DRM Company Releases One-Sided Study On DVD Copying

from the let's-pick-this-apart dept

The MPAA has probably been the worst of the various Big Copyright industries in terms of the level to which their studies exaggerate the negative impact of unauthorized copying, while totally ignoring any positive impact. For example, it likes to widely cite a study (which it paid for) that triple- and quadruple-counts “losses” by noting the ripple effects. At the same time, it totally ignores the same positive ripple effects (the ones that cancel out the negative ones, and may even outweigh them). Of course, a big part of this is the claim that an unauthorized copy is a “lost sale.”

Now it appears that Macrovision, the big DRM company that supplies DRM to movie studios has cooked up its own study trying to support the MPAA in this argument, claiming that lots of people are copying DVDs and that most of them would buy the DVDs they copy otherwise. However, the LA Times’ Jon Healey does an excellent job pointing out the many significant weaknesses in the study, starting, of course, with the fact that it was paid for by Macrovision, with a clear intent in the results. And while Macrovision hypes of the fact that many people in the survey said they would have bought the DVDs they copied, it ignores the fact that the majority of folks they spoke to said the DVDs they made copies of were ones they already legitimately owned.

Even then, the results really aren’t as significant as Macrovision would like you (or, rather, Hollywood) to believe. As Healey notes, the study completely ignores the positive impacts of being able to make a copy of a DVD. In fact, the most common reason for making a copy was for perfectly legal time-shifting or back-up purposes from DVDs they legitimately own. In other words, being able able to make those copies is a valuable part of the DVD. Take that away and people will buy fewer DVDs because you’ve made them less valuable. But, of course, that doesn’t show up anywhere in the results, because that’s the last thing Macrovision wants people thinking about.

While the study also hypes up the fact that more TV shows are being copied via DVD, it ignores the fact that this is probably quite beneficial. Since TV shows are ongoing experiences, you want more viewers — and if a copy of a DVD gets someone new hooked on the show, they’re more likely to start watching it on TV or to buy a future DVD. But, again, that’s not mentioned at all. Either way, props to Healey and the LA Times for digging into the numbers a bit and not just parroting the press release findings, like many other news sources.

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Companies: macrovision

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Comments on “DRM Company Releases One-Sided Study On DVD Copying”

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DVD Copy Software (user link) says:

DVD burning software

There seems to be no middle ground between a fair business model and the consumer’s fair use rights. The copyright holders need to be protected, but it’s not fair that consumers have to pay multiple time for the same content. You should be able to pay for one movie one time and be able to watch it’s on all different formats and devices. We should NOT have to pay multiple times for DVD, HD DVD Blu-Ray, iPod, PSP, mobile phones, etc. etc. Until a fair business model is developed, there will always be DVD copy software programs out there like 1 Click DVD Copy and DVDneXtCopy that enable users to rip, convert, burn and copy DVD movies. BTW, all the best DVD best burning programs are listed, ranked, reviewed and compared side-by-side at: http://www.dvdxcopy.com

Lulu says:

Re: time shitfting?

Perfect example of time-shifting DVD content by making a backup copy:

My provincial government used to offer free DVD movie rentals, almost like Netflix, to parents of handicapped children. The content was educational and narrow in focus, designed specifically for children with developmental disabilities, and it couldn’t be purchased anywhere. The other problem was that we could only keep the DVDs for a week and then they had to be returned, because there were other parents on the waiting list.

We were receving an average of five to seven DVDs every week, and no child can possibly watch that many DVDs at once. So my husband made copies and immediately returned the DVDs, and he built up a library of educational material that will last our son for years.

Also, he was really pissed when he saw that the crown had smacked copyright infringement warnings on the front of all these DVDs. He said that our tax dollars paid to develop and produce much of the content on these DVDs, and he was going to be goddamned if anyone told him that he couldn’t make a copy. Especially since we were using the content as it was intended, to provide stimulation and home learning for our son.

My husband also believed that when budget cuts hit, this program would be viewed as an expendable resource, and that’s exactly what happened. Now, the Federal government has taken over the program, and only institutions qualify to borrow materials.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Why copy...

Whyt copy?

1. Because it is in your best interest to support quality. I often rent movies from Redbox even though they are available online. It is a convenient service at a fair price, which is what I demanded from the industry for years. Now that it is available, I will support the service by renting movies I want to see rather than downloading them. Also, I own many DVDs that I first downloaded, and most of the DVDs that I have from that process are the super special editions that the studio makes the most money from. I found that I really liked the movie, so I bought the best possible edition.

2. Sometimes copying is easier. I rent a Redbox movie, but something comes up so I don’t get to watch it that night. I could spend a lot of time downloading it on my crappy 1MB connection. Or, I can copy the disc I have in hand. That, BTW, also answers the above question about time-shifting. I paid for the rental and the ‘right’ to watch the movie, but external forces interfered. So, I time-shifted that right to another time slot. In most cases, I never watch the movie again. If it’s crappy, I will often throw the disc away rather than store garbage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Why copy...

But I can DL 20+ vids overnight, @ 4-5 per movies rental fee, do the math.

plus the ones i want good just DL the video_ts version, i don’t care much about the slightly lower quality, I have about 3TB connected directly to the TV and flip thru like an ipod, try that with reg dvds.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re: Why copy...

Yes, I know you CAN. My point is that, if you like something, and you want to see more like it in the future, it is a good idea to support it. I am not anti-downloading. I do think, however, that it is good to support quality.

For me, downloading has its place mainly in finding old, rare, and out-of-print titles. No video store in my area has a selection that goes back more than a couple years. For newer movies, I rent, but always from Redbox. They charge $1.00 (or free with the coupons they scatter everywhere), not 4 or 5. For Weinstein realeases, I generally skip them or, in rare cases, download them. Their monopoly agreement with Blockbuster pisses me off.

I also must ask…20+ vids a night? Why? Quantity does not equal quality. I understand the addictive nature of it, though. Back in the DirectConnect days, I spent a ridiculous amount of time downloading stuff I would never watch because it was there. But I have come to realize that, if I am never likely to watch it, why have it? DVDRs may be cheap, but they’re not free. If I am not going to watch it, I am throwing money and resources away. You can’t possibly watch 20+ vids per night. If I don’t rent, I download what I intend to watch. If I really like it and will watch it again, I will buy it (if it is available on DVD) to support the movie and gain the increased quality.

Simon says:

Increased Value

I for one have held of buying Blu-Ray because I want to be sure the DRM is fully cracked before investing. One of the great advantages of DVDs is that I can rip, convert and store them on my NAS server to watch from any connected device in the house, with the DVD original safely stored away.

I have no problem paying for the content, but once I’ve paid for it, let me consume it as I wish.

Vincent Clement says:

What I Do

What I do when I buy a DVD:

1. Rip the movie and save it on my hard drive

2. Burn a copy to a DVD and put away the original

3. Convert it to Xvid and later burn that with other Xvid movies onto a single DVD for the portable DVD players.

That is what is valuable to me. MPAA stop treating me as a criminal. I already paid for the DVD, go bugger off.

relonar says:

Re: What I Do

Xvid was so great back in the day, but look for a portable that has support for the h.264 codec. At the same bitrates this difference is crystal. I’ve even seen instances where a full HD bluray disk was dropped to about 4Gigs(at same resolution and frame rate) and quality difference was negligible.

anywho back to topic I also keep a digital copy of all dvd’s I have, and burn a copy for view occasionally. (though full rips and images are getting taxing have been transcoding to h.264 lately), but with the speed and regularity that the shiny plastic things get damaged I would laugh at anyone who didn’t archive at these prices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Stupid movie companies

I rented a movie from the library last week, and when I popped it in I had to sit through four movie trailers before the main menu came up. I was unable to FF past these trailers. Then, when the main menu came up, it played for about 30 seconds before the actual options (Play Movie, Special Features, Scene Index, Languages, etc) could be selected. How frustrating, to sit through almost 10 minutes of advertising before I could watch the movie. There is no way I would have bought this movie if I knew all this extra junk was on it. Of course, I would not have known until I had made the purchase. I can see how people are being driven to illegally rip a DVD to get just the movie itself and strip out all the bogus “bonus” features.

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Re: Stupid movie companies

I copy my purchased DVDs for two reasons.

One you’ve just said — get rid of all the stupid advertisements.

The other is so that my autistic daughter can watch the movie over and over without worrying about how badly she treats it. If she trashes a DVD, hey, I can just make another copy from the original.

Of course, the MPAA would rather I kept buying new copies. But, guess what? I can’t afford to. Sorry, forcing me to keep replacing those wouldn’t make me buy more. Can’t squeeze blood etc.

BTW, most of the DVDs will let you either FF or skip through, or use one of the menu buttons. Try all of them before you give up.

The long drawn-out main menus are oh so clever and all, but it gets really tedious going waiting through that every time you want to watch Harry Potter. I’ve seen it, just let me get to the freaking movie!

(Sometimes the menu buttons can bypass that too. Sometimes it just makes things worse. *sigh*)

Sumbuddy Stoopid says:


Screw buyin ’em, I rent a movie and if I like it I burn a copy. Or a movie comes out I want to see, I rent it and have back at the video store the same day! You’d think they know, but Jonny Highschool behind the counter could give a shit, he just can’t wait till his next break so he can sneak out and get high…

bobbknight says:

DVD burning software by DVD Copy Software

(I apologize for the double post)

But it angers me that I have to put up with some cretin trying to cash in on something like this.

This is just whores’ spam, everyone knows that free software is out on the net that does the same job.

If you want true unbiased info go to Doom9.net/forums

AH says:


Using logic and reasoning is going beyond the pale here. We must love our MPAA Big Brothers. We must pay them money every time we utter a movie’s name, let alone (egads!) watch the thing. All of our disposable income MUST go to our Big Brothers at MPAA. Without them, life is useless and we will die. So, do not attempt to overwhelm their room-temperature IQs with fact, reason, logic, or any of those tricks. We MUST believe because Big Brother said so… and they paid a lot of money to make us believe!

John Wilson (profile) says:


Big Brother MPAA also wants you to know that you need to fork over a royalty any time you even so much as think of a movie. Even more if you recall any pictures in the movie.

Shortly there will be an implant chip that will go into your inner ear or right nostril that will monitor your thoughts and make sure you pay.

Data will be shared with the RIAA so you pay royalties any time you think of a song or arrangement or, heaven forbid, sing “Sympathy For The Devil” in the shower.



PS: ET call home…the MPAA wants to discuss royalties owing because you took copies of your movie back home with you.

inc says:

If they lowered that artificially inflated price so that it’s not worth going through the trouble of copying or downloading a DVD then more people would buy them. You can’t tell me it’s cheaper for me to duplicate DVDs then they are to mass produce. That’s the simple truth; stop ripping people off and making them out to be criminals.

angry and pissed off says:

att's putting macrovision on broadcasted fiber optic cable-digitized to prevent dvd copying.

Although I disagree with them using macrovision on anything
it really gets me angry when regular tv programs have macrovision. You pay big bucks to watch tv that used to be free, paid for by commercials, but those greedy a-holes are even using macrovision on local network programs. Come on, they made their money from the commercials we are forced to watch that interupt the programs, PLUS we pay high fees to watch them so they make even more money, but like the old comic books that I collected as a kid and liked to read over and over, I like to select a few favorite shows and make a dvd to collect it for my personal use, afterall, they were paid to make it, paid by bogas advertisers, and by the viewers, thus they were paid 3 times already for a show that was suppossed to be free to view to start with. Almost every local channel has macrovision. That really sucks the big one in my opinion! I have stopped watching Heroes, Smallville, and several others to hope their ratings suffer enough to wise them up or bankrupt them, their choice. I think we paid not once but 3 times already just to watch it, and if I want to make a copy for future viewing when nothing good is on, or I just miss it because it was one of my favorites & want to see it again, that is my right that I paid for. If people didn’t like to watch programs or movies more than once they wouldn’t have old programs on some networks, or premium channels, or video oldies tv networks, or sell dvd’s of the series. My making a copy does NOT stop me from buying them as they claim. For example, try to buy Heroes or Smallville in the video store. Yes I’ve seen smallville advertised on tv as being for sale, but every video store I callled didn’t stock it or else in smallville’s case they wanted over $500 for the series which isn’t even over and would have to special order it which they say would take a few months to get, but most didn’t offer it at any price. Hey, charge a resonable price and I will be first in line to buy it, it’s alot less work than having to be there to copy it every week or miss a week because the network showed some dumb special instead one day so you missed an episode that might be important to the overall story! BUT $500??? And then they copy protect the dvd’s to add insult to injury? That is just bullshit and why I refuse to even watch those programs anymore or anything on that channel. If we could all do that maybe those dumb ass’s would figure it out, they are only hurting themselves and their ratings. An analog vhs recorder will copy the digital macrovision programs so I can copy them with a slightly inferior picture, but cannot make a dvd. You would need a digital to analog converter and a macro scrubber, unless someone knows where I can buy a digital macro scrubber or remover. If you do please respond. Thanks

Big Bob (user link) says:


I know what you mean, boy do I relate. The cable & sattellite tv ESPECIALLY AT&T are so greedy it is an insult to an entire generation. I am a baby boomer and I also collected Superman and other comic books and read them over and over until the next issue came out, and even then read old favorites from time to time. Like you said they make unfair profits and only boycotting them may change things. I made a few phone calls and you are right, nobody did stock the smallville (superman) series but a Target store said they could order it but the series so far was $590+ they said because season 8 has been added. I could understand pay per view because it may make more money when they show it on HBO or SHOWTIME or some other premium channel although I still think I should be able to make a dvd backup because I paid $50 to watch a fight or sport event & for those bucks it is a rip off to only get to watch it once. It’s like a book or movie, if you watch it a second time you often see new things that you missed the first time because the kids or telephone or whatever distracted you. Macrovision on regular TV is as you said rubbing salt in it. I think you are right, I think I am going to cancil my AT&T but do not know if this greed has spread to dish network, Direct TV, Time-Warner, and the others. I too am interested and will gladly buy any video stabalizer or macro scrubber as you called it for digitized TV that is on the market so if someone does respond to your letter spread the word so we can all beat this thing. Big Bob.

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