Monday, April 21, 2008
SurfTheChannel is the newest site to strike fear into the hearts of movie studio executives, letting audiences worldwide watch newly-released (and even unreleased) movies and television shows quickly, easily, and freely. Bloomberg calls it a "new threat in Web piracy" because it "cloaks the viewer's identity and makes it almost impossible for Hollywood to stop." With this much anxiety, you wouldn't be surprised to learn that SurfTheChannel has almost 100,000 videos indexed on its pages. Movies like "88 Minutes", "Juno", and "Jumper" are some of the most popular videos on Surf The Channel along with TV shows like "Doctor Who" and "The Office."
The Sweden-based (like ThePirateBay) website doesn't directly host videos on its own servers so it claims to not be breaking any copyright laws. In addition, unlike P2P software like BitTorrent, movie studios can't log-on and discover the IP addresses of everyone who's watching their films so you don't have to fear a lawsuit.
It even appears that several television networks are seeing the wisdom of partnering with sites like SurfTheChannel. According to an interview between Richard Foxton of SurfTheChannel and journalist Andy Fixmer:
Since we last corresponded there has been a change in policy with regards to content. We are in tentative talks with 2 networks over several areas of common ground, one being the phasing out of links to shows on their network and replacing them with links to the episode on their own sites. I cannot go into details yet but we certainly see a roadmap emerging that would allow us to partner with content providers moving forward and attain the legitimacy we seek.