Online Groups Behind Bulk of Bootleg Films

In not-too-secret online forums, Wesley Snipes’ latest movie, “Blade: Trinity,” is the subject of intense discussion and evaluation. But unlike typical movie fan sites, the chatter from visitors to Web sites like doesn’t key on the vampire film’s plot, acting or bloody visual effects. Instead, computer users dish out praise or criticism on the caliber of video and sound achieved by online groups whose sole mission is to make available unauthorized copies of Hollywood films within a day or two of a movie’s debut, if not before.

For these online bootleggers, who authorities say represent the top of a distribution pyramid for pirated movies, software and music, it’s all about the bragging rights for being first to copy a hot title or releasing the best-quality replica.