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Are DVDs Software Or Films?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the dvds-are-plastic-and-metal-discs dept.

The Courts 387

NewsWatcher writes: "In Australia a court case with international ramifications will decide if DVDs are software or films. If they are designated as software, rental prices will go through the roof, if they are films their distribution cannot be limited under copyright laws. This article explains the ins and outs ." Unrelated incident -- FatRatBastard writes: "C|Net News is reporting that the new Warner Bros Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus. Note this only effects those who install the supplemental Windows software that comes on the DVD. The article claims that "The virus only affects PCs that load the disc, not DVD players" so I'm not sure if the DVD auto installs software if loaded on a Win PC, or if infection only happens if the user chooses to install the supplemental software."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508028)

Troll Wars I: first post

Let me be the first to say... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508035)

"Those bitchass no virus scanning motherfuckers"

Regards

Fo Sheezy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508037)

Fo sheezy my neezy

Is a CD music or software? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508040)

Is a tape music or software?
Is a floppy disk music or software?

The media that something resides on does not change the identity of what it is. Therefore a DVD-based movie is still a movie.

Re:Is a CD music or software? (5, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508130)

You're going about this all wrong, AC. You're applying logic to the question. Stop it. Hasn't legal precedent WRT intellectual property taught you that logic is not required or even desired when rendering decisions?

DVD's will be defined as whatever will end up making the MPAA/RIAA/Bill Gates/the Illuminati/the Stonecutters/Ted Turner the most money.

Re:Is a CD music or software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508191)

the Stonecutters

Heh, I remember that Simpsons episode.

BTW - You forgot the Trilateral Commission.

Re:Is a CD music or software? (5, Insightful)

Merk (25521) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508175)

Of course we know that. The problem is that "the Law" is not a place for "things that make sense". Consider writeable CDs. Some are dirt cheap, $1 each or so. Others are $10 or more. The difference, a few bits on the CD itself? The $10 kind are the only kind that work in consumer electronics and are designed for copying music. This makes two CDs that are physically essentially identical into two different products that are taxed and priced differently.

The problem is what to do about mixed media. A DVD that contains "pc-friendly" (ha) software is a movie with software on it. What about music CDs that have some fun "interact with the band" software goodies on them? It might be sold in a music store next to music cds, but is it "music", is it more "music" than "software"? Finally, what if one of these cds was originally intended as a mainly music item, but the software happens to be so cool that people buy it just for the software and ignore the music entirely.

Re:Is a CD music or software? (1)

shayne321 (106803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508180)

The media that something resides on does not change the identity of what it is.

Exactly.. DVD is simply a specification, Digital Versatile Disc.. Not "Digital Video Disc" as people commonly assume. A DVD can contain music, software, video, pictures and anything else that can be distributed on digital medium.

Shayne

Duh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508044)

The software on the DVD itself is software. The movie on the DVD itself is film. How hard is that?

Re:Duh... (1)

guinness_duck (231583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508128)

While that might seem obvious, since both the film and the software are distributed on the same disc it does bring up a slew of legal issues. The law has nothing to do with common sense, and everything to do with technicalities. It seems the prime thing here is that the dominant reason for the DVD's existance is to distribute a film, and not the actual software.

However if it were to be ruled that its primary content was the software, or that the softwares legal issues took presedence to the film, then it would open a lot of bad stuff dealing with distribution rights as they are no longer distributing movies, but software, therefor DVD's would be governed under the same set of laws as software. Fortunately that's Australia, and not here - though I'm sure our lovely US lawyers are smelling the blood in the water and waiting for an outcome there.

DVD is software (5, Interesting)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508267)

DVD's contain very simple programs in a virtual machine that handle a lot of the viewing control settings. If they are software however then the film industry still loses.

Under EU law I have a right to make backups of software.

Secrets of DVD (-1)

jfonseca (203760) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508045)

Oh oh! [hotelnetservice.com]

hmmm tough one (1)

snoozerdss (303165) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508049)

Thats sorta a tough one, I guess it could go either way but really? why not treat DVD as a whole new media? It would save alot of headaches.

Re:hmmm tough one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508066)

Why do you bother writing this faggoty blather? I might as well wipe shit on my monitor. It makes more sense and provides more utility than that pointless crap you wrote.

Re:hmmm tough one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508145)

I agree. I have decided upon a new name for DVDs: they will henceforth be known as Digital Versatile Discs, rather than simply Digital Video Discs (or Digital Software Discs) as they have been known in the past.

You can thank me later.

... (2, Interesting)

questionlp (58365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508051)

I personally think that the DVD Videos themselves should be considered as films/video whereas DVD-ROM only discs should be software.

As far as DVD-Video discs with DVD-ROM content should be placed in whatever group the disc was primarily made for. Like the "Powerpuff Girls" DVD should be considered "film", although it's just a short-length cartoon with some "software" data on it since it's primary purpose isn't "software" related.

Just my opinion...

Intentionally infected DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508052)

the new Warner Bros Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus. Note this only effects those who install the supplemental Windows software that comes on the DVD. The article claims that "The virus only affects PCs that load the disc, not DVD players" so I'm not sure if the DVD auto installs software if loaded on a Win PC, or if infection only happens if the user chooses to install the supplemental software

Kinda makes you wonder if the DVD publishers are intentionally putting viruses onto the discs... after all it's those damn computer users who are causing all the pirating isn't it?

Re:Intentionally infected DVDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508083)

<laerth> !firepants says C|Net News is reporting that the new Warner Bros Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus.

<armypants> C|NET GNUS IZ REP0RTIN' DAT DA GNU WARNR BR0S P0WRPUFF GIRLS DVD IZ INFECTED WIF DA FUNLUB VIRUS.

Its the Content, Stupid. (5, Funny)

TheDick (453572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508065)

If the CONTENT is a MOVIE, then it is a film. Its all bits one way or the other, but its the INTENDED USAGE of those bits that counts.


Im going home to watch Redhat 7.2 now, Don't post any spoilers.

Both (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508067)

Its like a CD. If its nothing but music, its a music CD. If it has computer (non-music) data, its software.

If its something I can use in my DVD player (attached to the TV, not computer), and get the full potential of the DVD, its a film. If there's extra stuff only my computer DVD-ROM can read, its software.

Over simplified? Probably.

Re:Both (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508094)

There is a special key on your keyboard located next to the Enter key. It makes this character: '

You need to learn where that button is, as you have no clue when to use it.

It could also be that you do not understand the difference between a contraction of it is -> it's and the posessive form of -> its. You used only the contraction form of it + is, yet you wrote the posessive form.

How can you expect to communicate effectively if you don't write intelligently?

Re:Both (1)

pmz (462998) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508134)

most people dont post to slashdot with elements of style in hand

please be more forgiving as this isnt a forum for literature just conversation

Re:Both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508283)

I'm impressed...point taken. You've heard of elements of style.

Re:Both (2, Redundant)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508096)

Most DVD's have software in them to drive the DVD player/computer display menus, etc. So even a film only DVD with no DVD addons but "special features" has a software component.

Tough call.

Workaround (1)

Alrocket (191107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508102)

Yes, simplification, which will end up with a simple workaround if the courts take that view: all that Warner has to do is include some crappy DVD player s/w with every film.

Al.

Re:Workaround (2, Insightful)

eXtro (258933) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508258)

This is already happening. When I installed a DVD drive in my linux box I browsed through a movie on DVD. One of the things included on the DVD was a copy of a Windows software DVD player. The DVD in question might have been The Iron Giant, but I'm not sure.


I don't think this should matter though, what is the primary intent of the DVDs, delivering movies or software? When Chocolate Coated Sugar Bombs includes a CD with a piece of software on it does its status as a food product end in favour of becoming a software package? Unfortunately as a number of people have pointed out, logic has no place in court, so cut and dry things are never cut and dry.

Both (2)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508136)

Actually, you made it more complicated and confusing...

Last time I checked, software is a word which generally refers to a collection of instructions which is executed on a hardware or software device.

IE, If a DVD movie includes a game you can play on your TV, it's software. If a DVD just consists of encoded pixels for a movie, it's data.

Lets not make this more complicated than it really is or redefine things which have been properly defined for the past 50 years.

BlockBuster Video (1)

Bahamuto (227466) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508070)

Well if the prices of rental DVD's go through the roof, I doubt people or for that matter rental places will go along with that. DVD's are better to navigate around and so forth and have better quality, but I wouldn't rent a movie for 20 bucks just to see it and bring it back. And doesn't BlockBuster and those such places have contract agreements with the film companies about this sort of thing to?

Linux is only free if your time is worthless

Re:BlockBuster Video (1)

nexex (256614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508117)

You could *buy* them movie for $20, the rental business would be gone overnight :)

Wholesale vs retail prices? What about videos? (5, Insightful)

Alrocket (191107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508079)

I'm wondering what the wholesale vs retail prices are for videos, is the gap as wide?

From article:

Warner simultaneously releases DVDs to the retail and rental market. They are color coded - silver for retail at
a wholesale price of $24, and blue for rental, wholesaling at $55.

When Warner threatened to sue video shops caught renting the retail-designated DVD, the association -
representing 55 per cent of Australian video shops - took the offensive. It argues that under the Copyright Act,
Warner cannot restrict the rental of DVD movies.

Re:Wholesale vs retail prices? What about videos? (5, Informative)

Blackwulf (34848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508107)

Actually, yes. I used to work at a Blockbuster Video, and it was like this.

Remember how you'd see Videos for RENTAL only? That's because the wholesale price is something insane, like $99.99. Then, after the studio believed that the rentals were sagging, they'd lower the price to $19.99 or whatever, and then Blockbuster would be able to take the rentals and "PVT" them (sell them at a used price).

If you accidentally destroyed a rented video, you had to fork over the $100 to buy it. (We had a customer who left the video on top of his car, and then he drove over it when he was returning it. Oops.)

The insane part was that there were some people that would actually pay the $100 to own the video when it came out for rentals.

Re:Wholesale vs retail prices? What about videos? (4, Insightful)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508214)

Blackwulf, if I understand your post, the movie company first sell the videos for (say) $100. Of course, hardly anyone except a video store could afford that. Then after a few months when sales fell off, they drop the price to (say) $20. This is a bit different from selling DVDS for two different prices _at the same time_.

It's not that you can't sell to different customers at different prices at the same time, but whether you should be able to get the courts to help you make sure your intended high-price customers don't go shopping in the low price section...

Re:Wholesale vs retail prices? What about videos? (1)

pmcneill (146350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508115)

Typically, AFAIK, it is, or even more so. In many cases, the studios will release a movie at rental pricing first (around $80/tape I think), then months later reduce it to around $20 -- "sell-through pricing". DVDs, to drive up adoption, have yet to adopt this model.

Film (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508081)

DVDs are film. the extra content on the disc should be considered the same as any flyers or inserts that come with the DVD. Unless the primary purpose for buying a DVD is software then it should be considered film.

Both, but Powerpuffs have a virus? (5, Funny)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508082)

Some DVDs are film only. Some are software only. Some are films with minor menu software. Some are films with game software.

It depends.

But the thing that's disturbing is that the Powerpuff Girls have a virus. It must be the work of that villain MoJo JoJo! Quick, call the mayor's secretary, she'll know what to do!

Re:Both, but Powerpuffs have a virus? (2, Funny)

zeus_tfc (222250) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508158)

I knew they had a virus, but I thought it was cooties.

Re:Both, but Powerpuffs have a virus? (4, Funny)

srvivn21 (410280) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508197)

So the DVD has a virus. Big deal. Just take it to a friend's house who has AV software and disinfect it. Duh!

&LT/humor&GT

Re:Both, but Powerpuffs have a virus? (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508254)

It must be the work of that villain MoJo JoJo!

No! It's got to be the Amoeba Boys!

But the person behind the lawsuit is obviously.... HIM!

funlove (1)

b-side.org (533194) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508087)

man, i hate funlove. it's one of those viruses that just will not go away. when you work in a distributed organization, there are dozens of ways for something to get infected. yeah, they should have scanned the final product, but it's not all that surprising that it snuck out.

Re:funlove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508132)

In standard written English, there is no such word _snuck_. The proper past tense of sneak is _sneaked_.

_Snuck_ entered the linguistic scene sometime in the 19th century as a nonstandard regional variant of _sneaked_. A large perecentage of linguists and lexicographers recommend avoiding the term as it is colloquial and non-standard in written language.

Re:funlove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508173)

From Merriam Webster:
From its earliest appearance in print in the late 19th century as a dialectal and probably uneducated form, the past and past participle snuck has risen to the status of standard

Re:funlove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508196)

Get a better dictionary. Webster makes a nice supermarket class of dictionary, but Oxford's or the American Heritage College Dictionary, the best-selling dictionary in America, will provide you with a better basis for argument.

Webster makes a decent product, don't get me wrong. But for nitty-gritty stuff, one needs something better than that which is available next to the meat department on a bookshelf.

Re:funlove (0, Offtopic)

bluGill (862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508194)

What you accidemics fail to recall is that english is driven by usage, NOT by accidemic wishes. The french (and spanish to some extent) are different, but in english speaking worlds you can use the language any way you want to.

Now if you can't get your point across because the words are not recignised that is your problem. You will look more intelligent if you use the more standard language. Accidemics can help with getting your point across better, so long as you remember they love big words (linguistic, scene, regional variant, linguists, lexicographers, colloquial, and non-standard) that don't help the clear communication cause. They do make you appear more intelligent though.

Re:funlove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508215)

No, you're confusing the Standard Written English with spoken English. The two are not at all comparable.

This is written English. You can use English words any way you wish. But if you want to suceed in the new era of testing (thanks to the Bush White House) and wish to pass the TOEFL or ACT or SAT tests, you'll need to realize that you can just say "Oh, fuck it, I ain't need be gotten educatified. I speaks good 'nuff for ma and pa and bess to understands me."

If you want to move out of the double-wide and get off Food Stamps, you need to ditch the "I can write like I speak" attitude.

Explain this to me: since when is _scene_ a big word?

Re:funlove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508293)

I dunno, tho. Anyways, I didn't really have a point, I just wanna test out the AC feature.

Windows Autorun (1)

fazil (62946) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508089)

Well, if I put this into my windows box, I'd definatly get infected. Autorun does try to Install the PC Friendly software that comes on some DVD's. You can turn Autorun off, but that's beyond most "normal" users. I personally think the company should replace all the infected dvd's.

Re:Windows Autorun (4, Informative)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508119)

The company is replacing all infected DVDs. The problem is getting word out to consumers about the recall. The problem is also moron consumers who read the headline "DVD infected with virus" and suddenly panic and flood customer support lines with concerns over what an infected DVD might do to their standalone Toshiba or Sony player.

I won't get into the problem that allows a DVD to be mastered and pressed with an virus in the supplimental software.

Aww... (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508098)

"...the new Warner Bros Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus. Note this only effects those who install the supplemental Windows software that comes on the DVD."

For once, having a Mac and not having all the DVD bells and whistles supported is a good thing ;)

Who Knew (1)

nexex (256614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508100)

Does this mean that when I buy a music cd that has "supplemental software" on it, I am really just buying a computer program in the same sense that games are a computer program that has a soundtrack in the game? Maybe this will give the RIAA an excuse to charge $50 for a cd now...Or will software makers be forced to lower their prices to $18-$13...

The plot thickens (1)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508105)

How will the powerpuff girls survive this one? Stay tuned next week to find out!

Note: The powerpuff Girls special edition antivirus dvd available soon :)

What will be really interesting... (2, Interesting)

rkischuk (463111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508110)

...is to see what happens when it's run on the XBox. I never really thought about that, but do you really want a console that is highly susceptible to virii?

Re:What will be really interesting... (1)

nexex (256614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508141)

Well, doesn't run windows ce? first they freeze all the time and now this it will be interesting indeed

Re:What will be really interesting... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508178)

_virii_, though a common term in computer circles, isn't a real word. It isn't even constructed like a real word. The root of that word is no doubt _virus_, and consulting any dictionary, or a simple knowledge of Greek and Latin based words implies something seriously wrong with that spelling. The actual plural of _virus_ is _viruses_.

I realize that you might think, "Oh, I'm being very correct and making my neato sounding word look all scholarly and shit." Well fact is, _virus_ is not like _media_ versus _medium_ or _datum_ and _data_, it's just a simple construction to get the plural.

Re:What will be really interesting... (2)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508199)

Unless the X-Box's OS is stored on the console's hard drive, it shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, I doubt that the X-Box is designed to run things like the PC-Friendly software on DVD discs.

You might be able to create something to hose the X-Box to some extent, but it would have to be specifically designed for the console and it's unlikely something like that could sneak into a DVD production master.

Re:What will be really interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508233)

XBox will only play the movie, like any DVD player. It doesn't have the software necessary to run DVD-ROM software since it depends on the media to provide an OS and library image.

Re:What will be really interesting... (1)

turd191 (531441) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508243)

The X-box is not going to susceptible to virii. Everything is hardcoded into ROM. Besides, I have not seen any anouncement that Microsoft is releasing a version of outlook for the X-box.

ROFLMAO (1, Insightful)

blazin (119416) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508114)

the new Warner Bros Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus.

Alright, who doesn't agree that this has got to be the funniest /. story EVER.

Speaking of DVD software... (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508118)

Something I've been wondering. How is the interactive part of a DVD programmed? Is there some sort of specialized Flash-style DVD language? Is there a spec for it somewhere? How is it encoded? How would you do something for your own custom DVDs?

Re:Speaking of DVD software... (4, Informative)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508166)

There is a DVD "spec" for programming and formatting special features such as menu interaction and other things, but it's an incredibly broad spec, so much so that some players can't play certain movies that use an obscure feature never in use when the player was designed.

There's also the issue of how far a "spec" can be stretched for cute or interesting effects beyond the scope intended from the original design. Ghostbusters (and some later discs) offered MST3K-style silhouettes of the people as they offered commentary on the movie by hiding it in the subtitle track -- though some players (very few) had problems playing it because of the tricks used.

I don't know about the encoding or programming or how easy it is for home use, though it apparently isn't too difficult to hack together a simple menu system considering the "features" sometimes found on bootleg DVDs.

Films definently. (3, Redundant)

HarrisonSilp (527951) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508122)

Jesus, I'm not installing my DVD am I? I'm watching it, like a VHS cassette or anything else, the only difference in this case is that VHS isn't used (to my limited knowledge of these things) as a media for storing binary data while a DVD is.

It seems from the article that the case Warner Home Video is presenting is that a DVD is computer software with a movie hidden somwhere inside, which is totally bogus.

When I go out to purchase a DVD, I'm thinking, "Wow, Fight Club is going to look awesome on my friends big screen;" not, "Wow, I can't wait to go home and enjoy my Fight Club-related software and included movie!" The mere fact that they market these as things that you *WATCH* with extra features should totally nullify their whole argument. I might be able to understand it if they called it "Interactive software, *now with a free movie!*," but they don't, because nobody wants that crap, they want a movie, if they didn't they wouldn't have purchased it. Get off your high-horse Warner and stop gouging rental outlets.

It is both, or soon it will be. (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508131)

Currently, there is just the video data on the DVDs. Now, they will start putting small amounts of software to make sure it is classified as software.

Re:It is both, or soon it will be. (1)

reidbold (55120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508167)

Any DVD flick with a menu has some software in it.

Re:It is both, or soon it will be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508246)

> Any DVD flick with a menu has some software in it.

Does it actually have menu software, or the data needed to drive the player's menu s/w?..

Re:It is both, or soon it will be. (3, Informative)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508273)

Um, dude, there already is software of the computer sort on DVDs. Has been since the early days. That's what's infected on that Powerpuff Girls DVD, in fact--the interactivity software.

The earliest DVD that I know of to have software on it as well as media was the Bubblegum Crisis 3-disc set, which included its own Shockwave DVD player so you could watch the disc on your computer even if you didn't have a player program. Then came discs like The Matrix [whatisthematrix.com] , which had an app called "PC Friendly" on them. PC Friendly, in addition to containing its own player for the DVD, would allow you to access the "special interactive features"--in the case of The Matrix, that would be things like the "I Know Kung Fu" fight scene collection, the interactive trivia game, the text articles, and of course the weblink.

These days, the helper app of choice is the Interactual Player, which is included on titles like The Mummy Returns, Star Wars Episode One (it is this software, by the way, that controls whether you can access the DVD-exclusive trailers on their website), and just about anything else that touts interactive features. (Notable exceptions including the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within DVD, which uses a Quicktime program, and the forthcoming Shrek DVD, which the Bits [thedigitalbits.com] says will be interactive without having to install anything, though it doesn't say how.) Interactual will also play the interactive content from PC Friendly-enabled discs.

You'll always know when you have a software-enabled disc--because when you put it in the drive, it'll either try to install the program, or else launch it if it's installed already--probably interfering with your DVD player software, which will also be trying to launch. For this reason, I went into the Windows registry and disabled the CD autorun function (and thanks for making it so easy for me, Microsoft! (That was sarcasm)).

Anyway, like I said, the interactivity software is what's infected on the Powerpuff DVD. If you didn't install it and have autorun off, it should be safe to play the movie content--but I wouldn't take chances anyway.

What would "Dragon's Lair" be categorized as? (1)

Blackwulf (34848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508133)

I'm sure we've all heard of the arcade game from 1982, but there is actually a DVD version that you play with your DVD remote control. It doesn't run on your computer natively (you still use your DVD software to play it). Even in the store I bought it, it was in the movie section.

But is this really a movie? Or is it software?

(Ok ok, I know the first reply would be "But do we care?")

Win-Win situation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508139)

Scenario 1: it's considered software, and rental prices go through the roof. The MPAA would freak if this happened.. people would pirate movies more than ever if this happened. MPAA gets screwed.

Scenario 2: it's considered a movie, and they are forced to remove Region Encoding... this allows a huge class-action lawsuit involving anyone who's ever bought a region restricted DVD (read everyone in the world). MPAA gets screwed.

Re:Win-Win situation (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508270)

Why would they be forced to remove Region Encoding?

RIAA's new strategy (1)

CheechBG (247105) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508140)

hehe, since viruses are one of the last non-copyrightable pieces of software left, it wouldn't be illegal under the DMCA to change the coding to, say, delete all the .MP3 and Ogg files off of a system?

heh, it's so funny, I really wouldn't put it past them anymore...

Clickthrough agreements for movies... (5, Insightful)

glassware (195317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508155)

I'm sure I'm not the first person to wonder about it, but DVDs have been getting increasingly software-like in their admonishments to users.

It used to be that a few seconds at the front of every videotape said "Copying is prohibited, etc, etc," and you'd just fast forward through it. Nowadays all my DVDs have thirty second clips of FBI warnings, and they include codes that prevent my DVD player from fast forwarding. The DVD, literally, takes precedence over what I click on my remote control.

Although we all understand the UCITA has turned into a frightful mess, it seems like there does need to be a standard set of laws for software and content. When I buy a CD, most of the time I know what I'm getting and I know how to use it. When I buy a DVD, I don't know if they've somehow inserted idiotic menus and ads that I will be forced to watch.

Of course it's software!!! (1)

sensor3 (104524) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508156)

From vinyl LP to DVD, it's all software. Even more so, if you can create it, manipulate it and read it on a computer. btw, what do you think your DVD player really is?

Higher rental prices? (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508164)

Why would rental prices go thru the roof if DVDs were found to be software rather then film?


There was a rental store near my parents house that rented computer games and they were the same as renting say a super nintendo game or whatever.

Re:Higher rental prices? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508280)

> Why would rental prices go thru the roof if DVDs were found to be software rather then film?

According to the article, the for-rental disks have *much* higher prices than the for-retail disks. A rental shop could buy the less expensive disks and rent them w/o violating anyone's EULA. Not the case if the material on the DVD is redesignated as software. Now, if you violate the EULA by renting a for-retail disk, Warner et al can sue you for violations.

The increased wholesale price of these new EULA-attached for-rental DVDs would mean rental shops would (1) have to count on being able to rent a given movie for a longer-than-current timeperiod in order to recover the higher cost of the dvd, or (2) increase the rental rate to recover that cost in the same timeperiod. They're more likely to increase the rental rate.

DMCA and FunLove (1)

chrisserwin (448761) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508165)

So, does the FunLove virus get DMCA protection like the rest of the content on the DVD? If so, would it be illegal for the virus to install itself? What if an infected computer subsequently spreads the virus to others? Hmmm... I smell a rat...

Why is this so hard? (2, Insightful)

steddyj (449015) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508168)

Is there something that I'm not understanding here?

If the DVD contains a Movie stored in a digital format, created for the primary purpose of viewing said movie, it is a FILM. NOTE: Primary purpose means that it it also includes with the movie some software such as screensavers themed to the movie, but is marketed as a video, its primary purpose is to view the movie.

If the DVD was create to store data which will install applications onto a computer or simalar device, its SOFTWARE.

Why is this so hard to understand???

Re:Why is this so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508298)

? Is there something that I'm not understanding here? ...

Yep; you and I aren't the ones who interpret the laws & get to say whether or not DVDs are s/w or film. If the judge doesn't make the right call, then it doesn't matter how sensible your arguments might be, they'd be legally wrong.

Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with FunLove (1)

burtonator (70115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508174)

Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with the FunLove virus.

OK... there is a BUNCH of good jokes here!

1. Man... I would really like to infect the Powerpuff girls with my fun love...

2. I met this powerpuff girl in the bad part of town last month. Long story short - she was infected with something and it wasn't the funlove virus :(

3. anagram... "powerlove puffgirls" or "fun girls love (to) puff" or "girls love (my) power puff"...

yada yada... you get the point .........

Re:Powerpuff Girls DVD is infected with FunLove (2, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508220)

Man... I would really like to infect the Powerpuff girls with my fun love...

Man, you need to seriously get out and meet some real (adult) women. Besides being anthropomorphic ink splotches, they're kindergartners for heaven's sake!

Nit: affect/effect (0, Troll)

SJS (1851) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508182)


Note this only effects those who install the supplemental Windows software that comes on the DVD.
Is that where those sort of people come from?

Wrong Categorization (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508183)

They're making the wrong categorization. They should be asking "is it an application, or is it content?" Everything that's not hardware is software; but some are applications (software that can be used to create content, or other software) and some is content (software that can't be used to create other content, or other software).

Of course, this means that video games are content, not software, too. But that's a much more reasonable distinction to make, anyway. After all, what is a video game but an interactive movie?

Huh? (1)

aengblom (123492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508195)

If they are designated as software, rental prices will go through the roof, if they are films their distribution cannot be limited under copyright laws Anyone else see this as highly unlikely? The idea that Hollywood will charge a higher price because of the determination of "what it is" is ludicrous. Hollywood will (and already has) place DVD prices at the rate they feel is most beneficial to them. It's called capitalism.
Yes, I'm ignorant about law, but I can't imagine any reason this wouldn't already be the case. What the customer is willing to pay is what will ultimately set the price.

Mojo Jojo Strikes Again (4, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508198)

Mojo: Hahaha! Now the powerpuff girls cannot sell their DVD because the software contained inside it is infected with the virus I infected the software contained inside the DVD with. Now the Powerpuff girls' goody-goody reputation will be tarnished because nobody would beleive that the goody-goody Powerpuff Girls would do something that would tarnish their reputation like distributing a DVD that was infected with a virus!

Blossom: Not so fast, Mojo! The DVD runs just fine under linux if you use DeCSS!

All digital media is "software" (1)

Baconator (240452) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508202)

While it's not common to see CD titles referred to as "software" in consumer-speak, it's pretty common in HI-FI parlance. I thing it's probably a UK-ism.

I mean think about it... any digital media player is basically a computer, and any media it plays is software. Trying to draw a distinction is a bit silly.

Software? i think not (0)

Fembot (442827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508203)

IF dvds were software then that would make playing them under linux even harder since (presumably) the software would only be win32 binaries. As it stands a dvd is just a video stream, and hence can be played under linux with the appropriate playback tools.

IMHO its just another excuse by the allready fat and rich movie companies to make yet more money.

It could very well be considered software... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508205)

Most DVD's do have an interface that requires programming to be executed. So in that respect, they could be considered software. The Terminator 2 DVD, for example, has a little slide show that takes you through certain elements of the movie. This requires a form of programming for the DVD player to interpret. That's not what we bought the DVD for, but it is how it works. I have a feeling it will be techincally considered software. I find that a bit offensive tho. I liked what somebody said earlier that DVD's should be ranked in a different class. These ancient umbrella terms just won't hold up to modern technology.

Recursion (-1)

jfonseca (203760) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508207)

If DVD movies allow recursive function calls then they're probably software.

Why are they considered different? (1)

DevNull Ogre (256715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508208)

Why is software treated differently than any other copyrighted work? Especially in the case of DVDs, where there is no explicit licensing (e.g., shrinkwrap licenses) involved?

It seems to me that if software has different redistribution terms than, say, a book, the legal foundation is the license under which it's distributed. If DVDs are distributed like books (and it seems to me that they are), then they should be treated under copyright law like books are, regardless of the nature of the contents.

Am I missing something?

Re:Why are they considered different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508304)

I suspect you're just missing out on something Aussicentric. Under US law, at least, I think you're right (though IANAL).

Rental prices need not "go through the roof" (5, Informative)

tmark (230091) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508217)

The presumption that forcing rental places to pay the full $55 will make rental prices go through the roof is, as presented, flawed. It assumes that the added cost of the DVDs will be such that the rental companies MUST charge significantly more to make up the difference. I expect that the cost of media is actually very small relative to the overhead of paying rent and staffing the store, so even a doubling of media price should not mean a doubling of rental prices. It assumes that rental places are forced to use the cheaper, non-rental DVDs because otherwise they would not make any money at all - i.e., that the margins on the rental business are razor sharp and depend critically on the price of the DVD. But a possibility is that these rental places are just looking to save every buck they can, and that they would still make a comfortable (albeit smaller) margin renting out $55 CDs.

Ultimately the price of rentals will NOT be determined solely by the cost of the media to the renting company. It will be determined by the market forces of supply and demand. The price will largely be determined by what price consumers are willing to pay. Given that DVDs are relatively inexpensive now (5-6 times the price of a 2-day rental in Canada), I think it is clear that the maximum price for (say) a 2-day DVD rental is clearly bounded and not much more than what those prices are now, and hence it seems unlikely DVD rental prices would ever go "through the roof".

US Ramifications as well (1)

uslinux.net (152591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508226)

I think this could have ramifications in the US as well, since software rental is illegal (at least in Virginia). Obviously, an Australian court ruling doesn't directly affect the US; however, it would give studios a big enough woody to try something like that here...

DVD movie != software (4, Insightful)

M_Talon (135587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508229)

If it was software, then it falls under the whole licensing rigamarole that most software does. However, they use the same type of legal warnings that VHS movies use. Plus, it's basically the same content. Yeah, it's got some flashy menus and such, but as many have said before if you classify this as software then CDs become software too. The content's the same, it's the media it's on that's different.

This is YADL (yet another dumb lawsuit) perpetrated by a company who wants to improve its bottom line. Should be interesting to see if the Aussies have more sense in their digital media policies than we do. It sickens me when a company tries to muck with laws in the digital era just because the lawmakers are ignorant about new technology. "Oh, it's the same movie, just on a different media, but let's call it software so we can charge more". Disgusting.

the real impact (if any) (5, Insightful)

uqbar (102695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508237)

I don't think consumers need to fear this one much. While either film distributors or video stores will see their margins affected, it all balances out in the end.

Should the courts decide that DVDs *are* films, we'll probably just see more DVD's come out in an expensive version targeted at video stores a few weeks before the consumer market priced DVD's come out. Motivated video stores will get the releases early on (most have special agreements with the film distributors already anyhow). Those stores that wait will not see as many rentals since demand is highest at initial release, but they will save one the cost of the DVD.

Ok...Ok (2)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508252)

If you have been watching PowerPuff Girls videos on your server...please go to the front of the line. That goes beyong geekdom....into a whole new realm.

Results of winning this kind of battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508257)

The results of this battle already exist, what happened to VHS. Movies on VHS are released for rental use many months before being available to purchase, typically. These rental purpose copies are often over a hundred dollars. So, in the end, DVDs when first released will cost over a hundred dollars so that renters can make money before the DVD is released to the public at it's normal cost.

Wrong Definition (1)

sh0rtie (455432) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508260)

Surely a "Film" is a thin sheet or strip of flexible material, such as a cellulose derivative or a thermoplastic resin, coated with a photosensitive emulsion and used to make photographic negatives or transparencies.

wouldnt the correct terminology be a "motion picture" or "movie" be more appropriate as the definition of a Film implies its of a analogous nature as apposed to DVD's digital one,

personally i think its software as it needs an operating system in order to decode the digital "code" and its certainly is not hardware

Perhaps I'm confused... (1)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508261)


Isn't the data stored on a DVD a massive collection of bits? Wouldn't that mean it's software?


Even if you don't consider the movie software, there's no way you can convince me that the menus aren't...

virus == terrorism (4, Funny)

zentigger (203922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508268)

wouldn't this mean that Warner Bros is guilty of terrorism under the new patriot act? If so wouldn't that mean that the US military should head in and start bombing the snot out of them?

Hey, Folks, the Aussies Have Different Laws! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508277)

This is about how the Aussies categorize their products (and, I would guess from the story, there's some price control laws in effect), not Hollywood.

Real simple: if they change the prices, just rent tapes.

Implications in the UK (2, Insightful)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508284)


Funnily enough the Campaign for Digital Rights was having a discussion about whether CDs can be treated as software(http://uk.eurorights.org/lists/ukcdr/2001 -October/000872.html)

This has large implications for backing music up and/or created mp3s as software is treated very differently to music under UK law, such ""Back up copies.

50A.=97(1) It is not an infringement of copyright for a lawful user of a copy of a computer program to make any back up copy of it which it is necessary for him to have for the purposes of his lawful use.

So it's nice to see Warner Home video arguing our case.

I guess this doesn't count? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2508286)

So I guess the virus on the disc woulnd't count as an Easter Egg ;)
http://www.dvdeastereggs.com [dvdeastereggs.com]

Neither (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2508305)

DVDs are hardware. The content on DVDs can either be software or film. That's up to whoever made the DVD.

An MPEG file isn't software. An EXE isn't film (although it could contain a film). I don't see the problem in making the determination.
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