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Camcorder Jamming Devices Announced 583

Adam Carrington writes "I'm definitely not behind things like DRM, but Virginia-based Cinea has an idea that I do support... jamming camcorders in movie theaters. CNET has some interesting details on how they plan on going about it. They even throw an unrelated jab at Microsoft." This might be the technology that drives the stake in analog projection.
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Camcorder Jamming Devices Announced

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:51AM (#4432453)
    Ending this form of piracy will result in the Hong Kong pirates coming up with better ways to steal movies. Hopefully the next time I download a movie off Kazaa it will be better quality than the last one I downloaded which was made from a camcorder. While I could wait for the DVD rip I prefer watching recent movies without paying
    • Screeners? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anonymous cupboard ( 446159 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:51PM (#4433611)
      Um one of the biggest problems isn't the poor quality cam movies, it is the screeners. In former days the screeners were on VHS and generally were not particularly high quality to start with. Now the screeners are DVD and the rips (particularly to DIVX) are to be seen to be believed.

      Where are those screeners coming from? Well, the film industry of course!!!!!

  • Justice, At Last (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ksw2 ( 520093 ) <obeyeater@gma i l . com> on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:52AM (#4432456) Homepage
    ..because we all know how those high-quality camcorder-bootlegs are robbing millions from the movie producers.
    • Re:Justice, At Last (Score:5, Informative)

      by dildatron ( 611498 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:55AM (#4432479)
      I know. Everybody and their dog has broadband and is downloading gigs and gigs of movies off IRC servs with DCC!

      Hesus, most people don't even know what IRC is! Is there anywhere else to go for movies?
      • Hesus, most people don't even know what IRC is! Is there anywhere else to go for movies?

        Hotline (if you can stand the fools), Carracho (if you've got a Mac), Kazaa(et al) if you've got a PC, ummm, Cinemas (if you've got the cash). Guess that's about it :)
    • by Wakko Warner ( 324 )
      It's illegal. This company figured a way to stop it.

      So, you can't download the latest Lord Of the Rings DiVX? Cry me a river.

      - A.P.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:22PM (#4432756)
        The problem is that because it's been so convenient to steal things in the past, people have become used to it to a point that they -actually- believe that breaking the law with a computer is a world away from, say, lifting a sweater from a department store. They'll come up with all sorts of arguments to justify it of course..they'll likely say that software isn't a tangible good so it isn't the same as stealing a physical object, some even make the ridiculous argument that software in its most basic form is composed entirely of electrons, and that no one can claim electrons. I think it'd be kind of difficult to find any consumer item that's electron free :)

        The truth is, it's just stealing. Plain and simple theft. It's more comfortable than shoplifting, because you can do it from the comfort of your own home with relatively little chance of being caught, but when you get right down to it, it's still theft. Apparently, however, some seem to believe it their right to steal.
        • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:41PM (#4432925) Homepage
          Cripes, even a lawyer wouldn't agree with you.

          It's illigal, yes. It's breaking the law. However, its not theft .. its copyright infringement.

          I mean, even the law calls it something other than theft.

          Fans of The Grateful Dead or KRS-One were encouraged to bootleg shows by the copyright owners, but no formal agreements were signed by anybody .. should we just call these people 'theives' and arrest them? Or should we start understanding that theft != copyright infringement? Nobody ever wants to be robbed, but there are times where authors do not mind the supposed act of 'theft' .. er, copyright infringement.

          Both are illegal, both are (arguably and to varying extents) ethically wrong, but they are not the same thing. Folks who claim they are the same thing are simply parroting the cries of their sad and embattled heros, the Business 2.0 reading media/content exec. Save your breath, they have enough money and time to get their message across without you tagging along behind them waggin your tail ..

          When it gets down to it, it behooves your survival skills to differentiate between the real world and the real world according to its current wealthy conformists. Now _theres_ a world of difference I hope you can appreciate.
        • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:35PM (#4433463)
          they -actually- believe that breaking the law with a computer is a world away from, say, lifting a sweater from a department store.

          Of course, department stores keep a watch over their sweaters. They don't try to make a business model out of, for example: Leaving piles of sweaters unattended at busy street corners, with a sign saying "Sweaters $39.99. Please take one and put your cash payment in this evelope"

          Anybody who understands human nature would see that that scheme would be utterly unworkable. Likewise, nobody should be surprised when people cheat on copyrights as soon as technology makes it cheaper and easier than buying a real copy.

          Copyright infringement may not be right, but your righteous indignation isn't going to change things. The only way to stop this behavior is to make it more like a department store: physically protect the merchandise. However, this is just about impossible with copyable stuff. Too bad. If the content producers go out of business under the current model with current human nature, there'll be a shortage of content. Then somebody else will come along and figure out a new way to make money on entertainment that is more workable, and not dependent on the honesty of millions of anonymous consumers.

  • by Faggot ( 614416 ) <choads@g a y . c om> on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:52AM (#4432462) Homepage
    This will deal a well-deserved shot to the disgusting practice called "telesync". Let us pray that from hereon in, all our pirated movies will be DVD rips.

    Telesyncs are *SO* 1985.
  • by echucker ( 570962 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:54AM (#4432472) Homepage
    ... one that turns off the timestamp and REC on the LCD. They always get in the way! ;-)
  • by orionpi ( 318587 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:54AM (#4432474)
    Just think of how much bandwidth will be saved by people not bootleging StarWarez Episode III, at least not till the screeners come out.
  • by mysticbob ( 21980 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:55AM (#4432480)
    camcorders to rip off content, ok, nice, who cares.

    but to jam mobile fones, that would be a good thing,
    and actually increase the value of the experience
    for consumers, not just for the movie houses.

    for that matter, how about jamming screaming babies,
    and that person in front of me with the big head,
    and the person behind me who keeps kicking my seat.

    rant off.
    • While jamming the screaming babies, etc. may be a bit difficult, I don't see why phone-jamming should be too much of a problem.

      We already know that tunnels cause dead areas in cell networks. All we have to do is create this artificially in the theatre. Is it possible to create an electromagnetic jamming field that would surround a single theatre in a multiplex? That way if you absolutely must use a cell phone, you can go out into the hall or the lobby to make your call.

    • Unfortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wiredog ( 43288 )
      Jamming cell phones in a theater/restaurant/library/etc is illegal. Violates FCC regulations.
      • Blah. With all the laws that the entertainment industry is trying to push through, you'd think they'd be able to propose this one that would be beneficial to the consumers as well as themselves?
      • Jamming cell phones in a theater/restaurant/library/etc is illegal. Violates FCC regulations.

        You know, I wonder about that....what if the theater just puts a good Farraday cage around the actual screening area? That's not actively jamming, but it does interfere with the signal that the cell phones get. Would that be illegal? I'd hope not (it's just a feature of the building, not an active attempt to jam the phones), but then, I don't know, which is why I'm asking....

        • Yes, it would be illegal. Whether the actual technology is "passive" or "active" doesn't matter. If an establishment intentionally blocks cell signals, they're breaking the law.

          What I would like to see is something that forces a phone to go into vibrate mode.
    • Yeah, I'm sure the vibration of my phone ringing is a real nuisance to you.

      Now, a screaming baby jammer, that I can agree with.

      • by tc ( 93768 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:18PM (#4432722)
        What are you going to do when it vibrates then, smart guy? Answer it and have a conversation in the middle of the movie? Perhaps stand up and disturb everyone in your row plus the people immediately behind you on your way to the exit?

        Face it, if you're likely to receive a call that is so stupendously important that it couldn't wait until you pick up your messages, then perhaps you shouldn't have gone to the movies in the first place.

        • by buysse ( 5473 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:28PM (#4432817) Homepage
          Nope. Let it go to voice mail and leave the fucking theatre to call them back. People can handle a slight delay in response. I generally don't answer my phone while driving, or even in a conversation with another person who's standing next to me or with me at a restaurant. I'll let it go, then say (based on caller-ID) whether I need to check the message then or later.

          Dammit, people, it's not that hard to be polite. You don't need to be reachable immediately at the press of a button all the time.

  • by chazzf ( 188092 ) <cfulton&deepthought,org> on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:56AM (#4432489) Homepage Journal
    The movie studios have been in search of a new DVD encryption scheme since the industry standard, known as CSS, was cracked by Linux programmers in 1999.

    I'm getting out of the way right now before the flames hit. Trolls and Editors first! Run for your lives!

  • by sam_handelman ( 519767 ) <> on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:56AM (#4432493) Homepage Journal
    I want to see "They Live" relreased in digital format.

    No, subliminal messages don't work, but you could still print messages on the screen (invisible to the naked eye) using this system, and then only people trying to pirate the movie with a camcorder would be treated to the messages like:



    and so on. Then, they turn themselves in when they reveal the subliminal messages to the press! Pure genius. Alternatively, you could sell sunglasses that let you read the subliminal messages (they'd have digital camcorders built in with displays on the inside of the glasses,) AND let you see that hilarry rosen is really an alien.
    • No, subliminal messages don't work, but you could still print messages on the screen (invisible to the naked eye) using this system, and then only people trying to pirate the movie with a camcorder would be treated to the messages

      This would actually be pretty easy to do. Just shine a bright near-IR light onto the screen, and any camcorder without an IR filter will be washed out. Ditto with soft UV, though fluoresence will be a problem.

      Aleternatively you could project with "white" light made from colours that muck with the colour balance of camera detectors. What looks white to you would look ugly on camera (or to someone with partial colour blindness, though).

      Alternatively, you could sell sunglasses that let you read the subliminal messages (they'd have digital camcorders built in with displays on the inside of the glasses,) AND let you see that hilarry rosen is really an alien.

      If you're using the colour-balance approach, ordinary coloured filters should let you see the patterns your fake white light is making. IR and UV are a bit harder to catch cheaply (UV could be seen cheaply by focusing an image on a slide painted with fluorescent material, but near-IR is harder).
  • by alexmogil ( 442209 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:57AM (#4432495) Homepage Journal
    They even throw an unrelated jab at Microsoft.

    Instantly, the story was rushed to the forefront of the other waiting stories. I can see this put to use:

    WarCraft IV Announced; Microsoft Sucks!

    Matrix 2.0 Details; Bill Gates hit in face with pie

    NPR reports bin Laden dead; New Microsoft IIS bug found

    Ah, Slashdot.

  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:57AM (#4432497) Journal
    While I understand that the media conglomerates are opposed to people stealing their content (which costs millions of dollars to create), most people who purchase $2.99 "ShakyCam" copies of new release films off the street probably wouldn't have the money to actually *go* to the movies and spend $8.50 on a ticket, $6.50 for popcorn, and $5.00 for a soda.

    This is similar to how the 12-year old kid who obtains a pirated copy of Photoshop to fool around with isn't really causing a net loss for Adobe because he wouldn't be able to shell-out the $650.00 (or whatever it is these days) for Adobe Photoshop 7.0.
    • So then they can wait till it comes out on DVD or vhs and rent it.
      It's not your job to enforce what you think would be a good business model on the content producers, if they thought they could make money selling tapes for $3, they would do it. The truth is it is their content to do what they want with.
      If someone started violating the terms of my GPL code because they didn't like my license, I'd be quite pissed.
      If you don't like their business method, don't do business with them. But don't steal their stuff either.
      What the heck comes out these days that is so great you can't wait for 6 months to see it on DVD anyway?

      I appreciate our point that they tend to inflate the perception of their losses, but that doesn't stop the fact that bootlegging is illegal (and most everyone would agree, immoral.)
  • by lute3 ( 72400 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:57AM (#4432499) Homepage Journal
    When I read the headline, I thought there could be real jamming performed. By that, I mean totally disrupting (or close to it) the camera's ability to capture images. This method seems like it would be very useful in situations like this [].

    Since Americans generally are apalled by the thought of voyeurs and law enforcement alike capturing images without 'proper' permission, then a weapon like this seems like it would be incredibly useful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:57AM (#4432500)
    if it's later discovered that this screen interference can be removed by drawing a line along the bottom edge of the screen with a .39 cent magic marker.

    Somehow better mousetraps just don't seem to be the answer.
  • by LordYUK ( 552359 )
    But if people can't record movies, then how am I going to download my 100 movies a day off of KaZaA???
  • License... (Score:2, Funny)

    by dex22 ( 239643 )
    This ticket is a license to watch one movie. You may occupy one seat. Due to recent problems with piracy, this cinema has installed a DRM enforcement facility. Your memory of the film will be erased when you leave the cinema, to prevent you violating our intellectual property rights by telling people what you saw. The wearing of hats or sunglasses constitute use of a circumvention device, the penalty set forth being life imprisonment.

    Enjoy your film.
  • I would go to movies if people knew how to SHUT THEIR DAMN MOUTHS! I went to see Spiderman and I had a jack-ass next to me who wanted to impress his friends that were across the theatre, by talking all through the movie... putting in his comments and thoughts. I leaned over and said "Excuse me, could you shut the hell up?" and he said "OH sorry!" and kept talking. Went to see Star Wars Episode 2... Baby started crying.. for 2 minutes until people starting shouting at the parents! Went to see Lord of the Rings. Jerk sitting next to me kept talking. On and on... EVERY movie I go to is spoiled by jack assses talking. This is why I've stopped going to the movies. It's not about price. It's not about the "evil" movie companies. It's about enjoyment. I get more enjoyment by sitting in my room and watching a grainy pirated copy of "the others"... because no one is talking and interupting my movie!
    • Dude, it's called, go see a matinee... Or wait until the film has been out a a couple of weeks and go see it then. I personally enjoy being in a full theater, but then as my wife says, I am a freak. Anyway, the point is, go when no one else is there, then you don't have to worry about someone's running commentary during a movie.
      Having said that, I go to the theater almost every weekend, and I have never had someone talk throughout the film, or had a baby cry during a movie.
  • They claim that they're going to introduced controlled disturbances that the human eye can't see, but a digital device would, like the sync lines you see when recording a TV screen.

    So wouldn't it be possible to record at double the frame rate and eliminate the bad frames? Or if it's just a preprogrammed watermarking technique, strip it out?
    • Re:Hacking it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:06PM (#4432603) Homepage Journal
      Frame misalignment, their protection scheme if I understand correctly, is easily defeated. Simply adjust the "shutter" speed of the recording device to a longer duration. This will eliminate blank captures they intend to project.

      I'd imagine their copy protection scheme will be *hell* on people with epilepsy. I have done work in offices that had lighting offensive to sensitive people and can just imagine what these theaters will do for an entire audience. The people investing their money in this have no idea what they are in for...
  • One problem is that there are a lot of different CCD chips out there. Certainly there are some that have a lot of "lag" that would not be affected as much by this.

    The other problem is that these artifacts could be cleaned up with digital processing. With giant hard drives and fast processors, all that is needed is an app to do it.
  • It took about... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @11:59AM (#4432527)
    3 days after the US release until Epsiode 1 VCDs where widespread in South East Asia. The producers must have taken the very first flight out after the first showing, and then started large-scale dupliation immediately.

    Some friends of mine - Star Wars fans - were backpacking at that very time. They wanted to wait until they could see the movie in a proper theater but found this almost impossible as every other bar/ restaurant/ hotel was showing the movie...

  • by brandido ( 612020 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:00PM (#4432534) Homepage Journal
    I must say, it is quite amazing the lengths that Intellectual Property manufacturers will go to in ofrder to "plug the analog hole". I know that there have been stories about how movies appear on Kazaa the same day the sneak preview has been shown because somebody brought in a videa camera and filmed it, but please. These videos are of terrible quality, and only help promote interest in the movie - "Hey all you hyped up fans - look at this crappy copy you can see two days early - really whets your appetite for the real thing, doesn't it?" I am just amazed that people would go to the extent of adding significant cost and complexity in order to prevent a very small group from trading crappy copies.

    And most improtantly, I am sure that there will be a hack to get around the distortion - whether it is a run-time hack that fixes it as you record (difficult) or go back with some sort of filter to post-process it (maybe easier), I am sure it will happen. But bottom line, it won't matter - the people who watch these video-taped copies aren't in it for the fidelity, they are in it for seeing it first - a little more distortion won't stop them.
  • by Tuckdogg ( 550113 ) <> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:00PM (#4432535) Homepage Journal
    Just line the outside of your camera lens with Post-It notes and you'll be fine...Wait a minute! Did I just violate the DMCA??? Please disregard the previous statement.
  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:01PM (#4432550)
    I can't imagine that hiding a camcorder-stopping signal in the picture being projected from the back of the theater WOULDN'T adversely affect the quality of the picture in someway.

    Camcorders are much more sensitive to infrared light than the human eye... why not just mount some infrared strobes in the front of the theater, aimed out at the audience? The people won't notice it, but the camcorders would effectively be blinded.
    • That's nothing that piece of filter film placed in front of the camcorder lens wouldn't take care off. Such filters are used to keep from oversaturating regular photos in some applications and would work for this as well.
    • The problem with that is that over the course of the day, with lots of hot, sweaty people, hot-dogs, dodgy air-con, etc, the cinema would become even more uninhabitable than it is now.

    • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:11PM (#4432652) Homepage Journal

      Camcorders are much more sensitive to infrared light than the human eye... why not just mount some infrared strobes in the front of the theater, aimed out at the audience? The people won't notice it, but the camcorders would effectively be blinded.

      That was my first thought too. Mount an infrared projector behind the screen writing various patterns and anti-piracy images. Sucks to bring home a video with "DAMN YE, PIRATE, ARRR!" written in huge letters all over the best scenes.

      But the issue isn't the public recording in the public theaters, it's the employees and publicity hacks who set up a tripod in an empty theater, or better yet, rip it off the proofing screen in a projection room, or better yet, just rip the DVD press copy.

      The movie industry's worst enemy is itself: it has inserted so many middlemen that it can't trust. Those middlemen have no fealty, they just want to make a buck. With every move to eliminate the middlemen, the middlemen find new ways of keeping involved.

  • Macrovision? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c.derby ( 574103 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:01PM (#4432553)
    "The company "will modify the timing and modulation of the light used to create the displayed image such that frame-based capture by recording devices is distorted,"

    This is basically how macrovision works for VCRs.
  • All or nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KFury ( 19522 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:02PM (#4432559) Homepage
    The trouble is that, with this particular problem of movie pirating, it has to be 100% effective or it's no good.

    It doesn't matter if they find ways to block 95% of camcorders from being able to read the signal, since most or all pirated copies of a given movie come from one point source, so as long as there is *any* camcorder or other solution out there, the copy will be made, and once one copy is made, that's the ballgame, since VCD-Rs and mpegs will propogate from there.

    Of course, the vast majority of these copies come from Asian countries, and are often recorded in poorer neighborhoods. I'd like to see how their business plan will get this digital protection mechanism into every theater in the East, regardless of the economic level.

    If they only manage to get it into 80% or even 98% of the theaters, then it doesn't do any good at all.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:02PM (#4432563)
    According to their grant, the movie industry loses $3 billion a year to piracy and that Cinea's system will cut piracy by 50%. Considering that most piracy comes from insiders and not the theater camcorder person, how did Cinea come up with 50%? Was it through market research? Nope: It's "our own estimate." Well, that makes me feel better.
  • by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:04PM (#4432576) Journal
    Ok.. let's see.. he want -every- cinema to install this gadget which no doubt will cost money, and might degrade the image quality..

    Now why would Charlie Cinemaowner want to install this? No reason at all.
    True, the studios often own the cinemas and can force him to install the gadget, but that's no guarantee that he'll actually have the thing plugged in.

    Not to mention that many Asian camcorder grabs are done with the concent of the cinema owner.
    (The ones where the cinema isn't fulled with
    people speaking Javanese or whatever)

    It's just stupid. Need I say it's not going to stop piracy,
    it's just going to cost the money for the theaters.
    (And that means even more expensive movie tickets!)
  • "The customers... loved it... it was a great technology that didn't get great market support."

    You don't get one without the other. Your new technology is interesting and may even disrupt piracy for a while. However, that period of time will be remarkably shorter than the time it takes you to develop your technology.
  • by RebelTycoon ( 584591 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:05PM (#4432585) Homepage
    WHY don't they look for them? Cams aren't the smallest of shapes, a little enforcement of theatre policies would go a long way.

    Also, who says flickering monitors don't cause eye damage? Just because we can't easily see it doesn't mean our brain doesn't.

    Stop fscking with my eyes!

    • Because the modern megaplex has too many rooms for individual attention. Go to the first showing of a movie sometime, on a slow day. You will be surprise how often the projector is set wrong. Then you will be angered at how long it will take for them to notice this. It will only be AFTER one of the patrons complain. Recently, this happened and after they fixed the focus, I had to complain a second time because the registration was not fixed!

      They don't want people to have to do anything. They want machines.
  • by The Red Rooster ( 613993 ) <> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:06PM (#4432600) Journal
    There is a fundamental problem with encrypting things for mass consumption:

    At some point, it has to be decrypted and viewed. As long as that happens, then there won't be any way to prevent people copying it.

    Remember the /. article about ebooks being decrypted? the 'Print Scrn' button on your keyboard takes care of that...

    The same thing with this. People can develop a program that eliminates the screen flicker, or turn down the gain on their camcorders or tap into the feed before the projection ocurrs or any number of things...

    Another useless arms race.

    My $0.25
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:06PM (#4432606) Journal
    Are camcorders in theaters really that much of a source of pirated copies? In the music biz, the source of most pre-release copies comes from pre-release reviewer CDs OR the engineer/assistant (insider) on the project.

    Besides, the people who don't care about the (piss-poor) quality of 'camcorded' movies aren't going to care about some stupid watermark floating on the screen.

    Another piracy-battling idea that will be ignored (by pirates) and yet make lots of $$$ for the company that brings it to market.

    It seems that piracy-battling solutions are the only thing that makes $$$ while not working. That and Congress.

  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:07PM (#4432615) Homepage Journal
    I was never vary impressed whan viewing a movie which was taped from within a theater. Neither tha audio nor video quality was even close to satisfactory.

    This will force a new era in piracy. We've already seen the beginning with the availability of the second LoTR movie on the net before it hits theaters. All this means is that pirates will have to accept a small reduction in their proffit margins since they'll now have to bribe productuin and editing staff for advance copies of films, which will inevitably be of higher quality than those tapes by audience members in theaters.

    I'm not entirely clear on why NIST is handing out grants oor research in this field though. Seems to me the products resulting from this research will have applications in limited areas of the security industry (in addition to the initial target of the motion picture industry) but have no larger societal benefit so they shouldn't be handing out grants in thie area.

  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:08PM (#4432618)
    Gonna made CD's uncopyable, so the only way is to crack it within the code?

    Result: S/W available only as compelte .iso image with crack implemented.

    Going to make theater movies unrecordable?

    Result: P2P shared movies are all nicely ripped screaner DVD releases.

    DRM, cleaning up the warez and vids available on P2P.

  • by Jonny Ringo ( 444580 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:11PM (#4432653)
    My friend lived in New York and he bought a bootleg copy of the movie "Ghost", yeah the one where they mold clay (don't ask why). Anyways it was still in theatres at the time, and when he got home he put it in the vcr. Well all it was was some guy with a sheet over his head making "ohhhhh" sounds for 20 minutes. Super funny the fact that the guy who sold the bogus bootleg went to the trouble of filming himself for 20 minutes being a dumbass! ahhh it can only happen in New York.
  • Well, they could use this []
  • Is that, with CCD jamming in place, the best way to pirate the on screen movie will be via a 16mm analogue film camera and then teleciné to digital back at base !
  • Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flamerule ( 467257 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:12PM (#4432667)
    The camcorder-jamming project comes as directors, including "Star Wars" legend George Lucas, are creating movies designed for digital projection that aim to provide sharper and more astounding visual effects than traditional film. But the technology has raised concerns that audience members might eventually create high-quality copies of movies using handheld video cameras smuggled into theaters.
    What the fuck is this supposed to mean? With digital projection, the camcorders will suddenly begin recording at 5x video quality? Morons... the awful quality of bootleg recordings is from the inferiority of the devices they're recorded with. This sounds like some really fucking stupid FUD to me.
  • Great news! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:13PM (#4432675) Homepage Journal
    Now with all the amatures with handhelds out of business, we can now get professional rips of new movies by organized crime syndicates! No longer will we have to sit through grainy VHS camcorder copies of Hollywoods latest tripe. The mafia (asian and otherwise) will now have a viable buisiness model for peddling their illegal wares. Throw in P2P networks as a method of distribution for the geeks and we can't loose! Thank goodness for copy protection!
  • I really don't think further deterioration in quality is going to hurt the pirates. Its not as if their current versions are without considerable disruptions. The only way to effectively stop people taping movies is to find a way to completely disable the ability of a camcorder or other recording device to function. And to be effective it would have to work in all types of theatres, and be cost effective enough for even the smallest theatres in remote countries to afford. Or maybe even give the technology to the them for free.

    While they're at it, I hope they block cell phones too. The last couple of movies I went to, people actually took calls throughout the whole thing. One guy took five of them!! And of course he had one of those cutesy ring tones.
  • Some considerations (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:16PM (#4432704) Journal
    A: It's silly to jam camcorders. 90% of piracy is made of near to genuine copies and not of "screen" copies. No matter the efforts, every "screen" copy is bad enough that even if you get your lovely blockbuster such way you wil probably avoid to look at it.

    B: "screen" copies are not a product of modern piracy. They were here since videoplayer/recorders. The only difference Divx;) made was that the quality of a "screen" copy was a little better than the cassete. Anyway, people never loved "screens" and don't love them till now.

    C: "screens" are usually a vector to move people to theaters. At least in the region where I live. There is a big difference seeing a good film on the monitor/TV and going to a good cinema to see it. However prices on a good cinema are not so cheap to risk going on every silly film. I remember that "The Matrix" was a box-record just because everyone has seen it before. At least, for the first week, the cinema here was stormed by a crowd of fans who knew that the Matrix has you...

    So, what will be the consequences of jamming camcorders, I only guess. People go to cinema for quality. And people are different. I hope that this "jamming" will not affect some people I know about. People who are sensitive to light and frequencies with some deviation from the norm. Even most "normal" people are able to have some good deviations in their capacity to see things. I know this because I saw a lot of fantastic things while working with lots of monitors and people. So I wonder how this "jamming" would reflect on the quality of the shows.
  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:23PM (#4432770) Homepage
    is this paragraph:
    "There's a difference in the way a camcorder and the human eye see the world," Schumann said. "We've figured out some ways to exploit that. The trick is to make sure there is no negative impact on the viewing experience for the audience."

    I would completely quit going to see movies at the theatre for $10 a show if they start to flicker to avoid copying. I'm already ticked off that most theatres are run by 17 year olds who can't focus properly.


  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at.> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:25PM (#4432785) Homepage
    "They even throw an unrelated jab at Microsoft" if that somehow adds substance or credibility to the article.
  • Love the math (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:26PM (#4432792) Homepage
    I love their math:
    "According to Cinea's grant abstract, the motion picture industry loses some $3 billion a year due to piracy, including the sale of illegal copies made using camcorders in theaters."

    I bet this is how that was calculated:
    - Seeing a show costs $10.
    - "Pirate" tapes sold on the street: 18.75 million
    - Said tapes viewed by 4 distinct people
    - each viewer sees the movie four times.

    18,750,000 tapes
    * 4 viewers
    * 4 views per viewer
    300,000,000 views total
    * 10 dollars to see the movie, legit
    3,000,000,000 dollars "lost" to piracy

    Give me a break.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:27PM (#4432804) Homepage
    My consumer camcorder has a variety of settings that affect the way it "sees" rapid motion. When transferring 8 mm films through one of those cheap reflector boxes, for example, the normal settings give a pulsating and unevenly bright image because of strobing. But if I use one of the "simulate slow shutter" settings, I can get very good results. The LONGEST of these settings does smear and blur motion, but one of the intermediate settings removes the flicker while adding very little motion blur.

    And this is just a cheap consumer camcorder--and it's a feature that it has ALREADY.

    I can easily believe that Cinea might be able to introduce short "tachistoscopic" artifacts that might screw up a camcorder on its normal settings, but if the camcorder's effective "simulated slow shutter speed" is 1/20 of a second or so, the artifacts will have to last 1/20th of a second or so to be visible to the camera--and at that speed, they'd be pretty visible to the naked eye.

    I find it very hard to believe that the people who take videos off a movie screen don't know how to adjust their camcorders. Or that, if the Cinea scheme becomes popular, camcorder vendors will not respond with settings that are called by some other name but nudge, nudge, wink, wink designed to overcome the problem. Or that it can't be taken care of by some kind of digital processing afterward (analogous to using timebase correctors on analog VCR copy-protection schemes.)

    In other words, it's a scam perpetrated on theatre owners.

    Also, undoubtedly the "camcorder-jamming" artifacts are actually just as visible as, say, dirt specks flashing quickly by on individual frames of a dirty print. It may not make a lay audience walk out and demand their money back--they don't do that for dirty prints now. But people will be aware that the image quality isn't what it should be.

    To a critical eye, DLP is currently SLIGHTLY inferior to traditional film projection in some regards (superior in others). Anything that tips that balance is going to be a problem. If the ordinary UNCRITICAL lay audience judges that "perfect" digital DLP actually isn't quite as good as 35mm and starts thinking of it as a cheap-and-cheesy alternative. I would think a cinema manager would be nuts to shell out a couple of hundred thousand for a DLP setup then add anything that would make the image quality worse.
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:28PM (#4432819)
    I can get around this protection scheme with only 2 black markers. The first marker is for taking dictation, the second is for rapidly drawing pictures of what's on the screen.

    They'd have to blink the film A LOT in order to break that scheme.
  • $2 million grant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pmineiro ( 556272 ) < minus physicist> on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:36PM (#4432881) Homepage
    i hope everybody noticed they got a $2 million dollar grant from NIST to develop this technology.

    your hard earned tax dollars, not going to towards things like a faster internet, faster genome sequencing, or an aerospace plane, but instead to pay to develop a technology that will make some guy rich helping hollywood fight a fringe form of copy protection that will be dwarfed by the possibilities of direct digital piracy that will be opened up by the digital distribution/projection infrastructure this proposed technology depends upon.


    -- p
  • by SheepHead ( 610180 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @12:43PM (#4432943)
    Seems to me that if all projection booths go to digital projection, that many fewer movies will be pirated using camcorders anyway, because someone will figure out how to intercept the signal and rip it straight from the projection booth, somehow.

    You can't do that now because the film is on a big canister that needs light shone through it... but if it's just bits on a HD, the bits can be intercepted, or even copied when the movie isn't being played.

    This DivX company seems doomed to failure. Now they're trying to introduce something akin to stopping people from copying CDs onto audio tapes. Sure, it might work, but those who want a copy of a CD now just rip it...

    And, seems that the industry's biggest problem now is untrustable DVD screeners, honestly.

    If you're about to say that there aren't HDs big enough to store a full digital projection movie, well, my HD used to get pretty full ripping an audio CD, too...

    Rip the digital stream, bring it home, reencode. If it's at all possible, it'll be done. It's essentially an early copy of the DVD playing on a really nice projector. Capturing that video through a camcorder won't be necessary for much longer.


  • $3Billion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:00PM (#4433120) Homepage
    Has any studio actually put the $3Billion in "piracy losses" into their annual statement?

    If not, they should shut the fuck up, or prove the statement.
  • by eyeball ( 17206 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:20PM (#4433310) Journal
    I wonder if the cops will adopt a similar technology to stop people from videotaping their brutality ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h arrests.

  • by miTTio ( 24893 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:21PM (#4433331)
    Radar Tech: Sir. The radar, sir. It appears to be...

    (Jam starts running down the screen.)

    Radar Tech: ...jammed.

    Helmet: Jammed? (takes a taste of the jam) Raspberry. There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry. (pulls down mask) Lone Star!
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:23PM (#4433352)
    The camcorder-jamming project comes as directors, including "Star Wars" legend George Lucas, are creating movies designed for digital projection that aim to provide sharper and more astounding visual effects than traditional film. But the technology has raised concerns that audience members might eventually create high-quality copies of movies using handheld video cameras smuggled into theaters.
    The fact that the camcorder and the projector are both digial is irrelevant. It is not a digital copy because movie screens reflect photons, not bits. The projecter is a D/A converter and the camcorder is a A/D converter.

    I'm not being pedantic. The reason this matters is because camcorder copies are crap and not worth watching. And this company is claiming that stopping camcorder bootlegs would bring the industry an extra $1.5e9 per year, yeah right.

    They should worry about the REAL digital copies, leaked by insiders and mass-produced in the far east. (Well, they ARE worried about those, but this camcorder stuff is a joke).

  • In other words... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kavau ( 554682 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:38PM (#4433496) Homepage
    they are going to create an artificial flicker similar to the flickering of a TV screen? Just great. Goodbye flicker-free digital cinema!

    Besides, just how much do the producers think the videotaping of a movie off a theater screen will hurt their sales? If it's a movie I want to watch, I'd definitely not be content with watching a inferior-quality camcorder rip. The only occasion I can think of is where such a rip might prevent me from watching the movie is if the movie does not meet up to my expectations. Therefore, only the makers of awfully bad movies have to be afraid of this.

    But then... 90% of Hollywood's movies are awfully bad. Okay, I understand now why they are concerned ;)

  • by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:42PM (#4433530)
    It has been discovered that some people that go to movies don't pay. They have friends that work at the theaters that let them in for free, or go see more than one movie after getting their ticket. Some have even gone as far as hiding in the trunks of cars at what few drive-ins remain.

    To combat this piracy threat, estimated at 20 million samolians a year, theaters will require all persons entering the theater to have barcodes branded on their foreheads. They will be cross checked against a central database to ensure that they only see the movie they paid for, and that only one person with the unique bar code is in any theater at the same time.

    Since every major cinema will have different standards, the FCC will use an auction to allocate the portion of your forehead to be branded. Those sections in the middle region, which are flatter and easier to read, will of course bring the highest dollars.

    Privacy advocates are already concerned that the 'movie police' will now be able to tell what movies each and every person in the world have seen, and began lobbying for legislation prohibiting this practice. But since it was released that Ralph Nader often visits, all lobbying efforts have mysteriously ceased.

    In other news, following recent examples of airport security checks, movie theaters are installing food detectors at all entrances to ensure no dangerous food items are brought into the facility. The theaters will provide certified safe foods at concession areas for those that wish to eat or drink during a movie.
  • love the comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <> on Friday October 11, 2002 @01:44PM (#4433549) Journal
    "...Divx was a great concept that didn't get market support...."

    err DUH how clueless can you get, no market support implies it was NOT a great product because NO ONE wanted it. The only people behind DIVX were the movie companies that stood to gain bazillions by controlling your every viewing choice. The so-called market, or the paying customers HATED the crap and refused to buy it. Must be nice to be the center of the universe...
  • Divx (Score:3, Funny)

    by lostchicken ( 226656 ) on Friday October 11, 2002 @02:00PM (#4433673)
    Founded by the same world class engineering team behind the highly regarded Divx(TM) encrypted DVD system
    Yeah. I'd really be bragging about that.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll