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Sebastian Kirsch: Blog » 2004 » December » 26

Sebastian Kirsch: Blog

Sunday, 26 December 2004

Two Brothers; or: DVDs are snake oil after all

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 12:54

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Why do I find the best christmas presents only right after christmas? The movie Two Brothers by Jean-Jacques Annaud would have been perfect, but I did not read about it (consciously, at least) until this morning’s issue of Die Zeit.

On the other hand, it is not available yet in Germany anyway. And because of DVD region coding, I cannot even buy the American DVD via Amazon and play it in my DVD player.

I guess I need to be reminded every once in a while that DVDs are evil.

Normally, I am quite supportive of buying DVDs. I think it is a good format for content delivery, the price is OK (DVDs usually retail for less in Germany than audio CDs), the quality is excellent, and there is usually lots of bonus material. I like buying DVD. I’m a consumer, one of the best kind: I’m not a penny-pincher, I like to spend money for a little convenience. The media companies should humour me. When I am confronted with an artificial limitation of my favourite medium, I tend to get annoyed.

I think that with everyone clamoring for globalization and global commerce, artificial barriers between markets like region coding are simply laughable. The DVD is out. It is on Amazon, I can simply tap in my credit card number and order it. And you are telling me that I cannot watch it? It is just a fricking movie on DVD. I paid for it, why should I not be able to watch it?

I know that there are hacks which will render my DVD player region-free. But in the end, that is not a solution – the next DRM system will be more inconvenient to disable, and there is already legislation in place in the US (the DMCA) and Europe (similar, name escapes me at the moment) that makes disabling DRM systems illegal.

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