The Axxo-Files

Der Independent hat einen interessanten Artikel über den Batman der DVD-Ripper – Axxo – und sein Verhältnis zur klassischen „Scene“, die auf ihn (oder sie) gar nicht so gut zu sprechen ist. Nebenbei bereiten sie noch die Geschichte von P2P von Napster bis BitTorrent auf. Für mich nichts neues, aber trotzdem ganz gut zusammengefasst.

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.

Scene stealer: The aXXo files (via MeFi)
Andere Artikel, die genannt (aber nicht verlinkt) werden:
"AXXo You Are a God" – The secrets of BitTorrent's top movie pirate auf Slate
Interview: aXXo, The Most Popular DVD Ripper on BitTorrent auf TorrentFreak (wahrscheinlich ein Fake)
Vortrag vom „Pirates Dilemma“-Autor: To get rich off pirates, copy them