Full article here:Since opening last month, Steven Spielberg's Munich has been touted as a possible Oscar contender. Hopefully for Spielberg, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will actually be able to watch a copy of the movie before having to vote. The British Film Academy (BAFTA) couldn't, thanks to a DVD mastering screw-up.
Over the last couple of years, the movie studios' paranoia about screener copies of movies being let loose on the Internet has grown, thanks to a handful of leaks. For the 2004 Oscars, the Academy responded by banning the sending of DVDs to screeners because 34 of the 68 titles sent out for screening the previous year showed up on street corners or the 'Net, according to the MPAA.
Last October, the MPAA decided to give DVDs another chance, but this time using another level of encryption. Screener DVDs would be locked down using DRM from Dolby subsidiary Cinea. Screeners are then given a special S-View DVD player that would play the specially encrypted DVDs. But what if a Hollywood blockbuster became ineligible for an award because of a technical problem?
That was the situation for BAFTA and Munich. All 5,000+ BAFTA members were to be given copies of Spielberg's latest for consideration. However, due to a customs screw-up, the DVDs weren't distributed in time for the first round voting deadline. After getting the customs snafu fixed, the DVDs were finally sent out to the BAFTA screeners. Problem solved, right?
Wrong. The DVDs were encoded for Region 1 (US and Canada), not Region 2 (most of Europe). As a result, only those who had seen Munich in the theaters were able to vote on it.
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In my opinion those who vote for movies in any awards show should be required to see the movie exactly how the general public sees it and the way the author intended for it's initial viewing. Anyone can sit and mill around the house while watching a movie. Going to the theater would at least require them to partially pay attention. They could also gauge their judgement of the movie with an audience reaction to it. Simply judging a movie based on watching it on the small screen isn't plausible in my book. of course, that's probably why most awards are given to the lamest of movies.
Thats typical for the MPAA. Theyre really screwing up now . First the consumer now the awards committee. Whats next?Life is like a pothole, you just have to learn to get around it.
Originally Posted by ROF
the number of movies i would have to watch in a theater is prohibitive ... i would not have enough time -- or even the ability ..."Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems." - Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Originally Posted by MozartMan
Region "protection" does little more than serve as a monopolistic scheme.
Good to see it's finally screwing one of their own.
ironic that dreamworks was one of the studios that pushed for region encoding"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems." - Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Originally Posted by rofDonatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
Buddha says that, while he may show you the way, only you can truly save yourself, proving once and for all that he's a lazy, fat bastard.
something tells me Spielberg will find a way to turn this to his advantage. Call me jaded."The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive." - George Orwell
DVD screeners are made available for people in the industry who can't make it to a cinema screening.... and if you're actually working in the film inudstry, keeping shooting hours of anything from 6 am to 7 or 8 pm, there's no way you can cross a city like Los Angeles to make it to the designated movie theatre when you stagger off a movie set.
As a recipient of the Cinea player, let me add that it's frankly a piece of crap. In order to watch the coded screeners, we had to move a far superior player out of the mix. The Cinea plays one region only, as noted above. Its ZOOM function is laughable - if a screener is letterboxed (not enhanced for widescreen), the zoom operates only within the letterboxing - so the magnified picture is all middle - and still letterboxed. The remote operates ONLY from a distance of about 5 feet, and only if directly in front of the player. Sitting on the sofa isn't an option.
No great wonder that few of the s-view screeners were voted on in this household.... it's too much trouble to watch them.
The piracy paranoia cannot be solved this way. Perhaps the studios should send an executive to each home, instead of the Cinea. This way they could be absolutely sure you weren't making countless copies and selling them in China.
[quote="MozartMan"]Last October, the MPAA decided to give DVDs another chance, but this time using another level of encryption. Screener DVDs would be locked down using DRM from Dolby subsidiary Cinea. Screeners are then given a special S-View DVD player that would play the specially encrypted DVDs.
[quote="psx_pirate"]Originally Posted by MozartMan
Seriously, if these screeners and "shot-on-a-palmcorder" cammed copies of films are doing so much damage to an actual DVD Sale, why is the industry even bothering to sell DVDs? The point of owning DVDs is that they retain a level of quality VHS does not; a cammed film sold on a street corner probably has at least no less than one person walking in front of the screen to get up for more popcorn -- don't even get me started on what they must sound like. If the screeners are such piracy threats because some industry exec is copying them and sending them off to the land of warez duplication, why not arrest the exec? Try to pull every warez peddler on the streets of NYC seems almost as futile as trying to watch Munich on one of those S-View players.
If the MPAA really cared about piracy involving screeners they could collect the signature of every person screening a film, then each person would be required to put their thumbprint on the DVD before viewing it. If the studio didn't get the DVD back, they could pretty much narrow down the list of suspects for who was sending discs over to China.
What about using an esoteric format for screeners? HD-DVD and Blu-Ray would be bad contenders since they're aimed at mainstream markets, but why not use some archaic format like CED? Since it's likely that (most) critics don't own a CED player, the industry could dole them out with the film and be done with it. If they didn't get the disc and the player back they'd know something might be a bit suspicous.
Didn't Disney and Sony develop disposable DVDs as well? Open them, wtach them within 24 hours and then they self-destruct? If those suckers really work, why not put the screener on them?
It sounds to me like the MPAA has shot their own foot this time. First they lock me out of being able to make the one back-up of a film that the fair use laws entitle me too. Then, they insit that because I live in the USA I watch REGION-1 discs only which means if I buy a DVD from Japan I have no choice but to use a DeCSS system to watch a Region-2 DVD on my Region-1 player. After making it so consumers can't use the discs they've bought, they're now making it so the awards industry can't view the films either. Blu-Ray may have three region codes on it which eliminates my problem with Japanese DVDs, but it still won't let me play DVDs from the UK. So here's what I want to know: When is the MPAA going to realize that 1) Whatever DRM they come up with will be cracked before they can release it or within a week of release? 2) That DRM (Destroyed, Ruined, and Mutilated) schemes only aggravate consumers and now industry execs and 3) That the only thing DRM is "protecting" me from is ever being able to access the media I OWN!
Audio DRM on iTunes has failed, DVD DRM has failed, M$'s WindowsXP DRM was cracked before the OS was released... am I the only one who sees a pattern? If discs keep getting DRMed so someone doesn't make 50,000 copies and sell them on a street corner, than nobody will be able to view them if the insanity keeps up. If the MPAA is truely interested in preventing piracy they should start grabbing the guy on the street corner and finding out who's supplying him with discs. Even if they eliminate the guy on the street corner, some determined pirate would just go to blockbuster and make illegal copies after an offical release.
Piracy is like murder; you can't totally stop it dead in its tracks, but you can try to prevent it. Unfortunately the MPAA and RIAA "prevention" methods are the equivilent of locking everyone in a 3x3' cell and treating them as guilty until proven innocent rather than vice-versa.
I by no means condone piracy but this is ridiculous -- they whine and whine about DRM saving them and it's just cost one of the major film releases an award in the UK. If this isn't a wake up call to remove DRM from new discs and to tell people how to permanently disable DRM in their DVD Players, I don't know what is. The industry can protect themselves without DRMing what we pay for, and DRMing what they distribute to their own to the point of making it unwatchable.
I wonder what disaster will await Syriana should they attempt to send the screeners on Blu-Ray -- the possibilites of disaster are even greater than what we just witnessed with Munich. Wouldn't it be funny if two of the best films of the year didn't win awards because they couldn't be seen?
In a way I'm kind of happy that this happend and that it happend to Spielburg. Now he knows what it's like when you get a movie and you can't watch it. If he can't add another award to his already long list -- too bad. It serves him right for supporting DRM in the first place.
Lordsmurf I couldn't agree with you more. Region Protection is nothing more than a "digital Berlin Wall" -- it divides the world in half and everybody on one side of the wall is cut off from everybody on the otherside.
Copy-protected is an illusion -- nothing is copy PROTECTED. Copy-Evident would be a better term -- if a Disc is All Region it's evident that it's copied save for a few odd releases outside of the USA. This is great, maybe they'll finally get rid of this ridiculous region coding. I honestly think piracy would decrease if DRM wasn't in place. Remember -- it's not fun to throw spitballs and make armpit farts if the teacher says it's okay. If the MPAA removed DRM I doubt that piracy would increase and it might even decrease slightly.
Isn't Region-coding illegal in the Netherlands and a few other countries as well? It should be illegal everywhere, it's in violation of consumer rights and as Spielburg himself has just proven, the only thing it protects you from is the ability to view YOUR discs!
I'm just glad to see articles like the one about Jon Johansen and a DeAACC system in the works. I can already see the same problem I had with DVD on the HD Formats if the MPAA doesn't wake up and stop over-DRMing their stuff.