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Self-Destructing DVD's Coming Soon 798

BrianH writes "Looks like a close cousin of everybody's favorite self-destructing video format is making a comeback. Four years after Circuit City and its Hollywood backers pulled the plug on the self-expiring DVD concept, FlexPlay Technologies has introduced the EZ-D...a 48-hour self-expiring DVD disk. The difference? This time around you don't need a special player, and "time extensions" are no longer an option. It looks like Buena Vista has already signed on to the format, so Disney, Mirimax, and all of their other companies should be using this soon. As if that wasn't bad enough, it looks like this works for music and software disks too!" Here's an older story on these technologies.
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Self-Destructing DVD's Coming Soon

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  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkHand ( 608301 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:32PM (#5977891)
    Is this really a problem for people who have access to DeCSS and a DVD burner?
  • by Marimus ( 5470 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:32PM (#5977895) Homepage

    I hate the whole thing where you have to return rentals, now mabey those lazy folk like me will be able to rent, happy in the knowledge that we're helping create usefull landfill :)
  • better this than (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:36PM (#5977917)
    newer versions of the dmca...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:36PM (#5977918)
    I think this is just a bad idea to make more plastic for the landfills mostly, but maybe you could have a
    cd with a backup copy of the software for short term license until you can talk to the vendor or something like that.

    Maybe a database server's source or something like that encoded with a key which is registered with the
    vendor or something like that.

  • by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:41PM (#5977949)
    I like the idea for rentals, I hate having to return stuff to the video store. I have doubts whether people will actually "recycle" the used-up dvds though. Personally, I do recycle, but I wonder if other people who don't like recycling will simply toss 'em, and then we'll have a massive trash problem on our hands...

    The solution is scavenger robots, that search for used-up dvds =)

    "Hey give that back! I was using that as a coaster! GNggghhhh!!"

  • Open Season (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Euphonious Coward ( 189818 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:44PM (#5977968)
    So now they have discs that you not only can copy, but must copy before they evaporate.

    Somebody tell me again how this reduces the impulse to bootleg? They might as well just sell the nicely-printed cover art, and let people get the bits from their friends, or wherever. (Maybe they can get AOL to send them out.)

  • by Carnivorous Carrot ( 571280 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:45PM (#5977973)
    Exactly! Now those who would rip the DVDs will just have to do it very quickly.

    Meanwhile the rest of us will have a problem paying $15 for a movie we can get a "2 day pass" on.


    1. Rippers not foiled
    2. Home buyers irritated they pay good money and don't "get" the movie.

    Sounds like a piss poor excursion for the record industry.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AEton ( 654737 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:45PM (#5977975)

    Is this really a problem for people who have access to DeCSS and a DVD burner?

    I wouldn't say "problem"--I'd say "boon". Suppose your '48-hour DVD' is flawed and only lasts 46. Are you going to:
    a) send it back with a friendly request for your remaining two hours, or
    b) cheerfully use your backup copy?
    And on the somewhat-more-illegal side, there's a definite advantage to a product you can 'rent' and never be expected to return--it's half as much hassle since you only have to go to the store once. (Unless you have to go back to return the discs, which might, according to the article, be reusable--but maybe that won't happen in the US, since America is so used to disposable appliances.) Good job preventing piracy, guys!

  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:47PM (#5977988) Journal
    Obviously, nobody is going to pay full price for a DVD that self destructs. This is meant as a rental replacement. However, something like this could put rental places out of business.

    Why? Rental places typically buy a certian number of new copies and rent them out repeatedly, after a few rentals the disc is paid for and it is pure profit on the disc after that, especially when you factor in the real money maker, late fees. When the movie is no longer a hot rental, they'll then just sell off their excess copies as pre-owned DVDs.

    With the self destructing DVD, rental places will continuously have to replace their stock. They will not be able to charge late fees, nor will they be able to sell excess copies they've already made money off of. Ultimately, the rental place will no longer even be necessary since you'll likely be able to buy the destructable disc at any retail outlet or direct from the company for $2 a pop.
  • Re:Capitalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:47PM (#5977989) Journal
    Capitalism at its best means that we consumers have the ability to reject this stupid idea and cause it to fail....
  • Re:What's so bad? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:49PM (#5978005)
    Recyclable or not, the cycle itself causes allot of toxic by-product. There is the fuel burned transporting the things back to the factory, then back out to the shops, as well as the output from melting them down and remoulding them, plus the packaging to seal them up and so on..

    recycling != pollution free

    This goes for anything else you may recycle. So it is best to reuse, or, not use at all. Imagine if we could fuck off the RIAA and everyone could download their music, that would have a massive positive environmental impact (no discs needed at all, and there would be guarenteed backup on the servers, meaning no reason to burn a local copy to CD).
  • by narfbot ( 515956 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:50PM (#5978007)
    What happens under different atmospheric or weather conditions? Will it, in some places, never work when opened, or in another, they will never destruct? Are you sure it's caused by reacting gasses or some maybe some kind of timer?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:50PM (#5978009)
    Ford, GM and American-made cars in general are built to break down almost to the day after the warranty expires.

  • by santakrooz ( 517854 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:51PM (#5978016)
    Gotta love it.

    "The first thing I will do is make an illegal copy, then I will return it and ask for my money back by lying and saying that it never worked."

    I'm no angel, but what ever happened to ethics? Are we now so numb to piracy that stealing and lying are considered the "first thing" one would do?

    Am I the only one who thinks there is something just a little cracked in the general conscience?

  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:54PM (#5978033) Homepage
    This is just a cheap excuse to avoid digital distribution. Downloading the movies would be cooler, and more enviro.

    It seems the polution comments are not getting modded up. Why? How many billions of these things are going to be produced? Where does plastic come from for the most part (hint - we just had a war over this stuff)? And recycling? Just how easy is it separate the thin metal film from the plastic? Besides that, if these things are reactive to air - the article mentions that they begin to expire as soon as their opened - that would suggest some sort of strong plastic/foil packaging.

    Scrap the crap - just put it up for download.
  • Re:Open Season (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:57PM (#5978053)
    You're not getting the point of this. It's not to prevent bootlegging. Get that? IT'S NOT TO PREVENT BOOTLEGGING.

    It's for lazy-ass (law-abiding) people like me who don't feel like wasting a good Sunday drive going to the video store to return a movie. It should actually save people money, as the video stores won't have to spend anything to collect on past0due DVD rentals. I'm not saying it will, but it should.

    All in all, this is A Good Thing.

  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vought ( 160908 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:03AM (#5978076)
    Duh...I want DVD...two dollah at checkout once...what a bargain!

    More disposable crap to fill up the landfills with. I'm sure glad our kids are going to have to solve the problem of a throwaway society.

    I guess it'd be too much to ask them to make the discs out of something degradeable or to include a mailer for recycling - but instead, they place the burden on the consumer to recycle the discs by asking us to mail the discs in off our own volition. Something I'm sure we all have time to do.

    In other words, these discs will NEVER get recycled.

    Seriously, as the alpha-geek crowd, we should do our part to dissuade everyone we know from even thinking of buying these.
  • by lpret ( 570480 ) <lpret42 AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:04AM (#5978077) Homepage Journal
    I would do a refund thing: charge 8 bucks for the disc, and give 5 bucks for the emptied disc. This would more than encourage recycling, yet keeping the low cost.
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:05AM (#5978082) Homepage Journal
    Of course, if you have a DeCSSing DVD player, then you can just make copies and play them anyway. The fact is that decryption tools like DeCSS are mostly necessary if you wish to copy CSS encoded DVDs on your computer, for use anywhere else. You can copy the VOBs and play them just fine with the right software. It's making a SVCD or VCD or DivX or what have you, or making a DVD which is playable in ordinary devices, that requires DeCSSing ahead of time, rather than at play time.
  • by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:05AM (#5978085) Journal

    How long is it going to take for companies like this to realize it? turn-around traffic is way too important to rental stores for disposable media to work. IIRC, Blockbuster claimed that a full 1/3 of their rental business comes from turn-arounds.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a customer returning one video and renting another, usually on impulse, in the same visit to the store. Obviously, if there's no returns, there's fewer opportunities to visit the store. Thus, fewer rentals, impulse or planned. Needless to say, that's a Bad Thing when rentals are your business. And how much of an impact is a constant flow of disposal DVDs going to have on inventory management?

    It was a loser with Circuit City DIVX. Earlier generations of self-destructing media were losers. No matter how much they improve the materials, it won't stop being a loser until they can make up for the lost traffic at Blockbuster and Hollywood.

  • by pickup22 ( 673933 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:13AM (#5978124) Homepage
    And crap it is. I'm no environmentalist but the last thing we need is more garbage. If they had some recycling plan in place where the DVSs could be returned (even if its not as convenient as a video store) I might consider it. Otherwise it is one of the most obviously wasteful plans I've heard of in recent years. I wouldn't mind collecting 10-20 of them and dropping them off somewhere - it would still be easier than rental but as is I'll never tough it.
  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:14AM (#5978127) Homepage Journal
    Why should I care?

    We're always saying the music industry doesn't have any right to keep making money with an obsolete business model after technology has supersceded it, and that if they continue to stick with it then they deserve to die, even if it worked in the past. Well, the same thing goes for rental places. If technology comes along and puts them out of business, well, too bad. They have no fundamental right to remain.
  • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poptones ( 653660 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:16AM (#5978138) Journal
    I think widespread use of this tech could really drive the sale of huge-GB hard drives.

    Speaking as someone more than 30 miles from the nearest "good" rental shop, I really hope this catches on.

  • by nightcrawler77 ( 644839 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:21AM (#5978162)

    Excellent point.

    And just imagine what happens when the public gets used to this crap: the studios permanently end the sale of DVD's and slowly inch up the pricing on these self-destructing ones. There you'll have it, the pay-per-play business model they so desire.

    That would also throw a fat wrench in the whole Fair Use/DVD copying argument...right now, we are entitled to make backups of our DVD's since we have purchsed them. But once you can no longer buy a DVD that will last more than 48 hours, what argument do you have that you should be allowed to back it up? Sadly,'s going to be gone in two days anyway.

    And I'm not even going to go into the issue of the waste this system would produce. I guess the MPAA's five-year plan is to have a worthless DVD sitting next to every worthless AOL CD in every landfill across America. Someone just shoot me now.

  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:22AM (#5978167) Homepage Journal
    Of course nobody cares about the pollution, think about this for one second, it's not a very large problem.

    In my household, we go through a couple of good-sized garbage bags a week. Even if we rented fifty movies every week it would hardly make a noticeable addition to our trash output. Even if you only count the nondegradable trash, an average movie watcher's rental consumption will not come close to touching the amount of other stuff they already throw away.
  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:24AM (#5978178) Homepage Journal
    From what I heard on NPR, the disks can be ripped and copied. They also likened the expiration process to rust, which I thought was odd.

    It should be interesting to see how these effect the storage market and the film industry. Imagine a game that requires a CD that expires in 48 hours. How about a copy of Windows where the install disk fries itself after install? This combined with product activation would be a real pain in the ass.

  • by miu ( 626917 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:25AM (#5978186) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who thinks there is something just a little cracked in the general conscience?

    Nope, I'm baffled by how acceptable theft has become. I know the big media companies are bad and want to restrict our rights, but that does not justify consuming their product and not paying for it.

    The attitude of "if I can get away with it then I should do it" seems to be everywhere.

  • by sklib ( 26440 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:35AM (#5978231)
    I guess vinyl records last a bit longer than 2 days, but if you play one enough, it will wear down, especially in the old days. Then you've got to go get a new one. I'm sure back before tapes, repeat record purchases were at least a noticeable boost in a record company's profits.
  • by mouselock ( 668455 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:51AM (#5978286)
    What makes you think the target location is Best Buy for this type thing? Assuming it's cheap enough to produce in the first place, I expect these things will wind up in AOL-tryoutesque type boxes near, say, checkout lines in convenience stores, supermarkets, and the like. It's not going to be for selection, but rather a great way for companies to rake in more of the profit on the immediate rental boom of new releases. DVDs are DVDs. Unlike video tapes, there are no staggered rental/consumer releases by which the movie companies can recoup the "losses" incurred by folks renting instead of buying their own copies of a movie. This directly addresses that fundamental flaw in the DVD model. In addition, there are some nice marketing ideas to be imagined here. Self-destructing DVD copies of Silence of the Lambs in the Chianti portion of the wine section, anyone?
  • by Lairdsville ( 600242 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:10AM (#5978354)
    If this takes off, I can imagine buying these DVD's in the supermarket or anywhere. Anyone could sell them because you would not need to support the whole rental infrastructure.

    Glad I don't own a rental store, this could be the end of the business.

  • waiting... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tabby ( 592506 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:21AM (#5978391) Homepage
    I guess I won't bother buying a DVD player then and just wait until iDVD can connect to Apples EDVD store to download the latest and greatest.
  • by MrTangent ( 652704 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:22AM (#5978397)
    This is probably the STUPIDEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD OF. Arguably more stupid than Circuit Cities proprietary pay-per-play Divx discs a few years back. Hello PEOPLE, this is just MORE garbage that is going to go into the trash piles.
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:25AM (#5978402) Homepage
    Hey.. if they want to blow another $100 million to try it again, go ahead. I personally would have figured it out the first time, but that's just me.

  • Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:26AM (#5978404) Homepage
    So now when i want a copy to keep, "yours to keep forever" as the disney advert says... i`m FORCED to use DeCSS to copy the dvd..
    But how about the expiring media we already have? movie companies expect you to buy new copies if the media gets damaged (happens eventually even if your carefull.. not to mention accidents and kids) or stolen (this is why i only have burnt cds in my car)
    Media companies should provide replacement media free or at cost if you can show proof of purchase of the original.
  • workarounds: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by acidrain69 ( 632468 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:40AM (#5978438) Journal
    Submerge the disc in an oxygen-poor environment. Someone already noted nitrogen. Possibly water (I guess it depends on the chemical reaction), oxygen gas is O-O, water is H-O-H, depending on the chemical they use it may not react with the oxygen in the water. Watch DVD, submerge in tupperware DVD holder until next viewing cycle :)

    CD/DVD layer cleaners. Those Dr. Fixit things that clean scratched CD's. The chemical has to be exposed to oxygen, why can't you just scratch off the opaqueness? Kind of a reverse write-over-the-copy-protection-on-the-CD-with-a-sh arpie.

    Least cost-effective: Open the DVD in a vacuum and put it in it's player, in a vacuum. :)

    Seriously though, unless these are recycleable, I hope they fail miserably. What a huge waste of resources. More crap to throw away. What irresponsibility. What happened to ethics? Corporate responsibility? I guess you save some gas not having to return them tho. It better be cheaper than renting, cuz I live a quarter mile from a blockbuster. I don't mind renting and returning every once in a while.

    More chemistry to think about: Is it the oxygen that bonds to the disc that makes the disc opaque? Or does it bind and pull whatever off the disc causing it to be unreadable, kind of like an oxygen wash? Would another chemical binding cause the disc to not be opaque and never fail? I'm no chemist, I only have a rudimentary understanding of the underlying forces. Your thoughts?
  • Re:So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Squarewav ( 241189 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:40AM (#5978439)
    well the only problem I could think of is becouse the disks go bad after being exposed to air that the disks were made for basicly at 1x dvd, ripping at 16x may couse the disks to go bad before its even done ripping ( moving at such a high speed will couse the air to move faster over it and could couse the chemical to react much faster then it can handle) the workaround would be just to rip at 1x
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:50AM (#5978482) Journal
    Go Go Gadget DVD ripper..

    hehehe As soon as I read the article I thought of that.

    The thing that really pisses me off with this is it's yet another disposable consumable. AKA more waste for the friggin' landfills. I mean what, exactly, is wrong with the current DVD format? I can understand the use of these for, say, screeners for video stores, and awards consideration etc... but again, this is yet another ridiculous idea to rank next to the disposable cellphone.

    Resources on this planet are not unlimited, and we're always being told to conserve and the like, and then a company comes along with a disposable format of a product that a lot of people already have.

    Question: What happens if you're watching the disk at the moment 48 hours is up? Does it slowly corrode? Just die? Can the process be stopped with, for example, freezing? Or being vacuum sealed in a bag?

    Another question: If this moronic idea is being adopted, how long before a "mistake" is made at the pressing plant, and the $40 boxed set you just shelled out on dies two days after you open it?
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:53AM (#5978494) Journal
    You just have to hold your breath a REAL long time...

    I think this says a lot about how ripped off we are with regular DVD's. I mean this seems to be targetted at the rental market. It appears to be an additional process in the manufacturing (at least from skimming the article I got that impression), which will increase expense, and yet it appears these will be sold at rental prices...

  • by n8j ( 519166 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:57AM (#5978515) Homepage
    I'm surprised that all of the comments here are negative. True, attempts at this sort of thing have failed before, but just because the MPAA is supporting something doesn't mean it's a horrible idea. For one, I don't think blockbuster's lost business is much of a problem. They, much like the music industry have a business model that is being made obsolete by new technology. Admittedly, expiring DVD's might be an attempt by the movie industry to get your money, but personally I am happy to see new technology being innovated that give you incentive to buy there movies (convenience) as opposed to the MPAA trying to make it so we are unable to use the technology we already have (P2P, DVD writing) to prop up an obsolete business model.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:16AM (#5978580) Homepage
    The "something better" being advocated here is better only for the consumer.

    Well, as it is the public that is sacrificing something in order to grant a copyright to begin with, it doesn't seem inappropriate for them to be the only people that count.

    However, you're underestimating what the public wants. Essentially there are two goals. First, the public wants works created. Original and derivative works. Second, the public wants to use them. And not to merely use them, but to be able to get them for free, copy them, change them, distribute them, base derivative works upon them, etc.

    So you're right: this would trade off some added satisfaction for the second goal in exchange for less satisfaction of the first. However, bear in mind that there is some addition satisfaction of the first goal in the form of derivative works.

    Sometimes expanding copyrights will leave the public better off than before; other times it will be harmful. Sometimes reducing copyrights will leave the public better off than before; other times it will be less better off.

    Note the subtle difference -- it's because at our baseline, where there is no copyright at all, there is nevertheless satisfaction of the first goal somewhat, and total satisfaction of the second. Too much copyright, however, might be able to reduce the overall public benefit below the baseline, due to overprotection inhibiting the creation of original works (perhaps because they're labeled derivative by entrenched interests) and of course as we've seen, inhibiting public use, in the broad sense above.

    Basically, there's some optimal point out there, and the idea is to find it and stay atop it. At the moment, I think we're overprotective and have overshot the optimal point.

    And as already noted, there is another option. To set aside taking pains to balance the system, and instead just satisfying specific goals. Perhaps due to administrability issues. If people wanted noncommercial copying to be legal, even though this might prevent the optimal point from being reached, so long as it is above the baseline, I don't have a serious problem with that.

    In short: if fewer works are created, but everyone is overall happier and better off -- so be it. Some things come at too high a price.

    The problem is that there is nothing more than a desire to get something of value for free on the part of the consumer in this case.

    That is in fact the entire purpose of the copyright system to begin with.

    The author (or owner) of the creative work is not paid what he is owed. How is that anything other than theft?

    Well, assuming we're dealing with legal reforms, the question is in error. The author isn't owed anything to begin with if the law doesn't extend his copyright that far.

    And theft of course is a pejorative that really has no place here. It doesn't describe what's going on in a legal sense, and the only reason people bother to invoke the T-word at all is to make a cheap character attack. Would it kill you to use the proper term? Aren't your arguments strong enough to work without slurs?
  • by Doc Hopper ( 59070 ) <> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:31AM (#5978624) Homepage Journal
    The point is not to prevent copying. It is to destroy the movie rental business, or at least give the studios a much larger take. It's another "magic bullet" that the large studios have been looking for to bring in to eliminate the annoying rental houses that detract from their profits.

    The nifty fringe benefit may be to eventually destroy the "fair use" argument used by those defending cracking of their security algorithms. If you defeat the protection on the disc (using one or more of the techniques already discussed here), you were only licensed it for 48 hours -- you have no fair use rights beyond that time limit. Ditto for duping a copy to your hard disc. Yeah, rip all you like for 48 hours, but if you're prosecuted, you have zero rights to that media after that time window expires.

    I'm concerned about the recyclability factor, but not so much about the introduction of the media. From where I sit, it will probably play out a lot like phone cards. Yeah, there's a certain segment of the population that uses disposable phone cards rabidly. There are others that use them on an as-needed basis, and still others (like myself) that have never used a disposable phone card and never intend to. The studios know that people like to watch movies once a year or whatever, and they'd be stupid to ignore that segment of the population.

    And if it doesn't drive the price of real DVD's up, why should I care? I'm not a huge fan of the MPAA or RIAA, but neither am I averse to rewarding them for publicizing quality entertainment that I really enjoy. The release of Evanescence's album, "Fallen", has me totally spellbound right now. And I'm really not the kind of person to normally listen to an album over and over...

    Anyway, that's a tangent. There are a lot of "stick it to the MP/RIAA"-types here on Slashdot, and for them the self-destructing, cheap DVDs will be a boon. For those of us who feel a desire to reward artists legitimately for the enjoyment we get from their craft, we'll still have all the old options left...
  • by rossifer ( 581396 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:33AM (#5978627) Journal
    The "something better" being advocated here is better only for the consumer.

    At this point, better only for the consumer shouldn't be a stretch. Don't forget that the original argument for copyright is to maximize the value of the public domain. By encouraging authors to produce works that will later enter the public domain and benefit everyone, that is. From the current state of the laws, we could back all the way out to registered copyrights with one extension and your argument is still valid, but just as irrelevant.

    The fundamental issue is that moral and legal are not the same thing and these laws are the perfect example of that observation. In general, law is a tool for society to express a consensus morality (simplistically, it's right for people to be compensated for their work). In copyright law, however, that good idea got hijacked by people with the funds to get the law to say "It's mine and you can't have it ever." Just about everyone interested enough to pay attention to the issue recognises the imbalance of the laws and the reaction is predictably rebellious. When a law doesn't represent consensus morality, we naturally become scofflaws.

    So with an attitude even more brazen than most people have about ignoring speed limits, we as a society have decided that copying most works is not wrong, even though we are aware that it's illegal. With the laws so far beyond ridiculous, the right question is not to wonder why people are happily copying DVD's, but to wonder who thought that these laws could possibly reflect morality or influence behavior?

    But then, a quick analysis quickly leads to the conclusion that the DMCA was not intended to reflect morality but to simply keep money in the hands of the moneyed. Which is a crying shame, since most of the benefit of capitalism comes when there are serious financial consequences for failing to provide competitive value to your customers. As Marx should have taught us, when the playing field can be changed to benefit those with capital, you don't have capitalism any more. It's mercantilism and it's our modern reality.


    I'm not a Marxist, but his criticisms of the system of his day were quite cogent. He was objecting to moneyed interests levering government influence to further their own interests at the expense of their employees, their customers, those who had to live near their stinking polluted plants, etc. He just happened to believe that all of that was part and parcel of capitalism when instead it's an unfortunately common corruption of capitalism.
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tftp ( 111690 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:35AM (#5978631) Homepage
    who can spend hours downloading it and spend more time transcoding it back to .vob format

    Nobody would do such a thing. The DVD format is MPEG2, which is fairly old and inefficient. DivX5.x is 10 times as small, with a similar quality. So you do not need to restore it back to 7GB - all you need is to produce a 700 MB AVI file, and be happy. If you are really picky, make it larger, for two CDs. Any CD-R will do, and the download would be not too difficult (as if it's you who has to copy the bytes by hand :-)

  • by mesach ( 191869 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:47AM (#5978659)
    I dont see Blockbuster or any rental places carrying this, in fact they might be against it.

    Most of their income comes from late fee's.

    If there's no incentive to bring the movie back, they have no recourse to charge a late fee, bye bye extra income
  • Re:Open Season (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nmos ( 25822 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @03:02AM (#5978699)
    My impression is that this isn't goint to start at existing rental shops but rather in convienence stores, Wal-Mart etc.

  • by DennyK ( 308810 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @03:53AM (#5978855)
    Can't speak for the 799 others, but I'd like this. If I could pick up a 48-hour DVD for a few bucks, that'd be a good deal to me. I don't have pay-per-view, I hate making two trips to Blockbuster for a single movie, and Netflix is a bad deal unless you rent at least four or five movies a month. There just aren't that many movies I'd like to see. Plus, since you don't need to have a rental system in place, they could stick these things anywhere: 7-11, grocery stores, Wal-Mart...all places I usually go anyway. I'd love to be able to pick up an occasional movie "rental" when I stop for gas or groceries, without having to worry about returning it by such-and-such a date. It's like DivX without the expensive equipment, the invasive privacy issues, or the hassle. Pretty cool stuff, actually.

    And what's with all the yelling about DRM? I hate overly-restrictive DRM as much as anyone, but how is an essentially normal DVD that just stops playing after 48 hours any worse than a normal DVD that you have to give back to Blockbuster tomorrow? DivX, with all its nonstandard technology, "activation" crap, etc. was ugly. But this EZ-D thing you can play in any DVD player, there's no one tracking what you're doing with it...what's the big deal? It's not like these are going to replace real DVDs in the market. This technology is made to target renters, not buyers...

  • by mib ( 132909 ) <> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @04:14AM (#5978900)

    This could be a great rental-fee saver for my friends and I.

    If I unseal the movie and watch it in 3 hours, it still has 45 hours of life left. I can then pass it on to someone else to watch because, unlike regular rentals, I don't have to trust them to return it.

    I have a feeling video stores are not going to like this. Or do they get the majority of their money from people without friends?

    - mib

  • by winchester ( 265873 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @04:25AM (#5978916)
    Maybe this is my European mindset, but how will this affect the environment? First of all, the production of optical media is quite environmentally unfriendly, and second, how much people will actually return a DVD like that? Imagine the extra amount of waste...
  • by i_am_nitrogen ( 524475 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @04:29AM (#5978927) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering if they, instead of relying on the air to break it down, fill the DVD package with an inhibitor which is released when the package is opened. That way, the only way to preserve the disc would be to find out what the inhibitor is and make a chamber filled with it.
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @04:31AM (#5978932) Journal
    You know, I got about halfway through your post before discerning whether you were talking about consumers infringing copyrights or multi-national conglomerates price-gouging and price fixing.

    I pay for t-shirts, cds, tickets, etc to support local, unsigned bands. But when it comes to the major media companies, I'm going to play their game until they either play fairly or die. I prefer the latter.

    They want to hike up the price for CDs to rates so high even the FTC can't stand it? No problem; I'll just make sure that the CD gets spread around a bit to compensate. They want to screw over artists who are too small to fight back? No problem, I'll simply refuse to montarily support the lying bastards.

    You see, you don't get that this isn't about theft, or copyright infringement, or intellectual property. This is a cat and mouse game between the average Joe and massive multi-nationals. They started this little game, and now the average Joe has the technology to fight back. I support the rights of artists to profit from their works so they may continue to produce them full time. I support the securing of those rights via copyright. I support the general idea and original intent of intellectual property. What I do not support is the crminal enterprises which use copyright, patent, and intellectual property laws as a weapon to hold artists and consumers hostage. What I do not support is the abuse by these criminal enterprises of the laws and the judicial system to further their solitary purpose: bleeding the world dry of all possible disposable income through all means necessary.

    My attitude has nothing to do with "getting away with it". There are a lot of things I could get away with, which I choose not to do. No; I choose to do what I do out of a conscious effort to level the playing field. I see no problem with robbing the crooks to fullfill the original intent of securing rights to intellectual property - the advancement of art and entertainment for the benefit of the general public.

    Call it piracy, call it infringement, call it theft, call it whatever you like; I call it winning one for the home team, and we're by no means finished yet. The stricter the laws they lobby for, the harder they push to control the masses, the more people like me will backlash against them. If Hilary Rosen wants to claim she's starving because of myself and those like me, I have this to say to her: Let her eat cake.

  • by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @05:01AM (#5979012)
    Even if the mechanism involves reaction with air, as long as the kinetics of the reaction are controlled only by the concentration of the coating on the DVD, then the disc should degrade at the same rate no matter where you are. For concentrations of oxygen that can support human life, it is a relatively safe assumption that oxygen is simply abundant in comparison to the amount of substance that could be contained on a surface the size of a DVD.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @06:54AM (#5979210)
    Somebody posted. . .

    I swear I must have paid more in late fees than I ever paid for video rentals. I bet I'm not alone. Late fees are an important revenue stream for video stores. Since there is no chance of them collecting late fees on these disposable disks, they will definitely have to charge each customer more per rental. And that's saying nothing about the actual cost of the disposable disk itself...

    --Which I think is an interesting point!

    Mind you, (when I last checked, and this was years ago), the average cost of a new video cassette of a recent movie release purchased by a video rental store was about $100. --All those rows of the latest Bruce Willis film represent a one or two thousand dollar investment for your local Schlock Buster. This expense will clearly not be an issue with a disposable medium.

    Which is interesting! The video rental market, if this meidum is adopted, will transform into something resembling the book or direct comics market, where disks are paid for by the retailer at a discount on the 'cover' price, which is then paid in full by the customer.

    --And here's the best part; There will probably be some system whereby disks are returnable after a set period of time if they don't sell. (Talk about time-sensitive media!) Which means that the selection in the average video store will become even worse. Yay for that. Now, more than ever, our media libraries will be as limited as people's memories. People will watch what they are directed to watch. (You can have your car in any color, so long as it's black.)

    Hopefully, this will only spur on the media pirate market, which will almost certainly NOT sell self-destructing media. --In this sense, China is a good example of the free market driving in a sensible direction. Go out to a Chinese mall sometime and look at the pricing scheme on DVD's and VCD's. Pirating is rampant, with stolen disks costing only about $5 each. Strangely enough, the official media companies, (in Asia at any rate), don't seem to be suffering much, still making lots of movies with huge sales. --They have been able to compete, selling new and offical disks for about $8. Which would you rather own? A half-assed copy or a well made real copy for a couple of dollars more? Instead of buying no DVD's when I last visited a mall, I bought 4, one of which was an official disk. That's exactly $8 more than I would have normally spent.

    And this is exactly the way a free market is supposed to work! Pirating is the American way. Too bad the American is no longer the American way. --Through state sanctioned monopolies and the whiney, patent-based outlawing of competetion, the US has managed to become a communist state, (and without any of the benefits of communism, no less!)

    What a joke.


  • by belroth ( 103586 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @07:41AM (#5979300)
    I understand the original reason for copyright. My point is that if there is no possibility of making money creating content then fewer people will create content. Many valuable works of art, literature and film would never have been produced without a profit motive.
    More still were created without thought to copyright - Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Bach etc were paid to produce works of art, copyright wasn't an issue, but there was profit. Some of the most valuable paintings didn't get the painter any money - I'm thinking particularly of van Gogh here. Shakespeare made money without copyright. Copyright seems to be the present apotheosis of the profit motive, maybe it shouldn't be.
    As I've stated before I recognize that there are many problems with modern US copyright, but abolishing copyright or making unauthorized copies is not the answer.
    But reform of copyright law rather than abolition may make for a more equitable relationship between creator and public. The situation with music is that copyright law benefits primarily publishers and not artists, the creator is not being suitably recompensed and the public is not benefiting either.
    Bad laws foster disrespect for the law, and there is a distinction between legal and ethical. Laws allowed slavery (not just in the US, and people all of ethnic origins have been enslaved), women did not have the vote, there are many bad laws - how many residents of states which outlaw oral sex respect that law? Convicts were transported to Virgina and Australia for petty theft...
    Civil disobedience is a respected form of protest - now a few geeks copying dvds isn't necessarily civil disobedience a la Gandhi, but if most of the population of the US accepts this behaviour- then that law must fall. The copyright laws should be adjusted back to the previous state - the life of the creator plus a few years, and the principle of First Sale should be enshrined in law.
    If EULAs are unlawful for books, then are they lawful for software? Both are published works protected by copyright, First Sale should apply here too. Software should not have any less protection than other copyright works (which have too much anyway), but it should definitely have no more.
  • by Zathras11 ( 628385 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @08:16AM (#5979379)
    It worked with DivX. The reason that failed
    was that MOST people avoided it. If you ever
    see a product you want that is only available
    in this new EZ-D format, contact the company
    and tell them that you are not only not buying
    it, but that you will not buy any of their
    other products either, until they stop using
    that system. When enough of us do that, they
    will have a simple choice; stop using the
    system and have out money, or continue to use
    that system and NOT have our money. I believe
    that like DivX, they will choose our money...
  • by joelil ( 605463 ) <linuxjoe AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @09:41AM (#5979630) Homepage Journal
    Think about it. Now Disney has a way of milking more money from you. If you have kids then you will know what I am talking about. Kids' don't watch the movie once or twice they watch it until they can recite the movie word for word. Come to think of it I know some adults that are like that too. If they make this into the DVD sales then your movie expires after say 6month then your kids are wanting to watch the movie but it has expired. So you run down to the store to buy another copy. Or if they start counting the number of times the movie is watch. Expires after 4 viewings. This could get ugly.
  • by Luminous ( 192747 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @10:33AM (#5979851) Journal
    Everyone is railing against this as if it is doing some personal harm when all this is about is allowing rentals without worrying about returning the DVD.

    Now grocery stores can sell DVDs in the check out lane for $5. When you want to watch it, you take it out of the package and now you have two days to see the movie. No one in their right mind would watch Lord of the Rings special extended ultramega DVD this way as it takes a week to watch all the extra stuff, but for Disney Cartoon #a004-d this is perfect.

    It isn't about anti-copying really, it is about not having to set up a system to track returns. My only key concern is they've set up a shelf-life for media that stores now have to worry about. So instead of having a copy of every possible movie, the stores will only stock the movies that get rented constantly. So much for getting "Escape to Witch Mountain" on DVD this way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2003 @11:10AM (#5980016)

    mean what, exactly, is wrong with the current DVD format?

    Macrovision ... region coding ... Unskippable intro material and malfunctioning menus ... Macauley Culkin ...

  • by matrix29 ( 259235 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:15PM (#5980324) Homepage
    More like you can pay $unknown for the FlexPlay DVD at your local supermarket or Target. Then play it for two days after you break the seal and never have to return it. I'd say that's worth more than $3, probably not more than $4.

    The other thing may be that the movie studio might make more money off this deal, since they get paid for each "rental", which I don't think they do right now.

    Nope. For me the Destructo-DVD would have to cost less than $1 (75 cents for a good movie - 25 cents for the unpopular ones). Since packaging, distribution, and printing costs will jack the price up they would be charging me $1.50 and that is too much money to waste my time with for something that turns to crap in 48 hours.

    Since packaging would have to be dirt cheap I figure the best format is a paper square (like the super cheap music CDs and super incompetent software industry corporations use) with the Destructo-DVD encased within a metal foil poly flat bag with a tear strip on the edge (to keep out the air and to provide easy opening).

    Since actual production costs will also be slightly even more expensive than a regular DVD the incentive should be just to make the REAL DVDs that do not destruct at a reasonable price since the profit model is much better for the REAL DVDs by any stretch of the imagination. For example - I have a ZARDOZ DVD and it cost me $10. A Destructo-DVD version of ZARDOZ would have be sold for $0.50 for me to even barely consider buying it. The retailers cannot make a profit on the Destructo-DVD except in massive volumes and buying a truckload of "odd lots" of Destructo-DVD shipments. The storage and inventory model is increased massively for the Destructo-DVDs with little in profit to justify these "turn to crap" time-limited pieces of landfill bloat. On the upside, I can understand GE Plastics wanting this profit model as they can sell more LEXAN plastic with the justification of "a workable profit model". Meanwhile the retailers are going to have to dump their inventory bloat of unprofitable Destructo-DVDs on the Dollar Store retailers (which will probably be the only functional profit model for the mostly useless Destructo-DVDs overspilling the "odd lot" bins in Wally-World's profit model).

    I can only see people with very little money and little regard for the value of the time spent earning their money eventually purchasing the Destructo-DVDs for any reason. I cannot see the major retail chains even considering adding the Destructo-DVDs to their shelves (and quickly later to over-flowing "odd lot" bins). I cannot see anyone other than the very wealthy and the very stupid folks buying entertainment that has little in permanence (though people do still pay money to go to a movie theater to view a movie only once for their money) and much in litter value.
  • by truegreen ( 626117 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:50PM (#5980474)
    If you drive more than 1 mile to the rental store to return a DVD, then this technology is BETTER for the environment than rentals. 1 mile ~ 1/20 of a gallon of gasoline burned up in smoke 1 EZD ~ much less than 1/20 of a gallon of plastic, plus it can be recycled. This technology could save millions of gallons of gas and tons of CO2, CO and NOx. (Not to mention millions of wasted hours driving.) Sounds like an improvement to me.
  • by ddimas ( 629883 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:52PM (#5980486)
    You can't rob a thief.
  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:48PM (#5980740) Homepage Journal
    Oh yeah, like I work for this company.

    Look, I think this idea is just as idiotic as the next guy thinks. It's dumb, it's wasteful, and it's again giving consumers something they don't want. But attacking it on the basis of the amount of waste it produces is just silly. There are lots of other things to attack if you're worried about waste.
  • by Whatchamacallit ( 21721 ) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:51PM (#5980753) Homepage

    Yup, as others have posted, here is a list of things that this would be useful for.

    1. Mail Order DVD movies on the cheap.
    2. DVD Vending Machines
    3. Buy a disposable DVD at the video store instead of renting get's you a quality disc that isn't scratched so it won't skip! (this really pisses me off when I rent DVD's).
    4. Cheaper for video stores to stock more copies!
    5. No more late fees!
    6. Hotels could save money and offer more choices by selling disposible DVD's instead of video on demand pay per view. Basic DVD players are cheap too.

    Seems like a good idea to me. Just make sure they don't degrade until you open the package and it's OK with me.

    This won't kill the regular DVD's that are for sale.

    Not so great for video games as you generally want more time then 48 hours. But I don't rent games to play to win. I rent to try it out before I buy it. If it sucks, I don't buy a copy. If I find I really like the game I buy it. There's a whole lot of crappola PS2 titles out there so I've been burned before and I don't have time to read all the reviews and keep up on the latest one hit wonder game title. I also don't have 48 hours to play the game non-stop, I have a job and girlfriend so that's out.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer