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Archive for March, 2012

How to stop file copying

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 4th March 2012

Copy Bunny Progress Line

Copy Bunny Conga Line

In the ZeroPaid blog article “Why Streaming is not the Answer” Bruce Lidl writes:

One area, however, where I think the media companies may have more reason for optimism with streaming than Doctorow believes is with video. Music and video may diverge more strongly in regards to streaming than in other aspects of digital distribution. While storage is getting cheaper every day, high definition video remains relatively sizeable, and generally there is not as much repetition as with music, decreasing the inherent inefficiency of streaming.

You say that now. When Napster first hit the Net it was said that while music was readily available, movies were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And in the 1990s when the photographers were all up in arms about pictures getting copied, it was said that other arts (like music and film) were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And in the days of the BBS when people were swapping highly compressed GIFs it was said that full colour pictures were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And when home taping was killing music, it was thought that movies were safe from copying, not because of their relatively large size, but because the technology to copy movies cost tens of thousands of dollars and was available only to studios.

The only reason that hi-def movies aren’t being downloaded or streamed[1] is because North American service providers offer such miserable bandwidth to the consumer. Hi-def will succumb to swapping, sharing and copying as soon as the ISPs realize they can make a buck by providing the bandwidth to do so.

Next, it’ll be complete libraries of music that get compiled and copied. Then the complete catalogs of the studios. “Have you copied Warner Brother’s holdings yet?” “Got ’em, but I’ll swap you Sony for Disney”.

Soon, everyone will have everything. That’ll put an end to file copying.


The “Copy Bunny Conga Line” is copied from Copy Bunny Progress Bar by Nina Paley, who says “Copying is an act of love”.

[1] From the “I Told You So” department: I originally wrote this as a comment on “Why Streaming is not the Answer” in 2009. A quick search of ISOHunt or TorrIndex shows that the relatively large size (10s to 100s of Gigabytes) of hi-def files isn’t slowing down file copying at all.

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