Star Trek Most Pirated Movie Of 2009 – Paramount Not Happy

JJ Abrams Star Trek did well at theaters and is selling strong on home video, but it appears that it is even more popular with online pirates. In fact, a new analysis shows it is the most popular BitTorrent download of the year. See below for details, and also info on how Paramount isn’t taking this lightly.


Pirates love Star Trek
When it comes to box office Star Trek is the #6 movie of 2009 domestically, and #10 globally (so far). But when it comes to pirates, Star Trek is at the top of the chart. According to torrentfreak the movie leads the 2009 pirated movies on BitTorrent with almost 11 million downloads. This beats the 2008 record set by The Dark Knight, which lead the 2008 films with 7 million. Here is the 2009 list.

  1. Star Trek
  2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  3. RocknRolla
  4. The Hangover
  5. Twilight
  6. District 9
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  8. State of Play
  9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  10. Knowing

Of course Star Trek fans are known to be tech-savvy. Back when Enterprise was cancelled, many fans noted that the show did much better with DVR viewers (and pirates) than it did with the general viewing public.

Paramount wants action – says piracy has gone from ‘geek to sleek’
This piracy has not gone without notice at Paramount. Last month the studio reported to the FCC that it had tracked more than five million IP addresses that downloaded one of six camcorded copies of the movie over the Summer (see chart).

CLICK TO SEE FULL ‘Star Trek Piracy Proliferation’ Chart

Paramount is particularly concerned about streaming video websites that host pirated video, which appear to be legitimate to casual Internet users who may confuse them for sties like Hulu. In their letter to the FCC Paramount stated:

Today, literally anyone with an internet connection can do it. Clunky websites are being replaced by legitimate looking and legitimate feeling pirate movie websites, a perception enhanced by the presence of premium advertisers and subscription fees processed by major financial institutions.

Paramount is lobbying the government to help the Hollywood studios stop online piracy. Specifically they asked :

[We] must have the legal and regulatory flexibility to use technological tools in partnership with Internet service providers to stem the tide of online copyright theft.

You can read the entire Paramount letter to the FCC here.

Paramount COO Frederick Huntsberry also gave a presentation about piracy which went over many of the points in the letter, again using Star Trek as the prime example. Ironically video of that speech was pirated.



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Oh dear!

I don’t believe in piracy, this could ultimately kill the film and music industry….Play fair, people, it’s THEFT!!!

Allthe media companies have been ripping people off for years.

They deserve everything they get!!!!

Rip off? I mean, do they obligate you to purchase their products? Will you die if you don’t have access to them?

NO. If you disagree with the price don’t buy it, it’s that simple.

Even Lars Ulrich knows it’s wrong (you can just ask him).

@ # 3……Why do you think that media companies have been ripping people off for years?

Do also think that supermarkets rip people off when you buy your groceries from there?

Do you feel ripped off by Apple when you buy an iPod from them, and are Dell ripping people off because their laptops are just way too expensive?

Just because people can download films and music for free doesn’t make it right………

Your stance is way out of order, if everyone thought like YOU, as I’ve stated, there would be no film or music industry.


if you are going to steal by downloading, at least be man enough to admit you are stealing and not come up with some lame ‘they deserve it’ bs.

I think Starbucks charging 4 bucks for a cup of coffee is steep but I dont jump behind the counter and take it claiming that it is my right due to them being evil

In times of recession, bootlegging and pirate copies of this and that turn up often.

But, the public will find a bootleg mainly because of ticket prices have shot up way too high the past few years. I haven’t gone out nearly as much as I used to.

The studios claim all the bootlegging is to blame for the high prices. I tend not to believe that excuse completely. So, in MY opinion, I think the studios are harming themselves quite a bit by having ridiculous prices at the box office. I say this and I’ve been in the entertainment industry for twenty five years.

Yes! :) I for one am very comfortable with any spot where Star Trek trumps, trumPS, TRUMPS the Dark Knight :) Now, let’s get piracy laws intact so we can get that Dark Knight money with the sequel >:)

Over the summer lots of people would send in ‘tips’ to TrekMovie pointing us to some of these streaming sites that had Star Trek (and other movies) on them. I can’t imagine people would think we would publicize theft, so I think lots of people really dont know that these sites are actually criminal enterprises. Some of the sites look legit, and have real advertising on them from legit companies (presumably using Google ads or another easy to sign up for service that doesn’t really do any due diligence)

Well, that’s nice and all. But think about it, not necessarily that I agree with piracy, but the ‘celebrities’ make a crap ton of money. The only reason Lars Ulrich is pissed off is because he’s only making 2 million dollars instead of 3 million. So sad. He was just pissed, because unlike other recording artists, he actually owns the copyright to his songs. What do other Artists make money off of? Their concerts that they charge 70 dollars a pop.

All the actors got paid. The movie damn near hundreds of millions of dollars, and you think the industry is going to go away? That’s a load of crap!

Famous Actors earn several times what a normal person who has to buy all this stuff earns in one year. They drive bentleys and have no bills, and buy million dollar houses. We as consumers allow them to bleed off our lives.

If 11 million people pirated the movie, sure–shame on them. I paid for my blu-ray copy. But I still understand. It’s crazy how much Executives make off of us. And if we are too stupid and pay for it, it’s our fault. Yes, they are money grubbing greedy bastards. We know that the Star Trek movie was purely made for profit. After all, that’s what Hollywood is about. It’s a damn business.

So yes, I understand why people pirate. Paying eleven dollars for a film simply sucks. Especially if you want to buy several movies a year. But it’s not likely to change.

Government can try to regulate, but they’ll only fail. No matter what, piracy has always existed in some form or another for many years.

I was more than happy to pay nearly £20 so I could see ST09 in glorious 1080/24p – what more to life could there be? Come on people, if you like it buy it, whether it’s Star Ttrek or the latest album from your favourite artist – we all have to earn a living somehow!

I seriously doubt that many Star Trek fans are participating in the illegal download of Trek products. Of course, there are bound to be a few. But Trek fans are very loyal to the franchise, which they very much want to succeed. Trekkies are also VERY generous with their money when it comes to Star Trek products. So I think that the people doing this downloading and illegally copying the film are not Trekkies. The cloud in the silver-lining, here, is that Star Trek is very popular! I want Paramount to stop the illegal activities of a few which risk spoiling it for the majority. I hope this stuff doesn’t cause them to go overboard, though, with the internet. I mean that there are a lot of harmless (and fun) fan videos on the internet, which, technically, perhaps, shouldn’t be there. But they’re nowhere near full episodes or films. I hope these will be spared. Paramount also should perhaps think about not alienating the mainstream audience by being too aggressive on these *naughty* people…

I’ve always felt that the ‘casual pirate’, who perhaps only downloads for their own use, probably does more for the publicity of a movie than anyone else. Word of mouth will bury a movie or will help it flourish. Everyone knows it’s wrong, and for the record I went to the cinema on the Thursday before the release date to see Star Trek. So they got my few quid, before I tried to download it :)
This is a real nasty grey area as personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with watching some bad copy of a movie. Making money out of it is, but watching it isn’t.
I also find it difficult to feel sympathetic towards the studios, who have had a considerable run over the last 80 years or so. What next? we’ll start supporting banker’s bonuses! :)


Sorry, I got the proverb wrong! The silver-lining is of course that Star Trek is popular. The cloud is obviously the illegal downloading….


You know, what this doesn’t take into account is the number of people who pirated the movie AND went to the theatre to see it.

And bought the thing on DVD

I paid to see the movie 3 times, if I want to download it – it isn’t eating into the profits of paramount one jot. Hell, I’ve bought TNG twice, TOS three times, bought the movies at least 4 times. Paramount have made plenty of money from me down the years and I’m not complaining.

I’m sure there are a percentage of people that download this movie for downloadings sake and nothing else, but the VAST majority of people paid cash money to see this thing at least once.

Chill out, paramount.

#16. You are totally right. I didn’t even think about that.

Being anti-“piracy” is to be selfish. If someone paid for a copy of the film, then why can’t they share it? This is why we got rid of the DRM, people.

#16. Agreed. I just finished downloading the 2nd disc of the bluray edition. I think it’s unfair that the DVD, which I bought, doesn’t come with all the extras, and I don’t have a bluray player, so I can’t watch the limited edition bluray which I also bought.

To top it off, it isn’t even illegal to download (as long as you don’t upload) in my country, because we pay a hefty tax on every data storage device that does go to greedy corporate execs. (we’ve been declared guilty unless proven otherwise, so we pay the fine in advance)

#16 you are right. I also saw the movie 3 times in the theater and I bought the dvd recently. i also bought all the other 10 movies in the special edition and I got dvd box-sets of every season of star trek-voyager and star trek-enterprise.(and thats not including about 70 video casettes I bought about 10 years ago.) I think paramount couldn´t really complain if I were to download the movie. I have literally spend thousands of € on star trek products over the years^^

People who download movies are idiots, no matter how good the quality nothing compares to the cinima! Especially for something that looks as great at Star Trek.

The Internet needs policing – anyone cuaght downloading should be banned from any service provider – that will scare people into stopping.

This would work well in more than one way as could create many jobs for people policing the internet!

I personally live in Qatar, we only had Star Trek here for twenty days during which I saw the film twice, and while I was in a Hotel in another country I bought it on Pay Per View just to see it again, and I personally bought a real copy of Star Trek once it came on DvD, but had they wanted more money, leave it in the theaters longer than 3 weeks. If I had wanted to see it more, I would have HAD to download a copy, and I won’t say whether I did or didn’t, but regardless, I wanted the film to do well, and I aided it at every opportunity, I still plan to get the Blu-Ray when I see it for sale even if I have the DvD. (We have a terrible mailing system here, so no online ordering for me.)

I think I downloaded like 3 copies of it, lol. And funny thing is I’m getting the BluRay for Christmas. For me it was a matter of being impatient. Not that I don’t pirate stuff, I do, but mainly music. For me its a matter of quality. You never get the same quality from pirates movies (where you can more easily with pirated music). But obviously I do agree with pirating to a point. I think its simply backlash from movie and music companies price gouging people for too long. And for the people that compare it to jacking a CD or something from a store, youre forgetting that those are a physical item. When you download something youre not removing something physical that had to be produced. My hope is that some day the movie companies and music industry will lower their prices to something reasonable. I still think $1 a song is way too much. If me pirating a movie or CD means that some rich SOB can’t buy a golden toilet for their mansion. I think they’ve already violated our privacy too much in the name of hunting down piracy. And I know we don’t have to buy the stuff, but I still don’t see a reason that everyone should have to pay too much. Look at these people, they’re not hurting too bad because of piracy, they’re greedy, and want to take every cent from people that they possibly can. Like I said earlier, if they charged reasonable prices for music and movies (where they’re still nowhere near) I doubt piracy would be a real problem.

I only pirate things that I intend to buy asap.

Although I have to say that I didn’t download the Trek movie and have never done that with any film. I did download the prequel comics while I waited for my physical copy to arrive in the mail. I must say that I’m not particularly penitent about it.

I was about to write a comment about why, yes, it IS selfish of Paramount to want you to pay for what they provide (and spent hundreds of millions of dolalrs to produce), and that this is a good thing, and that they should be proud of it; but then I realized where I was posting: the internet. This is a place where people believe that simply because somebody makes more money that they do, that they are entitled to the fruits of their labors — “from each according to their ability.” You can, therefore, you must do so for me.”

I don’t have to refute every idiot who opens their mouth. I just have to watch and wait for the inevitable to happen when we give in to what they’re saying.

I too have bought TOS on VHS, 2 episode disc DVD’s, All 3 seasons boxed sets, all 3 seasons boxed sets remastered, and now all 3 seasons on BluRay, plus all seven seasons Next Gen boxed sets, THe complete series set of Next Gen, all seven seasons of DS9, all seven seasons of Voyager and all 4 seasons of Enterprise, Animated Trek, All Trek Collective Sets to date, the Movies, Special Edition Movies, Movies on BluRay… ….. literally everything Trek to date in all formats DVD and BluRay, not to mention saw Trek 2009 7 times in the theatre before buying it on DVD and again on BluRay after purchasing a BluRay player finally, and I did watch a bootleg version of the movie simply because the wait to DVD release was way too long for my liking just as the wait for the next movie will be too long! So Paramount can go kiss my ass, boo hoo and all that but they have milked us a million times over, abusing our loyalty to make a few extra dollars every time you turn around! They didn’t feel sorry for me when I purchased the High-Def Remastered season 1 and bought a very expensive High-Def DVD player to support Trek only to have these purchases become basically obsolete and ending up buying everything over again in the BluRay format, did they? And no doubt being industry insiders they probably knew the likely eventual outcome of releasing the Remastered seasons 1-3 on DVD and could have spared us the whole High-Def vs. BluRay dilemma in the 1st place, but went ahead seeing it simply as another cash cow!!! I’ve supported Paramount to the extreme and will continue to spend but in the meantime if there is a great time lag between the next film’s theatrical and DVD release dates I will once again through impatience watch a downloaded copy until I can buy a good copy!



And I also hope for the day transporter technology can be used to actually download a car.

I agree that people should try and support what they pirate (as weird as that sounds). I saw Trek in the theater twice and now own it so I have no guilt about downloading it in-between when it wasn’t available. But to me, especially with movies, the idea that somehow when people pirate things its saying that the company shouldnt make money off of what they produce…well thats just nuts. They do make money, a ton of it, more than most of us will make working five times harder in a lifetime. So its not that I think that people shouldn’t make money, its that I think they shouldn’t charge way too much. When we go to a theater we pay more and more and now have to sit through ads before it. And DVD’s, something that costs such a small fraction to produce (since the cost of making the film is recouped in the theater) are sold for about $20 new or $30 for the average new bluray. Sorry, but I can’t feel bad that some studio big shot can’t but their 10th penthouse apartment this year because of pirating. And I look at all of these new Star Trek DVD’s and blurays that are being released and its the same stuff most of us own already. The studio wants us to pay 10 times for something we’ve already bought. Something seems wrong with that to. I’m not challenging its legality, I know where its at there, but I don’t think just because something’s illegal it makes it completely wrong. Hell most of the stuff Hollywood does is perfectly legal and to me a lot of it is totally wrong.

Paramount should do something like this.

Download the film legitimately from Paramount or Amazon for $3 and get $3 off when you buy the DVD, make it $4 for the Blu-Ray.

That way if people can’t wait for the DVD then they have a way to download it legitimately.

If they made the link available half way between the release date at the Cinema and the release date of the DVD this could work.

#18, Define sharing. I paid for my BD and I’m more than happy to invite my friends over for a screening or even to loan it out to my friends who have a blu-ray player but for whatever reason haven’t bought it. Maybe they want to see the film, but don’t care to add this particular disc to their library. In both cases, I’m sharing the disc I purchased, but doing so within the terms of the product license. Paramount has licensed all home video media ONLY for in-home use. They have not licensed their product to be distributed electronically, digitally, or by any other means. In fact, they’ve gone so far as to include language in the license stating that it is a prohibited to do so. What gives them the right to be so bold? They own it, that’s what. They own the film – we only own a licensed copy. You may not like it, but anything outside the terms of the license is an infringement of the owners’ rights and illegal, bottom line. Piracy is theft. Doesn’t matter if the studios have more than enough money or if you’ve seen the thing a thousand times in the theater. The studio doesn’t owe you anything. If you have a stolen copy of the film, you owe the studio some $$. This is not my opionion. This is fact. Deal with it.

I don’t go to the theater, precisely because ticket prices are so high. I have to really, really, REALLY want to see the movie to go. (The only films I’ve seen in the theater in the past five years are Star Trek, Terminator Salvation and The Dark Knight.)

But I don’t pirate. Basically, I usually wind up buying cheap DVDs, or renting. In a lot of cases, it means I have to wait a long time to see movies I want to see, but at least I do it legally.

And frankly, the studios don’t get nearly as much money from me as they do from an average theater goer.

As long as the Internet is a (relatively) FREE information highway, people will find ways to take advantage of all its possibilities. However, if movie studios, music companies and other media producers keep bitching enough, the gov’t will begin attaching a fee to use the Internet — claiming that this fee is there to offset the piracy. Once that fee is attached, more fees, restrictions and regulations will follow. This is the American way, and we only have to browse through a bit of history to see that it tends to be the way things go for us.
I think Paramount is over-reacting, but they suffer from money obsession like every other money-needing/wanting organism on the planet. Someone above mentioned he had bought everything Star Trek available thanks to Paramount, and did not see the problem with downloading a copy of the Star Trek film. From Paramount’s POV, that’s one more copy that could have generated $$$.
However, I think it is important (for Paramount) to remember that it has been the fan’s opportunites to “play” in the Star Trek universe that has kept us all in love with Star Trek over the years. I truly believe that if we did not have productions such as “Star Trek: Phase II,” or “OGAM,” and all the other fan-productions, fan-fiction, etc., interest in Star Trek would have faded even more than it did.
Consider what bands like the Grateful Dead, and Radiohead accomplished by being fan-friendly. I know a few Dead-heads who were far more obsessed than any Trekkie, and would attend concerts with video cameras and audio equipment, or t-shirts, or other home-made retail items, and would be able to pretty much do whatever they wanted, without interference from the band. The band’s recordings continued to sell, their concerts continued to be sold out. The fan’s “participation” in the Grateful Dead is what made them die-hard fans (alright, I’m not getting into the other things, so shut up already!). The point is clear: allowing fans to make something their own (within reason, of course) is what helps keep the fan. None of the fan-made Star Trek makes any money. If the fans want to produce an hour-long tv show with their own money and their own passion, they can, as long as they don’t make any money. No problem there, apparently.
But it is fans like this (and the ones who have access to it) who kept Paramount’s cash cow going when many, many fans were beginning to give up on Star Trek, while Star Wars had gained an almost mythological status. Could it be because Lucas says “yes,” where Paramount says, “no?”

You know what’s sad? After Avatar was over, this guy said to his kid, “Did you like it? I’ll buy the DVD next week so you can watch it at home”.

I wanted to smack the crap out of that guy, or at least say something, but at 2am I decided against it. People don’t know or don’t care about piracy.

But look at it this way: can you blame people? Something is offered for free on the internet, and these ISPs have commercials that say “you can download X number of songs so fast”, so people don’t connect what they’re doing with being illegal. I know SO many people that think these download sites are legit.

Me? I bought 2 Blu-Ray copies of Star Trek: the Amazon one for the E, and the BB one for the insignias. I buy everything, and always have. I saw a someone give a friend a pirated movie for Christmas one year. I wanted to say something, but realized that these people just don’t know any better.

So what can be done about it? One thing could be to shorted the time between when a movie leaves the theater and when it comes out on video. This isn’t the old days when movies made three runs over a course of a few years before coming out on VHS for $100. Educating people may not matter when pirates feel they’re sticking it to the companies.

I try to see both sides of a situation like this, but in the end, there’s really no excuse for it. People should realize that when something’s given away for free, it’s more than likely pirated. The only pass I can give is to kids. They’re broke, they want to be entertained. We all made copies of each other’s albums growing up. Once I got a job, I started buying everything, including the albums I copied.

This is the digital age, and something needs to be done to fight this. I don’t think fining people ridiculous amounts of money is going to help. Maybe shutting down their internet, or slowing it down for a period of time? This is debatable.

That’s sick. Worth watching? More than ANY movie that has shown up this year. But if you pirate, do you even think it’s even worth watching?

I paid to see this flick repeatedly and I haven’t downloaded it, nor do I engage in that, but jeeze… cry me a river, Paramount! I’ll whisper a tear-streaked prayer for you, your starving children …and Lars, at the foot of my bed tonight. I’m getting weepy just thinking about the outrage of it all. ;-(

But now movie studios want to “enforce” laws against piracy. They want to be the police. Are you kidding me? Giving a private company legal abilities to track down and enforce piracy law is ridiculous. I do believe the RIAA and MPAA are asking for way too much, and it seems they may get the legality they want.


success is success. If you are one of the biggest films of the year, logically (ahem) you will be one of the most pirated too!

This is what happens when a studio releases a DVD overseas three weeks before releasing it in the US. People, particularly Americans, are not a patient bunch; people overseas are bound to upload the DVD (which they did) and people who don’t have the DVD yet are bound to download it (which they did).

Of course, this article only mentions copies of the movie that were recorded in the theater, but I bet the DVD-quality versions of the movie have received many more illegal downloads. Those downloads probably would have been reduced has Paramount released the movie everywhere at the same time, rather than giving it to certain countries in late October, to other countries in early-to-mid November, and to the US in November 17th.

Not saying this is Paramount’s fault; piracy is wrong no matter how you slice it, and the movie would have been pirated either way. But I think the number of illegal downloads would have been less had Paramount made the DVD available everywhere at the same time.

I wonder how many anti-piracy people use ad-blocking software on their browsers.

Or skip commercials on their DVR.

Theft is Theft , L ,O, fn’ L

I think Paramount is being sort of stupid, here. The reason Star Trek was so pirated was because they KEPT PUTTING OFF THE DVD RELEASE. I know that my friends and I downloaded copies BECAUSE WE WANTED TO SEE THE MOVIE AGAIN. Now that it’s out on DVD, we’ve purchased the legal copies we wanted to have the whole time. But for several months, the only way to watch Star Trek was to pirate it. I don’t doubt that many of these other “pirates” also now own completely legal copies of the film. Sure, there are some people who are going to stick with their pirated copies and never buy the DVD, but I think there are plenty of people out there who hit BitTorrent because there was no way to find Trek at Best Buy. :\

#5, Just buy the DVD like you know that you should. Don’t download this movie.

I’ve seen bits of a bootleg copy of 2009 Star Trek. It wasn’t that good, top half of screen missing. It made me want to own the actual recording available in stores which I now have. Paramount has nothing to worry about. They’re making their money, I just don’t think the pirate business is as big as people make it out to be. The quality isn’t there, the special features aren’t there. Pirate business is a niche market. It’s just not that big.

6. The Six Million Dollar Man

stop being a Pius pr!c|<
you QQ about a corporation that has canceled TREK twice i!!
now get off your corporate cross, your making an ass of yourself by running to suck their co*k

there are lot worse crimes going on in this world, stick your energies into getting Bush impeached maybe?

Pascale you really need to learn to spell and grammar check your work. It’s disgraceful. Do you text your stories on your mobile? It really ”ain’t” that hard (I use ”ain’t” to bring it down to your level).


a real SPAS

Can’t speak for everyone, but I, for one, saw the movie five times in theaters (once in IMAX), bought the special edition two-disc DVD, and have generally supported the movie every way I can.

But I watched pirated copies of the deleted scenes when they came out, because I didn’t have a handy copy of all of them. Now I do.

Star Trek made a zillion bucks. Piracy feeds that; it doesn’t injure it unless Paramount is using a bad, anti-consumer business model. Paramount should calm the heck down. IMHO.

#42: “I think Paramount is being sort of stupid, here. The reason Star Trek was so pirated was because they KEPT PUTTING OFF THE DVD RELEASE. I know that my friends and I downloaded copies BECAUSE WE WANTED TO SEE THE MOVIE AGAIN. Now that it’s out on DVD, we’ve purchased the legal copies we wanted to have the whole time. But for several months, the only way to watch Star Trek was to pirate it.”

Yeesh… what a cry baby! The release time for ‘Star Trek’ was no more unusual than any other wait time for other films.

Get over it… quit being so me me me, it’s disheartening to hear that some TREK fans would stoop to stealing.

#42 raises an interesting point. Regardless of how you feel about downloading movies, 11 million downloads does not equal 11 million lost sales.