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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 leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:04AM (#14774919) Homepage
    ...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.
  • by linuxhansl (764171) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:26AM (#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.

  • Evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:38AM (#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:VCR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:51AM (#14775034)
    Easy fixed, get a macrovision removal kit... (cough) sorry, "image enhancer" from a reputable outlet and go for your life. That's how I watch DVDs on my 1950s tv (mmmmmm, woodgrain finish, cloth speaker covers, hardware I can both understand and repair). Setup: dvd->[die macrovision die box #1]->vcr (can't modulate on vhf, unfortunately)->[no really macrovision, bugger off box #2]->channel 0 modulator->tv. See, easy ;)

    Seriously, though, what exactly about the above setup makes mpaa so angry (and how does it make me a pirate, matey)? Is it the non-spectacular (but still ok) picture quality ruining their precious "masterpieces"? Is it my failure to consume a new tv in favour of something with a bit of personality? Is it the monophonic sound? Or are they just control freaks?
  • Go Samsung! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ettlz (639203) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:53AM (#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.
  • by daBass (56811) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:58AM (#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...
  • What DRM features? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:58AM (#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 @05:03AM (#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 @05:04AM (#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 frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:28AM (#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 GoMMiX (748510) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:07AM (#14775241)
    Yes, and you will not be allowed to make backups of any of those movies and the disks will be designed in such a way that they will fail after being used x amount of times.

    Ohh wait.
  • Re:Evidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:34AM (#14775458)
    When an industry sells products in foreign countries cheaper than in their home market, it is called dumping, and trade sanctions usually result. Why has this not happened to the MPAA?

    I think dumping is only when you sell a product at below cost. Since the cost physically to produce a DVD is effectively nil, they aren't dumping. They're just adding on whatever mark-up the market will bear, which is rather less in, say, Thailand than it is in Japan. Then they're using the region coding to try to prevent the cheap discs here from migrating to the rich countries here...

  • Re:VCR (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:33AM (#14775605)
    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.
  • yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:34AM (#14775607)
    The only disks it won't copy are a few recent Sony ones (and we fcking *hate* Sony right now, yes?). These generate a CRC failure on read and the first few you meet you'd probably put down to scratches on the disk.
    For those small number that don't copy (assuming you're using Windows), use DVD Decrypter and then burn the result with any CD burning program.
    Or, use DVD43 and leave it running in your systray at all times. It'll strip out this protection on the fly, allowing DVDshrink to do its thing.
  • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:50AM (#14775677)
    If waiting 2,5 minutes for a film to start seems unbearable to him, should he even be watching TV?

    Do you have any children? My 1 year old was screeeeaaaaaming at 1am a few nights ago because she was sick and had thrown up. Nothing would calm her down so we threw in a DVD with children singing songs and voila, she sniffled up a bit and looked over at the TV and started dancing with the kids on the DVD. Is that wrong to let her watch a DVD to calm her down? I don't think so. Now, thankfully my DVD changer remembers where it left off and will queue up the DVD to the same spot where it left off when you stopped it, but if it hadn't we would've had to sit through 3-4 minutes of commercials and stupid animated logos for the studio. For another example of that, watch a Baby Einstein video sometime. You have to watch all the god damn Disney crap first then the little animated logos, then you get to a menu, THEN you can play it, then you get more logos and so on. I just want to put it in and the content should start playing. I shouldn't have to violate the law to do that with a DVD I purchased.

  • Re:Come after me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by failure-man (870605) <failureman@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:51AM (#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.
  • Re:Come after me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:36AM (#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 rcs1000 (462363) * <rcs1000@gmCOMMAail.com minus punct> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:17AM (#14776113)
    If I wrote this about my "right" to run OS X on whatever hardware I liked, I'd be kicked to the ground, and then people would get "+5, insightfuls" for saying that Apple has the right to restrict how its software is run. (After all, you agreed to the EULA...)

    Presumably the logic is simple: Apple restrics rights, fine; Microsoft, the MPAA or anyone else restricts right, treason!

  • by enjahova (812395) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:42AM (#14776303) Homepage
    They could just put out a press release along the lines:

    Samsung is issuing a recall for all model HD841 because it easily allows users to strip DRM and other content control measures from DVDS. Please return your model and we will replace it with a more restrictive one.
  • Re:Uh, fast forward? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:22AM (#14776577) Homepage
    No, not all of them. A DVD author can disable your fast forward button for certain sections of video, just like he can disable your next/previous and menu buttons. That questionable part of the DVD spec is called "prohibited user operations".

    Yes, but that was intended for the mandatory copyright notice, NOT for several minutes of mandatory previews and ads.

    As usual, the media companies are grossly abusing the feature.
  • by angulion (132742) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:45AM (#14776808)
    I'm slightly more sympathetic to the movie industry, since making a movie costs considerably more and is hard to replicate (acting, scripting, filming).

    Now, on the other hand, I do not have much sympathy for the recording industry, who charges way to much. If there were natural competition the situation would likely be totally different, my suggestion would be:
    Music artists should be able to go and record their songs to more than one of the studios and the studios would need to compete *against* each other, perhaps adding something along with the CD to increase the value or just not do as well as the next studio. What's wrong with that?
    So, first change: No exclusive contracts.

    I seriously believe this would benefit both the artist and the consumer, ofcourse the studios couldn't have their ridiculous cuts/profits anymore since there would be real competition.
  • by Dare nMc (468959) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:13PM (#14777054)
    I think you are hitting on why they said "5.4 billion last year due to piracy." and not due to Copyright infringement. They consider any manner of watching a movie other than as intended as piracy, and that piracy removed a opertunity cost whos value is = to that of a sale. Becasue of the lack of a legal definition of piracy, this is valid in thier eyes.
    Since they don't care for replay TV, DVD rental, Tivo, etc, etc. they must claim all use of these devices as piracy.

    I do the same as the G.P. with tivo on pay per view, and mencoder on rental DVD's. In that I save a "portion" of the movie rental until I am done enjoying the movie. The movie studios clearly call that piracy, because you get most of the benefits of owning, without a full purchase price. I violated no law that I know of, and their is no clear copyright violation, but this failure of DRM to stop me cost them a sale opertunity ie "Piracy"
  • Benign DVD players (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alexo (9335) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:15PM (#14778568) Journal

    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.

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