Why Does The MPAA Get To Approve DVD Players?

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

In discussing a recent ruling against a Chinese manufacturer of DVD players who wasn't implementing approved DVD DRM technologies, News.com notes in passing that the ruling allows the MPAA to review and test any new or re-engineered products that use CSS technology before going to market. It's difficult to see what sort of rationale there is for this. Once again, we see a situation where the MPAA seems to think that it gets to decide what innovations are allowed, and which are not. And, unfortunately, we have a court which has agreed, basically giving the MPAA full control over what kinds of DVD players can be sold in the US.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    It's difficult to see the rationale in ANYTHING the **AA does...

     

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  2.  
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    Reed, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    That's why!

    That's why I can't skip the FBI warning! I was wondering why people who made DVD players wouldn't allow skipping of certain messages.

    I rented this DVD the other day and it had 3, count them 3 FBI warnings in a row that could not be skipped. Really annoying!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 2:37pm

    it's a sign of vertical integration. Like how everyone had to use Bell phones and accessories (end user equipment) and phone lines.

     

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  4.  
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    david, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    actually, the reason you can't skip those ineffective FBI warnings has to do with permissions on the disc. it's nothing to do with the player, unless the player is designed to ignore disc restrictions, which could lead to unexpected behavior.

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    The RIAA has lost a lot of money over the years thanks to its attempts to "protect" its content. First, was the CSS debacle which, while pitifully weak, did manage to successfully make it a very grey area to play legally purchased DVDs on legally installed Linux computers. It made DVD devices increasingly expensive to manufacture up to the present day - supposedly the reason the Wii can't play DVDs is because of the licencing for CSS - so that's a large number of potential players unused and not everyone had both machines connected to their TV.

    Then, region coding lost a lot of sales. As the DVD format was growing, region coding severely stunted sales of DVD players in the UK (region 2 discs were often far inferior to region 1 release thanks to the insistence of putting 15 languages on the movie. Smart people imported, but had to jump through hoops to do so). Even today, I come across visitors from the US and other regions who decide not to buy DVDs because they can't play them when they return home (I currently live near a tourist region in Spain).

    So, that's part of the problem. If you buy a legal DVD, you get unskippable copyright notices, trailers and insulting "don't pirate" ads and then get restricted as to how you can play your DVD - want to play that DVD you bought on holiday on your XBox 360 instead of your multiregion player? Tough sh*t.

    If, however, you buy a pirate DVD or download a copy, you get skippable ads (or the ads removed entirely) and no restriction on which device or location you choose to use the DVD. As is often said here, the MPAA needs to work on making their products *more* valuable, not less. If people are insulted every time they start a DVD and can't use it where they want, they simply choose not to buy to begin with.

     

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  6.  
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    Adam, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Amen to that PaulT! I stopped buying DVDs because of the unskippable content and region protection. I'll buy disks again if I can get to the movie in under 5 seconds from disk insertion without being bothered and forced to view crap I didn't want and not worrying about whether the disk will play in may player/computer.

    **AA has no one else but themselves to blame.

    A.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Bill, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    That's the most backwards thinking I have ever seen exhibited by a human being.

    I'm guessing you work for the RIAA?

    If the players ignored the restrictions the only unexpected behavior would be less annoyance on the part of the customers.

     

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  8.  
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    elduderino, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:08pm

    VHS

    does anybody else miss VHS format yet?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Yea, like the player might "unexpectedly" play your disc. I'll bet you wouldn't expect it, and I'm sure the MPAA wouldn't expect it. The MPAA and RIAA want to restrict on which devices you can play your legally purchased content, because even after all this time, they think that it somehow leads to MORE sales. The truth, as we all have seen, is that all of this restrictive BS leads to LESS sales. And the longer it goes on, it leads to even LESS sales, and LESS sales, until there is no MPAA any more, because there is no market for their trash.

     

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  10.  
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    Deckmaster, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Disk Restrictions Suck

    Plain and simple. They are going to be the cause of the end of my DVD player yet. I own more then one DVD that will not let me stop it if it is in the menu and just sits there and loops after being inserted. I want to own my DVDs and hardware not let them own me.

     

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  11.  
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    Vic, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    Makes you wonder...

    Anybody competent here to explain if this amounts to a monopoly (in controlling the whole market of DVD players) and if as such it is actually legal?

     

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  12.  
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    Thomas, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 3:54pm

    They don't have a clue.

    Why in the world shouldn't you be able to copy your DVD to a hard disk on a laptop so you can play it while traveling? It takes less power to run the hard disk than an optical drive. They would really prefer to go to a 'pay per view' mode, where you had to pay each time you watch the movie, even if you only watch part of it. I think that must be their dream goal. And why shouldn't you be allowed to download your DVD to an iPod Touch? You still have the DVD. They are so obsessed with piracy that they don't really give a shit about their customers. Why should they?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Gary, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 4:24pm

    The DCMA is Unconstitutional

    The DCMA is Unconstitutional. It's a law that affects consumers negatively. It stifles competition. If it weren't for the DCMA, then we could buy DVD players that allow consumers to skip the bullshit such as the ads at the beginning of the DVD.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    Re:

    That's why all my movies go through my computer first.
    Rip & remaster with just the movie.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    2012--12-21, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 4:35pm

    I can't wait for the mandated RFID chip insertion at birth!

    ""I've seen the enemy and he is us!""

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 4:37pm

    download VLC media player, use it to play DVD's : It can be configured to go straight to the movie skipping warnings and previews etc. I understand not everyone can connect their PC to a HDTV via DVI/HDMI, but if you can, this is the way to go.

    Fuck the MPAA!

    Not 1 cent!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Spectere, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Your ignorance is staggering. It might be a good idea to do a bit of Googling before accusing people of working for the **AA (seriously, that accusation is just tiring at this point...grow up).

    DVD menus and features basically use simple programs. DVD players utilize a virtual machine to allow discs to do special things. That's how DVD games and such work.

    Skipping around would be like skipping chunks of code in a computer program; the end result might be fine (like skipping over the chapters that hold the FBI warnings) but in other instances, chapter jumping might lead to incorrect or undesired behavior.

    Yes, the severity of what happens depends on the disc and bytecode in question, but it is possible for reckless skipping to break menus.

     

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  18.  
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    ehrichweiss, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    Actually the Wii and Gamecube won't play DVD's because the drive mechanism itself won't read DVD media because that would then open up to being able to load copied games. Think of it as Nintendo's own form of hardware based DRM. There are hacks to get a Wii to read DVD media but AFAIK they won't play store bought movies or the like.

     

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  19.  
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    ehrichweiss, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    Re: VHS

    No but I've missed Betamax like crazy.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 5:53pm

    The Secret

    Just don't mess with all their crap.. I own one dvd and Im pretty sure its a copy (albeit a good one but a copy non the less)(Scarface). If I want to watch something new, I just hax0r the nearest "secure" wireless network and download the torrent. End of the story. Don't buy their crap or go to the movies to watch their crap and maybe, just maybe (not really but we can always hope right) they will get the msg. Don't fuck with us or we'll burn your shit down!


    (everything I just said is a lie!)
    (in case they are watchn me!)

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Makes you wonder...

    Why Does The MPAA Get To Approve DVD Players?

    That's funny, I'd think it'd be the DVD CCA that's doing this.

    After all it's the DVD CCA that licenses the CSS keys.

    I assume that a DVD player manufacturer has to go to the DVD CCA to get the keys. I'd imagine the license stipulates the use of the CSS. It also shouldn't be too hard to imagine that the CSS keys are under copyright.

    That's my guess. Not sure why the MPAA is involved here.

     

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  22.  
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    Allen (profile), Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 8:21pm

    It is odd that this has been pursued by the MPAA as a "third-party [beneficiary]" rather than by the DVD CCA directly.

    The MPAA's actions no longer surprise me. It's like they've forgotten the difference between reality and one of their member's scripts.

     

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  23.  
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    Paul Rios, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 9:39pm

    Re: That's why!

    I guess you could say it is like the old MS joke "It's not a bug! It's an extra added feature." lol

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Paul Rios, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah same here. I watch my copies so the originals can stay in their cases and avoid being damaged. Especially useful if you have kids or in my case young nephews, and of course my niece loves to pull out her Dora the Explorer discs and insist on watching them any chance she gets...lol. For the kids I keep the copies in the cases and store the originals in a sleeve in my room.

    So, yes I still buy DVD, but don't want to have to replace them after a couple of years due to damage either controllable or not ;)

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Mike, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 10:28pm

    who needs a dvd player?

    I haven't even taken mine out of the box since I moved two years ago, I watch all my movies straight from the PC (on my 42" LCD) and generally if I feel like seeing a movie I can download it in an hour or so and be watching it. I don't feel the slightest guilt for not paying for them, and that can be directly attributed to the satisfaction I get knowing the MPAA can't do squat about it. Worst case scenario concerning pirated movies: The industry collapses, and new talent fills in the gaps. :)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    elduderino, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 11:32pm

    Re: who needs a dvd player?

    > ...and that can be directly attributed to the satisfaction I get knowing the MPAA can't do squat about it.

    dude do you live in anarchyland? cause the laws in my country (united states)is that they bust you and sue you for like a bajillion bucks, do you actually read techdirt or just troll the comment sections?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    Let the MPAA do what it wants.

    Until consumers are educated enough to STOP BUYING DVDs, CDs, and ONLINE CONTENT, the MPAA/RIAA will do whatever the hell they want.

    Let them. I stopped buying years ago so their latest attempts to stop piracy affect me not.

    But for those of you who keep buying... shame on you.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: who needs a dvd player?

    Perhaps he is knowledgeable enough to know that there are more ways to download copywritten content than Torrents & other P2P filesharing programs. Most of these "other" ways are significantly harder to track who has actually downloaded the content, and unlike P2P/Torrent only needs to be shared once.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    me, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    note to MPAA

    Go fuck yourself. Stop trying to control things not yours to control and stop making crap for content.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: VHS

    ha... I still have my BETAmax systems. Had SONY gotten that format off the ground, I'm sure DVDs would have been so much better quality.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Duh!

    Why does the M?AA get to approve the DVD stuff? Duh! It closes the "Circle of Greed." Realize this...in the U.S. it is not enough to be "doing well" in a business. You must try, at least, to have a monopoly on your market. There are basically no rules about how to do this. You can buy anyone you want, cheat, lie and steal, whatever. Profit it not enough, not enough by any means. A business must have "Obsene Profits" or its not doing its job. Its what caused the entire "Dot Com Bubble" to burst. Suddenly, companies were caught lying about revenues and a huge number of them had to "restate earnings" which is accountant speak for taking back the lies. Which is exactly what the doctored books were, lies! Just remember, greed is the prime motive in business.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    nasch, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Re: The DCMA is Unconstitutional

    Which portion of the Constitution does it violate?

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Misunderstanding DVD

    Spectere wrote:

    DVD menus and features basically use simple programs. DVD players utilize a virtual machine to allow discs to do special things. That's how DVD games and such work.

    Correct premise, but ...

    Skipping around would be like skipping chunks of code in a computer program; the end result might be fine (like skipping over the chapters that hold the FBI warnings) but in other instances, chapter jumping might lead to incorrect or undesired behavior.

    ... wrong conclusion. Yes, there are programs running on a simple virtual machine, triggered by selecting from menus. That has nothing to do with disabling skipping over certain sections: that's done by flag bits set within those sections telling the player things like "disable the fast-forward and skip buttons in this section". Having the player ignore such obnoxious restrictions isn't going to break the programs one bit.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2008 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Misunderstanding DVD

    Thank you Lawrence for putting that so well.

    I for instance have a dvd player that once a secret code is entered ignores all the restrictions so I CAN skip the "you bought this so you must be a pirate" warnings.

    It works fine, there have never been any odd results on any dvd.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Gary, Nov 5th, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: The DCMA is Unconstitutional

    My bad. The DCMA is not necessarily unconstitutional, but it inhibits competition in a capitalist society. The DCMA contradicts the precedent established by, for example, the Sherman Antitrust Act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 6th, 2008 @ 1:11am

    download VLC media player, use it to play DVD's : It can be configured to go straight to the movie skipping warnings and previews etc. I understand not everyone can connect their PC to a HDTV via DVI/HDMI, but if you can, this is the way to go.

    I agree about using a software player, because they can often do things that a hardware player can't. I strongly disagree about VLC being a good player to use. Here's a picture of VLC playing a cheap DVD with the full-screen controls open. Can you spot the problem?

    http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=vlc1cv8.jpg

    Admittedly this is an older version, but it clearly illustrates the cluelessness of the authors about how to design a proper program. Something like that should have never made it into any publically released program.

    My recommendation would be to use either DVD Region & CSS Free or AnyDVD in conjunction with a proper DVD player program. I believe both programs can be set to ignore prohibited user operations and allow you to skip directly to the menu.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2008 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Makes you wonder...

    Not sure why the MPAA is involved here.
    Did you even bother to read the very link that you posted? "As of 2001, members included film distributors such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros." All MPAA members.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    drockhead, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Re:

    Um,
    Clueless?

    VLC is probably the best DVD player out there to-date. What you are seeing in that snap-shot is the GUI front end to the progam player on a windows machine and provides an extremely poor example of the software's capabilities. You can duplicate this exact same behavior as seen in the snapshot with virtually any windows based DvD player out there ... commercial or free. In fact, I would construe his post as direct obfuscation and I would suspect that this person have an entirely different agenda. Do you work for AnyDVD perhaps?

    For the rest of you, don't listen to this clown (Rekrul) his post and his statements about VLC are complete rubish.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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