New DivX Is the MP3 of Movie Swapping

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I'm not going to see "Scary Movie" in the theater, but I'm still curious if the teen parody is actually funny or not. So last night I tried to download it over the Internet using a cable modem. In the process I crossed into the brave new world of Napster-style movie swapping, where Hollywood is starting to face the same download demons already haunting the music industry.

First I started up, a Napster-like Windows program that connects users together to share files. is the simplest program to use among Napster and its spin-offs like Gnutella. It seems deliberately designed, in fact, to be a kind of easy-to-use AOL for file-sharing now even Mom can swap MP3s. I searched for "divx," which is the MP3 of movie downloads and offers the same 10-to-1 compression on DVDs as MP3 pulls off with audio CDs. Sacrifice on quality or screen size and you can get whole movies down to a 10- or 15-minute download over a fast Internet connection that's the real scary movie for the movie industry, especially with downloads of camcordered films like "Mission Impossible 2" that are still in theaters. On the other hand, wouldn't it be great to copy DVDs you own onto your laptop for traveling or downtime at work?