Bad Closure, Rico

In GQ, Rico closed this thread on BitTorrent. Just because someone’s downloading a video file doesn’t mean it’s a copyright violation. Second, what if I were to open the exact same thread about downloading a free, GPL-ed Linux distro or other large piece of software? Would you knee-jerk that one too? And why didn’t CK Dexter Haven’s thread on DVD ripping get shut down, since there is no way to rip a CSS-protected DVD without stripping the CSS and violating the DMCA? A convienent double-standard or something else?

Don’t blame Rico. The board has had a policy of disallowing discussions of file sharing and P2P for years, long before he became a mod.

As a personal aside, do you honestly think the OP in that thread was downloading large non-copyrighted video files? Of what, do you suppose? I’m all for hypotheticals and all, but let’s be real here.

Hey, for all I know, someone decided to BitTorrent stuff from the Internet Archive. It’s both the principal of the thing (especially with CK’s thread over the weekend) and I guess a request for clarification of what if I really did need help with downloading something like a Linux distro.

You didn’t answer my question. :slight_smile:

To answer yours, as I understand it, any practical discussion on file sharing/P2P software is forbidden on this board. How to do it, what software to use, etc. Discussions of the ethics/morality/legality of file sharing in general are allowed. Luckily, there are hundreds of thousands of other sites with information on the topic scattered about the Internet, which anyone savvy enough to install Linux should have no trouble finding.

Dude, you’ve been around for four years and you haven’t yet come to terms with the ban on discussing peer-to-peer networks? This issue has been beaten to death on numerous previous occasions.

It’s just one of those areas where we have to accept that reason and moderation have given way to paranoia and irrationality. They’ve made it very clear that they won’t change their mind on this issue.

Nonetheless, there are more and more perfectly legitimate reasons for people to be using BitTorrent and other P2P applications. Refusing to allow even a discussion of the technology is akin to saying we’re not going to allow discussions of web browsers because you might use them to view copywritten photos.

I very much agree. This particular prohibition is dumb, though I can’t fault the moderators for enforcing it. Has anybody ever provided a rational explanation for why this is disallowed? My WAG is that it was probably an executive decision at the Reader, by some VP who has too much “executive” and not enough “brains”. :wink:

I agree completely, hence my reference to irrationality and paranoia in my previous post.

Sorry, pet peeve. Copyrighted photos. (And, besides, viewing copyrighted photos is okay. It’s copying copyrighted photos that’s the problem.)

I should point out that 24 files occupying 8.4 gigabytes just so happens to be the exact size and number of files that, say, a DivX-encoded series of “24” would occupy. Or any full season of a typical 1-hour American show. So the OP in the linked thread was almost certainly downloading copyrighted TV shows (beyond a shadow of a doubt, frankly). So Rico was exactly right in this instance.

I’m sure you’re right that the person in question was downloading copyrighted material.

But i’m not sure what you mean by referring to the “exact size” that a season would have to be in DivX-encoded form. One of the marvels of DivX and other similar codecs is their ability to encode at a wide range of compression levels. 18 hours of video (24 files @ ~45min each) might, if encoded at the lowest quality setting, only take up a couple of gigabytes. On the other hand, if the files were encoded at the highest quality setting, they might take up well over 20 gigabytes.

8.4 gig is not some magic number that automatically gives away the fact that a person is downloading a TV series, as your post seems to imply.

And as far as BitTorrent goes, it looks like the movie companies are starting to distribute their wares themselves by that service:

I look forward to the time when The Management revisits their prohibition of discussing file-sharing techniques.

Ah, but it is (or rather, 350MB per show is the giveaway). There are (believe it or not) only a few main release groups who put out these shows encoded off TV or DVD, and they use standard bitrates and resolutions; trust me, the size of a typical 1-hour show (45 mins without ads) as encoded by the major release groups is consistently 350MB, give or take a meg or two. Yep, they could encode to different sizes, but they don’t. Unless it’s HDTV, for which they tend to use double the bitrate. I think the sizes are chosen to fit nicely on CD-Rs.

OK, that sounds reasonable. I’ve never downloaded TV shows before.

Personally, i think it’s easier and almost as cheap to just get the shows i want from Netflix. The quality is definitely better, surely?

Just out of interest, if you have a DVD player that will play DivX files, how good is the video quality (on your TV) of a 350Mb program?

Likewise, I just happen to share a home network with four other geeks, and am prone to browse their computers to see what our bandwidth is getting [del]wasted on[/del] used for. :slight_smile:

Actually surprisingly good, but it’s definitely noticeably worse than DVD. Mostly static images it’s hard to tell the difference; action sequences you start to notice the higher compression rates. Watchable, certainly, particularly if you’re not watching something like the Matrix. And now they’ve started encoding for HD resolutions, I imagine it’s really quite passable. Anyway, I think we should probably stop here for fear of violating the board rules ourselves. :slight_smile:

I can’t speak for others, but I actually did the math at one point, and it costs me* as much in electricity each month to run my computer 24/7 as a Netflix account. Netflix is also more convenient (you don’t have to go searching for torrents), but less immediate. On the balance, I find that Netflix is preferable.

And, of course, it’s legal.