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January 05 2008

See "Sarah Connor Chronicles" tonight...thanks to Yahoo! If you just can't wait to see Summer Glau in "Terminator: Sarah Conor Chronicles", Yahoo is providing a sneak peak of the pilot episode at 9 PM Pacific Time. The official premiere is next Sunday.

Just push "Terminator sneak peek" on the bar on the right hand side.

If we watch it online, won't that be like kicking the striking writers in the sensitives? Are the writers getting paid for the online preview?
Well the pilot leaked online last year and to be perfectly blunt, very few people were concerned about the writers when they downloaded it then.
Well, to be perfectly blunt, back then very few non-writer-people knew squat about the writers and their income and residual payments - or lack thereof.

Things are a little different now... at least, around here...
I won't be watching this. The writers weren't on strike when it was leaked. Watching this now would be like crossing a cyber-picket line to me.

[ edited by ladygrey on 2008-01-04 23:39 ]
Well the pilot leaked online last year and to be perfectly blunt, very few people were concerned about the writers when they downloaded it then.

Does this mean we all should have seen it illegally by now, so now we can't bring up the issue? Some of us have both lives and principles, so we haven't all been participants and need not be bluntly beaten with a guilt trip. Why be so callous about my question?

I won't watch it online. It just gives the AMPTP more power.
The writers have already been paid for the pilot episode, no?
Why be so callous about my question?


I apologise if I came over all callous which is the last thing I would want. I can understand the concern about legal downloads and streaming episodes at the moment but I have been wondering if there has been a ground shift in fan opinion in light of the WGA strike when it comes to getting hold of illegal (for want of a better word) downloads of TV episodes.
hobnail, they have only been paid for it to broadcast once on television. They have NOT been paid for any Internet use.
Simon, I think "illegal" is exactly the right word for watching content that is leaked out without the permission of its owners.

As for whether or not there's shift in fans' opinions of this kind of behavior (as well as legal behavior that does not properly reward the writers), I think there has. It's more noticeable with people who are more active in their respective fanbases (like around here), but as publicity around the issues of the strike spread through the media and blogosphere, people are thinking more about how their behavior impacts the overall industry.

We still have a loooong way to go before illegal file sharing and piracy are things of the past. And probably many more months before we see a resolution to the strike. But at least we're making progress in the right direction.

[ edited by RayHill on 2008-01-05 01:09 ]
I have been wondering if there has been a ground shift in fan opinion in light of the WGA strike when it comes to getting hold of illegal (for want of a better word) downloads of TV episodes.

Me too, Simon. I think in some previous thread I said something, likely in a highly-snarky fashion, to that effect. I'm not sure I've yet gotten a sense if most fans take the question seriously.
I actually download TV illegally now, via BitTorrent. I used to use iTunes, but since I learned the writers were/are getting fuck all, I've decided I might as well give the studio fuck all too.
The shift has been, for me, that I stopped worrying about illegal downloading of filmed entertainment. I used to make a great point about getting things legally if at all possible, including using iTunes to get BSG, although it never worked well for me. When I found out the talent was getting nothing or very near nothing, I felt like a fool for caring. I haven't viewed anything commercial downloaded, legally or otherwise, for several months. I think I'm going to stick with that until there's some better deal.

ETA: Even if it means I have to wait for DVDs for whatever they're going to show us of season 4 BSG this year.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-01-05 01:44 ]
You've got a point, too, gossi. But if it can all be classified as crime, as it unfortunately can, then the studios can focus on fighting "crime." It won't help them any more than it did the record industry, but are they smarter?
The strike has definitely changed my opinion of illegal downloading. When the strike is settled, I'm going to do my best to make sure I don't watch anything the writers aren't getting paid fairly for.

For the time being, though, it would seem that the only ethically sound way to go would be to watch nothing online at all, especially not something that he studios are making money from.

As far DVD's go, I think boycotting them would hurt the writers more than help them. The studios are making money from them, but the writers depend on the DVD resdiduals now more than ever.

Anyway, I won't be watching the video unless I find out that the writers are being paid fairly for it.
With the way the studios walked out of the last meeting, I must say no. They are so wrong, I still get upset over this.
Honestly, right now, I'm following Gossi's approach on this. Mostly because I don't have money and I really want to watch Doctor Who. But now that I've been reminded that writers are surviving off of DVD residuals...

Though, in the case of Doctor Who, I have no idea what the British writers are being paid. Nonetheless, I'll probably lessen up on my watching of illegal streaming videos. A bit.
Isn't watching shows illegally going to hurt the creative people as well as the studios? The more financially successful a show is, the more likely it is to be continued, and the more recognition--and hopefully future employment--the creative people will get.

In any case, shareholders have rights too. Or is it OK to steal from any company that doesn't give its employees a fair deal?
Why admit to something when I donít have to? Last thing I want is for Joss to see my post and think, ďThat guy sucks.Ē Donít want that. I met Jossí work through ďFireflyĒ. Firefly, Serenity, Buffy, Angel. Thatís how it went. I downloaded ďFireflyĒ last year off a torrent site. I didnít know any television writers by name, couldnít have named a one of them for you at gunpoint. I was so moved by ďFireflyĒ that I sought out solace on the internet; became an active part of a fan base, any fan base, for the first time in my life. Got more into it. Bought the series. Then bought another to gift to my brother. Then wrote a spec script for ďFireflyĒ and wanted help so bought one for my mom. Bought another set to give my father for Christmas. I have two copies; one is on constant loan. Iíve bought the whole box set of Buffy and this yearís present to myself was the complete Angel (I had borrowed someone elseís seasons-sets and had already seen the whole thing) at the spectacular price that was linked here. I now know several of my favorite writers by name.

But I came to know this world through an illegal download. Iím not sure what internet model can be developed so I could feel safe about trying something before I buy. Maybe thatís just fanciful fiction meant to assuage my guilt. Itís not a powerful guilt but it lingers and is not something Iíve admitted to doing; partly because I donít want to entice others down that rabbit hole and mostly because I donít want people to think I intended the shows, writers, fans, or Joss harm.

The internet is a slightly different place now, though. I thought it was cool that I could watch ďHeroesĒ on the web without having to illegally download it. Bonus. Nice. Then I learnt the writers, who I now care greatly about because Joss did something to me, he powerfully moved me into caring for the creators of these stories, donít get paid for this.

I know itís still illegal to download television episodes but, wrong or wrong, I simply donít feel the need to support people that arenít supporting me. In other words, the AMPTP supports me when they support the creators of what I love. When they donít support the writers then they clearly arenít supporting me. Yet the AMPTP wants me to support them while simultaneously giving me the bird? Why would I do that?

I wonít be watching anything sanctioned by the AMPTP until they treat me, the fan, fairly. And that canít be done until they fairly treat those who bring me what I love. So, no Fox show for me. I donít own a television so it is easy to avoid them there.

Now, whether to post thisÖ I deliberateÖ
In any case, shareholders have rights too. Or is it OK to steal from any company that doesn't give its employees a fair deal?

I only downloaded illegally when I was deployed overseas. But that's a good question. The shareholders are what management claims they are fighting for. If they destroy or alienate the source of their profits, are they really serving shareholders, or anyone?
I used to download Buffy and Angel, mainly because I am in the UK and I couldn't wait till they came on the TV here to see them. But I would then watch them when they were on both Sky and the terrestrial channels and I would watch the repeat, and I went out and bought all the DVD's. So I don't think I was hurting anyone, except my PC cos I was still on dial up back then! Of course, what I was doing was illegal - but that's another moral altogether.

I don't download now (illegally or otherwise), cos there is nothing on TV I can't wait until it's out on DVD to watch. Dollhouse might prove a difficulty for me!
I have been wondering if there has been a ground shift in fan opinion in light of the WGA strike when it comes to getting hold of illegal (for want of a better word) downloads of TV episodes.

Not for me. I'm continuing in the same vein.

In any case, shareholders have rights too. Or is it OK to steal from any company that doesn't give its employees a fair deal?

Steal what exactly tichtich ? I don't affect the ratings either in the US or the UK (because I don't have a Nielsen box or the UK equivalent, a BARB box) so i'm not affecting advertising revenues or calculations for repeat showings (I will often watch repeats on terrestrial/digital channels if the DVDs aren't out yet but that's completely irrelevant - no offence Cider ;) - since no-one is measuring it anyway). I also buy quite a lot of TV on DVD and go to the cinema several times a month so the creators (including the studios) are making money off me that way.

AFAIK in other words, no-one is deprived of anything as a result of any illegal downloading I may or may not take part in so where's the theft ?

(and shareholders do have rights but it's not to make money - that's why buying stocks is a risk - and i'm not the guarantor of those rights anyway i.e. I don't owe them anything)
Saje is me.

I feel I have done my part in sending Joss kids through college, my shelves are loaded with Buffy/Angel/Serenifly dvds bought at the initial highway robbery prices, when there is a Dollhouse S1 dvd box I'll be there too, but when my options are waiting for a minimum of 6-12 months or taking a more direct route, I'll take the direct route.

And yes I own the Wire S1-3 as well, so HBO's management shouldn't look askance at me, if the quality is there I will be paying for it.
I think I read somewhere that people are more likely to buy DVDs and music after sampling them in "free" downloads. I know this is the case for me. I never meant to imply I haven't seen shows or movies via the "alternative route," but by and large, I don't do this. It's too time-consuming, too unreliable, and too risky, plus it messes with my bandwidth, because I'm on a network with 6 other computers. On a couple of occasions I've done it, or at least considered doing it, because certain networks have made it virtually impossible for Mac users to legally download shows, or a show has aired in the UK that I don't want to wait a year to see. As long as the writers aren't getting paid residuals for the work that shows up online, I also consider the "alternate route" as a way of getting back at the AMPTP for (1) ripping everybody off, and (2) subjecting us to constant advertising, not just in added commercials that reduce the time devoted to the actual content of a show, but also because of those annoying pop-up ads that clutter up the screen as we try to watch a show. I still prefer to do things legally, but it's sometimes fun to stick it to the man!

However, since FOX will benefit from viewership of free online videos and the writers, actors, and other creative folk will not, I am staying away from both legal and non-legal means of viewing shows via the internet. In the end, they are just TV programs, and not important enough for me to bother with or behave selfishly about.
In the end, they are just TV programs, and not important enough for me to bother with or behave selfishly about.

Hee, Joss could put this on his tombstone - bet comments like that fill him with warm fuzzies ;).
Leave it to Simon to initiate those busy bees. :)
Like RhaegarTargaryen, I used to watch shows on the network sites (in spite of the fact that some of them don't work that well) because I was so pleased to be able to watch online legally. But when I learned that all those ads they put in aren't benefiting the creative people, I stopped going to network sites (where they can actually track the number of viewers).

But part of me is wondering if that's counterproductive. I don't want to strengthen the studios' claim that streaming TV is unprofitable.
Delurking and shifting gears a little bit...

I'm not watching downloaded shows for the duration of the strike, but I'm also trying to let the network know each time that I deliberately decide not to watch a show. I have a little form letter that I fire off that basically says "I just wanted you to know that I would have downloaded [whatever show] from your website, but I don't feel that I can do so in good conscience until I know that the writers will be compensated for their work. Please settle with the WGA so that I can continue to watch my favorite shows over the internet." I guess that in this case, I should send a letter to Fox and to yahoo. Is there anyone else to whom I should send a letter? Advertisers, maybe?
Nebula1400, you bring up an interesting point. If online spurs DVD sales, and it most clearly does in my case, then the WGA ought not go for less on DVD, they should go for more. They should also get their 2.5% from DVD and use arguments we have evidenced.
I downloaded Firefly (*gasp*) because people seemed to always be talking about how great it was. I was blown away by it (surprise!) and the same day I finished Objects in Space I purchased the DVD set online. If it weren't for me downloading the series I would never have bought it. I would never have become a fan of the actors and spent money watching them in other things. In short, all downloading did was help everyone involved.

The same story pretty much applies for Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica, too, except this time I began watching (the weaker third seasons of) both series on TV as well as purchasing the DVDs. Once again, no one lost anything.

I wouldn't have watched any of those series (or spent any money on them) if it weren't for me first downloading them. I believe that, for a large percentage of the time, if someone downloads something that's of high quality they'll purchase it--assuming, of course, that they have the financial means to. Even if they weren't going to purchase anything before and they still didn't purchase anything after no money was lost.

[ edited by HydeMe on 2008-01-05 20:47 ]
So did anyone actually watch it. Can we stop arguing the ethics and tell me if it was as cool as it looks? ;)
So did anyone actually watch it. Can we stop arguing the ethics and tell me if it was as cool as it looks? ;)

I'm not going to risk seeing an uncompensated ad on Yahoo. I'm too pure for that now. I'm going to the genuinely just promotional screening at the Golden Apple in a few hours, if the weather holds at just dismal and doesn't get stormy again. I'll be happy to write a mini-review after.
Thanks doll. That would be much appreciated!
I just watched it. From what I can see, FOX have fucked up and put the leaked early cut of the pilot online by accident - it still includes the school shootings, which caused them to reshoot the thing to work them out of the plot. Except in the Yahoo version, it hasn't changed.

Uhm.
I don't download TV shows or watch them online, either legally or illegally but the only real reason is because my internet connection isn't up to it. If it was much faster and could cope, I probably would opt for illegal streaming or download.

I know people will probably disagree, but in my opinion it's not that different to simply watching shows on TV. In my case it would be anyway, because I wouldn't intend to keep them.

Basically for me, the only way to watch a show is by TV or DVD. I live in the UK but I don't have any form of satellite or digital TV, therefore I am limited to only 5 channels. There are a number of shows which I have caught first on TV and then purchased every single season on DVD including Buffy, Angel, Six Feet Under and Alias.

Others, however, I have only been able to see thanks to DVDs, including 24, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, The 4400 and Firefly. As far as I am aware, of those shows only 24 has been shown on the channels I have access to, and only the first two seasons. I have bought every season released thus far for all of these shows.

My point is, I didn't know whether I would like any of them before I bought them. Luckily for me I did, but Firefly was the only one where I absolutely knew I would because I was such a big fan of Buffy and Angel. But I don't think there would be anything wrong in downloading a few episodes of a series I hadn't seen before to determine whether I think the DVD is worth a purchase. If it is then I'll have no need to keep the episodes I've illegally downloaded and if it isn't then Ill just delete them anyway.

I honestly don't think this is such a bad thing, it's simply getting a chance to see something before risking a purchase on something you might not like. I don't see how it's any different to watching an episode on TV, or taping from TV, simply because it might be from shows that I have no other access to. An example is The West Wing. It aired on Channel 4 years ago, but I recently saw Studio 60, really enjoyed it and got the DVD. I'm now interested in checking out The West Wing, but the only option would be to buy the DVD, without having any idea whether I'll like it, or downloading it illegally.

In some ways I think this can actually help good writers- for example if I buy a DVD set and absolutely hate it and think the writing is awful, I've still contributed to the sales and have no real way to voice my dissatisfaction with the writing. If I can watch episodes online to preview the shows, then I wouldn't then buy the DVD set of this one. If more people did the same then they might end up with the lower DVD sales they deserve, whilst a better quality show would convince people to buy the DVD set and be rewarded for their higher standard.

Dollhouse for example, might not appear on UK TV for months after it eventually makes its US debut. I don't think there would be anything wrong if I was able to download it and keep up with US TV viewers, and then buying the DVD set when it's available, rather than having to wait for the set and missing out on all the speculation and discussion surrounding the first airings.
I just watched it. From what I can see, FOX have fucked up and put the leaked early cut of the pilot online by accident - it still includes the school shootings, which caused them to reshoot the thing to work them out of the plot. Except in the Yahoo version, it hasn't changed.


Wait, the Yahoo version has the school shooting? I watched a few minutes last night, and I saw that they've re-cast Sarah's boyfriend (Dean Winters now).
Say we all watch it when it airs and the ratings are "great." Is that good for the striking writers or just a victory for the studios who will make millions off of advertising?
I'm not boycotting any television broadcast, reruns or DVD sales. Writers get paid for those and they need the cash.

I am, however, boycotting any and all online broadcasts (aside from YouTube or creator-controlled stuff).
I'm with C. A. Bridges. I will be watching SCC on the 13th. Hopefully the Golden Globes will not air that night.
The Dark Shape, yep. It looks like it's been reworked, but it includes somebody being shot in a class room.
As jpr said, Saje is me.
Well, I don't have cable or dish (No way I can afford it) and I'm on dial-up. The only way I was able to watch the ninth & tenth Doctors was when I was living elsewhere that had cable, but when I moved and no longer had Sci-Fi I was only able to watch a few episodes of this season on YouTube, until the Beeb cracked down on it. ("Blink" has got to be the BEST episode of all time! Second is "School Reunion," imo.) And I could only watch those eps when I was still w/my folks, before I moved into my new place, 'cause they have DSL.

I'd love to buy the seasons on DVD, but, again, there's the money issue.

I rarely watch FOX - Bones, American Idol & Packer football are the only reasons. But if T:SCC is decent that'll be one more reason. (I don't watch anything on ABC, only watch CSI on CBS, and L&O and SVU on NBC.)

I've downloaded music through LimeWire, mostly albums my parents own that I want to burn to disc. (And over two hours of Christophe Beck's music from "Buffy," and a bit by Rob Duncan.) But all that music was already purchased by someone else; they're just sharing it. And I ended up buying my first Sarah Maclachlan CD this Christmas because I'd downloaded several of her songs for my "Background Buffy" playlist.

By the same token, I've burned copies of some of my 'verse CDs for friends - I already paid for the albums, and I'm sharing the music with them. Kind of like I'm their personal radio station. I know the artists aren't getting residuals from my copies, but if my friends like, for instance, Erika Amato's "Come Rain or Come Shine" enough they might buy some Velvet Chain for themselves. You never know if you'll like something until you try it, and if it's something you have no other way of hearing/watching than through download...

Dunno. I'm of two minds on this and keep debating myself until I have a headache.
Now I have a huge headache.
I just got back from the screening and Q&A. The pilot is excellent! I'm really excited about this show. I missed the first five minutes or so standing outside in line. That included the introduction of a couple of new characters, so I didn't get a good sense of them. Starting where I started, it was pretty much non-stop action with some good scifi elements. There are also some good laughs, but the emphasis is on the tense. Spoilers follow...

.

There are nine episodes completed and they'll be shown between next week and March 3, which is a two-hour season finale.
So watching the pilot online is bad, because the writers don't get anything and the studio gets advertising revenue. But going to the screening, which is a promotion put on by the studio, is okay, because...

Well, glad I spent my night watching the American presidential debates. I think now I'll definitely vote for Ron Paul, or possibly Dennis Kucinich. ;)
So watching the pilot online is bad, because the writers don't get anything and the studio gets advertising revenue. But going to the screening, which is a promotion put on by the studio, is okay, because...


...the writers get paid.
I did watch it on the yahoo site, there were zero ads attached to it, and it was VERY cool. I love Summer's character and her performance was subtle and layered. I think the show will have a very good shot partly because there will be very little else to watch on TV for the next few months (or maybe longer!).
RhaegarTargaryen, if it's a promotional screening, they don't get paid.
Right, but if it's really a promotional screening, then the studios don't get paid either. (They are, in fact, paying to promote the show.)
So this is a purely theoretical question, as I haven't downloaded shows illegally - at least as much due to my technical deficiencies as moral qualms, but I'm wondering from the perspective of effect, what is the difference between watching a show on broadcast television (skipping the commercials), vs. downloading it and watching it? Since I also am not in the Nielson sample, it seems to me that nobody has any way of knowing whether or not I watch a show, it doesn't get measured in, and it has no effect whatsoever on who gets paid or how much. Given that, I don't see how downloading a show is effectively in any way different.

If there is any group that is harmed by people doing that, it's not the writers or the networks, but rather the sponsors who support the shows only so that viewers will also see their ads. But I don't watch those anyway.
Yep, exactly barboo, it's basically the same as tivoing a show and skipping the ads (or Sky+ing in the UK).

I guess theoretically, if a show went over to entirely embedded advertising then there'd be no harm done to anyone (examples that spring to mind are Chloe from 'Smallville' extolling the virtues of the Toyota Yaris, Adrian Monk telling me how a "Dell is fully loaded" and Tina Fey - jokingly but still - promoting all sorts of stuff on '30 Rock') though if it's badly done then it's very jarring (and i've no idea how it'd work in sci-fi for instance - unless as well as Bob Dylan we're meant to accept that the BSGverse has Sony ;).

The flip-side of embedding is that it's very difficult to localise because it's actually in the show itself so that Verizon promos on '30 Rock' for instance are utterly wasted over here (where we don't have Verizon AFAIK). This is at least partly why streaming is such a big issue (non-embedded - i.e. localisable - adverts that are hard to remove).
Yeah, you have Verizon Business, but not Wireless, so... overdub for O2? :)

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