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Richard Boddington

SONY Gets Hacked

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“The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it,” a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement to Variety.

Presumably law enforcement will be giving the same attention to all of the independent movies that are being stolen via the internet as well? I'm sure they will be, and I'm sure the giant studios won't receive any special treatment from law enforcement, right? I mean that makes sense, right?
R,

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They could return to photochemical prints.

 

  1. Safer
  2. No subtitles at wrong times
  3. No crazy artefacts
  4. Possibility to show film in intended aspect ratio
  5. Possibility to show film with the vivid carbon-arc light

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I thought corporate servers with sensitive material were on secure networks that couldn't be accessed from anyone outside. If that's the case, then it may be another instance of "an inside job".

 

I think I mentioned an ET report on the other pirate thread where WB employees were placed under investigation because of leaked footage.

 

A couple years back I was given the task of binging a hard drive from a facility to an editor's home address. It had raw footage of some project on it. Some one who was unscrupulous enough might have hooked up that HD to a laptop or phone, and peaked to see what he was carrying. If it was a major blockbuster, and if I weren't the person that I am, I could have pirated that material, dropped off the drive, and no one would have been the wiser for it. I wonder if something like that didn't happen in this instance.

 

I keep hearing about company servers being hacked, but I'm skeptical.

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I have no idea what happened at Sony, but some people have a very low bar for using the word "hacked".

 

In many cases, it's an excuse for the stupidity of having been socially engineered into giving away important information, or having failed to use basic computer security precautions. I've seen interviews with weeping facebook users who claimed that they'd gone through half a dozen passwords and the "hackers got 'em all." Eventually, of course, it's established that the victim received an email from "face-book secureity deppartment" and sent off all their details, giving away their identity free and inviting in an avalanche of trojans and keyloggers into the bargain.

 

Yes, the perpetrators of this sort of crime are bad, but this is not hacking, this is gullibility, just as it would be if someone bought a "rolex" on the street corner at a knock-down price. Calling this sort of thing hacking and trying to make the internet a special case is a disaster, for several reasons. It gives people a socially-acceptable excuse for not being informed and alert. It deflects resources away from effective countermeasures such as user education, and toward ineffective security theatre, such as headline new laws targeted specifically at online activity when the real issue is sociological and not limited to a single medium.

 

If it were just about the losses suffered by the victim, I would be happy to overlook this situation as a sort of self-administered tax on stupidity (thanks for that phrase, Ben Goldacre). Unfortunately, the costs of crime affect everyone in the form of increased bank charges, insurance fees, and legal shenanigans.

 

People need to wise up, and we need to stop giving them excuses.

 

Phil

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I use to work for a trailer house and we'd get movies several months (sometimes more then year) prior to their release, a lot of times on HDCAM! It doesn't take much to realize how stupid that is. Movies are on servers which are accessible through services like Aspera and most companies have their own private FTP link for access. Plus, the Academy hands out DVD's for awards season and they "claim" there is tracking on those disks, but it's all easy to find and remove. One of those disks falls into the wrong hands, it's online in a matter of hours.

 

Remember the whole reason we switched from film to digital distribution was to cut down on shipping costs? They were going to satellite movies to the theaters and all this crazy high tech stuff. Well… they aren't doing that. The solution is to ship hard drives to the theaters with an encrypted key send separately and the projector storage system, decodes the movie for playback. How long will it take for someone to hack that code? It only takes ONE corrupt projectionist to allow full distribution of current content in high resolution.

 

Remember the days of film? Best thing you could do was take a video camera and shoot the screen? When everyone used film, it was physically impossible to steal anything. Someone might notice you walking out the door with a print. But hacking into a server? Copying a DVD? Encoding an HDCAM tape? These are things which are out of our control and the studio's shouldn't be complaining when all their films are online for free. They did it to themselves!

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Remember the days of film? Best thing you could do was take a video camera and shoot the screen? When everyone used film, it was physically impossible to steal anything.

 

While it was true that some pirated versions found online were 'captured' by an intheater camera... many were scanned by someone somewhere from the projection print. And while not as 'good' as a scan for intheater projection, they were better quality than than the intheater pirates.

 

Of couse one may have to put up with Thai or Chinese subtitles...

 

These days with cheap, relatively speaking, scanners, it would be much better quality in any case.

 

The point being these sorts of 'high quality' pirates were always due to some sort of insider theft, whether it is finding an 'FTP' site with poor protection, ripping a 'screener' or whatever.

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I mean the Asian markets are a strange thing, lots of money in pirating and they aren't worried about getting thrown in jail. You can't fight those markets, but here in the US, nobody is buying a scanner, "borrowing" a print and scanning it for pirate reasons, it just doesn't happen. The Asian market issues are an easy thing to resolve, simply delay the release substantially for those markets.

 

In my eyes, there is no "cure" for the pirating problem. With our busy schedules, it's prohibitively expensive for people to leave the house, pay for a babysitter and a night on the town, just to watch a silly new release at the theaters for $14 - $18 dollars per seat! Plus, most theaters today are garbage, the whole "experience" of cinema has been pulled away from us over the last 30 years. People want to watch new content and content owners need to figure out a better method of allowing that to happen. The only way to fight piracy is to shove the content into the faces of those who wish to watch it and make it easy for them to hit the "watch now" button, for one flat yearly rate. Imagine AMC theaters offering an online service for movie goers to watch in the comfort of their own home. People will pay for content, if they can get it now, without being charged ridiculous prices for a sub-standard product.

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One of the reasons I never moved down to LA was that the atmosphere seemed rather "loose", and guided by ego than good corporate and business practices. Up here in the bay area where corporate video and indy films are king, you still get a flavor of that, but you also have some pretty stringent guidelines of what you can do and shoot, and what you can't.

 

That kind of mindset translates to all levels of production, and as such I've not heard about too many bay area films getting pirated (yes, Pixar has had its share of piracy issues, or last I heard). Every time I see one of these stories to me it speaks of human error, or human intervention; bad, or well-meaning but turned out bad; i.e. someone intentionally stole the material, or someone meant to give easy access to those who needed it, but wound up giving easy access to everyone, including those who would steal it.

 

Like Tyler states, to me this speaks of a need to go back to a high quality medium that makes piracy difficult, or if the material is pirated, then it's of such low quality that only the truly desperate would purchase such low grade material.

 

But hey, what do I know?

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“The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it,” a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement to Variety.

Presumably law enforcement will be giving the same attention to all of the independent movies that are being stolen via the internet as well? I'm sure they will be, and I'm sure the giant studios won't receive any special treatment from law enforcement, right? I mean that makes sense, right?
R,

 

 

Richard, have you tried filing a complaint with either the local PD, the Canadian equivalent of a state Agency or even contacting Interpol?

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the Canadian equivalent of a state Agency

 

Just a second....

 

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Oh that was good, thanks! I spoke in person to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) they told me directly on the phone, "we are not enforcing copyright laws at the current time." I kid you not, I am not lying one bit. I would not stake my name to such a statement if it were not true.

 

This is the number I called, from their website.

 

"Anyone with information regarding the sale and /or manufacturing or distributing of pirated DVD movies is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-265-4444."

 

They are completely useless on this file. Unless of course you need someone to ride around on a horse, wearing a red tunic, while music plays.

 

R,

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"Anyone with information regarding the sale and /or manufacturing or distributing of pirated DVD movies is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-265-4444."

So, where does it say they're going to do anything aboot it?

Maybe they're just after some leads on good places to buy bootleg DVDs.

Why should the fuzz be any different to anybody else....

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Richard, I'm very sorry to hear it. Can you not talk to your PM or something?

 

KPIX local news reports the possibility that the "hack" may have been sponsored by North Korea, allegedly because of a comedy ("The Interview") about an assassination of Kim Jon Il's son, the current North Korean ruler. Apparently North Korea called the film "an act of war". :rolleyes:

 

I wonder how they felt about "Team America".

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I guess that answers that.

 

Would an improved theatre going experience (and maybe lower ticket prices) help combat piracy?

 

I don't think piracy has much to do with the 'theater experience'. It has to do with having media available 'when you want it', and probably for some people, getting past the 'gate', just like getting fake id for drinking... which once one is over the drinking age... becomes absurd.

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Well, when I was younger the movie going experience was a little different. Films were a little more adult in story, and films with lots of action and / or special effects were the rarity (Star Wars, Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Logan's Run, etc.), and so films attracted a different crowd.

 

People caught a film after work still wearing their work clothes and what not, and where people laughed, and where you had your rowdy types, you didn't have the blatant rudeness with cel phones and just general talking that, in my opinion at least, pervaded theatres since the mid 80s. Not ironically enough, that's when the demographic shifted in films.

 

So, I'm wondering if the content changed, then the audience would change, and the movie going experience would change. Ergo more people would be willing to see better films, and the big b-movie blockbusters would get pushed back to where they were. I think this would help alleviate piracy, and perhaps solve the solvency problem for the big studios.

 

Just some more minor ramblings.

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Well, when I was younger the movie going experience was a little different. Films were a little more adult in story, and films with lots of action and / or special effects were the rarity (Star Wars, Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Logan's Run, etc.), and so films attracted a different crowd.

 

People caught a film after work still wearing their work clothes and what not, and where people laughed, and where you had your rowdy types, you didn't have the blatant rudeness with cel phones and just general talking that, in my opinion at least, pervaded theatres since the mid 80s. Not ironically enough, that's when the demographic shifted in films.

 

So, I'm wondering if the content changed, then the audience would change, and the movie going experience would change. Ergo more people would be willing to see better films, and the big b-movie blockbusters would get pushed back to where they were. I think this would help alleviate piracy, and perhaps solve the solvency problem for the big studios.

 

Just some more minor ramblings.

 

I seem to have had a different 'theater experience'... while I have noted 'some' phone action in a theater since the rise of cell phones... it has never been to the levels of some types of obnoxious behavior that I experienced in theaters in the dim past... for example... smoking... time was there was a smoking section if not the whole theater... whether it was permitted or not, in some of the theaters where I watched films it was never policed.

 

On the other hand, in many theaters one could watch the same film 3-4 times as that was the only one running and the attendants didn't kick you out after the current show ended...

 

In some of the 25-50 cent theaters, any manner of 'misbehavior' could be ongoing while watching yetanothermotorcyclegang film. Driveins specialized in films that were mostly unwatchable by any standard, but allowed teens to learn the meaning of life in the back seat of the old jalopy (for some reason I always ended up in the front seat with the prude... and then would be quized by the back seat occupants as to what the movie was about so they could tell parents how wonderful the film was...

 

The biggest impediment to pirating was the fact that one had to make a film print, and then project it, which meant the cost was prohibititve for most people no matter what.

 

With the advent of 'cheap' electronic recording, 'pirating' films became feasable.

 

There was 'pirating' but it was mostly recording of live band performances, or transfering records to tape of some sort, with the advent of 'cheap' audio tape play back systems.

 

And of course there was not the easy connection world wide for such recordings to be distributed...

Edited by John E Clark

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The entertainment industry is not immune to technological unemployment. Money market economics collides with technical efficiency and the results vary. As an example of technological unemployment, the arcade business is gone, thanks to Sony's and Microsofts game consoles.

 

Video Rental stores are almost entirely gone. Will the same thing happen to theaters? Who knows. 4K streaming and the eventually affordable short throw large screen laser 4K projectors will likely doom theaters down the road. Admittedly that's a ways off.

 

As will devices like the Oculus Rift when they become common and affordable. Gathering in a large theater will seem pointless unless it's an interactive experience.

 

I think Johns right that it's mostly about wanting to watch whatever you want whenever you want and by that logic, if things are indeed moving toward streaming, I think the answer lies in the Popcorn Time model. Make everything available by subscription in bluray quality. What Netflix does but current and with a much better selection. That would likely make a dent in the piracy cause piracy would be pretty pointless.

 

I do of course realize that consolidating all the worlds entertainment into one subscription is a pipe dream and completely impractical.

 

However I think Studios and distributors should consider streaming new releases Netflix style right from their own websites in bluray quality for reasonable prices. That would be a good starting point.

Edited by Michael LaVoie

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I don't think it's a bad idea. I think I've had similar notions along with other people you and I don't know in the media dominated world. I think one of the barriers though is the audience model of film making. I think the thinking is that there's something about going to see a movie with an audience that drives much of the film industry.

 

Jokes that you laugh at with a crowd really don't solicit much of a reaction when you see that same film by yourself or even with a couple of friends. Therefore I think if films do go ultra-definition on demand, then they'll be remarkably different (probably more TV like) than what we've seen up to today.

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Film might be the only creative art form where the work must be widely liked by as many people in as many demographics as possible to be regarded as good. By that measure Michael Bay would be our Michelangelo of the movie business.

 

Granted the movie business has never been about art necessarily. Art is in most cases, an accident. A director managing to sneak in a point of view when no one was looking. I see plenty of popcorn films and I'm not an arthouse snob by any means but I do think there's a definite imbalance with distribution of smaller indie and foreign films in larger chains. They definitely get ignored.

 

"Arthouse" filmmaking however will have much more of a home in the world of VOD and it might become easier to pitch execs on smaller character driven tier 1 films if they're not constantly comparing that the the scope of a multiplex movie. So there is a silver lining if the death of the multiplex means more indie pics get greenlit, I'm all for the rise of smaller IFC style chains where people can see good films that they won't be embarrassed to admit they saw.

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Video Rental stores are almost entirely gone. Will the same thing happen to theaters?

 

The only thing they have left to offer is the large screen. Not sure that will hold up 20 years from now or not? So many people have large screen TVs and 5.1 audio systems in their homes. I quite enjoy watching movies this way. Going to the theatre involves a lot of hassle.

 

R,

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The only thing they have left to offer is the large screen. Not sure that will hold up 20 years from now or not? So many people have large screen TVs and 5.1 audio systems in their homes. I quite enjoy watching movies this way. Going to the theatre involves a lot of hassle.

 

R,

 

Which is kind of my thought. When the majors starting to go for more blockbuster pics aimed at younger dollars, you could see a shift in the audience. And with that going to movies became a real chore. Not only was the material not as good as before, but it was attracting a more immature crowd.

 

As much as I love a good movie with action, space ships, maybe superheros and what not, there's more to life than fast food films. The last dozen or so films I saw in the theatre I could have just as easily watched at home without a couple hundred people sitting around me.

 

I hope distribution does go that way, because then films will take on a book like quality where you can reccomend good ones to your friends, and they won't have to rely on huge marketing machines to get their face out there.

 

And, to stay on topic, it'll hopefully cut out the potential pirate because the distribution will be controlled, instead of just relying on employees whose character you don't know to transport raw footage from point A to point B.

 

I've often hated TV production values, and often wanted feature film production values in TV. This might be the very thing to achieve that, and to cut down on illegal copies.

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The only thing they have left to offer is the large screen.

 

And the screens aren't nearly as large as they used to be. I remember when I saw Tron as a kid. I was floored but the size of the screen. I'd love to see large format films make a real comeback and cinemas with a single massive screen return.

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