I just got pushed…

…over to the Anti-DRM side of the debate.

Chris is compiling a Christmas gift package to send to his Chilean host family. He wanted to include a few DVDs for his host parents. He asked me to help him buy some online. I vaguely recall that DVDs might have some sort of region-based anti-copying bit in them… something that would make a DVD bought in one part of the world un-playable in another part of the world. I look around and sure enough, it is true. Not only is it true, but South America is a completely different region with regards to DVD. Oh well.

Ironically the only way we could realistically send them a DVD is to copy one on my computer, remove the region encoding, and rip it back to a DVD… basically PIRATING IT. Go figure.

Has this anti-pirating technology stopped any video “piracy”?? No. You can go online and find software copies of any movie you would ever want to see, available for download. Even movies that are currently in theaters! But here is a scenario where we’d like to legitimately BUY a DVD, but because the Studios/MPAA/whoever are so damn paranoid of piracy they’ve made it so we can’t… so the only thing we can resort to is piracy! What moron thought this scheme up?

Up until today I had never really had a real stance on the whole DRM debate. Mostly because it had not affected me yet. Yes, I’ve bought many songs from iTunes, but have never had a situation where I could not use it the way I wanted. Gifts are not an issue either because Apple has made it easy to give iTunes data away as a gift. Too bad the bozos who make DVDs haven’t figured out how we want to use them.

Oh well. Our online search came up empty, so we went to a store and scoured the racks for something interesting without the region coding hard wired into the disc. It was damn near impossible to find anything!

The morons in Hollywood really need to reverse their cranial-rectal inversion.

5 thoughts on “I just got pushed…”

  1. Good luck with that. It’s the hysterical reaction to a dying business model, and all it does is create headlines about single moms being sued for $200,000 and the like.

    A thought: Most DVD players can be made “region free” via hidden menus. With DVD players so cheap these days, maybe buy a DVD player to include in the gift pack in lieu of a couple of the DVDs? You could even pre-hack it for them. There may not be enough time before the holiday, of course.

  2. You might take a look around to see if you can find a used XBox, the original version. They can’t cost that much plus they include a DVD player and are region independent. The power supply should be universal but I’m not positive. Mine has spent far more time playing DVDs encoded for regions other than North America than it has gaming. 🙂

  3. Region encoding is a particularly ugly manifestation of the global cabal, supported by governments, that allows collusion in pricing, protection, and distribution of media. If Philips hadn’t so broadly supported universal audio CD standards *and* controlled the CD marks and some patents, you would have seen something similar emerge there. Why do you think music firms were trying to introduce extended “super” audio CD formats with higher-quality encoding? Because they could then not have to conform to audio CD requirements…

    Anyway, after having two frustrating DVD player experiences — one was too early to play dual-layer discs, the other, a multi-disk changing, managed to grab two discs and shatter them and itself — I did a bunch of research and found the cheapest, well-reviewed DVD player I could that had cheat codes for disabling region encoding. $90 from Amazon about five years ago, the thing is very industrial looking, but built like a brick outhouse — ain’t breaking if it can help it.

    Some discs added region encoding locking back about four years ago, which require region encoding to be enabled to play the disc. But that’s trivial on these players, too. You just re-enable it for the disc, and then turn it off later.

  4. Hi Glenn & Sandro!

    Again, the player is not the issue, I’m not buying the DVDs for myself. My son is buying them as a gift for somebody on a different continent. I imagine I could have found some online option to buy region 4 coded DVDs but that seems like a lot of hoops t make the consumer jump through. We have no idea what the capabilities of the player they have, so best to play it safe and find region-free discs… the proverbial needle in the haystack.

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