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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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 20 Mar 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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