Suddenly I am thrown into a gigantic ring of movie piracy. I didn't ask for it, I don't watch movies ALL that often.

It started at work. All of the companies employees that had been there for over a year, got nifty Compaq Armada laptops. We're talking about a thousand laptops here. We are allowed to bring them in to work, and even bring in CD's! (woohoo!) Soon afterwards the trading started. As I walked down the rows of cubicles I kept hearing "Hey you got Shrek?" and "Look I got Matrix" and "Pearl Harbor just came out, getting it now". These conversations continued and eventually one day I was actually offered a CD from a work-buddy for nothing at all. It was "The Legend of Drunken Master". Outstanding video quality I must say and I was immediately hooked.

Having downloaded some Simpsons episodes and Seinfeld stuff in the past, I knew that I could probably find some movies myself. I started up mIRC, which is a delightful program written by Khaled Mardam-Bey. I connected to dalnet and a search for "movies" brought up a list of rooms with like 400 people in each. Names like Orion-movies and Houseofmovies, etc. I joined a few channels and proceeded to watch for a bit to see how things worked. I learned that the first thing you really need is a divX ;-) codec, since most movies are encoded in it. divX is actually named divX ;-). Most movies are encoded using MPEG4 which divX ;-) does nicely.

Along with now downloading huge movies that take 4 hours on DSL to dl, I also started actively trading at work. (Working at a call center with 2500 people, all of whom take tech support calls, and nearly all of them have burners...Well lets just say I've never, ever had to ask more than 5 people for a particular piece of SW, and I usually have it that day. (That's a topic for another future node though). It's only natural that in such and environment I would be instantly sucked into this vortex of hurried trading, and quick deals. It's almost like drugs were in high school, but with less subtlety, and less waviness. In a week I have 10 movies. I've downloaded a few, but generally I just let all the drones at work sit there idling on IRC.

Eventually it trickles down to me at work. And I find two days after one of the groups releases something, I get it. For instance, this one guy has like 30 gigs on a laptop in there. The movie list is like 5 pages long! Plus this guy is a good friend of mine to boot!

Now I find myself trying to keep up with the Joneses, because most of the time everyone who has movies already has the old ones, and I'm afraid if I don't keep up I'll be out of the loop, and since before long something is going to be done about this blatant careless piracy, I want to get all I can.

Anyhoo I've heard that ripping is rather easy to do, it just takes a bit of time. I might try it one day, and turn all my videotapes of simpsons episodes electronic.