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In Stores Soon: Perishable DVDs 683

Posted by michael
from the CONSUME dept.
Makarand writes "Technology that renders optical media useless after a short lifespan will soon find its way into stores in the form of perishable DVDs. Retailers in the Southern United States will soon start giving a sample DVD to buyers of a CD (by Nappy Roots, a hip-hop group). This promotional DVD from Atlantic Records will work for only 8 hours. This promotion is aimed at finding if music fans would be interested in buying a package with both audio and video instead of just plain audio. A special dye sandwiched between the layers of the DVD will interact with air making it opaque and unreadable later. If this media catches on you may not have to return your DVD rentals in the future." We noted this 2.5 years ago.
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In Stores Soon: Perishable DVDs

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  • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:55AM (#4667576) Homepage Journal
    Pathetic attempt at locking out consumers once again.
    • It doesn't seem that bad--as of now they only use these as samples. If they want me to buy one, screw them (o wait--I haven't bought a CD since 1998).
  • by laetus (45131) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:55AM (#4667581)

    Talk about vaporware.
    • One thing about these so-called disposable DVD's is the fact I really have my doubts it'll work in the summertime.

      Will the heat of summer cause the dye to turn the disc opaque before you even try to play it once?
  • a whole new meaning to burning a disk.
  • Why not (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:56AM (#4667587)
    We didn't really need that whole "environment" thingy, anyway...
    • Re:Why not (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stubblehead (565808)
      First diapers, then cell phones, now this? What's really stupid is that people will just rent the DVD and copy it (since DVD-R's will probably be as affordable then as CD-R's are now). Some people do that now, even with VHS tapes, but at least the original is preserved and available for re-use. Hell, VHS tapes would then be superior in physical quality. Talk about devolution.
  • divx (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:56AM (#4667588)
    didn't this fail before in a format called divx?
    the consumer would "rent" the "dvd" and then they would have a certain window of time in which they could watch it
    • Re:divx (Score:4, Informative)

      by trix_e (202696) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:57AM (#4667603)
      One of the major problems with DivX was that it required a specially modified DVD player that cost more... these play in regular old DVD players (in theory...)

      • Re:divx (Score:3, Informative)

        by ergo98 (9391)
        Coupled with the fact that divx players would communicate (via modem) with divx headquarters, required you to have a subscription with them, and maintained a history of every movie you've watched.
  • no! don't do it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xirtam_work (560625) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:56AM (#4667589)
    the environmental reasons alone demand that we done encourgage this kind of thing. Personally, I'd just copy the disc and have a no-perishable version in my collection anyway. What happens when you get a disc and it only lasts 30 mins for a 2 hour movie? Who's gonna believe you?
    • Re:no! don't do it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by neuroticia (557805)
      I regularly have to return video tapes (not DVDs) because the closed captioning has expired off of the tape. (When tape degrades, the captioning disappears, becomes sporadic, or just plain messed up.) At first the people argued with me when I asked for a refund. Eventually they got used to the idea that either they gave me a refund, or I'd sue them. ::shrugs::

      I think that after the media had been in the stores for a little bit, the blockbuster guys would get used to regularly re-issuing DVDs, or giving people refunds. Otherwise they'd quickly gather a class action lawsuit.

      The material that the DVDs are made on needs to be biodegradeable, though. Perhaps a cardboard disc? :p

      -Sara
      • by sterno (16320) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @12:03PM (#4668700) Homepage
        Blockbuster will have no interest at all in this technology. Remember that a large portion of Blockbuster's revenue is made off of late fees. Disposable degrading discs completely negates that revenue stream.
      • Re:no! don't do it (Score:3, Informative)

        by gmhowell (26755)
        This happened ALL THE TIME when my wife used to watch movies. After the second time, the video store didn't hassle me any more. After the fourth time, they gladly played the tape on the in store VCR to examine a few minutes of the movie to check for the captioning. Of course, I use a local store, not a Blockbuster type place.

        We largely switched to DVD's (about 98%) when we got a player. There was one HUGE problem: Universal Studios. They don't caption their DVD's, they put on subtitles. Now, your vision is probably okay, but my wife's wasn't. She needed the high contrast offered by captioning. Hell, I have 20/40 corrected with a normal field. Put in Jurassic Park and look at the scenes in the desert in the beginning. Yellow letters on tan sand does not show up well.

        Anyway, I feel your pain. Or did. Now my wife is Braille reading books, and we are going to learn hand signing. (And looking into another Cochlear implant.)
    • Re:no! don't do it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10AM (#4667731)
      These useless pieces of shit will be in a landfill for the next three trillion years, and maybe they dye inside is toxic. The people who came up with this idea should be executed.
    • Re:no! don't do it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mpe (36238) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:07AM (#4668199)
      the environmental reasons alone demand that we done encourgage this kind of thing.

      "Perishable" in this context most likely means the data. Not that the whole thing is biodegradable. From an environmental POV this is probably a very bad thing, since it means more stuff thrown away.
  • [riverusers.com] unintentionally [foetusized.org]!
  • This is great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FyRE666 (263011) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:56AM (#4667595) Homepage
    If this media catches on you may not have to return your DVD rentals in the future.

    Yet another way to contribute to the environment. Let's just dump more trash rather than get off our lazy asses to take the DVD back to the shop... Jesus...
    • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten (1359)
      Yet another way to contribute to the environment. Let's just dump more trash rather than get off our lazy asses to take the DVD back to the shop... Jesus...

      What would be great for the rental market is a disc on which the data fades after a period of time, but the disc itself is fine, and reusable. You could then take your disc back to the store and get a new time-limited movie imprinted onto it. This would massively reduce the physical resources consumed by the industry.
    • Re:This is great! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kramer (19951) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:09AM (#4667715) Homepage
      Actually, I wrote an e-mail to the company developing this when the story ran 2.5 years ago -- I'll quote the response in full (Yes, I'm a packrat):


      Thank you for your comments. We have been sharing your frustration as the new reports have failed to report this product will be a recyclable. Just a drop the disc in the bucket next to the butter container and milk bottle. It also eliminates the car pollution of returning the movie to the store. avg. 10 miles and 1/3 gallon of gas.

      We appreciate your concern.

      SpectraDisc


      I still think it's a stupid idea, but it's moved from monumentally stupid to moderately stupid.
      • Re:This is great! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Damek (515688) <adam@nosPam.damek.org> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:25AM (#4667843) Homepage
        Which begs the question, "How many people will actually recycle it?"

        Here in NYC we can't recycle glass any more. Stupid mayor. Now they want to institute a "pay as you throw" garbage tax, which I think is actually a good idea, but only if they reinstate full recycling.

        So anyway, how will these things be recyclable? They're part plastic and part metal, right? They really need to educate people & city recycling programs about how and where to put these if they're truly going to be responsible about their products. ...as we all should be responsible for what we produce and consume...

        Regardless, surely having no physical matter at all is the best solution! Ah, but then we have to worry about how dirty the computer chip manufacturing process is. Trying to be responsible is so damn frustrating sometimes! Maybe I should just give in and pollute to my heart's content!
    • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Let's see...

      A DVD is 120mm in diameter and 1.2mm thick. That puts its volume at 1.2 * 60^2 * pi, or 13572 mm^3. That means that a DVD's volume is about 1/74000 of a cubic meter.

      Assume that every American buys 10 disposable DVDs per year. That's 3 billion of these things that wind up in the landfill, for a total of around 41000 cubic meters.

      Switching to American measurements, these would fit into a one-acre, 30 foot deep hole. There are plenty of places in the Nevada Desert where you could dig such a thing.

      Or, think of it another way: If you threw away disks like this every time you rented a movie, by what percentage would it increase *your* personal trash output? For me it would be well under 1%.

      On the other hand, assume that each DVD rental results in one extra mile of driving to return it. (Yes, I know you could walk, but the places I usually rent from are 4 and 9 miles away.) That results in an extra 3 billion miles of driving, or at least 100 million gallons of gasoline burned. Given that 1 gallon of gasoline results in 20 pounds of pollution (mostly CO2 and H2O), that's 1 million tons of pollution.

      So: One acre hole in Nevada, or 1 million tons of pollution. Your choice.
      • Re:This is great! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kubrick (27291) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:18AM (#4668306)
        So: One acre hole in Nevada, or 1 million tons of pollution. Your choice.

        How are you going to move all of these discs to that hole? Magic? I'd say some fuel might be expended in the effort... how much does pollution is produced by all the garbage trucks in the US for a year? What's, say, 0.5% of that?

  • by terminal.dk (102718) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:57AM (#4667597) Homepage
    Just seal it with some translucent airtight coating, and you can use it forevert.

    Low tech solution to a high tech problem.
  • by Dim_Slashdot (615563) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:57AM (#4667598) Homepage
    we will buy expensive hard drives that are designed to fail after a short time...

    Oh wait... we already do.
  • hm.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by nick-less (307628) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:57AM (#4667604)
    This promotional DVD from Atlantic Records will work for only 8 hours.

    seems like plenty of time to rip the content ...
  • by Scooter (8281) <owen @ a n n i c n o v a .force9.net> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:58AM (#4667607)
    Notice on the disk will read "You have 8 hours to listen to this music"

    Geek reads "You have 8 hours to rip this data to your RAID 5 dedicated music storage facility".

    hehe.
  • Can plastic discs like these be recycled? It seems wasteful to line landfills with these things.
  • 8 hours? (Score:4, Redundant)

    by RedWolves2 (84305) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:59AM (#4667610) Homepage Journal
    8 hours is plenty of time to rip and make an MP3 out of it.
  • Seriously. The first thing I'd do with any DVD that is going to self-destruct is make a copy of it. This is just a dumb idea all around.
  • folks that you make a backup copy as soon as you buy it.
  • Summary... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:59AM (#4667618) Homepage

    You buy something that breaks after a few hours, its then just plain trash.

    So apart from being bad from an environmental, consumer and most other perspectives this is a good thing because it helps push up the pollution rates even further.
  • I'm curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iceT (68610) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:59AM (#4667620)
    Why is the entertainment industry so hell-bent on NOT giving us entertainment?

    You'd think that will the failure of DivX (the Circuit City one), they they would realize that when someone buys something, they expect to keep it...

    Even for Video rentals, I wonder if we're SUCH a disposable society that creating this much waste is worth it.

  • More Trash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Seldon_21 (547267) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:00AM (#4667624) Journal
    DIVX! Think about the waste. "If this media catches on you may not have to return your DVD rentals in the future." The rental chains business model is based upon you not returning them on time. So why would they go for this idea? and Where do you think that get there money from?
    • Re:More Trash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeremyacole (617071) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:15AM (#4667769)
      You have a good point. Their model is based on you not returning the videos on time so they collect late fees. But, if you think about it, it's also based on you actually *returning* the movies, as well. You're probably something like 50% more likely to rent *more* movies if you already have to go back to the store to return the old ones. I know I am.

      In any case, I really don't think Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are going to warm up to the idea...
  • When will we wake up and smell the mocha lattee and start to realize that we have landfills filling up with trash and that the space available for trash on planet earth is finite.

    The whole disposable philosophy that consumers embrace shows how short-sighted and self-centered most people are.

    I for one am concerned about my children and their children and will never use one of these if at all possible. Then again I don't own a car (I jog or bike ot take the bus when I have to) and use recycled materials whenever possible.

  • Stick the DVD in your computer, and you have a few hours to make yourself a good copy (either to your hard disk or to recordable DVD) and you're good to go.

    Am I missing something? If I know that a disc will go blank, I'm going to just copy it to something that won't destroy itself (at least in the next few years).
  • I'm not an "environmentalist", but this is just plain ridiculous. Sheesh, it's bad enough that AOL sends out gazillions of CD coasters every year.

    The ironic thing is that a lot of the people who are producing these are in Hollywoold.
  • by cdf12345 (412812) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:04AM (#4667664) Homepage Journal
    Too bad I couldn't put the same coating on my dollar bills that would cause them to decompose as soon as the MPAA or RIAA touches them.
  • seal it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rkoot (557181) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:06AM (#4667680)
    would it be a big problem to, say, seal the edges of the cd with maybe a glue on silicon base or something ?
    if the air can't reach the dye in between, I guess the cd stays readable, no ?

    a just a thought.

    rkoot
    I'm not as think as you drunk I am

  • Is it hermetically sealed? What is its shelf life if it isnt't opened? I recycle my AOL CDs as Christmas tree ornaments. Tis the season!
  • by krazyninja (447747) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:09AM (#4667720)
    This patent [uspto.gov] #
    6,161,106, was granted to Motorola, in 2000. While this depends on a magnetic method, it is interesting to know that the current referred method depends on interaction with air. How long before "mods" are made to have a drive enclosed in vacuum??? :)))
  • by limekiller4 (451497) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10AM (#4667725) Homepage
    What do you want to bet that giving it a quick spray of clearcoat will render the disk substrate isolated from oxygen yet still useable?

    What is to stop me from making a copy that is less unstable, for that matter (the article actual touches upon this at the end) once the price of blanks come down? A right, I might add (and we all know) that is codified in the Fair Use clause of Copyright law.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this isn't happening anytime soon.
  • The big problem with Divx was that you needed a proprietary (and more expensive) player, along with privacy-invading dial-in features, in order to use it. The public said "nah-uh", and the format died deservedly.

    This sounds like it should work in standard DVD players, and require no phone-home function. The "disposable rental" could work here.

    The issue for the video rental business is that it needs to be priced *lower* than a standard DVD rental. Since most people would view the inconvenience of a time-restricted view as greater than the benefit of saving themselves the return trip to the rental store, there must be a cost-saving component for the consumer to accept this. This means that the cost of production and stocking of these one-time useage disks must be substantially less than the cost of re-stocking of returned rental DVDs.

    Now that I think about it, maybe the perfect application of this would be the rental-by-mail business: only one-way shipping charges! This doesn't seem to be a market with very large room for growth, however.
  • by Rayonic (462789) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10AM (#4667730) Homepage Journal
    Fortunately I live in a Neon/Argon atmosphere, so this shouldn't be much of a problem for me.
  • by GnomeKing (564248) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:11AM (#4667742)
    This DVD will self destruct in 10 seconds

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to assasinate general kERROR READING DRIVE E. (A)bort (R)etry (I)gnore
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:13AM (#4667751)
    ...that when they do things like this, it proved that THEY HAVE LOST.

    Stand back for a minute and look at the big picture. Take a breath, take a minute, and think about it. They encrypt their content and then store it on self destructing disks. HA! It's so pathetic it's funny. If there was ever an example of the dead horse (Rosen?) getting another whack (DMCA?) this is IT. They lost.

    Imagine the munks, years ago, using disapearing ink in their scrolls so you didn't have time to read it long enough to place letters on a plate at a printing press! Same shit. Different day. "DISTRIBUTION" is dead. If any 5 year old can publish themselves WORLD WIDE 24/7, then the business of distrobution (of "information") is dead. Ever see a little kid make a homepage on AOL? They do... it ain't XHTML but it's there for the world to see 24/7. Tell me again why I need YOU to publish my info for ungodly sums of money? Tell me again why I should listen to one artist for one hour at a time on obsolete media?

  • by fizban (58094)
    More "disposable" technology to fill our landfills with...
  • OK, this is great news for those who favor environmental pollution through waste of resources! Now we no longer have to depend on AOL for sending us all those free CDs to fill our thrash cans, but we can also pay for media that we can throw away because they're useless shortly after!
  • by nege (263655)
    While I think its cool not to have to return DVDs to rental outlets(I have had some really bad fines before) it just seems like such a waste of materials. Maybe we could use them as frizbees or coasters. But then what do we do with AOL discs?
  • by tmark (230091) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:14AM (#4667762)
    I guess things are coming full-circle when Slashdot editors are pointing out the retread stories for us !
  • The mechanism works by letting air in to react with a layer of dye. How does the air get in? I would imagine only the outer edge (maybe the inner edge too). So what happens if you seal the outer edge? No air gets in, and the dye doesn't go opaque. I'm sure there is some form of glue or other sealant widely available that can handle this task.
  • In Mission Impossible voice: "This recording will self destruct in 8 hours"
  • Air or light? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stavr0 (35032) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:18AM (#4667795) Homepage Journal
    A special dye sandwiched between the layers of the DVD will interact with air making it opaque and unreadable later.

    Hmm, two years ago it was a light-sensitive coating that opacified after multiple playbacks.

  • by Levendis47 (90899) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:19AM (#4667806) Homepage
    Someone should bury the executives and "marketing masterminds" who come up with this drivel under a multi-ton pile of their "perished" DVD's...

    Let's add AOL to that pile...

    DivX should have been the end of this short-sightedness. Remember that one? Same concept, even worse implementation.

    This is actually a trend I've been seeing in large, bloated, over-valued, scared companies. Make the same mistakes and bad business/product decisions over and over and over. Ultimately, make the consumer pay for all your dumb mistakes. Then hunt the consumer down for not playing by your rules.

    So how's this for a Fight Club-esque social-hack: find a means of cracking the airtight seal on in-store copies undetected. Of course, then boxcutters and knives will be outlawed in public places... oh wait... already are...

    viva le revolucion!,
    or something,
    Levendis47

  • This technology will never catch on for DVD rental companies. They make WAY too much money off of late fees!
  • by mirko (198274) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:21AM (#4667817) Journal
    Michael wrote: "We noted this 2.5 years ago [slashdot.org]."

    It was actually less than a year ago [slashdot.org] (Feb 8th 2002)...
  • Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tmark (230091) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:23AM (#4667826)
    Some company comes up with a way to distribute content in such a way that users can actually listen/view/try it in their home BEFORE buying, and /. readers are busy rubbing their hands in glee at the likely truth that will still be able to rip it off.

    Where are the kudos for addressing a supposed itch that so many of the P2Pers out there use to justify the existence of unfettered file "sharing" ?
  • How long... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nomad7674 (453223) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:23AM (#4667828) Homepage Journal
    ...until someone gets sued for allowing the packaging of such discs to be punctured, thus prematurely invalidating the promotional DVD value. I can see the advertiser being FURIOUS if they paid a few million dollars to imprint, say, the newest BMW ad on the James Bond soundtrack, only to find that no consumers can view it because the plastic shrinkwrap failed to keep out enough air.

    Seems like a disaster waiting to happen. No to mention that it will drive MORE people to rip this video in order to be able to rewatch it - exactly what the RIAA and MPAA do NOT want.

  • Blockbuster (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:45AM (#4668016)
    No rental chain will ever use this. They'd have to either a) store hundreds eachs video of these in thier store to rent out. Think how many differnt videos they have. Now, multiply that by every customer they have. Now, I know they could get away with less, but just think how many copies of lotr or Harry Pottery alone they'd need? Their other option would be b) let the clerks in the store burn them them each time for each customer. This means they're still going to need thousands of these blanks sitting around, and they've jsut giving thier $5.65/h employees the ability to make DVDs. There's no way these wouldn't be hacked to make real dvds.
  • Lemme think..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lxy (80823) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:05AM (#4668183) Journal
    Going from memory here.

    The earlier use of this mentioned in the article used some weird dye that was on the surface of the disc. After the laser hit it, it started a slow process of becoming opaque, and in a few days it was unreadable. Some college students discovered that a product called "soap" mixed with a catalyst "water" removed the dye and made the CD readable again.

    This uses a dye in the middle of the disc, between layers. If air can get in, why can't another solvent? Wouldn't the same technique be true of these discs as well as the previous attempt?

    While the future of non-returnable DVDs is dead in my mind, I'm glad to see that the RIAA is finally looking into "value added", giving me a reason to buy the CD instead of download it.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:15AM (#4668278) Homepage Journal
    The goal will be to make **ALL** media time sensitive, so you cant actually retain anything and must continue to pay for listening/viewing/reading time.

    Would be applicable in the software market too, forced upgrades since your original cant be used after the next release is out. ( using estimated time of next releases )

    Or in the case of E-books, ' sorry that document is no longer acceptable speech, that isn't available for lease any longer'
  • by cascadefx (174894) <morlockhq.gmail@com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:29AM (#4668403) Journal
    Do we not have enough trash in the world as it is?!?!?

    If the process was reversable, I could see its usefulness. But, just rendering them useless sucks the big one.

    We already can't find anything useful to do with the millions of AOL CDs floating about.

  • Tit for tat (Score:5, Funny)

    by edp (171151) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @12:05PM (#4668712) Homepage
    I think self-destructing DVDs are a great idea as long as I can pay for them with dollars printed with disappearing ink.
  • Marking direction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eyeball (17206) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @12:10PM (#4668769) Journal
    This is yet another glimps into the minds of the entertainment industry's marketing people. The holy grail is pay-per-use consumer products, which unfortunately is a concept that is fairly new in capitalism, especially in the United States where property laws reflect mostly tangible goods. This helps to explain why companies and consumers are having so many problems with each other.

    Anyway, the distribution methods look somethin like this, from most desirable (and most profitable) to least:

    Pay-per-Use - Require consumer to pay for each experience (i.e.: theater movies, pay-per-view, arcade games)

    Subscription - if pay-per-use isn't possible, require the user to pay a recurring subscription fee for access to the material (i.e.: cable)

    Media Ownership - if subscription isn't possible, sell the media in a permanent form to the consumer.

    Media ownership is of course the most desired for the consumer. It allows them to experience themusic/movie/etc whenever they want, trade or sell it to friends, etc. Of course it's the least profitable for the industry.

    The problem media companies are facing is that, as technology matures, it's allowing consumers to use the media in any way they want. For example, using a Tivo to turn subscription-distributed media into owned permemant media.

    What we're seeing now is the entertainment industry scrambling to use laws that were originally enacted to protect companies from each other, and bend them to try and keep consumers from using the media for which it wasn't originally intended.

    Here's a hypothetical situation: In 15 years medical science progresses to the point where they fix eyesight with little nano machines. In the process they also give people the ability to record what they watch and play it back (kind of like a Tivo built-in to your head). Thus turning everything you experience into the potential for permenant media. What do you think the entertainment industry will do then? Legislate congress to make all medical nano devices capible of recording motion images be part of a digital rights management royalty payment system, and likely called something along the lines of the Digital Medical Device Copyright Act. That's if the entertainment industry is still alive in the same for it is today, which I doubt.

  • by buckminster (170559) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @12:10PM (#4668771) Homepage
    Like many of you I was stunned that this story is receiving covereage without any comment on the potential environmental impact of disposable DVD's.

    A quick search of Google turned up the following:

    http://enduse.lbl.gov/Info/VideoImpacts.pdf

    Flexplay approached a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to perform an environmental assessment of the disposable DVD technology.

    This report is truly amusing. The scientist acknowledges that he was not given enough time to perform a standard Life Cycle Assessment on disposable DVDs, so instead he calculated the amount of pollution that would be prevented if disposable DVDs were depoloyed as a video rental option. He theorizes that if 10% of all consumers renting DVDs did not have to make a return trip to the video store the envirnmental impact of increased junk being sent to a land fill would be offset by a decrease in pollution.

    What a hoot. I guess Flexplay didn't bother to explain their marketing strategy. It appears that these disks are being deployed as promotional items which are handed out for free and are never intended to be returned.

    Flexplay is also persuing the Hotel market. Just how much pollution would be prevented if a guest didn't have to walk down to the lobby to return their rental?

    If this is the best defense that Flexplay can come up with then we must believe that the potential evironmental impact will be pretty bad.

    Are we really willing to trash our planet in the battle against piracy? Hollywood's answer seems to be a resounding YES.

  • Returns? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zardor (452852) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @01:55PM (#4669779)
    This won't catch on. Rental companies have a significant revenue stream from people returning stuff late. (Blockbuster - 15-20%) If the stuff is disposable, then they can't charge you for not returning it. They mightn't care about the enviornment, but they do care about their shareholders.

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