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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Movie piracy
delirium pissed off
I have a new pet peeve. Actually, it's not all that new at all, but it's reached the level where I'm sufficiently annoyed to write about it. What I really can't stand is the stupid "piracy is against the law" clips at the beginning of DVDs.

I suspect these may be different in different countries, and there are probably also people who don't watch DVDs, so a description: It's a short series of clips, showing people stealing various objects, with text coming up on screen "You wouldn't steel a handbag. You wouldn't steal a television. You wouldn't steal a movie. Piracy is a crime." Or something like that. There are many reasdons why these are annoying. Here are the three top ones.

1. Movie piracy and handbag theft are completely different crimes. Theft of a physical object is zero-sum. If I have the object, someone else doesn't. Intelectual property is not like that. Information is easily copied, and many copies exist. Pirating a movie does not deprive someone else of something; it stops them from making a (legitimate) gain that they (might) otherwise have made.. To observe the difference, note that copyrights expire, but that ownership of physical objects never does. Now I'm not saying that piracy is right. Quite apart from the morality of the thing, it is illegal. But the two crimes are not at all the same thing, and to try to pretend that they are is dishonest and manipulative.

2. It's hideous. The music is annoying. The way that the text nutates is deeply obnoxious. Again, the idea seems to make it as grating as possible, to make damn sure that people see it. If you can't actually persuade people not to pirate through the strength of your argument, then you beat them over the head with this thing instead. Which wouldn't be too bad, except that...

3. ...you can't skip the damn thing. If I press the "menu" or "skip forwards" buttons on my remote, all I get is the little "no! you can't do that!" symbol in the top left corner of my screen. I do sort of underswtand the logic here, seeing as how they do want to make sure that people see their message, but really. Having already seen it n times, I can assure you that seeing it n+1 times isn't going to make me sit up and say "Oh! Piracy is bad! I didn't realise that!" After one or two showings, it accomplishes nothing but annoyance. And of course, the people most likely to get annoyed are the people who watch the most DVDs. Which is to say, the people who aren't pirating, and are instead actually filling the coffers of all these Hollywood companies.

It's enough to drive a perfectly sane person crazy. And as for me, it makes me want to pirate movies, just so I can annoy that obnoxious clip at the start.

(And while I'm on this subject, I'll also mention the little "not for rental" signs that seem to appear on DVDs these days. Are they even remotely legal or enforcible, or are they just to piss people off some more?)

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And that's why I tend to load the DVD into the player and let it get through that crap while I go to the kitchen and make a cuppa or get dinner.

Another peeve: The non-skipable adverts for "New Releases". At least with videos you could fast forward through them.

I often do that too. Except sometimes they get stuck on a "select language" screen or similar whe I do, so I have the whole rigmarole to go through when I actually get to it.

The only movie I have that has that on it is Lemony Snicket, and you can skip it on that, but I've heard other people complain about the skipping things.

Typically, even during "You can't do that", you can fast forward (rather than skip). Might want to try that next time.

fast forward

I'd say that's true on about 50% of the DVDs that I've got; the rest are locked down tight.

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"Movie Piracy Funds Organised Crime": Because Drug Dealers just give their wares away!

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Unfortunately, the only way it (might) ever stop is if enough people complain enough times, and stop buying DVDs if they contain these stupid anti-piracy adverts. The chances of enough people doing that to impact the companies' profits is minimal.


See how many people are boycotting DVDs because of the "region" feature, which lets Europeans not watch US DVDs, and vice versa. Maybe more than I can count on the finger of one hand, but certainly not enough to have any sort of effect on the companies' profits.

Another "solution", it seems, would be to rip the DVD on a computer, strip out the offending crap, and burn to a new DVD-R. This may be more hassle than it's worth.

*nods* One of the hassles being that you'll probably have to transcode the thing to a lower bitrate, since most commercial (pressed) DVDs are double-layer, and I'm not sure how available double-layer blank disks and recorders are -- they were certainly pretty rare a while ago. So most of the blank media you get can only hold half what a pressed DVD can.

What pisses me off is that it's a legitimate DVD. I've paid the money, I should have the right to not get nagged. I'm not the one who needs nagging if I've bought it, and you can bet that pirated copies will have the piracy notice edited out if the people doing it have got any brain at all. Hell, DVD Shrink lets you re-author the DVD so you can knock all the shit out. And if I ever get a DVD I want to watch a lot that has piracy crap on it, I'll be burning a copy without the shit to avoid it. Luckily that hasn't been an issue yet, but the way things are going...

Precisely. One message at the front, that was thought through, not stupid, and that I can skip, fine.

But on a boxed set I've paid for, I do not want the message not skippable on all 7 discs. Gah!

Combine that with the lack of a play all button on the first menu and I'll hate you forever...

I can definitely see the logic behind the idea. It's like how shareware doesn't nag you at all until after you register it, at which point it starts nagging constantly. Oh. Wait...

The obvious, and deliciously ironic, solution being to rip and re-master the DVD without the annoying bits. Clearly this is a complete waste of your time and CPU power, so it might be easier to download one that someone's already edited...

On a related note, that evil medium the "Disney DVD", which subjects you to what seems like hours of trailers for derivitive children's films every time you attempt to play it.

Yarr! Avast me hearties!

I see no-one's yet mentioned the equivalent propaganda you get in cinemas.

[clip of overhyped blockbuster]
"This summer, thousands of people will enjoy the audio-visual spectacle of [name of overhyped blockbuster]. But others will choose to watch a pirate copy. They will see something quite different."
[clip goes fuzzy and shrinks to a two foot square portion of the screen]

(At which point we think "Yes, I suppose that portion of the screen is roughly the size of my TV. Just as well I'm proportionally closer to it, then, so that it covers roughly the same visual angle as the cinema screen.")

"They'll see a tiny, low quality picture, with their view constantly interrupted by people going to the toilet."
[large silhouette emerges in front of picture and walks off to the side]
(And that doesn't happen when you're actually in the cinema yourself, then? Sheesh, cinemas really suck. I wish I was watching this in my front room in a comfortable chair, where it doesn't smell of sweat and decaying corn snacks.)

"Don't be conned by pirate copies. Experience movies the way they're meant to be."
[cut to an audience of fat American people hollering and cheering at the film]
(My god, there are cinemas where people behave like that? That would drive me absolutely mental. Remind me never to go to a cinema ever again.)

Ah, yes. I have actually seen that once or twice and thought it was silly and annoying, but I go to the cinema so rarely that it's not managed to really make much progress up my list of things which make me want to bang my head against a brick wall. The fact that I expect about half an hour of useless crap before the film at cinemas, and will generally zone out during this, or have a conversation if I'm there with someone else, may also be a factor here.

I stopped going to movies often, because they drive me nuts. People talk, and you just can't watch in silence. And unlike my own home, I'm not allowed to smack them when they do so.

They stopped turning the lights off. That's what really drove me away. They dim them, but almost no theater anymore turns them off. I find this highly distracting and less enjoyable.

If I miss something in the theater, there is nothing I can do. At home we can stop and rewind.

Theaters kinda suck. I do, however, like the local theater, because they don't just have seats, they have couches. So, if you go early, you can get a couch. And it's nice to be able to snuggle while watching a movie. They also have beer and pizza and other offerings beyond what most theaters have, which can be nice, and is how they can afford to use up space on couches.

Get a DVD player with a mod chip that bypasses all lock downs. My DVD player has a mod chip added on before sale so it bypassed the region locking but not the other sort of locks you talked about, but a new release of a mod chip for my DVD player bypassed them all. Wish I got that one! Unfortunately the company (Techtronics) that sold me my DVD player who also make the mod chips seems to have gone out of business.

To echo what most other people, if the DVD player stops you from skipping, try fast forwarding. Normally works for previews etc - my DVD player can do 100x fast forward so slams through the whole previews in a few seconds. Course it doesn't always work....

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