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Weekend Discussion Thread: A Plea to Fellow MSTies

A while back, alert reader Jennifer became aware of the number of people who are pirating RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic riffs. She sent me a little message that she wanted to send to our readers. I explained to her that she is largely preaching to the choir here, but we agreed that if it discourages even one person from stealing from RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic, it’s worth the effort. Here’s the message (only slightly edited by me):

We’ve come a long way since the days of “circulating the tapes.” For example, nobody uses tapes anymore. But have you noticed that neither RiffTrax nor Cinematic Titanic has asked anybody to circulate anything? That’s because they want their money. A lot of people justify downloading episodes of MST3K that are not otherwise available. But let’s keep in mind that all Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic productions are available, to everybody, everywhere, at any time.

I know it’s tempting, though. They’re so accessible, and the anonymity of the internet leads otherwise loyal, law-abiding fans to thievery. Oh, sure, one might play it off as a casual offense — nothing more than a proprietary white lie. And it’s not as though the FBI is going to bust down your door because you pirated the riffing of a bad movie.

Yet it is because of this ease of access and the lack of any real consequences that I’m concerned about our community. We are better than this. We are dedicated fans who, despite the allure of the cheap and easy, are willing to sacrifice for the honorable and upright. We are the Rowsdowers to everyone else’s Satoris—the Princes of Space in a world full of Krankors.

So I say to you, fellow MSTies: For serious, don’t steal. After all their hard work and considering the immense joy they’ve given us, Bill, Frank, Joel, Josh, Kevin, Mary Jo, Mike, and Trace deserve every penny.

And let’s try to keep in mind how good Shout! Factory has been to us—if you want more high-quality DVDs, you’re going to have to put your money where your riff is, so to speak.

And if you do steal, they will send Torgo after you and there will be deep hurting.

Thanks, Jennifer. We would only add two things:

1) This site is opposed to SOPA and PIPA. The larger issue is a complex one (and we really don’t want this to turn in to a discussion of that). In this post we are ONLY discussing the pirating of RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic products, which are created by hard-working artists you know and love.
2) We would ask you to make a personal pledge not to download Cinematic Titanic or RiffTrax products from anywhere but their respective Web sites, and if you know anybody who downloads pirated RiffTrax and/or Cinematic Titanic products — or worse, pirates them themselves — please exert whatever peer pressure you can to discourage them from taking money out of the pockets of these brilliant people.

100 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: A Plea to Fellow MSTies”

  1. Stressfactor says:

    @ Matt D

    For me SOPA and PIPA have the potential to pose a threat to people who rely on the internet for doing their own programming.

    I love guys like Noah Antweiler, A.K.A. The Spoony One with his Spoony Experiment site, Brad Jones A.K.A. The Cinema Snob with his Cinema Snob website, Doug Walker, A.K.A. The Nostalgia Critic (among others) of The Guy With The Glasses website, etc., etc., etc. And almost to a one all of those named have confessed to basically being inspired in what they do by MST3K. Sure, they’re more ‘critic’ based but you can see the influence of MST3K and all of them will quote liberally from the show.

    And, as I’ve told many of my friends, look at what Joel, Josh, Trace, Kevin and Jim were doing on KTMA. It was rough, it was shot on the fly and edited equally on the fly. It was basically the UHF version of a lot of the stuff younger people are doing on YouTube and BlipTV and similar sites.

    Joel and the gang were lucky enough to be able to use KTMA as their playground and springboard and the internet provides that same playground and springboard to a whole new generation of young comedy artists. And SOPA and PIPA have the chance to threaten that.

    And, as others have pointed out, Joel and the gang in their KTMA days did some things which were probably questionable from a copyright standpoint but they did it in innocence. SOPA and PIPA could punish those who see nothing wrong in what they do believing that they have coverage under “Fair Use”.

    The problem with “Fair Use” is it’s kind of amorphous and it’s often difficult to know when one has crossed a line between Fair Use and Infringement. But a humoungous internet ban hammer should not be lowered indiscriminately on them.

    And that’s the problem with SOPA and PIPA — it’s like a using a sledgehammer when you should use a scalpel.

    Or, to quote the Fourth Doctor in “Pyramids of Mars”: “It’s like trying to fix a watch with a hammer and chisel — one wrong move and you’ll never know the time again.”

       5 likes

  2. briizilla says:

    I’ve got every episode of mst on my hard drive and don’t feel bad about it. Some are episodes i taped back in the day, some ate rips from my dvds and some are from DAP. I do buy the DVDs when they come out. Most of the episodes I have on my computer look pretty atrocious but I’m glad I have them. Every night I open the mst folder, select shuffle and play all and fall asleep and wake up to randomly selected mst goodness.
    As far as stealing from RT or CT….never.

       1 likes

  3. hellokittee says:

    I don’t even know how to pirate stuff off the internet. Not to say that I would if I did. I also did accidentally buy one of those pirated versions of the volume XX dvd set on ebay (like @Commando Cody mentioned above) and ever since then I have bought all of them from Amazon only.

    Gotta say though, I would LOVE a “Cuervo” t shirt, although I am sure that it is far from being a licensed product!

       2 likes

  4. VeryDisturbing says:

    Yeah, I’ve never gotten any of their stuff illegally, and never will. Whenever I here of an upcoming DVD release, I budget and save for it. How could I not??? It’s money well spent.

       3 likes

  5. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    As long as you leave me my DAP, I promise to by the legit DVDs when they come out.

       4 likes

  6. The Bolem says:

    @50 and 51,

    Sorry to stray off and stump, but it’s still quite relevant to the topic at hand:

    SOPA and PIPA are functionally dead and toxic in both houses of Congress right now, so even if you support them for some reason, it’s a moot point.

    ACTA on the other hand, just got signed by several countries and the EU over the past week, and by Obama late last year, without approval by the senate. That proposal has the potential to do all the damage of SOPA/PIPA and more on an international scale, but it hasn’t gotten the press it should because it’s disguised as a trade agreement.

    We all agree that actual piracy is theft that needs to be stopped, but from what I’ve heard, any of these 3 proposals would basically give copyright holders free reign to declare anything piracy/counterfeiting (ACTA makes no real distinction) while denying the accused due process to challenge a claim. It’s long past time we had this thread’s friendly debate about what’s actually piracy, centering around whether an action really hurts the rights-holder, but do you think any media giants are going to listen? Look at what UMG did to Megaupload under existing laws.

    With piracy so poorly-defined in ACTA, companies will also surely use it for brand/image protection, probably even going so far as to shut down IMDB because they’re tired of their movies getting negative, trollish reviews. If that’s the case, we can kiss the whole Rifftrax franchise goodbye, since they’ll just declare any program enabling the burning of a synched disc piracy even if every single user showed them the receipt for their legit DVD/Blu Ray. MST3K rubbed enough people the wrong way over the years that fan sites like this will probably disappear too. Sampo has a link to site that sells the complete KTMA collection, right? Is there technically any such thing as a non-pirated KTMA ep on tape or disc? Do you think anyone who owns the rights to any of those movies will care if it’s “hurting anyone”, or even if you own a legal, unriffed copy of every single one?

    Yeah, I know, Bolem’s just overreacting as an excuse to waste everyone’s time again, so please look up ACTA and explain how I’m wrong/ignorant. And if you find that your country has signed onto ACTA, especially if it’s part of the EU, consider asking your representatives to take a stand against it in hopes of denying it EU ratification come June. I may have voted for Obama, but I intend to contact my senators and the White House with a lot of questions about the USA’s complicity with ACTA.

    Back on topic, I have never downloaded anything from RT, CT, or DAP because I’m another non-savvy internet user who can’t figure out how to do anything but browse. I’ve bought all of CT’s DVDs and a handful of RT’s. I’m one volume behind on Shout!’s releases for financial reasons.

    …AND I do regularly buy pirated DVR copies of movies and TV shows whose rights holders, as far as I can tell, aren’t going to release on R1 DVD. Examples include ‘Complex World’ and ‘Robotech: The Untold Story’, which won’t get released anytime soon due to legal disputes. ‘The Journey’, the great reteaming of Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, has NEVER been released on home video, in any format, period. My copy was recorded off TCM, and since I don’t feel like staying on alert for years at a time waiting for the next showing, I indirectly paid the guy who did. Most recently, Megaforce! Are YOU man enough?…and do you know of a legit release I missed? Have I hurt someone financially, and would they cease hurting if I bought an old rental VHS off ebay? Would it be any more or less ethical to download them or watch them on Youtube? Hell, Youtube is the best free advertising a lot of obscure movies, TV, and songs will ever get.

    If you’re reading this, you may think I’m an asshole for defending piracy, but you agree that it’s important to preserve any given movie for future generations, if only for them to riff on right? Well surprise, WE’RE THE ONLY ONES WHO CARE! The vast majority of the upcoming generation doesn’t seem to give a crap about any film made before they were born unless it’s part of a long running franchise (Star Wars, Terminator, misc. slasher s#!t). The MPAA realizes this, and likely sees any interest in “old” movies as a threat to their profits from new ones, so they’re not going to have the philosophical debate we are about what’s “harmful” piracy. They’ll just squash it all. Sadly, a MST ep is the closest thing to a film appreciation course most people will ever get, and the “pirates” I buy from are collectors making a few extra bucks by doing the work of the Film Preservation Society. The quality may be crappy, but otherwise, how much would have been lost for good over the past decade due to video stores closing and/or doing VHS purges? Isn’t that a lot more ethical than a few corporations and governments ensuring that no one gets to see those movies ever again? Well, that’s what ACTA will allow.

    So, as timely as Sampo’s plea to us is, it probably won’t mean a damn thing half a year from now.

    And if we can’t get our MST/RT/CT fix online, and all legitimate venues for their material fall to baseless allegations and lawsuits, I guess the only way to enjoy them will be to once again start circula–well, you know.

       8 likes

  7. Mr. B(ob) says:

    In all seriousness, is this really that big of a problem for CT and Rifftrax? Most of their fans, the kind that regularly listen to their stuff understand that these are relatively small artist-produced enterprises and that stealing the material is not stealing from faceless billionaire corporations. I don’t see any evidence or justification in the fan’s suggested topic paragraph as to why this might be a huge problem that requires a “weekend discussion topic” instead of the usual fun. As the kids like to say, “just sayin'”.

       1 likes

  8. The Bolem says:

    Okay, sorry, 50 posts down I forgot your 2 criteria Sampo. Delete #56 if you must, but I stand by my assertion that ACTA will easily lead to RT and CT being shut down, a far greater blow to their profits than piracy, which as someone suggested has likely only been done through casual thoughtlessness while downloading.

       1 likes

  9. Stressfactor says:

    @ Mr. B(ob),

    I do know that when many internet sites went “dark” to protest SOPA and PIPA J. Elvis tweeted that the CT website would be going dark too even though *they had lost revenue to piracy*.

    So I’d say if J. Elvis believes that piracy has bitten into their profits then he quite possibly has a reason to think so.

    CT, unlike RT, has a secondary revenue stream in the live shows but even those can be pirated. Someone slips a camera into the theatre, records one of the live shows, then offers it for purchase on a download site or burns it to DVD and sells it.

       1 likes

  10. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Two quick points:

    1. There’s no excuse for pirating RT and CT–they’re not that expensive and easily available. The money spent on them goes directly to the artists, and these are people we claim to care deeply about and even (as last week’s discussion bears witness) have helped us through hard times as much as family and friends. But all that you already know.

    2. We need to have a full discussion about the place of MST within this new culture of stricter copyright laws, although I will respect Sampo’s criterion that this ain’t the time or place. I did write to Sampo earlier this week suggesting that very discussion–guess I now know where he stands. But there are issues of “fair use” and “creative use” that need to be seriously addressed in the new digital age. I’ve got lots to say about this, as I’m sure many of you do–I hope we can have a full discussion about it some time soon.

    One more thing:

    3. Yes, I pledge never to pirate RT or CT. And I buy whatever MST DVDs I can find.

       2 likes

  11. Jake I. says:

    I’m just chiming in to include my name into the list of folks who purchase MST3k’s that are not available from Rhino or Shout from an outside vendor and later upgrade to every set and single disc when they DO come out officially. If it’s a choice between getting an episode by putting money in the hands of the Brains and Rhino/Shout or putting money into the hands of a guy with a DVD recorder, I’m always going to go to the former. As far as Cinematic Titanic goes, I’ve wound up purchasing two copies of each title from the beginning: one for me and one for a family member. Sure, I suppose I could buy the episodes digitally and burn two copies, but I would feel that I’d still be cheating.

       2 likes

  12. William B. says:

    Make it available on DVD (or at least a keepable download/burnable ISO) and I will gladly give you my money. I bought all of the Rifftrax LIVE! shows and a few shorts compilations on DVD, and I will be buying The Galaxy Invader/Crater Lake Monster DVDs when those become available. Speaking of LIVE! shows… I needs my Jack the Giant Killer DVD… Please, Rifftrax team!

    That being said, I will admit to acquiring a good amount of the unreleased (as in not released by Rhino/Shout Factory) MST episodes thanks to dah internets. But usually as soon as the DVDs are announced, I go and buy them and support them and dispose of the online rips.

    I do like the idea of a burnable ISO, and I do wish more entertainment companies would make use of this format.

       1 likes

  13. Th1rt3eN says:

    if they make it i buy it, if they dont i download it, if they make it and i all ready have it i still buy it.

    its just good manners.

       2 likes

  14. MasterNinjaThemeSong says:

    I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Rifftrax, CT, and MST3k stuff. I’ve gone to every Rifftrax Live event, including one that I attended Live Live in Nashville. I would never pirate any of the guys new stuff, but I have every MST3k episode from the DAP project and don’t feel bad at all about that. Many of these eps will never come out on DVD because of various copyright concerns and I am slowly adding all of the DVDs that have been released to my collection. For a long time, the DAP collection was all that the fans had, apart from a few commercial releases here and there.

    I really don’t believe that either Rifftrax or CT are suffering from the effects of piracy. I suspect that either they or their investors have hired a consultant that is feeding them misinformation on the damages they receive from piracy. This is pretty common. A lot of these specialist groups track only the amount of illegal downloading (and even then there are massive errors in their data), without any research into what percentage of these downloads actually result in lost sales. Not everyone that pirates was going to ever spend money on the products they pirate, and some of them have already purchased the product. The latter is especially true for Rifftrax, as it is easier to download a pre-synched riff, than it is to synch it yourself.

    Rifftrax and CT have a uniquely devoted community. I’ve never met a member of it that would knowingly do anything to hurt the people involved in Rifftrax and CT. I suspect their pirates consist of people in foreign countries and broke college kids that will purchase their products as soon as they get a real job and some disposable income. I’ve never gotten the impression that Rifftrax is having trouble making ends meet, but CT I do wonder about. I really hope this isn’t the case, as I love them both. I just don’t think that their failure would be at all directly related to piracy.

       3 likes

  15. Ron M. Stewarts says:

    Simple fact – RT and CT are self-produced productions and should be respected and supported. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy their work,and to know the money spent on a RT, on a CT DVD,etc goes right to them.

    Yes, it’s just like an old movie – “We have a Barn, a projector and a bad movie, Let’s riff it and put on a show”. :)

    Now, as for the subject of MST3K episodes – there will always be episodes that will not come out officially, no matter what – and anyone who thinks they will clear the rights to ever episodes is delusional – Cost, or just an unwillingness,or both – those episodes are going to be pirated no matter what and just a fact of life.

       1 likes

  16. JaneDoe3000 says:

    Having fallen on hard times, I am currently dirt poor; too poor to afford any CT’s or RT’s. Therefore, I haven’t seen ANY of them yet. This upsets me, but I try to remain calm and remind myself that someday things will improve and I’ll treat myself to all the awesomeness I want. Someday….

       1 likes

  17. Mark L says:

    I’ll play devil’s advocate – without piracy, there’s no way the Rifftrax business model is viable. They rely on people buying their riff but pirating the film – how many fans are going to buy a copy of every awful film they riff on, or wasting a Netflix slot on it. I don’t mind, as I’ve not bought / listened to a Rifftrax in ages, but I can’t believe for one second they care what people do to get the films, as long as they get paid for the riffs.

       9 likes

  18. pondoscp says:

    I think we’re all missing the point here: MST3K was being shown on tv in Spain until recently! REPEAT: MST WAS ON TV STILL SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD!!!! What? Who knew? Is it on still in any other country? If so, why not in the U.S.? What episodes were shown? Was this authorized? What bearing does any of this have on rights issues on the individual movies? Who rewrote the riffs? Was it changed for other countries? I thought it only aired in the U.S. and briefly in England? AHHH! This is all kind of bewildering to me. I need answers, answers, answers!

       3 likes

  19. Nick DeNife says:

    I have never and will never pirate any of the RT or CT shows nor will I buy pirated versions. Nor will I rip any for friends, although they have asked me. I work in the entertainment business myself, and I am very much against piracy of any kind. Especially when it comes to RT and CT. And when are they coming back to Cleveland Ohio?!?!?!

       0 likes

  20. Satorical says:

    I’ve supported projects by each of these artists over the past 21 years and will continue to do so.

    ::Insert Frank Conniff riff about House Republicans who make stupid pledges::

       1 likes

  21. Partytime Pie Rat says:

    I will admit to having downloaded two CT titles via less than legal means. Both of which I later purchased. It was not a matter of me not wanting to pay, it was a matter of me not being able to pay at the time thanks to this wonderful economy we’ve been having…but as I said, I did buy DVDs of both titles.

       1 likes

  22. This Guy says:

    I’m only going to say that I’m glad Rifftrax has a donation button because sometimes I just want to be lazy and download it pre-sync’d. Sometimes I don’t want to spend the hours of mockery for admitting I have a copy of Glitter or Twilight, and I definitely don’t want to give money to the people who made this in order to encourage them to keep making so many movies that are so bad that we need three verbal surgeons to operate on it just to make the experience watchable again.

    Rest assured, even though I say I tend to download Rifftrax, I also tend to buy their RODs and shorts, which are blissfully finished without the need for me to keep an archive of the original footage. CT as well.

       2 likes

  23. EthanV says:

    Amen and hallelujiah to this article. I have always given my money over on the first day of any MST3K release, and I always will. I’m a little more discriminating about Rifftrax, but I’ve purchased quite a few commentary tracks and most of the dvd releases. Ghosthouse is awesome, by the way.

    “Circulate the Tapes” doesn’t apply anymore. There’s no television show on the air that needs the extra boost that missionary fans provided.

       1 likes

  24. trickymutha says:

    @ #66- I have hit hard times too- there was a time a short four years ago when a Rhino or Shout set came out I was buying two- now, I saved up empties to buy the latest set. I can’t afford the CT show coming up here in Michigan (lucky enough to see them live three years ago) and I haven’t downloaded a Rifftrax in two years.

    That said, I’ll never pirate. Someday, things will get better.

       1 likes

  25. Dirk Squarejaw says:

    This thread makes me think about two issues that I don’t think have been discussed much so far in this thread. First of all, what do people here think about the “piracy” vs. “bootlegging” issue? My understanding of piracy is avoiding the purchase of something that is commercially available by acquiring cheaper (or free) copies, whereas bootlegging involves acquiring something that is not commercially available to begin with. It seems like the consensus here is that piracy is bad, but bootlegging is okay. After all, without bootlegging, none of us would have our copies of KTMA episodes or other episodes that have not been commercially released.

    And second, what about the issue of bootlegging that profits from the Brains’ work? I personally do not have a problem with sharing unreleased episodes for free, but charging money for them and making a profit from them (as a number of websites selling MST episodes do), I find to be ethically problematic.

    Anyway, thoughts on those issues?

       2 likes

  26. Eric Woll says:

    I think at the very least we could agree that watching unavailable eps on youtube would be outside the realm of bootlegging or piracy, but when someone starts to make money off of the Brains hard work, that’s where the problem begins for me. It isn’t so much the trading of eps but the possible money that is changing hands.

    I use youtube to try and bring some of my friends into the flock. It would be more difficult to do that without that option. I would never sell any eps that I get my hands on to anyone because that’s the root cause of the problem; selling something you didnt create yourself to make money. Anyone who performs these acts is a douche bag and should be penalized is some way.

       2 likes

  27. Stressfactor says:

    @ Eric Woll,

    Although even YouTube is kind of an issue now as far as who is “profiting” off of it because YouTube has started to have those pop-up ads — so YouTube is, technically, profiting off of *everything* that gets posted up there.

    The people who are uploading the videos to YouTube aren’t making money off of it (I don’t think) but YouTube is generating a revenue stream from it which allows them to keep offering the service.

    Nothing is completely “free” — even on the internet.

       3 likes

  28. Bart Lammey says:

    It’s hopefully worth mentioning there’s free Rifftrax on Hulu.
    When Cinematic Titanic first started I asked if they wanted to continue “circulating the tapes” and got a big o_O, understandably.

       0 likes

  29. Matthew Shine says:

    @78
    Yeah, but what about Non-US residents who can’t watch HULU thanks to the stupid IP block thingy?

       1 likes

  30. IAmThePeej says:

    Honestly, anyone who is concerned about SOPA and PIPA need to not worry, SOPA has been pulled, and the vote on PIPA has been suspended indefinitely. Now, as #56 put it, ACTA is the new threat and is a threat to what we love, MST, CT and RT (funny part is I usually refer to Rooster Teeth as RT, ANYWAY…).
    The reason why its a threat is because it won’t stop piracy, it will stifle creativity online. SOPA/ PIPA and now ACTA are no different than Prohibition. Alcohol was made illegal, so people began making their own because it was “forbidden”, same applies to piracy. People will always rebel, its in our nature as animals. Same with violence, but that is for another topic at another time.
    Everything we love that is being done by either CT or RT will be easily undone by saying they are selling pirated materials that infringe upon “the original” creators’ vision (the original creators being the Hollywood machine), allowing their websites to be seized, along with their revenue stream(s) and punish them under the fullest extent of the law without proper investigation or representation in court.
    The only “pirating” I have done for any of these are the DAP releases for episodes that aren’t available, or helping out some friends with copying DVDs that I purchased that have been OOP by Rhino and not yet released by Shout! Factory. That’s it. I’ve bought only the first 6 CT DVDs so far and plan on buying them all. And I mean paying the $14.99 for the physical discs, not $9.99 for a download where another party gets a cut of the sale, giving even less to the CT crew, and I only have one riff from RT, that I got for free for downloading their new RiffTrax Player.
    As for people who only download an avi of the shows, they would never buy them in the first place. They are nothing but sponges on society. People who need to learn that you MUST pay for what you enjoy if you want it to continue. Downloading it to see what its about is a good way to start and then buy it when available, but to ONLY download it because you feel “it should be free” or “the price is too high” are NOT reasons to continue to do so. Admittedly, I do download DVDs of shows and movies, but I stay within the grey area, downloading only what is no longer in print (mainly because I refuse to pay up to $200 for a used copy where the money will only go to the re-seller, not to the original distributors/ creators), not available in my region, or were only available at a convention and nowhere else.

       1 likes

  31. Compound says:

    Hey folks. Just poking my head in for a sec.

    Over in Rifftrax-land, the folks on the forums are holding an unofficial survey of what films we’d like to see the RT folks tackle in 2012. This gets ignored by the PTB, but hey, it’s for fun. If you’d like to participate, just send a numbered list ranked most desired to least to compound97@gmail.com. A list of 25 would be great, but 10 or up is cool too. Thanks.

    Oh, and #57- after Inception came out, the RT folks noted that twice as many people had downloaded the torrented version as had purchased the trax from them. Since that came out within hours of the trax’s release, I imagine it did hurt the revenue pretty badly, even if only a fraction of those who downloaded it would have bought it.

       1 likes

  32. Regardless of how I might feel about big business (including movie studios and record companies) I would NEVER steal from Mike and Joel and company.

    I’m a strong believer in “voting with my dollars.” But while I feel my bucks spent on movies and music basically go into the vast corporate toilet with little or no impact on what gets made in the future, every time I spend my money on these riffs I get the distinct feeling it’s contributing towards them making more of them… which is what *I* want.

    I can hardly believe they are all still doing what I love the best, so any little way I can encourage them to continue is what I’m going to do. I’m greedy — I want them to do MORE! And I’ll buy them all. (However, just the VOD stuff including what CT does — I don’t like the RT riffs on recent films and wouldn’t want to go to the trouble of trying to sync up such a track with the real film anyway).

    Indeed, if RT had some kind of automatic “send me every VOD you release” account I’d sign up for it with PayPal right now. As it is, I go there every other month or so and buy what’s been released in the meantime. While they don’t always hit it out of the park, there’s nothing I’ve bought that I have regretted or wouldn’t buy again (but I *really* wish they’d release the live “Jack the Giant Killer” show because that was hilarious — there must be a rights issue problem, because there certainly isn’t any technical reason it wasn’t available immediately).

    (Oh, and my wife and I also go to every single show RT does — CT has never done anything close enough to us and probably never will, but I’d scrape up the money to go to one of those if they did).

       0 likes

  33. Stressfactor says:

    @ 79,

    Yeah, the internet is universal but TPTB haven’t figured that out yet.

    I dumped cable a long time ago because I didn’t like paying $100 a month when I only watched shows on like three channels. Now I watch everything online legally through Hulu or network sites. That being said I would LOVE access to BBC shows. The BBC has an online iPlayer but it’s only accessible if you have an IP registered to Great Britain.

    I would happily pay a monthly market rate for a subscription to the iPlayer but so far the BBC hasn’t done so.

    I know some people, though, who have spoofed a British IP address in order to get access to the iPlayer and that I refuse to do.

    But it would be nice if the countries got together and opened things up — allowing people to pay a reasonable fee to gain access to programming from other countries. I know some serious Anime-heads who would LOVE to get access to current Japanese anime for instance.

    But now I’m trying to envision MST3K dubbed in a multitude of other languages.

    And think about the Sandy Frank imports — if they aired the MST3K Gamera movies in Japan would they have to re-dub the films back into their original Japanese and then dub Joel, Crow and Servo??

    The mind boggles at the idea.

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  34. I’ve purchased practically every release related to MST3K since they started selling VHS copies of episodes back in the day. I had no problems purchasing them again on DVD and have all 23 DVD sets and the various odd releases (including the two-disc version of “Manos”, meaning I’ve bought that episode 3 times! I also have all of the Film Crew and CT’s releases (some on DVD and some via VOD), all the Rifftrax shorts and VOD releases and a handful of Rifftrax audio tracks. We get so much value out of these at my house that it’s worth far more than the cost, and I want to do everything I can to support these artists and their continuing fine work.

    See for yourself: http://zycha.com/111108-8186.jpg

    @Stressfactor: You can find a fair number of BBC shows on Hulu and a _ton_ of them on Netflix. We cancelled satellite years ago and don’t miss it a bit. Between Hulu, Netflix and buying DVDs we get plenty of good TV (and all the bad TV anyone could possibly want).

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  35. Stressfactor says:

    @ Concept Junkie — Re: Hulu — yeah, but they don’t carry any of the *really* recent stuff — like the last season of “Doctor Who”. More the pity.

    I use Hulu for a lot of shows though and use my local library for a lot of DVD’s — my local library system has a really deep DVD collection — including many of the MST3K sets.

    I can’t fault the taste of the acquisitions librarian there!

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  36. Deathstalker says:

    Not gonna Lie I have watched Birdimic on torrents with Riff commentary. But I also own every short DVD that they have produced….dunno its a battle with me sometimes. Today people want instant gratification coupled with economic status its an odd line to walk. I dont want Mike and the guys EVER to stop producing there humor. Confusing is what the internet media is becoming.

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  37. JeremyR says:

    The thing is, you never know if people who pirated movies would have bought them, or even if they pirated and also bought them. It’s quite possibly piracy helped sales – people saw it, liked it, and thought it was worth buying. Unlike MST3K, you can’t really watch it first to see if it’s funny or not.

    And of course, the whole premise of the show (as someone mentioned) is on the borderline of legality as it is. They’re creating a derivative work based on copyrighted material, which is only legal because it happens to be a parody. In the future, where civilizations have less of a sense of humor, that could be changed.

    And as mentioned, the Star Wars Holiday Special – you can’t watch that legally, unless you happen to have taped it when it first ran. I’m sure that audiences is very, very small, compared to those that pirated it via streaming or torrent.

    And lets not forget the Godzilla thing, selling movies that no longer had the rights to. Or that Rifftrax takes public domain movies, adds a audio rifftrax track, and sells the resulting product for $6 more than just their usual riff trax. What about the people who made the orignal movie they are selling? They don’t get anything. Is it legal? Sure, but moral? That’s your call.

    So I guess my point is, the whole thing isn’t that clear cut, but obviously if you are a fan of the show and these people, you should buy their products as much as possible.

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  38. Stressfactor says:

    @ Jeremy R

    But you see when Copyright Law was enacted it was never *meant* to be *forever*.

    The idea behind Copyright Law was to serve two masters — the originators of the material and those who would come after and use that material as a base to build something else on.

    Copyright Law carved out a time frame and during that time frame the originators of the material were free to make as much money off of their creation as they could. When that time was up then someone else was free to come along and do something else with it.

    Fair Use was meant to allow others to use small amounts of material so they didn’t have to wait years to access the information for important works.

    But Copyright Law was never meant to last for as long as they have pushed it out now. The original creators of the law wanted new works to be created off of Copyrighted Material. They wanted new songs based off of old ones, they wanted new novels jumped off of old ones, they wanted wanted, in short, to be able to hand the creative community a wealth of possibilites — not stiffle it.

    The problem with Copyright Law is that it’s now gotten too long and really that’s been pushed mostly by big corporations with big money stakes — guys like Disney and Warner Bros. who don’t want characters like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny or Superman to enter public domain.

    As far as those who have let their Copyright slip — they’re actually acting as the law originally intended. They had their time to make money from their work and now it’s someone else’s turn to take what they did and make something new out of it.

    *And by the way, I’ve made a minor study of Copyright Law — I’ve had to because of my line of work where Copyright Laws impact what I do fairly directly. So I understand the labor intensive process of trying to track down to prove that something has gone into Public Domain — and you have to do your due dillegence and be able to prove that you’ve done that research just in case someone tries to sue you for Copyright violation.

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  39. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I’ll play a little devil’s advocate here for fun and show that bootlegging is not always bad. I had no idea if CT was going to be any good when it started. I admit I got a 3 pack of their first 3 titles off the interwebs as there was no netflix/hulu option to try it out. The first 2 were not very good IMHO and if I was paying for each title I would have stopped there and never thought about them again. Since I had the 3 pack already, I thought I would finish it off before ignoring CT for the rest of my life and I’m glad I did because the third title was hilarious and I realized that maybe it just takes a while to get the old riff engine running again. I went to a CT live show, loved it and enjoyed meeting my comedy idols in CT and have bought all their releases ever since. To sum up my story, I think continued bootlegging of something commercially available is bad but doing it once to try it out is not so bad.

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  40. jere7my says:

    JeremyR wrote, And of course, the whole premise of the show (as someone mentioned) is on the borderline of legality as it is. They’re creating a derivative work based on copyrighted material, which is only legal because it happens to be a parody.

    No — it’s legal because they negotiate for the rights to the movies. Either they’re in the public domain or they pay the rights holders for the privilege. In the KTMA days, the station had already obtained the rights. (Syncable RiffTrax are the exception, but since they’re not using any of the original material they’re not violating copyright, any more than someone who writes a concordance or a commentary.)

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  41. schippers says:

    I do solemnly swear never to illegally download anything made by Rifftrax, Cinematic Titanic, or Best Brains. Never have, never will.

    On an only tangentially related note, big props to Rifftrax for the recent upsurge in VOD titles. I SO MUCH prefer them to (ironically, given the site’s name) the bog-standard movie riff files, simply because I get to see bat**** crazy and awful movies like Buffalo Rider and La Casa 3 (can you believe this festering little dogturd of a movie masqueraded as the second sequel to Evil Dead?).

    So, Rifftrax, please keep dredging up these obscure bits of cinematic bolus, and I will keep BUYING with my AMERICAN DOLLARS AND WAR BONDS to WIN THE WAR!

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  42. pondoscp says:

    I need Spanish MST ;(

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  43. The GR says:

    I feel guilty. Despite buying all the Rhino and Shout sets on DVD (except reissues where there are no extras) and all the film Crew DVDs I haven’t gone in to CT and RT due to my financial situation. BUT I do have a copy of the movie which was made for me in 2005 when I think it was rare and hard to get hold of. It is on my Wish List at Amazon. Will get an official copy one day I promise.

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  44. reformedbootlegger says:

    I will ashamedly admit to having a huge chunk of RT movies and all of MST3K “bootlegged”. I say bootlegged for the MST stuff as my circle of friends in high school were tape circulators(yes, we were fantastically giant nerds) and between the 6 of us we cobbled together and edited all of the episodes(mainly removed commercials). So when I got to college, and all of my hard work had been done for me and put into a digital form well…I collected all of the MST episodes and backed them about god knows how many times till 7 years later. I’ve bought various dvd sets so I don’t feel as guilty :x. Now a year or so ago a friend gave me a giant digital dump of all the movie rifftrax up to that point and I fell in love. Then I realized they wanted money for this stuff! Well crap, I felt bad. So now I try and give RT money as often and whenever I can. And they repay the favor. All I wanted was to buy the new Xmas special this year and what did RT do…they gave me 3 dollars back to spend on more. So I pick up some shorts and end up getting another 2 dollars to spend. STOP GIVING ME FREE STUFF RIFFTRAX. Granted at this point, I still torrent because I’m lazy and don’t want to sync stuff myself. BUT, now I make sure I make my way over to the donation page and pay for the price of the riff. I also consider it my civic duty to keep circulating the tapes(well…avi’s at this point) to anyone who expresses an interest in MST/Rifftrax(only give them MST episodes to clarify >.>). And then immediately point them to Rifftrax and CT (sorry not a big fan, rifftrax has all my favorite riffers) to spend, spend, spend. I think most people end up in my situation, you may start off with the “free” option but in the end you spend the money.

       1 likes

  45. stimpj says:

    Yeah, I’m a nefarious pirate on the high digital seas, but I can honestly say Rifftrax is the only one I’ve ever made recompense with. Even a mangy, scurvy, scoundrel like myself knows that not supporting these guys properly would be equivalent to slitting one’s own gullet.

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  46. sirmike says:

    If I record a Rifftrax off Hulu and keep it to watch at my personal convenience, is that considered piracy?
    Unfortunately, I feel too much time is spent trying to protect intellectual property and not enough time spent trying to create it but someone has to keep copyright lawyers rich and fat.

       1 likes

  47. Nightly MST3K says:

    I have never and will never pirate any Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic. I have every DVD released by both, have traveled out of town to see CT live 3 times, have seen every Rifftrax Fathom event (even the encore presentations too), have purchased numerous Rifftrax downloads and will continue to buy every piece of physical product these two groups make. Furthermore I have purchased every MST3K VHS & DVD release (individual & box set) as well as the Film Crew DVDs and will continue to do so.

    This is my pledge to honor the quality and creativity of the products from MST3K, Rifftrax & CT by purchasing them! Thank you to all involved for everything you do!

    Nightly MST3K

    P.S. Please make more stuff, I have more money I want to give to you.

       1 likes

  48. The GR says:

    #97

    Nightly MST3K: I have very little money so buy some for me too…….

    …well it was worth a try !

       0 likes

  49. billybkool says:

    Hmmmmmm….I think there may be a bit of mendacity in all these ‘I never’ comments but I agree with #10, 27, and 30.

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  50. bchat says:

    I only own one CT dvd … it wasn’t so good that I wanted to buy more from them anytime soon, but based on the fact that these people made me laugh during their time on MST3K, I was willing to not only give them a chance, but some of my money, as well. One day, I’ll give them another chance by, once again, spending my money to buy another dvd. I’ve never downloaded anything from the Rifftrax site, but I’ve bought some of their dvds (mostly the shorts and a few movies) and I plan on buying more when I have a little extra money.

    When it comes to Rifftrax & Cinematic Titanic, I don’t need a “free sample” in order for me to figure-out whether or not I want buy something from them because I already have a fair idea of what I’m going to get in return. Honestly, it never occurred to me to even look for pirated copies of CT or RT since everything they’ve done is available online for purchase in one form or another.

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