Cory Having Problems With Apple’s DVD [7:13 pm]
In Apple restricting DVD region-changes — voluntarily! — UPDATED, Cory describes just how cowed even a firm like Apple has become in the face of the copyright industries. I have always wondered what happened when you cycled through the five region encoding changes you’re allowed with the Mac OS X DVD player - now, sadly, I know it’s not good.
What’s more, once the region-switches have run out, computer companies can reset your counter at a service depot a further five times. That means that you get 25 region-switches. This sucks pretty bad: I moved from San Francisco to London with hundreds of Region 1 DVDs and now when I buy a movie in the shop, it’s Region 2. That means that if I watch a movie from my US collection once a week, and once from my UK connection the next week, I’ll run out of region switches in three months. Three months after moving to the UK, I’ll have to throw out half my DVDs.
So, basically, I don’t watch my DVDs. Sometimes, though, I’m weak, and I tune into one and squander one of my precious region switches. Now my nearly-new Powerbook has only one switch left out of its initial five, and so I brought it to Apple to get them to reset the counter. It needed service anyway (I’m on my fifth or sixth screen replacement for the defect in the 15′ machines that causes the ‘white blobs’ to obscure the display), so it seemed like a good time to do it.
I know that Apple is allowed to do this. How do I know? Well, when EFF went to the Copyright Office and asked it to give us an exemption to the DMCA to make tools for watching out-of-region DVDs, Time-Warner showed up and told us this:
‘And, the way it works, and I apologize because it’s a little bit complicated, the consumer can set it five times. After the fifth time that they’ve reset it, they do have an ability to reset it again, but they have to bring the drive to an authorized dealer or an authorized service representative, who can then authorize an additional set of five changes, and then they can bring it back for a second, for a third, fourth and fifth set of authorized changes. So you can change it 25 times in total, but you have to go back for each set of five. You only get the first five when you buy the ROM drive itself.’
That was Dean Marks, from AOL Time Warner. Straight from the horse’s mouth, testifying to the US government.
But when my Powerbook was ready for pickup, Apple left me a voicemail saying that they couldn’t reset my DVD player, that doing so would void my warranty.