When did people start and stop making physical copies of pirated media

I remember the movie Borat and the album ‘steal this album’ by system of a down were designed to look like a pirated DVD and pirated CD. But I can’t remember the last time I saw a pirated DVD or pirated CD.

Does anyone have a rough timeline on when pirated DVDs and pirated CDs (ones burned at home on a computer) started appearing, and when they mostly disappeared?

Most MP3s are just kept on phones now and hooked up to radios that way, while most movies are kept on hard drives.

I think the CDs started in the late 90s, and were pretty much gone by 2010 or so. The DVDs appeared in the early aughts and disappeared a few years after the CDs did. That is my recollection.

I saw a CD just this month, a pirated copy of Paul McCartney’s new album Egypt Station. A friend downloaded it as a gift for one of my family members. I think they said it was from a Russian site?

What a nice idea. Next time I need a gift for a family member maybe I’ll steal a car and give it to them.

For your analogy to work you need to steal it from a dealership.


For the analogy to really work, you would have to download schematics for the car and print your own from a fantasy-level 3D printer.

when the irc networks started banning file servers…… dalnet went from 30 mil users a day to under a mil all because the music/movie/pic sharers had to leave…….
So it became harder ….but I don’t think its ever really stopped entirely

CD’s started after cd-rom drives became affordable, after about 1995 or so.

The iPod had more to do with physical copies declining than the Internet, which often just changed the exchange method media but still needed a CD to play in their car etc…

Just to go back a little further in time and tech - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roddy_McDowall

“In 1974, the FBI raided McDowall’s home and seized his collection of films and television series in the course of an investigation into film piracy and copyright infringement. His collection consisted of 160 16-mm prints and more than 1,000 video cassettes, at a time before the era of commercial videotapes, when there was no legal aftermarket for films. McDowall had purchased Errol Flynn’s home cinema films and transferred them all to tape for longer-lasting archival storage. No charges were filed.”

More details - http://mentalfloss.com/article/90689/when-roddy-mcdowall-was-busted-fbi-pirating-films

Yeah thats my impression, the first MP3 players eliminated the need for burnt CDs.

I’m guessing streaming services and large hard drives eliminated the need for most burnt DVDs too.

It hasn’t stopped. Spanish police have been known to release more or less periodically two lists called the “blanket Top 40”; it’s the list of pirated CDs and DVDs (BlueRays are included with DVDs) collected by police from blanket-on-sidewalk sellers.

Physical media really had its heyday in the early to mid 2000’s. By the end of the decade, the start of same day global releases (pushed by the MCU most notably), and the rise of online streaming caused a decline.

The biggest piracy problem for the last 10 years has been streaming and torrents.

When did dual cassette decks first appear? The mid-70s? By the mid-80s they were extremely common, and copying tapes for and from friends was routine. Dual VHS players were much more rare, though. I can remember connecting two VHS machines, but also Macrovision (am I remembering that right?).

The MPEG2 used in DVDs is reeeeally primitive compared to modern codecs. With h.265, you can get a DVD resolution movie of virtually the same quality in well under 700 MB. 700MB to 1GB gets you a great looking 720p movie.

And I perversely like converting DVDs to burn on CDs–something I tried to do so often as a kid. (I never could get a VCD to work.)

But even then I don’t bother burning it. I disconnected my optical drive when I installed my SSD, and never got around to getting a new SATA cable for the drive. The only burnt CDs I see now are the ones that are offered by my church to the older people who can’t go get the podcast of the sermon online.

That’s about when I had access to my first CD burner. Computer Science dept. A faculty member got one on a grant and I inherited it when they left. Big old SCSI thing. 2x speed! Apparently never used as I had to figure out how to connect and use it.

I used it only for burning data, but I saw on the menu and read how to burn music CDs. I talked about the possibility of millions of people burning their own music CDs in class and the consequences of that. The students were amazed at the idea of making you own CDs.

I haven’t burned a disc in quite a while. A few weeks ago I looked to see if a couple movies were available on DVD. All the hits I saw were full of weasel words about copyright so those are clearly bootlegs.

Of course bootleg audio/video tapes go much further back, as noted. No doubt some of the rare and popular Disney classic tapes on sale on the net are bootlegs.

In places like Russia, India, or China it is still going on quite vigorously.

I remember people using camcorders to pirate movies from the projection screen. One copy I saw was Superman shot in a Drive-in theater. Talk about cheesy.

It went all the way back to bootleg records. The Great White Wonder was released in 1969.

It looks like there were bootlegs of Hollywood soundtracks in the 50s and earlier.

If you want to look at books, works by Dickens were pirated in the US as soon as the official release was shipped. People would buy one book and set it into type, flooding the market with it within a few days.

For a while I had a VCR/DVD combo unit. It wouldn’t let you do VCR to DVD burns if the VCR was a commercial tape (Macrovision protected), but you could record off a movie channel to the VCR and then copy it to DVD. This was around 2003

When I lived in Taiwan and Indonesia, pirating was just another business.

In Taiwan, in the early-to-mid 1960s, there was a bookstore called “Cave’s Book Store”, with a stock that was close to 100% pirated. We had at least one encyclopedia set (I think it was something like the World Book of Knowledge) that was printed on really cheap, greasy paper, and the ink would sometimes get smudged. The pictures were nearly useless, being mostly dark black ink on somewhat lighter black ink.

In Indonesia, my parents gave me my first cassette tape recorder in 1973, along with 5 cassettes of different styles of music. I also got $10 to go to the cassette store to buy more music, which ran about $1 per cassette. Pretty much any album you wanted was available – and included a reproduction of the album cover – but there were often a lot of quirks.

Sometimes, the album cover would list, say, 12 songs on a side, but would only contain 11 songs. Or, a song would get cut off somewhere in the middle, since the bootleg ran out of tape. To this day, there are certain songs, that, when I hear them on the radio, I expect them to cut off before the end, and am always pleasantly surprised when they finish completely. The one that comes to mind (no judging now, please) was Carole King’s “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)”. On the cassette I had, that song got cut off somewhere near the end when she is scatting (no, not THAT kind of scat) and ended with, “… and I …”.

Good times.