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DVD: Degradable Versatile...

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the bit-rot dept.

Movies 246

jomaree writes "The SMH online reports that some DVDs are starting to corrode or "rot". Although somewhere between 1 and 10 per cent of DVDs are affected, it seems the distributors don't want to know. One list of affected movie titles reveals what might be a sinister pattern emerging: "One DVD website lists 18 titles known to have at least one bad batch, among them Planet of the Apes (1968), Men in Black: Collectors Edition, Independence Day and the Alien Legacy box set." Or maybe the person compiling the list only buys sci-fi movies."

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frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202693)


Re:frist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202704)

villman is a faggot! ip68-105-176-103

Quick! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202694)

Sell your collection on Ebay before they become worthless!

Good for distributors. (3, Funny)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202698)

After all, isn't making a backup somewhat illegal under the DMCA??

Man...I can't wait for another round of forced upgrades...or replacements in this case!

Woohoo! I'm glad to be a consumer!!

Re:Good for distributors. (2, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202736)

I'm glad that I disregard the law and make backups anyway. I have countless cd's that I would have had to replace if not for backups to my hdd and now that I've ripped my dvd collection I'm sure it'll save me a lot of bucks on replacements also. Keep my disks duplicated so that a hdd dying won't harm things and I'm pretty much set. Just keep adding/replacing hdd's as needed.

I've considered opening a movie rental store. If otherwise good discs suffered this kind of problem I'd be tempted just to burn off a new copy and keep the original as proof of ownership. I'd like to see them take me to court for that. They couldn't do it without publizing that their discs were rotting.

Re:Good for distributors. (2, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202995)

I'm glad that I disregard the law and make backups anyway.

Bad Law fosters Civil Disobedience.

Re:Good for distributors. (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202953)

Too bad it's illegal to make backups.
What with the release of the KiSS DP-450 DVD player, which can play DivX 4&5, the backing up of DVD's would have been such a simple thing...

Bad DVD player! (1, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202700)

Or maybe the person compiling the list only buys sci-fi movies.

Yeah, or maybe his DVD player is knackered, and it's damaging all his disks...

Or maybe you didn't catch the "sci-fi fanatic" bit (1)

westyx (95706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202706)

.. in the original story. course, i'm sure the editor read the link 'n all. *cough*

Re:Bad DVD player! (2, Informative)

Spellbinder (615834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202722)

no this problems are known...
it is not just his dvd player

This has happened to me (5, Informative)

krin (519611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202701)

I had a DVD that was released in 2000 start to lose quality, also I noticed that the layers seemed to be seperating. I take good care of all my cds and dvds, so I knew it was no fault of mine. I contacted the company who pressed the dvd and they offered to send me a replacement as long as I sent in the original.

Familiar? (3, Interesting)

Adolatra (557735) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202702)

Not to rain on the MPAA Conpiracy parade I'm sure we'll see from the usual suspects in a bit, but wasn't there a similar problem with early CDs?

Or could this be "planned obsolescence," i.e., Sony's PlayStation2 hardware problems? (The PS2 breaks more often than the GC and XB combined, and usually Sony wants $100 just to look at it)

Re:Familiar? (1)

kd5ujz (640580) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202839)

could this be that there are more ps2s in circulation?

Re:Familiar? (1)

SonicRED (15265) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202956)

No, they break if you look at them wrong.

I've had to replace mine once already.

Re:Familiar? (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202972)

Well mine was only in circulation for about 3 minutes. I pre-ordered it, and was in the first group to receive mine in the UK. Got home and plugged it in, and the DVD drive was broken. Upon return to the shop I was told there were zero spare units, so I'd have to go back on a queue again. I just got a refund, and I've never bothered buying another...

Re:Familiar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202980)

that sux d00d u r missing out lol

Re:Familiar? (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202993)

CAPCOM has made this point about Sony a few times. Seems it's actually a known habit at Sony, but their official take on it is "Game Systems only live a few years anyway."

So, if your PS1 broke, buy a PS2. If you are unlucky and your PS2 breaks before the PS3 is out, you'll just have to buy a new one or wait till you can upgrade.

I know someone who has owned 6 Playstations, 4 original, and 2 PS2s. My PS2 is now making funny noises. :(

Re:Familiar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203033)

I might just be lucky, but I've never had a console or other consumer electronic simply fail during normal use. Are you sure you're not using your PS2 to tenderize meat or something? (and if you are, have you found a way to stop the expansion bay cover from coming off in the process?) TIA.

conspiracy theorists (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202703)

conspiracy theorists... start your engines!

Say it with me now... (3, Insightful)

sn0wcrash (223995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202710)

Planned obsolescence. Companies know that as long as a consumer has somethign that works they are inclined to keep using it. They can't make money selling you one product once. The whole goal of these companies is to have you buy thier product again and again. Why do you think so few quality products are available today?

Re:Say it with me now... (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202732)

I don't necessarily agree.

If a company puts out low quality crap, is the consumer going to purchase something else from them? With so much competition out there for most electronics, it doesn't really make much sense.

As for a product made only by one manufacturer, perhaps this could be true.. I just don't think this is the driving force behind flimsy products.

Seems that to me the reason we see low quality stuff is because it generally means they can make it for a lot less money and sell it for a lot less money. People like to buy things that are inexpensive, even if they know it's not top-grade stuff. /shrug

Re:Say it with me now... (1)

sn0wcrash (223995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202753)

I think that the desire for cheaper products just happens to be a blessing for the companies in this respect. They want you to buy crap so you will buy it again. Most consumers only want cheap. So your left with a large void for those that truly desire quality. If you seek quality and want somethign that lasts... your less likely to find it.

Still, when it comes down to it, are the profit margines so small that they can't be profitable selling for the same price with even a little more quality? I'm willing to bet that even 1 or 2 dollars extra spent in the construction of many consumer electronics would make a drastic diffrenc ein overall quality. So many things nwo are lowest quality. Simple things that could make a product better for pennies will be passed up. There's creating a product cheap enough to sell easily.. then there is maximizing profits for the sake of the CEO's pcokets.

Re:Say it with me now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202857)

make a drastic diffrenc ein overall quality
He's a Nazi commie!

Burn him BURN HIM!!

Re:Say it with me now... (5, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202858)

sn0wcrash - you must have some experience to see this.

I guess I was in my mid 30's when I started really noticing how much work it was to have to re-do things that I had done poorly the first time. I think the catch phrase went something like " If you can't find the time to do it right, you will make the time to do it over.".

I have lived through galvanized pipe - I will never have it again. Do you know how much work it is to have to strip the plumbing infrastructure from a house to re-do it? I do. Copper went back in. I soldered it personally. Never again will I have anything to do with galvanized pipe where I can't get to it.

I moved from another house because I discovered it had aluminum wiring.

There are some things I have learned to very highly value, and thats the elegance of things made right. I have a toaster, made by Sunbeam Electric Company, that was given to my parents as a wedding gift. I am no spring chicken either, but I still use that toaster every morning. ( Well, maybe that's why Sunbeam is out of business, they never sold me another one? ), but I really like that toaster. I have one of the very first microwave ovens ever built. It was a prototype, or at least that was what was stamped on its innards. It still works.

When I took my first job in a major oil refinery, I participated in, a huge effort to put all our plant drawings into a CAD system, then powered with DEC computers. I watched as the company then abandoned the computers, going to another system - but the data files were incompatible, so they had to do it all over. What a waste!!! I learned by observation how much effort could have been saved if there had been such a thing as a standard data file. I learned the value of things like simple ascii files and comma-delimited-format database files.

Technology will change. Most of the time, its been for the better, but many of the "improvements" to me are of dubious real value. Is a 1GHz Pentium laptop, which goes through batteries at an astronomical pace really any better than that old Radio Shach model 100 computer which used to get hundreds of hours on a set of penlight cells, albeit it only had a simple text LCD screen? I have a little 386SX laptop I like because it gets around 40 hours on its battery if I use the backlight sparingly. The screen is a little crude for graphics, and admittedly its a bit slow if its a graphics intensive program, such as font mapping under Win 3.1.. but if I am doing text stuff, I drop to DOS anyway because the machine is hundreds of times faster than I am when its using its hardware mapped character generator. But I can have the machine on from the time I leave the house, through the airport, on the plane, through the taxi trip, onto the hotel, and still have the battery running. Maybe Ashton-Tate 1-2-3 is a little dated, but it works. Same with MathCad. And the Futurenet electronic schematic editor. And the Spice analyzer. And the PCB Layout program. And my Borland C++ compiler. And the file sizes are small. And the files were simpler then. Most of the time, even if something does happen, I can usually open the files with a hexadecimal editor and see what the problem is.

I have really learned the value of trying to do things right the first time so you do not *have* to do it over ( usually at the most inconvient of times ). I like having the option of replacing something when *I* feel its warranted, not when someone else gets it into their head they want to commandeer me to do so.

I have worked with enough businesses now that I can see the smart ones do this too. You will see the smart ones configuring things so they get their system in place, then start using that system to make money... not so smart businesses never get their system working, as parts of it are constantly failing and needing to be replaced... kinda like that guy who never figured out what kind of plumbing would run till the proverbial cows come home, and which one would necessitate a constant stream of work to keep it running. Yes, I know one has to know how to solder to install copper, but in the long term, doing it right the first time leaves you free to spend your remaining time doing what was really important, now that your infrastructure is stable.

The best example I can think of for GOOD ENGINEERING is the old Romans. They built roads and water aqueducts which are even in use today. Its not like *everything* needs to last an eternity, but I consider it a really good investment if one designs the Important Stuff to last the proverbial eternity. That way its there until *you* decide to change it.

Consumer goods == planned obsolescence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202913)

Consumer (cheap) goods are supposed to break so that you have to replace them. That is how consumer businesses stay in business. On the other hand, the Roman public works (or any public works) are not created with the intention of selling you another identical one next year. These things cost huge amounts of money, and are usually key to the municipality being served. Well, you CAN get crappy infrastructure projects is the purchaser is unwilling to pay the going rate, by requesting only enough infrastructure to cover *immediate needs* with no excess reserved for greater future demands to be placed on the finished work.

In short, cheap price == crappy toy that breaks. Huge price == ... well, you hope better. Expensive consumer goods are still *mostly* crap, though.


Re:Say it with me now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203036)

But I can have the machine on from the time I leave the house, through the airport, on the plane, through the taxi trip, onto the hotel, and still have the battery running.

And you are still alive?

(Very good post btw)

Spoilers (1, Funny)

nukey56 (455639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202711)

Just thought I'd point this out

Re:Spoilers (1)

nukey56 (455639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202717)

Yea ok I'm an idiot who clicked on the wrong article. Just ignore me.

Re:Spoilers (1, Funny)

hdparm (575302) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202810)

What's your moderation like when you click the right one?

But, they will protect us, won't they? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202714)

When one copy of your favorite movie/album/game starts to rot, it is your duty to pay for a new one. Fair use is just another term for "piracy", so don't even THINK about backing up (stealing) the media you are graciously allowed to license.

And when it's no longer manufactured, it's no longer worth OWNING. You never really owned it anyways.

Thanks for your time,

The invisible rich man who has your best interests in mind

A Near Disaster (4, Funny)

felonious (636719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202715)

For a minute there I thought that it might affect the porn titles but luckily it didn't happen. I think we could have been looking at riots and possibly martial law.

You can steal my car, rob my mom, and beat my brother but DON'T FUCK WITH MY PORN!

Re:A Near Disaster (2, Funny)

ATAMAH (578546) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202789)

Actualy porn DVDs ARE the ones that are affected.
the "rotting" effect observed is just what "overuse" got mistaken for.

Re:A Near Disaster (1)

Ari Rahikkala (608969) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202856)

You can fuck all you want in my porn, though.

Re:A Near Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202954)

Interesting choice of words. I think we will leave the FUCKING WITH YOUR PORN to you.

Independence Day?? (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202719)

Or maybe the person compiling the list only buys sci-fi movies.

Or maybe this only happens to bad sci-fi movies.

Re:Independence Day?? (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202970)

pls to check your post before to submit kthx!

Michael, you deserve a break, man! (1, Interesting)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202721)

Christ, you've posted every single story that's on the front page right now. You've been incessantly surfing through the queue submissions since 1pm yesterday.

Take a break man -- you deserve it! ;-)

* [] -- Latest article: "Tablet PCs As Mobile *nix Workstations"

Conspiracy (4, Insightful)

cheshiremackat (618044) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202723)

Ok NOT Trolling;
But I find it oddly convenient that I am not legally able to dupe my DVD collection, and THEN magically they start to break... total boon to the studios and MPAA!

Although, in an odd way this could be the YRO savior... think of it... this is a perfect reason to extend 'fair use' rights to digital media... DVDs break...computers crash, all necessitating backups... with DVDs rotting, it becomes alot harder for the RI/MPAA to argue against allowing 'perfect digital' duplicates...

Mr. Valenti, I now have a perfectly valid and (IANAL but seems) legal reason to dupe my DVDs. I would love to see someone go to court and sue because the product was faulty and they are not legally able to make copies, and the studio wont replace it because the DVD is out of the 90 day warranty period... this could be very interesting!



Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202758)

the above is not a troll... mod parent up

does this affect DVD-ROMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202730)

see subject

That's what you get when you buy a DVD... (1)

Dolemite_the_Wiz (618862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202731) Wal-Mart for Under 10 Dollars.


Try reading the story (2, Informative)

westyx (95706) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202783)

There are no walmarts in .au.

*bzzzzt* Thankyou for playing. Please come again.

Re:That's what you get when you buy a DVD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202804)

man i wish you were standing in front of me

so i could smash your face.


RPN Example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202733)

(5 * 6 + 9) / ( 5* (3-9) )=

18 keystrokes, vs

5 Enter 6 * 9 + 3 Enter 9 - 5 * /

13 keystrokes.

Eat that, TI borgs!

Re:RPN Example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202867)

I only count 15 for the TI version

5*6+9/(5*(3-9))= is the same and what I would do

PS Is using a assbackward polack system why you finished your test in 3 hours and I only took 1?

Re:RPN Example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202921)

You will, after about a week of practice, be a good deal faster with the RPN calc. In college I resisted buying an RPN for 1-1/2 years until I could no longer because the RPN guys were actually finishing the test with time to spare, unlike me and my algebraic calc.

Don't ridicule that which you don't know.


Good (5, Insightful)

kscd (414074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202737)

As much as this sucks for the people currently affected, I can't help but think of this as a good thing overall. It's only when Joe Schmoe starts to feel the fact that his fair use rights have been taken away by the DMCA that there will be enough outcry to repeal it.

Linux, isn't sexy. This, however, is the stuff those stupid segmants on the 10 o'clock news are made of.

Independence Day did it for me (3, Interesting)

C_To (628122) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202738)

After 10 months of owning the Collectors Edition of this movie, I was annoyed to find that it, in fact was unplayable at all. After closer inspection, it looked like the center of the first disc had been cracked in several places, while other DVD discs that I have played (for longer periods too) have stayed in perfect shape. I never noticed this because, until they are being viewed, my movies stay in their respective containers. This is the primary reason why I often resort to DivX and shifting formats of video. Other movies, I find, are very sensitive to layer changes, and once again, when I play back a DivX copy off a CD, I don't experience such problems (except the lack of extra features I probably won't use).

Re:Independence Day did it for me (0)

Boltronics (180064) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203063)

I have a largeish DVD collection - about 55 movies. I've always taken great care in looking after all discs. I've only had one fail to the point where the movie is totally unwatachable - Independence Day, but I just brought the Aliens Box Set a month ago so it could be worse soon. :(

When I first watched ID4, it worked perfectly. Months later, I went to watch it again only to find it was totally unplayable (past the main menu) under any of my 4 DVD players! It had never been used in the meantime! I couldn't explain it.

Guess who's not going to be buying another movie DVD?

Original site - karma whore (4, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202740)

This site [] appears to be the original source. This guy puts his bad DVDs under a high powered microscope and documents the damage.

Re:Original site - karma whore (3, Informative)

westyx (95706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202767)

Please don't spank that server too hard - i know the person involved (friend of a friend) and they only have a 6 gig limit for the month.

Re:Original site - karma whore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203020)

This guy puts his bad DVDs under a high powered microscope and documents the damage.

Cool. So how much damage does a high powered microscope do?

I have to buy another copy of "The White Album" .. (2, Funny)

Kong the Medium (232629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202751)

Wasn't it in "Men in Black" when Mr.Agent K shows a little silvery disc and says something like: This little thing will substitute the CD in the next years. SH**, so i havce to buy "The White Album" again. Maybe this is a similiar plan?

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202756)

I'm going to have to keep recollecting my collector's editions!

Possible DMCA killer? (3, Insightful)

surprise_audit (575743) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202757)

Could this lead to the DMCA being overturned? No, I'm serious - all of us here know that the DMCA prohibits us from making backups of DVDs due to having to break the CSS, but Joe Sixpack is less aware of this issue.

If it became commonly known that not only do DVDs degrade, but also you can't legally copy them to preserve the content that you already paid for, maybe there'll be enough disgruntled people writing to their Congresscritters that the DMCA will get a serious review.

That won't help Joe Sixpack until legally licensed DVD-copying shops start to appear, but until then us geeks might be able to legally help out our buddies...

Re:Possible DMCA killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202955)

Fat chance bucko.

Also, say Joe Sixpack more, it's really creative and not annoying or retarded at all.

bit-rot is somewhat contained.. (0)

JW Troll (607432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202763)

Hmmm... problem is *not* with the data itself.. I've examined my extensive DivX "backup" collection, they all seem to be fine. What gives?

My theory is that Divx compression somehow protects the data from potential ruination. I guess this means that (Kazaa/gnutella client/IRC/whatever) is basically taking on the role of "backup medium" now, instead of "piratical menace."

The most degraded DVD of them all (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202765)

Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers (bootleg)

dvd rot (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5202777)

Yes I saw this with CD's back in 1998. I saw cd's rot away from the inside. And I have always said dvds would suffer the same fate.

Let's hear it for DivX :-] (2, Interesting)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5202782)

Yeah, it's supposedly illegal, but why not archive your DVD's as DivX movies? Potential DVD damage seems like a pretty stinkin' good reason to me.

DivX quality is pretty good, it's playable under linux (I like Mplayer, myself), and you don't have to worry about your DVDs getting scratched/broken/lost/stolen when they get handled.

Nothing like having your entire DVD collection available on every computer in the house, served straight from your file server.

Re:Let's hear it for DivX :-] (2, Insightful)

ender81b (520454) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202932)

There are a couple of reasons why I haven't yet ripped my DVD's.

For one it takes along time. I used to not think I would need a new computer but with my pIII 850 it takes a *long* time (like 8-9 hours) to rip and encode a single DVD, and my roommates p4 2.53ghz it still takes 3 hours to rip/encode a single DVD.

Also, I have yet to really decide what to rip them to. I could rip em bit for bit but that takes up too much space. Encoding them in any codec just means I will probably have to re-encode them in a few years once that becomes obsolete.
Also, even though Divx is pretty good you can still tell a major difference in picture quality (especially if the DVD is like 720p originally).

I don't know. I imagine if/when I get a DVD burner I might just burn backup copies, that is probably the way to go.

Plastic? Degrade? (5, Funny)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202785)

Okay, so this is the stuff that if you throw it in the landfill it'll be around for a million years (give or take), but if you make a disc out of it it'll decompose in two years. Pretty uncooperative of it, if you ask me.

Well, personally I don't worry about DVDs degrading. I just rip them to my hard drive, bit for bit, minus copy protection (so come arrest me, why doncha). Takes up a lot of space, but what the's cheaper than buying them, especially twice!

Re:Plastic? Degrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202966)

Plastics do degrade, most likely this is due to molds or fungi that somehow got into the plastic during the manufacturing process. They eat the plastic from the inside out. Of course it could be a conspiracy. The perfect plan for manufacturers to insure repeat business.

It has to be a DMCA Alien Government Cover-Up (4, Funny)

dWhisper (318846) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202795)


All of the titles are associated with aliens in some way? Coincidence? I think not.

Using the best fuzzy logic that caffeene and sleep-deprivation can provide, I can prove this fact.

The DMCA is evil, and has long conspired against anyone actually enjoying their information. It's also meant to make more money, and since people will have to purchase the "non-defective" discs, or more than likely pay twice the DVD cost in handling costs for a replacement, it makes them more money. The MPAA/RIAA is the main driving force behind the the DMCA.

The government has supposedly been covering up the existance of aliens for decades, and usually does everything they can to make it fictional. They tend to distroy anything with truth in it.

The government passed the DMCA, and it prevents these Discs from being copied.

The movies are all about aliens, and the government hides things about aliens.

Therefore, the people at the RIAA/MPAA who back up the DMCA must be aliens.

And that makes aliens evil.

[End Sarcasam]

Re:It has to be a DMCA Alien Government Cover-Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202988)

You Americans don't get sarcasm now, either????

IANAC (I am not a chemist) (3, Informative)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202805)

but I do know that CD's and DVD's are both the same in that the are physically constructed of several layers.

Each layer consists of various polymers, and although sealed polymers are susceptible to degrading. Even though they are realtively robust compared to say, videotape, the weakest part of a CD or DVD is the side where information is made available to the reading device.

Polymers can react with moisture or UV light, and once that reaction starts (this is where a *real* chemist should start to add some meat to this discussion) it throws off by products that cause further degradation.

CDs and DVD's do ship with a protective layer that is intended to shield the delicate, information carrying sublayers but once damaged (i.e., scratched), the degradation process can begin.

Apparently if you store them properly - low humidty and at about 8 to 10 C, even damaged CD's and DVD' s will remain stable indefinitely.

Re:IANAC (I am not a chemist) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202964)

Yeah I keep all my discs in the fridge :P

Re:IANAC (I am not a chemist) (2, Informative)

Bob.Kerns (520326) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203041)

I'm not a chemist either, but I remember enough from my metalurgy class at MIT to add something here -- plus I have practical experience with both polymers and metals in adverse circumstances: boats.

What you say is true, but misses the real issue: Polymers are generally *relatively* stable, compared to most things. And right next to the polymer is something which is decidedly NOT stable!

Have you heard of thermite? The thermite reaction involves the oxidation of aluminum, and aluminum is VERY hungry. It will actually steal oxygen from from iron oxide (rust) under the right circumstances -- and release a lot of heat in the process. (But aluminum oxide is more voluminous and stronger than aluminum, and quickly seals off exposed aluminum behind a thin layer of oxide. That's why your beer can isn't on fire inside your fridge.

But exposed aluminum is very reactive. Freshly-machined shavings of aluminum can catch fire.

It's the aluminum that's reacting. What is it reacting with? Several possibilities that I see:
1) Impurities in the polymer.
2) Impurities in the alumnimum deposition.
3) Impurities in the adhesive.
4) Impurities migrating through the polymer.
5) Impurities migrating in from the edge via the adhesive and/or the metal layer itself.

It could be a combination:

Dissimilar metals in contact set up a battery, if anything is available to complete the circuit. For example, put a brass screw into salt water, and before you know it, all the zinc will disolve and the screw will crumble into copper dust. Either metal by itself will do just fine in salt water -- so long as they're not touching.

Impurities in the aluminum might be stable unless they get, e.g. moisture migration along the adhesive from the outside edge.

Impurities could be in the polymer, or generated from degradation of same, but that wouldn't explain the observed failure pattern, so I think we can tentatively rule those out as contributing factors.

From this, what you say about storing them under low humidity and temperature makes sense -- but I bet this only comes from theory. It would take a LOT of CD's and a LOT of time, and a LOT of work to reach this conclusion validly through statistical observation.

Could it be related to this? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202809) enu=news.quirkies

CD-eating fungus discovered

A Spanish scientist has discovered a fungus which eats CDs.

Geologist Victor Cardenes says he stumbled across the microscopic creature while visiting Belize.

The discovery came after friends complained that one of their CDs had developed an odd discoloration that left parts of it virtually transparent.

Using an electron microscope, Cardenes and colleagues at the Madrid-based Superior Council for Scientific Research later observed that fungi had burrowed into the CD from the outer edge.

It had then devoured the thin aluminium reflecting layer and some of the data-storing polycarbonate resin.

Cardenes said: "If you look at the CD from the shiny side, in the places where the fungus has been you can see all the way through to the painted surface on the other side.

"It completely destroys the aluminium. It leaves nothing behind."

Biologists at the council concluded that the fungus belonged to a common genus called Geotrichum but had never seen this particular species before.

They add that, fortunately for Europeans, the fungus only survives in the sultry weather conditions that prevail in Belize.

Story filed: 16:53 Friday 15th June 2001

Re:Could it be related to this? (2, Funny)

Accipiter (8228) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202843)

Geologist Victor Cardenes says he stumbled across the microscopic creature while visiting Belize.

I read that, and pictured a scene similar to the following.

Man steps off a plane, enters an airport terminal.

"Ahh, Belize! I cannot WAIT to get to..." *trip* (Man trips over something invisible while walking through the terminal)

"My, word! What's this? I say, it appears to be a microscopic organism that feeds on compact discs!"

That's strange, this article didn't start out as funny, but I'm laughing. heh.

Also reported elsewhere in Africa (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203068)

I'm in Nigeria at the moment, and people I work with have had CDs ruined by some sort of fungus that gets inside the disk.

It can be avoided, so they say, by keeping the disks cool and dry. One risk is taking disks out of an air conditioned building into the hot, humid air outside. Water condenses onto the disks and gives the fungus a hospitable habitat in which to grow.

If it is common in Africa, it's probably only a matter of time before it moves to other hot, humid countries. South America and Asia spring immediately to mind.

And who knows what will happen as global warming continues to have an effect.

Old refrain (1)

Macsimus (245076) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202818)

IIRC, there seemed to be some question back when DVDs were introduced ('96? '97?) whether the discs would suffer the same fate as laserdiscs. It was thought that the materials used and the assembly process would prevent DVDs from getting laser rot. Apparently that's not the case.

The site with the 18 titles... (2, Informative)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202822)

I think I've found the site that shows the list of "rotting" DVD titles mentioned in the article: []

I'm surprised Titan A.E. isn't on the list. Both I and a friend of mine own this DVD, and we've both had our copies degrade to be nearly unplayable. Mine has spent its entire life in a 200-disc carousel, where none of the other discs have had any problems.

CD's did that too (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202838)

We heard the same thing twenty years ago about CD's.

Get used to it... (5, Interesting)

Rxke (644923) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202871)

Studying for a masters degree in conservation and restauration of visual media, we've just hit the subject of digital conservation. guess what... 'It is recommended to make backups of DVD's every FIVE years, since the format cannot be considered stable for more than 10 years, even in ideal storage conditions' the cracking of the plastic layer is inherent to the prodduction proces, figure that! Seems that the alu/plastic bonds cause excessive strans because they have different expansion characteristics, so everytime they get a bit hotter/colder, the risk of cracking occurs. furthermore, some plants use 'glues' that affect the alu layer, so it starts corroding. kinda depressing all that...

Storage Medium for the Really Long Haul? (2, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202905)

Is there anything in the works for use as a true archival media? I'm talking something with a shelf life of hundreds of years, or is that just sci-fi right now?

On a kinda related notion, I remember reading an article in Analog sci-fi (maybe) about how you would leave a message for people 20-30,000 years from now. Such as to mark a storage site for nuclear waste. Not easy...

Safe to say your DVD collection would be dust.

Re:Storage Medium for the Really Long Haul? (4, Interesting)

Rxke (644923) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202931)

Hope you love spy movies... The best system for longer-lived archivation (and excuse me my Engrish, i'm from Belgium...) is actually something we all know from those russian mumbling, raincoat-wearing types: MICROFILM! Yeah, iknow...sounds funny, but seriously: a lot of musea et;c. are switching back to this old and trusted archival system. It's tried and tested, the information density is not that bad (compared to parchment, anyway,) storage, copying and retrieval is kinda straightforward, and thus relatively cheap, in comparison to digital storage, where you have not only to update your disks, tapes, what have you, but also your computers, readers,... at a very high pace (say ten years) Microfilms are guaranteed reliable for over 100 years, and can be combined with ocr (if you want to swap computers every ten years (sigh) Ok, it's far from ideal, and admittedly super-bulky, compared with DVD's and the like, but for valuable data, convenience has to make way for reliability.

Re:Storage Medium for the Really Long Haul? (1)

RogueScientist (575110) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203066)

You may wat to look at and as I understand it IBM was developing a system for accessing digital information that accessed data stored on silicon wafers. Granted at high storage densities, you need a electron microscope to read it, but it would archive well past humn life times.

vacuum seal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202888)

your dvd's and then freeze them, it's the only way to be sure

Ever notice how (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202892)

the hub-rings in the DVD cases are brutally tight, much tighter than on CD cases? Perhaps, as we remove them from the case, the flex of the disc causes microfractures. But, it doesn't explain the guy who left the disc in the carousel, nor does it explain why only layer two cracks. Differential thermal expansion? I can remember from way back when (I bought one of the first CD players to market) CD's started having pinholes in them, and also became see-through (aka cheap manufacturing). And the price of CD's has only gone UP, when the record companies promised that they'd go DOWN. BTW, aren't CD's and DVD's vacuum deposited?

I can't blame Independence Day from degrading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202895)

that movie was degrading!

I was afraid of this. (3, Insightful)

ComputarMastar (570258) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202906)

I haven't run into this problem myself (yet), but some of the DVDs I have are in cases that require you to BEND THE DISC to get it out. What a horrible design!

recycling (1)

superspoon (644792) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202915)

this brings a whole new meaning to the hardcore recycling story

hum. (1)

herrd0kt0r (585718) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202918)

"Symptoms of the rot include picture break-up and freezing at a specific place on the disk. The main cause is believed to be poorly designed cases. Delamination shows up as a coffee-like stain that prevents the disc from playing."

you know, picture break-up could be caused by scratches and puup on the dvd, and the freezing in a specific place could be attributed to the delay in switching layers during playback.

i've seen funky "stains" on CDs and DVDs, but haven't had problems with playback. i'm not saying that dvd rot doesn't happen, just that there are other reasons for playback problems.

Don't forget to make your backup! (1)

pacc (163090) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202925)

Otherwise you might not be able to view your film collection 30 years from now...

Noooo! Not Alien Legacy box set! (1)

zonix (592337) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202928)

Ok that's it, now I *am* getting the new Alien Quadrilogy [] box this year.

Anyway, if this is true, then I guess we'll have to watch out for our Columbia/Tristar releases - they had a some track record with laser rot on the LaserDisc format.


Perhaps this happened to me. (2, Insightful)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202939)

I own a DVD of Gladiator (with Russel Crowe). There isn't a single scratch on the disc, but now when I put it in the player, it can't get beyond the menu (even on the computer). I'm not sure why these companies can't have a return policy since they're so cheap to make (ie, they tell you to send some type of SASE) but I suppose it's the whole thing about getting people to buy the same movie over and over again. I thought I had a license to view it by owning it, but if I can't do that, what do I have?

You have a dirty lens....perhaps (3, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203016)

You, like many others, have a dirty lens (laser). In most cases, a swipe with a lens cleaning disc will do the some cases, the unit will need to be opened, and the lens area dusted with compressed air..that stuff in the can. If your player lives in a dusty or smoke typical area, you might want to think about opening it twice a year and cleaning things out.

I'd give this a shot before I started returning DVD's.

Let's hope AOL starts shipping DVD's instead of CD (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202940)

1. Fundamentally, starting from the playback side, the disc consists of data layer 1 (the first layer as played back by the DVD player), backed by a semi-reflective metallic coating (often gold)

OOOOOhhh! I read on slash a while back about people in 3rd world countries pouring acid on the electronic junk we send over there for gold.

Now i'm trying to think of a chemical that could melt a DVD, Anyone? I'd guess turpintine or paint thinner could do it. Jasco definetly could melt it (when I was 5 I ruined our plastic vacuum cleaner by pourin jasco on it)

So you could have like a 1000 of those suckers mailed round to you easily. Make a few phone calls posing as a screwdriver shop (Oh yes, my customers like AOL!)

Now take these 1000 or so AOL DVD's, and put them in a stainless steel container, add in turpintine, jasco, whatever and let it melt.

Hopefull if you can use a thin enough solvent it will be enough for the gold particles to float down to the bottom, drain off the top and you got instant gold.

In this fucked economic downturn i'll cook up all kinds of crazy idea's like this to make a buck.

Re:Let's hope AOL starts shipping DVD's instead of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202952)

The layer is so thin you wouldn't get much gold from the CDs.

If there was any sizable amount, then you wouldn't be able to buy them for pennies (I'm in the UK).

High Technology (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202941)

He works as a failure analysis engineer, with access to an optical microscope.
An optical microscope huh? Wow. He must be a really important guy. You can't just by that kind of technology in a high street store. No, wait, actually, you can...

The worst thing you could do in this case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5202951)

is to go back to the store and buy another copy of the disc! DON'T DO IT! The monopoly, anti fair-use, stifle technology companies get you twice. Instead, complain, complain, complain. Music and movie prices should be going down. As long as we as consumers continue to buy these products, the companies will continue to rip us off. They know what prices we are willing to pay, and they are toeing the line (similar to this: research has shown that it would take a 4x increase in gas prices (at the pump) to make people reconsider driving their car). Stop supporting these industries with your wallet.

Delamination (1)

lgftsa (617184) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202960)

I havn't seen rot, but I have seen a co-worker's music video DVD start to delaminate. It was visible as interference patterns in a "blob" shape about 8mm diameter starting at the spindle.

Careful probing with a fingernail showed that the layers weren't the same diameter in the spindle hole. The "lip" had been catching on the retention spindle in the case, and had eventually separated the layers.

By *eventually*, I mean a week or so...

The list of DVD's rotting so far (3, Interesting)

sawilson (317999) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202974)


10 Things I Hate About You
101 Dalmations
Abyss SE
Alien Boxset
Bad Boys - repressed
Contact - repressed
Independence Day SE
L.A Confidential - repressed
Little Mermaid
Men in Black CE
Planet of the Apes 1968
Stuart Little


Boogie Nights - first release
Bone Collector
Chicken Run
Dances With Wolves
Galaxy Quest
Devil's Advocate
L.A Confidential
The Negotiator
Stuart Little
T2:UE (Dual Sided Disc)
War Games

well, that's a relief (1)

pphrdza (635063) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202987)

I thought it was just my MAC.
I just have to buy the DVD's again, not the player?

This story is a crock...wait for more info (2, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#5202999)

Since when were these discs glued togther?

CD's, DVD's...they are not 'glued' together, as the article states. This guy should be shot.

Anyone that knows will tell you why they refer to the 'stamper' when they talk about mass duplication. I'll wait for a more knowledgeable source to comment on DVD 'rot'...Sure, if you keep them on the dashboard of your van, or floor of the basement...but falling apart just by laying around in a case...not sure about that one. I can see delamination from a faulty stamping procedure, but these machines are expensive and are operated in clean rooms. Each disc is verified, etc. You'd know if you had a chronic problem, and then you have a different issue, such as fraud for selling bad goods. To say that 10% of the DVD's in general use are now faulty sounds like a bit of FUD.

Customer abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203001)

A spokesman said only: "We always fully compensate our customers for any manufacturing fault found." Warner Home Video's managing director, Stephen Nickerson, said: "If a customer has a problem with a disc and it is clearly a manufacturing problem we will replace it. The question is whether it is caused by a manufacturing problem or customer abuse."

Wow, I thought it'd be the conspiracy theorists suggesting Warner were doing this on purpose as customer abuse but I didn't think their own spokesman would suggest it.

Record companies want it both ways (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5203023)

Just some observations.

Years ago, there was a time when the only media on which the average consumer could buy recorded music was pressed vinyl disks. Since there was no way to copy these disks, and they degraded slightly with each use (on most people's record players,) they were treated more as a physical good than intellectual property. If your record broke, you bought another one. If you wanted to buy a used one for less than a new one, you knew you would have to settle for lower quality, and a product that would probably break again sooner than a new one.

These days, there are many easy ways to copy music. Record companies now treat recorded music as intellectual property, and are doing everything in their power to stop your ability to copy it. They would even like to say that you don't "own" the music on your disk, that you have merely "licensed" it for listening, although they know that no consumer is going to accept a software-type "shrink-wrap" agreement on their CD's.

But guess what. If your CD breaks, they still expect you to buy another one. The record companies want it both ways. It's licensed, so you can't copy it. But it's a commodity, so you have to buy another copy if it breaks.

Yet another reason for fair use laws! (3, Informative)

Mipmap (569611) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203055)

Thank God DVD Rot isn't based on overuse (1)

Flounder (42112) | more than 10 years ago | (#5203080)

Or else my Fight Club SE would be dust by now.

Maybe that's why Disney is taking DVDs off the market for a number of years. Once your discs rot, you'll have to buy them again, right about the time they are re-released.

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