Digital Life


DVD piracy warnings to increase as copyright police lose the plot

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Treating honest people like criminals is a stupid way to fight piracy.

Einstein famously said; "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results". You don't have to be Einstein to realise that the unskippable DVD piracy warnings are counterproductive. All they do is annoy people who are doing the right thing. Yet the copyright police feel that forcing us to watch even more warnings will help reduce piracy.

It's like pulling over every driver on the freeway who is observing the speed limit to lecture them about the evils of speeding, while other drivers speed past laughing. All you're actually doing is antagonising people who are doing the right thing, perhaps to the point where they'll start speeding just to avoid you. If more people start speeding, the answer is obviously to further antagonise the good drivers. 

Just in case you didn't realise that you were supposed to pay for the disc that you just paid for, the US government is adding two new unskippable piracy messages to DVDs and Blu-rays. Each will be at least 10 seconds long -- one to "educate" you and the other to "warn" you. Rather than when you first insert the disc, they'll run when you actually press play on the movie. So you'll get a 20 second lecture every time you watch a movie, even though you're a paying customer.

Of course people who pirate movies will obviously never see these warnings, but the copyright police argue the warnings are part of a "public awareness and education" campaign designed to educate people who already do the right thing. Similar warnings have been on DVDs for years but apparently they just weren't intrusive and annoying enough because people still copy movies. But I'm sure if the copyright police keep playing the warnings over and over again, they'll get a different result.