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Film Studios Sue Samsung Over DVD players 567

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the day-late-and-a-dollar-short dept.
Lam1969 writes "The Korea Times reports that five U.S. film studios have taken Samsung to court for selling DVD players which allow users to bypass DRM features. The film companies, including Walt Disney and Time Warner, are demanding Samsung recall the players. According to a Samsung spokesman quoted in the article, the movie studios probably 'take issue' with Samsung's HD841 model, which Samsung sold in the United States for five months in 2004."
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Film Studios Sue Samsung Over DVD players

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  • by tcjohnson (949147) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58AM (#14774887) Homepage
    From the article: ''The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy.'' Hrm, yeah, and I bet that's all people buying dvd's from other countries and bepassing the DRM with samsung equipment. Oh, wait, wasn't that the Linux pirates last week?
    • Sure it's more expensive, but being boarded and pillaged in flight is still a fairly rare thing for commercial jets.
    • The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy.

      Meanwhile, everyone else estimates that they continued to make record profits.
    • Thanks MPAA! (Score:5, Informative)

      by TPS Report (632684) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:14AM (#14775397) Homepage
      You know, I had (honestly) forgotten all about "region free" DVD players, etc. But all the MPAA's fuss, and this associated Slashdot article about it, has reminded me that I do want a more capable DVD player. A while back, I had wanted a player that did DivX, so I could fit two or three of my movies onto a DVD for the little ones to destroy (instead of damaging the original $$ DVDs). At that time, the DivX playback on the units pretty much sucked, so I let it go and forgot about it.

      Anyway, this article reminded me that there are [videohelp.com] really good DVD players out there that support region-free, HDCP-free, high-resolution playback at a reasonable price.... and they play back DivX as well. I think I will order one right now, in fact.

      How's that for blowing up in your face, MPAA? I'm sure I'm not the only one that is now thinking, "yes, actually, thats exactly what I want. Thanks for the reminder."
      • Re:Thanks MPAA! (Score:3, Informative)

        by rikkards (98006)
        Disclaimer: Satisfied customer
        If I was to plug a DVD player it would definitely be mine. When I got my HDTV, I also ordered the Oppo OPV971 for the following reasons:
        - DVI output
        - Upscaling to 720p or 1080i (through DVI)
        - DivX/Xvid support
        - Firmware upgradable.

        Something I didn't know before but do now is their support is impecable. I emailed them last Saturday night at 8:00pm while watching a movie to ask about the angle icon appearing. I had a response by 9:30PM. I also have emailed comments before and the
        • Re:Thanks MPAA! (Score:3, Informative)

          by stunt_penguin (906223)
          To heap more praise on Samsung, remember that they also promise that all their LCD panels, including TVs, are dead-pixel free. I like what samsung are doing as of late, and hope they don't screw it up.
    • by OneSeventeen (867010) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:27AM (#14775585) Homepage Journal

      From the article: ''The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy.'' Hrm, yeah, and I bet that's all people buying dvd's from other countries and bepassing the DRM with samsung equipment. Oh, wait, wasn't that the Linux pirates last week?

      Contrary to popular belief, Linux is not the only OS you can bypass DVD encryption on. However, Linux is the only OS that you need to bypass encryption in order to play DVDs.

      Personally, I would venture a guess that it was more the crap movies they produced, and the prices they charge for them. As a linux user, I've given up buying DVDs because it is illegal for me to play the DVDs I bought on my laptop, which is unacceptable. Purchasing more products from them would only encourage it.

      Out of curiosity, if you heard your DVD player was recalled because it had more features than it was supposed to, would you really respond? Personally, if I weren't a geek and didn't know what was up already, I would research why they wanted to recall it, then I would discover what the MPAA is doing, and I'd be pissed. (It's hard to tell the MPAA is screwing you until you use an OS that doesn't have a single legal on-the-shelf 3rd party DVD playing software, and the only free software is deemed illegal.)

      Personally, I'm wondering where I was when these things were being sold! A DVD player that plays DVDs! No wonder the MPAA is suing, you only leased the right to have a DVD copy of the movie, there is no implied playability unless you also purchase their decoders. Next they'll start selling descrambling glasses that you have to visit one of their eye doctors to have focused for you!

      Serves 'em right, but then again, serves us right for those who copied movies every chance they got.

    • by dtsazza (956120) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:32AM (#14775597)
      The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy.
      More accurately, the MPAA estimates that the retail value of pirated films, etc, was $5.4bn. Now I'm not advocating piracy, but when I was a student a couple of years ago I would download albums and films, and I can personally guarantee that it did not cost the industry any money - simply because as a poor student I couldn't afford to buy them. If I hadn't downloaded them, I just wouldn't have seen them, and that's that.

      The MPAA seems to think there's a dichotomy of pirating films or purchasing them, and by extension that if we make pirating impossible, then every pirate will go out and purchase everything that they would otherwise have pirated. And that, my friends, is a rather baseless claim (even if you're completely unaware of the animosity towards studios in general).
  • Come after me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abscissa (136568) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58AM (#14774889)
    What I have done for all the DVDs in my OWN collection is bypass the DRM using DVD decrypter (w00t!) because I am sick of these goddamn preveiews, menus, copyright notices, birth control notices, and other shit. DVD Shrink is a nice utility that allows you to reformat a DVD so that you can put the disc in the drive and JUST WATCH THE MOVIE. Some of these more recent DVDs that have come out require ten minutes of mandatory (e.g. you can't fast forward) viewing of SHITE before you can see WHAT YOU PAID TO WATCH. For rental DVD's, don't even bother... it's worse than the old VHS tapes, even though the retailers are PAYING LESS now to maintain their inventory!!
    • by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:17AM (#14774961) Homepage
      ...if I "reformat" one of their falafel rolls before eating it, so why should a content provider have any say in how you view their content?

      To be certain, it's nice for them to be able to ensure that the original content is high-quality and in a certain order and all, but I should be the one to decide whether I want to watch ads and splash-screens, or even more pointedly whether my kids watch the entire movie or just the 98% of it that isn't offensive.

      Would they care if I piped it into the 320x200 monochrome screen on my mobile 'phone to watch? Or watched it through a filter that corrected for colour blindness? Or just colour-inverted it? Or played it at 120% of realtime? Or toneshifted the soundtrack? Or karaoke style? If so, why?
    • What I have done for all the DVDs in my OWN collection is bypass the DRM using DVD decrypter (w00t!) because I am sick of these goddamn preveiews, menus, copyright notices, birth control notices, and other shit.

      I have a secondhand Linux box with mplayer, a DVD drive and TV out hooked up to the TV. Unskippable previews? I think not.
    • Re:Come after me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:42AM (#14775011)
      Ha! You too eh.

      Ads before DVD's is *such* a scam.

      I don't believe it's all about flogging off the studios other wares either... not for a second!

      I reckon they are *deliberately* trying to degrade the viewing experience for DVDs by reverting back to the ads before the movie VCR model, so as to make it easier for them to push their next generation DVD formats such as HD-DVD and Blueray.

      They want to make DVDs seem obsolete, and equivalent to VCRs in consumers minds.

      Think about it. For most consumers the promise of high definition means jack-**** as they don't have the hardware to appreciate it, so the studios have a tough sell ahead of them.

      It's a far easier push for them to sell their DRM-ed to sh*t next gen-formats if they make the current generation look at obsolete as they can. I wouldn't even put it past them to deliberately drop the compression quality on new releases just to make the new formats look better.

      I have my tin foil hat on... I know what's going on! :c)

      • Re:Come after me (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:48AM (#14775921) Homepage
        Let's get even more realistic.

        I have a HD display. I recompress my dvd's using the DVD drcryptor and DVD shrink dance to hold only the movie on a DISC in my Pioneer 200 Disc DVD changer. I have a high end line doubler and even after the recompress and other nasties added during the process I STILL get a fantastic picture. It's better than most CableTV HD channels because the cable company is compressing them hard now to fit more in the pipe.

        Plus dinking with HD content I can download off the internet and play with my DSM-520 off the server in the house makes any next format player 100% useless to me.

        HDDVD and BluRAY are 100% useless. you can easily fit full HD content on a regular DVD using mpeg4HD compression and it looks fantastic. They want it only because they built it with DRM from the beginning and not useability.
    • Re:Come after me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:56AM (#14775048) Homepage Journal
      One of the best features of mplayer is it's no-nonsense approach to DVD playback. It just launches the movie. No menus, no FBI warnings, no ads, no crap.
      • Re:Come after me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by failure-man (870605) <failureman.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:51AM (#14775682)
        MPlayer is, of course, illegal in several countries (at least if you're playing encrypted DVDs, which anything with shit to be skipped will be.)

        Still, I'm hardly deterred by that. I'd like to see them try to sue someone for playing a disc that they personally own. I after all know the Kryptonite of any standard corporate lawyer-ninja squad: the jury trial. You'll be hard pressed to find a jury that will award against Joe Q. Public to a multi-billion dollar corporation for doing something that seems reasonable.

        Of course, that does nothing to shield the MPlayer dev team, who are (mostly) safe at the moment only because they live outside of US jurisdiction.
        • Summary judgment (Score:3, Informative)

          by tepples (727027)

          I after all know the Kryptonite of any standard corporate lawyer-ninja squad: the jury trial. You'll be hard pressed to find a jury that will award against Joe Q. Public to a multi-billion dollar corporation for doing something that seems reasonable.

          Which is why big-shot corporate attorneys will do their damnedest to get a summary judgment [wikipedia.org]. This means that the presiding judge rules that even if the facts are exactly as the alleged infringer states them, what he or she did still violates law. In the Unit

        • Re:Come after me (Score:3, Insightful)

          by instarx (615765)
          Still, I'm hardly deterred by that. I'd like to see them try to sue someone for playing a disc that they personally own. I after all know the Kryptonite of any standard corporate lawyer-ninja squad: the jury trial. You'll be hard pressed to find a jury that will award against Joe Q. Public to a multi-billion dollar corporation for doing something that seems reasonable.

          Maybe that is indeed kryptonite for them, but it is way down the road. YOUR kryptonite however, is right here right now - attorney fees and
      • Re:Come after me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:36AM (#14775854)
        One of the best features of mplayer is it's no-nonsense approach to DVD playback. It just launches the movie. No menus, no FBI warnings, no ads, no crap.

        Oh, you still get to see the ads and warnings with mplayer.

        $ mplayer dvd://1
        -- Publisher's logo

        $ mplayer dvd://2
        -- copyright warning

        $ mplayer dvd://3
        -- copyright warning, in Flemish

        $ mplayer dvd://4
        -- copyright warning, in Linear A

        $ mplayer dvd://5
        -- trailers for upcoming releases

        $ mplayer dvd://6
        -- original theatrical trailer

        $ mplayer dvd://7
        -- interview with director

        $ mplayer dvd://8
        -- interview with voice actor

        $ mplayer dvd://9
        -- interview with dub voice actor

        $ mplayer dvd://10
        -- THE FILM! YAY! AT LAST! * sits back, grabs snacks and b33r *

        ... oh, shit...

        $ mplayer dvd://10 -alang ja -slang en

        Hooray for convenience!

    • by daBass (56811) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:58AM (#14775052)
      My brother was recently forced to copy a DVD. It was a very cheap children's DVD his son loves. The problem? There was a 2 and a half minute non-skipable copyright notice before the main feature.

      You try explaining that one to a 2 year old...
      • by flewp (458359) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:30AM (#14775155)
        Shouldn't be too hard, since I bet most of the people responsible for such things have the mental capacity of a 2 year old...
    • Use "Mac the Ripper" (yes it really is called that) and Popcorn (by Roxio).
  • VCR (Score:4, Funny)

    by mtenhagen (450608) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58AM (#14774890) Homepage
    I heard you can connect a vcr to the output and then record everything you play, I can imagine the studios are upset.
    • by ad0gg (594412)
      You can't actually, macrovision will give you a distorted picture.
      • Re:VCR (Score:3, Informative)

        by sg_oneill (159032)
        ....or you can just throw it thru a genlock to fix up the buggy colorbursts.

        This post is in violation of the DMCA, if I was american.
    • Re:VCR (Score:5, Informative)

      by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@earthshod[ ].uk ['.co' in gap]> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:46AM (#14775333)
      There's a problem: Macrovision. They deliberately put high-voltage pulses in the vertical retrace interval of some frames to confuse the automatic gain control in the recorder. The AGC sees the spike, winds the gain down and you get a dim picture for several frames. Then it goes bright again. Then they put in another spike and it goes dim. As far as protection schemes go, this one is totally christian. You will just need a DVD player with the option to disable Macrovision; a VCR with RGB inputs; an RGB to composite encoder {NB; must be the appropriate video standard, PAL, SECAM or NTSC, for your region}; a timebase corrector; or an image stabiliser.

      One very simplistic way to defeat Macrovision is to build a simple level-limiter circuit, so the extraordinarily high voltage pulses sent in the vertical retrace interval will be clamped to peak white level {1V} before they reach the VCR. This is really nothing more than a DC-coupled, non-inverting, high-bandwidth version of a guitar distortion pedal.

      To build a more sophisticated timebase corrector, use a 1881 sync separator [national.com] to get the timing signals, and some sort of bilateral switch {a 4016/4066 will sort of just about do, but look at the Maxim web site [maxim-ic.com] for some higher-bandwidth, lower-on-resistance ones} to switch between the existing video signal, and a locally-generated "black" signal {about 0.3 volts}. The 1881 has a composite sync output which should be used to add "clean" timing to the artificial black {just force it down to 0V when the timing signal goes low}. Be sure to use op-amps with a decent slew rate, not 358's! You will also need either a bunch of TTL ICs {if you're hard} or a microcontroller. At the beginning of each frame, switch to "artificial black" for about the first 20 lines of picture, then switch to the real picture for all but the last 20 or so lines, which should be replaced by more artificial black. You may need to experiment with the number of lines you strip out. If you are 500p3r l33t, you might even care to insert your own locally-generated Teletext information in the newly-created vertical retrace interval; but don't expect this to come out right on a VHS recorder.
      • Re:VCR (Score:3, Interesting)

        You don't need that much hardware to defeat MacroVision. Two diodes, three resistors, three capacitors, two cheap IC's. One comparator to extract the sync, another to gate out the leading pulse, a 4040 counter to count up to line 255, anoher comparator to gate out the trailing pulse. ALmost a no-brainer.
      • Re:VCR (Score:4, Funny)

        by m0nstr42 (914269) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:59AM (#14775705) Homepage Journal
        ...a 4016/4066 will sort of just about do, but look at the Maxim web site for some higher-bandwidth, lower-on-resistance ones...

        Maxim has girls AND components? It truely is geek heaven.
      • Macrovision (Score:3, Informative)

        by Peter Simpson (112887)
        Actually, it's not "high voltage pulses". Macrovision has evolved past the stage where you could remove it with a "couple of passives and a one-shot" bypass circuit. Now, they mess with the level (and position, I belive) of the HSYNC pulse in a pseudorandom way. You need to work a bit harder to remove it, but I believe it's still possible with enough effort.

        Ever try bringing your DVD player to a rental home where they have an old, RF-input only TV? Even with a video modulator, you're out of luck on a ra
  • kvcd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jlebrech (810586) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:00AM (#14774898) Homepage
    my dvd player plays kvcd's

    sue them

  • Ebay (Score:4, Funny)

    by appleLaserWriter (91994) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:00AM (#14774901)
    In other news, prices for Samsung's HD841 DVD player skyrocket on EBay.
    • ...that the sellers are mostly front-men for Samsung. (-:

      It's a pity that they couldn't actually do that, because it'd probably come close to paying their legal costs for warding off greedy corporate control-freaks.

      Speaking of which, how are Samsung themselves in the GCCF department? I haven't heard anything bad about them on that front.
  • CPRM is like JEDEC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:00AM (#14774903)
    Samsung is the bad guy here. Well, insofar as Rambus was the bad guy in JEDEC. Everyone who was involved in the creation of the DVD standard agreed to a certain set of rules that they would abide by, but Samsung (like Rambus) flagrantly violated those rules and put other members of the association at risk.

    Now, DRM and especially things like region locks are really terrible for the consumer, but that's not the issue here. If there were a non-DRM standard for DVD, Samsung could manufacture players for that standard all they like. The fact is that they agreed to a set of rules which included not making non-DRM players, and they decided to go ahead and make a player that is for all intents and purposes non-DRM.

    They will be hit with a penalty, no doubt.
    • by Oersoep (938754)
      "Everyone who was involved in the creation of the DVD standard agreed to a certain set of rules that they would abide by"

      But what about CD's then?

      Ever noticed how many CD's in the record stores do NOT have de CompactDisk-icon anymore? That's because the copy protection (sabotage) violates the CD standard. And that's why some car-stereo's don't play them.

      Who's going to sue the record stores for selling non-CD's calling them CD's?
    • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:16AM (#14774960)

      Samsung is the bad guy here. Well, insofar as Rambus was the bad guy in JEDEC. Everyone who was involved in the creation of the DVD standard agreed to a certain set of rules that they would abide by, but Samsung (like Rambus) flagrantly violated those rules and put other members of the association at risk.

      Yeah, a bad guy like Robin Hood or George Washington - they too violated the commonly agreed rule to lube their backsides and take it nice and quiet. And now Samsung has joined these horrible villains in their infamy. Oh, the humanity.

      Now, DRM and especially things like region locks are really terrible for the consumer, but that's not the issue here.

      Actually, it is. Samsung realized that they could make a product that's better for their customers than what was being manufactured previously, and took the opportunity to do so. That's all there is to it, really.

      The fact is that they agreed to a set of rules which included not making non-DRM players, and they decided to go ahead and make a player that is for all intents and purposes non-DRM.

      If one of the Prince John's tax collectors decides to let some poor peasant keep his money and buy food for his children instead of doing his "duty" by taking every last penny and leaving the peasant to watch his children starve to death, is he a bad guy for breaking the rules ?

      They will be hit with a penalty, no doubt.

      Sure, the Sheriff of Nottingham must deliver the taxes to Prince John, after all.

    • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:41AM (#14775008) Homepage
      "The fact is that they agreed to a set of rules which included not making non-DRM players, and they decided to go ahead and make a player that is for all intents and purposes non-DRM."

      Um, by definition this makes them the good guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:01AM (#14774906)
    MPAA: "I find your lack of DRM Disturbing..."
  • More/Better Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:04AM (#14774918) Journal
    Engadget [engadget.com] has a slightly more information.

    And ultimately, Google News will provide all the stories you could want [google.com]

    To summarize the facts:
    1. Samsung stopped producing this drive a year and a half ago
    2. The 'features' were unlockable through remote control key combos
    3. "The DVD-HD841 DVD-player can allow region encoding and high-bandwidth digital-content protection (HDCP) bypassing, provided a code is entered by remote control. Although pulled off shelves, its genes appear to have been transmitted to the DVD-HD747 and DVD-HD941." reference here [indiantelevision.com]

    HDCP Bypassing!!
    Weren't we just complaining about HDCP a day or two ago?

    Run, don't walk, to eBay and get one of these players before Samsung pulls 'em.
    • 3. "The DVD-HD841 DVD-player can allow region encoding and high-bandwidth digital-content protection (HDCP) bypassing, provided a code is entered by remote control.

      The first is nothing new, but as far as HDCP is concerned... This isn't a HD/Blu-Ray player, so whate is the big deal? Are we talking about upscaled DVDs here? I notice they use high-bandwidth rather than high definition in perfect doublespeak. Upscaled DVDs is something anyone with a computer can do easily anyway.
    • Benign DVD players (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alexo (9335)

      There must be other players that allow that.

      Can anyone post their recommendations for "benign" DVD players that:
      - Allow one to play DVDs from all regions,
      - Allow skipping offensive content (e.g., FBI warnings),
      - Allow bypassing Macrovision,

      and, most importantly:
      - Bypass HDCP/HDMI DRM crap by allowing full resolution (or upconverted) HD video output over component.
  • by Deathbane27 (884594) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:07AM (#14774931)
    The film companies, including Walt Disney and Time Warner, are demanding Samsung recall the players.

    Raise your hand if you're going to return your player if/when it's recalled. =P
  • by skinfitz (564041) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:09AM (#14774936) Journal
    This is why I always recommend avoiding DVD players badged by large companies.

    Large companies have more to lose if they don't toe the MPAA line (I'm seriously wondering how long it will be until players refuse to play a movie more than once a week or so).

    Buy cheap players packed with features from middle east companies that may not even exist - much harder to threaten a company like that and features sell those sort of players and fierce competition keeps prices low.
  • why are they singling out samsung? there are quite a few models made by quite a few manfacturers that are unlockable via codes. are they trying to scare the industry into making sure that such work-arounds are not going to be in future hardware like blu-ray and hd-dvd?
  • I can't recall any special successful lawsuits over DVD region coding bypassing through a remote control lately, if they sent any lawsuits at all about this. This despite it being pretty common. Would a company producing DVD / HD-DVD drives really violate anything like the DMCA if they had all protective features like HDCP intact, but let the user manually disable them via techniques hushed about and leaked from unofficial souces, a bit like I believe it works today with regular DVD drives and zone check di
  • by linuxhansl (764171) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:26AM (#14774977)
    The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy.

    $5.400.000.000?! I sure would like to see the math behind this estimation. It's probably the old non-sensical #copied movie * $$/movie. Let's say the average DVD price is around $20, that means 270.000.000 movies have been copied? Yeah right!

    And it assumes:

    1. All of the people who pirated a movie would have bought otherwise.
    2. None of the people who pirated later went and bought the movie.

    I'm getting quite tired of these MPAA calculations.

    The opposed feature in these players is most likely the ability to disable the country-code in these players (via a hidden menu) so that non-US DVDs - in fact all DVDs - can be played in the players. I for one never understood why I shouldn't be able to watch DVDs that I bought in Europe because I *cannot* get them here.

    Oh well... In the end the MPAA will succeed convincing enough politicians who will pass more and more stringent laws, copyright will be extended to 500 years, and in a decade or so the movie industry will be facing bancruptcy and wondering why nobody is buying their super-duper-extra-high-definition-drm-secured-DVDs -of-dumb-holywood-crap anymore.

    As I mentioned somewhere before: Instead of land-owners and peasants without rights and property we'll have information-owners and rightless masses of consumers... Information-Feudalism.

    • I for one never understood why I shouldn't be able to watch DVDs that I bought in Europe because I *cannot* get them here.

      That's easy! By denying you the ability to watch films from other countries, the members of the MPAA cartel encourage you to get your media fix by spending your money on their own films. As a fringe benefit, since you won't be exposed to other films, you won't even realize how bad their schlock is, nor will you be aware that their increasing influence over American politics is creati

  • Wonderful (Score:5, Funny)

    by LarsWestergren (9033) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:32AM (#14774986) Homepage Journal
    I'm really looking forward to the day when I can get sued for just owning a DVD player that allows me to bypass commercials, inane FBI warnings, and ads for studios and technologies like THX.
  • Evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:38AM (#14775004)

    Is there any evidence that the encryption actually reduces piracy, in other words, increases sales? Is there any evidence that zoning on DVDs increases sales?

    To what extent does zoning reduce sales? For instance, holidaymakers and businessmen not being able to purchase DVDs in the countries they visit due to zoning? Have the film studios researched this? Anyone know of any relevant market research?
    • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnarlin (696263)
      I found this lecture [duke.edu] rather interesting.
      Professor Koleman Strumpf: "The Effect of File Sharing on the Sale of Entertainment Products: The Case of Recorded Music and Movies"
      Warning: This is a realmedia stream! If anyone knows how to download it and convert it please tell me, I would love to have a copy of it localy.
  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:42AM (#14775012)
    Samsung stopped making this particular player nearly two years ago and the lawsuit looks more like a warning to other manufacturers.

    Any recall would be useless - if someone has one of these players and wants to keep it they'll just say it broke and they binned it. This wouldn't be impossible since a quick skim thought online forums indicates build quality on this particular model wasn't up to much.

    Instead the studios are sending a message to all DVD manufacturers to beef up their future models so this kind of thing can't be done in the first place. If they don't they too can expect a legal fight.

    Personally I think they are on to a loser - studios have very little pull over hardware manufacturers and if there's strong demand for an open player they will build it.
  • Go Samsung! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ettlz (639203) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:53AM (#14775043) Journal
    I am starting to turn into a Samsung fanboy, and everything I've bought from them of late works with Linux. At last there is a company that appears to manufacture electronic products the way consumers want.
  • A recall? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TintinX (569362) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:58AM (#14775054) Homepage
    "The film companies, including Walt Disney and Time Warner, are demanding Samsung recall the players."

    Erm, how could Samsung make a recall on these players? They can't force people to give them back.

    Recalls are only for products that are faulty, when the purchaser gladly and willingly returns them.

  • What DRM features? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:58AM (#14775055)
    DVD players don't contain any DRM. Region coding isn't DRM. Region coding doesn't stop me from ripping as many copies of a disc as I want. DRM doesn't stop the large scale pirates making verbatim copies of that disc (though usually with the region encoding removed).
  • by mochan_s (536939) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:03AM (#14775075)

    I watch DVDs on my computer. I "upgraded" my DVD-player software and it wouldn't let me skip sections that the DVD says can't skip.

    I was watching Voyager DVDs and every episode starts with a non-skippable 10s clip of Voyager powering up and moving across the sreen. Even though it was only for 10s, after 3-4 episodes I was really really hating that clip.

    Anyway, I feel that now a pirate DVD is more valueable than a real DVD since pirate DVDs remove all skip codes and DRM and makes for more pleasant viewing.

  • by Munchr (786041) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:04AM (#14775081)
    Why sue over a player that hasn't been comercially available for over a year? If they're going to sue over an unlockable player, why not sue Philips over the DVP642 which is still on the market and is region and macrovision unlockable through hidden menus. Or sue a company like Apex which has consistantly released an unlockable model, quickly followed by a "corrected" player, over and over again?
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:18AM (#14775116)
    So they basically put this number out of their *ss, and whip it out every time things get rough for them :) This is so amazing!

    Samsung: That's it, we're releasing the DVD-s as is.

    MPAA: No! You can't!

    Samsung: WTF?

    MPAA: "The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy."

    Samsung: What are those estimates based on, not on Samusng DVD players right?

    MPAA: Can't you read man, come on, SHOCK! See: "The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost $5.4 billion last year due to piracy."

    People: MPAA you're suing your users and manifacturers and keep pulling those numbers out of your *ss and applying silly DRM restriction so people don't buy your production, what did you expect?

    MPAA: And you'll all be sued!!! You know why!? "The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the movie industry lost friggin $5.4 billion last year due to friggin piracy."!!! Estimate=Fact! Estimate=fact!! Don't question us or you be sued!!! Arghh..
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:28AM (#14775144)
    Of course we all know a recall would get nearly 100% of these offending boxes. I know I certainly would return my box, particularly if I really had DVDs with different region codes and the box could play them all, or if I knew I could use the box to othherwise get around DRM. Heck, who wouldn't want to rush to send back their recalled player for one that was hobbled? Of course, the more cynical might say that the only boxes they would get back on a recall would be those that have already died or those used by people who would never use the device to get around DRM anyway, and that a recall would only serve to alert consumers that this model has a feature they might want and find hard to get. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
  • by thelonestranger (915343) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:47AM (#14775206)
    Region
    1. Turn on player with no disc in the tray. "No disk" appears on screen.
    2. Press the "Repeat" key on the remote.
    3. Press "57538" on the remote. A number should appear on screen, indicating your player's current region (e.g. "2").
    4. Press the number for your required region (e.g. "1") or "9" for region-free/all-regions. The number will appear on screen, replacing the previous number (from step 3).
    5. Press "Open/Close Tray" and leave the tray open for a few seconds.
    6. Press "Power On/Off". The tray closes automatically and the player turns off. Next time you turn it on, it is region free (or whatever Region you selected in step 4).

    HDCP
    1. Turn your television ON
    2. Turn the DVD Player ON
    (You should see the Samsung screen saver appear on the TV)
    3. Ensure the DVD tray is EMPTY and CLOSED
    4. Wait for the message 'NO DISC' to appear
    5. Press the ANGLE button
    6. Press the numbers 4, 3, 2, 7
    (You should see the message 'HDCP Free' appear in the upper
    left hand corner of your television screen)
    7. Press the OPEN/CLOSE button to open the disc tray Your DVD player is now region-free and HDCP-free.
    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:12AM (#14776070)
      I wanted to point out that "region free" mode will prevent some American DVDs from playing. Hollywood got angry a few years ago that people in Europe and other parts of the world could buy and play our DVDs on region free machines, so they put a nasty little trick in to prevent that. I have forgotten what they call it. Here is a simplified version of how DVD players normally work in region free mode:

      Normal DVD talks to DVD player: My region is region 1. What region are you?
      DVD player: I'm region 0. That means region free. I can play you.
      Normal DVD: Go ahead and play me.

      However, with some American DVDs, the conversation goes like this:
      DVD talks to DVD player: My region is region 2. What region are you?
      DVD player: I'm region 0. That means region free. I can play you.
      DVD: I lied! I'm really region 1. Since you can play me as a region 2 disc but I am supposed to be sold only in region 1, that means you are region free. I won't play on you.

      I don't remember the studios that do this except for Paramount, but for these discs, it is necessary to switch the DVD player back to region 1 to play the discs.
      • It is called "Region Code Enhancement", or RCE, and it works basically the way you have described. I would just note that as you implied, the difference is that region code checking is done in hardware, while RCE is done in software. So with normal region codes, the DVD player is supposed to check the region of the disc and not play if it doesn't support that region. Region-free DVD players just skip that check. WIth RCE, the software on the disc, the code that drives menus and whatnot, checks for the r
  • by layer3switch (783864) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:16AM (#14775405)
    Samsang DVD player doesn't have DRM.
    Tochiba flat screen TV let me watch whatever I want.
    Suny MP3 player let me listen to whatever MP3 files.

    I have no clue what Samsung, Toshiba, Sony make. Are they big companies like Samsang, Tochiba and Suny?
  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:31AM (#14776223)
    The "DRM" (Fair-Use Circumvention Kit) features the MPAA would like to see in the player are not legal everywhere, and where they are, turning them off frequently is not illegal. Further, it's a widely held belief that one day the consumer or the powers that be might realize that people are getting the proverbial shaft and ultimately take a more sensible tack that obviates (or at least, no longer mandates) the need for such measures.

    Samsung is simply building a player where the anti-consumer features can be made as consumer-friendly (or hostile) as the prevailing market conditions permit. This saves them effort of hardwiring different rules and functionality for each and every market or whenever there's been changes to local laws or customs.

    Lets face it -- a minority have the player, and there's no tangible effect on the MPAA, since professional pirates wouldn't use a player like this to make bootlegs; heck, most amateur pirates would just as well rip the DVD.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:03PM (#14777488) Homepage Journal
    You know what really annoys me? It's how these articles always lie to me because they're just parroting what the MPAA said: ...avoid encryption features that prevent unauthorized duplication... That's a bald faced lie. The Samsung players allowed users to bypass region coding, which has absolutely nothing to do with encryption or unauthorized duplication. Rather, the players allow you to play movies you bought in other countries. That's it. The MPAA has to lie about this because if they told the public what they were really mad about, they would get no sympathy at all from the public (But we want to charge more in Europe! Just because we can! Why are these pirates ruining the game for us?!?).

    It's no wonder the average person turns on them when they finally learn the truth. You can't keep lying to people and expect them to trust you.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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