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MPAA Ruins Own Films As Anti-Piracy Measure 732

Posted by Hemos
from the if-i-can't-have-it-no-one-will dept.
WCityMike writes "Steve Kraus, a Chicago film projectionist, noted in this week's Movie Answer Man column that movie studios are quite purposefully putting 'large reddish brown spots that flash in the middle of the picture, usually placed in a light area' in order to ruin computer-compressed pirated copies of films. Among recent films that feature these spots are 'Ali,' 'Behind Enemy Lines,' '28 Days Later,' 'Freddy vs. Jason' and 'Underworld.' (I guess they had to destroy the movies in order to save them ... )"
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MPAA Ruins Own Films As Anti-Piracy Measure

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  • by Transient0 (175617) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:30PM (#7144492) Homepage
    They've been doing this for years. It's a simple plan: make movies so bad no one will want to copy them.
    • by Skyshadow (508) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:34PM (#7144538) Homepage
      Hey, it worked for Metallica. How many people do you honestly think kept a copy of St. Anger on their hard drive?

      I have 100 gigs of space, and I still wouldn't spare three megs of my valuable diskspace for that piece of crapola....

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:36PM (#7144561)
      "It's a simple plan: make movies so bad no one will want to copy them. " ...Or even watch them.

      Honestly, I feel some movies are SOOOO bad as to have STOLEN my time. Too bad we can't go after the movie studios for false advertising. I guess if you compress all the good parts of a movie into a 3min "preview", then even the shittiest of movies can look like Oscar nominees.
      • There have been several times when I have walked out of a theatre thinking "There goes two hours of my life I won't ever get back." I wonder if enough people start sending bills to the movie studios for the time lost sitting through their crappy movies (AND the commercials in the trailers) that they might get the hint?
      • by SirSlud (67381) on Monday October 06, 2003 @04:10PM (#7146697) Homepage
        I know that most people seem to hate critics (western anti-elitest attitudes and all that.) But, still, I'm amazed people manage to find themselves having paid money for movies they felt were so bad that they actually stole their time.

        Thats like figuring out if you should by a Ford by asking a salesguy at a Ford dealership. Figuring out which movies you should see should be done by using independant sources (reviews, friends) .. I really don't have much sympathy for folks who end up not liking movies that had wicked-awesome previews. What on earth do you expect? Previews are probably some of the best examples around of how advertising is essentially the art of manipulation.

        Franchise whores (ie: "I know the movie will suck, but I'm an XYZ fan so I have to see it") and people who have stigmas against film critics (ie, the entire profession, not an individual film critic .. you have to find the critics that represent your tastes before they are worth much) must share part of the responsibility. If you believe, even in the slightest, in supply and demand, the quality of movies coming out is a good indication of the the quality of the demand. People don't know what to look for and refuse to vette their interests against film critics, so the studios can afford to keep pumping out crap so long as its backed by a preview with cutting edge effects and several rounds through focus group testing.

        Like the manipulative, abusive boyfriend, people keep clinging to this (attractive, albiet) fantasy that the studios are trying to correct their recent track record of abusing or ignoring the minds of the people who pay for the tickets. But they arn't .. they know that currently, they're better off spending their time to secure franchise rights and developing wicked looking previews than actually making a good movie. Like any industry that has become more about the name than the quality of the product, the hollywood movie machine has become better at advertising and market manipulation than it is at producing decent movies.

        My test? If the 'summary' of the movie contains pre-existing characters/franchises/brands, or hinges on one plot device, asume its bad until multiple discrete, independant sources suggest otherwise. Don't even bother with the preview; they're fun to watch, but a ludicrous way of determining which movie will contain an additional 157 minutes of quality cinema.
    • Prior art! (Score:5, Funny)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:50PM (#7144725) Journal
      Somewhere just beyond the asteroid belt, Jupiter is on the phone to its lawyer...
    • by jeffy124 (453342) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:08PM (#7144920) Homepage Journal
      either bad movies or bad names that no one can pronounce, thus leading to lack of ticket sales. i could just see how such a box-office scene would play out:

      moviegoer: two for jigly please
      pimply-faced-kid: wha?
      m: gigy.
      p: huh?
      m: zhe-he
      p: i beg your pardon?
      m: ah screw it, two for seabiscuit!
  • Too late (Score:2, Funny)

    by r_j_prahad (309298)
    Judging from the few movies I've seen this year, I'd say the directors had already ruined them. The brown spot is unnecessary.
  • by reezle (239894) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7144510) Homepage
    I just watched 28 days later the other night (loved it). I didn't even notice that the film was ruined. Just to be sure though, I should probably download a copy and see how much better it could have been w/o the spots?
  • brown spots? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blake8087 (688462) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:32PM (#7144514)
    i don't understand why they don't flash something more useful - like a serial number - so that they can identify where and when the illegal copy was made.
    • Re:brown spots? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Skyshadow (508) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:42PM (#7144640) Homepage
      The trouble is that you just can't mass produce DVDs and include this sort of serialization... DVDs that you buy in the stores are pressed (instead of burned), so by definition they all end up having the same image.

      I would imagine that the next gen of video recording format (whatever replaces DVD) will have built-in rights management a la Windows registration. This might be a Good Thing from a pure "rights" point of view: if you could, say, allow a certain player to play only certain titles (to which it has a license), you'd be able to allow backup copies and even concievably control fair use (albiet in a terrifically annoying Big Brother fashion). That's why they're fighting the DeCSS so hard -- if they lose control of the player, they effectively lose control of the whole ball of wax -- anybody could build a player or player software which disregards the rights management.

      Eventually, though, I'm confident they'll work out a way to restrict digital copies well enough that only a very few dedicated people will still be able to produce them, at which point it's not really a problem (from the MPAA/RIAA's standpoint) anymore. This only works when it's easy, after all...

      • Burst Cutting Area (Score:5, Informative)

        by yerricde (125198) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:33PM (#7145153) Homepage Journal

        DVDs that you buy in the stores are pressed (instead of burned), so by definition they all end up having the same image.

        It's possible for stamped DVDs to include up to 188 bytes of individual data in the Burst Cutting Area [dvdburning.biz]. To get an idea of what BCA markings look like, turn over a GameCube disc and look for a fine 1.2mm wide "barcode" that overlaps the inner edge of the data area. Though DVD Video does not use the BCA, the forthcoming DVD HD Video specification may require decoders to read decryption key and serial number information from the BCA and add watermarks to the decoded picture.

      • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:43PM (#7145251) Homepage
        Remember DIVX? It was the same idea.

        Sorry, I will not buy into a format that requires that some central service authorize my media before I can watch the movie. That central service may go down (again, like DIVX) or suddenly decide.. "Hmm, we're going to re-release _The Lion King_. Let'd disable everyone's copies so they're forced to see it in the theater!"

        No thanks. Once I buy media, I want to be able to watch it whenever I want. I urge everyone to avoid formats that require any sort of "authorization" for this reason. If no one buys it, it will fail.

    • Re:brown spots? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by waitigetit (691345)
      Actually I suspect they do (something like) this:

      I watched a divx rip of a dvd screener of Bruce Almighty, and where he looks at his beeper, it shows something like 555-1234, but when he reads it out load, he mentions a completely different number. Now, I find it hard to believe this is an error (it's not even a 555-number, and a quick look on imdb.com reveals it's not been noted as a goof, so it's probably only in the screener. Now, if every copy of the screener has a different number in the audio track,
  • by zapp (201236)
    So we have the cigarette burn marks...what's next?

    Pictures of a big, fat, cock spliced into family films? :)

    • Re:What's next? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ctxspy (94924)
      I wish i had mod-points....These fucking people are idiots.

      FIGHT CLUB.. did anyone see the movie FIGHT CLUB!!

      Main character splices bits of raunchy shit into the movies, people get freaked out when they see it, but aren't sure it was really there because it flashes too quickly.

      ITS A FRIEKIN REFERENCE TO A MOVIE!

  • by lunarscape (704562) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7144523)
    The red dots were the best part of some of those movies.
  • by weierstrass (669421) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7144524) Homepage Journal
    How lucky for them that all compression formats are fixed in stone and can never be changed.

    Also that the pirating industry doesn't have any resources it could dedicate to changing said file formats.

  • by Limburgher (523006) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7144527) Homepage Journal
    I mean, how exactly does one RUIN Freddy v Jason? Isn't that kind of like trying to invent whiffle lace?
  • solution? (Score:5, Funny)

    by micronix1 (590179) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7144528)
    they should blast the audience with emp energy. take out cell phones and cameras alike. no cameras = no piracy. maybe they can even make one for loud annoying kids.
    • Or how about one for the couple in the back making out / having sex.

      • by killmenow (184444) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:01PM (#7144845)
        Actually, the couple in the back having sex is placed there by the MPAA. They figure, if you can video tape people having sex with your handi-cam, you won't bother with the movie...
        • You mean? (Score:3, Funny)

          by gosand (234100)
          Actually, the couple in the back having sex is placed there by the MPAA. They figure, if you can video tape people having sex with your handi-cam, you won't bother with the movie...

          Those fuckers!

          .

          *ducks*

    • Re:solution? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CaseyB (1105)
      they should blast the audience with emp energy. take out cell phones and cameras alike

      Yes!

      Then I'll corner the film piracy market with my portable 8mm film camera, which will still make a perfect, er, near perfect copy of the film after an EMP burst.

    • Re:solution? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vrwarp (624266)
      and the people with pacemakers?
  • by MoneyT (548795) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:33PM (#7144533) Journal
    "Let's see how we can piss off and ailienate our customers some more. Oh I know, let's give them even less of a reason to buy, view or care about movies. That'll teach em."
  • I mean if they keep adding stuff like this, people will start to notice, and not buy moives at all. Which I think is where like 50% of there profit comes from. Sorry guys but I have tons of simpsons episodes on my hardrive, but I still buy the DVD because it looks nicer. Don't mess with the format.
  • edit the frames? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:34PM (#7144536)
    I'm sure it couldn't be that hard to edit the "ruined" frames, no? Final Cut Pro anyone?
  • Neo Ranga... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cgranade (702534) <cgranade@ g m a i l .com> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:34PM (#7144541) Homepage Journal
    The anime series Neo Ranga was converted from a low quality analog format to make the DVDs, and they have so many artifacts that when encoded in DivX, DivX ;), 3ivX or XviD, many large brown spots arise which completely ruin the rips. Better copy-protection than anything I've ever seen...
  • by hirschma (187820) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:35PM (#7144548)
    I've been saying for years that the big studios are just flinging shit onto film. Now we have more direct evidence :)
  • Didn't see it (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs (35943) <<moc.sja> <ta> <sja>> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:35PM (#7144549) Homepage Journal
    I've seen a couple of these films, and I did not see this. I'm wondering if it's just a single frame (BTW that makes it illegal in the US) or if it's only in certain theaters....
  • Filter it out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:36PM (#7144562) Homepage
    Unless these spots are particularly difficult to identify, someone need only write a filter to detect them and fill in the offending space, possibly with the average of the previous and next frame.
  • by The_Rippa (181699) * on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:36PM (#7144567)
    It's just Tyler Durden messing around again. Look closely and you'll find it's a penis.
  • by preric (689159) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7144570)
    Let's pretend I sneak a video camera (yes, I know it's more technical, trying to make a point) in my local theater and record the film, then run home, encode it and upload it to the world.

    The movie company then downloads the film, see's the spots and tracks it to my theater. Now what? Are they going to shake down the theater owners, untill they install security and metal detectors?

    How does this really prevent anything, aside from viewers like me having just ANOTHER excuse to wait until the DVD comes ou and rent that, rather then deal with tampered film (among the other lame problems of theater viewing, like ticket prices, travel, lines, food, seating, etc)?

    • by 31415926535897 (702314) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:23PM (#7145066) Journal
      Let's pretend I sneak a video camera (yes, I know it's more technical, trying to make a point) in my local theater and record the film, then run home, encode it and upload it to the world.

      The movie company then downloads the film, see's the spots and tracks it to my theater. Now what? Are they going to shake down the theater owners, untill they install security and metal detectors?

      How does this really prevent anything <snip>

      That's not the point of the spot system. The whole purpose of the MPAA doing this is to ruin the MPEG compression so that you won't want to upload it to the web. A movie will go from being 1.5 GB to >3GB if the spots are left in the movie.

      You won't see the spots because they will only be in one or two frames (which might be illegal in some contries) every few seconds, but when your encoder tries to compress the movie, it will have to create an I-Frame (completely uncompressed) because the frame with a spot in it is sufficiently different from the frame before it that the compression won't save any space. So you will get three I-Frames in a row where you would have only one and two compressed frames.

      So yes, you could still get the film videoed and on the web, but with your ADSL or cable modem, it will take signifigantly longer to upload, and likewise much longer to download (thus deterring "piracy").
      • by Gaijin42 (317411) on Monday October 06, 2003 @02:04PM (#7145459) Homepage
        Actually, the article said this was for identification, not screwing up compression.

        They said they are using bigger dots, because they want them to still be visible AFTER compression. If they used the normal small dots, they might be washed out by the compression, and then unusable.

        Well, probably they want both, but the article didn't mention anything about screwing up the compression ratio.
  • by zaphod.nu (100500) <peter AT zaphod DOT nu> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7144579) Homepage
    And in other news the MPAA will require people to duct tape their eyelids closed before entering the cinema. A MPAA spokesperson was quoted saying:
    - "In order to produce decent movies we have to make sure noone sees them".
  • Hidden Persuaders (Score:3, Insightful)

    by handy_vandal (606174) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7144580) Homepage Journal
    that movie studios are quite purposefully putting 'large reddish brown spots that flash in the middle of the picture, usually placed in a light area' in order to ruin computer-compressed pirated copies of films

    Next step: replace the 'large reddish brown spots' with large reddish brown ads for Coca-Cola ....
  • by goofy183 (451746) * <eric.dalquist@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:39PM (#7144593) Homepage
    Um ... so I think I'm missing somthing. Whats stopping someone from using a diagnostic tool (since DivX is multipass now) from finding points where the compression goes to crap and just cutting out the bad frame? Yeah it's a LITTLE more work but as most compressing jobs take on the order of several hours I don't see why the pirating groups wouldn't do it to save the output quality.
  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarvinIsANerd (447357) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:39PM (#7144598)

    in order to ruin computer-compressed pirated copies of films

    WTF? These supersized cap codes have nothing to do with *ruining* copies of the film. Rather they are used to *identify* the person responsible for leaking the film. These films go to the projection houses long before their release dates and are often seen on the internet often before opening day. So obviously some houses have evil employees capturing the movie into computer video formats and leaking them via P2P networks. All the MPAA has to do is download and look at a pirated movie and look for the cap codes and bam, they have ID'ed the projection house responsible for leaking the film. These cap codes have been in film forever - but only recently have they been enlarged enough so that they show up in low resolution computer encoded video.
    • RTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by siskbc (598067) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:10PM (#7144936) Homepage
      These cap codes have been in film forever - but only recently have they been enlarged enough so that they show up in low resolution computer encoded video.

      As pointed out beautifully in the article you should have read. Now ask yourself - why would they NEED to enlarge them, if not to screw with compression, in the same way the RIAA has done with sound recordings? RIAA put spikes in that don't play badly, but that really screw with attempts to rip to mp3, resulting in pops and cracks. The MPAA is just combining two technologies here.

  • by earthforce_1 (454968) <earthforce_1@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:39PM (#7144602) Journal

    How hard would it be to have software process the film, look for large swaths of colours approximately matching the splotches, and remove them? Seems almost trivial image processing to me, although there is a lot of data to crank through.

  • by IronChef (164482) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:41PM (#7144624) Homepage
    I SAW the dots in Underworld. They drove me NUTS. I thought it was some kind of problem with the film copy or... I dunno what.

    I did not see this on 28 Days Later. Maybe I just missed it, or maybe it was only in the re-release with the new ending.

    They are doing this on PURPOSE? Madness. Will these be on DVDs too?
  • Add value... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bpd1069 (57573) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:41PM (#7144630) Homepage
    What the movie industry SHOULD be doing, instead of pissing in the wind, is add value to the movie experience. I personally don't go see a movie in the theatre unless it is a 'Spectacular' movie. One where the experience of seeing it on a Big screen cannot be duplicated by any other means and actually plays and integral part of the film.

    They should invest, partner, encourage more theatres like the IMAX franchise. As I understand the Matrix has done very well in those venues and cannot be duplicated in any other environment.

    Give the movie goer a REASON to see the movie in a theatre, make us CHOOSE the theatre instead of our living room/computer monitor/etc.

    There will always be individuals who would not pay to see a particular movie in a theatre, this is something that cannot be changed (and should not show up on any studio's bottom line). These are the same people who would rather pirate them to just be up on the popular culture of the day.

    Make Better Movies, make us WANT to go to the theatre, make us excited enough to go, otherwise they will destroy themselves fighting a trend that will never cease to move forward.
    • Schism (Score:3, Interesting)

      by H3lldr0p (40304)
      I agree. However, in taking this route do you not risk ruining the at-home market? In marketing the movies in such a way as to convince people that the only "way" to see the film is in the theater you run the risk of turning people off of getting the same movie for themselves. "It won't be as good in the living room." or "My television just doesn't do justice the way a 50-foot screen can" are things one would have to use in such marketing campaigns. In such a situation how do you keep people buying the DVD?
  • by bughunter (10093) <<ten.knilhtrae> <ta> <retnuhgub>> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:41PM (#7144631) Journal
    Very large reddish brown spots that flash in the middle of the picture, usually placed in a light area. They flash in various patterns throughout a given reel while other reels of the same film may have none at all.

    If they were handling these reels appropriately, according to their cinematic quality, then they would be wadded up and covered in brown streaks.

  • I don't care (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spamNO@SPAMpbp.net> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:44PM (#7144651) Homepage
    If I ever download a movie, it's so I can watch some of it and decide if it's worth shelling out the $30 to go see. It's about $30 because:$9 for me, $9 for my g/f, and the rest for popcorn/etc.
    Can't bring in outside food or drink anymore. Can't even bring in a backpack, either - post 9/11 fears and "anti-piracy measures" gone too far.

    I don't care if the movie looks like crap on my computer. I'm not interested in keeping most movies anyway. If I like it, I'll go see it in the theatre or wait for the DVD.

    This really isn't a bad thing. Heck, since the MPAA is purposely altering movies, maybe they should go ahead and let us download stuff and leave p2p alone. If the stuff on p2p is of such low-quality, what is the big problem?

    Oh, the problem is that we'll watch it and realize that the movie sucks and we won't shell out $$ to go see it.
    I wish I could have my money back from John Carpenter's "Vampires" - aside from 1 hot nude chick, that movie was a total waste of time and money.
  • by plcurechax (247883) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:44PM (#7144658) Homepage
    Goodness, just stop putting with with the bad plots, where the story is second to the selection of actors. Stop putting up with canned endings, and weak story lines, where you know the entire plot by watching a 30 second ad.

    Go to something like the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse [picturehou...emas.co.uk] or the Acadia Cinema Cooperative [acadiacinemacoop.ca], or one of the many in London [rj93.com].

    You like Linux or *BSD, because the other OSes aren't good enough for you, why not demand high quality cinema?
  • by dbavirt (543160) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:46PM (#7144677)

    The article does not say the blotches are used to screw up compression to ruin the film for pirates, as the slashdot summary suggests. Rather, it is just 20-year old "cap code" technology enlarged to be more easily visible in high-compressed pirated copies.

    Cap code was "designed to uniquely mark film prints so that pirated copies could be traced to the source." Originially the dots were small enough that compression obscured them out of usability.

    I've seen some pirated movies, and in my opinion, a few splotches on a few frames isn't going to screw them up a whole lot. They already tend to look and sound bad.

  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TygerFish (176957) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:46PM (#7144681)
    Interesting, so they are so desparate to do things against piracy that they are willing to lower the quality of their films, not to stop it, mind you, but just to make an act of piracy to some measure less attractive?

    This amazes me considering that DVD movie technology, and by extension, digital movie files, naturally involve a measureable loss of detail and quality over, say, watching it in a theater.

    It almost sounds like a desparate measure; as if someone out there threw the idea out without taking into consideration how little quality matters when it comes to satisfying the average DVD consumer.

  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:48PM (#7144701) Homepage Journal
    We saw The Rundown last weekend, and I noticed a big redish brown spot about 1/2 hour into the film. Seemed like the edge was a bright yellow. I figured it was probably just a defect in the film or something wrong with the projector.

    We enjoyed the film. Robin (girlfriend) thought it was really funny. Robin's sister went with us, and she also liked it.

    Yes, it's a dirty trick if it's really intentional, but that little ugly spot lasting only a fraction of a second is hardly what I'd call "destroy the movies in order to save them".

  • RIAA too! (Score:4, Funny)

    by FattMattP (86246) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:15PM (#7144995) Homepage
    In other news, the RIAA is replacing all their songs with white noise.
  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:22PM (#7145055) Journal
    There are any number of ways to watermark films without compromising quality. I'm really quite surprised that studios would mark the films with huge brown dots instead of doing something subtle, for two reasons.

    It degrades the movie-going experience, nobody wants that.

    It is so obvious the pirates could edit it out.

    Simple techniques to watermark films would be to add a tiny amount of flicker to the whole frame for a sequence, or to use techniques similar to the (failed) SMDI system to watermark the audio. I really expected more sophistication from the studios than big brown dots. At least at this point, the sophistication of the pirates is not great -- and identifying them through subtle, persistent watermarks could make a difference.

    thad

    • I wonder if they might put a different watermark on each print, so they can track which ones get pirated...

      Maybe they'll fine a cinema if a pirated version of their print surfaces. That would give an incentive to control access to the prints and stop people from bringing cameras into the theater.

      Another technique might be to briefly mask different parts of the frame, or vary the frame rate slightly, to confound video cameras (like a CRT monitor refresh - you can adjust a video camera for a particular cons
  • Here's a screenshot (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyclone66 (217347) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:23PM (#7145062) Homepage Journal
    Ok there's not much usefull info in this thread so I'll try to add some :) Exhibit A: screenshot with dots [vcdquality.com]
    You can see the big T shape in the upper middle part of the image.
    Exhibit B: ...ok that's my only exhibit. Enjoy!
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:23PM (#7145070)
    Funny, I don't recall seeing any language on the ticket stub indicating I'd be subjected to anti-piracy measures that might distract from the presentation itself. And I do remember seeing those weird red dots during "Underworld." What next? Are we going to see an equivalent to a *broadcast flag* at the bottom of the films next?

  • by cybermage (112274) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:27PM (#7145104) Homepage Journal
    I've seen some of these movies and never noticed the dots. On the other hand, I have been drinking more 7up. Coincidence?
  • by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:28PM (#7145118)
    I can't imagine the red splotches could be any worse than the occasional bad CAM version of some 0-day films available on the 'net. When will the industry learn that I'm not going to pay to see this crap. Never. I would rather watch a crappy CAM with people coughing and standing up and a lousy audio feed than shell out $12 before I know the movie is worth it. All the industry is doing is screwing the people who shelled out the cash to watch their "blockbusters" and eat over-priced popcorn.

    Regardless, the DVD will be error-free, which means the worst-case scenario is that I have to wait 5 months before getting a crispy XVID DVD rip. Ooh, that's tough love.

    Oh, and Mr. MPAA Man, we geeks have this wonderful little open-source program called VirtualDub that makes removing bad frames from videos dead-easy. Just so you know.
  • RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by angryelephant (678279) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:30PM (#7145135)
    The article doesn't say anything about the red dots being used to mess with encryption schemes. It is a method being used to track pirated rips back to individual leaked screeners. From what I know of video compression, taking a screener which has this "CapCode" on it would tend to make the spots more noticeable, however it is my opinion that this is more of a side effect than the main purpose in putting these in.
  • Seriously. Takes a bit longer to d/l and also need a DVD burner but they last longer, look better. And it also feels more like stealing!
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:46PM (#7145279) Homepage
    It must be working very well; I don't know ANYONE with a bootleg copy of Gigli.

  • Thank you, Slashdot! (Score:3, Informative)

    by lone_marauder (642787) on Monday October 06, 2003 @01:46PM (#7145283)
    I feel much better now that I know I'm not crazy. I totally saw this in Underworld every time a large portion of the screen featured a solid light color, even though my wife insisted I was hallucinating. It looked like a pattern of six dots, two rows of three dots, flashing on the screen. Drove me up the frickin wall.
  • by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Monday October 06, 2003 @03:24PM (#7146237)
    From the article:

    A recent news story says studios may even be discouraged from distributing advance DVDs of their Oscar contenders to academy members, because some of these movies quickly find their way to the Web.

    So guess what, it's not us consumers (the ones who are paying the theater ticket prices and rental fees) who are doing the pirating. It's their own people.

    Maybe the studios should police their own people rather than give us even poorer quality films and blame us for having to do it.

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