Thursday, May 30, 2002
Not buying it: Contributing to the crusade to tell everyone what they can and cannot do with their personal computers, Internet research company Viant says that between 400,000 and 600,000 pirated feature films are downloaded every day.
I don't think so.
According to figures from September 2001, 54 percent of Americans surfed the Web in the previous year. Of a U.S. population of approximately 270 million, this would mean that 140 million people are on the Internet. Of those, approximately 20 percent (28 million) had broadband connections necessary to download feature films.
If 400,000 movies (750 Megabyte in size) are illegally downloaded every day (Viant's lower end), then you're talking about 300 gigabytes of bandwidth a day -- just for the movies being traded over the Internet.
Even with broadband Internet connections downloading a 750 MB movie is no easy feat, because most DSL and Cable modem providers restrict the uploading speed of their connections, usually capping it at 128k. At that rate it can take 20 hours to download a complete film.
There's just not enough bandwidth out there to have people downloading movies at this rate and allowing most people to call up CNN quickly -- or even get their e-mail quickly. Besides, I'm sure that all of those online music traders are also taking up a ton of bandwidth.
Now I'm not saying that it's right to download copyrighted material -- it isn't -- but the likes of Sen. Fritz Hollings ($-Disney) use this type of information pass laws that allow people to legally use copyrighted material. For example, mixing their own custom CDs.
I know lots of people who have high-speed connections -- I know very few who download movies at all -- renting them is much easier.