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Warner Bros Out To Screw The Worldwide DVD Market'

El Cosmico here, a few people have written in about this, so I thought I'd repeat it here.

The folks over at DVD Debate posted an article on Friday, supposedly an internal memo from Warner Bros, regarding an effort to enhance the DVD Region Coding scheme, such that multi-region DVD players will no longer be able to play Region 1 discs. Man, the folks over at Warner Bros sure are up to a lot of bullshit these days, huh? Cut that out, eh guys?

Anyway, the original article is over here, it's got plenty of discussion, as does this Slashdot article, which discusses the first. Fun!

This is just the sort of evil crap that those I commonly refer to as "muckety-mucks" enjoy pulling on those of us who seek enjoyment out of life. I, for example, have a fine region-free player, with which I enjoy a great lot of imported region 2 discs from Japan and Europe. For example, I can't get Microcosmos on Region 1. Or tons of Anime. Or really good foreign porn. Also, while everyone's been confused by the whole Region 1 release of Leon: The Professional, I've had it on a Region 2 disc for what seems like an eternity, so I'm pretty much oblivious to the whole issue.

So now, they're saying that I won't be able to play new Region 1 discs on my player?

It's like two grains of rice, on both sides of its head, and they are called the snake's horns.

This doesn't affect people living in Region 1 nearly as much as people in Regions 2 and 3, who buy most of the code-free devices. Of course, that's MILLIONS and MILLIONS of people, most of them living in very industrialized countries, with LOTS of spending cash. Region-free players are VERY widespread in these two Regions. I really can't wait to see their reaction if this becomes widespread. Will they just start buying Region 1 and eschew product from their own Region? Will the French farmers and teamsters blockade the seaports? I'm gonna have to pick up a couple of these discs and see how things go. I think this is a pretty interesting situation, both because it affects a lot of people in a lot of countries, and because it's entirely producer-driven, that is to say, NO consumer on the face of the Earth likes Region Coding. We all want it to go away, because it's STUPID, and it makes our lives less pleasant.

Ultimately, this is just sad. It further strengthens the argument that in our modern times, when the world is being brought closer together by new media, the studios really need to move to simultaneous or near-simultaneous worldwide releasing of films, so that their paranoia and control-freak attitudes don't kick in. This latest move will only encourage piracy, and provoke a great lot of ill will.

Please be so kind as to post your thoughtful comments. I leave you with the original contents of the aforementioned article:

"Warner Brothers have issued an internal note on an enhanced Region Coding Scheme to DVD Suppliers in R1.

The new advanced approach may render some R1 discs unplayable on existing Multiregion players. Known discs to include this technology are The Perfect Storm and Columbia Tristar's The Patriot. Read more to see the actual note...

Regional Code Enhancement (RCE) Program

WHV will start a program to enhance the capabilities of the regional code specification for DVD beginning in October. This program is a response to the unauthorized practice of altering DVD video hardware players so that they bypass the region code requirements for DVD. This is happening on a more frequent basis in many territories, and retailers are openly marketing these non-complying players with names such as “region free” and “multi zone”.

The Technology – The enhancement is an additional imbedded code (RCE – Regional Code Enhancement) on the DVD disc that makes the current regional coding more robust.

How It Works – In simple language, the RCE allows the disc to detect if a hardware player is region specific (as required by the CSS licensing agreement), or if it has been manufactured or altered in the market to be “region free”. If the player is “region free” the RCE will not allow the disc to play the program material. It will instead display a message on the television advising the consumer that the machine is not authorized to play this disc.

The actual wording will be as follows:

THIS DVD PLAYER MAY HAVE BEEN ALTERED AND IS UNABLE TO PLAY THIS DISC
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS DISC
DVD PLAYERS AND DISCS ARE DESIGNED TO WORK IN CERTAIN REGIONS
THIS DISC IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THIS PLAYER
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER OR PLAYER MANUFACTURER FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE
(Yeah Right!)

WHV will start applying the RCE to discs scheduled for release in the U.S. market beginning in late October. At this time, the RCE will only be applied to Region 1 versions of titles. At least one other studio (Columbia TriStar) will also be releasing discs with the RCE during the 4th quarter.

The program has two objectives. (1) Discourage the export of region 1 discs to other regions and (2) discourage the sale of DVD video hardware that has been modified to “region free”.

WHV Sales personnel should immediately begin to communicate this program to key retailers in their respective territories.

It is especially important to focus on retailers selling product online, and any account, which may be exporting products outside Region 1.

With the online retailers, we must discuss the need to properly notify consumers outside the region 1 territories that the disc may not play in their player before the disc is purchased. The customer dissatisfaction and returns risk is significant if this is not done.

At this time there is no plan to send out a press release on this program. This document should be used to review the program with all U.S. accounts."

Way to go, Warner, stick it to the people. That'll show 'em!

-El Cosmico

elcosmico@aintitcool.com

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Huh????

    by Pr_Frink

    I didn't get a word of this article. Probably because I don't have a DVD player yet. Anyways, Andy Richter will be on Conan on Tuesday the tenth. YES!!!!!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Okay, I've got a question.

    by Toby O Notoby

    And that question is: What the fuck, huh? I mean, what the fucking fuck!?! Looks guys, I live in a country where movies are reguarly censored in the mistaken belief that a grown man will, upon hearing the word "motherfucker", turn to Satan worship, anarchy and quite possibly matrifornication. Therefore, you can't even rent DVDs because, unlike tapes, they're inpossible to cut. The only way to see films as the filmaker intended them is to somehow get Region 1's shipped in through other channels. Now, and see if you follow me on this one, this means I *buy* DVDs at many times the cost of a movie ticket. So, in short, YOU ARE PREVENTING ME FROM BUYING THE GOODS YOU ARE SELLING. Fuck it, I give up.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Warners should be burned to the ground

    by Lazarus Long

    What is with these assholes? I was checking my DVD collection and over 2/3 of my DVD's are from WB. They put out a lot of good films (or used to, at least). But they have become the most despised of studios. Why? They poorly market (and then abandon) great films like L.A. Confidential, they allowed the Batman franchised to be ruined (and are now defacing an actual decent entry into the saga with Return of Joker), and now their trying to trample on the livelihood of videophiles. Fuck these guys. Let's flood every mailbox with as much complaint and hate mail as humanly possible. As Chuck D once said, "Burn Hollywood Burn"

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 6:42 a.m. CST

    WTF?

    by dastickboy

    I just don't get it. Surely all the studios are getting just as much cash for their product from consumers, whether they region 1 or region 2 discs. I know there is a tax variation between the U.S and Europe (ie we in Europe have to pay more for stuff - A LOT MORE). But there is still a HUGE majority of people over here that buy r2 discs rather than r1 - mainly because they're too worried about online security - our main path of ordering r1 discs is of course the Internet. This whole problem would disappear if the studio's pulled their finger out their ass-hole and released movies simultaneously across territories, and likewise with the retail/rental versions. Why buy from overseas if it's available on your doorstep?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Ah, Warner Bros...

    by Andy Travis

    ...they've become "the Nixon" of the talkbacks recently. Reviled by the AICN at large, forced to hide their faces in public...

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:31 a.m. CST

    This is ludicrous!!!!!!

    by philamental

    Absolutely disgusting to think that they are going to try and get away with this. I mean, isn't someone gonna come up with a way around this in a few months anyway so they are just pissing people off by making them get their players re-chipped or whatever would be necessary. I hope what happens is that they are the only company that follows this and that their sales suffer dramatically compared to other distributors, forcing them to admit their costly error and go back to normal discs. In fact we should start it now... Boycott the fuckers!!!! Just like I'll never use Amazon after their disgusting 'pricing experiments'. Prove to the big companies that they shouldn't try and fuck with the little people. Oh, btw, the special ed of Se7en has been given a release date of 19th of Dec, but no official disc specs yet. Looks like a merry xmas for me then!! (assuming newline are not going to take this R1 approach as well!!)

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Can nayone answer why there are no region codes on CD's. Why did

    by Cruel Shoes

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:11 a.m. CST

    FUCK EM

    by VUZZ

    Thats the Thanks you get after you put a lot of money into these FUCKS .Its a slap in the face for a movie lovin fan.I want to have the freedom to buy any movie from anywhere I want.But noooo we are all ruled by these corporate FUCKS who seems to encourage Piracy with those actions like Region Codes

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:11 a.m. CST

    more crap from warners...

    by Brian D.

    not content with being the main producer of the absolute piece of shit "snap case" (read:cardboard flimsy piece of crap dvd case that their dvd's come in, as opposed to the far better "keep case" that most manufacturers favor), warners now wants to pull this shit....what can we do about both of these evils?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Modified or hacked?

    by Richard_Thomas

    I seem to remember reading about this "enhanced" region protection encoding in a UK DVD or hi-fi magazine a couple of months ago (can't remember which one). They suggested that it works (in simple terms) by positively checking if the player has region 1 protection and so the disc refuses to work if there is no protection present (i.e. the player can play any DVD from any region). This, they suggested, meant these discs would only be a problem for region 2 players that had been physically modified to become multi-region players by completely stripping out the region protection and would not affect those players (mostly Chinese manufactured off-brand (but still perfectly adequate and very good value) players such as the Wharfedale) which can be hacked to play region 1 discs by the remote control as these actually contain both the region 1 and region 2 (and other region?)protection and the hack merely switches one of the region protections on and the other off? Does anybody know if this is true or am I talking crap?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:46 a.m. CST

    They're not protecting their copyright...

    by oh-Dawg

    they're making sure that people from, say, Europe or Japan have to wait for the DVD's until the national release, so that the DVD won't compete with the cinema version (that's my theory at least, I can see no other reason for region coding). Warner shouldn't lose any money if I buy the region 1 DVD instead of the region 2. Maybe they could speed up the international releases of movies, so that the need for region coding would cease.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Maybe this is why Return of the Joker is delayed?

    by Praetor

    Just a thought. It seems unlikely at this late date that much effective editing could be accomplished to meet so close a deadline. However if this new coding is to be rolled out over the next couple of months, then that would adequately explain the delay. Good news for U.S. Batfans, bad news for us shifty foreigners. I must fight the urge to bomb a WB studio store; I am REALLY starting to hate these people!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 10:11 a.m. CST

    This is great news...

    by Bob X

    ...NOT! Yeah right, they're just protecting their interest (as some idiot posted earlier). It's not like anyone is stealing from them. People who are buying DVDs from other regions are usually paying MORE. I'm sure you'd be real happy if, say FOX,decided that you had to buy a new TV so people in Mexico wouldn't get their program. I live in Europe and my collection consists entirely of region 1 and 0 discs. Now I'm lucky enough to have a region 1 player that has not been tampered with, but a lot of other cinephiles i know don't. And if you live in a country that a) censors movies and where b) no-feature-no-original-language-track-p-o-s-DVDs are put out you are seriously screwed. Fuck Warner and fuck you who does not understand the impact that this will have. The only good thing is that there are a lot of codefree players in the us as well, so WB will probably piss off enough domestic customers to discontinue this money-grabbing act of idiocy.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 10:18 a.m. CST

    I got one word for ya DIVX

    by se7en-x2000

    Fuck em, if they wanna get nasty, then we'll do it in return. Haven't they learned yet that if the recording industry wasn't so greedy there never would have been a napster? If it didn't cost me 10 bucks and a half hour of commercials for gum and cars there wouldn't be divx? Jeez, they better get their head and their ass wired together soon, or we're all goinna go broadband and watch Matrix 2 on a divx cam rip... say that's not such a bad Idea. I TRY and support my local movie cineplex megamoniacle movie theatre, but sometimes, I look at my 500+ dvd collection and shake my head. Oh well. Where's Lucas, I gotta give him another 80 bucks.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 10:40 a.m. CST

    this may have caused the Batman Beyond Delay

    by DigitalKnight

    All these things are related toleaked internal memos from WB. That this was supposed to take place at the begining of this month. This, and this alone may have caused the delay of the new Return Of The Joker release.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Sweet Jesus...

    by Tids

    Sometimes I dispair, I truly do. I have owned my DVD player for several years now, way before it caught on in the UK... why, I fucking love movies!!! I got it chipped at great expense (it was a Sony player, allegedly the hardest to chip). I buy the majority of my discs from the US, why... well they're cheaper, they more often than not contain more extras, they're cheaper and they're available sooner. Now I don't get this arguement, least not from the big compaines. Surely a film made by WB is going to released by WB in all terratories. If anyone was going to be upset by non-region coding it would be the smaller companies who often sell the rights to their films to different compaines in different terratories, but surley WB are safe from this, so if I buy their movies in the UK or the US, it makes no bloody difference to them. (Tell me if I'm talking shit, it wouldn't be the first time!!!) But I think a few talk backers have made a few valid points... 1. Why have coding on DVD's and not CD's, same difference surely. And 2. FUCK 'EM! In fact... FUCK 'EM IN THE EAR!!! (As quoth from the best film ever Goodfella's, ruined by the fact that it was released on a WB arse fistingly shit "flipper".)

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 11:08 a.m. CST

    No No No. . .

    by KenKRK

    The Return of Joker release being delayed has little to do with this Region 1 and 2 stuff, as it does with the fact that WB sent it back to the editing room to tone down some of the violence and gear it to younger viewers. Which is sad because there were such great reviews that pointed out how fine a line it walked between kid and adult material, and took itself so seriously. Especially with a character like the Joker.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 11:49 a.m. CST

    How wonderfully monopolistic of them

    by LSHB

    ...creating artifical markets now that geography itself doesn't mean as much for consumer goods. Of course, erecting these walls will merely make someone _else_ a billionaire when they develop the technology/trick to work around them. Universal Region Player, here we come.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 12:26 p.m. CST

    DVD region codes & Batman Beyond

    by CaptSpaulding

    You all make me laugh. Getting upset 'cuz you got caught breaking the rules. Movies are the property of the movie companies and they have the SOLE right to distribute them as THEY see fit. You try to circumvent it and then demonize the company for protecting their interests. Would you feel the same way if it was your stuff that I was taking? As for the Batman Beyond DVD controversy...Harry, I'm getting ready to leave this site, 'cuz you seem to be reporting rumor and not fact. You report the RUMOR that the ROTJ is being kiddified and then in a seperate article you tell of WB's response. You seem more suspicious of the company than of the reports from your "Spies", people who hide behind nicknames. I used to like your site and trust the info, but now, I think there's more trying to stir up a stink than reporting the news. But that's just my opinion

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Why they are doing this

    by bluelou_boyle

    Because they think that people won't see the film in the cinema if they have it on dvd. But most films are released in the uk etc BEFORE the USA dvd is released, so thats bullshit. Anyway, the studios still make a shitload of money from the dvd, and the higher price in places like the UK is mostly tax, I think... They just want to control their product...they want to make the money THEIR way... It still sucks though...I hope Newline, columbia etc, the good dvd companies don't follow suit...but methinks they will...

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Whatever you may call it, Warners sure does seem to like to go t

    by superninja

    There's an obvious reason for this. Some number-cruncher came to an executive one day and showed him the losses they were taking in foreign markets and how much more could be made. This person is probably now been made a producer for their ingenious moneygrubbing abilities.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Hey CaptSpaulding

    by Doctor Eldritch

    This isn't a Napster-type issue; nobody's 'taking' anything. The merchandise is still being purchased. Yes, the industries do have the right to market products how they see fit, but we have the right to choose whether we agree with how they're marketing their products. In the case of DVD's, where the product is available elsewhere, people are electing to buy that product from where they can obtain it. The company is still making money from the sale (possibly more - I don't know how much Warner makes off of a DVD sale in the US vs a DVD sale in other countries.) The thing going on is supply and demand. People who are demanding the product are going to where the supply is. You'd think that the companies would look at the issue and decide to make sure the supply was available wherever the demand is, but they've decided that instead of taking a path that would still let them maintain their profits (i.e. distribution of cinema and DVDs at the same time) they're trying to take the path of 'screw the consumer, let's keep doing business the same old way and put the screws to anybody who wants to get around that". There's no more protection involved in this (unless they're making more profits forcing region 2 people to buy in region 2) than through Universal distribution. Sure, they've got the right to do it. And we have the right to tell them that it's a stupid attitude to take. Unless this attitude's being caused by political pressure from Europe...

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:09 p.m. CST

    I didn't know they were THIS stupid...

    by Sorcerer

    Let me see if I have this straight. They're implementing a technology that will decrease sales of their product for the sole purpose of- not really protecting copyright since the DVDs aren't being copied, um, okay, apparently for the purpose of keeping them from being released in certain areas. This, frankly, is moronic. It is not worth it. I'm not even making any moral judgement on whether they're right to do this- it's just profoundly stupid. Suddenly that whole EYES WIDE SHUT thing is put into perspective.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:23 p.m. CST

    I Sure Hope This IS The Reason Return Of The Joker Was Delayed!

    by Cowblaster

    Maybe I'm just giving my hopes up? Eh, who knows? As for this issue, I honestly don't have too much of an opinion on the matter. But, it does sound pretty stupid of them to limit where you buy your DVD's. I don't know of any reason why anyone would want to do this. Then again, maybe I should learn more about the whole Region Coding thing before I start to bitch about it?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Eh?

    by Shingster

    WB's explanation of the new region coding scheme seems a little bit ambiguous to me. This is how I understand region coding is done by some manufacturers: A lot of the DVD player manufacturers (E.G Pioneer)make their players in a non-region state, and then set them a region via a hidden menu in the system set up. So if a player is to be shipped to america they just enter this menu and set the region code to 1. Likewise, 2 for Europe. To stop people using this menu they simply remove a piece of wire joining two points on the circuitboard and hey presto you have a single region player! Now, the multi region chips for these players simply do the job of the removed wire and allow you to access the factory region set-up menu and actually change the player's region code there. The player is not region-free, it is as region coded as any normal player, but in a different region to when you first bought it. How can W.B get round this technique without messing up how some manufacturers set their region codes?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:26 p.m. CST

    DVD Region codes

    by Warlock One

    I'll try not to ramble this time. Let's be clear: this is NOT a piracy issue, period. This is legal software being engineered _not_ to work on legal hardware. Crippled hardware, in fact: there is no physical reason beyond this bit of work-around that a DVD player shouldn't play out-of region DVDs. Creating a multi-region player costs no more than a single region one. The issue, then, is one of control: the distributors' desire to have an absolute control of when a given movie is seen by a region. Unreasonable? Not entirely; the availability of a film before its release undoubtedly does put a crimp in their publicity juggernauts when the film receives big-screen release. Anti-consumer interest? Unquestionably. And as noted, legally purchased software profits go to them whether the software is an earlier purchase of code-1 or a later purchase of code 2-7. They probably could re-engineer their marketing to take advantage of the foreign availability, but, alas, they don't. Apparently this heavy-handed, short-term fix is easier than re-evaluating all their future foreign strategy. Where I am most angered (and here, you naysayers, I ask you to GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE-) unlike the memo's implication, in many of these countries, the region-free DVD players are completely legal. In some, in fact, this region coding crap was declared ILLEGAL by the local courts, thus the ubiquitous presence of the region-free players. This particular bit of American arbitrariness is not international, guys; it has NO high road to walk on.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:35 p.m. CST

    It might be OK...I think...

    by bluelou_boyle

    I've read a few other comments, specifically at DVDdebate, and as far as I can figure this is how it will work: 1: If you have a player which automatically switches to whatever region, usually because of a hack, then the R1 disk with enhanced protection will not play...BUT... 2: If you have a player,as I do (Pioneer 515), which you use the remote control to MANUALLY change regions, then you are OK, because if you have the player in R1 when you put the disk in, the enhanced coding feature will think your player is a region one player...so the disk should play...Of course that could be complete bullshit...I hope not because R2 are still, for the most part, pretty shitty, notable exceptions being DRIVE (Mark Dacascos), Drunken Master etc... The studios will never release all films at the same time, because a film's distribution in other markets such as Europe often depends on the US performance...EG SOLDIER...crap US boxoffice...straight to video in UK...Christ is that the time????

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Haven't they learned anything yet?

    by AFX2000

    They may invent electronic protection schemes as much as they like. In time these will all be cracked. Companies will never learn. Still thinking they can decide what we can and cannot see. I'm not worried. If we cannot see or hear it, we will find the means to. And when we fail at cracking the code, and that is highly unlikely, we could always buy two DVD players, because we're all filthy rich right? By the way: if they had a sensible release scheme they wouldn't have to worry about R1 R2. Suckers...

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 4:46 p.m. CST

    That'll teach 'em

    by X-Girls

    ...to buy WB products. dick the customer around a little more WB! I don't think we're completely fucked over yet! Seriously, they even try to pull this shit by calling it something like RCEnhancement --so the general public thinks it's a good thing, "ooh, let's get that." What motherfuckers, bluntly a stupid idea.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Universal Region Player

    by X-Girls

    YOU BETTER BELIEVE it's coming. Products like that do, it's what happens in nature when human being's get fucked around this way. Someone said it isn't Napster, right on. People aren't stealing their property! WB wants to choke more cash out of the foreign markets, what's more, this isn't even the way to go about it. If they're buying the DVD they're paying more money then to see it in theaters! Who buys a movie without seeing it in theaters? And if the movie is out in Europe before the American DVD, wtf are they worried about? I really doubt anyone wants to spend their life watching most WB DVDs more than once. I'm sure now, that WB execs kick their heels up and smoke blunts together and wack off to Mariah Carey fantasies, concocting ways to mess with people, giving them a reason to dislike their entire annoying company.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 6 p.m. CST

    Obviously no one has a marketing degree at WB!

    by cybamuse

    What I don't get is why they want to do this? I mean, this cuts profits for them as the 5.7 billion people who reside outside of North America's paltry 300 million market, suddenly can't play DVD's made for Region 1. You do the math, but I would rather have a market of 5.7 billion anyday...

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Two weeks. That's how long it will take after these new restric

    by Hero For Hire

    Go ahead, Warner. You're just making more positive than ever that the DVD world *needs* a "Napster" to level the playing field. Whoever said in Talkback that this stank of illegal monopolistic practices is bang-on right. God bless 2600 and all those who dwell within. Happy New Year to the children of Abraham. Good night.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:23 a.m. CST

    Playstation2

    by Slicer_D

    I'm glad I'm getting a playstation 2 because I can just set it to any region i want buy a the pirated disk you can get.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:36 a.m. CST

    Hey, Philamental: Se7en is a New-Line DVD... they're owned by W

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    I'm not personally a big believer in the idea of getting pissy when someone catches me breaking rules and trying to have something I shouldn't. If I try to get away with something, I try knowing that there may be consequences to suffer if my attempts fail. BUT... as so many people have pointed out, NOBODY buying a DVD outside of their region is trying to "get away" with anything. They fucking PAID for the disc! Warners made just as much money from that person than they would from somebody living 4 blocks away from their studios who purchased the same disc. What Warners and Columbia (and possibly the other studios, if they follow) are trying to do is maintain their impenetrable fortresses of distribution control. Well, one word, guys: Napster. Things like Nap, as another TBer put it, "level the playing field." Think about it: who has brought Napster to court? The RIAA - The Recording Industry Association of America. How many artists are part of this organization, people? NONE. The RIAA is made up of the 5 big recording distributors: Universal, Sony, BMG, Virgin, and our favorite, Warners. THEY'RE the ones fighting Napster. And don't believe their bullshit for a minute: "We're protecting the rights of the artists. You're taking money out of their pockets!" Fuck that. They couldn't give a damn about how much money the artists lose. Trust me, folks: the labels lose SUBSTANTIALLY much more than the performers. I suppose I'm getting off topic here, but the point I'm trying to make is this: it's always the huge distributors trying to tighten their grip on HOW we acquire the product. As long as they can maintain control of the system, their kids will have BMWs on their 17th birthdays, and they can pay for their mistresses' condos. (And in the end, isn't that what really matters?) Fortunately, in the case of musicians, power seems to be wresting free from the fatcats and into the artist's hands (look up Courtney Love's May 16th speech to the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference.) Hopefully, DVD player manufacturers will find a new way for the mice to escape Warners' better mousetrap. Lightstormer pissed... and OUT.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:40 a.m. CST

    Oh, and BTW: If this region encoding is the reason Batman Beyon

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    Fuggeddaboudit. Warners is re-editing the show, guys. Face it. They're pussying out to Washington due to the whole "kids and violence" shit. It's the same as when they sold off Interscope because it had so many "questionable" acts on its roster. NOW Lightstormer out.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:56 a.m. CST

    jocedeg

    by oh-Dawg

    OK, so I'm an idiot. My point is Warner makes money whether I buy the region 2 DVD or not.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 2:08 a.m. CST

    I meant...

    by oh-Dawg

    ... they still make their money whether I buy the region 2 or region 1 DVD.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 3:02 a.m. CST

    God damn I hate Warner Brothers

    by JackBurton

    I'm Australian and I buy region one discs for one simple reason, in the vast majority of cases they are better produced overall packaged than our usually skimped upon local product, but I *pay* for the right to have these discs, just like everyone else. On top of that our local releases down here consist on maybe 5% of the amount of films that are released in the US, and of those films that we do get there are almost no horror, cult or classic cinema films, it's all big budget hollywood blockbusters, and most of the time those just aren't the films that i want to buy and own and watch over and over again in the comfort of my own home. ******************************************************************** Also this whole distribution bullshit bugs me as a bare faced lie because I never (or at least very, very rarely) buy any film on DVD that I haven't seen before, and niether does anyone else that I know. But even if I did down here it currently costs $8.50 to go see a film at the cinema, while if I buy a DVD it's gonna cost me maybe $35 (we're talking australian dollars here), now you tell me that they're gonna get a bigger cut of my money from me frequenting the cinema rather than from buying the DVD internationally. Also if this is truly their intent (to control distribution of cinema product) then they better not put any increased protection on any films that are older than a year or so and have already done the rounds worldwide or it'll just show once more that this is just a bullshit excuse to screw over the very consumers that fork over their hard earned dosh.******************************************************************** Regardless of all of this multizone players are legal in Australia, in fact mine was released boxed and unaltered as a multizone player, and was shipped from the warehouse in that condition so this just bugs the shit outta me. Sure eventually someone will crack it but God Damn, I waited two years until I could get a multizone player at a decent price and now this shit, thanks for the slap in the face Warner Brothers, you motherless fucks.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 5:40 a.m. CST

    An Explanation On Region Coding

    by ganya

    The reason for the region coding requirement on DVDs is quite simple to explain. In fact, as you'd expect from movie studios, it comes down to one word. Guessed it yet? The word is: MONEY. Or, to put it the long way: they're cheapskates. The reason for non-simulataneous releases of films into cinemas in different regions of the world is so that they can use THE SAME FILM PRINTS in the different countries. Show in America first (after all, America *is* the centre of the Universe, isn't it?) then send those prints abroad to be shown in their cinemas. Pity the poor bastards who get it last. So, you end up with a situation where, because of staggered release dates, a film may be available on DVD in America *before* it's playing at the local cinema in, for instance, Europe. Now, the studios don't want you to be able to rent or buy a DVD when you could be spending money at the cinema. On average, several people are likely to see a film on a single copy of a DVD - at the cinema you have to pay per person, per viewing. *Then*, after you've paid at the cinema, they'll be happy for you to pay again to rent or buy the DVD. Being able to buy a DVD and not watch it at the cinema means, to the studios, lost money. This brings me on to the "rental window". This is something that Fox have been experimenting with here in the UK, where they make a DVD available for rental only, with retail sales not available for around 6 months - in much the same way as VHS rental/sales works at the moment. The reason for this? MONEY. They can charge the rental shops around

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 7:21 a.m. CST

    More on US prints

    by Overtkill UK

    Actually, the comment about used prints is partly correct. I work in a cinema in the UK and the number of used prints that we recieve is staggering. Virtually every single print this year has been sent from the US, after completing a run in one of their cinemas. The only noteable exceptions so far have been Gladiator, M:I 2 and Perfect Storm. If Warner's got it into their stupid fucking heads and realised that we, their customers, are getting more and more pissed off at them, and did something to close the gap between US and European release dates for both cinema and DVD, then - as stated previously - this problem will go away. Fuck you, Warners.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Buy Another DVD Player you Winey Bitch!

    by juggygales

    Big fucking deal. A new region one DVD player can be bought for as little as $100! You buy one... PROBLEM SOLVED! You have your region free DVD player so your loser self can jerk off to your import porn. And you can watch The Perfect Storm on your new player, you FUCKIN GEEK! Quit your bellyaching and go by one, you copyright law-breaking mother fucker!

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:25 p.m. CST

    DVD's in the UK

    by steveh

    the biggest problem with this is the arrogance of WB to the overseas territories. I live in the UK and unless I want to wait until....whenever WB feel like releasing stuff, the only way I can get some stuff is from the US two classic examples....Galaxy Quest has been on DVD in the US for months, but still no release date for the UK, same thing with X-men. and they're not exactly still in the theatres So the only way I can get these before..Feb 2001 at the earliest is via the US. this invention of the devil will stop this. so it MUST NOT HAPPEN!!!!!

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Return Of The Joker VHS May Also Be Pushed Back Because. . .

    by Cowblaster

    . . . Maybe they want both the VHS and the DVD to come out at the same time? Or, maybe they want to wait until the third season begins on TV because something very important happens in the movie that forever affects the show? I dunno. We'll just have to wait and see. But, I'm not giving my hopes up.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 2:24 p.m. CST

    jugglegale, jocedog read up

    by X-Girls

    Juggygale, how is he a 'law-breaking mother-fucker' because he's unwilling to buy ANOTHER DVD Player. In Canada you can't find a decent DVD Player for under 300 dollars-they all MUST be quite new, DVD tech is on the market since like, April97. So that's it? You say, suck the cock of the WB and buy another DVD Player? And Jocedog, wtf? Where do the two of you work @ WB? You're-too-dumb-to-talk-back-here. Go to the Harry Potter talk-back. Damn, no one paid money that much money as early adopters of DVD folks paid like a grand over here. Fuck them? FUCK YOU! They're the customers. This moronic idea that they're all stealing because they want to watch movies on their DVD Player and if they had a good job they would blow their hard-earned cash on another system..Forget it. That's why no one else responded to you, you're both too dumb. Imagine the day you got a VHS Player someone @ WB came up with an idea like this, so they could fuck the foreign markets out of their hard-earned cash. If you are at all human-you'd be pissed!! WB is not protecting their interests, they're creating a cash scheme that does remind many of illegal monopolistic practices. IDIOTS don't knock us because you're too thick-headed to know what this means.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Juggygales, are you trying to be a troll?

    by Sorcerer

    Suppose WB decided that every one of its DVDs would cost 100 dollars, be in pan-n-scan, and be missing scenes from the theatrical print. Judging from your posts here, your response to people who complained would be "QUIT WHINING and PAY the C-NOTE, YOU FUCKING GEEK!" WB is doing a dumb thing that has nothing to do with copyright law. Are you on their payroll?

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 4:52 p.m. CST

    No need to worry, Multiregion mods have already circumvented thi

    by OpticNerve

    I live in Australia, and regularly purchase DVDs from Amazon. While it's true that many stores here market "region free" or "multi-region" players, these players give you a choice of setting to multiregion, or region specific. For the region specific option, you are given a choice of any of the regions as a setting. Therefore, when you want to play your region 1 version of "Flash Gordon" (which does have this protection on it already), you just have to go into the set up menu and choose region 1 before inserting the disk. No real hassle. Takes less than a minute. I understand this to be true with England and Japan as well. Basically, this news report is just a storm in a teacup.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 7:35 p.m. CST

    Useless already? Good to know.

    by Sorcerer

    And a stupid plan is foiled before it is even put into action. Always nice when that happens.

  • Recently, Ain

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 11:23 p.m. CST

    Full of Shit

    by Enraged

    The WahWah post sounds suspiciously like the editorial on the digital bits. Like, word for word. And it's full of shit. Americans don't have to worry about waiting 4-6 months to see a film that's no 1 or whatever. And they don't have to wait months for the DVD. And they don't have to wait and find out that their version is cut, and missing extras and the like. But I remember seeing only a few weeks ago lots of Americans's whining about not getting the olympics live and why don't they just hold the Olympics in america every year. I don't see them railing against people who import video games (videogames have their own unique region codes.) It is not illegal to midify your player. Warranty is not an issue. It is not illegal to personally import software. 2/3 of machines in Europe are chipped. Why The reason people buy R1 from outside of the europe is simple. Price is one thing in Europe where DVD's are expensive, but nit here in Australia. More features usually, less censorship quicker and here's the kicker, stuff that hasn't or won't be released overseas. Paramount still hasn't announced it will release DVD's in Australia so I buy my Trek and Naked Gun/Airplane discs from express. Bill and Todd should get off their high horse.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 2:11 a.m. CST

    R2/4 Talk Backers I feel your pain....

    by sinople

    Out of R1 talk backers, I feel your pain. Luckily, in R1 there are some players selling for $100 US. If worse comes to worse, you can buy a cheap R1 player. Probably cheaper than the mod you had installed in your player in the first place. I own a lot of disks from R2,3,4,5 AND 6, myself. I don't think I will be completely cut off from foreign cinema if my players can't break this new code, but it will sure limit where I spend my money and maybe which disks I buy.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 10:55 a.m. CST

    RCE=SoE!

    by DVD=No1

    The only effect RCE would have is a lot of very pissed off people reluctant to buy Warner titles at all, and in my case (and that of any other serious collector) that I would have to replace my region free player with two new ones (unmodified region 1 and 2 players.) Please remember that large numbers of titles are not (going to be) released in Europe for month or years, if at all, let alone other regions... A possibility would be perhaps, that they would only use RCE for region 1 discs. If they were to use this technology on region 2 discs, it would render about 50% of all DVD players in Europe useless for new Warner titles! The marketing disaster as a result of that would reach proportions not seen since the "New Coke" fiasco... I would love to have the e-mail address of the individual who gives the final go for this brilliant idea, so I can write him a note when they fire his ass... Personally, I happen to think Regional Coding/RCE is the kind of Spawn of Evil only big business management types can dream up to rip off customers. Consumers should have the right to buy DVD's where they want, when they want and from whom they want, but I guess Warner thinks the "Land Of The Free" bit does not apply to consumers...

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    wah...

    by Warlock One

    First, Jubjub, thank you for taking the time to make your point with some eloquence and back-up, whatever the source. I still don't agree, but I appreciate the coherence. First, as the trollers have pointed out in their inept, backhanded way, the new region coding is not sufficient to keep the code-1 outsiders from viewing code-1 DVDs before their official release; it just means they might have to purchase code-1 DVD players first. Secondly, the new codes wouldn't only effect those outside of region 1 who wanted to play U.S. DVDs, but also anyone INSIDE of region 1 who would suddenly have to choose between ability to play their home-region DVDs (with a region-1 player) and any DVD from any of the other regions (with a region-free player- and 6 regions worth of DVDs is a whole world including a hell of a lot more than pornography, oh single-minded neopuritans.) That every DVD player is capable of playing DVDs from any region, but for this bit of code, again makes me feel that this move is counter to consumer interest, and amounts to an arbitrary crippling of the system. Doubly arbitrary since it would seem to be ineffective to the purpose of preventing the distribution of the region-1 release. If region-1 movie distributors would simply come to an agreement with their distributors about timing the export of the region-1 disks, it would be at least as effective means of preventing pre-release of region-1 disks before mass distribution in other regions, and would have the added benefit of NOT punishing people who enjoy watching foreign editions of movies both inside AND outside of region 1 long after a movie's mass release has come and gone. Given the increasing heavy-handedness of the studios and their advocates on similar issues, and the fact that some foreign releases never come to certain regions and all but via the import/export market, I can't call this a small issue.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 1:50 p.m. CST

    For the last Goddamn time...

    by Sorcerer

    It is not "whining" to point out that WB is making an unwise business decision, and alienating consumers in the process. Why should UK film buffs have to either buy a region 1 player or wait months on end for a DVD that their American friends already have, just because of some arbitrary "we're not making it available here" decision? And to back up the "more than pornography" argument- for one, the UK has DVDs available of currently running American TV shows, whereas, say, US fans of even a not-running show like SEINFELD have to make due with syndicated episodes with lines randomly chopped out in order to run more commercials. And of course there are all the foreign films that don't find American distributors...

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 1:52 p.m. CST

    And another observation...

    by Sorcerer

    All the people saying "It's WB's right, stop whining you geeks" have suspiciously similar names. I don't know why this is, but it merits observation....

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 6:49 p.m. CST

    More reasons for the stupidity of WB

    by cybamuse

    Ya know, maybe coded-DVDs were a sensational marketing idea in the mid-90s, but then the DVD makers messed it all up by deciding thier machines were better than the competing company, and so we had the Beta vs VHS wars again. By the time that was resolved, the world wide web was completely and utterly entrenched in our lives and we could buy our goods from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, we could obtain news from anywhere in the world. I can tell you for a fact that Blair Witch did so poorly in Australia because it was released 6 months after the hype in America - did the distributors not realise we alredy knew about it??? I can understand a 3 week delay internationally to make sure a movie is going to work (e.g. Battlefield Earths release in Australia was slammed back 5 months to try and escape the bad American reviews - but to no avail - we knew!). But, the distributors out there obviously haven't cottoned onto the internet and how powerful it is. And then, there is the issue of DVDs versus movies. We are always going to go the movie theatre! We've already been through 'the demise of movies thanks to video' debate 15 years ago. It didn't happen. We love the theatre. We buy the video/DVD because we loved the movie. I am certainly notn going to spend 30% more to buy a DVD that may be of a crappy movie! The only loss occurring now is when distributors decide to launch movies 3-6 months in other countries after is has been released in the US or the UK (or weherever). Then some people in the country that has to wait, buy the DVD/video because the stupid distributor has decided to release it early in US/UK/wherever. Like I said, the internet has revolutionised media distribution and buying power. 70% of DVD players in Europe are modified to read multi-zones. Does this not imply we know of the movie before it arrives in our country several months later??? And you can't tell me its 'we have to do an ad-campaign' - there are enough ad agencies out in each country to promote a movie simultaneously world wide with only 2-4 weeks delay. Companies like WB and other film distributors have to wake up - zoned DVD players are not going to work with the internet!

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 8:20 p.m. CST

    BOYCOTT ALL WARNERS PRODUCTS

    by Davetee

    Warners are sticking the finger to the consumer, so hit em where it hurts. Don't buy ANY of their DVDs, videos or music releases, don't go to see any of their films, AND FLOOD THEM WITH E-MAIL MAKING IT QUITE CLEAR WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS. Only when this ludicrous new coding is abandoned will I buy anything more from Warners. It needs enough people taking such action to make Warners listen. Never forget DIVVX.

  • Oct. 12, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST

    It's true, after all!

    by Overtkill UK

    Well, it would appear that someone has their facts screwed up as I just had an email from my DVD supplier warning me that both Patriot and Perfect Storm will carry the new RCE software. Thanks Warners - thanks for ignoring us. Fuck you and your discs - I have cancelled my order for PS and any future WB releases. As for future cinema releases? I ain't paying for dick from you anymore - pucker up and kiss my pimply ass.

  • Oct. 12, 2000, 2:43 p.m. CST

    I hope WB gets it done

    by the_pissboy1

    Bravo to the WB. I can't believe it's let people abuse its products this long. I applaud the WB's efforts to protect its property.

  • Oct. 12, 2000, 5:25 p.m. CST

    All DVD movies should be Region FREE.

    by riskebiz

    When I bought my DVD player, I didn't know about the region coding issue. Now that I do and find that a lot of my favorite films are not available to me in the US, but I are available in Europe or elsewhere (Amazon seems to be a good place to order them), I find this issue of Region coding to be a real drag. If a movie is available in Europe, it should be available here ... and usually it isn't. The amount foreign movies available on DVD in the US is pathetic. It's not like the movies haven't been released on DVD yet, because they're there in Europe. I understand about NTSC and PAL, but I have a couple DVD's that are Region FREE (which means they'll play on any DVD player in the world.) Why can't every DVD movie be made Region FREE?!? Why can you buy one DVD here, but not there and vice-versa? It sucks.

  • Oct. 12, 2000, 11:14 p.m. CST

    DVD players which can select the region.

    by emarkp

    I give it less than 6 months until DVD players come out that can select their region, or ignore the region. The technology will evolve in the direction that the consumers will pay for.

  • Oct. 13, 2000, 11:19 a.m. CST

    simultaneous worldwide release the answer

    by growler

    Why does WB want to go to such lengths to piss off their customers? Why do they even care where in the world people buy their DVDs from? Whether people buy from WB US or WB Europe, the cash all goes into the worldwide, consolidated WB pot of money. 2 strategies would eliminate all this stress 1. Simultaneous worldwide release 2. Identical worldwide pricing. If they

  • Oct. 13, 2000, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Pissboy- "Abusing products"???

    by Sorcerer

    Warners STILL MAKES MONEY when a person buys a Region 1 DVD for a non-region player. THEY LOSE NOTHING.

  • Oct. 13, 2000, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Its the Internet stupid!

    by Peter8148

    I bought Kubrick's 2001 from Warners. Cardboard box. Appalling image quality. Almost as if they were cramming their back catalogue through the DVD sausage machine as quickly as possible to screw their customers and make a fast buck. Although this obviously could not be the case. Still - they are "restoring" the print so I will soon have the opportunity to buy it all over again. -------------------------------- ------------ The Internet has changed everything but these people do not seem to get it. I see a film reviewed on this site. I want to see it. Release date for UK - wait six months! DVD release - wait a year, or more, or for ever. Forget it! To those Warner people reading this - and I know that you are there because you have been posting to this discussion - forget region codes they are a dead end. Soon all your main markets will have access to DSL type broadband links and really, REALLY bad things are going to start happening. Heard of Napster? NOW is definitely not the time to be pissing of your customers!

  • Oct. 15, 2000, 6:40 a.m. CST

    HELP Region Coding

    by Broedereppo

    I got a Pioneer DV-717 (EXCELLENT player by the way) it is a region free player when i set it on region 4 it plays all regions and i am also able to put it on region 1 does this mean i don't have to worry or am i also screwed Some friends of mine have a Pioneer DVL-909 they must switch the regions but i have the same region code menu as them HELP ME am i f*cked

  • Oct. 2, 2001, 6:18 p.m. CST

    HOW STRANGE IS IT THAT WARNER BROS. ARE PIONEERING THIS RCE, WHE

    by Napolean Solo

    Warner Bros. Have a nerve bringing this technology when all their DVDs are crap with hardly any features but Cast & Crew. This is Alanis Morrisette type Ironic!!!

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