Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Why I'm beginning to root for the video pirates

Boing Boing: Apple restricting DVD region-changes -- voluntarily! -- UPDATED

I don't have pirated music or video. I'm one of the 4 people in America who pays for their shareware software. Nonetheless, this entertainment industry behavior is causing me to root for the pirates.
[DVD] Discs have region-codes and players have region-codes. If you have a Region 1 disc (US and Canada) and a Region 2 player (Europe), and you put the disc in the player, the player will reject it.

But what happens when you take your laptop from New York to London? You're in Region 2, but you bought your device in Region 1. Can you buy a disc in London and play it on your computer?

Yes and no. When a computer manufacturer gets a DVD-decoding license from Hollywood's licensing cartel (the DVD Copy Control Association or CCA), it is allowed to make players that can change regions up to five times.

What's more, once the region-switches have run out, computer companies can reset your counter at a service depot a further five times. That means that you get 25 region-switches. This sucks pretty bad: I moved from San Francisco to London with hundreds of Region 1 DVDs and now when I buy a movie in the shop, it's Region 2. That means that if I watch a movie from my US collection once a week, and once from my UK connection the next week, I'll run out of region switches in three months. Three months after moving to the UK, I'll have to throw out half my DVDs.
It turns out Apple doesn't do the reset service on their embedded DVDs. So what's the workaround? Pirated video.

This nonsense is self-defeating.

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