May 17, 2003
Digital Cinema

The 321 Studios case started Thursday: the "Judge asked what would happen to copy-protected movies after their copyrights expire and the studios' representative said that such works would be publicly available at that point. Judge replied to this, stating 'But it's encrypted. If it doesn't stop being encrypted, it's still encrypted' and saying that under that situation, copying such works would be still illegal, even when their copyrights have already expired." CNET also has some info (thanks Donna!)

Wired is reporting that Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox filed suits against five DVD backup software companies: Internet Enterprises, RDestiny,, and

Disney is apparently trying out a new technology where they rent DVD's that self-destruct in 48 hours. But the movies can still be copied within the 48 hour timeframe.

The NY Times (htm) looks at MovieLink and CinemaNow (and a third one not yet up and running: StarzOnDemand) where 24 hours after downloading a movie, it self-deletes from your harddrive. "Apart from their 24-hour availability, today's movie-download services offer no advantages over TV, video stores and (a mail-order DVD-rental outfit). Movielink and CinemaNow stand out primarily for their puny selection, poor video quality and overly rigid copy protection.

It boggles the mind that these services don't exploit the potential of the Internet. Any number of improvements could make them more attractive than other video outlets. Online movie stores could offer tens of thousands of movies, dwarfing the selection of video stores. Digital rentals could last two weeks, not 24 hours, without costing the companies a penny more. And there should be a choice of download speeds; people willing to wait longer for superior quality should be allowed to. It is executives, not technology, who keep these services from greater success."

Look here for an analysis of DVD rental turnaround on NetFlix although it's totally unclear who did it.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - This disc will self-destruct in 48 hours.

That is the warning The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS - news) will issue this August when it begins to "rent" DVDs that after two days become unplayable and do not have to be returned.

Disney home video unit Buena Vista Home Entertainment will launch a pilot movie "rental" program in August that uses the self-destruction technology, the company said on Friday.

The discs stop working when a process similar to rusting makes them unreadable. The discs start off red, but when they are taken out of the package, exposure to oxygen turns the coating black and makes it impenetrable by a DVD laser.

Buena Vista hopes the technology will let it crack a wider rental market, since it can sell the DVDs in stores or almost anywhere without setting up a system to get the discs back.

The discs work perfectly for the two-day viewing window, said Flexplay Technologies, Inc., the private company which developed the technology using material from General Electric Co.(NYSE:GE - news)

The technology cannot be hacked by programmers who would want to view the disc longer because the mechanism which closes the viewing window is chemical and has nothing to do with computer technology.

However, the disc can be copied within 48 hours, since it works like any other DVD during that window.

Buena Vista did not disclose pricing plans but said the discs, dubbed EZ-D, would be available in August in select markets with recent releases including "The Recruit," "The Hot Chick," and "Signs."

Posted by Mary Hodder at May 17, 2003 08:39 AM | TrackBack

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