It's a rather strange turn of events, and one that I do not support, because now, these sites are actually taking revenue from the studios that produced these movies despite offering little to distinguish their copies from the original copies. That said, the benefit to consumers is probably that these uploaded copies are free of the DRM that comes with the original copies — that's what makes them worth buying.
That said, a quote by a Paramount executive (or so the article implies) caught my eye.
But the public needs to know that with such pirated convenience comes the risk of having credit card information ripped off, and problems with spyware contamination are even more common.What?
They're concerned about spyware contamination on people's computers?
Yes, ripping off credit card information is a real problem, but the spyware contamination bogeyman is nonsense for 2 reasons.
One is that this spyware likely only affects Windows computers. Hence, *nix and Solaris users are probably safe.
The other is that it is positively hypocritical for a Paramount executive to be concerned about spyware contamination through illegally downloaded movies after the Sony-BMG DRM fiasco. After the Sony-BMG music installed rootkits to ensure that the music was legitimate and then wreaked havoc on the user's computer, I have more faith in illegally downloaded movies and music than in DRM-locked movies and music (ideal, of course, would be legally downloaded DRM-free movies and music).
In semi-related news, this article (Mike Masnick, Techdirt) talks about a new appellate court ruling that allows Congress to retroactively reestablish (was that redundant?) copyright over works already in the public domain. Upon reading it, I almost barfed. I can't really add anything to the discussion as the article is very comprehensive and thorough in its explanation and analysis, so I will just ask you to read the article itself (and if you are feeling bold (or bored), read the actual ruling itself, posted right below the article content).