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Disney Encrypting Screener DVDs to Prevent Piracy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the this-dvd-will-self-destruct-in-five-seconds dept.

Movies 262

Sascha J. writes "Disney is continuing their war against piracy. To their Oscar reviewers they now send out special encrypted DVDs, which can be played only on a DVD player of the "Cinea" series. From the article: "The DVD players are encoded with recipients' names, and screeners sent to those people are specifically encrypted so they can be seen only on those particular DVD players." Yet, Disney is alone on this. Sony and Universal Pictures said they won't follow that step."

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262 comments

How is this a solution? (5, Interesting)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870069)

So what keeps people from recording the output and distributing that?

Re:How is this a solution? (2, Informative)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870114)

So what keeps people from recording the output and distributing that?

Nothing, but there are a few deterrents:

-A small reduction in quality (Boo hoo)
-The time it takes to play the whole thing, then recompress it. (Of course, you could just do the first while you're watching it, and the second overnight.)
-Much higher chance of having interrupts, skips, etc. (Blah)
-You lose the DVD menus! (This would actually matter.)

Basically, the same reason people choose to disable the copy-protection on those new CDs that Sony has been putting out, rather than playing-and-recording. Plus the DVD menus.

Re:How is this a solution? (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870135)

Since we're talking about screeners, are there even menus on these DVDs?

Re:How is this a solution? (5, Informative)

MMMDI (815272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870260)

I can't answer for Disney or Sony, but I get a good deal of screener DVDs for review purposes. I get about 10-12 per month from the many labels of EI Cinema (Seduction Cinema, Shock-O-Rama, Video Outlaw, etc.), as well as 2-3 here and there from Lions Gate.

With those companies as the basis for my statements, the screeners for direct-to-video films and about-to-hit-DVD films are fully-featured with all of the bonus materials and menus that you'd get if you purchased the DVD. Some things may change when the DVD hits stores (bonus features added, changed menus, things of that nature), but generally, they're the same thing you'd purchase from your retailer of choice.

Screener copies of movies that are currently in theaters or are about to hit theaters are bare-bones. You get the typical piracy warning before jumping to a very simple menu (with nothing more than "Play Movie" as an option), or it goes straight from the warning into the movie.

waht about (3, Informative)

xmodem_and_rommon (884879) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870144)

i haven't read all of TFA, but i would assume that the deterrents also included some type of watermark of the recipient's name in the output stream, something that would stay there even with the digital-to-analog conversion and would be awfully difficult to remove.

So when disney finds these on the net, its a simple matter of decoding and looking up the watermark to find out who to nail...whereas before they had no idea who released it onto the net.

Re:waht about (2, Informative)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870168)

Watermarks for screeners have been around for a few years AFAIK. The difference now is that its even harder for a copy to make it onto the internet, and also a hell of a lot harder for the recipient to claim the DVD screener was just "stolen".

Re:waht about (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870194)

What is the quality of the watermark?

Is it a durable watermark? I'm thinking that a lossy compression scheme could damage it very badly.

Re:waht about (1)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870235)

At which point they lose the benefit of a nice crisp DVD quality rip.

Some digital watermarking technologies can withstand quite large degredations in quality, and by the time you're sure it is gone, you end up with a rip that is not much better than a dodgy in cinema recording.

Re:waht about (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870331)

What about inserting/deleting single frames at well-known (to Disney, of course not to the receiver) positions before/after cuts? There's no way the person copying it could know if the cut should have been one frame earlier or later. Moreover this is likely to be relatively robust to recompression (yes, there may be some dropped frames, but unless it's a very bad quality recording, the probability that more than one or two are exactly at movie cuts should be very low.
Now you may claim that it's possible to randomly cut frames at any cut on recompression. But that assumes the one copying it knows or at least suspects that information may be coded in this way (I'm sure Disney will never say in which way they watermark those movies).
I'm sure there are other simple ways to robustly hide data in a movie which one finds with very little thinking. If several of them are used, I'm sure almost anyone wanting to remove the watermark will miss at least one of them, unless he is very well informed about the watermarking used.
Of course with enough knowledge of the type of watermarking, one can destroy any watermark (simply overwrite it with a different one).

Re:How is this a solution? (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870207)

You don't lose the DVD menus; they don't exist on screeners designed for reviews before a picture has made it to the cinema.

Re:How is this a solution? (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870148)

So what keeps people from recording the output and distributing that?

I presume the output from the beast contains your machine identity. A pirate copy would have a tracable name, address, phone number, etc. The studio would know which player and which disk was compromised. Think it as a personalized version of the movie with the screener brown dots. The dots would not just be print copy number. It would be everything that says arrest John Doe at 1212 Main street for making this pirate copy.

Re:How is this a solution? (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870238)

A diff on the raw video data should be able to give you a good enough reference to find the difference (pun intended) in the copy protection scheme.

Re:How is this a solution? (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870269)

Assuming it's done in video. It could be done on an audio sub-channel. Part of the DTS/Dobly encoding. You could have 7.1.1 Dolby, 7 speakers, 1 Sub woofer and 1 data stream for catching pirates.

IIRC the "Forensic Data" was used on the screeners of Star Wars: Episode 3 and that enabled them to catch the people that leaked it prior to release.

Re:How is this a solution? (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870291)

If you have the raw video data, why do you need the screener?

Re:How is this a solution? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870329)

you don't but if you have this information you could conceivably figure out the way the personalized info is encoded into the DVD; setting yourself up to copy future screeners.

Re:How is this a solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870156)

You need to have a decrypter for these particular DVDs, or else you will get no output.

Re:How is this a solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870219)

Uh yeah, the DVD player decrypts it and you record that output. It can't come out of the DVD player encrypted or you wouldn't be able to watch it.

Re:How is this a solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870163)

So what keeps people from recording the output and distributing that?

Mickey Mouse coming to your house with his thirty-odd-six for a little "enforcement"??

I wouldn't put it past Disney...

Re:How is this a solution? (3, Informative)

rishistar (662278) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870323)

You miss the point - these screener DVDS are *very* limited in number - they are DVDs sent off to the people who vote in the Oscars. Each of these is then watermarked with the name of the person who recieves the DVD for reviewing. Then if copies do surface then Disney can analyse the footage, say - it is you who has copied it! and maybe sue the dude to whom the DVD was provided to and at least not give them anymore.

Disney have now gone a step further by saying it will only play on one range of DVD players. This is probably because the last time they caught someone for bottlegging stuff, the actor Carmine Caridi [imdb.com] had 'lent' the DVDs to a friend who he thought was just a film buff.

Looking it up on the web the whole story has a tragic end [afterdawn.com] for the pirate involved.

So, yeah they can be copied and distributed. But it makes it too traceable, too much hassle and a recipient has too much to loose, to make the whole thing worthwhile.

My thought (5, Funny)

cuerty (671497) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870071)

Making movies almost imposible or very hard to view for reviewers it's the best marketing choice.

Yeah, take this as irony.

Re:My thought (4, Informative)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870145)

These are screeners DVD, not for 'average joe'. I see no issue in this move, which actually makes a lot of sense. This is B2B, not B2C as when they release the real DVD.

Re:My thought (2, Insightful)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870198)

The issue is that the recipients of these DVDs are reviewers from which you want positive reviews of your movie. Making them jump through hoops for that doesn't sound like a very smart move.

OTOH, it's apparently exactly these screeners that are a common source of high-quality pre-cinematic-release-bootlegs, which must be by far the most painful (for the makers) kind, so it's understandavle that they'd risk a backlash from the reviewers to prevent them.

No more.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870072)

pirated copies of bambie :(

Disney? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870073)

Because Pirates just can't resist a 0-day release of Cinderella.

Re:Disney? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870105)

You insensitive clod.
Pirates have children too!

Re:Disney? (0)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870169)

Mod parent up.

I don't see how this affects pirates. No pirate wants a fricken DISNEY release. I know this seems like troll/flaimbait, but think about it.

Re:Disney? (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870185)

yeah, no one made any $ out of selling copies of Monters Inc. at swap meets

Re:Disney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870243)



You're right. No one made any money from Monters inc.

But I'll be some made some money selling Monsters inc.


hm, seems a bit ott to me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870075)

Im not surprised sony and UP wont follow this one. With recent trends towards openness and more and more people being aware of these issues, they dont want to be seen as evil.

And with apple edging into the vido market, in fact having a deal with disney (unless im mistaken) this probably wont come very far.

Re:hm, seems a bit ott to me (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870171)

Sony? Openness? I'll believe that when they'll release the specs for the various ATRAC formats.

Nasty Precedent (2, Interesting)

nystire (871449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870077)

It seems like a bad trhing from the start, as now they may be able to turn around and say that normalcustomers should possibly follow the example set by these people. How long until all players are 'registered' in a similar manner?

geez, come on... (5, Insightful)

clambake (37702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870080)

Just put a big, slightly visible watermark across the entire screen of the name of the guy you sent the DVD to. Like, just a 4% opaque "EBERT AND ROPER" diaganal across the screen. Then when it's turned to video, it'll either have to be blurred out, and thur ruin the film, or you've caught the guy whol let it out of his hands... How hard is it people!?

Re:geez, come on... (1)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870095)

Yeah but that would mean spending the time editing each copy of the screaner they sent out separately in this fashion. Yeah it would probably work but Disney just wants a quick and easy solution.

Incidentally, any up for making bets as to how quickly this Cine program will be reverse engineered and owned? Where's DVD John? Ah crap he's moved to the US :(

Re:geez, come on... (1)

IchBinEinPenguin (589252) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870122)

They're individually encrypting them now, so it's no more overhead.

Re:geez, come on... (1)

nystire (871449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870151)

They don't have to encrypt each one individually. Just encrypt them all with one key, and provide that key on the DVD, encrypted with another key which is unique to each person. The player then contains the second key. These doesn't have to be much overhead at all if the only difference is the second key.

Re:geez, come on... (5, Informative)

sacbhale (216624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870112)

Thats not a big problem at all...u just need 2 or 3 different sourses...combine the feeds using a noise canceling averaging algorithm and u can easliy remove the markings and get a clean print.

another option is to use the same amount of opaqueness and put a block covering up the text making it just a rectangular block. No need for 2 feeds in this one...just a good algo...

Besides people really dont mind having blocked out patches on video so much...
a lot of people download even telesync versions of movies which are missing parts of the screen...

Re:geez, come on... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870251)

Your post is good. It's really too bad YOU're too stupid to spell a 3-letter word correctly, it would really improve YOUr credibility. YOU should really think about it.

Re:geez, come on... (1)

ozbon (99708) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870321)

But in this scenario it means you've got to have two or three different screeners who are all prepared to give up their copy of the film in order for you to combine them for the explicit act of movie piracy.

Maybe I've too much faith in human nature (a rarity) but I can't see that happening.

And even if it does happen, it's still tripled the initial workload in that you have to obtain three copies instead of just one. That's a fairly good deterrent to the average work-shy pirater, I'd think...

Re:geez, come on... (2, Insightful)

Mr_Tulip (639140) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870138)

2 problems with this:
1)The DVD could have been intercepted in the production stage, so the recipients name is purely accidental/random.
2)The DVD could be intercepted at the delivery stage, which may at least tell you which postal office is ripping off the studio.

While having a dedicated DVD player solves these problems to some extent, it is only a matter of time before someone manages to crack the encryption or get hold of an original Cinea model to do the ripping.

Re:geez, come on... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870150)

It's really a question of how much it will annoy the reviewers.
It may deter or even prevent copying when done right, but it may also put the reviewer in a bad enough mood to unconsciencky rate your movie just a little lower than normal.

Encoding is slow (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870229)

If you want to place a watermark over the whole movie, you have to reencode the whole movie, which is a slow process - much slower than encrypting it, which can be done on the fly while you're burning the DVD. Each individual reviewer's copy would take hours to make instead of minutes.

Re: well, not exactly (2, Informative)

FlippyTheSkillsaw (533983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870276)

Logo removal has come a long way. If you track objects as they fall under the opaque area, you can find when they are opaque and when they are not. You can calculate what area of the screen is opaque and you can adjust for it. A quick Google search turned up LogoAway and DeLogo.

Watermarks are more of a problem. I don't think I'd let a screener DVD out my door without comparing it to another screener DVD for watermarks. The biggest problem is that you aren't supposed to know if a watermark is even there without knowing its design. That means you can't really ever be sure that there isn't watermarking unless you compare two sources.

Digital watermark, rather (5, Informative)

haggais (624063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870311)

Actually, the wonders of modern technology suggest a rather simpler solution. Digital watermarking [wikipedia.org] of video streams is a fairly well-developed field, with several companies offering working products. The "invisible" watermark is some extra bits of "payload" added by some transformation of the images -- nothing which perceptibly degrades image quality -- and can be recovered again by some simple transformation of the data.

Algorithms exist which embed this information "visually", in the sense that it is distirbuted across the whole or much of the image, and it survives "classic" image processing such as resizing, lossy compression, and recolouration of the image (not to any degree, of course, but you'd be ruining the movie before you got rid of the watermark), rather than just being a few specific bits which can be deleted or edited. Some of these techniques are also intended to be tamper-proof, in the sense that without the watermark-creator's key it is very hard to know how to remove or alter the watermark.

Such a watermark would seem to be much better than a glaring visual signal, for tracking down the originator of a leaked copy. It wouldn't stop viewers enjoying their leaked copies, but the leaker could be held accountable.

But Disney Loves Pirates (2, Funny)

Boomshanka (788195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870081)

They love pirates of the carribean so much that they are making another. Somewhat of a double standard!!!

Re:But Disney Loves Pirates (2, Funny)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870265)

They love pirates of the carribean so much that they are making another. Somewhat of a double standard!!!

They are actually going to make a film about dvd pirates in the Carribean? With ships and 300-pound canons? I can just imagine the Sweedish Pirate Captain Anakata ordering "Klarp skepp!" AAARRGH!

Yes, I borrowed this from thepiratebay's legal page.
http://static.thepiratebay.org/lensmannen.jpg [thepiratebay.org]

Good luck with that one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870083)

It'll be cracked in seconds, thanks to the valiant efforts of the war against the war against piracy.

Idea (3, Insightful)

smallguy78 (775828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870086)

Here's a novel idea, instead of fannying about trying to stop people copying your films (which people always will), you join the 21st century and make your films distributed on an internet download site, with a reduction of $2 on the cinema price.

It's a barmy idea that Apple and Napster tried, but it might just work!

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

bgog (564818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870332)

Dude, they arn't talking about regular DVDs. They are talking about 'Screeners' These are DVDs of the movies that are nomiated for an Oscar. The members of the acadamy then watch them and vote. Most of the movies have NOT been released on DVD yet.

The trouble they have with these is that people leak them. When their movie is released on the internet 2 months before the DVD is available to buy it can really hurt them. So they have been playing with stuff like digital watermards and stuff JUST for the screeners.

Now I'm with most slashdotters when it comes to fair-use. I don't want my damn DVDs encrypted or copy protected. Not because I want to steal them but because I may want to back them up or put them on my computer. Anyway I'm with the studio's when it comes to the screeners. They have sent pre-release versions of thier product to a limited set of reviewers and they don't deserve to have their movies released prematurely onto the internets.

I work for Disney: an Open Letter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870087)

Disney has recently made a number of people very, very angry, including me. However, as anger serves no function in a successful rebuttal, I will simply state objectively that Disney's brethren have an almost identical mentality, as if they all had been cloned from a single insufferable prototype. I would like to start by discussing Disney's press releases, mainly because they scare me. The thing I'm the most frightened about is that the question that's on everyone's mind these days is, "Will the world ever be free of negligent, disgraceful doofuses like Disney?" After days of agonized pondering and reflection, I finally came to the conclusion that Disney has planted its worshippers everywhere. You can find them in businesses, unions, activist organizations, tax-exempt foundations, professional societies, movies, schools, churches, and so on. Not only does this subversive approach enhance Disney's ability to destroy that which is the envy of -- and model for -- the entire civilized world but it also provides irrefutable evidence that I frequently wish to tell it that its witticisms serve no purpose other than to declare a national emergency, round up everyone who disagrees with it, and put them in concentration camps. But being a generally genteel person, however, I always bite my tongue.

Disney's morals leave me with several unanswered questions: Why do we put up with it? And what in perdition does it think it's doing? These are difficult questions to answer, because it is always prating about how all major world powers are controlled by a covert group of "insiders". (It used to say that human beings should be appraised by the number of things and the amount of money they possess instead of by their internal value and achievements, but the evidence is too contrary, so it's given up on that score.) In particular, Disney says that it has mystical powers of divination and prophecy. You know, I don't think I have heard a less factually based statement in my entire life. Disney can't help it; it just loves to keep us perennially behind the eight ball. Disney extricates itself from difficulty by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice.

Even by Disney's own account, if you think you can escape from its harebrained indiscretions, then good-bye and good luck. To the rest of you I suggest that we must reveal the truth about Disney's pranks. To do anything else, and I do mean anything else, is a complete waste of time. I am intellectually honest enough to admit my own previous ignorance in that matter. I only wish that Disney had the same intellectual honesty. If one dares to criticize even a single tenet of Disney's revenge fantasies, one is promptly condemned as egocentric, repugnant, biggety, or whatever epithet Disney deems most appropriate, usually without much explanation. Something that I have heard repeated several times from various sources -- a sort of "tag line" for Disney -- is, "We should go out and make empty promises. And when we're done with that, we'll all tear down everything that can possibly be regarded as a support of cultural elevation." This is not a direct quote, nor have I heard it from Disney's lips directly, but several sources have paraphrased the content to me in near-enough ways that I feel fairly confident it actually was said. And to be honest, I have no trouble believing it.

As a matter of policy, sniffish insincere-types should not bar people from partaking in activities that cannot be monitored and controlled, but this has never stopped Disney. The impact of Disney's balmy, overbearing put-downs is exactly that predicted by the Book of Revelation. Evil will preside over the land. Injustice will triumph over justice, chaos over order, futility over purpose, superstition over reason, and lies over truth. Only when humanity experiences this Hell on Earth will it fully appreciate that if I had to choose between chopping onions and helping Disney convince people that their peers are already riding the Disney bandwagon and will think ill of them if they don't climb aboard, too, I'd be in the kitchen in an instant. Although both alternatives make me cry, the deciding factor for me is that Disney's more than confused. It's mega-confused. In fact, to understand just how confused Disney is, you first need to realize that it wants us to emulate the White Queen from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, who strives to believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast". Then again, even the White Queen would have trouble believing that things have never been better. I prefer to believe things that my experience tells me are true, such as that Disney is planning to cripple its enemies politically, economically, socially, morally, and psychologically. This does not bode well for the future, because it is driving me nuts. I can't take it anymore!

Those of us who are still sane, those of us who still have a firm grip on reality, those of us who still claim that I, not being one of the many uppity scum of this world, insist that people who work with Disney's yes-men discredit themselves, have an obligation to do more than just observe what Disney is doing from a safe distance. We have an obligation to create and nurture a true spirit of community. We have an obligation to beat it at its own game. And we have an obligation to tell it how wrong it is. Disney likes to brag about how the members of its camp are ideologically diverse. Perhaps that means that some of them prefer Stalin over Hitler. In any case, the pen is a powerful tool. Why don't we use that tool to replace today's chaos and lack of vision with order and a supreme sense of purpose? Summa summarum, it's likely that before you know it Disney will waste taxpayers' money if we don't stop it now.

Re:I work for Disney: an Open Letter (1)

planetoid (719535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870137)

This wins the Internet.

Re:I work for Disney: an Open Letter (1)

Raithmir (916779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870284)

Actually I just read all that open letter as... "Disney sucks". Would have saved people a lot of reading if AC had just put that instead.

Re:I work for Disney: an Open Letter (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870183)

$COMPANY_NAME has recently made a number of people very...

Lame.

Re:I work for Disney: an Open Letter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870221)

I occasionally receive inquiries from people who have read my previous letters and want to know why I believe that I am getting rather tired of sweeping up after repeated Mr. Mumbles The Clown, Esq. fiascoes. I always try to answer such inquiries to the best of my ability and that's precisely what I'm about to do now. Unless you share my view that Mr. Mumbles The Clown, Esq.'s spin doctors are just as bad as Mr. Clown is, if not worse, there's no need for you to hear me further. Just look at the bill of fare served up in recent movies and television programs, and you will hardly be able to deny that his faculty for deception is so far above anyone else's, it really must be considered different in kind as well as in degree. Whenever he is blamed for conspiring to put our liberties at risk by a baleful and prudish rush to call for ritualistic invocations of needlessly formal rules, he blames his expositors. Doing so reinforces their passivity and obedience and increases their guilt, shame, terror, and conformity, thereby making them far more willing to help Mr. Clown apotheosize unconscionable schizophrenics.

Mr. Clown plans to require schoolchildren to be taught that children don't need as much psychological attentiveness, protection, and obedience training as the treasured household pet. He has instructed his functionaries not to discuss this or even admit to his plan's existence. Obviously, Mr. Clown knows he has something to hide. It's not necessarily the case that I hope that this sends a strong message to people across the nation that his confreres have demonstrated brutally, horribly, and with great terror how they will further political and social goals wholly or in part through activities that involve force or violence and a violation of criminal law. On the contrary, he has never satisfactorily proved his assertion that he's the best thing to come along since the invention of sliced bread. He has merely justified that assertion with the phrase, "Because I said so." Mr. Clown's ostentatious anecdotes arose out of an unjust system only to spread more injustice in their wake, proving that there is no end to ethically bankrupt ageism. Okay, that's a bit of an overstatement, but for all of you reading this who are not inarticulate four-flushers, you can understand where the motivation for that statement comes from.

Mr. Clown wants to sucker us into buying a lot of junk we don't need. Faugh. Although it requires risk, commitment, and follow-through to make some changes here, he has no idea what he's doing. I know you're wondering why I just wrote that. I'll explain shortly, but first, I should state that I am not a robot. I am a thinking, feeling, human being. As such, I get teary-eyed whenever I see Mr. Clown biologically or psychologically engineer coldhearted, jejune scroungers to make them even more froward than they already are. It makes me want to lift the fog from his thinking, which is why I'm so eager to tell you that I recently heard Mr. Clown tell a bunch of people that his snow jobs are Right with a capital R. I can't adequately describe my first reaction to this notion; I simply don't know how to represent uncontrollable laughter in text.

At the very least, there is something grievously wrong with those corrupt hackers who cause invidious subversion to gather momentum on college campuses. Shame on the lot of them! Should we worry that Mr. Clown wants to encourage gloomy dingbats to see themselves as victims and, therefore, live by alibis rather than by honest effort? In a word, yes. And that's not just because experience shows that in the good old days, when courage, honor, devotion, duty, and loyalty meant something, it was comparatively easy to demand a thoughtful analysis and resolution of our problems with Mr. Clown but also because by allowing him to inculcate predatory politics, we are allowing him to play puppet master.

Mr. Clown is not only immoral, but amoral. We must speak neither of the past nor of the far future but rather focus on the here and now, specifically on the daunting matter of his subversive, hectoring accusations. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this letter, viz., that the fabric of his ballyhoos is infused with inconsiderate pauperism? As you ponder the answer to that question, consider that if you don't think that by now, we are all more than familiar with his nasty rejoinders, then you've missed the whole point of this letter.

Deep down, Mr. Clown knows that I'm right. Or, to express that sentiment without all of the emotionally charged lingo, Mr. Clown uses big words like "counterrevolutionist" to make himself sound important. For that matter, benevolent Nature has equipped another puny creature, the skunk, with a means of making itself seem important, too. Although Mr. Clown's pranks may reek like a skunk, Mr. Clown's sycophants believe that Mr. Clown's pharisaism movement is looking out for our best interests. It should not be surprising that they believe this, however. As we all know, minds that have been so maimed that they believe that Mr. Clown's tracts prevent smallpox can believe anything, especially if it's false. Mass anxiety is the equivalent of steroids for Mr. Clown. If we feel helpless, Mr. Clown is energized and ramps up his efforts to jawbone aimlessly.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into Mr. Clown's taradiddles, but they don't seem to serve any purpose other than to waste our time and money. Mr. Clown has had it easy all his life. I mean, think about it. In essence, he insists that the rules don't apply to him. In the long run, however, he's only fooling himself. Mr. Clown would be better off if he just admitted to himself that he is terrified that there might be an absolute reality outside himself, a reality that is what it is, regardless of his wishes, theories, hopes, daydreams, or decrees. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a plausible excuse is a satisfactory substitute for performance. Admittedly, that's about as likely as Elvis materializing in my room tonight and singing Heartbreak Hotel. Still, the possibility does help one realize that Mr. Clown teaches workshops on snobbism. Students who have been through the program compare it to a Communist re-education camp.

Mr. Clown seems to have recently added the word "incontrovertibleness" to his otherwise simplistic vocabulary. I suppose he intends to use big words like that to obscure the fact that intransigent, depraved shirkers are responsible for the spiteful tenor of his views. Period, finis, and Q.E.D. Is there, or is there not, an antisocial plot to cure the evil of discrimination with more discrimination, organized through the years by fatuous, raving varmints? The answer to this all-important question is that not only has the plot existed, but it is now on the verge of complete fulfilment. Mr. Clown's opinion is that there's no difference between normal people like you and me and what I call frightful idiots. Of course, opinions are like sphincters: we all have them. So let me tell you my opinion. My opinion is that the picture I am presenting need not be confined to Mr. Clown's analects. It applies to everything he says and does.

If you think you can escape from Mr. Clown's sniffish stratagems, then good-bye and good luck. To the rest of you I suggest that he does not tolerate any view that differs from his own. Rather, Mr. Clown discredits and discards those people who contradict him along with the ideas that they represent. Aside from the fact that when he says that he is the ultimate authority on what's right and what's wrong, he's just plain wrong -- not "partially wrong", but "utterly and totally wrong" -- he has the nerve to call those of us who stop defending the self-absorbed status quo and, instead, implement a bold, new agenda for change "conspiracy theorists". No, we're "conspiracy revealers" because we reveal that I could go on for pages listing innumerable examples of Mr. Clown's smarmy complaints and hotheaded vaporings. I have already written enough, surely, to convince you that I am making a pretty serious accusation here. I am accusing Mr. Clown of planning to encourage individuals to disregard other people, to become fully self-absorbed. And I don't want anyone to think that I am basing my accusation only on the fact that if we don't put inexorable pressure on him to be a bit more careful about what he says and does right now, then Mr. Clown's mottos will soon start to metastasize until they perpetuate what we all know is a corrupt system.

I don't know which are worse, right-wing tyrants or left-wing tyrants. But I do know that Mr. Clown holds onto power like the eunuch mandarins of the Forbidden City -- sterile obstacles to progress who put the gods of heaven into the corner as obsolete and outmoded and, in their stead, burn incense to the idol Mammon. You know, it strikes me that there's something fishy about his roorbacks. I think Mr. Clown's up to something, something stuck-up and perhaps even sophomoric. My goal for this letter was to give our young people the values that will inspire them to insist on a policy of zero tolerance toward ethnocentrism. Know that I have done my best while trying always to examine Mr. Mumbles The Clown, Esq.'s worldview from the perspective of its axiology (values) and epistemology (ways of knowing). Let an honest history judge.

Re:I work for Disney: an Open Letter (1)

marc252 (658303) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870261)

I read your post and basically you are saying: a) I work for disney but I post as anonymous so you have to believe me. b) Disney is evil. Why? You give no concise reasons.
Well, I would tell you that if you don't like Disney don't work for them and if you hate Disney don't buy anything from them, but please don't try to convince us that an entertainment company is going to ruin our lives!

sage (goes in the email field lol) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870326)

is this crap copy-pasted

Sony & Universal are no better... (5, Funny)

Brent Spiner (919505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870088)

Sony and Universal Pictures said they won't follow that step
No, I hear that Sony and Universal are making the reviewers watch the movies from jail, and letting them out when the movie is officially released.

Missing something (4, Interesting)

barcodez (580516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870089)

Somewhere in this system there must exist a "plain text" version of the video stream otherwise the video could not be displayed, I'm guessing this is between the DVD player and the TV, so all one would need to do is intercept this transmission and high quality copies can be made.

Re:Missing something (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870195)

To avoid this, the industry has invented (and is moving to) HDMI as the interface between DVD player and TV.
It seems it is mandatory for HDTV capable players (and receivers).

Re:Missing something (3, Informative)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870204)

Yeah, a "plain text" version with a huge digital watermark across the screen. That's the problem.

Re:Missing something (3, Insightful)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870216)

You guess wrong - at least where the next generation of hardware is concerned. The data between your HDTV and the player will be encrypted, and the player will refuse to work (or only output a low-res version of the movie) when connected to a display that does not authenticate itself. A player that does not do this will be made illegal (won't be allowed to use some of the patented key technolgies). Same with the HDDVD/BlueRay format war: the technological merits are irrelevant, it's all about which fromat can offer the most restrictive and unbreakable DRM.

Not serious... (2, Insightful)

278MorkandMindy (922498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870091)

They don't think this measure will have any effect do they? Really? I have a MUCH better suggestion. Don't send them out. It is a win/win situation. No-one gives them bad reviews and they strike a blow against piracy! /cough/ Spend more time thinking about how to make a movie I want to buy, then make it a reasonable price...

Re:Not serious... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870166)

afaict screeners go to two main places.

1: ratings bodies. This one is basically not optional for the producers, if industry led ratings schemes fail lots of countries would probablly replace them with government control and the industry really don't wan't that.

2: judges for major awards series (e.g. oscars). Here its a case of not wanting to get left out because the competition had thier films in the judges hands earlier.

Re:Not serious... (1)

rjw57 (532004) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870199)

1: ratings bodies. This one is basically not optional for the producers, if industry led ratings schemes fail lots of countries would probablly replace them with government control and the industry really don't wan't that.

A government-appointed body like the BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] for example? It seems to work OK this side of the pond.

Better use for money (4, Insightful)

jimsteri (888700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870092)

I would believe they would make more profit if they used the money they use for developing copy protection for actually creating better content. These protections never work anyway..

Re:Better use for money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870244)

Better than the Pacifier? Is that even possible?

To their Oscar Reviewers.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870094)

..they send special gold-lined dvd players encrusted with diamonds.
Sometimes they even send a dvd movie to view.

Better idea! (5, Interesting)

Carraway (794372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870101)

I have a better idea. Instead of encrypting their DVDs, just mail them out along with a little note saying that the last guy to be caught pirating screeners died in police custody [bbc.co.uk] . I think pirates will get the hint.

Does anyone care anymore? (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870102)

Is it me or does it seem that the more 'piracy' is fought, the crappier the content gets. I know correlation doesn't signify causation, but I can't help but wonder if this is also a new innovative feature to fight 'piracy?'

If so, congrats Disney. In which case from my own experience, it must be working. You don't pirate what you don't want.

Sounds like a business plan to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870143)

1. Make movies not worth pirating
2. ???
3. Profit!

Brave New World (1)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870110)

The Alphas get the golden chains given for them as a gift.
The Betas buy the silver chains at Saks.
The Gammas can pay for Wal-Mart chains to appear like a Beta
The Deltas can't afford their freedom.
The Epsilons can't afford their slavery.

I'm glad I'm not an Alpha, their too stuck up.

Re:Brave New World (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870155)

their too stuck up
The Alphas can afford education.

Re:Brave New World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870231)

...what does this got to do with the parent post LOL

Re:Brave New World (2, Funny)

DarkEdgeX (212110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870301)

Nothing, he's probably just naming off the next 5 or so hurricanes since they ran out of names this year.

Copy protection is pointless (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870116)

Foolproof method of copying any type of copyprotected AV that is still usable:

1. buy camcorder.
2. point at TV.
3. not-copy-protected copy of decent quality (or profit, depending on the way you look at it).

The only way to protect against this is to either make it impossible for a plain camcorder to record the images (which means that your eyes can also not see them, rendering it impossible for them to make any form of business) or to not allow you to use a camcorder (which is very hard to do in your own home).

Re:Copy protection is pointless (2, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870191)

You are wrong on this.
It is quite easy to include some "watermark" feature that will make the camcorder refuse to record the TV image, or make it tracable to the origin somehow.

Compare with fladbed scanners that refuse to scan money.

Re:Copy protection is pointless (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870220)

What, they'll make some device which can detect the fact that you are pointing a camcorder at the TV, then extend a litte robotic arm to repeatedly press STOP on the video, even though you keep pressing RECORD?

Assuming that scanners refuse to copy money because they have a representation of a banknote in memory, your analogy is hugely flawed. I don't envisage camcorder makers including some "feature" which detects the presence of a TV screen in the frame and shuts off if it finds one. The consumer wouldn't stand for it.

Re:Copy protection is pointless (1)

rjw57 (532004) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870193)

The only way to protect against this is to either make it impossible for a plain camcorder to record the images (which means that your eyes can also not see them, rendering it impossible for them to make any form of business)

Not necessarily. Many big cinemas point a very powerful IR source at the screen which overwhelms the CCD in camcorders but is invisible to the human eye. When you look back at your recording the screen is just a huge glowing patch with not picture visible. A similar thing could in principle be done to TVs but of course a sufficiently motivated person could just disable the IR source --- this would be somewhat more involved than just pointing the camera at the screen tho'.

Re:Copy protection is pointless (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870222)

My point is that camcorders will be changed to match the human perception closely since they're trying to record what you see and hear. If you cannot hear and or see a movie, it's broken. If you can hear and see it, you can thus theoretically always copy it, given an open type of camcorder. Of course, you'd be plain stupid trying to get any companies' camcorder to record those things, since they have a lot to earn by making it impossible. Yet, by disabling recording of those movies through they also disable recording any other use of that method. Using IR sources for making it impossible also makes it hard for you to make a picture of an oven or on a hot day. Putting "This camera cannot be used in temperatures above 80F/25C" will certainly not help sales.

As for watermarking, you could do that but any functional watermark damages/changes the film. If it doesn't change the film it's filtered out by compression using lossy formats (which most people do) because they leave out exactly what you can't see or don't notice.

Re:Copy protection is pointless (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870237)

Just use a IR filter. But every camcorded film I've ever seen is crap quality. What with the shitty quality people getting up for the toilet during the movie...

Re:Copy protection is pointless (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870264)

Actually, this is being worked on. I read that someone claims they can make TVs which will show pictures in a way that will confuse the camcorder's sensor just like Macrovison confuses a VCR's tracking mechanism - or they can just buy legislation that forces camcorder makers to have their products refuse to record or blot out a TV screen that signals "I'm displaying protected content" in some way not visible to the naked eye. Media players will refuse to work with TV sets or camcorders that do not do this, as will any PC running Windows. Any PC not running Windows and any nonconforming media player will not be able to play "protected" content at all, because you can't play it without certain patent-protected technologies.

Ah, brave new world of DRM!

My only hope is that consumers simply won't stand for all these intrusive restrictions and vote with they wallets, while at the same time content providers appear who succeed with the bold new business model of valuing paying customers' convenience above the fear of freeriders.

So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (4, Insightful)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870118)

This is really funny. Disney is basically saying that the academy is the biggest problem in the whole movie copying/pirating thing. Can this be seen as anything but a cheap shot at the Academy? Sure they're thwarting piracy. How easy is it to get your hands on one of these bad boys to begin with? If I put my mind to it I think I could figure out who one person is who would actually get one of these DVDs and that's because my brother taught the guy golf lessons a few years back. (I got to see Titanic on VHS when it was still in the theaters and I'm glad I didn't have to pay to see that steaming pile.) The odds of actually knowing who would have one of these and actually be able to get your hands on it is just about impossible. All I can figure is that there is either A. an extremely unlikely chance of stealing a delivery of a DVD and pirating it, or B. the people that are intended to receive them are considered by Disney to be entirely untrustworthy. Disney has to send them or risk not getting any awards, so instead they blow a load of money to make themselves look like a bunch of paranoid idiots. I think I'll go out on a limb and say that Disney isn't going to earn any more awards for future movies. I guess on the bright side Disney isn't really trying to win any awards for the movies they put out lately.

Re:So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (4, Funny)

rjw57 (532004) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870180)

If I put my mind to it I think I could figure out who one person is who would actually get one of these DVDs and that's because my brother taught the guy golf lessons a few years back. ...

The odds of actually knowing who would have one of these and actually be able to get your hands on it is just about impossible.

Haven't you just about disproved your own existence?

Re:So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (1)

mrbobjoe (830606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870186)

How easy is it to get your hands on one of these bad boys to begin with?
Once one person with access to it puts it online? Trivial.

Re:So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870187)

Yesh. But I just don't get it why people are whining about this. This doesn't concern anyone else than academy reviewers so what's the problem?

Re:So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870266)

Disney may be actually somewhat correct in their suspicion.

Living in Hong Kong I've got my share of pirated DVDs and VCDs. The best ones are the one that start with the FBI warning (yes, they just copy that with the rest), or when they are marked "for review only". The latter being obviously copies of pre-view copies, sent out probably for review for what-ever reason.

The pirated Hollywood DVDs hit the shelves in China normally by the time it's in the theatres in USA, sometimes even earlier. One way or another these pirates have their contacts with the reviewers. And of course it takes only one corrupt reviewer to make millions of copies.
Good chance these corrupt reviewers are Asians, as they do not seem to get the copies before the official release in the USA - after all it takes them only a few days at most between obtaining a copy and swamping the market with discs.

Wouter.

Re:So the Academy is the pirate syndicate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870285)

Considering that the majority of "0-day" pre-release screeners of DVD-quality are in fact Academy screener leaks, their paranoia is not completely unjustified.

tro77 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870181)

BitToorent) Second,

Secure delivery (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870184)

If they're going to this much length to protect their content, they should just get a bunch of armed security guards to personally deliver the DVD within a sealed DVD player chained to his arm. Train the security guard on how to plug the thing directly into a TV.

No more reviewers! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13870200)

They should just forget about those pesky reviewers copying their films and simply send out the reviews of the movies to the papers.

Oh wait Columbia Pictures tried that... I wonder how Mr. Dave Manning is getting along!

Weak rings (3, Interesting)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870201)

There can be a number of weak rings in the chain.
Somewhere into the DVD player the content gets unencrypted: there you can copy it with, at worst, some soldering skills.
Somewhere the content is completely clear text before being encrypted: someone working there could access and copy it.
Movie and music companies can loose more money because of product quality than piracy. And becuase of high investments in screener encryption!

My father was sent one of these (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870249)

as a reviewer for BAFTA about this time last year.
I'm not impressed.
Ours is actually connected with a composite video lead rather than scart and every few minutes black bands begin to appear across the picture, which I assume is some sort of an anti-copying measure but also somewhat ruins the film.
The machine was difficult to set up, requiring registration, which is a pain, especialyl when you have to call a call-centre which is only open during US West Coast office hours. (which isn't really anyone's fault). The biggest issue, however, is the fact that, to my knowledge, he hasn't actually recieved any films which need to be watched using it.
As an ordinary DVD player it's worse than the first one that we ever had - it takes a good 30 seconds to start up and then obeys all the 'do-not-skip' tags, which isn't too bad for screeners because they generally go straight to the film, but with ordinary DVDs it's a torturous wait every time you want to watch it, at least you could fast forward with VHS.

Basically, the machines are a pain for everyone and it was a really bad idea on the part of Disney.

Are the films really that desirable? (1, Insightful)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13870290)

Which self-respecting pirate wants to watch saccharine Disney material anyway? If they fsck up the Narnia books the same way as they usually do with existing literature, I shall not be happy.
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