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Government Piracy Your Rights Online

DVDs, Blu-Rays To Show 20-Second Unskippable Govt. Warnings 587

bonch writes "DVDs and Blu-Rays will begin displaying two unskippable anti-piracy screens, each 10 seconds long, shown back-to-back. Six studios have agreed to begin using the new notices. Of course, pirated versions won't contain these 20-second notices; however, an ICE spokesman says the intent isn't to deter piracy but to educate the public."
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DVDs, Blu-Rays To Show 20-Second Unskippable Govt. Warnings

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  • by rk ( 6314 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:01PM (#39961105) Journal

    To do what? Download the pirated copies so they don't have to watch the unskippable content?

    • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:06PM (#39961161)

      Or use a DVD player that is not blessed by the DVD consortium.

      Is it so hard to make a DVD player that plays the movie when you put it in?

      A No it is not hard, just not allowed.

      http://www.geexbox.org/ [geexbox.org] Play your movie. The menu and extras can be viewed if desired.

    • by RandomAdam ( 1837998 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:07PM (#39961187)
    • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:11PM (#39961243)
      Exactly correct. The two 10-second pieces of unskippable "educational" content will serve only to annoy those people who legally purchased the DVD and Bluray discs. Those who acquire illegal copies will not be subject to such annoyances.

      That sounds like a good plan to me if the goal is to push paying customers away.

      • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:32PM (#39961519)

        Exactly correct. The two 10-second pieces of unskippable "educational" content will serve only to annoy those people who legally purchased the DVD and Bluray discs. Those who acquire illegal copies will not be subject to such annoyances.

        That sounds like a good plan to me if the goal is to push paying customers away.

        Yes and no. I (and I think many /.'ers are similar to me in this regard) do get annoyed by this sort of thing, yet I am also inclined to support the entertainment that I enjoy. As a result, I do in fact go out and buy the shows that I like to watch to send a (I know it is meager) message to the content creators "Hey, this makes you money. Make more of THIS." but I do come home, transcode it to a nice file without all the rubbish advertising and crap "announcements" that they put on the loading sectors of discs. I was quite amused by Startgate SG1 for example, but towards the latter half of the series, each time I inserted a disc, forcing me to watch (I kid you not) A Fox? Studios advertisment, followed by a trailer for Startgate Contimuum, then a trailer for the Stargate video game, then an advertisement for Stargate Altantis, then an anti-piracy message? Give me a break. If I am buying the damned discs, you have made your money and let me enjoy my content already.

        So while I do enjoy feeling good about supporting the entertainment that I enjoy, the taste is often more and more bitter. The only upside is that some content providers seem to get the message and skip anything like that. From a pragmatic point of view, I think that actually makes me enjoy that more as I am no longer associating that show with forced advertising.

        • by arose ( 644256 )

          "Hey, this makes you money. Make more of THIS"

          ...and they will happily add more unskippable crap. Because THIS is the complete package, I don't think there is a winning choice.

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:44PM (#39961649)

          Interesting that you had those problems with SG-1. I'm in the UK, and actually found those DVDs to be relatively sane in the amount of junk shoved on the front; almost everything could be skipped.

          (Aside: I don't think there's any excuse for making anything unskippable, and I think using patents to lock down DVD players so no-one can sell one that ignores the no-skip instruction on the disc even though there is clearly an ample market for such a device is an excellent argument for nullifying that kind of patent entirely, but that's another story.)

          I wonder how much of this is going to be locale-based rather than universal, if they're already doing different things on different regions' DVDs (I assume). Then again, I get particularly irritated by having to sit through copyright-related junk at the start of the DVD that doesn't even apply to me because it's based on copyright laws in another country, so obviously not everything is localised for my market (UK).

        • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @12:12AM (#39963039)

          I am also inclined to support the entertainment that I enjoy.

          Yet you do admit that the added annoyances bother you and that you remove them from your viewing.

          My point is that /. represents a minority of the world. Yes, you can rip and stream the DVD without the annoyances, but what about most people?

          I am not opposed to supporting the entertainment industry. I just have to wonder why the entertainment industry seems to be in the business of pissing off their legitimate customers? Why is the entertainment industry driving their prospective customers to the pirate industry which provides a better, i.e., less annoying, product?

        • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @12:53AM (#39963243) Journal

          There is a Fox executive not yet ground into Executive Powder who is listening, he is listening to the caching of the cash register as your dollar votes come into the Fox bank account. You voted, in favor! Good for you and you can be sure he is listening and coming up with more ads for you to watch next time.

          What has to be remembered is that customer relations is a very young field that is barely researched. For most businesses, they translate a sale to a positive customer experience. It is in reality possible for a customer to use a company time and time again, in fact to totally depend on them and STILL hate its guts. This goes anywhere from users of public transport to haters of big government using government handouts (is that you bankers?) and everything in between.

          You buy their product, so they reason you must love them. You don't but how are they supposed to know? Nobody in their offices is going to tell the boss he is an idiot and that you a purchasing customer are hating the product you bought of your own free will with your hard earned money, they would look silly and not be in line for promotion and bonuses.

          I have actually had to deal with these kinds of things as an underling, the disconnect is amazing. From transport companies that wanted people to give unfiltered twitter feedback on their home page, to advertising campaigns where the only message to reach the consumer would be that they are paying for ad support for things they hate on a product they have no choice to buy from that company whose prices have gone up (water companies in Europe).

          You think some are getting the message but allowing you to skip it... NO THEY ARE NOT GETTING IT. If they got it, the ads wouldn't even be needed to be skipped, they would at most be an optional to the side extra. WHY do you think a company gets it if it thinks it can shove advertising on an already paid for product?

          See how much you have been conditioned already? You are like a girl who thinks she found a new age modern man because he only beats her with his bare hands! Just because your new owner doesn't use the whip as often does not mean you are now free slave.

      • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:41PM (#39961617)

        That sounds like a good plan to me if the goal is to push paying customers away.


        I found myself watching less and less purchased content after the "warnings" and the interminable previews. To the point where I haven't bought anything for 4 or so years now. It's just too much a PITA.

        And it's silly too, which is part of the issue. How many people don't know that it is illegal to copy and sell copyrighted videos? Finally, it's such a nice treat to get a threat of fines or imprisonment. Wow - these movies are dangerous stuff! No thanks, I'll just watch whatever is on the net that is free, not really any need to do the illegal stuff. And I have more discretionary money now too.

      • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @05:09AM (#39964347)

        Exactly correct. The two 10-second pieces of unskippable "educational" content will serve only to annoy those people who legally purchased the DVD and Bluray discs. Those who acquire illegal copies will not be subject to such annoyances.

        So really they should make a law that all pirated movie copies must have these unskipable warnings.

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:11PM (#39961249) Homepage

      No, see, the issue is that people don't know they're not supposed to pirate DVDs. If pirates knew that movie studios didn't want them to do that, they'd immediately stop.

      It's similar to the way that people didn't know that they were allowed to say "no" to drugs, but when Nancy Reagan told them that they could say "no", suddenly everyone stopped doing drugs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chipschap ( 1444407 )
        "No, see, the issue is that people don't know they're not supposed to pirate DVDs."

        Right, that's why they want to put a warning on something that you DIDN'T pirate, to tell you that you shouldn't do what you didn't do in the first place, and probably never planned to do ... except now they've got you thinking about it ... maybe next time you just might!
    • by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:11PM (#39961259)
      "Downloading films is stealing" [youtube.com] (IT Crowd)
    • To do what? Download the pirated copies so they don't have to watch the unskippable content?

      That's exactly what I was thinking, though DVDs have been pretty insufferable for a long time with unskippable crap before the menu.

      an ICE spokesman says the intent isn't to deter piracy but to educate the public.

      So they don't want to stop piracy, they just want to tell you about it?? You'd think they'd want to stop piracy through educating the public. :P

      • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

        You don't even need to pirate the movie.

        I have stored a huge number of DVD movies in my family's library by ripping it to an ISO with the PUO's removed. If you are so inclined, you can even remove the trailers from the movie to save space.

        Although since I won't support BluRay I do download BluRay pirate rips of some movies I already own that I really like. Being forced to pay for some extra pixels is just another way they rip you off.

    • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:00PM (#39961787)

      To do what? Download the pirated copies so they don't have to watch the unskippable content?

      Exactly my thought. And it is disingenuous to call these "government warnings" when they are really industry warnings. My warning to the industry is: "you are losing me".

    • by BakaHoushi ( 786009 ) <Goss...Sean@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:12PM (#39961885) Homepage

      And you've hit the nail on the head.

      A lesson to the studios:
      If you want to deter pirating, make the official and legal copy MORE CONVENIENT than the pirated version.
      Yes, 20 seconds isn't a lot of time. But every time someone puts in a DVD and has to watch it for the 100th time, they're going to get annoyed. And maybe next time they WON'T buy your product because they feel insulted.
      We could sit here and argue all night about whether pirating a copy to spite a studio is okay morally (and I'm very, very certain that's what will happen) but at the end of the day it boils down to this, right or wrong: Annoy your customers, and they'll go someplace else, legal or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:03PM (#39961127)

    I think of this: Video Pirates [youtube.com]

  • by JcMorin ( 930466 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:04PM (#39961133)
    I have kids and I prefer thing that start right away then the real version I purchase. So I create a legal copy, remove eveything but the main movie and here I go!
  • Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:04PM (#39961137)
    As with DRMed music, the pirates will win because they OFFER A BETTER PRODUCT.
    • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vanyel ( 28049 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:21PM (#39961383) Journal

      They just as well make the 20-second message say "Please rip this disc!" - it's the first thing *I'm* going to do with any disc with this crap on it...

    • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:28PM (#39961459) Homepage

      As with DRMed music, the pirates will win because they OFFER A BETTER PRODUCT.

      The pirates are not what caused the music companies to drop DRM. If it was just the pirates, they'd still be pushing broken DRM just like the movie industry won't quit after CSS and AACS and BD+ and HDCP being broken. The only reason is that Apple was dominating online sales and they refused to license FairPlay, they were getting a monopoly on distribution. The studios couldn't live with that but to get competition they had to drop DRM and start selling regular MP3s and AACs. The music industry surrendered, the movie industry will fight to the very last man. Someone drop a few nukes on them and make them surrender please (doing it from orbit optional).

  • Educate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:04PM (#39961141)

    If the intent is not to deter piracy, what are they educating the public about? How to rip their disks to avoid the warning?

    There must be an enormous cost associated with this - 20 seconds multiplied by every time a DVD is played sounds like a lot of wasted time, and according to ICE, it's not even supposed to deter piracy. So what's the point?

    • Re:Educate? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:17PM (#39961337)

      If the intent is not to deter piracy, what are they educating the public about? How to rip their disks to avoid the warning?

      About how much of the worlds governments are bought and paid for by Hollywood. I think even my (proverbial) Mother will understand this one.

    • Re:Educate? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:05PM (#39961819) Homepage

      The point? It's to move people to digital downloads and streaming services, where you don't get all this crap, but where the studio has more control over the content (they can disable playback.)

    • Re:Educate? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MaXintosh ( 159753 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:24PM (#39962795)
      It'll probably get lost in the junk down here, but I was curious just how many human life equivellents was being sapped by these inane ads. If you look up the 2011 sales figures, the top 100 DVDs sold 147 million copies. Assuming each was watched only once, and by one person, the anti-piracy warnings waste a total of 93.27 years of human life per release-year (6.33775293*10^-7 Year Waste/DVD * ~147 million DVD/Release Year).

      I'm comfortable with that dimensional analysis. Easy peezy. I'm less sure about the power consumption of warning: 20 seconds at 35 watts (A typical DVD player) would be 700 watt seconds. That times 147 million would come out to around 28.58 Megawatt Hours a year. That seems a bit much, though, so I may have made a mistake there. The average home supposedly uses around 11 megawatt hours a year. At 11 cents a kw/hr, that's 3,144.16666 dollars.
      Now I'm not sure how to price leisure time, but I think the right economic thing to do would be to assume it's worth greater than or equal to the alternative activity (earning whatever per hour). I don't know what that number is, so I'm just going to assume it's a buck fifty arbitrarily. I don't think I could find many people to sit willing to sit being bored for 1.50 an hour, but I don't have time to dig through the lit to find a better one. At 1.50 an hour, the 20 seconds waste around 1.22 Million Dollars a year. which is a fair bit than the 3.1 Thousand dollars wasted electricity.

      For those who must know, 93.27 years is 0.000213 Library of Congress equivalents, assuming you can read one book a week.
  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:04PM (#39961143) Homepage Journal

    This handy flow chart explains why [i-am-bored.com]. The **AA guys are desperately trying to put themselves out of business. See also The Oatmeal about why HBO is trying to do the same thing to people wanting to buy Game of Thrones [theoatmeal.com].

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oliver_Etchebarne ( 647762 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:05PM (#39961147) Homepage Journal

    People who will see that screen _already_ have bought an original DVD...

  • by santax ( 1541065 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:07PM (#39961183)
    Here in the Netherlands, where it is perfectly legal to download a movie (can't upload though) we have these since VHS... First a FBI warning, an institute that as absolutely no rights or business here, then a RIAA warning (again, no business here) and then the Dutch 'Brein' Warning... And then a couple of trailers I have on interest in... All in all you're going to lose between 5 and 10 minutes of your life being told lies that piracy is stealing (which of course it isn't) Man, I the only movie I ever bought was the Godfather collection, v2000, VHS and DVD... Because those are the only 3 movies good enough to tolerate that shit! (Although in practice, I just watch the torrent....)
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:08PM (#39961193)

    When I see this the message I get is

    "If you avoided paying for this then you would not have to see this stupid message"

  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:15PM (#39961309)

    Whenever I see an unskippable copyright warning on a DVD I legitimately own, the movie industry owes me another movie for free. I can't help it if the MPAA just keeps on breaching my policy.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:17PM (#39961329)

    put a one time use web entered data key at the end of OPTIONAL previews for a 50% discount on a future movie ticket (only valid on some movies, like the ones the expect to bomb anyways and need extra audience).

    This says a) thanks for buying the disk, and b) thanks for watching the OPTIONAL previews.

    It would make the buyer feel good and it would get them extra audience for normally losy movies. And it would get them web registrations of users. ((I hate doing the registration stuff, so mine would end up unused or I would pass the number to someone else, but I would still feel good about it rather than the current system))

  • Pirating. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:19PM (#39961355)

    I don't feel morally righteous or justified in downloading pirated shows, but it's just so damn convenient.

  • by ehud42 ( 314607 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:25PM (#39961427) Homepage

    VHS is better than DVD [userfriendly.org]

  • by reg ( 5428 ) <reg@freebsd.org> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:26PM (#39961439) Homepage

    I wish someone would craft a carefully worded Proposition for California which would make any unskipable content on media which is sold or rented unconstitional... Something about not being allowed to accuse people of crimes without evidence that they are at least thinking of committing the crime.

    It would make for such a fun round of election ads - the more the studios argue that it is a good thing the more the population would be reminded just how irritating these warnings are.


  • Enough time to set up a torrent download for the movie and let the regret of purchasing set in.

  • by J'raxis ( 248192 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:31PM (#39961495) Homepage

    As if I needed another reason to never purchase content made by these companies. So now they're effectively making pirated copies not just cheaper, but better, too.

  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:35PM (#39961547)
    I'm not in the USA, yet I have to sit through FBI warnings on every DVD or Blu-ray I purchase. Yes, they're impressive official seals and look very threatening, but the FBI has absolutely no jurisdiction in this country. Why on earth don't they edit the bloody things out?!
  • by multiben ( 1916126 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:36PM (#39961553)
    So I'm sorry because I know what's ahead of you. And you know, it's not the waiting that is annoying. It is the fact that I bought a DVD with *my* money thereby (at least I believed) owning it, and yet I am being forced to watch something I would prefer to skip. Again and again and again. If you are one of the people here who thinks it won't be annoying, then speak to me in a year's time when you've seen the same damn message 500 times.

    To the idiots who decided to put these messages up in the first place: Nothing makes me want to pirate more than these messages. I am not pro-pirate, but you are making your product *worse* than I can get for free. Why make people who are doing the right thing already sit through a bunch of your preachy bullshit?
  • by the_fat_kid ( 1094399 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:36PM (#39961555)

    Gosh, I feel smarter already.

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:37PM (#39961569) Homepage

    My old copy of Demolition Man on DVD has this stuff right. You put it in, the movie starts. There's minimal nonsense. No previews, no menus, just movie. The movie is the only thing I care about anyway, so this is great.

    These days they're just annoying. As usual Hollywood is working hard to make the pirate version superior to the purchased one. They must be taking lessons from Ubisoft in how to chase off paying customers.

  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:38PM (#39961579) Homepage
    I'm always amused that every DVD I rent or buy in Canada has stern warnings from police forces in other countries. The day when the RCMP has their own warning before the movie is the day when I'll take it seriously.

    Especially since a hell of a lot of those DVDs are pressed in Canada.
  • Totally Absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maltheus ( 248271 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:46PM (#39961663)

    I finally got a Bluray player last November and although I have the money to easily afford any movie I want, and would prefer to have the highest bitrate, I gave up after several movies in a row took about 5-10 minutes to start up. I even had one rental that went on for over 20 minutes. Hell, the studio identifications alone take 5 minutes. I may be willing to give the studios my money, but I can't afford to give them my time. I will not pay $40 to be annoyed when I can have the annoyless versions for free.

    This puts the final nail in the Bluray coffin for me. I was on the fence and now, I will simply never buy another. Congratulations movie studios! You really know how to sell a product there.

  • by codegen ( 103601 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:47PM (#39961667) Journal
    Its like police with radar guns on the side of the highway stopping everybody going under the speed limit to remind them about the penalty for speeding.
  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:07PM (#39961841) Homepage Journal

    Up until the mid-1990s, it was pretty rare [archive.org] for a movie to hit the magical $100-million mark. Then, Disney animated features started doing that pretty regularly, and after that, most big-budget films started hitting that mark pretty consistently as well.

    In 2002, Spider-Man became the first movie to hit $100 million in its opening weekend. Ten years later (almost to the day) The Avengers became the first movie to hit TWO hundred million dollars on its opening weekend, and one short week later, Wikipedia tells me that its box office grosses are THREE QUARTERS OF A BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS.

    Tell me, again, how piracy is hurting the industry?

  • UOPs must die (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:10PM (#39961867) Homepage

    I've been saying this for ten years now, but User Operation Prohibitions, just like region restrictions, on equipment that people own are simply not acceptable.

    I have seen so many DVDs with unskippable previews, FBI warnings (on region 4 DVDs no less) and of course the stupid "You wouldn't steal a car.." campaign. No wonder this [netdna-cdn.com] depiction is so accurate.

    That said, I was pleasantly surprised when one DVD I rented recently had just one message that lasted about 5 seconds and simply said (paraphrasing) "For supporting the movie industry, THANK YOU". Presumably this is an attempt to give warm fuzzies (positive reinforcement) for not pirating (rather than punishment for those who do). Of course that could always end up on a ripped copy anyway but that's not the piont...

  • by Azure Flash ( 2440904 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:17PM (#39961939)
    I skimmed through the comments and I'd like to answer those who have the opinion that it's "just" 20 seconds, that you should get over it, that it's harder to pirate it so it's illogical.

    First of all, it's not the length of time that is disturbing to me. I'm not a machine, I don't perceive every second as exactly the same amount of time. Sometimes I play a game and 3 hours go by as if it had only been 15 minutes. Sometimes I wait 15 minutes and it seems like it's been an hour. That 20 seconds of unskippable messages is disturbing because it affects the experience of watching the movie. I don't get irritated because I'm wasting 20 seconds of my incredibly precious time; I get irritated because the mega-corporation which produced this movie added an unnecessary step to watching the movie.

    This isn't about how long or how short the unskippable message is. It's about the fact that it's there at all. If you accept the 20 seconds, you're saying it's okay if someone stops you for 20 seconds and makes you say "you're the boss, I'm following your orders, I won't disobey you". How would you feel if every time you went to pump gas, someone stopped you for 20 seconds and told you "it's our gas, don't steal it, alright? Swear it. Swear you won't try to steal it". And then every time you go to the grocery store, before entering, you have to stop for 20 seconds and say "I understand the food inside isn't my property. I won't try to steal it. I'll pay for it." This is what you're agreeing to if you're okay with those unskippable notices. What makes you think it won't become 30 seconds, and then eventually 40? A minute? A minute is nothing compared to 2 hours, after all. You should be able to live through that, right?

    Long story short: it's not the length of the delay that's disturbing, it's the gratuitous addition of an obstacle that serves no purpose (pirates won't see it, ordinary people will just do something else until the menu appears), and it's the oppression of people's freedom to reaffirm their submission to the authorities.
  • Workaround (Score:4, Informative)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:34PM (#39962509)
    We have the same stuff on french DVD, thought not on all of them : I suspect they are not mandatory. However, there is a workaround. Selecting France's french gives me the lengthy antipiracy warning, but I skip it if I select Belgian french.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley