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. identicon
    Alan Gerow, 20 Mar 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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