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Sony Fixes Problems With New DVDs

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the DRM-again dept.

Sony 210

An anonymous reader writes "Following up on reports that DVDs for some Sony titles were causing problems, Video Business is reporting that Sony has fixed the copy-protection problem on recent DVD releases, and will provide replacement discs to customers. The problem was with the ARccOS DRM system. The company issued the following statement: 'Recently, an update that was installed on approximately 20 titles was found to cause an incompatibility issue with a very small number of DVD players (Sony has received complaints on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped)... Since then, the ARccOS system has once again been updated, and there are no longer any playability problems.' Customers can call 800-860-2878 to inquire about replacement discs."

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210 comments

So few complaints? (5, Interesting)

Biogenesis (670772) | about 7 years ago | (#18779259)

0.001%? Did they even ship enough disks in the first place to get such a small number of complaints as one in 100,000?

*crosses fingers and hopes my maths is right* :p.

Re:So few complaints? (5, Insightful)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#18779281)

I think most of the people didn't even report to Sony.

If a DVD was not working, I would just bring it back to the shop, the second time I would exchange it for another DVD (not the same movie).

My 2 cents on what probably happened is that they did not count all the returns for these titles, they just counted the people who sent emails complaints or called their hot-line and who told specifically about the DRM problem so they could minimize the problem, which is alot better for them from a marketing point of view.

Re:So few complaints? (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | about 7 years ago | (#18779943)

You can be sure they will have applied a minimising criteria to the complaints reported. Honesty does not usually mix well with profit in corporate land.

There's another thing too. They seem to be talking about a large number of dvd's. Have they all actually been sold yet? I doubt it. I reckon there's some large scale behind the scenes recalls going on.

This is yet another PR blow for sony involving DRM, that makes how many? Well I don't know, if you include mp3 players its barking huge is it not.

So who was it who thought drm would be great? Seems to be costing sony rather a lot. Ant this isn't even with it being cracked, it's just with it being crap.

Re:So few complaints? (4, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | about 7 years ago | (#18780521)

This is based on my own past work experience, but often times our corporate numbers were based primarily on a specific statistic. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if, in this case, "Sony has received complaints on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped." really translates to "Sony has received complaints from registered users on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped."

If a client of ours had failed to register their software, we would still process their claim but label it as an "external client." I never trust numbers anymore...

Re:So few complaints? (2, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 7 years ago | (#18779287)

Maybe the only way to be heard by the SONY CEO when you are complaining is to be his whife or son.

Re:So few complaints? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780573)

oh what.. there can't be gay CEO's with boyfriends ? Queers complain worse than women.

Re:So few complaints? (1)

blackicye (760472) | about 7 years ago | (#18779289)

Yet another reason to not buy DRM ridden original movies, aside of course from the fact these movies were probably not worth watching in the first place.

Hey...maybe they're doing consumers a favor by not letting them watch said movie.

Re:So few complaints? (5, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | about 7 years ago | (#18779297)

0.001%? Did they even ship enough disks in the first place to get such a small number of complaints as one in 100,000?
I can assure you that this is a gross underestimate of the actual situation. I'm guessing that Sony didn't get that many complaints because people were just beginning to track the problem back to them. I'm one of the people who was hit by this (with my Toshiba DVD player), and it was only three weeks ago that I was certain the problem was with Sony, as it was only the second DVD I had rented that had problems. I would guess that most people complained first to the video rental stores (like Blockbuster) or their retailer (Walmart), and then moved on to their DVD manufacturer (I know this was my progression). That would mean that most of the complaints have not yet really reached Sony, and they are just trying to sidestep the issue now.

Re:So few complaints? (2, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 7 years ago | (#18779659)

So what exactly was the defect with these DVDs? Did they carry the official DVD logo? Isn't that a guarantee that the disc follows the published standards?

I know that with CDs, crippled discs (with deliberate data errors to defeat computer copying) cannot carry the official CD digital audio logo.

Re:So few complaints? (5, Insightful)

mrjackson2000 (733829) | about 7 years ago | (#18779853)

CD standards are set in stone
DVD standards seem to be set in jello

Re:So few complaints? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 years ago | (#18779909)

CD standards are defined and policed by one organisation.

DVD standards are the product of a large collaboration between double-figures of large businesses originally, one of them being Sony themselves. There are now hundreds involved, and AFAICS there is no single group with the authority to take enforcement action is someone is abusing the "DVD" description.

Re:So few complaints? (2, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about 7 years ago | (#18779299)

I guess that would work out to 1 complaint. One one thousandth of one percent would need to assume 1 complaint for every 10 million copies sold, right?

Does anybody believe that Sony sold 10 million copies of Casino Royale? Personally, I have a hard time believing they even pressed 10 million copies of that.

This is like their inflated Blue-Ray numbers as well.

You can't trust what Sony says. They are a bunch of ... not nice people....

learn to count (4, Insightful)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | about 7 years ago | (#18779325)

1 percent is 1/100. One thousandth of that is 1/1000 * 1/100 = 1/100000
Or one out of a hundred thousand. Your argument still stands, though.

Re:learn to count (0, Offtopic)

mishac (75996) | about 7 years ago | (#18780321)

As an off topic aside, you spelled "Gandhi" wrong in your sig :P

Re:learn to count (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780711)

you spelled "Gandhi" wrong
How do you misspell a transliteration?

Re:So few complaints? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#18780795)

You are incorrect. they are a bunch of.....

Unko no neyoi kagu hito

oh yeah and they also are..

manuke

I knew learning insults in Japanese was going to be useful someday!

Re:So few complaints? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 years ago | (#18779437)

There were a few titles affected, and a couple of them were major releases.

But who complains to the publishers? I tried to find a number or email address ro anything to complain about the stupid anti-piracy ad at the start of DVDs but the contact details are pretty hard to find (Which is strange. I'd have thought they'd like to know when they're irrritating their customers). It's a lot easier to just take it back to the shop.

Re:So few complaints? (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#18779505)

Is shipped the same as sold?

They might have shipped 100gazillian disks but if they are sat in a distribution warehouse in each respective country then that could explain the difference.

Re:So few complaints? (4, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | about 7 years ago | (#18779731)

Ya that's what Intel said about the Pentium bug...people should send in physical letters to Sony (not emails) by millions.
This will make them see light of day.

Re:So few complaints? (1)

Selivanow (82869) | about 7 years ago | (#18780121)

"...complaints on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped)"

The operative word here people is SHIPPED...says nothing about the actual amount of discs SOLD. Who knows, given the quality of movies lately it could be 50% of those sold :)

Re:So few complaints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780201)

Studies show us that 1 person complains for every 1 billion people affected. Sony must have got at least a dozen complaints to notice. So, that means Sony affected at least 12 BILLION people... Yes, That means kids you haven't even had yet are upset on this one!

I like how the worded it 'shipped' not 'purchased'. It must not be a big deal if the store did not call in once for each copy on their shelves!

Re:So few complaints? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 7 years ago | (#18780397)

The important message here is that (a) they flinched, and (b) they flinched bad enough that they whipped out some phony/misleading statistic to try to defend their failed policy of sticking DRM on everything.

I got a more reliable fix for such problems... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779273)

It's called the AVI file format...

Re:I got a more reliable fix for such problems... (1)

Selivanow (82869) | about 7 years ago | (#18780161)

AVI is not a file format. It is a container format.
Sorry...I had to; can't let misinformation be spread on Slashdot....what would the world think?!

Re:I got a more reliable fix for such problems... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18780461)

How does the fact that it specifies how to write media streams to disk not make it a file format? It isn't a video format, but it sure seems like a file format.

Re:I got a more reliable fix for such problems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780229)

Yeah... because I never have incompatibility problems with avi container files. ;)

I have the solution! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779315)

Instead of calling the 800 number, consumers can visit their local torrent site and download the movie for free long before the replacement disc reaches their door.

Have a great day Sony.

Re:I have the solution! (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 7 years ago | (#18779729)

Instead of calling the 800 number, consumers can visit their local torrent site and download the movie for free long before the replacement disc reaches their door.

Don't download the ISO though, otherwise you'll be straight back to square one...

Re:I have the solution! (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about 7 years ago | (#18780107)

At which point you proceed not to square two, but straight to square three and just rip/encode that ISO into an AVI or something else you can easily play.


Seriously though, I recognise that there are problems playing these broken discs on hardware players, which have a high probability of honoring every little DRM-related flag the DVD author sees fit to use, but what exactly what would prevent one of these broken discs, or an ISO of it, from working under XINE or other such tools which happily ignore the control-freak BS found on some discs?

Contradiction? (2, Interesting)

catxk (1086945) | about 7 years ago | (#18779345)

there are no longer any playability problems

So, the update consisted of removing the DRM? Not even Sony can deny that the soul point of DRM is to create playability problems...

Re:Contradiction? (2, Interesting)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 7 years ago | (#18779375)

Since I read on different places that an easy solution was to rip the disk (apparently, many different easily available tools were capable of this task despite the new protection), the purpose couldn't seriously be fighting against piracy.

Re:Contradiction? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779477)

Who exactly are they fighting? The people who buy their products?

Re:Contradiction? (4, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 7 years ago | (#18779555)

Yep.

As a fan of "The Simpsons" who buys the series boxed sets when they're released, I emailed Fox about the logic of putting their "Piracy Is A Crime" video at the front of every DVD (a video which is impossible to skip through) when the first thing any pirate will do is remove that same video on any copied disks.

I also told Fox that I considered it fair use to rip those DVDs to AVI format to store and watch on my media PC and that the anti-piracy video was contrary to what I bought that product for - namely the ability to use the "Digital Versatile Disk" format as and when I chose to watch Simpsons episodes, without having that blasted video popping up every time.

That was over a year ago and despite two follow-up emails, I have never even got any acknowledgements from them, let alone a reply.

Re:Contradiction? (1, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 years ago | (#18779647)

I emailed Fox about the logic of putting their "Piracy Is A Crime" video at the front of every DVD (a video which is impossible to skip through)

Phone their anti-piracy hotline to complain.

Don't know if it will help, but the way I figure it, if they want to waste my time, I'm going to be petty and waste theirs.

Re:Contradiction? (2, Interesting)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | about 7 years ago | (#18780031)

Erm, I hate to say this but.. stop buying them?

I have the entire Farscape series on DVD.. and I love watching them. If they had that message I would be sickened before getting through series one. I have one (1) DVD that I know of that has this message. After seeing it on a disc I purchase I stopped buying DVDs.

As a footnote, after going to the movies 3 times and sitting through the useless mpaa ad about 'stealing is a crime' I don't go to the cinema any more. (yes, I know what stealing is, and what a crime is, and I know what mpaa do to people in the US through the courts). Besides not having my ears blasted, other people ruining the movie and a whole list of other reasons not to go.. I find myself with 1/2 hour of my life NOT spend watching ads and short versions of movies (which they pathetically call 'trailers'.

Re:Contradiction? (1)

ofcourseyouare (965770) | about 7 years ago | (#18780131)

On the whole I agree, but pirated disks don't remove the intro video about piracy; on the contrary, Chinese pirated disks I've seen faithfully reproduce the packaging, complete with dire warnings about piracy.

The fact that this text obviously doesn't work makes it all the more bizarre that DVDs punish customers by making them sit through often not one but two legal screens -- one about piracy, the other about how any interviews do not reflect the views of the corporation. Couldn't they at least put these on one screen? Imagine if a magazine or a website always forced you to read the legal small print before you got to the content...

IANAL but surely this legal text is irrelevant anyway? Surely no pirate could defend themselves by saying "there was no legal warning against piracy on the video so I thought I could copy it." So why bother?

Re:Contradiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779919)

I had trouble with DVDDecryptor on a Sony DVD

PGCEDIT (2, Informative)

RMH101 (636144) | about 7 years ago | (#18780395)

plus DVD Decrypter and DVDShrink will rip all the ones I've seen. PGCEdit automates the use of these and strips out the dodgy Arccoss stuff...Takes me about 30 mins to rip a DVD and burn a new one.

I wouldn't be too sure... (4, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 7 years ago | (#18779537)

Look at the way their DRM [wikipedia.org] currently works:

The system deliberately creates a number of sectors on the DVD with corrupted data that cause DVD copying software to produce errors. Normal DVD players never read these sectors since they follow a set of instructions encoded on the disc telling them to skip them. Less sophisticated DVD playing programs do not follow these instructions and instead try to read every sector on the disk sequentially, including the bad ones. Slysoft's AnyDVD, Fengtao's DVDFab Decrypter, RipIt4Me + DVD Decrypter + FixVTS + DVD Shrink, MacTheRipper (freeware), along with VLC media player[1] and MPlayer/MEncoder (for Linux) are usually able to overcome ARccOS protection.

Which really, really makes me wonder exactly what players it was intended to kill...

I think I've seen these before, incidentally. But it seems that the whole point is to fuck up their disks exactly enough that they won't play on certain players (God knows which ones, if mplayer can play it), but not enough that they won't play on real players. Thus, it's based not at all on actual standards (like CSS), and entirely on existing DVD players.

They could be calling it an "update" meaning an actual removal, as a marketspeak word. Or it could really be an update, basically figuring out exactly how the cheap DVD players play discs, and making these DVDs playable in that, but still a PITA for something like dd.

Re:I wouldn't be too sure... (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#18779935)

I think I've seen these before, incidentally. But it seems that the whole point is to fuck up their disks exactly enough that they won't play on certain players (God knows which ones, if mplayer can play it), but not enough that they won't play on real players. Thus, it's based not at all on actual standards (like CSS), and entirely on existing DVD players.

IOW, a variation on the copy-protection used on some CDs. And about as useful, purely because (as we've seen before), it is not physically possible to break the specifications a little bit and in doing so accurately target a subsection of the number of players out there. That's the whole point of standardised specifications.

Note that BluRay/HD-DVD accounts for this by design. (I don't think it will do a jot of good, because sooner or later a means of avoiding the issue altogether will appear, but that's by the bye.)

Re:I wouldn't be too sure... (1)

bilgebag (102479) | about 7 years ago | (#18780757)

Or it could really be an update, basically figuring out exactly how the cheap DVD players play discs, and making these DVDs playable in that, but still a PITA for something like dd.

I think this is exactly what they will have done. Most likely they will have moved the defective sectors further away from the real data the players ought to be reading, so they don't get caught up in the read-ahead buffers of the simpler players.

Eventually all that will be frustrated is someone trying to copy the .VOB files as a whole, as you say.

Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779357)

So Sony once again swapped discs for DRM'd version and didn't tell anyone.

That's a pity, there comes a point where a company gets bigger than it's customers, and it looks like Sony have reached that point. Well the PS3 was only a discretionary buy anyway, I was torn between a Wii and a PS3, now that decision is a lot clearer.

Then there's my camera update, I'll opt for the Canon Ixus now over the Cybershot.

Knock yourself out Sony, really, I can avoid buying your stuff till the cows come home with no inconvenience to myself.

Great attitude... (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 7 years ago | (#18779567)

Now if only we could all be so bold when it comes to Microsoft?

Sony global boycott (2, Insightful)

rhyre417 (919946) | about 7 years ago | (#18779653)

After the PS2 class action, the rootkit DRM fiasco, and now this DVD DRM fiasco, how many more times will it take for the public to wake up and realize they have ALL of the power in this situation?
Check out http://defectivebydesign.org/ [defectivebydesign.org] for details on how DRM hurts consumers.
If you don't buy ANY of their stuff, including movies, you can't get hurt. The last Sony product I purchased was a movie ticket to a showing of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
As for Microsoft avoidance, that's what GNU/Linux systems are for.

Oh but I do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779855)

I may be locked into Windows, but the rest of Microsoft products are very easy to avoid and I do that with remarkable ease....

Tom Tom GPS vs Mio? Mio runs CE, so go for the Tom Tom, turns out to be the best choice in later reviews anyway.
Run the servers on Windows 2003? Or Fedora? Fedora, easy one that, cheaper, more secure, easier web interface... it's proved to be a solid server for over 3 years now.

When I get the chance to walk away from Windows, I'll be even happier.

Re:Oh but I do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780067)

Yeah, I'll run my servers on Linux when I want to start losing money. Get the facts, [microsoft.com] people.

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (0, Offtopic)

CRCulver (715279) | about 7 years ago | (#18779677)

For not much more than you'd spend on an Ixus, you could get a Powershot with vastly more powerful features. I got a Powershot G7 [amazon.com] and am very happy with it. I thought the Ixus line was targeting people who need cameras that are fashion accessories and which complement clothing. If your needs are travel photography or just taking family photos around the house, Powershots are better economy.

But anyway, turning this somewhat on topic: even choosing a Canon camera involves supporting a not entirely blameless company. Remember, Canon is a company whose RAW format is proprietary and undocumented, and offering a third-party way to open it may be treading into dangerous legal waters. It's better than Sony, sure, but it seems like corporations have sunk to such lows that all shopping these days is choosing the lesser of evils.

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 7 years ago | (#18779849)

Canon is a company whose RAW format is proprietary and undocumented, and offering a third-party way to open it may be treading into dangerous legal waters.
Do you mean the way Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, DXO, Bibble Pro, Breeze Browser, ThumbsPlus, Capture One, RawShooter, Silverfast, Silkypix etc do? No idea if they've just used an off the shelf Canon API or written their own based on specs supplied but given how all the RAW convertors each have their own unique look with finished results, I doubt they're all using a standard Canon supplied package under the bonnet.

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (1)

LordKronos (470910) | about 7 years ago | (#18780267)

The reason output from all those photos looks different isn't because of how the programs read the data, but rather how they go about image processing.

For one, raw files don't contain RGB pixels. They contain pixels that consist of a single color. The entire image is a mosaic of red,green, and blue...sort of light looking at a TV screen up close ( http://farm1.static.flickr.com/9/68984572_93b0b72f 71.jpg?v=0 [flickr.com] ). It's up to the program to demosaic it, and for that, there is no official way. There isn't even a "correct" way to do it. Then each program has to apply white balance, and again, there is variation here.

After that, it's a free for all of what each program chooses to do & how it does it, in terms of levels/curves, color toning, saturation, adjusting for lens distortion and chromatic aberrations, etc. Finally, each program has to apply sharpening, which is a huge field on it's own.

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 7 years ago | (#18780317)

I know what RAW is and how it works. The point I was trying (and clearly failing) to make is that the OPs comment that Canon's RAW format is undocumented anc clearly from the number of third party programs that work with Canon RAW, it isn't.
A developer will either have the RAW format documented in which case they will be doing the decoding you describe or they'll be using some sort of Canon supplied toolkit where they'll be calling a function that returns the data from the RAW file for further processing.

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | about 7 years ago | (#18780785)

AFAIK, the RAW format isn't really a "format", it's just a "core dump" of the CCD. If the CCD data outputs are documented, it should correlate with the RAW file.

Cybershot or Olympus (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | about 7 years ago | (#18780103)

Funny you should mention that... the camera purchase I mean.
A friend of mine recently (last weekend) asked me for help in purchasing a new camera. It came down to a cybershot (the upgraded version of the one I have, which I quite like btw) or an Olympus model. The guy behind the counter was good to do a deal on either and in the end he asked me which one I'd buy.

My response? 'Do you know what Sony did with the rootkit fiasco a while back? Right? Yes. Ok. Do you REALLY want to plug *anything* made by Sony into your PC? Even if it is only a camera that connects via USB so you can upload. Your choice.'

He bought the Olympus. (yes, for other reasons than that 'it's a Sony! Yuck!'. Still)

Yes, it is only one sale. Yes, it is only one cheap ($300) camera. However, it is one less Sony product sold, and one more person who will seriously think about *anything* branded with Sony in the future. And his family. And his friends. And anyone else who asks me if I'd reccomend a Sony product.

Back to the article. I'm shockd that it says that it is 'fixing problems'. I thought that it meant that they were going to remove the DRM :)

Re:Phuttt... there goes the last trust for Sony (1)

monsted (6709) | about 7 years ago | (#18780263)

/cry

Sorry folks, I really want that Bravia 46" LCD. At least that'll support their legitimitely good hardware business, not horribly evil Sony Entertainment...

Cynical? (2, Insightful)

Obvius (779709) | about 7 years ago | (#18779377)

So as soon as this story started to gain momentum, they issued a fix and a statement offering a replacement disk. Well, full marks to Sony for learning from recent public relations disasters, but I doubt I'd be so impressed if I was one of the people who had experienced this problem, and I had been complaining left right and centre to no avail for several weeks. Seems as though Sony only back-pedalled on this issue once they feared another DRM PR-storm was the brewing up.

Re:Cynical? (2, Insightful)

anotherone (132088) | about 7 years ago | (#18780803)

You doubt you'd be impressed if you'd gotten what you'd been asking for? Would you rather Sony say "Yeah, sorry guys, you're right, we're just going to shut the company down now. Feel free to download a copy of Casino Royale in ogg .mkv from our website!"?

If the disc plays... (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 years ago | (#18779397)

What's to stop me whipping out DVD Decrypter and just stripping this copy protection? If need be, I could then fire up Nero Recode and do my own menus too. How does any copy protection scheme work on a format that doesn't expect one or have any way for a player to enforce it? Seriously I wonder if Sony HQ shouldn't muzzle Sony BMG and tell them to forget about retro DRM schemes because it seems to be fuckups all the way. The whole company is getting a bad reputation because of one small part - a part which in truth should be subservient to the rest, and not the other way around as it seems to be at the moment.

Re:If the disc plays... (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 years ago | (#18779481)

Uhm. Apparently nothing stops you. All the ripping tools seem to work.

I'm not quite sure what the improved DRM does to protect them. Maybe it means that if someone does a bit-for-bit copy it isn't going to work or something but cracking these is so easy I'd be surprised if anyone does that. Most of the pirate DVDs I've seen are either cheap DVD-R copies, or are so well presented that the extra work of decrypting them would be trivial.

Re:If the disc plays... (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 years ago | (#18779527)

That's my point. I can easilt rip a DVD and produce a perfectly acceptable single or dual layer DVD+R with about 90 minutes work. I don't see any point at all in Sony or anybody else attempting to copy protect DVDs or CDs since the measures are trivial to circumvent. So what if it prevents bit-for-bit copies? I expect the first thing most pirates would do is run the disc through DVD decryptor or similar first to strip out macrovision, region encoding etc. anyway.

Casual copying (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 years ago | (#18779915)

Presumably the point is that it's a disincentive to casual copying. Of course pretty much any current DRM scheme can be broken fairly easily by geeks with the right kit... but most people who buy those DVDs aren't geeks with the right kit.

Re:Casual copying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779931)

The point is these were still rippable with DVDShrink, which has got to be the most used DVD ripping program on PC, even if it is ages old. Searching for it on Google doesn't take too long either. It is not like we needed some new fangled tool to rip the DVD that wasn't available before this came out.

Also, these things should not be going after casual copying, because most casual copiers are not the ones uploading things to Torrent sites. Casual copiers are the ones trying to make backups for when their disc becomes scratched or otherwise unwatchable. Or for encoding the DVD into a video format playable on your portable device. These should both be covered under Fair Use (something the industry hates), but they want to stop this so they can charge you three or four times, for each possible use of the item. Trust me Sony and the rest of the MPAA (and RIAA) members lose far more money from large pirates then they ever would from the casual copier.

Re:If the disc plays... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780771)

What's to stop me whipping out DVD Decrypter and just stripping this copy protection?

Nothing, other than the fact that DVD Decrypter hasn't been updated in several years and can't read Sony protected discs.

It must suck to be a DRM engineer (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#18779411)

When your stuff works too well, you have to "fix" it. When it doesn't work well enough, you have to fix it. And in the theoretical scenario where you get it to work just right, you'll be hated, and likely out of a job.

Re:It must suck to be a DRM engineer (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#18779671)

When your stuff works too well, you have to "fix" it. When it doesn't work well enough, you have to fix it. And in the theoretical scenario where you get it to work just right, you'll be hated, and likely out of a job.

Most DRM technology providers so far were clueless idiots capitalizing on the greed of the media companies.

Granted AACS is actually well designed (but due to implementation flaws and nature of DRM, not perfect), but everything else I've inspected is just hack upon hack creating the illusion of protection. No wonder it's failure prone.

Re:It must suck to be a DRM engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780231)

Hey stop talking bad about my lock(object DVD); I have 8 children to feed you insensitive clod

I have a simpler fix..... (5, Insightful)

blankoboy (719577) | about 7 years ago | (#18779427)

STOP buying SONY media all together. First they plant rootkits on the PC's of their loyal customers and now this headache. I vote with my wallet plain and simple. Any company that is going to be a pull these sorts of antics simply won't be getting any $$ love from me. People forgive and forget far too quickly and thus the big monster doesn't learn it's lesson.

One lesson here: Vote with your Wallet and don't give your money to prick companies.

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 7 years ago | (#18779475)

Whilst I agree with your sentiment (and I myself do not buy anything by Sony), most people just want "something that works" and don't care about DRM as long as they can see their hi-res movies and play their protected CDs on their hifi.

It's not a case of "forgive and forget" - far too many people are too damned lazy to keep themselves well informed which is precisely what the DRM-supporting corporations are banking on to get DRM in quietly through the back door.

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 years ago | (#18780039)

It's not a case of "forgive and forget" - far too many people are too damned lazy to keep themselves well informed which is precisely what the DRM-supporting corporations are banking on to get DRM in quietly through the back door.

And what else should I be keeping myself informed about? The latest proposed abuses of drivers to extort more money, and the latest stupid "pro-cycling" legislation that makes cycling more dangerous? The relative morality of the food sourcing policies of the four major supermarket brands with stores near my home? The levels of customer service of my ISP and telephone company? The details of the different extortionate charges levied by all the banks with branches in my city?

There are two big problems with your argument. Firstly, no consumer has the time and experience to know about everything. Secondly, even if they did, since it's common for most or all of the big name businesses to cut the same corners in the name of increasing profits while keeping competitive prices, while the smaller or more ethical businesses can't compete on price and are essentially a niche market for dedicated "ethical consumers".

This is why a completely free market is often not a good idea, and government should intervene with regulation/legislation where markets fail to act appropriately without such incentives. No-one else has the time and resources to monitor diverse consumer markets and keep the big boys in line.

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779543)

First they plant rootkits on the PC's of their loyal customers and now this headache.

Not to mention that their first fix for the rootkit made the problem worse. Why would we believe we weren't being slipped some other evil in this new iteration and fix?

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (4, Insightful)

Bueller_007 (535588) | about 7 years ago | (#18779721)

Just make sure you--and anyone else who chooses to boycott Sony products--e-mail them and tell them that the reason you won't be purchasing any more of their products is their copyright protection schemes. Otherwise, they're libel to blame decreasing sales on piracy and up the ante even further.

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780235)

Don't thing the anti(?) warez d00dz @ Sony are stupid by any means. They know that piracy isn't the only reason for decreased sales (if a reason at all...). They (the industry) are on the verge of losing their "single vendor lock-in" (i.e. the cycle of movies first going to theatres, then DVD, then broadcast TV), and are fighting by any means to keep the golden egg laying goose alive. These means probably even include lying (!) about the received amount of email. No it is not Sony you should mail, but someone else...

Re:I have a simpler fix..... (0, Redundant)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#18780813)

Amen. I gave up buying sony gear years ago. Its expensive and the extra money hasn't necessarily gone on quality control.

You can say a lot about Sony (3, Insightful)

MadJo (674225) | about 7 years ago | (#18779429)

But this 'fix' came a lot quicker than their debacle with the broken CDs.

On the other hand, this fix would not have been necessary, had they not used DRM in the first place.
And it doesn't leave the fact, that I'm still not buying anything that Sony makes.

Re:You can say a lot about Sony (4, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | about 7 years ago | (#18779511)

Therein is the reasoning that still eludes Sony, even after this event and the rootkit. When the security feature is designed to guard against the customers, and the real security threat can get around the security feature anyway, then we're all wasting time and money. Sony is probably still looking at this as a PR issue, rather than as a bad security and technology decision.

Awaiting arrival of clue ... error: clue still absent.

Fuck Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779453)

I've said it before and I'll sayy it again (and again, and again)

Fuck Sony.

Seriously. Those bastards do not deserve to stay in business.

ARCcOS DRM? (5, Insightful)

cortana (588495) | about 7 years ago | (#18779519)

Hm, what's this then? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARccOS [wikipedia.org] says,

The system deliberately creates a number of sectors on the DVD with corrupted data that cause DVD copying software to produce errors.
Ah, so this is the corrupted audio CD debacle all over again. Thanks Sony, for making products deliberatly designed to malfunction. Truly Defective By Design [defectivebydesign.org].

Re:ARCcOS DRM? (1)

1010110010 (1002553) | about 7 years ago | (#18779835)

Just yesterday I tried to backup my DVD of Underworld: Evolution and I couldn't because mplayer was spitting out 'CRC fail' errors. Bad sectors all over as copy-protection. Hurray for Sony.

Seriously that was the last straw for me, and that was before I saw this story too. I'm now actively avoiding Sony anything. I suppose the real test will be to see if I can keep myself from wanting a PS3 once FFXIII comes out.

Re:ARCcOS DRM? (1)

cortana (588495) | about 7 years ago | (#18779881)

Make sure you write to Sony to tell them that!

BTW, I wouldn't worry too much about the PS3. I think it's not unethical to buy them (and their games) second hand.

Re:ARCcOS DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780265)

I cock my leg and fart in the face of SONY.

Think about this (2, Informative)

ninjafirepants (1077233) | about 7 years ago | (#18779553)

Sony pays people to find a way to have a perfectly good product not work. And they're not the only ones, either. Almost all the major movie and music industries are paying people to design a way to stop their products from working. Their goal is to redefine what "works" means by taking away all the innovation required to create such glorious things as DVDs or CDs and limiting everyone to a subset of the original features, and continuously do so until we forget that the original set existed.

Vote with your wallet, and your geek-conscience. Don't put people in power that support bullshit like the DMCA. See if you can find a candidate who thinks selling products that don't work should be illegal. Write letters to companies telling them WHY you're not buying products designed to not work. Fight the man!

Re:Think about this (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 7 years ago | (#18780073)

I like the way you explain the situation. I think if more laypersons thought of it that way they might not buy into the hype of things like HDCP "enabled" TVs and monitors [etc]. Usually I explain it as "they want to control what you can do with your own machine" but people think I'm making it up or being alarmist...

"defective by design" certainly is a catchy saying too ;-)

Tom

That's nice (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#18779591)

Let me tell you a little story. When I was a child I used to yell FUCK YOU!! at the top of my lungs at any given moment. Needless to say my parents would get very upset. So they sent me to one of those "etiquette schools" to see if they could break this horrible habit. What they would do is to encourage me to say something else. It worked pretty good. So now when I think of cussing I just say, "That's nice".

Sorry seems to be the hardest word (2, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | about 7 years ago | (#18779619)

We've only got a report about this not the actual Sony statement to go on, but it seems to me that there's a total lack of apology here, just a blatantly absurd claim about how few complaints there were. Come on Sony, at least have the guts to say you are sorry... if if it's only 'we're sorry we got caught'.

Sony's PR department really don't seem to understand that they have a monumental image problem. A bit of humility in their press releases could have won back some respect for free, but instead they sent out something that reeks of arrogance.

Re:Sorry seems to be the hardest word (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 years ago | (#18780359)

Sony's PR department really don't seem to understand that they have a monumental image problem.

Many Slashdot posters really don't seem to understand that most consumers don't care about DRM and company image. They just want to watch Casino Royale or whatever, and as long as it works, they'll be happy.

Sony, however, do understand this, which is why they keep trying this sort of crap without much fear of the consequences. Until DRM becomes a high-profile issue with the general public (which basically means until the majority have been directly and adversely affected by it) Sony's PR department probably don't much care.

Of course, when DRM does become socially unacceptable, which may finally start to happen as a result of the major changes in the on-line music market over the past few days, Sony's history of abuse may well become a PR headache for them. But it's rare for any corporate PR group to think that far ahead, because often consumers just forget or don't care enough by the time the issue comes up.

Are Sony people morons ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18779655)

Really ? After ALL they did to consumers, (rootkits and other crap) gamers, (swg anyone ?), other small shitty stunts like this one, one would think that they would come to their senses by now.

At this rate, sony is going to be the first mega corp to bite the dust out of arrogance.

SONY: Time to take your medication (3, Informative)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | about 7 years ago | (#18779681)

" Sony Fixes Problems With New DVDs"
Customers ordered to only watch movies in cinemas.

"Recently, an update that was installed on approximately 20 titles was found to cause an incompatibility issue with a very small number of DVD players" .. Thus the global announcement.

"(Sony has received complaints on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped)..."
We've put this sentence to you in brackets as subtle acknowledgment that this a lie. Our public relations disaster recovery team wanted to use a ;-), but our lawyers disagreed and we thought the brackets were a good compromise.

"Since then, the ARccOS system has once again been updated, and there are no longer any playability problems.'
'Or else!' sneered the SONY spokesliar, shaking his fist and the audience,

" Customers can call 800-860-2878 to inquire about replacement discs."
Customers can also call the same number for replacement rootkits.

War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. SONY are a respectable and much-loved corporate citizen.
Could SONY be any more unpopular? Why don't they branch out into genocide and sell ballistic missiles to North Korea?
I can honestly say it wouldn't hurt their stock price.

They should dig up Morita-san and prop him up at the boardroom table. He couldn't do a worse job that Howard "Eat your damn Rootkit and love it" Stringer

No no, it's OK (1)

cheros (223479) | about 7 years ago | (#18779841)

I'm fine with them fixing this rootkit. That means it only has to be broken once, not twice.

And God help them if I find it on any Windows system I'm working with - if there is as much as a hairline crack in the legal statements made on the DVD they'll be in court again soon. That is, of course, if any of the systems I work with gets near a Sony produced DVD because there will now be an absolute ban of them.

I can't believe that a company that on one hand can make such excellent equipment can on the other hand screw up so completely that it simply defies belief. I mean, are clues too expensive? Did someone have a brain transplant? Is there nobody at the top actually *using* their head?

Hello?

There's not a single movie in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779759)

worth all the DRM hassle. I know that if I bought a faulty movie I would either try to return it, or throw it in the trash. Anyone else feel like me?

A question of volume (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18779845)

I wonder if they got more complaints that PS3s sold. I mean since they have magical numbers and all, I'm not really inclined to believe what they claim, but on some level, they either understood the complaint volume to be substantial -- or just started taking some sort of fiscal impact due to return volume.

That being said, now I wonder if they had more DVDs returned than PS3s sold.

Squeezing blood from a stone (1)

tedgyz (515156) | about 7 years ago | (#18779991)

If I bought a legit DVD that didn't play in my DVD player, I would never buy another Sony DVD again.

These corporations are so stupid. They think that piracy == lost revenue. Sure, there is SOME lost revenue, but a lot less than they probably think.

Re:Squeezing blood from a stone (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 7 years ago | (#18780027)

They probably spend more on licensing DRM and other nonsense than they lose to copyright infringement anyways.

Fundamentally the problem is the execs are [or have been] absolutely convinced that DRM is not only the solution to the problem, but that the customers actually don't mind the problems it creates. I don't know how in this day and age people still propose and want to develop DRM "solutions," as it seems like more and more laypersons are becoming aware of just how detrimental and annoying it can be.

As for never buying a sony DVD, well I'm sure the others aren't peachy clean to. What I'd do is just rent the movies, if they don't play ask for a refund on the rental. If the movie both plays and is super neato fantastic, then and only then, buy a copy. So far 99% of all recent movies fail to meet the "I'd like to see this once, let alone twice" test.

Warning Label (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 years ago | (#18780089)

DRM will always cause problems with some older players that aren't designed to handle it. The industry has decided that they should warn their customers with a clear label that the DVD may not play on DVD branded equipment. The label looks something like this [globalgiants.com]

Main page unreadable thanks to adverts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18780105)

Thisarticle appears on the main page at the moment.

Amazing that a Sun advert overlays the article text.

Or ot amazing at all.

Talk about aggressive advertising...

No, Sony has the math right (4, Insightful)

Posting=!Working (197779) | about 7 years ago | (#18780435)

Sony has the math right. Only one out of 100,000 discs sold had a complaint, you just don't understand their logic behind it.

They sold 200,000 discs. Complaint #1 was from Wal-Mart, and #2 was from Best Buy.

You didn't really think they include what consumers think in any of their decisions, do you?
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