The Pirates Of Critics Row

JdThe latest Hollywood anti-piracy device just arrived on film critic Carrie Rickey's desk.

A DVD player.

It's that time of the season when I start mewing around Carrie's desk, eyeing the still-in-the theater "screeners" that the movie studios send out so they can wind up on end-of-year Top 10 lists and generate Oscar buzz.

Carrie reminds me that she signs contracts, promising not to circulate the films.

Facing billions of dollars in losses a year to piracy, Hollywood has cast blame broadly, accusing critics among others of selling the "For Your Consideration" copies on Ebay or slipping them into the hands of shady characters who mass produce them.

Hollywood has a new tack for the season: The DVD of Shopgirl comes with a sticker that informs it can only be played on the SV300 Cinea DVD Player.

Which is what arrived in a slightly wet brown box this morning.

It also plays standard DVDs.

Tanya Barrientos, cynic that she is, thought fast: "Now they can sell the player AND the DVDs."

Except that the DVDs are watermarked. The DVD is probably, as well. Hell, they've probably watermarked Carrie.

Ed Ward
Posted 11/30/2005 11:02:03 AM

This is getting silly. First Sony's mega-destructive rootkit and now this. Worse: I bought a Blue Note CD by one of my heroes, Jason Moran, a few weeks ago, and apparently the copy-protection on it prevents it from being played on my portable CD player, which is what I have to use after 10 or face the wrath of my neighbors. The player refuses to recognize there's a CD in it. Ten bucks down the drain.

Posted 11/30/2005 11:16:49 AM

Cripes. Although, it's sorta what video game consoles do. You buy a game, but it's for a console, and it won't work in any other console for obvious reasons (different media usually) and for some not so obvious. Try playing a PS2 game on a computer. From a product description: "fully featured DVD players that play both regular discs and encrypted S-VIEW DVDs" It's a Dolby company. Pretty much every speaker company builds their speaker systems to be Dolby compatible, I'd think that every dvd company will build their dvd players to be S-VIEW compatible. One can only hope. It still means everyone will have to buy new DVD players though...

William Young
Posted 11/30/2005 02:03:51 PM

Of course, where software is involved, there's already some mad genius tinkering with the code to come up with a hack. Only a matter of time... Now, I wouldn't mind the copy protection so much if the movies Hollywood put out were actually worth stealing.

Posted 11/30/2005 02:24:01 PM

yes, and the encryption can't be that bad... a whole movie still fits on a dvd disk, and you figure the operations to decrypt a frame of a movie (or the whole movie) can't be that intensive, or it'll blow up the dvd player, or you'd need a couple GHz processor just to decrypt it in real time.

Posted 03/11/2006 04:53:05 PM

technology is becoming so cheap that maybe studios should try and come up with a device other than a dvd player ie a solid state device that is more traceable and easier to control.

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