Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

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Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 09 Jun 2017 18:09

This site's always been great about not intentionally listing bootlegs but literally hundreds have sneaked on over the years, with no sign of them being removed anytime soon. I know it's a major job, but can't something be done about methodically purging them? You could also add a note on the home page, something like:

    If you can't find a particular release listed, feel free to add it here. [and maybe] Alternatively, it may possibly be a bootleg; ask in our forums.
Of course, my bootleg article is still regularly updated and garnering a lot of attention... :)
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Samuel_Scott » 09 Jun 2017 21:06

The biggest issue is there are many grey market releases. We try not to list bootlegs for obvious reasons, and do try to remove them, but we need solid info for each to show they are not the rights holders or that they are indeed bootlegs.

It's a tough job, but we do our best. 8)
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Ulrich_Christensen » 09 Jun 2017 21:23

If you are asking for someone (from staff) to meticulously to go over every release currently in the database (basically an audit), that is not likely to happen. As you point out yourself, it is a major task. Naturally we do appreciate any help in removing bootlegs from the database.

Brent_Reid wrote:literally hundreds have sneaked on over the years, with no sign of them being removed anytime soon.

If you have an actual list (of releases in the database), we will gladly go over it. If we know specifically what to look for, we can do something about it. I resent the implication that we are consciously leaving bootlegs in the database.

We try to spot every bootleg upon submission and since every new addition has a corresponding contribution thread on the forum, every forum member can be helpful in spotting them before they get added.

We may look into a better way of reporting a bootleg directly from the comparison page, but in the meantime the comparison corrections forum can serve as a place to submit bootleg reports. Any incorrect / unsubstantiated reports can be properly discussed there as well.
We will also be looking into additional measures we can employ to weed out bad entries, but implementing those may take time.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 10 Jun 2017 00:49

I don't generally condone piracy, but in the case of foreign releases, how does anybody really know if the rights were licensed? (Licensing an original print or master would be a separate issue.) I skimmed your article and as an example, I have a DVD from Bach Film in France with a higher bitrate than the official US release, so that's got to be legitimate. And while you flag Sinister Cinema as clean, there are plenty of web board threads that still cite their source material as questionable, although this could largely be due to copyright status, i.e. a TV series copyright in the UK but not here in the US. Stealing somebody's source material is still a rotten thing to do, especially if it's from a commercial release.

In the case of companies that are so established that they (and their products) aren't going away, I'd be okay with flagging individual entries as "questionable"...but then you potentially open yourself to libel complaints. Perhaps add a simple page listing companies with questionable records, much like the list in your article? I know Cheezy Flicks sells a number of questionable products, but some day I may break down and buy their "King of the Rocket Men" serial because the last official release was on laserdisc in the 1990's. At that point I might check the database at DVDCompare, and roll my eyes a little if the search comes up blank.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 10 Jun 2017 08:42

I fully appreciate this is sometimes a grey area and short of a rightsholder personally flagging up each individual release, no one will be convinced. Even then, many will still deny counterfeits' lillegitimate status or at least continually look for loopholes. If only they'd put half as much effort into ascertaining whether something was legit! As I said in the article, that's largely the very basis for the bootleggers' continued existence. But I really don't want to rehash all the same old tired arguments; there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of forum threads already doing that.

Todd: I've had a flood of emails from rightsholders over that article and Bach are perhaps the third or fourth most cited offending company. It's a long piece and I don't blame you for not reading all of it, but I do address the fact that some companies don't steal everything they release. And a higher bitrate does not in itself constitute legal proof. For instance, it could be a straight rip from a different, higher bitrate release simply boosted to hide its source, or one of several other possibilities. What's the actual DVD in question?
Sinister Cinema have been flagged up before but I'm trying to avoid accusing anyone unduly. Believe me, that list of companies could easily be several times longer. Can you give me some examples or thread links regarding specific releases?

Ulrich: re "I resent the implication that we are consciously leaving bootlegs in the database." I don't know how you inferred I'm implying any sort of collusion on DVDCompare's part. I'm perfectly capable of speaking plainly and if that's what I meant, I'd have said it. Though if I thought that was the case I wouldn't be patronising or contributing to this site anyway. Having said that, there is the old quote, "All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing."

So... while I don't expect anyone, even if they had the time, to purge the site of every label on my list, can we at least get a concensus about any labels at all?
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 11 Jun 2017 09:18

The Bach Films DVD I had in mind is "Scared to Death", a 1947 PD Poverty Row film with Bela Lugosi. I sent details about it to DVDCompare roughly 5 years ago. I know of the man who facilitated the original transfer for Lumivision, and who was disheartened when so many companies ripped them off. But putting two films on a single-layer disk using poor compression causes their DVD to pixelate noticeably during every dissolve. Bach Films' disk doesn't have this problem (instead, they apply too much DNR, which turns a grainy print into a smeary picture), and I don't think there's a technology to easily fix this sort of thing digitally. Per Amazon, Bach's DVD was released in 2005, roughly 4 years before Network's release, so they couldn't have stolen from them either. I also found a review of the original Lumivision DVD (mine is from Slingshot or Triton), which also mentions "digital artifacts", just in case the original had been dual layer: http://www.thecinemalaser.com/dvd_revie ... on-dvd.htm . I never compared actual bitrates, but their disk seems legitimate to me, when they didn't have to go that route.

BTW, the above wasn't me so much trying to defend them as just getting all my ducks in a row.

As for Sinister Cinema, see this for a recent thread: http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuk ... -Video-CFV . I don't recall if it mentions titles. I've never ordered from them myself, so can't speak from personal experience.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Mark_Meakin » 11 Jun 2017 10:10

Bach Films released the only decent version of EMBRYO on dvd to date.All the other versions including US ones are full screen & in terrible shape from video sources.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 11 Jun 2017 18:44

Thanks for the in-depth report, Todd. Don't worry: it doesn't come across at all like defending (potential) piracy; more like someone who knows their stuff and has done their homework. :) Funnily enough, I've been in touch with Bob Furmanek (who restored Scared to Death) and was in the process of adding his account to the article. You can read it in the victim testimonies section.

Though I've alluded to them in the PD labels section, I've so far omitted bottom feeders like Alpha and Mill Creek from the list of offending companies. in the case of Scared, in this instance at least, Bach likely fit into that category. But they have stolen many other copyrighted non-PD titles and been successfully sued for it. Obviously, all three labels and others on my list have released genuinely PD stuff, though their actual source prints and transfers are morally questionable.

By the way, as far as I'm aware Slingshot and Lumivision were one and the same company. I've got loads of Bela's fims on disc but hadn't got around to picking up Scared, so have put in an order for their original DVD. Thanks for the prompt!

As to my original point: are there any labels whatsoever that we can all agree are pirates who shouldn't be listed on this site?

Sam: without me spending ages searching. I recall periodically seeing posts from you at least, denouncing certain labels as pirates/bootleggers...
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Samuel_Scott » 11 Jun 2017 19:15

Brent_Reid wrote:Sam: without me spending ages searching. I recall periodically seeing posts from you at least, denouncing certain labels as pirates/bootleggers...


Probably Resen, Studio 4K, Red Sun, and other more prolific ones.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 11 Jun 2017 21:40

Cheers Sam. There are Studio 4K BDs of The Stranger (1946) and The Third Man (1949) listed here. Both nicked transfers; the latter is ripped from the Criterion if I remember correctly. Not heard of Red Sun. Which country are they from; could you point me at any releases?

Spain's Llamentol are prolific offenders, with tons of pirated, non-grey copyrighted releases; does anyone disagree? DVDCompare currently has 70-odd titles listed.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Samuel_Scott » 11 Jun 2017 22:07

Brent_Reid wrote:Cheers Sam. There are Studio 4K BDs of The Stranger (1946) and The Third Man (1949) listed here. Both nicked transfers; the latter is ripped from the Criterion if I remember correctly. Not heard of Red Sun. Which country are they from; could you point me at any releases?

Spain's Llamentol are prolific offenders, with tons of pirated, non-grey copyrighted releases; does anyone disagree? DVDCompare currently has 70-odd titles listed.


I'll remove the Studio 4K releases in due course. For Red Sun, look here - http://hkfilmnews.blogspot.co.uk/2007/0 ... in_05.html

Many Llamentol releases are public domain titles, or grey area releases, but as I said before, if anyone can give full details on any bootlegs in the database with concrete proof from rights owners or other sources at that sort of level, we will delete them.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 12 Jun 2017 20:39

Brent_Reid wrote:Funnily enough, I've been in touch with Bob Furmanek (who restored Scared to Death) and was in the process of adding his account to the article.

[...]

I've got loads of Bela's fims on disc but hadn't got around to picking up Scared, so have put in an order for their original DVD. Thanks for the prompt!

[...]

As to my original point: are there any labels whatsoever that we can all agree are pirates who shouldn't be listed on this site?


It suddenly occurred to me that Bob (not Lumivision) is the likely owner of that Scared to Death print. I said above that it's often hard to know if a DVD release is licensed or not, but in this matter it's not. I can simply ask him!

If you've seen Lugosi's Monogram work, then you know what to expect. Scared to Death is cheap and silly, but this time in color. In checking my facts, I realized that Network's DVD is now just £2.99 on Amazon UK, and will add a copy to my next order. Will be curious to see how they handle DNR and compression. It could be the best of the lot.

Concerning known pirate labels, you and Sam would know best, but personally I have never bought anything from Spain, as these offering seem to carry a double whammy of not only being counterfeits, but often really bad prints.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 15 Jun 2017 23:44

All the licensed home video editions of Bob's restorations are listed in my article, under his contribution. They're directly from the horse's mouth. Neither the UK Mediumrare nor Network DVDs of Scared to Death are licensed from him. He says his is the only 35mm copy of that film around and was used for the Lumivision/Slingshot LD and DVD master. Please report back on how the Network transfer compares.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 16 Jun 2017 02:25

Ugh, so every DVD copy of "Scared to Death", save the Lumivision/Slingshot/Triton version is unlicensed. (I guess you can easily remove pixelization with DNR.) Network has so many quality releases that it's depressing to put them in the same camp. I did place a small Amazon UK order the other day, including Network's "Scared". It hasn't shipped yet, but now I know to keep my expectations in check. Perhaps they stole Bach Film's version?
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 16 Jun 2017 08:08

I'd be shocked if Network's transfer was derived from one of Bob's releases or anyone else's. They're one of my fave labels and I'm sure would never intentionally do such a thing. In fact, I'm in touch with them at the moment about some of their releases being ripped off by Italian companies who are listed on this site.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 22 Jun 2017 08:14

Ah, so you're suggesting Network's copy came from an entirely different source? I hope you're right. There's an easy way to tell, as Bob's print is missing 2-3 seconds of footage in the middle, which creates a sort of watermark.

My Amazon UK order shipped on Tuesday, so I should know in roughly 2 weeks.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 06 Jul 2017 10:10

Sorry, to be the bearer of bad new, Brent, but Network's DVD is also missing those 2-3 seconds of footage. Additionally, here are the bitrate graphs for both the Network and Bach disks:

Image

My understanding has been that the very flat graphs indicate an analog source. Re-reading Bob's words from your "victim testimonies" section, these other disks obviously came from the laserdisk.

Lumivision's graph looks nothing like the above, but with an average bitrate of 3.63 MB/sec and poor compression, is actually the worst looking of the lot. (I'd say Network's is the best, with Bach's being a bit too dark with a slight green tint.) I wonder what Bob's master could look like with a modern encode and a little digital restoration? We've honestly never seen it!

The only question remaining is if you'll decide to gently raise the issue with Network. Sigh.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 06 Jul 2017 18:48

Brilliant work, Todd! Not such a disappointment; I'm simply trying to get to the truth. Discussion around the legitimacy of bootlegs is generally focused on denial and confirmation bias on the part of those who buy them. I wish more folk were like you and willing to look a little more closely at the issue.

I've told Bob about this thread and will be in touch with Network asap.
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Brent_Reid » 06 Jul 2017 20:09

I just got this reply from Bob:

    I can spot my laser disc transfer in a heartbeat. There were many little fixes and tweaks that we did to correct issues on the 35mm nitrate.

    I no longer have access to that print but do know where the original red/blue 35mm nitrate masters are held. It would be pricey but we could do a new 4K restoration that would blow all previous versions out of the water. With my sad history of getting burnt on PD projects, I'm not about to invest any time or money into it but if someone wants to present the Ultimate Edition on Blu-ray, please send them my way!
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Re: Bootlegs and Pirates on DVDCompare

Postby Todd_Oberly » 08 Jul 2017 03:12

It's a Lugosi film, so probably will see a restoration eventually. Manos and The Creeping Terror and a number of other bad films have, so why not this one? Maybe someone will create a kickstarter campaign?

BTW, I just realized that I was being a bit harsh on Lumivision's DVD. That it has half the file size and half the bitrate is undeniable, but playing on the computer, it compares favorably to the others. There's apparently something odd in the encoding that causes my DVD and Blu-Ray players to struggle and go blocky sometimes.
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