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The Morning Fix: Pirates find new streams to swim in! Already Oscar buzz talk for 'The Town.' ABC's 'Cougar Town' is co-ed.

September 21, 2010 |  6:14 am

After the coffee. Before five networks try to spin me on how great their ratings were.

Ahoy, matey! It used to be a little bit of a pain to find unauthorized copies of television shows and movies on the Internet. You had to download files using BitTorrent or other file-sharing technology, which took time and some expertise. Now, pirating Hollywood content is much easier and more rampant through streaming video websites such as Megavideo. The number of people using these sites to bypass paying for cable is growing as at least 1.25 million people watched illegal streams of the finale of HBO's "True Blood." That's a big bite. "Accessing stolen content by streaming has become increasingly widespread," said Rick Cotton, general counsel for NBC Universal. "So the challenge of reducing digital theft online now has a second major focal point." As more televisions are hooked up to the Internet, the problem will only get worse. More on the surge in illegal streaming from the Los Angeles Times.

Pirate or pioneer? The website ivi TV, (yes, that's their name), which offers television shows to consumers for about $5 a month, is taking the offensive against the networks and sports leagues whose content it is carrying. Rather than wait to be sued by them, it launched its own copyright suit against NBC Universal, CBS, Major League Baseball and others. Its argument, according to the Wrap, is that the FCC's rules don't apply to it because it is online only. This is not the first time this has been attempted; a Canadian company called ICraveTV used to try to stream TV signals of stations in upstate New York. It didn't end so well for them as the sports leagues, National Assn. of Broadcasters and the Motion Picture Assn. of America shut them down.

Goodbye, overnight shipping. Satellite Broadcaster and Deluxe Digital Cinema have struck a deal to digitally deliver movies to theaters, reports Variety. This could be a big cost savings as the bulk of movie theaters still get films through the mail on hard disks. "Delivery via satellite is clean, efficient. It should be far more cost effective for the exhibitors,"  said Rick O'Hare, a managing director of Deluxe Digital Cinema.

A co-ed "Cougar Town." ABC's "Cougar Town," which is starting its second season, is one of the few television sitcoms with a writing staff that has about the same number of men as it does women, which may explain in part how the show has transformed itself from its early episodes about a single 40-ish woman on the make to an ensemble comedy about friendships, romance and family. The New York Times visits the writers room of the show, which, thanks to the title, now has an image to shake.

Could "The Town" steal an Oscar nomination or two? All it takes to get Hollywood spinning is for a movie to do a little better than it's supposed to do. The performance of Ben Affleck's "The Town" over the weekend (actually, once I saw the trailer, I knew it would do well) already has some speculating that it could be a surprise Oscar contender. Let's not go overboard here; although, one could see Jeremy Renner getting a best supporting nod for his portrayal of a psychotic bank robber. Anyway, the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood try their hand at some Monday-morning quarterbacking on how "The Town" has taken off and what it might mean for the red carpet next year. Not everyone fell in love with "The Town." Here's a not-so-fawning take on Affleck's directorial effort from Salon.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Catching up with Woody Allen. Mary McNamara on the season premiere of Fox's "Glee." Did Joaquin Phoenix con the public or just the media, wonders Patrick Goldstein.  

-- Joe Flint

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