Star Wars – Return of the Lawsuit?

Behind lock doors lie copies of unreleased movies. Behind encrypted private chat rooms are people aiming the break into those locked doors to claim these unreleased movies.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Behind every release group name is a team of top level releasers waiting for their chance to be the first to release a new movie to solidify or gain the a reputation of a very valuable releaser. Shady? Definitely. Underground? Of course. Illegal? In many countries, without a doubt. But there will always be those who seek that social adrenaline rush of doing something against big corporations wishes and getting away with it without a scratch.

Many will point to DVD stamping plants and say how there are large bins of visually flawed DVDs. “It’s where pirates get their DVDs so early!” one may exclaim. But stamping plants aren’t the only sources of DVDs for the prying fingers of movie release groups.

A high demand movie that in all likelihood becomes heavily pirated forces movie studios to release the DVD much sooner than planed. Such is the case for Star Wars – Episode 3. It’s one movie some would say is “too hot to touch” online. Some pirate groups may even withdraw in fear over this widely publicized movie, but others will lunge out at first chance, regardless of the fate of Visa and EliteTorrents. One thing is for certain, the events will unfold and it will attract the ear of millions of users whether on FastTrack or on the Newsgroups.

By now, many video stores across the United States, there are copies of Star Wars – Episode III sitting in their storeroom. Like a Christmas present, there is a huge warning to not open for another number of days before the popular movie is set to release. As many people know, this would serve to only be a temptation to sneak out with a copy of the self-faming movie, rip it, and post it online despite the 100,000 dollar fine and three years in prison that store workers could face.

As many people are aware, EliteTorrents was shut down over hosting a torrent file and a tracker that pointed to the work print copy of the big name film. As fewer people know, eight people were long later were charged over the release of the film. It was a chain reaction where one person wanted to borrow the movie, then another person wanted to borrow the movie, then it eventually was handed to someone who had the ability to rip and post it on a top site. The person who released it onto the Internet was the one most punished over the crime.

If the Internet hasn’t seen the final released episode in a DVD rip format by now, it is only a matter of days. Before long, such a copy will be floating around on P2P and file-sharing networks for any user to download and watch.

With all of this, one has to wonder what website will get shut down by the recording industry over offering some form of hash code that points to the movie. The question is, which websites will have the courage to post it and which one of those select websites will be on the receiving end of a very disturbing cease and desist letter?

In preperation for the film’s release, anti-pirate groups rev up their fake files and DRM while P2P users keep search functions or hash indexing websites queried to check the released status. Movie executives ready their keyboards to punch out the gut-wrenching lawsuit, and the movie waits in different dark and cool storerooms. Those who stare down the movies industry’s threats may say, “Let the games begin.”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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