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An End-Run Around Region-Free DVD Players 226

Posted by timothy
from the oh-we-need-this-to-prevent-piracy- dept.
inio writes: "Warner Home Video has devised a new regioning mechanism called RCE (Regional Coding Enhancement) to fight back against "region-free" players. The disk itself is unregioned (region 0) but contains a script which checks the player's native region instead. This protection has been added to recent and soon to be released DVDs including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The New Stanley Kubrick Collection, so watch out if you bought a region-free player. A list of known-compatable players can be found back on this page." "Enhancement" seems to be pretty high doublespeak in this instance.
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An End-Run Around Region-Free DVD Players

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is more like that they do not want the money. By making CD's for one region and never for another, they encourage those in the latter region to get pirate copies.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This has been around for about a hear. Discs from Fox, Buena Vista/Touchstone/Miramax, MGM/Universal, Polygram, and Columbia TriStar are all using region checking technology. The solution is to get a DVD player that can change regions on the fly. See http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#1.10 for additional information.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a perfect example of how the region system actually encourages copying, cracking, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There seems to be a bit of confusion as to why DVD region encoding exists (particularly by out US friends), and surprise surprise it's mainly economic. Releasing a film similtaneously around the world is very expensive as film prints have to be duped & shipped to every cinema you're going to show it at (I've no idea how much it costs to make a film print, but apparently quite expensive). To save money, studios stagger film releases and reuse prints across the world (yep we get second hand US prints here in the UK). Region encoding was brought in so that consumers couldn't buy/watch the DVD movie before the theatrical release. The handy byproduct of all this is that the studios can also change more money for DVD's for no particularly reason apart from 'because we can'. Makes you sick doesn't it.
  • I agree. I still live in Australia and, being
    an early adopter, bought a DVD player when they
    first came out here (once there were people
    hacking them to be region-free that is).

    In terms of availability of product, I would
    estimate that the number of titles availabe as
    zone 1 is around 5-10 times those available as
    zone 4. This has nothing to do with release
    dates of films, since most of these films are
    old. It is purely to do with market size.

    The studios can't be bothered creating zone 4
    DVDs of a film when the market is 1/20th of
    that in the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The programming concept is based on content cells and links between them to create chains. Each cell has a possible set of pre- and post- commands that are executed. The commands can utilize variables, or GPRM's (general program registers) and the player has preset or envivironmental variables, SPRM's (system registers). One SPRM holds the region setting. Operators include setting, comparing, jumping to a cell, etc.

    Opon disc insertion, the player acesses the First PGC (program chain) and executes the commands it finds there.

  • I'd post an exact link here, but unfortunately it seems that Slashdot's search engine is severly broken.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    [grin] as someone reading this who is currently deployed in Kuwait I can tell you:

    We just go out and buy region free DVD players and then go down to Fahaheel (the Tijuana of Kuwait) and buy pirated DVD's.

    I signed on to Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States, not the bottom line of the MPAA and not a law that I feel is unconstitutional. So I feel no remours or loss of integrity at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:29AM (#164369)
    If this kind of technology could eventually lead to country music CDs that could not be played outside of Alabama, I'm all for it!
  • No, won't stop me either... sort of. I have a few DVD players scattered around the house, some modified, some not. My (unmodified) playstation 2 can't handle these titles, it kicks up a bizarre parental control error and fails to proceed.

    All this kind of bullshit does is make consumers like myself want to say 'FUCK YOU' to Warner. Ironically, my "illegally" modified players all work fine with these titles, but I can't watch a legally purchased video, with a legally purchased video player. If I might not be able to view what I bought, why shouldn't I just grab vob files off from the net?

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"

  • by drsoran (979)
    why do you want/need a region-free player? I'm not familiar with that.

    This better question is, why do the DVD producers need to make a region-based DVD's? Why should they care if someone in the USA sees some Japanese anime? Why do they care if someone in Europe wants to order a DVD of an American movie that came out on DVD before it hit the theaters there? Could it be.. oh.. I dunno.. GREED?
  • Additionally, Australia and New Zealand (lands which respect international copyright law) have ruled that region-coding has no legal basis.

    Australia has made no such ruling. The ACCC is investigating the practise of region-coding and they will be making recommendations to federal parliament "soon". The ACCC itself does not make legal rulings.

    Though given that the members of the ACCC are clued in (legally speaking) and that they seem to think DVD region-encoding is a violation of the Trade Practises Act, there's a damn good chance this will go to court and there will be a ruling in the consumer's favour.

  • The new Kubrick collection is entirely new. It replaces the older one. More "bonus features", and several of the movies now have anamorphic transfers, like 2001. You're right about the other two movies, though. There are tons of DVDs that already have this RCE stuff.
  • Region encoding pisses me off! I would have bought Snatch when I was in England a few months back, but no, I can't play it here. I'm still waiting for those f**kers to release it this side of the Atlantic.

    I wonder if this kind of thing falls under the jurisdiction of the WTO? It's certainly not a free global market and has several artificial trade barriers.
  • Using Xine or any other unauthorized solution is stealing. Don't steal videos.

    Please explain to me who is stealing what from whom if I use Xine with a DeCSS plugin to watch my own legally bought DVD. Even if I would accept that copyright violation is theft, which I don't, there's no copyright violation involved. As for other possible legal issues I doubt that the DCMA would cover using a DVD player to watch a DVD either, since unlike DeCSS it should be pretty clear even to a law professional that it has substantial non-infringing uses.
    --
    Niklas Nordebo | niklas at nordebo.com

  • by Jonathan (5011) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:57AM (#164376) Homepage
    who wants to see Harrison Ford speaking Italian in Blade Runner.

    People learning Italian, that's who! I would like to improve my German through DVDs, but Region 1 DVDs generally just contain English sound tracks, with French and Spanish subtitles. Sometimes French or Spanish sound tracks are included, but this isn't that common. And German tracks are never included, unless the film was originally in German
  • by Jonathan (5011) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @07:40AM (#164377) Homepage
    However, it is perfectly legal for Europeans to buy books published in the US via Amazon.com even if local publishers own the rights to print the same book in the purchaser's country. Therefore, it is clear that copyright law (which applies to books and movies equally) has nothing to do with the issue. Additionally, Australia and New Zealand (lands which respect international copyright law) have ruled that region-coding has no legal basis.
  • > Is there really a reason we get movies released here any later than other countries?

    They can't afford to print enough actual physical copies of the film to release everywhere in the world at once, and someone has to be last. (Unless they released worldwide, but with only a few cinemas in each country showing it at once, which would screw up their marketing campaigns (poor them)). Digital transmission and projectors might make that irrelevent in the future.

    If they didn't also region-encode classic old movies and movies with limited distribution, it might be a more plausible excuse. (Are "direct-to-DVD" releases region coded? Do they even exist yet, or is it still all direct-to-video?)

    --
  • Once again, a "feature" is added to a product which, rather than adding value, actually takes it away. Free market, my ass.

  • No, no, no. They labeled an obvious troll (that a lot of people bit on), as "troll". Big difference.
  • It's not even an opinion -- it's factually wrong. Region codes have nothing whatsoever to do with copyright. Most /.'ers don't disagree, they know better.

    Dressing up this factual error in a manner that calls using regionless encoders "theft" is the calculated move to garner a response -- thus, troll.
  • Sure, sure, I have all of those options, and so long as I don't want to own Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in a high-quality non-degradable format (and legally), I'll be cool. Except I do want to CTHT.

    But that isn't my point. My point is that the existence of a free market has not and I begin to think does not have any necessary relation with the production of better products or any demonstrable consumer advantage. There are just too many situations in which it short-circuits, and you're only way to not get progressively more screwed is to use the options above -- ie, to make a personal sacrifice for an unknown period and unknown benefit in hopes it makes things better. When you find yourself in this situation _a lot_, then that indicates there is a broader problem.
  • by jjr (6873) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:10AM (#164386) Homepage
    Start a class action suit agianst the MPAA for creating artifical high prices in the different countries. We are becoming more and more a world economy.
  • Kind of funny I just bought the Perl DVD Encryption t-shirt [copyleft.net] and then just read this story on slashdot. $3 of it went to support the EFF

    On another I'm also glad I didn't sell my apex player which is region selectable. I own a couple of region 2 dvds, and it's nice just to be able to play them with minimum fuss. I still just find it sad that I have to resort to a hacked dvd player to play dvds I purchased. Hopefully sometime down the road, all this encryption, region coding and every other technology that is desgned to screw me and maximize profits of major companies will be a thing of the past.

    Hopefully my $20 donation to the EFF [eff.org] was along with a few thousand others when the story ran a couple months ago asked people to donate will help get the laws(DCMA, etc.) that make this kind of stuff legal thrown out.

  • > "Warning: For sale, rental or private home use in the USA or Canada only." Its not line the shrink wrap licences on software. In this case the stipulation is clear as day on the packaging. The stipulation may be clear as day on the packaging, but as far as contract law is concerned, it's the exact same thing as an EULA. Don't expect them to stand up in court as long as you stay within the realm of what's legal under normal copyright law (and for now at least, the DMCA). Course, YMMV outside the US.
  • by rhavyn (12490) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @11:46AM (#164393)
    That's a load of crap. Copyright has to do with redistribution, not use. I have no right to redistribute something that is copyrighted. But, if I bought it legally, then I can do damn well whatever I want to with it *except* redistribute it without a license. Fair use in the cases you state are for redistributing something. If you can come up with a lawsuit that shows that you need a license to use something that you buy, I'd like to see it.

    As far as an EULA is concerned, they have nothing to do with copyrights either. The EULA is software companies attempting to tell you how to use or not use software that you legally purchased.
  • I have a Sony DDU-220E DVD-ROM drive, a Netstream 2000 card, and Remote Selector (registered). Region-selectable all the waaaay, baby!

    The irony is that I have yet to get any foreign DVDs that I would need region selectability to play. All the (unbelievably cheap--and yet legit!) Hong Kong DVDs I order from HiViZone [hivizone.com] so I can see Jackie Chan unMiramangled, in the original Cantonese . . . are region-free already! (God bless the sensibility of Hong Kong DVD vendors!)
    --

  • The problem with boycotting is that you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    So the MPAA doesn't get money from the principled nerds who don't like their policies. Oh, boo-hoo. They've lost maybe 1/10 of 1% of their revenue. If that. Ohhhh, yeah, they're sure feeling the pain from that! That's showing them! I'm just positive they're going to collapse any day now.

    And meanwhile you don't get the fun of hacking ways around their DRM, or the fun of watching these high-quality movies.

    Get real. You're never going to affect the MPAA by boycotting unless you get a substantial number of other people to boycott, too. And from the way the public has dashed headlong into adoption of DVD, making it one of the fastest-adopted new technologies ever, that's clearly just not going to happen. Even if every single Slashdot reader joined you, it would not be enough for the MPAA to even notice. It would be lost amid all those people who simply haven't decided to upgrade from VHS yet.

    If you're going to boycott, at least be honest about why you're doing it. It's not to hurt the MPAA, or help the EFF. It's not to convince them to drop the asinine region system. It's so you can congratulate yourself for being more righteous than all the other folks who don't.

    I hope you enjoy your self-righteousness as much as the rest of us enjoy our movies. In the mean time, I think I'll go watch my Ultimate Edition DVD of The Mummy. Have fun!
    --

  • Amen to the Apex AD600A! I picked on up last Christmas at K-Mart. The newer machines don't have the handy loopholes menu, but you can find patched ROM images that remove Macrovision or set the machine to whichever region you want. It takes a standard 4 Mbit EPROM. If you want, you can even burn two images (say, region code 0 and region code <whatever>) into an 8 Mbit part and dual-boot by putting a toggle switch on the upper address line.

    I don't tend to watch disks from outside region 1 (except that I would like to see the BBC's excellent The Planets [bbc.co.uk] series, which hasn't been released for region 1), but I'm really glad to be able to disable Macrovision! Not that I'm into wholesale piracy, but (1) my main stereo system is out of video inputs, so I have to route the DVD player through the VCR's 'line in' jacks; and (2) it lets me copy the Disney (et al.) disks I've bought for the kids onto VHS and banish the little darlings to the basement to watch "Toy Story" for the aleph-nought time! Besides, I'd rather let the 3-year-old destroy the cheap VHS tape than the expensive DVD.


    Chelloveck
  • The disk itself is unregioned (region 0) but contains a script which checks the player's native region instead.

    I've always wondered what "scripts" in DVDs are like. Is there a little programming language in there for the disc to do setup stuff?

    If there is a programming language in there, and it's Turing-complete, doesn't that make creating a truly region-free player equivalent to solving the halting problem? The player would have to determine a set of inputs that would make the initialization script "halt". (Where "halt" is definied as getting to point of actually playing the movie.)

    If that's right, it's provably impossible to create a region-free player. Players that can have their region switched should be impossible to defeat, though. (They can provide perfect emulation of a regioned player).

  • Don't buy a DVD player.

    Check - haven't

    Don't buy DVDs.

    Check - don't

    Don't go to the Movie Theater.

    Well... Still do that and have felt guilty about it. I saw a post the other day suggesting that for every dollar I spend at a movie theater (including concession? - yeah, I guess) or renting tapes, send a dollar to the EFF [eff.org]. Will do that the next time I go and every time until this blight on our freedom is lifted. So, Check - sort of.

    Check out the live theater options in your city

    Check - I have and I do. There are many forms of entertainment available to me. Of course, I live in a college town, small to medium sized, and quite intellectual and savvy. My condolences to those /. readers who do not have the same advantage.

    Being involved in the arts may not be the same as coding or sysadmining, but the arts folks probably have more in common with us than differences. The arts folks have always been somewhat out of the mainstream and tend to think more freely and creatively... just like us. Maybe some of them are already some of us. Anyway, if you don't already have an arts community in your town, perhaps you could try to contact like minded people and do a little networking (social this time) to see if you can get people enthused about developing a performance community. If you don't have it, make it. Others will thank you as well.
  • That's a good point about the cost and the commercials. The cost thing I can get past, I live in a smaller town and we're only $6.00. The town I moved from 3 years ago was only $4.50.

    However the commercial thing bugs me too. I hadn't thought about that in my earlier post. Perhaps the right solution for that problem is that, when I come home from the movie, I remember who the advertiser was and contact them - by email, phone or even snailmail - and let them know that I don't appreciate the advertising and I won't be buying their product - ever.

    I'm the kind of contrary dude to do that too. I have contacted many companies to object to their advertising. Several months back, there was an ad for the Mercury Sable on comedy central that ran twice in every break in primetime for two days in a row. I submitted negative feedback on the comeday central site and wrote snailmail to Ford to complain about this. I don't have a big enough ego to think that my comments had any impact, but within a couple of days, I didn't see the ad any more and haven't seen it since.

    So, while I'm not quite ready to give up going to the theater entirely, I guess I'll have to make an EFF donation and contact the advertisers to make my displeasure know. Come to think of it, I should complain to theater management as well. I already paid for the product (the movie), I shouldn't have to sit through commercials as well. Maybe I should demand a partial refund.

    If enough of us do this, we might have some impact.

  • by Alan Cox (27532) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @12:12PM (#164403) Homepage
    The new warner region stuff is actually _good_ news to people because the disk is no longer locked by region meaning it plays in any DVD ROM drive with open source players. Saves some of that mucking about with firmware

    As to region coding itself, well it violates NAFTA for a part (try moving a DVD around the NAFTA free trade zone since Mexico is not Region 1). Its all very odd - most Europeans only buy region free players 8)
  • The space required for extras [on Region 2 DVDs] is used for 20 different subtitles and for 3-8 different language dubs.

    Really? I get a lot of French DVDs, and quite often there aren't even French subtitles, much less dubs and subtitles in other languages.

  • Firstly, as other people have pointed out, a lot of "region free" DVD players are actually switchable between regions an infinite number of times. Secondly, Linux DVD players (and I'd assume most Windows ones - the ATI one I played with did) allow you to play the video files directly, without going through the menu system. As a result, there's no opportunity for the script to run. Ironically, if the DVDs really are encoded in region 0 this could make playing them easier than it would otherwise be.
  • I didn't claim otherwise. Not all drives are capable of being modified to be regionless, so having the DVD encoded as region 0 would prevent this from being a problem. CSS is hardly a problem nowadays.
  • I'm assuming this is a troll, but still...

    I don't see why anyone here is complaining about being forced to actually obey copyright laws

    This isn't about copyright law. Playing a region 1 DVD outside region 1 is in no way a breach of the traditional concept of copyright - I'm paying the copyright holder money in order to gain the right to play the film, but the copyright holder is then refusing to allow me to view the film if my DVD hardware is from somewhere other than the same region. Region encoding is not a mechanism for protecting copyright, it's a mechanism for allowing different markets to be sold different products at different times and preventing things moving between these markets in a way that the companies think may harm their profits.

    The companies making these [regionless DVD players] are basically stealing from the movie companies

    Again, no. Region encoding does not protect copyright. You can produce pirated DVDs with region encoding without any difficulty.

    There are legitimate regionless DVD players. The first generation of DVD drives for computers were sold for their ability to allow you to watch DVDs, but are all region 0. Restricting this after the fact means that there are some people (including me) with hardware that was not bought for the purpose of avoiding region encoding who are now being discriminated against. This doesn't make me terribly happy.
  • Curiously, Apple's latest release of their DVD region management system extension supports regions 7 and 8 .. hmm.

    Where is 8? I know 7 is meant for "international venues", ie planes, cruise ships etc, but 8?
  • What this boils down to is that there is a law ("you may not watch DVDs from outside of your geographical region") which is not a US federal law; it's not a law set forth by international treaty; it's a law created by and for large international corporations, in order to control their profits. Where the US backs its laws up with police and military, the corporations back their laws up with technology (this is why, e.g., the DMCA exists: to back up corporate technology with US law, thus giving the power of lawmaking to corporations).

    What I find interesting is that there are so many folks who jump right on this bandwagon and start accusing people who violate these laws as theives. So many people have already come to accept that there is a new government dawning that I don't think there's any way to stop it. Because of the trends of the last 20 years, within the next 50 years, I expect the following events:
    • The right to corporate profit (e.g. "you can't come out with a new, better widget, that would destroy our old widget market.") will become a globally backed right.
    • Patents will only be restricted on the basis of prior art, and the terms will be extended to at least 100 years.
    • Laws like DMCA/UCITA will become the subjects of international treaty.
    If you think I'm wrong, please do me a favor: remember the exact date and time that you thought that....

    --
    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • Heard the other night on French news that they are starting exactly this kind of investigation. Sorry, no links to be found.

    Since most DVD players sold here in region 2 are switchable or region-free, many of the new RCS DVDs don't play. But they also don't play on the rare region locked players as well. When many consumers start to complain, politicians take notice. So now France, and possibly a number of other European countries (I wasn't listening to the first part), are asking for an investigation into illegal anti-competitive practices by the entertainment industry.

    Politicians here have realised that a good pro-consumer battle can bring them a good many votes, possibly equalling the votes generated by large campaign contributions the media conglomerates give to other politicians. So those politicians who don't have a record of sucking big companies dicks can maintain votes with well publicized attacks such as DVD-coding. Whether they succeed remains to be seen (its the commission, a good anti-commission rant could take hours :-)

    the AC
  • I have 75 DVD movies and about half of them are R1(US) and rest R2(Europe). The reason for this is the bad quality of European DVDs and by this I mean the content. Half of the R2 DVD have the following extras: trailer and interactive menu. Woah.. The space required for extras is used for 20 different subtitles and for 3-8 different language dubs. This sucks. I want to see the movie with the original language (doesn't have to be English) and with lots of extras, or who wants to see Harrison Ford speaking Italian in Blade Runner.

    So I buy DVDs from US and Japan (and have watch them in NTSC, ugh). What law says that I can't buy a DVD or eg. a car from random country X if I pay the customs and taxes? This sucks..
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:09AM (#164422) Journal
    At the end of the month, there will be DVD players on the shelves in Hong Kong that have a front-panel control to set/clear the region.

    Still, if I happen to buy any discs that pull this trick, I'll rip them and then return them because "they don't work in my DVD player!"

    -jcr
  • A contract is a document that two parties sign to agree on the terms. As it, at that level, is a private document, the government does not get involved. Thus, any 'contract' can say anything. You can sign yourself into slavery if you wish..

    Now, the enforcability of a contract. That is subject to law. Courts have ruled many contracts invalid. For example, if you 'sign yourself into slavery', but later contest it, the contract will be ruled invalid.

    In terms of copyright law, a wide body of deeds have been ruled legal. The aformentioned 'doctrine of first sale' was when a publisher of paperbacks put a 'license' on the book stating that the book could not be sold for less than a particular price. That was ruled unenforcable.

    Remember, you are given certain rights. A license can grant you additional rights with no obligation to you. (For example, the GPL or BSD code license.) Or, it may be a contract, where you are granted additional rights and you fulfill certain obligations.

    Thus, by copyright law, the doctrine of first sale and other court cases, there is no license needed to watch, export, resell, donate, loan, parady, or other noninfringing uses of a movie. They copyright holder may only take away these rights through a mutually agreed upon contract where they offer me something else as value (Money, other rights, etc)

    Noting that I am under no obligation to accept any such offer, I cannot lose the above rights involuntarily.

    --

    (There also exists things like 'shrinkwrap' or 'clickwrap' contracts, like as distributed with commercial software. As there has not been a signifigant court case on the legality of them, their enforcability is in doubt. Though I find it highly unlikely that a court will reverse the 'doctrine of first sale' to rule such contracts enforcable.)

  • Those obligations are contractual obligations to the distributor in other regions. ``I'll sell this in europe, you sell in the US. Here's a contract where we'll agree to that''

    But, such constraints do not OBLIGATE me to do the same. The only constraint I have is copyright law, which supposedly deliminates only certain particular rights that are reserved to the copyright holder. The ability to restrict the trading of copyrighted works, after being sold, was tested in court, and found to be unconscionable. ('doctrine of first sale') The court case that established this was when an evil store wished to sell used books, which a publisher did not wish, because it depressed the price of new books.

    To respond to the great grandparent. You forget that copying isn't necessarily copyright infringment. Extracting snippets from a copyrighted work, performing a parody or critical satire, duplication for purposes of backup, etc. These all explicitly require copying, yet are generally considered to not be copyright infringment.

    Ergo, the only thing that can decide whether or not a use of a copyrighted work is infringement is a court of law. (Though in many cases, there are pre-existing precedents to guide the court.)

    In conclusion, copyright law is not and was NEVER intended to give an artist the right to control all possible users of the copyrighted work in any way they see fit. (Like banning the sale of used books or libraries.)

  • by brogdon (65526) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:00AM (#164427) Homepage
    All the more reason to buy a DVD player that lets you change its region code an infinite number of times, rather than a region-free player. That's a subtle distinction most people don't notice when they're out hunting for a machine to play their anime or DVD's of Friends on.

    I own an Apex AD600A, which can be set to be region-less, or to the region of your choice. I highly recommend it. It even plays mp3 CD's.


    --Brogdon
  • > All the more reason to buy a DVD player that lets you change its region code an infinite number of times

    I know you mentioned DVD players, but unfortunately all the new DVD-Rom drives are RPC-2 (meaning user & vendor are locked after 5 region changes)

    Fortunately, you can flash the firmware in your DVD-Rom drive:
    http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/ [club-internet.fr]

    You can see the region lockout status for different drives here:
    http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/dvd /page0.htm [club-internet.fr]

    *now to find out who the oem is on my no-name brand dvd-rom player...*
  • by scoove (71173) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @08:07AM (#164432)
    Or just return the DVD's back to the retailer you bought it from.

    If they don't clearly say on the package that they're crippleware and it won't run in your equipment, take it back. Having dealt with consumer electronic retailers (from a manufacturer's perspective), significant returns annoy the heck out of the retailer and dent the vendor's credibility. E.g. "Quit shipping us these broken DVDs!"

    Don't forget as well that each return probably takes the DVD vendor four or five successful sales to make up for, so a return of 10 crippled DVDs eats the profitability of 40-50 units. That'll hurt if it catches on.

    *scoove*
  • by n3bulous (72591) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @07:32AM (#164433)
    So how many North Americans have DVD players that play other regions?

    I bought one just so I could watch a handful of BBC movies that I didn't want on VHS. Luckily I also have a world VCR so I could decode the damn PAL encoding...

    What incentive does the BBC or any other non-US based production have in using the regioning system? Outside the MPAA, I would bet there are very few large, influential production companies so these non-region 1 companies have no real motive to prevent another region's people from buying their product. All these companies need to do is release their product on a double-sided DVD so that they can encode for PAL and NTSC.

    I mean, really, what else do Americans really do besides consume? We've been training to be consumers for 100 years.

    My best guess is that there is some law in the US about importing AV media without first paying the MPAA or some other body of fasci^H^H^H^H^Hcapitalists.
  • I've never seen an EULA on a DVD, let alone anything that says "Do Not Use on Region Free Player."
  • by Maul (83993) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:26AM (#164436) Journal
    Do you know what the definition of theft is? If I took candy from a baby, that would be theft. If I shoved DVDs from Best Buy in my jacket pockets then walked out without paying them, that would be theft. If I play a DVD I payed money for on a DVD player, that is NOT theft.

    And how is using a region-free player getting a free ride? People pay money for a player, and

    People pay good money for DVDs, and many people want to buy DVDs from other regions because perhaps the foreign DVD has better extras, or maybe the foreign DVD just isn't available in their home region.

    Most of the people I know who use region free players use them to play legit DVDs they purchased from Japan. They bought it. They should be able to play it without having to buy an extra DVD player.

    I see nothing illegal about playing a DVD that was payed for.

    I don't know where people get the idea that when someone useses a product they bought the way they want to, they are stealing if the company who made the product loses money somehow. In the case of DVDs, I don't see how a DVD producer is losing money if I play their disc on a region free player.

  • So many people have already come to accept that there is a new government dawning that I don't think there's any way to stop it.

    Sure there is... when you go out to purchase something, remember that you're really voting with your wallet.

    When you choose a political candidate, what process do you go through first? Consider their beleifs, their positions, their record, try to extrapolate over time whether they're poised to fuck you over, or help you out. Then you vote.

    We need to be doing the same thing with products in the commercial markerplace. Instead of simply doing a price comparison (evil company and nice company sell the same product, evil company charges $2 less) don't go with the evil company. Do a little background research and find out which companies are screwing over consumers, their workers, the environment (which really means everyone including themselves).

  • I don't see why anyone here is complaining about being forced to actually obey copyright laws.

    Normally I wouldn't get involved in this type of discussion, but I can't help it this time.

    HEY JACKASS! People aren't complaining about having to obey copyright laws here. How am I breaking a copyright law if I buy a DVD in England (Region 2 methinks, or whatever) and I want to bring in home to the US to watch in my Region 1 player? I could do this with a PAL videotape and a multisystem VCR. (I've never seen anyone call a multisystem VCR a conduit for video piracy, as you are basically calling the region-free dvd player.) Explain how I am breaking the law.

    See, before, the studios had a natural barrier to people buying movies in other parts of the world being that we could never agree on a signal format. But now that the output format is no longer tied to the media they needed some way to control how the content is distributed. That's what it is about.

    I find it disconcerting that people don't get more upset about this. I guess the studios believe that so few people travel internationally that we just won't mind. What if France was one region, Spain another, and the UK yet another? Then maybe more people would get a little more upset whent he movie they bought on holiday won't play at home.

    And as to your comment about travelling internationally, I go overseas quite often and wouldn't mind being able to pick up some movies in the countries I visit. Just like the airlines, movies are cheaper in depressed countries because they want to sell as many as they can and still make some profit. It is about ECONOMIC CONTROL and CONTENT CONTROL, NOT COPYRIGHT!

  • I'm seeing a lot of posts along the lines of *Whine*I bought a DVD player and want to play these DVDS! The MPAA sucks. I'm going to do something that will cost them money!*Whine*

    By buying the DVD player and the DVDs you've been supporting them and their fight to take your rights (As outlined by the Constitution and the Supreme court) away from you. The DMCA they shoved down our throats is nothing more than a heavy-fisted method of doing away with those inconvienent "fair use" provisions the Supreme Court came up with.

    If you really want to do something that costs them money, don't fucking buy their products! Don't buy a DVD player. Don't buy DVDs. Don't go to the Movie Theater. Check out the live theater options in your city and if you have a university or an arts theater in your town, you'll find that they quite often play non-MPAA affiliated movies that are universally better than the cookie-cutter dreck the MPAA serves up on a regular basis anyway. And get your friends into all that as well.

  • I'm avoiding going to the theater now more because they want to charge me $8 to see a movie (It's probably gone up since the last time I've been) and then force me to sit through 30 minutes of commercials before the show starts. And of course, companies pay big bucks to have their products placed in the movie, so you're getting more commercials. That it impacts the MPAA finanicially in some small way is pretty much just icing on the cake.
  • Can anyone recommend a "good" dvd player for linux. What should i look for in a dvd, should i try and get a region free one, or can you get jumpered region drives ? Im a bit lost when it comes to selecting what a "good" DVD unit is.
  • by Steeltoe (98226)
    This is the excact reason I haven't bought a DVD-player yet. It's good to see I was right.

    - Steeltoe
  • by 11thangel (103409) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:58AM (#164449) Homepage
    I got a DVD ROM, and of course i run it under linux. I use XINE with Captain CSS's DVD plugin, and they linked to a nice little utility that lets me change the region code on the drive whenever i want, to whatever i want.
  • Glad I didn't buy a DVD player at all actually.

    Goddamn it you guys. Stop encouraging the MPAA to do this by buying their product. Stop funding this shit if you don't fucking like it.
  • I used to live in Australia, where I legally bought Region 4 discs. Now I live in Canada, and have legally bought Region 1 discs too. What are my options for playing the discs that I paid for?

    I couldn't even bring a Region 4 DVD player with me when I moved, as not only is the voltage wrong, so is the video standard (and forget trying to find a PAL-capable TV in this part of the world, at any reasonable price!)

  • by Namarrgon (105036) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:27AM (#164462) Homepage
    I too have an Apex 600A, and used the Loopholes menu to play my Region 4 discs (I live in Canada these days). Back in Australia, region-free DVD players are very common (our consumer protection body even supports this [slashdot.org]). But in this country, they seem very rare.

    However, I couldn't keep using the original loopholed Apex ROM, as bugs in the firmware made playing some discs very difficult, particularly those with "extended mixes" of the movies (e.g. Abyss, T2).

    6 months ago, I replaced the EPROM with a double-sized equivalent, burned newer release ROMs patched to Region 1 and Region 0, one on each side, and added a simple switch. Details here [dvd-wizards.com] (thanks Darren!)

    Now I no longer have troubles with X-Men et al, I can play both my Region 1 and Region 4 discs on the region-free setting, and switch back to Region 1 for the two RCE discs I own (Charlie's Angels and Crouching Tiger).

    In fact, checking again, it seems the latest firmware has been patched again to give both region-free playback and RCE defeat - I won't even need my switch anymore :-)

  • aren't all of those already on the market? I've held crouching tiger in my hands. amazon is shipping both crouching tiger and close encounters. I have a friend with a kubrick collection; they're just rereleasing it. and if the release date is june 12, that's in three days (one business day); there isn't enough time to slap that in unless it's already been done.

  • The DVD Infomatrix FAQ has a page that describes this kind of scripting and how to defeat it: http://faq.inmatrix.com/faq_entry0025.html [inmatrix.com].

  • A good case can be made that DVD region coding is a protectionist anti-competitive practice which should be addressed by the World Trade Organization. Some consumer organization in the European Union should push this forward.
  • Thanks to the restrictive technology known as "MacOS", there is very little software you can run on that machine

    If the PowerBook computer is a G3 Series (not one of the original run of G3 Books), it can with a RAM upgrade run Mac OS X, which can use any software designed for Mac OS 9, Carbon, Cocoa, or POSIX + X11. Check Freshmeat if you're not convinced there are enough OS X-compatible apps to suit your needs. Besides, how many text editors do you need?

  • I wish that more people would vote with their wallets and not purchase DVDs, digital TV or any of the other overbearing copyright enforcement devices.

    Most U.S. consumers would rather have high-quality TV with some restrictions than no TV at all. At the end of 2005, the FCC will pull all analog TV broadcasting licenses. When all your old VHS tapes wear out, what analog programming will you have to feed your analog TV set?

  • Region codes have nothing whatsoever to do with copyright

    Wrong. Each country has its own copyright laws. If one entity owns the exclusive rights in one country and another owns the rights in another country, you'd need to pay royalties to BOTH on EACH copy to sell region 0 DVDs, but you'd need to pay only one to sell region-crippled DVDs.

    Not only that, the movie studios' standard excuse ("so it doesn't come out on DVD before it comes out in theaters") applies here. Before a film comes out in theaters, it enjoys both copyright and trade secret protection as an unpublished work.

  • Personally, I think it'd be nice if people starting archiving classic old shows in the DivX ;-) format.

    No. The United States copyright on all works first published on or after January 1, 1923 (before the invention of broadcast television), will not expire [pineight.com] until The Walt Disney Company does. Congress has an unwritten agreement with Disney to pass a law every 20 years that extends copyright terms by 20 more years, resulting in effectively perpetual copyright that has been upheld by a district court and a court of appeals.

  • This is not news at all, it's well known you shouldn't buy a multiregion player but a "region selectable" player. Before i'd buy a new player i'd make sure there're hacks available for that player.

    Stop complaining and check this out: http://www.vcdhelp.com/dvdplayershack.php [vcdhelp.com]
  • by Sho0tyz (147844) <{Sho0tyz} {at} {wanadoo.fr}> on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:03AM (#164489)
    I have DVD's released over a year ago with this "enhancement." Your best bet is to pick up a DVD player with the region switching menu. They haven't come up with a way to stop those yet.
  • Intervideo has a legal Linux player coming out soon. It will cost $29.95, but you will rest assured knowing that you are not stealing.
    Using Xine or any other unauthorized solution is stealing. Don't steal videos.

    Shill, anyone? Anyone for a shill? They're going fast. Good sir, care for a shill to feed your opinion to you?

  • Stop encouraging the MPAA to do this by buying their product.

    1) "Fighting" this shit by discarding our culture, with virtually no hope of said large sacrifice even being noticed, is a tactically poor approach to the problem.

    2) I am inclined to think that buying DVDs might even be a better approach than not (if only slightly), because DVD protection has been broken, and now that encryption export laws have been relaxed, in conjunction with the DMCA coming into force, a new format is likely to be much nastier, thus by enlarging DVD infrastructure, you enlarge the problems facing attempts to seriously crank up the cripples.

    3) Even though copyright law has recently been rewritten (via corrupt means) to remove our legal right to our own heritage, I don't think it is morally acceptable that we should make that sacrifice while the bad guys rake it in. Make them work for their racketeering. Break their anti-competitive systems, and don't sacrifice your quality of life or entertainment to them while you do it.

    Sure, the MPAA gets money if I buy Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but I get an example of their latest trade-barrier, I get to find out how to bypass it, and spread that information. That information may lead to others purchasing more DVDs, but it will also lead to a shift in finance away from manufacturers of crippled DVD players, and into the pockets of those who defy the MPAA.
    I get an example of my society's culture, and the MPAA gets a few dollars and the start of another headache. Fair trade :-)
  • My DVD player is fairly strange (a LG 3200E). You can select the region with a remote hack, but strangely if you set it to region 1, region 1 AND region 2 discs will work fine - totally seperate from the multiregion 0 which some discs refuse to play under.

    Quite how it believes and verifies seperately as both a region 1 and a region 2, without being multi is beyond me - and frankly I don't want to touch the menu while it's in this state ;-)


    --
  • by RedWizzard (192002) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @03:41PM (#164508)
    In other words, since the software/DVD has to be copied into memory to be used, you can't use it without a contract permitting you to do so.
    There is no contract involved in the purchase of a DVD or a DVD player.
  • Problem with that is DVD cases clearly state the region for which they encoded on the back.

    DVD playes quite clearly state the region(s) which they play.

    DVD manuals quite clearly state that you need to buy the correct region disks.

    Legally, you don't have a leg to stand on taking the DVD back.

    Besides, any time I male-order R1 DVDs from US, they warn me they are R1, and ask me to confirm I accept they may or may not work on non-R1 players.

    --
  • I own an Apex600a, and, first, I would highly recommend you upgrade your firmware to something that actually plays new DVD's well. The loophopes firmware, the A8, is very old and has too many bugs to list here.

    The newer firmwares like the N6 and GK600B are CDR flashable and if you set them to region 0, RCE will not affect you! That's right, not a single RCE DVD released to this date stops you from viewing it on a region 0 player. Even if it did, you could just flashupgrade by CDRW to the region of your choice.

    The newer firmwares fix all the seamless branching problems that have plague the player, and you can easily obtain upgrades for you DVD-ROM in the Apex as well. Their are a number of other hacks as well, you can change your background picture, turn off the macrovision, put in a DVD-ROM from your computer to replace the DVD-ROM in the Apex if it goes out. There are dual boot options that have been worked out. The conscencus is, though, among most apex users, that the loopholes firmware isn't worth using and to use the newer versions.

    Check out these sites for more info, new firware, and patches to the new firmware so you can turn macrovision and change regions:

    http://www.dvd-wizards.com/darrenk
    www.nerd-out.com/forum

    puck
  • Imagine the MPAA having to have an office on every base for exchanging DVD's. This would quickly become a major problem for the MPAA, who would be forced to either start taking DVD exchanges (from everybody, ultimately), or come out with a new region for "those who move," or scrap the system entirely. They would likely choose the first option, but it would quickly grow to be a significant problem for them.

    It's even better (worse?) than that: usually, different region version also have different features (for example, the region 2 versions of Gladiator, Fight Club and Charlie's Angels lack the easter eggs [dvdreview.com] present in the region 1 versions). So an exchange would not be good enough - you'd be getting an inferior product.
    As for that "region for those who move", they could make region 8 (for "special international venues", such as airplanes and cruiseships) players available for the military, I suppose.

  • Does this work? Can anyone else confirm this? I have an AD-660 at region 0 (not easily switchable) and if the fix was this simple, it'd be nice...
  • In the service, I bought a player also. It got shipped with my household goods. No problem. I have a very wide range of media and no single player will touch all of it. Examples of changing times are, reel to reel tapes (1/2 inch video and 1/4 inch audio), cassette tapes, betamax, VHS, 12 inch laserdisks, 12 inch LP's, CD's, etc. By the way, the 1/4 inch reel to reel still works fine and is on it's 3rd set of belts. I do plan to drop it next year after I transfer all my old radio tapes to CDR's. It's like the old polorid film, you got the matching camera because you couldn't put it into your Kodak camera. Compatibility was not an issue. Deal with it.
  • I decided to play the devil's advocate and think what was goin on when the regions were considered. Play along... If a Player is considered a cineplex or movie house, even a Home Theater stuck in a paticular town, then the price of a ticket (the disk) can change depending on the market. They are trying not to sell movies as a tradable commodity. They are trying to sell tickets (software license) into markets. Last weeks Broadway Play ticket has no value elsewhere and this is the model they are trying to keep. Remember the DIVIX? This was the ultimate ticket.
  • people who legally bought region-free dvd players? (as in not hacked, or used a backdoor, but paid upwards of $1000 to get professional quality region-free dvd players. They may be able to be region switched, I'm not sure about that, but if not, they're SOL, and most likely extremely pissed too....
  • OK. I think the region coding thing is a pain and stupid, and if you're reading slashdot, you probably think so too.

    The thing is, the DVD manufacturer's association has got to have some sort of official line laying around to explain why having region codes is important.

    Does anyone know what this actually is? Because I can't think of one, but I'd like to know what load of bull they're trying to feed us ....



    --
  • Stupid script kiddies... This is like a DOS attack. You buy your DVD... try to play it in your player. But even though you paid money for both of these, you are denied service.
  • Once again, a "feature" is added to a product which, rather than adding value, actually takes it away. Free market, my ass.
    Well, no matter what you think, it is still a mostly-free market. As in: You are free not to buy the DVD discs that use this technology. The only way that these media companies will learn anything is if people hit them right in the pocketbook.
    • Refuse to buy discs that are deliberately designed not to be playable in certain machines.
    • Make it clear to retailers that you purchase a disk contingent on it being playable in any machine you choose. If their return policy excludes region incompatibility, refuse to do business with them.
    • Support indie distributors that refuse to region-code their discs (a "girl-cot"?)
    • Consider the possibility that you really don't have to go to the theatre to see [Insert "Must-See Movie" title here.].
    You get the idea.
  • I submit that a movie such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would not be made in the first place without the expectation (on the part of those who put up the money to make it) of being able to make a profit. Someone has convinced these people that their profit is maximized by this Zone system. Unless and until they are persuaded otherwise, they will only make these movies under these terms.

    If there is a "broader problem", it's that the Guys in the Ties have bought into the idea that zoning the distribution of videotapes or discs preserves box office revenues in zones where theatrical release comes later. I don't buy it. They should make more money selling the DVDs than they do from exhibition of the films, especially at Zone 1 prices.

    The real losers, if there are any, are the theatres in the other zones, who actually might lose some traffic to DVD sales. Maybe the studios are playing these games just to appease that constituency. But, just as technology has created this problem, it will also bring the solution: When the movie theatres themselves convert to digital projection systems, it will no longer be necessary for studios to release film prints to Zone 1 first, then other zones later. The other zones may be a bit later getting dubbed/subtitled versions, but a Zone 1 disc without those enhancements shouldn't hurt ticket sales for them.

  • There is no way I am paying to watch a DVD projected onto a cinema size screen with 500 something lines of resolution.
    Nobody's asking you to. The digital projection systems being tested right now use something on the order of 60 GB hard drives to hold a movie, if memory serves. That's 15 times the bandwidth of a two-hour HDTV program. If that isn't enough storage, NBFD - add some more drives.

    So my perception that Imax sounded clearer than AC3 and DTS was correct.
    Rest assured that you'll have at least that level of quality from the new technology, precisely because the adoption of HDTV raises the bar for what people will pay to see at a theatre. The industry will either compete or lose customers as people just wait to see the film at home in digital form.

    The studios will go to this as soon as they get the bugs out because of the cost of making prints. When they do, the only reason to release movies to theatres outside North America any later would be the time to get dubbing or subtitles in place, and I don't see any reason that can't be done in parallel with the other post-production work.

  • What is there worth WATCHING on TV? Survivor and other vicarious perversion shows? Give me a break. All the good cartoons were cancelled years ago and I've seen enougb looney tunes reruns to last me 10 lifetimes. TV News is more biased and less objective than slashdot, which is regularly laughed at by its readers for its bias and subjectivity. And I'm not much of a fan of sitcoms and game shows.

    What's left? Well... I guess The Simpsons. Oh well, I can do without. So what reason, again, IS there to watch TV...?

    -Kasreyn
  • I agree with all you've said, but the saddest part is there's no real difference between being "led" (oppressed) by politicians or by corporations. Let's compare:

    Politicians get in office by lying and being false/deceptive to voters.

    Corporations gain power by lying and seeming nice, and people vote for them with their wallets.

    Politicians have greater power the more money they have. The only way a politician can rule is if he has money.

    Corporations, ditto.

    Politicians make laws to protect their own power and profits at the direct expense of others.

    Corporations, ditto.

    Politicians generally fail to represent the constituents that put them into office (Read Mah Lips, No New Taxes!)

    Corporations are put into power by "constituents" who vote for them with their wallets, but then those corporations invariably turn on them when there's profit to be made in backstabbing.

    The fact that things are going to get worse is the same under either system. All we're doing (have done), is exchange one set of tyrants for another.

    -Kasreyn
  • (I'm a wee bit out of my depth here, but)

    Would it not be possible to create a driver/player that looks at the script, finds out what region it wants and then reports it when the script is run?

    I'm sure there are better programmers out there than the ones at Warner et al. who are quite capable of beating technology with technology...

  • This is rather old news, it was first released with the Patriot and The Perfect Storm.

    Sad thing is is that this system does NOTHING to prevent people with region free DVD drives on their computers from playing an ERC DVD. If you put in the dvd and it denys you access, put in a normal dvd and play it for a few seconds, then put in the ERC DVD and watch it play just fine. It's that simple!

  • I'm not going to lower myself with a First Post! Ironically it is, sorta. I'm disappointed in this, but they've had the ability to do 'scripts' for ages. ) :
  • I'm not usually one for boycotts, usually the people scream for them seem like pansies. I still don't exactly recommend a boycott. Our lack of a purchase would be lost in the noise level compared to the number of consumers who do make purchases.

    Instead I recommend a buycott. Pick a date, say July 14th because its far enough to spread the word, and purchase a DVD. I'd recommend that everybody purchases the same DVD, perhaps "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", whether you like it or not, whether you have it or not etc. It doesn't matter because you WILL NOT BE KEEPING THE DVD. Purchasing from a brick and mortar store will be better than purchasing online too as you'll be able to converse with sales people and managers.

    On July 21st return the DVD. Make sure you state your reasons for returning it, but be adults. "Hello, I'd like to return this DVD. I've tried it and it will not work on my hardware." if you get the opportunity explain that you use a software DVD player under Linux, or a region free DVD player.

    What does this accomplish? The lack of a sale isn't noticed if overall the sales for a product is doing well. There aren't enough people that care about this to make a difference in sales. We're a few fractions of a percent. A returned sale will register though, its out of the ordinary. It should involve the DVD being sent back to the manufacturer (the seals are broken so putting it back on the shelf is not possible) accompanied by paperwork. The number of returns over a short period of time will actually appear on their radar screens.

    Most cities have a number of places where you can purchase DVDs, so you could do this multiple times.

    You may not get actual cash back depending on your retailer. Be aware of their rules in advance (but don't let on your intentions, just be aware of their policy on returns). If you have to take store credit and spend it on bubble gum or pop.

    The interesting thing about this is that people that purchase DVDs but feel guilty about it can still take part. Remember, you're returning a DVD, not boycotting.

  • by BarefootClown (267581) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @08:25AM (#164560) Homepage

    Just a thought:

    Region-coded DVD's cannot be moved from one region to another (assuming "legit" players). The object is to prevent people from moving DVD's out of the intended region, but the law of unintended consequences brings about the problem that you cannot move DVD's out of the intended region. Why is this a problem? Because people move occasionally.

    The MPAA, when faced with this argument, would probably argue that very few people are affected by the problem, and that they choose to move anyway, so no biggie. There is, however, a large-ish group of people who move internationally, sometimes frequently, and really don't have a choice in the matter. These people are called "military."

    Yup, the men and women of the US Armed Forces may represent a bit of hope for us. These people get transferred (PCS'd) overseas, to different DVD regions. They may spend a several years there, so saying "oh, just give up your movies until you get back" really doesn't fly. The use of region coding results in disenfranchisement of military members. Herein is our solution to the problem.

    The MPAA member organizations disenfranchising (discriminating against?) our servicemen could probably be successfully sued for the problem. Even if active-duty servicemen were unsuccessful, reservists might have a chance--if a reservist is activated, federal law prohibits any form of discrimination based on that fact: employers must keep his job available when he returns (or an equivalent position), etc. If he is stationed overseas for some time, and decided to buy some movies on DVD, he would not be able to use them when he PCS'd back to the states. Most of the DVD packaging I have seen states the region in very small print, and nowhere is the concept of regions explained, so a reasonable argument could be made that the serviceman didn't know he would have trouble playing it elsewhere.

    This being the case, the company that produced the DVD could probably be sued for replacement of the DVD with one valid in the next region in which the serviceman is stationed. One serviceman wouldn't be a big deal to the MPAA, but imagine this on a class-action scale. Imagine the MPAA having to have an office on every base for exchanging DVD's. This would quickly become a major problem for the MPAA, who would be forced to either start taking DVD exchanges (from everybody, ultimately), or come out with a new region for "those who move," or scrap the system entirely. They would likely choose the first option, but it would quickly grow to be a significant problem for them.

    Remember the DMCA? That lovely little law that, among other things, prohibits circumvention of access controls? That's an important argument to use in court--"I can't circumvent region coding--that's illegal! Guess they'll just have to give me a new DVD!" Law's a real bitch when it works against you, and there would be poetic justice in using it against the group that so desperately wanted it. (Incidentally, since the MPAA doesn't do this right now, you could probably use this argument to challenge DMCA, saying it has a disproportionate effect on servicemen.)

    Anyhow, there's my idea. The things I think of in the morning after I drink! If anybody thinks it's worth trying (IANAL, but dad is, and I can't help picking up a little, no matter how well I wash), thinks it might fly in court, post a reply. And go start getting real friendly with servicemen, especially those who just PCS'd to or from another region. We might just be able to get them legally, and make them the "bad guy" in the eyes of the law.

    • The thing is, the DVD manufacturer's association has got to have some sort of official line laying around to explain why having region codes is important.

    Language. For example, a Region 2 DVD (Europe) will normally replace all the Region 1 extras with multiple language tracks.

    Trouble is, it's complete bullshit. The UK and Ireland should be Region 1 on that basis. It wasn't too bad when regional 0 players could pay everything, but RCE is a plain statement that "for your convenience" really means "to protect the US box office".

    • why do the DVD producers need to make a region-based DVD's

    Language. For example, a Region 2 disk will have a lot of European language tracks.

    It's bullshit of course. The UK and Ireland should be Region 1 on that basis, and RCE was the final admission that regioning isn't for consumer convenience, but to protect the US box office.

  • I know all the region encoding is for movie studios to maintain high profits when they make a theatrical release of a movie half a year later in other parts of the world. No one wants to spend the equivalent of US$10 to see a flick if they already own the DVD.

    I'm waiting for them to start checking ID's when coming in to the theaters to make sure that you live in an acceptible part of the world to see the film. "I'm sorry sir, but you're from England and the film isn't due to be relased there for another six months, so you can't see it yet. Have a nice day."

  • No offense, but this is hardly "news".

    They started doing this with The Patriot, and it worked on a good number of systems. Oh well, I still have my region 3 CTHD dvd from a few months ago, so why should I care. :D
  • by CUTTLER! (447049) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @06:12AM (#164577)
    They will sell me a washing machine that will only run at 2AM! Why can't I control what I buy?
  • When you use DVD Genie with a DVD-ROM that's been modified to RPC-1, you can change the region code as many times as you like and be able to play legacy and RCE discs.

    RPC-1 firmware is for getting around the drive's region code change limit, you can change it more than 4-5 times; DVD Genie is for getting around the player's region code limit. Both the DVD-ROM and the software's region must match or else your discs won't play.

    www.google.com [google.com] is your friend.

  • ... though could be a bit harder in practice.

    Multi-region players need new firmware which does the following.

    Tray closes. A counter is set to 0.

    A non-RCE disk says "can you play region 3?" The player says yes, DVD plays.

    An RCE disk says "what region are you?". The player replies "0". The disk halts. The counter is incremented, and the player starts the disk again. The disk says "what region are you?" The player replies "1". The disk halts ... finally, after a few goes, the player returns the correct region, and the disk plays.

    If the player gets to 9, it puts up a statement on the screen that all regions have been checked, and the disc will not play, and to return it to the retailer.

    For RCE encoded disks, it may take a bit longer to start the disk, but I don't see how this system + normal multi-region methods could be got around without introducing new region codes.

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