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Scene stealer: The aXXo files

To Hollywood executives, he's public enemy number one. To film fans around the world, he's a modern-day Robin Hood. As the internet's most prolific pirate makes his 1,000th illegal film download available to the masses, Tim Walker investigates the mysterious figure known only as aXXo

MAMMA MIA! The adaptation of the Abba musical, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, has taken more than $500m worldwide since its July release date. aXXo posted his DVD-quality version online on 15 December.

MAMMA MIA! The adaptation of the Abba musical, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, has taken more than $500m worldwide since its July release date. aXXo posted his DVD-quality version online on 15 December.

At 8.40am on Monday 15 December, a new post appeared on an internet forum called the Darkside Release Group. "Darkside_RG" is a clearing house for internet pirates, a site dedicated to the online redistribution of movies, music and videogames. Its members happily spend their days sharing and discussing their ill-begotten booty on the site's many message boards.

The post in question contained a BitTorrent file – the most widespread and efficient filesharing method on the web – containing an illicit copy of a second-rate Kiefer Sutherland horror film called Mirrors. Though the mainstream media ignored it, this was a landmark moment for millions of filesharers worldwide: the 1,000th movie uploaded by aXXo, the internet's most popular and enduring pirate. If you already know his name, chances are you've been doing something illegal.

This aXXo may be anonymous, but he (or she, or they) is a global brand. His most popular uploads are downloaded illegally by up to a million internet users per week. His files regularly make up more than one-third of all the films trafficked on BitTorrent. Most of them are mainstream multiplex fare – aXXo's recent posts include Mamma Mia!; the Ricky Gervais black comedy Ghost Town; and Bangkok Dangerous and Eagle Eye, thriller vehicles for Nicolas Cage and Shia LaBeouf.

The list of the Top 100 movie downloads at The Pirate Bay – one of the largest "torrent portal" sites, which aggregate torrent links from around the web – is littered with his work, easily recognisable by the suffix "DVDrip-aXXo" left like a graffiti tag at the end of each filename. Over at The Pirate Bay's most popular competitor,, aXXo's fame is evident in the "search cloud", a page of the most searched terms on the site, their relative popularity denoted by the size of the font in which their names are displayed.

"Today, the largest search terms might be aXXo and Prison Break, if Prison Break aired on US television last night," explains David Price, head of piracy intelligence at the internet consultancy Envisional. "But tomorrow Prison Break will be a lot smaller, whereas aXXo will always be that size. Over the last two years, he's been one of the top five searched terms on Mininova every day."

Whenever aXXo posts a new film (which can be as often as three times a day) his followers fill the comments boards with praise. He is the lowly film-fan's Robin Hood. Last year, one aXXo fan, codenamed the_dwarfer, composed a version of the Lord's Prayer for his idol, which began: "Our ripper, who art on Mininova, aXXo be thy name..."

The name aXXo first appeared in November 2005, when he began to post pirated movies to the message board at Darkside_RG. He quickly acquired a reputation for both quality and convenience. All of his films were copied to DVD quality (or near enough for the amateur eye); in a simple format that would play instantly on almost any computer as soon as the download was complete; and handily compressed to emerge at 700Mb, just the right size to fit on a single writeable CD.

Uploaders generally have a shelf life of a few months before they get bored – or caught – but aXXo persisted. "aXXo guarantees quality," Price explains. "In the piracy world, there's no Film 2008 to tell you which version of a film to download. Instead, the community tells you that aXXo is the guy to look for, because everybody else downloads him. As soon as a DVD rip of a film appears online, people search out aXXo's copy, because they know they're guaranteed a good piracy experience."

The question of aXXo's identity is undoubtedly of interest to the authorities, but it's also an abiding obsession for his fans. One Canadian documentary film-maker, for example, is working on a film entitled Searching for aXXo. The blog is devoted to the torrent sharing culture. In March 2007, its creator, a 28-year-old academic from the Netherlands who writes under the pseudonym Ernesto, appeared to have landed a brief but exclusive email interview with the elusive aXXo. His interviewee claimed to be a teenager working alone, a naive but philanthropic soul who believed that, if a good film is out there, "everyone has the right to be entertained by it." The interview was quickly discredited by the ensuing web chatter, and Ernesto, asked today if he thinks his interviewee was a hoaxer or the real deal, replies curtly: "I have no idea." My own request for an email interview with aXXo, left in his Darkside_RG mailbox has gone unanswered.

The otherwise uninformative Darkside_RG profile for aXXo suggests he was born in August 1972. There's no reason why this should be true but, says Price: "I wouldn't have thought he was a teenager. Whoever claimed to be him was probably a fake. From what we know, he's fairly experienced." In a recent piece about aXXo for the online magazine Slate, reporter Josh Levin said he believed aXXo was not American – but, Price suggests, he is probably a native English speaker.

As with Operation Ore, the international police operation to prosecute users of online child pornography sites, the copyright cops are planting spies in the chatrooms and forums of the torrent community, hoping to ensnare the pirates who frequent them. The ultimate prize would be aXXo. Envisional's work, says Price, has led to arrests in the past. "We have had successes searching for individual uploaders and leakers of content. With aXXo, we know where he tends to be active online. If you visited the right bulletin boards and forums, and you knew what to look out for, you would find other people who were searching for him."

BitTorrent, aXXo's chosen distribution method, is a filesharing technology that, serendipitously, arrived online at around the same time as home broadband became standard. Created in 2001 by Bram Cohen, then 26, a programmer from Seattle, the software was intended to be a means for music fans to share bootlegged videos of live performances by artists such as the US singer-songwriter John Mayer, who encourages such recordings by concert-goers.

Though the BitTorrent software itself is legal, and can be used to share any number of legitimate digital items, its efficiency and user-friendliness inevitably made it the amateur pirate's weapon of choice. Today, BitTorrent has well over 150 million users worldwide. "I'm studying social behaviour," explains Ernesto, "and the torrent community interested me because it is by far the largest library of our modern day culture. BitTorrent has a more social aspect than other filesharing protocols: sharing is rewarded."

Unlike traditional peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as Napster and Kazaa, which share files directly (and rather slowly) between two users' computers, BitTorrent collects pieces of the downloading file from across the filesharing network, seeking out segments of the film, album or application from every user's computer. This "file-swarming" not only makes downloading faster, it's also the epitome of filesharing – the more users there are online, sharing a particular file, the faster each of them will complete the download.

Hence aXXo's popularity: as a trusted brand name, users rush to acquire his releases as soon as they appear online. His small "torrent" file takes a matter of seconds to download from a torrent portal site like Mininova, after which the user add it to their computer's BitTorrent queue, sit back and watch the data flood in. With so many people downloading the same files at once, an entire aXXo film can be complete and on a user's desktop in a few hours at most.

But aXXo's popularity can be a curse. Once his name became common currency among downloaders, it was simple enough for less sophisticated pirates to piggyback on his success by imitating his tag in their own torrent files; one site turned up calling itself There were also more sinister schemes afoot. In 2007, word spread through the community that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was uploading fake, blank torrents labelled as aXXo releases, in order to collect the IP addresses of downloaders. Next, someone intent on giving him a bad name started to upload aXXo-tagged files filled with malware – software designed to infiltrate and corrupt a downloader's computer.

An angry aXXo got into a dispute with both and the torrent portals that chose to host his imitators. The pirate was infuriated by the appropriation of his work – in spite of appropriation being his own stock-in-trade – and ceased uploading altogether until agreed to close down its domain name.

Unlike other torrent portals, however, The Pirate Bay's Swedish founders – who are driven not by any code of honour among thieves, but by an ideological opposition to copyright law – refuse to give high-profile uploaders the VIP treatment. aXXo's protests fell on deaf ears and, in November 2007, after deleting all his torrents from The Pirate Bay's pages in a fit of rage, he disappeared from the web altogether. His friends at Darkside_RG reported that he'd decided to "take a break".

In aXXo's absence, other uploaders had their moment in the sun. FXG, whose DVD rips were about the same quality and size as aXXo's, became a popular alternative. One smart uploader named themselves Klaxxon, so that each time a casual downloader searched for aXXo's name, they would find a Klaxxon torrent instead. Perhaps concerned that he'd been forgotten by his fickle public, aXXo resurfaced in March.

"He tried to go away," says Price. "But he came back. The pull of it is quite attractive to him. When you have millions of people downloading your content online and they know who you are, that's quite an incentive. Even if he's not getting any money, he is getting name recognition and status." To commemorate his return, aXXo chose as his first post the symbolic – and hubristic – film title, I Am Legend.

The authorities aren't the only ones who have it in for aXXo. He's also deeply unpopular among an elite group of internet users and abusers known only as "The Scene", which has existed in one form or another since the 1970s – before aXXo (the name, if not the man) was even born. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of illicit content available for download comes not from consumer-bought CDs, DVDs and games. Instead, film industry insiders, cinema projectionists, DVD factory workers and retail assistants plunder their employers' forthcoming releases and pass them on to the high-level pirates that comprise today's Scene.

The Scene's so-called "release groups" are at the top of the piracy pyramid. Each group will likely specialise in a certain medium (film, TV, games, music) – even a specific movie genre – and will include computer experts (or "rippers") with the skills to turn a two-hour movie into a compressed file that is easy to transfer online without any loss of quality. Once the release group has their copy, they seed it online with the help of enthusiastic mediators. Within hours, it is freely available to the average BitTorrent user on The Pirate Bay or Mininova.

The Scene's motivations aren't financial. The object of the exercise is simply to get your pirate copy of a film out there before any other group, and well ahead of its official release. Respect and reputation are earned through speed and technical skill. The Scene may be elite, but it's a meritocracy. Its code – again, ironic for a group engaged in the systematic demolition of copyright law – demands that any pirated material must give credit to its original ripper or release group, no matter how far down the piracy food chain it has come.

This explains the Scene's contempt for aXXo, who, it is widely believed, simply duplicates work that has already been produced by a higher-level release group. His re-encoding of the Scene's film releases into a clean, user-friendly format requires relatively little risk, and relatively little skill. In a world where the only reward is prestige, it must be galling for the Scene to watch aXXo taking the credit for their hard work. It also explains aXXo's motivations, and his anger at seeing his name taken in vain. Like Bruce Wayne, aXXo may only be celebrated for the actions of his alter ego, but he is celebrated all the same.

Industry insiders claim that illegal downloads cost the global film business £500m last year. According to a 2006 study by Envisional, P2P networks and their ilk account for at least 60 per cent of all internet usage. In the UK alone, more than six million people shared an estimated 98 million illegal downloads in 2007. These numbers will only grow as broadband speeds increase. Virgin Media recently launched the first 50Mb broadband service, and hopes to make it available to the entire UK customer network of 12 million in 2009. At that speed, a DVD-quality movie could be downloaded to a home desktop in less than four minutes.

Earlier this month, an estimable group of disgruntled British film-makers – including Kenneth Branagh, Richard Curtis and Stephen Daldry – signed a letter to The Times demanding government action against the internet service providers (ISPs) who make illegal filesharing possible. The MPAA, meanwhile, is already lobbying the incoming Obama administration in the US to improve internet filtering technology in the hope of foiling online piracy. Thanks to new legislation, President Obama will be required to nominate the country's first "copyright tsar" to oversee such issues.

The biggest problem for anti-piracy groups is the growing social acceptability of illegal filesharing. "The easier you make it for people to download, the more people do it," says Price, "and the less moral or ethical concerns they have about it. I talk to teachers and solicitors who'll say they streamed something from the internet, without realising it's illegitimate." The entertainment industry is still seen as bloated and greedy. Downloading movies is an apparently victimless crime, and if there is a victim, it's "The Man".

"We also never see how their data is calculated," says Becky Hogge, executive director of the Open Rights Group, a civil liberties group devoted to the digital universe. "Policymakers trot out figures, but we're never sure of their provenance. There is a meme sloshing around that suggests they overestimate the numbers. They used to equate the cost of piracy to the [entertainment] industry as a multiple of how many files were being shared illicitly online, which assumes that if you didn't get the stuff for free, you'd go out and buy all of it – which simply doesn't hold."

It's even difficult to prove the pirates' detrimental effect on individual films. The most pirated movie of 2008, according to TorrentFreak's annual listing, was also the year's biggest box-office success: Batman sequel The Dark Knight. The film's cinema release grossed close to $1bn (£700m) worldwide, and three million copies of the DVD were sold on its first day in the shops. Although it was downloaded more than seven million times on BitTorrent alone, Ernesto reported in his accompanying post, comments on various sites suggest that many of the downloaders had also paid to see the film at the cinema.

One enthusiastic, London-based torrent-user who preferred to remain anonymous estimates that he downloads around four or five films each week (including The Dark Knight). However, he says, "I pay to go to the cinema at least once a week. I very rarely buy DVDs, but then who does? Most of my friends prefer to subscribe to DVD rental sites like Lovefilm. Ownership of the physical artefact seems increasingly moot.

"I do have qualms about it, but it's a two-way street. The commercial cinema is increasingly homogenic; there are hundreds of films that never get decent distribution, and now I have a platform to see them. For example, I waited months for Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain to come out in the cinemas – when it finally did, it screened on three or four screens spread across Greater London, none of them for more than a week. Roughly a month later it was online."

The Dark Knight's internet leak followed a standard pirate release pattern: immediately after the film's July premiere, a "cammed" version, filmed secretly from a seat in the theatre, dropped onto the web. Next, in early September, a DVD-screener copy (with the film interrupted at intervals by title cards announcing a copyright breach) made its way online. Finally, in November, a few weeks before the DVD was due in stores, the DVD-quality pirate copy (aXXo's speciality) appeared, was appropriated by aXXo, and soon spread across the net like wildfire.

In an article written for in January, Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma, wrote that "when pirates enter our market spaces, we have two choices. We can throw lawsuits at them and hope they go away. Sometimes this is the best thing to do. But what if those pirates are adding value to society in some way?... In these cases, what pirates are actually doing is highlighting a better way for us to do things; they find gaps outside the market, and better ways for society to operate. In these situations the only way to fight piracy is legitimise and legalise new innovations by competing with pirates in the marketplace."

Mason's book demonstrates that the history of piracy is also a history of innovation, one that includes the names Thomas Edison (inventor of the record player) and William Fox (founder of Hollywood). Ernesto agrees: "The ever-increasing piracy rates show there is a demand that the entertainment industry has not satisfied. Thanks to the internet, access to media on demand has become reality, and people seem to love it. It's now up to the movie and music industry to come up with a model that can compete with these filesharing networks."

iTunes has proved that the music industry can compete with a parallel black market online. In the US,, a website set up by the major television networks to stream their programming online, has done the same. Project Kangaroo, the UK equivalent, is currently in the works. "If it's very easy to find and has a lot of content, people will use it," says Price. "Hulu is bringing in huge amounts of advertising revenue for the TV companies, and it's bringing people back from the piracy networks."

"The entertainment industry would make more for artists if it embraced these technologies and found ways of doing business online," Hogge argues. "When you have six million people breaking the law, it's the law that needs changing, not the people."

Anti-piracy activists have celebrated some small victories, with trials pending in Sweden and the Netherlands for the creators of The Pirate Bay and Mininova respectively. But neither site actually hosts torrent files; as portals, they merely point the way to them – and there's no guarantee that the law will find a way to penalise them for it. Meanwhile, new torrent portals will spring up in their place, and as long as the authorities focus on the sites rather than individual uploaders (prosecuting individual downloaders has brought record companies almost nothing but bad PR), they will do little to stem the torrents' flow. The outlets may be closed down, but the aXXo brand can just move on elsewhere.

The internet makes power-brokers of the most unlikely people. Harry Knowles, a portly, 37-year-old film fanatic from Austin, Texas, became the web's most influential film critic after he was accidentally run over by a 1,200lb cart full of memorabilia at a science fiction convention in 1994. While bedridden, he bought a new computer and set up his own movie website, Ain't It Cool News, which today has the power to sink a film with a negative review before it even reaches cinemas.

Andrew Sorcini, aka MrBabyMan, is an animator for Disney in Los Angeles, who spends his days (and possibly his nights) recommending articles and webpages on the news aggregator website Digg. As the site's most popular recommender of content, he wields the same influence as the editor of a major newspaper.

But MrBabyMan and Harry Knowles haven't the mystique of aXXo. They're flesh and blood. You can find their faces on Google. Their fame may be remarkable, but they achieved it straightforwardly – and legally. The abilities of aXXo, on the other hand, seem almost superhuman. To his followers, he is Robin Hood, Batman, God: he is everywhere, and nowhere.

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The Stig of the torrent world!
[info]chronicle_20 wrote:
Monday, 9 February 2009 at 06:05 pm (UTC)
"At that speed, a DVD-quality movie could be downloaded to a home desktop in less than four minutes"

And that's what we want...any movie, in less than 20 minutes that can be played on any computer and kept for as long as we want, of good quality and small size, not stupid big plastic boxes with plastic discs that will eventually degrade or be technologically surpassed by the next format fad.

For this i'll happily pay $5 per movie downloaded. I'm not buying any physical product and i'm not using your cinema so don't try and charge stupid prices.

How to beat aXXo...? You can't. Well, if you can't beat them- JOIN THEM.
The demand is staring you in the eyes
[info]ldfelix wrote:
Monday, 9 February 2009 at 07:33 pm (UTC)
Piracy is, as the writer states, about unmet demand and demand mediums, not an unwillingness to pay for the product. The answer is simple, PPV VOD of TV / Film that includes the entirety of all TV and Film produced globally since, well, ever. Make a player for every phone OS, computer OS, cable box, sat receiver and gaming console. Log in, click to pay, stream. The problem is so simple, selection and ease of access.

"The ever-increasing piracy rates show there is a demand that the entertainment industry has not satisfied. Thanks to the internet, access to media on demand has become reality, and people seem to love it. It's now up to the movie and music industry to come up with a model that can compete with these filesharing networks."

The only thing blocking this is not lack of technology. Disk and network infrastructure is cheap, all the convoluted licensing contracts that make paying everyone involved in the works is the hard part. Well, once the payout rules are all entered into a database, it's not really that hard. Not any harder than Google Ads.

Hulu and Netflix are already well on the way there, we just need to bring down international barriers so someone in the UK can watch US shows which is where a lot of the TV pirating is coming from. Not that I blame the UK, I just mean, international distribution delays initiates piracy activity. aXXo!
[info]iamaxxo wrote:
Monday, 9 February 2009 at 07:36 pm (UTC)
In the great scene when the roman army generals call out to the slaves...

"...By command of His Most Merciful Excellency...your lives are to be spared. Slaves you were...and slaves you remain. But the terrible penalty of crucifixion...has been set aside...on the single condition that you identify the body...or the living person of the slave called Spartacus...."


Long live aXXo, besides- even if you decide to take him down, there would be a million more like him to take his place!

because the studios dont do Video on Demand
[info]hwangeruk wrote:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 at 12:11 am (UTC)
When will Hollywood get it, and let us download movies?

I wanted to watch a movie called "Rise of the foot soldier".
Checked my Xbox, (no Netflix support in the uk) -fail
Apple Store, I've always considered getting one, rubbish movie selection - fail
Rental? I don't do Blockbusters, physical media! thats hassle and old school - fail

So LoveFilm rental is the closest thing, but I don't want to sign up or ship something digital.
Just let me download it.
The simplest thing then, is get a copy via Bit Torrent. Just like the music studios have woken up to removing DRM and just giving us what we want, Hollywood must do the same. No more region codes, just release it at the cinema, and release it for download globally all at the same time, this is the best business success path for them.

Once one studio is bold enough then the rest will follow, but they are trying to "force" which they won't learn does not work. If I could have downloaded a legal copy on say iTunes or my Xbox they would have made a sale for me. So dumb.
I'm stealing because I don't watch commercials??
[info]tv_is_free wrote:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 at 05:28 am (UTC)
in addition to music and movies, many television studies are getting all up in arms about people downloading tv episodes... something that is otherwise free! OK sure, you might say well I pay for cable/satellite, but how is that different from paying your internet bill? Their both just means of connection to data sources... but choosing a commercial free alternative source makes me part of some international criminal conspiracy? get real! And as an American who enjoys many British, Canadian and Australian shows thanks to torrents, I couldn't even buy dvds without buying some special dvd player thanks to the ridiculous region encoding restrictions - another great idea thought up by some retarded MPAA lawyer trying to squeeze out every last dollar (or euro) they can! may be on borrowed time.
[info]greasechef wrote:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 at 03:52 pm (UTC) found itself in court again in the EU on February 4th of this year, 2009. I would have to hedge my bet that they will start to suffer a fairly quick decline from here, and may not exist a year from now. aXXO, however, will still be around unless he is physically caught.

My one complaint with aXXo is more about torrents than aXXo specifically. I got a nastygram from Disney after I downloaded some content (I think an aXXo release) via a torrent listed on ThePirateBay.

N\Long and short, that got me looking at other ways to download without giving up my IP to anyone that happens by, as is the case with torrents. What I found was the usenet, which I already knew about but never bothered with. Anyhow, has a nifty tool that takes the geek factor out of the usenet, and allows you to pretty safely download movies and TV shows. They generally get aXXo releases at about the same time as torrents do, though the aXXo brandname is removed from the filename.

Best of Luck to aXXO, hope that you remain elusive.
on thieves and their businesses.
[info]inksword wrote:
Thursday, 12 February 2009 at 03:26 pm (UTC)
The only way to beat a thief is to catch him and put him behind bars. The alternative- as mentioned by chronicle_20 - is to join him, a thought every media industry employee must find rather absurd. No, to catch the thief is the only reasonable solution. So how do you catch an invisible thief? You track him. And you set up invisible traps and nets that will catch him in, or ideally, before his transactions. The common misunderstanding in the industry is to think that digitalization or ripping of a disc is the theft. It isn't! People can do whatever they want to do with their own property. The theft is made when the thief goes to the handler of stolen goods (soulseek, limewire,,,, napster, kazaa, etc.) to turn his property (which is ideally a fragment of the work) into a property of the work itself. The handler of stolen goods accepts his offer of the goods and sells the product to more or less informed customers. The handler of stolen goods is traditionally the bearer of the biggest responsibility, as he is the one who transfers value between thieves and citizens. But the state cannot maintain a society free of these bastards, so the justifiable solution is to keep better track of the transactions and punish the most morally corrupted handlers. Because the customers in most cases are not aware of the destructive nature of their actions (they are charmed by the ease of visiting a handler of stolen goods) the thief MUST be caught at the handler of stolen goods, where a more demanding subscription must guarantee an identification of his rightful identity, so that, when the thief enters, he can be caught and imprisoned before his attempt at escape.

I am terribly sorry for not speaking your colonialist empirical shit language properly. I excuse that this FLAW makes my comment sound overly dry, but I suggest you speak your words of disgrace in MY mothering tongue for once, to show that you are not yourself faulty.
[info]wanderer2785 wrote:
Monday, 2 March 2009 at 09:11 pm (UTC)
i hav bloody no idea, who or what he/she/they are, but they are really doin a real good job. it's work is of questionable legality or may be unethical to some groups, yet he's consistent and elusive, hats off to him.
Another Situation
[info]fivedolarbeo wrote:
Tuesday, 3 March 2009 at 11:36 pm (UTC)
I have purchased thousands of VHS, DVD and other movie formats. Storing such an immense collection has been very trying at times. I was recommended by a friend to back up my collection. Which I tried to do with very little success. There were programs that I tried and I couldn't get the quality or size correct. I was then told of file sharing and that I could probably back up most of my collection with what others had done. I did not feel that purchasing a digital copy of a movie that I already owned was fair. So I have no moral or ethical dilemmas about downloading this way.

A side note on the need to pay for copyrighted material via the internet. Libraries in the U.S. have allowed anyone who wanted, the ability to use these materials without paying for years. Yet you hear no complaints from anyone about that issue. Just so you know libraries are becoming obsolete thanks to the internet so if your library offers something, it stands to reason that you should be able to get it off line for free as well.

Thank you aXXo and all who support.
[info]manny1234 wrote:
Friday, 10 April 2009 at 03:37 am (UTC)
If you really want to catch aXXo take a closer look at his work. It has clues all over it. I'll give everyone a clue that took me about a week to figure out (Most if not all his movies have a tiny almost unoticable mark on them that you can only see when you mess with the video settings of the movie)(They are peices to a puzzle he is making) when you put it all together its a picture of him. But it would take months and months if possible to gather all his releases and put them together. Crazy Huh.
Re: aXXo
[info]lemonmelon86 wrote:
Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 08:31 pm (UTC)
The internet is something that's bought the world closer and yet, laws still exist by the country and district. Even more irritating is the fact that if something is released in the US, for example, it costs a chap in India a bomb to watch that movie, since it's not being released in his country thanks to odd censorship laws and distribution problems. It's a big vicious cycle and the noble men who're trying to curb this problem need to look at the bigger picture; stop accusing the people who're downloading and look in your own backyard. As for aXXo, I have no opinions on the chap, but it becomes important that material, even if we're talking legally, needs to be available the way it is on the internet - on a global scale at rates that don't burn a pocket in 25 other countries while affordable in one. Same goes for music, softwares (Bloody Adobe costs 10 lakhs a suite in India, approximately the price of a high-end master's degree in marketing). Since you're the chaps who invented this shit, produce a workable solution that six million people will find as attractive as the idea of downloading material that won't otherwise, for the love of God, be available to them.

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