ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

I’m Shocked! Truly SHOCKED! —

Well, finally someone turned the Documentary into a “ware”.

I was getting a bunch of hits from a site with a forum, and after going on it and registering, I found that it was a torrent/tracker site with a forum for posting new torrents for download. As per my luck, one of the members of the “group” had made the announcement about the availability of my hot new ware:

hey, everybody! one of the members of team INFOFALLOUT here again.

we’re back to releasing after a short break, with lots of great releases planned and a brand new member, who brings access to lots more great quality material!

now down to business…

you’ve read about it on slashdot twice ( here and here ), boingboing ( here ),you’ve read about it on various piracy news sites, and bunches of other geeky news sites- and i bet you wondered when it would finally be available for download… WHAT are we talking about?

BBS- THE DOCUMENTARY of course! ( http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/ )

this is THE history of online piracy. twenty years ago, before bit torrent, before napster 1.0, even before irc- there was BBS. text files were exchanged, ascii pr0n was swapped, and a great time was had by all. or was it? watch this 8 episode documentary to find out where warez piracy FIRST came from- and perhaps even get an opportunity to get back to your piracy roots.

p.s.- if anyone is curious, the first place we released this documentary was on a new age BBS style protocol ;)

it is INFOFALLOUT’s great pleasure to bring you this great release complete in 8 separately seeded episodes as well as various extras from the DVDs.

episode release will be staggered, and this post will be edited as new episodes are released on bit torrent. we were planning to release them all in one big clump, we had some troubles with our ftp servers which distribute to our dedicated seeds, and we didn’t want to make you wait :)

… and you thought that was old-school piracy? coming soon: the history of piracy on the high seas! (no, not really. just couldn’t resist the pun ;)

HEY! we had a really dumb tracker problem, please download the new torrent. sorry about that, guys. all the torrents listed below are NOW the real thing. and they should work. sorry again.

episode 1… 332mb/39:20min/1049kbps

Sadly, they’re kind of misrepresenting the documentary here, since as anyone who’s seen it (and didn’t they, while they were ripping it?) knows that piracy is mostly covered in HPAC and bonus material, not in every single episode. All I can think behind what they’re saying is that BBSes are where online piracy came from, so you’re learning the roots of piracy by knowing the roots of BBSes. I can buy that.

Anyway, I got myself an account on their system and posted the following helpful message:

Hi there!

This is Jason Scott, director, editor, cameraman, interviewer and general creator of BBS: The Documentary, which is the .torrent in question in this thread.

The documentary took about 4 years to make, requiring about 20,000 miles in travel, 200 interviews, 8 months of editing and a bunch of other sweat equity. It was a ton of fun and it was incredible to meet the heroes of my own past in person, ask them questions, and generally have a great time. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

In the world as we have it today, digital media is easily copied, easily transferred, and from the point of view of someone who doesn’t spend a lot of money on digital media, it makes no sense to purchase something you can get for free.

Recognizing this, I released the BBS Documentary under a Creative Commons, Attribute-Sharealike 2.0 license. This license is explained over at the CreativeCommons.Org website in greater detail, but it basically says that you can, with proper attribution, copy, share, mix, rip, change, reference and generally do with the BBS Documentary DVD anything you want. You can even charge money for what you do with it.

I wrote a essay on my weblog about my choice to do this, but I can summarize it this way:

- I made a kickass product, and worked hard on the packaging and DVD features
- I loathe threatening people with laws and stupid rules for digital media
- I realize some people will not pay, and I will not punish everyone for that

I mention this also because you have to realize the DVD set (there’s 3 DVDs with 8 episodes) are released with no copy protection, no region encoding, and no silly menus you can’t break out of. So INFOFALLOUT talking with pride about their “release” is not unlike someone delighted how much he saved on food because he was able to bring home two handfuls of sugar packets and ketchup from the local McDonalds. Bon Appetit!

The license means this creation really can’t be “pirated” or “warezed”; it was released to the world generally.

So why would you buy it?

Well, for one thing, the packaging is absolutely kickass. On the ordering page for the documentary, you can see some of the package; it looks great.

Also, there are a ton of features this “release” is not giving you, besides the obvious ease of popping in the DVDs and getting some great episodes. There are subtitles on all the material, so you can understand people more easily. There are commentary tracks by myself for every episode as well (although later ones are mostly 10 minute “statement of purpose” commentary, since I figured 5 hours of commentary would be a bit much). There’s also additional subtitle tracks with “non-technical” information on what people are saying. The people in this forum might not be interested in that, but it makes it easier to explain to the family what you’re watching.

Finally, there are over 70 minutes of bonus footage across the three DVDs, including easter eggs and hidden tracks and all that. AND, there’s a DVD-ROM section on the third Disc with additional interviews, photos, and artifacts you won’t get with just the ripped films. And it’s a good price for all this.. $50!

So enjoy the work; I spent a lot of time making it the best I could.


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5 Comments

  1. anon says:

    cheers for releasing it this way. lets hope copyleft works out for you. been following rotten, textfiles, etc for awhile, so lets hope you make a buck.

  2. remove says:

    hey, jason. this is remove from infofallout.

    yeah, we did advertise it as the history of piracy- because that’s what would interest the people @ mvgroup the most, we figured.

    just responded to your comment on mvgroup.org, and now here too i guess. i feel like we’re playing hide and seek or something.

    in any case, as long as you’re putting full transcripts of it here, i guess i might as well too.

    ———-
    jason scott (the director of this series) posted above, and it takes courage to say what he said, as well as release it under the license he did. (as well as not rail on us for putting this out on the net faster than was desirable).

    in response, we will NOT be releasing the extra features online, and they will be available only to those who purchase the dvd. (and they are worth it… except for maybe the bathtub dude laugh.gif ).

    if you enjoyed it, buy the dvd. this is not something we’d (or i’d) say often. the discovery channel and the bbc have enough money.

    however, this person is an individual. he deserves to break even (at the very least), and this is a great series he has created. we wish him the greatest of luck with it.

    creative commons is something we’re (as a group) very interested in, and we hope other nonfiction filmmakers investigate this as a viable option for releasing their work, or portions of their work under.

    on a personal note, i will be studying to be a documentary filmmaker in university for the next several years, and creative commons is a license i’m interested in releasing my work under.

    jason has and will, i think, helped prove that CC is a viable option, and surely introduced many people who would not be normally familiar with it to it.

    cheers, man.
    ———-

    cheers, jason.

  3. anonymous says:

    I actually requested it on my local filez website, because I wanted to download a sample (or two, or three, or however many) and see if it was worth $50.

  4. Hey there,
    I would have you as a guest on my show What’s Out Next! Email anytime and we’ll set it up! Best regards….Mitch Santell

  5. Hey there,
    I would have you as a guest on my show What’s Out Next! Email anytime and we’ll set it up! Best regards….Mitch Santell