drive do. So who exactly is this going to appeal to?
The thing that gets me is the DVD's are $19.99 from Amazon plus free shipping if you find something else to spend five bucks on.

But the BitTorrent DL's are $27.86.

[ edited by adapa on 2007-02-26 21:49 ]
Here's the thing. If these were available in the UK and DRM free -- so I could transfer them to my ipod, TV etc -- I'd consider paying instead of using other torrent sites.

But would I pay for crippled files which only play on Microsoft Windows? No. I don't even use Windows at home.

There's an argument that DRM is needed to protect material being copied, but I'll clue everybody into something they already know: all these files, and lots more, are available on virtually any other torrent site. They're already pirated. DRM will not stop that, it will just stop people buying the legal/ethical versions.

Rant over.
It's silly. I'd much rather use iTunes - the download speed is fantastic, and the quality of the video is good.
Agreed. I have the whole season on DVD and I purchased a copy from iTunes for my iPod, too. The quality is pretty good.
I'm so against the ways DRM restricts fair use that I won't even download stuff from iTunes.
kerfuffle - why didn't you just rip the DVDs to put them on your iPod? No need to buy the episodes you already own all over again (much as the folks that put DRM on everything may want us to).
AnotherFireflyfan,

Um, well...good question.
Answer: Laziness.

Plus, I'm positively made of money. I'm talking tens of dollars.

Truthfully, it takes me freakin forever to rip a DVD to my iPod. I don't really have that kind of patience. I use Handbrake (which is supposed to be better than average) and it's still a pretty slow process. Additionally, I feel it is my duty as an American to vote, pay taxes, and help put Joss Whedon's children through college.

;)

[ edited by kerfuffle on 2007-02-27 00:05 ]
This whole BitTorrent store seems very very pointless. The entire basis of BitTorrent is that you can have tens of thousands of people downloading the same file very quickly. When you put a price tag on it, the numbers drop to dozens or only one or two, which you could easily host though a normal HTTP connection.

I'd prefer this guy's plan. (Which is to essentially give all TV shows away free, take advantage of the free BitTorrent distribution, but place ads in the corners similar to how networks place their logos in the corner) Sure only the 'geeks' are downloading TV shows now, but even 'normal people' are using TiVos to skip commercials, which are essentially one and the same.
Well, the difference with BitTorrent is that it's global -- TV shows which pop up online can go to the UK, Australia etc, which can effect TV ratings and DVD sales. By restricting the distribution to the US it's helping the media companies keep a bit of a lid on their series.

A quick Google of BitTorrent takes you to BitTorrent.com as the #1 link, so I can see why there's deals in place. It won't take off, though, because it's too restrictive.
I was watching Robert Llewellyn's (Kryten from Red Dwarf) video blogs on YouTube the other day, and he mentioned how at a meeting with the BBC, they've come up with a way to distribute television on the internet, that's incredibly simple and yet (theoretically) pirate proof.

They let you download a show for a small fee, and with it you can do what you like, watch it on any media player, burn it to a DVD and watch it on your TV, edit bits out, and yet all the while, the file will have a number embedded in it that relates directly to you, so if they find it being transferred over any P2P software without their permission, they know exactly where to look.

There's probably all sorts of kinks to work out, but that's what legal downloading needs to do if they want it to take off, do away with DRM, and don't force people to watch it on software they don't like, don't force people to watch it on their computers.

I download a lot of TV, and from what I've seen the quality of legal downloads is inferior to the other ones out there. I don't feel guilty about downloading the shows, I never download anything that's available on DVD, and I'm always there lining their pockets with cash when the DVDs do come out, my downloading their show isn't hurting them, in some cases (Veronica Mars, The Daily Show) they've made money from me buying their merchendise after discovering shows through downloading them off the internet, which is strange considering how evil they seem to consider it all to be.
Well, I have the broadband and the blood! And.. well, i'm pretty happy that's all i've got out of that list. Honestly, if legal downloads are ever made available for someone in Australia not running Windows, I might just eat my cunning hat. :|
Honestly, if legal downloads are ever made available for someone in Australia not running Windows

You mean, if they ever get a clue and stop this DRM nonsense? If one day they actually realize that it does nothing but seriously p.o. their customers and keep more people from buying than downloading? Sounds like 2028.

And DRM on all these shows? If they throw their soaked clothes over board, are they putting them in plastic bags so the ocean won't get wet?

Seriously, why would anyone buy this? Watching single episodes they missed is all that comes to mind. With DVD sets offering far more at a much lower price and tryout DVDs being a better option to "check it out" they basically "feed" of the people that a) don't know any better and b) can't do math. They make a completely ridiculous offer and then whine about the "evil people" for saying "I'd rather get it on DVD", "Uhm.. Spain?" or "Duh, Linux".

If it wasn't for all the international licensing and selling the easiest solution would be a simple deal: you leave the ads in and we won't sue you. Maybe a second deal with the bittorrent networks/sites to get some kind of statistics to present the advertisers (can't be more useless than Nielsen ratings). Every attempt to SELL episodes for a price that actually represents what you get in return (compared to DVD) would be so low that it wouldn't cover the cost of hosting/producing the downloads.

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