Obama's Gift To British Prime Minister Rendered Useless By DRM

from the learning-process dept

A few years back, it emerged that US Senator Ted Stevens had been given an iPod by his daughter, and it had changed the way he saw the RIAA and the measures for which it lobbied. It's always seemed to me that once politicians -- at least those not beholden to the entertainment industry -- experienced the stupidity and frustration of the locks and controls that groups like the RIAA and MPAA put on content and want backed up by law, they'd realize they were little more than attempts to frustrate consumers and prop up outmoded business models. Maybe the UK is prepared for a similar political inflection point: its Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was recently given a gift of 25 DVDs of classic American movies by US President Barack Obama. When Brown sat down to watch one of them, he found he couldn't -- because Obama had given him Region 1 DVDs, unplayable in Brown's Region 2 DVD player. The pointless DRM didn't stop any piracy, it prevented an absolutely reasonable use of legitimately purchased content. Maybe this experience will help the British government understand how many of the entertainment industry's efforts to strengthen intellectual property controls do little more than irritate legitimate consumers in the name of supporting failing business models.


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  •  
    identicon
    Scote, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    And even if the DVDs would play, UK rights holders have one cases making banning import of legitimate copyrighted material from outside the UK. Greymarket imports are often not legal in the UK.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    like common sense and first hand experience are going to stop gordy and pals screwing the british public over

     

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    Alan Gerow, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    DVD Region encoding has nothing to do with piracy. It is a way to extort more money through regional licensing and distribution. If a company in the US gains the rights to distribute a movie, they are only given the rights for a region, like North America. Other companies get the rights for other regions. Region 0, or all regions, does not allow this same level of control and multiple payments. It also means that if one's region can't find a distributor of a movie, they're SOL.

    Though, many DVD players can be set to Region Free (or play DVDs from all regions) with nothing more than a combination of button presses. Google is your best friend in looking for those key sequences.

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      DVD Region encoding has nothing to do with piracy. It is a way to extort more money

      This is why some of the comments on here are infuriating, because they are already pre-set on "and the music / movie / entertainment industry screws us again". This without thinking for a moment of the implications and such of the markets.

      First off, not all movies are released all around the world on the same day. In fact, in some markets, movies can be months or up to a year behind. There are any number of reason for this, from subtitling to voice overs to whatever. Heck it could just be good business not to release the latest movie in the middle of Japanese golden weeks.

      Second, the extortion you speak of isn't really valid either. Again, in each market, the DVD has to be produced to match that market's needs. Language, editing, censoring (if need be), packaging, and a whole host of other issues, regional and local. Granting the entire distribution rights to a single company worldwide would just mean a larger cost for that single company, and potential losses if they don't use that right in every market they can be in.

      Third, it has to do with pricing: Local prices for movies in a place like, I dunno, thailand or india might be different from the pricing in England or Germany. If the same cost per unit licensing fee was charged in all markets, the movie might be unsellably expensive in thailand, or needlessly cheap in europe.

      Fourth, the region codes block reverse leeching of the movies. If thailand is selling movies for a price equal to 1 euro in english with thai subtitles, it might be an attractive enough product for people in Europe to buy and ship home. In order to make the market work in thailand, a mechanism is needed to stop this from happening.

      It isn't extortion, it is charging what the market will bear while not polluting other markets.

       

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        Smarter than the prez, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

        Idiot

        This prez is a complete idiot proving it over and over, right down to hillary's "E.Z. Button to russia's prime minister. "over charge", lol

         

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        some old guy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

        Re: Re:

        You idiot.

        How the hell does a region lock (DRM) "allow" the studios to have separate release dates?

        Oh right, it doesn't. They don't need DRM to have separate release dates.

        How the hell does a region lock (DRM) "allow" the studios to have separate release content in each region?

        Oh right, it doesn't. They don't need DRM to have separate release content in each region.

        How the hell does a region lock (DRM) "allow" the studios to have separate distribution channels?

        Oh right, it doesn't. The studios are fully capable of choosing a different distribution partner for each market.

        So what does region locking drm provide?

        IT ALLOWS THE STUDIOS TO PREVENT CONSUMERS FROM IMPORTING WHAT THEY WANT TO IMPORT FROM ANOTHER MARKET. IT DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE.

        Yes, "the entertainment industry screws us again" is a correct reaction to region locks.

        I think the difference between how you see the world and everyone else here, is that you think "charging what the market will bear while not polluting other markets" is a good thing, and everyone else here calls it fucking extortion!

         

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        Ryan, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:

        You basically just repeated what the original poster said, only giving the distributors' reasons for why they insist on region codes...so I fail to see how you refuted his post. What you still don't seem to get is that nobody gives a shit about how the distributor wants its product to be used. People care about the value they are receiving, and how much they are expected to pay for that value. If members of the industry don't like the profit they are getting from the market's use of their product, they are welcome to cease selling or creating it; plenty of others will step in with better business models to take their market share.

         

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        SomeLittleGuy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

        Re: Re:Weird Harold

        "Third, it has to do with pricing: Local prices for movies in a place like, I dunno, thailand or india might be different from the pricing in England or Germany. If the same cost per unit licensing fee was charged in all markets, the movie might be unsellably expensive in thailand, or needlessly cheap in europe."

        So... isn't that similar to price gouging? If the movie costs $10USD to make, then why would they charge the equivalent of more than that or less than that in other countries unless the price is artificially inflated? I'm admittedly not a international law expert, but export tariffs and the like would be paid(and reflected in the price charged in the region) regardless of where it originated.

        You've basically proven the point that the only benefit is to the original owner of the content to charge people who can afford it, more. (And before anyone tries to claim otherwise, even in the "cheapest" regions, it is still being sold at a profit or it wouldn't be sold at all.)

         

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          Ryan, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

          The marginal cost of each DVD is extremely small; to make a profit in, say, Thailand, each sale needs only to cover the cost of making the DVD and a tiny amount for distribution (which would be near-zero if shipped in bulk and actually zero if distributed digitally).

          It is more convenient for the movie industry to use this outdated business model as a source of extra income, even though there is a pretty small market for it in the absence of government laws making it illegal to get around the steps the distributors put in place to force more money out of you.

           

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          Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

          so... isn't that similar to price gouging? If the movie costs $10USD to make, then why would they charge the equivalent of more than that or less than that in other countries unless the price is artificially inflated? I'm admittedly not a international law expert, but export tariffs and the like would be paid(and reflected in the price charged in the region) regardless of where it originated.

          It's a balance in the end. Germany might support a market of 20 euros for a DVD, thailand might only support 50 baht. The distributor in europe can afford to pay a larger fee than the distributor in thailand can, and further, the european wouldn't sell in the thai market at a price they could support.

          So yes, I would agree: In some ways, the richer countries are being used to support significantly lower prices in poorer countries. However, if the movie wasn't sold in that poorer market, there is no indication the prices in europe would go down as a result - so there isn't a direct connection. Basically, it's charging what the market can bear in each market. I think Mike would say you learn that in the second week of economics, but I could be wrong. Might be third week.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

            Putting the screws to folks that you deem can afford it (what you call 'charging what the market will bear') is exactly the reason there is so much 'piracy'. CDs and DVDs are over priced. I'm tired of 'bearing' the cost. Its no wonder why sales are down. Lots of folks that post here advocate 'free'. I'm all for paying a reasonable price but I refused to be extorted.

             

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            Ryan, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

            This is a complete understanding of markets. The distributors are using laws and codes to create artificial markets so as to gouge more money out of the regions that can afford it, when consumers could otherwise get it more cheaply and easily at no extra overhead to the distributors.

            For an illustration of how this is not true market economics (and how unfair it is), let's presume that each copy is not coded for the market, but for the individual. Thus, they charge someone making $50,000/year $20 for the DVD, but they charge one making $400,000/year $50, and they charge a millionaire $100. Clearly, this is complete bullshit, designed to allow them to get more than the market price for each sale--and they are able to do so only because they influence many governments enough to make it illegal to avoid it.

             

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            SomeLittleGuy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

            I appreciate your assumption that I am claiming their right to earn more money is wrong. I understand economics to some extent and I have (albeit limited) understanding of supply and demand. I understand that many calculations are made to find the sweet spot where the most money can be made.

            My point was, that the only purpose for the regional DRM is to make more money. Special versions sans swearing come out all the time of music cd's etc. They don't have special tags that only allow them to be played in certain players. Regional tags do not enforce decency, they only serve to make it simpler for the companies to charge regions different amounts. So lets just admit that this proves the basic point that these industries want more control, not to prevent "piracy" but so that they can squeeze every dollar imaginable out of people. And as i pointed out, there is a profit being made in Thailand or they wouldn't sell it there. So they could sell it everywhere at the equivalent of 50 baht in every country, they just wouldn't would't be as rich. So call it what it is. It isn't a piracy deterrent. It is a monopoly.

             

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            Jamie, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:Weird Harold

            So what your saying then is that it is about using laws and artificial technological barriers to EXTORT more MONEY from the consumers. Which is what the original comment you were supposedly refuting said!

            Seriously, the hypocrisy of the industry apologists just gets to me sometimes. The whole thing is just a price fixing scheme plain and simple. We all know it and we have all learned to live with it. None of us really want to hear any of the industry doublespeak about how it isn't.

             

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Bull, as usual... yes, that's the way the movie industry has traditionally worked. Regional variations in TV formats have meant that VHS distribution was regionalised. So what? Most modern TVs can play both NTSC and PAL (at least they can in Europe). For theatrical releases, they're moving away from physical prints anyway but they only have themselves to blame if the US DVD release happens before the UK theatrical release (as happened with Hellboy and The Mist among others - I just imported the DVD instead of waiting). As for languages, etc. - check iMDB for release dates some time. Dubbed prints often get releases before Australia and the UK get their English prints. Besides, if someone really wants a print in their own language, they'd wait, wouldn't they?

        Of course, if the entertainment industry operated on a fair, customer-focussed basis, none of this would be a problem. Instead, they do concentrate on screwing legitimate customers.

        For example, when DVDs first appeared in Europe, they were often pressed on cheaper discs than the US. In addition, they often had all the extra features removed so they could fit in 5 different languages on the soundtrack and subtitles for 20. Didn't help anyone wanting to watch movies in English, it just screwed us while making a much less attractive product. This reached a peak when movies like Starship Troopers were released not only extra-free but in a format where you *had to flip the disc over halfway through like a vinyl*, whereas the region 1 did not need to do this - all so they could release cheaper single layer discs. The real kicker - these discs were usually double the price for less than half the content! For some reason, DVD took a little longer to take off in Europe than the US...

        When customers got wise to that and started buying region-free DVD players, the studios started playing cat and mouse, changing the region coding as much as possible to try and block people from playing their *legally purchased* products. Eventually, the studios managed to get wise and start offering better quality discs, but these sometimes came months after the US release with some features removed and usually involved double- or triple-dipping.

        Once again, the studios would not have this problem if they offered a level playing field. For tech- and movie-savvy people like myself, region coding presents little problem. But, having lived in a moderately tourist-centric area of southern Spain for a couple of years, I've seen many visitors from other continents attempt to play DVDs on their laptops then give up, electing not to buy discs here (and thus losing their makers a lot of money). I've also seen the reverse - one guy I know paid over $140 for a Japanese import of the uncut Grindhouse while someone else I knew only bought Korean imports because he loved the way they packaged their releases - often paying a premium.

        As with the music industry - DRM and region coding do nothing to help the industry. Those who know enough to bypass it will do so, those who don't are left with an inferior product. Either way, it makes no sense in the age of the Internet to restrict which plastic disc you can buy based on which patch of dirt you happen to be standing on at the time. The market should be able to work its way out - some people would rather pay more for a disc with English rather than Thai writing on the menus, for example. Artificially restricting people does nothing other than piss them off when they fall afoul of those restrictions.

         

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        GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

        Re: Re:


        First off, not all movies are released all around the world on the same day. In fact, in some markets, movies can be months or up to a year behind. There are any number of reason for this, from subtitling to voice overs to whatever. Heck it could just be good business not to release the latest movie in the middle of Japanese golden weeks.



        Ummm...NOBODY cares about --how-- these companies --wish-- to keep doing business the same way --FOREVER--.

        Today, in 2009, two simple words eviscerate your arguments by exploding the myth of "Markets":

        Internet.
        Globalization.

        Customers simply DO NOT CARE about your "market" concepts. They only see attempts to block, channel or delay access to products they seek as ANNOYING RESTRICTIONS motivated by GREED, SLOTH or INCOMPETENCE.

         

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        Rekrul, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:06pm

        Re: Re:

        First off, not all movies are released all around the world on the same day. In fact, in some markets, movies can be months or up to a year behind.

        In some cases, the movies/shows are never released at all, or the import is significantly more expensive than buying a foreign copy and having it shipped to you. What if you're a foreigner yourself and you prefer to buy movies in your native language?

        There are any number of reason for this, from subtitling to voice overs to whatever. Heck it could just be good business not to release the latest movie in the middle of Japanese golden weeks.

        How is it that "fan-subbers" can have subtitles for any given movie available in less than a month after a movie's release, but it takes the studio months or even years to do the same thing?

        Second, the extortion you speak of isn't really valid either. Again, in each market, the DVD has to be produced to match that market's needs. Language, editing, censoring (if need be), packaging, and a whole host of other issues, regional and local.

        If the foreign copies aren't suitable for a particular market, the people there won't buy them. Problem solved. If on the other hand, they DO buy them, it shows that there's a market for them.

        Besides, don't the same arguments apply to other "content", like music, software or even books? But yet there's no region coding on CDs, CD/DVD-ROMs or books. Companies like Valve have started to impose region coding with their Steam-crippled games, but traditional computer software has never had region coding and neither have music CDs or books. If this is such a huge problem for the movie industry, why hasn't it bankrupted the music, software and publishing industries?

        Granting the entire distribution rights to a single company worldwide would just mean a larger cost for that single company, and potential losses if they don't use that right in every market they can be in.

        Third, it has to do with pricing: Local prices for movies in a place like, I dunno, thailand or india might be different from the pricing in England or Germany. If the same cost per unit licensing fee was charged in all markets, the movie might be unsellably expensive in thailand, or needlessly cheap in europe.


        Which just shows how screwed up the whole "rights" and "licensing" issue has become. It used to be that companies made products and sold them. Now the content industries want to control every aspect of their distribution and sale, getting paid for every step along the way.

        Fourth, the region codes block reverse leeching of the movies. If thailand is selling movies for a price equal to 1 euro in english with thai subtitles, it might be an attractive enough product for people in Europe to buy and ship home. In order to make the market work in thailand, a mechanism is needed to stop this from happening.

        So what you're saying is that people should be prevented from seeking out the best price for a product so that the studios can decide how much they should make.

        Imagine if every company worked like that. The cost of any particular item would depend on where you lived. At the cash register, you'd have to show your ID so that they could determine how much to charge you. You stop in a store across town and see people buying bread for $.50 a loaf. You decide to get one and the cashier rings it up at $2.50. When you complain, you're told that since you come from a richer part of town, you have to pay more.

        Would that be fair?

         

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        Alan Gerow, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        Obviously you weren't replying to MY post, because you didn't seem to really be responding to my point, but you made up some other points to respond to.

        1. Movies COULD be released worldwide on Day 1, but they're not. A movie could be released in a theatre, on TV, on DVDs all over the world, on iTunes, everywhere. But they don't. Because they can make more money out of people the old way. Make them pay once to see it in a theatre ... then pay again to have it on DVD and portable format ... then have the TV networks pay to show it on TV. It's a CHOICE to not have all forms of media released simultaneously and around the world.
        But, I never made any points about worldwide release schedules. so I don't know why you mentioned this.

        2. If I sell you a car, and then tell you that if you want to drive that car out of your state, that you will then have to buy a second car and can only drive THAT car in another state ... how is that not extortion? You're forcing people to keep paying for the original item. I LOVE Japanese horror movies, and a good friend gave me a copy of a Special Edition version of Ichi the Killer with all sorts of goodies. It was not Region 1, as it was a Japanese release ... that had English subtitles. Had I not been savvy enough, I wouldn't have thought unlock my DVD player to watch it. But I did.

        Yet, had I not already had a different copy of the DVD already, or known how to circumvent region lock, then I would have had to buy another one anyway. I am being forced to buy one DVD for Region 1, one DVD for Region 2, etc ... and I can't use them on hardware in other regions.

        That's extortion.

        The DVD doesn't HAVE to be produced for each market. The world-wide market of Region 0 DVDs makes that abundantly clear. I have several Region 0 DVDs in my collection, and that's a good thing.

        3. Sony & Nintendo seem to do a decent job controlling prices around the world for their game systems. There are more than enough examples of global distribution that works. Their incompetence is not a defense. The people who release Region 0 DVDs seem to know how to do it. And if they want to gouge a market, and a consumer orders it from another country, cheaper ... GOOD FOR THEM! They're smart, savvy, metropolitan people.

        4. NO! Region codes are entirely used to prop up archaic licensing zones. There is NO reason to use region locking except to maintain the old lines between NTSC & Pal regions, when global markets were segmented by technology. That technology barrier is gone since DVD players can convert screen ratios, yet the movie industry wants their old licensing systems because it makes them more money. I have no problem with people making money ... as long as its done honestly and through open markets.

        Neither of which is done now.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 10:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Sony & Nintendo seem to do a decent job controlling prices around the world for their game systems."

          Erm, it is worth noting that both companies do use region coding (not to mention that Sony are also involved in the DVD market, although they seem to be opting not to enforce region coding on Blu-Ray for many releases). With Sony it goes even further - check out the Lik Sang case for evidence of how far Sony will go to in order to prevent people from buying perfectly legal imports of a product they've not decided to release in a certain country yet (they were shut down for supplying PSPs from Asia to the UK market before the official UK PSP release date).

          Nintendo have region coding firmly in place for the Wii (strange, since they don't have it on the DS). This is especially frustrating for Europeans. It's not uncommon for people in the UK to have to wait 3-6 months for a game. The reason? So that it can be translated for a Europe-wide release. In other words, the UK market is forced to wait so that the game can be translated into languages very few people there want or need.

          Normally, people who don't want to wait would just import the US version of the game, but that's not possible thanks to region coding. Nintendo (and Sony) have made a massive effort to ban modchips due to "piracy" concerns, yet many people get modchips for the sole purpose of playing imported, not pirated, games.

           

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            Alan Gerow, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 11:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Fair enough. Bad example. But the point was their game systems, not their games.

            One company releases a game system world-wide, handling distribution, pricing, and marketing. The point I was attempting to make was that replacing "game system" with "DVD" would be analogous. Which may still be a bad example.

            With the Nintendo DS, anyway, the games are not region-locked. With my US Nintendo DS, I can play any DS game released anywhere. But, the games are still released regionally by different distribution companies (i.e. Elekroplankton wasn't released in the US initially because of a lack of distributor, but US customers could order the Japanese version and play them in their DS systems ... I actually waited for the US release, so the three words in the "game" would be in English instead of Japanese).

            Which is why I was focusing on the systems themselves, because even the games are subject to the same licensing deals as DVDs are.


            Would a better example be the auto industry? The auto companies have managed to manufacture, distribute, and market their cars world-wide, and is able to handle pricing, stock, and even regional specifics (steering wheel on the left vs right). If I bought my car in the US, and then wanted to move to Russia, it would be expensive but I could ship my car without having to buy a new one.

            And even with the side of the street difference, there's a guy in my neighborhood with an old-school Mini Cooper, before BMW got a hold of it. The steering wheel is still on the right side. So even those differences aren't a roadblock for cars.

             

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              PaulT (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, that's fair enough. I was just trying to point out that videogames are still region-coded even if Nintendo did make the DS region free. I suppose it was more for other readers since, as North Americans are usually less affected by region coding due to the size of the market, many people might actually have been fooled into thinking it doesn't affect anyone...

               

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        Jason Timms, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Hmmmm... So how does ITunes work when a new album is released? Wouldnt this have similar pricing problems you mentioned? The problem has been solved for audio. Video should not be far behind.

         

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    Scote, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:07pm

    "Second, the extortion you speak of isn't really valid either. Again, in each market, the DVD has to be produced to match that market's needs. Language, editing, censoring (if need be), packaging, and a whole host of other issues, regional and local."

    If that is soooo true, then the region codes are **not needed** because people will wait for these special region specific versions.

    Your own arguments argue against your claims.

     

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    John Duncan Yoyo, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Region Free Players

    Aren't region free players were more common outside the US? I seem to remember that people weren't bothering with region encoded players and getting region free models.

    Any chance PAL vs NTSC might be the real problem here. Of course the UK is farther along the path to Digital tv.

     

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    anymouse, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Somebody point him to The Pirate Bay

    Someone just needs to explain to the PM how he can go to 'The Pirate Bay' and download region free versions of all the movies he received as a gift (and possibly any others he might like to see). Since he technically 'owns' a copy of the movies (with a region code that probably makes them illegal imports in his country, but that's another story), it's not really 'piracy' but more of a 'consumer workaround' (ie. consumers doing for themselves what they should legally be able to do, but can't because companies are too greedy to let them.)

     

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    Pozzie, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    Pirated DVD's are better for me

    I live in Indonesia and I can purchase pirated new release movies at local shopping malls for way less than a dollar. I cannot find licensed DVD's that I want to watch so I tried ordering some classic movies from Amazon thinking that they should be region free by now.

    No such luck, region 1 only. Why does the studio have the right to make it impossible for me to play a legally purchased movie? Why would they want to do that anyway? These are just rhetorical questions are "they are stupid and greedy" and "they are stupid".

    All that this does is make me buy the pirated movies because I can watch them easily on any machine because they are all region free. Can the MPAA please explain why they keep this up?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

      Re: Pirated DVD's are better for me

      To play devil's advocate, the studios aren't making it impossible for you to play a legally purchased movie... you'll have to buy a legally purchased DVD player. I know circuits and wall outlets are different across the world, but they also make adapters for those outlets.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 8:20pm

        Re: Re: Pirated DVD's are better for me

        To play devil's advocate, the studios aren't making it impossible for you to play a legally purchased movie... you'll have to buy a legally purchased DVD player. I know circuits and wall outlets are different across the world, but they also make adapters for those outlets.

        The movie studios also control the licensing of the players and they don't allow players for one region to be sold in another. So while it may not be impossible, where are you going to legally buy the player?

         

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    Weird Angry Harold Dude, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Region Codes are for the retarded

    I'm not all suprised to see that WH supports region codes.
    I think he is firmly planted up the *IAA's ass.

    What does it smell like up there ... huh?
    How pathetic

     

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      Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:09pm

      Re: Region Codes are for the retarded

      Get bent (and thanks for the mail).

      Seriously - you guys could find fault in anything. Sometimes we get places not because we aimed to be there, but because it is how things worked out. Region codes for the most part work and do what they should do, and that's okay. This is just one of those examples where people who don't know (and Obama is proving there is lots he don't know) do something stupid.

      I am sure that replacement would be arranged.

      As a side note, considering Gordon Brown is mostly blind, I am wondering if he ever really did sit down to watch the movies, or is this just another tale we will find on snopes some time soon?

       

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2009 @ 2:58am

        Re: Re: Region Codes are for the retarded

        "Sometimes we get places not because we aimed to be there, but because it is how things worked out."

        You mean like the people who emigrate and find they can't play their DVD colllection because a studio wants to protect its "market"? Or are you talking about the law of unintended consequences where unforeseeable results happen because of region coding (although anyone with a brain could see what they would be)?

        "Region codes for the most part work and do what they should do, and that's okay."

        Maybe where you are if you're lucky enough to be in a country where a timely, reasonably priced, full-featured release is actually made in your own language. If you prefer to speak a different language to the one around you or live in a market that regularly gets screwed on pricing, features and are lucky if the movie gets released *at all*, let alone before everyone else has stopped talking about it, you would disagree.

        Again, region coding blocks a massive tourist market (the millions of Europeans who travel to America every year, for example) while enforcing bad product onto less "valuable" markets. Savvy people bypass region codes altogether - making them utterly ineffective.

        Once again, another illustration of an industry trying to protect a business model through artificial means and then wondering why people try to break their precious DRM instead of simply falling into the mindless consumer patterns that work best for them.

         

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        Alan Gerow, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re: Region Codes are for the retarded

        The region-lock works ... for movie studios. It does NOT work for consumers. So, your entire point falls apart.

        REGION LOCK DOES NOT WORK!

        A replacement is being arranged ... it's just that the movie studios aren't a part of it.

        The Pirate Bay
        DeCSS to rip movies
        computer region unlocking programs
        DVD region unlocking codes
        Region-free DVD players
        Black market DVDs

        There are systems in place to "fix" the region lock problem. We just want the same level of freedom and choice to be offered to the layman who may not know enough to bypass the broken system on his/her own.

         

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    DrE, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Obama's reaction to failure of DVDs to play

    I wonder if Obama and his team will draw the right conclusions about the MPAA and DRM from this event?

     

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      JoeDirt, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

      Re: Obama's reaction to failure of DVDs to play

      How dumb do you have to be to get region 1 DVDs for someone in the UK?

       

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        mobiGeek, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

        Re: Re: Obama's reaction to failure of DVDs to play

        I am going to be that the OVERWHELMING majority of DVD owners know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about DVDs and region codes.

        WTF should they?

         

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        some old guy, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:48pm

        Re: Re: Obama's reaction to failure of DVDs to play

        Perhaps it was a subtle hint?

         

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        Alan Gerow, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 9:48am

        Re: Re: Obama's reaction to failure of DVDs to play

        Dumb enough to be president.

        Actual intelligence hasn't been a prerequisite in quite some time. Obama is just another president promising "change" ... but the "change" ends up being bigger, more intrusive government ... more laws, regulations, restrictions, taxes, pain ... the "change" we get is to get further away from the ideals of freedom and liberty. Change indeed.

        Seriously, Obama is a great orator ... but he's just as dumb as the last president. He owns a Zune ... obviously has serious judgment issues.

         

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    RD, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

    well, no...

    "Seriously - you guys could find fault in anything. Sometimes we get places not because we aimed to be there, but because it is how things worked out. Region codes for the most part work and do what they should do, and that's okay. This is just one of those examples where people who don't know (and Obama is proving there is lots he don't know) do something stupid."

    Wrong-o, shillmeister. You are skipping/ignoring/missing one HUGE part of this equation. All of these schemes to limit the availability (or in some cases, the content, as in #18 above) serves only one purpose: to line the pockets of the studios. Now, there is NOT ONE SINGLE REASON that these things need to be done this way. This is what the studios have CHOSEN to do. Its not a technological issue, its not a legal issue, its SOLELY so they can extract EVEN MORE MONEY out of people.

    "But RD!" you say, "The studios can do whatever they want, its their product!" and you are right, it is. But just because someone CAN do something doesnt mean they SHOULD (or are you not old enough to have learned that about people yet?) and it doesnt mean its a GOOD IDEA to do so. Many a monarch has had his head removed thinking this way in the past. See also: "Let them eat cake."

    So, now, in 2009 people en masse around the world are saying "ENOUGH!" and do not want to have to deal with these artifical, greedy and anti-consumer restrictions. That is also why you see so many people on this site siding against the various *IAA industries. This is a pro-consumer rights site, not a pro-screw-everyone-over-as-much-as-possible-becuase-we-can-big-business site. If these attitudes are not to your liking, I'm sure you can find a whole host of other sites to your liking. RushLimbaugh.com perhaps, or maybe RIAA.com. You'll be preaching to the choir there, but hey, at least you wont get people trying to tell you what the reality of the modern consumer mindset is, and you can continue in that little fantasy world you share with your industry buddies.

     

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    Enrico Suarve, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 3:43am

    ROFL

    Gordo learn something and move against stricter controls of *anything*?

    Mike - I hate to say it but it's obvious at times you're American!

    He's more likely to want to set up some sort of database to monitor the number of non region 2 DVDs entering Britain and being played

    To save the children or stop the terrorists or something

     

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    R. Miles, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    Weird Harold, it's time to just shut your damn mouth.

    Dear Weird Harold,
    I'm getting pretty sick of you calling me a pirate in your defense of a system I define as true piracy.

    You continue to spew out rhetoric and defending arguments of an industry that, by their definition, also calls me a pirate.

    This is because the industry determines its success by the number of plastic disks it sells.

    I challenge you to come to my home and find any illegal download. I will show you my music files, and the sites I use to obtain them. I will show you my movie collection, all of which are retail purchased.

    And if you can find 1 single pirated file, I will apologize to you and will cease to attack your ignorance.

    You will not find any P2P software on my computer. You will not see any links to torrent sites, given I do not know how to torrent.

    What you will find, however, is that you and the industry continues to call me a pirate because I download, or more precisely, no longer contribute to the "sold plastic = success" model.

    BestBuy has a sale going on with all its anime (current through tomorrow folks) at 50% off. I found out the reason for this was BestBuy is no longer going to stack its shelves with as much anime as it can, but instead, limit me, a paying customer, to only the top 15 most successful titles.

    Walmart, Target, BestBuy, and other retailers have announced a reduction in their plastic disk offerings to consumers, a business decision they've made because these items are no longer selling.

    These actions take away from the "plastic sales = success" model, but when people use Netflix for movies, or download $1 songs (both are paid services), you and the industry continue spinning numbers to say piracy is taking it all away.

    I disagree. I strongly believe sales of plastic disks are going down because better options are now available to us. I can now use an On Demand service to watch movies on my television. I can download artist music, who doesn't use Corporate Pirate Distributor, with no cost, a decision the artist made.

    I am still a paying customer who prefers a different medium than a plastic disk. I pay artists directly, who have used new business models to obtain payments, all of which goes directly to them.

    Last year, I can safely assume I spent $250 on music through these new models, and maybe $50 through movie streams via On Demand (not much really out there to pay for). And, recently with the 50% sale, $200 on anime DVDs.

    So for you and the industry to sit there an call me a pirate is insulting, and all of you can go fuck yourselves.

    I made this decision to walk away from buying over priced plastic disks. I made the decision not to support the pirated $1 per song model. I made the decision to buy DVDs at a sale price.

    This decision was made because the industry doesn't care about my wants, but instead, the cash within my wallet. For them to tell me I have to pay multiple times for single content because I want to use it in multiple devices is not only laughable, but damn insulting. It reaps of corporate greed.

    And nothing the industry does with its current model will change my opinion. They are the pirates. Not me.

    Another reason for this decision comes from viewing advertisement these idiots add to my paid content, but did not drop the price of that content. For you, who defends the advertised model when content is $0.00, you should also find this insulting, but instead, you defend it.

    My latest stand against the entertainment industry is removing television viewing from my daily activity.

    When the television industry tells fans they're pirates for hosting the very show they distribute for no cost to the viewers, I feel insulted as I use legal technology to skip the commercials.

    How is my use of a DVR any different than a site distributing content given away via a television broadcast?
    I challenge any television distributor to answer this question and define why I'm a fucking pirate just because I don't want to watch ads using a legal device.

    So, Weird Harold, as long as you continue including me in your definition of piracy, I will continue to attack everything you say.

    Instead of us going head-to-head like this, why don't you just shut your damn mouth and think about people like me before making your bullshit assumptions of us.

    I don't discredit piracy is out there. I discredit the notion my activities, by your and the industry's definition, make me so.

    I wrote this reply directly to you from your defense of region coding. Should you read this, I request you educate yourself regarding the anime industry, as it also relies on DVD sales.

    Because I, as a consumer, wouldn't hesitate for 1 second to buy a Japanese DVD (region code 2) should I be able to play with a device (region code 1). An option I do not have now due to the entertainment industry's piracy approach to reaping more cash from consumers.

    From a model that defends plastic disk sales as success, one would think selling them as fast as possible would be a better decision rather than give piracy a chance to flourish to give people what they want.

    I can't force a business to change, but I most definitely can force my spending habits to change. In the long run, the business loses because I will always have a means to obtain my goods, especially *IF* I begin to support sites who choose piracy over legitimate support for the business.

    It's not the pirates at fault here. It's the business. For you to dismiss this and blame people like me is wrong.

    So get your damn head out of your ass and quit insulting people like me. Not only does this make you look ignorant, it strips all credibility in your defense arguments for an outdated distribution model.

    Thanks for reading and have a nice day.
    Sincerely,
    R. Miles
    Not a pirate. Just a consumer finding other legal ways to destroy the "plastic sales = success" model.

     

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    Anonymous12, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    In response to:Weird Harold, it's time to just shut your damn mouth.
    by R. Miles - Mar 20th, 2009 @ 5:20am




    Notice how when presented with a factual argument, Wierd Harold is suddenly absent? Wierld Harold, I read your posts. You blindly pass by any thing that challenges your comments on facts, and refuse to comment on facts. Instead you dance around the issues like an Irishman on wisky (with great respect to the Irish). Get a clue you, IMHO, pathetic excuse for a human being.

     

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    Jon, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Was not this declared by the media to be the most technologically savvy White House in the history of man a few weeks ago?
    So savvy that they were shocked to see Windows XP and no Blackberries?

    Was not the Bush White House in the technological "Dark Ages" because of his "anti-science agenda"?

    Does anyone not remember this?

     

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    pp, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 3:01am

    WeirdHarold is right. All businesses try and segment markets, so they can choose the optimum price (i.e. highest they can get away with) for each segment, independently of other segments.

    For example, an airline might have a 'budget' subsidiary, which offers the same product (flights from A to B) much, much cheaper. They do this to mop up the less affluent fliers who would otherwise just not fly at all. However, they want to stop their more affluent fliers from just switching to the cheap flights, they want those who can afford high prices to carry on paying them. To do this they might deliberately give the budget airline a tacky, embarrassing name, garish colours, all sorts of pointless restrictions that don't in themselves serve any rational purpose, making the service unnecessarily worse, just so as to deter the high-status business fliers from using it.

    The same logic explains why Intel will at times deliberately cripple perfectly good chips and sell them to more budget-conscious customers as slower ones (if their chip-yield is actually too good).

    This practice is, in a way, totally irrational, it is actively destroying value. But its an inevitable consequence of capitalism. Its one of the arguments socialists will use to attack capitalism. As socialism appears not to work terribly well though, we appear to be stuck with it, however daft it seems.

    Of course its an ongoing battle, just because businesses want to do this doesn't mean it always works out. I don't see any moral reason why people shouldn't try and circumvent it if they can get away with it (e.g. back when folks found you could massively overclock some Celerons).

     

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 21st, 2009 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      What is it with Americans and their constant need to divert every argument into "socialism" vs "capitalism"? Your tangent makes no sense...

      Anyway, yes every business *wants* to split markets into more profitable segments. The problem here is that its done in a totally artificial way that is effectively destroying certain markets instead of creating them.

      Your other analogies are a little strange and rather irrelevant. While Intel do sometimes create "crippled" chips, they offer them side-by-side with the fully powered ones. They're not forcing one section of the market to buy the crippled ones, but are actually creating a new market who may not buy the "good" chips. Similarly, the budget airline will run alongside the more expensive one. They'll get the budget-conscious fliers that might not normally use the higher class one. But, nobody's forced to use the budget airline if they'd rather use the business class, and there's also nothing to actually stop a businessman from using the budget line if he chooses.

      The issue here is that an inferior, yet more expensive, product is offered in one market and the DRM/region coding is used to *prevent* that market from obtaining the better product. It's a totally different scenario. In your analogies, the market is still able to decide the outcome, with region coding and DRM that's prevented from happening. ore "socialist" than the free market solution we're all trying to advocate here.

       

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    Alex, Mar 22nd, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    Trade restraint

    If it were about *governments* explicitly regulating DVD disks and players so that DVDs purchased in one country would not be playable on players sold in another country, it would undoubtedly be classed as unlawful trade restraint under WTO rules, and stopped. But since it's a private body (DVD-CCA) doing it, there is apparently nothing stopping it (AFAIK (IANAL) the WTO has no control over actions by private bodies... altho' a case could perhaps be made that DMCA-like laws banning the bypassing of region codes mean that governments are effectively promoting such trade restraints).

    Apparently the DVD-CCA wanted to have separate regions within the EU, but were slapped down because the EU is a single market, so such trade restraints are forbidden within it. That's what a free market is supposed to be about --- anyone can buy things from anywhere. Wierd Harold seems to have a warped view of how markets should work: his view is essentially corporatist, as he apparently believes that businesses should be allowed to conspire to distort markets to their benefit at the expense of legitimate consumers. That is not how a free market is supposed to work. Every well-run capitalist economy has laws preventing companies from doing exactly that within its market. And so it should be the same globally. If the cheapest legtitimate DVDs are sold in Thailand, then consumers in Europe should not be artificially prevented from buying them in the Thai market and playing them in legitinately purchased equipment in their homes. It's as simple as that. Unfortunately ther is not enough international law to prevent businesses (as opposed to nations) from restraining trade against the public interest.

     

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    Independant Thinker, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Come ON!

    Really? Come on! This was Obama's fault. A slum girl knows that DVDs are Region specific but not the Prez? Sheesh. Where is this country headed?

    So, are we now allowed to insult this Prez like the last?

     

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    Old Enough to Know Better, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    DVD's

    I not sure who allowed the President to give the DVD's to the Prime Minister but it was NOT what should of been given to a head of state. The Prime Minister gave President Obama a very thoughtful gift that reflected the history our two countries have had over the years but not our NEW President he just slapped something in a basket. No thought or respect went into this and as an American I can say - it showed just how much lack of respect Obama has for the British. They were given clothes for the children and in return the Obama's gave to the Brown's a Marine One model which anyone can purchase from the store. It is sad when our guest are treated like that. The Prime Minister gave a lovely pen set made of the wood from the ship that the desk that is in the oval office that President Obama is using was made from - that was a British ship that was frozen in the artic ice that the US rescued and returned to the British. See the thought and the connection of the gift it was just not tossed in a basket or picked up at the gift shop. Lets hope he learned something and will not treat all his guest this way, but something tell me is they are from other countries he will do better. There are some talk of college papers that were written as to why there are feelings in the Obama's house towards the British.

     

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    Ken, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 4:44am

    Why don't they just stop giving each-other gifts?

    If me and my friends were going through incredibly tough times and we needed to make sure we made the most of every second to work on solving a crisis, we would probably agree "hey, maybe we shouldn't spend time shopping for gifts for each-other that we might be disappointed by anyway. Obama I'm sure has enough pens and Brown can buy his own DVD's.

     

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    fishup2008 (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 2:15am

    playing a DVD disc with a region code

    An error may occur when playing a DVD disc with a region code,Here I would like to tell you How to PLay Different Region DVD Movies on Mac.

     

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    damnedrm (profile), Nov 27th, 2009 @ 11:31pm

    British prime need a DVD Ripper

    Then I guess the British prime need a DRM Removal Software and a DVD Ripper LOL

     

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