Pirating music, videos, and programs online takes a bit of sophistication. You need to know at least the basics – but simple how-to guides are easy to find. Most acts of piracy involve little more than typing what you’re looking for into your favorite search box.
So who provides the search results? Where do the pirated files originate?
Interestingly, there may be a clear answer. Hackers band together to form “release groups“, and vie to be the first group to make available an unauthorized copy of a newly published work. A large number of release groups are loosely affiliated and known to outsiders as “The Scene“. They are responsible for creating the overwhelming majority of unauthorized copies of intellectual property.
There’s not a great deal of scholarly analysis on The Scene – outdated blogs and Wikipedia are the best sources we can probably hope for, given the nature of the subject. Sometimes, though, we get a reminder that they exist and have an impressive amount of control over the world of online piracy.
A few days ago, there was a sudden change in TV show torrents: instead of being uploaded in .avi format, shows were in .mp4 format. Some end users were very mad about the change of format because the new format wouldn’t play in some old DVD players. Why did it happen? The Scene had decided that it was time for a change in their uploading rules.