So where do those bootleg movies on file-sharing networks come from, exactly?
Er, mostly from people working in the movie industry. Here’s an interesting paper by two AT&T researchers which establishes that salutary fact. Quote:
“Our research attempts to determine the source of unauthorized copies by studying the availability and characteristics of recent popular movies in file sharing networks. We developed a data set of 312 popular movies and located one or more samples of 183 of these movies on file sharing networks, for a total of 285 movie samples. 77% of these samples appear to have been leaked by industry insiders. Most of our samples appeared on file sharing networks prior to their official consumer DVD release date. Indeed, of the movies that had been released on DVD as of the time of our study, only 5% first appeared after their DVD release date on a web site that indexes file sharing networks, indicating that consumer DVD copying currently represents a relatively minor factor compared with insider leaks.”
Thanks to Larry Lessig for the link.