Do Piracy Warnings Actually Encourage Piracy?

The US government is ramping up those irritating anti-piracy warnings on DVDs, now forcing viewers to watch two unskippable warnings every time they watch a movie they have actually paid good money for. Australia hasn't gone as far down that path yet, but commercial DVDs often do still feature one warning you can't fast-forward through. The question is: are those warnings actually counter-productive?

As observers everywhere have been pointing out, those warnings seem pretty pointless. They won't appear on pirate DVDs or in torrents. Instead, they often serve to alienate honest customers, making a product that they were perfectly willing to pay for less engaging.

Claims that "education" is vital seem hollow in this context; after all, these aren't the people who are contemplating piracy. But being forced to wait 30 seconds to watch their favourite movie could make an illegal rip much more appealing. What do you think?

DVDs and Blu-rays will now carry two unskippable government warnings [Ars Technica]


    Agreed. We used to hire at least 2 or 3 DVDs a week from blockbuster but between the stupid unskippable warnings, unskippable trailers (yes, that's right), and the DVD being constantly scratched and stuff (at some point 50% of discs had to be returned because they were unplayable). Getting stuff online is much easier and makes more sense for TV series.

      You should try pressing (stop) (stop) (play) on your dvd remote. Most times this skips all of the piracy things and goes straight to the movie

    YES nothing beats un-ticking "those" checkboxes in clonedvd

    seriously though i always LOL when i see that anti piracy bit where they show the guy who brought the movie vs the guy who downloaded it and try to show it as a huge hassle if you download, whilst the brought it guy pops it and instant nice movie, when in reality the brought it guy is stuck sitting there watching that exact unskippable anti piracy ad whilst the downloader, having read the comments to know its a good copy, double clicks the icon and sits back

    all these do it punish those who have actually brought the product it doesnt teach anyone anything, i think the huge decline in piracy since the intro of these ads proves that......

      Not to be a total grammar Nazi but one of my pet hates..

      Purchased = Bought

      Brought = past-tense of bring.

    Unfortunately, yes. Being forced to watch any thing and not be able to skip it frustrates the hell out of me. Especially if I bought it! I often rip my own DVD's and leave them on a shelf and watch the digital rip. That probably requires more effort on my behalf than seeking out some torrent.

    It's more about legal awareness in US. Prosecutors over there will have more weight in court if they can argue that warningsss already displayed to the pirate and the pirate aware that he/she is doing actually break a law.
    It's like ciggies packaging, at least producer already tells customers that smoking is unhealthy...

    Both of my local Video stores have closed over the last 12 months. Qflix only had crap available to watch the last time i tried it, My Local Cinema is to expensive and Australian TV hasn't aired anything consistently but "Live" recorded TV shows or Teeny Bopper Soapies in so long Ive been forced to give up on it. You do the math....

    I've seen a couple of discs where, instead of a brooding, menacing warning there's an unskippable 10-second bit that says "you bought this DVD. THANK YOOUUUU!" with big shiny lettering and bright colours.

    I don't mind that.

      I was just about to say, something like that would be a much nicer alternative.

      ^^ This would win Labor votes in the next election. Labor should make this law. And there should be a law making them no more than 10 seconds long and more and more fancy :D

    Buy the DVD, "Transcode" it to a format for use (removing the warning of cause) and away we go. Nothing illegal about "transcoding" copies of movies you own I last heard.

      No, but you have to use DeCSS developed by DVD jon to 'hack' the copy protection on the DVDs - which is actually illegal (and you can potentially go to jail)- where copyright infringement of 'pirating' a rip of that same DVD from a torrent is only a civil offense (so cannot go to jail but need to be sued)

        @Joffa, making your own backups of movies you have legitimately bought is what James is talking about. last time i checked, you can't do that without tampering with the encryption.

        The other annoying feature is the long intro into the main menu on modern dvds. i don't need a preview of the movie i'm about to watch!

          Which is what Joffa said. :P It's legal to make a backup, it's highly illegal to tamper with the copy protection, it's mildly illegal to download the movie.

          Looking at this in pure mathematics, your best bet for making a backup is to buy the movie then download it since the resulting penalties if you get caught are far less than breaking the encryption.

    I hate those warnings but don't think they genuinely discourage DVD viewing. Much like having to wait for your computer to boot up or your oven to preheat don't *really* discourage their use, either. Yes, the initial wait is tedious and irritating but you adjust and move on. Or you switch to Foxtel On Demand, tablets, and microwave ovens...but these numbers are comparatively small.

    I solve the "problem" by leaving the room or doing something else (like make a cup of tea) while my DVDs are loading, my computer is booting, and my oven is preheating :)

      Yes, but you can't avoid oven heating or computer booting.

      What if you could get an oven that only took literally one second to heat up - wouldn't you prefer that instead of the long wait?

        Not to mention that the faster cooker is free. They continue to make the expensive legal version worse than the free version, and wonder why the number of people who use the legitimate version dwindles. Stupid.

    I've gotten to the point these days where I dont even bother watching a new DVD movie from the disk. The first thing I do is dump it to the HDD and strip off all the crap I dont need. Then I watch it on the HTPC. I havent seen a piracy warning in a long time :)

      It is legal to make a copy of a DVD/CD you own, but you are breaking the law by breaking the copy protection on the DVD! If they are forcing you to break the law to be able to watch the product you own then you may as well torrent it.

        You have to break the copy protection to do the copy of the DVD you own. Yes, CDs do not have copy protection built in - so that is legal.

        So yes, you are allowed to make a copy of a DVD with no built in copy protection. But every commercial DVD has built in copy protection. Yes it is madness.

    To me having to watch the warning is like walking into a department store and being pulled aside for a chat about not stealing, before they let you shop.

      Very good analogy, I like it.

      Not quite :)

      It's liking handing the cash to the cashier, receiving the receipt & being given the bag & goods to leave. BUT THEN the cashier GRABS YOUR WRISTS and doesn't let you go. She then proceeds to give you a one minute lecture on the all the problems that stealing what you just bought are. "It's bad for the industry, bad for jobs, etc". She then wags her finger at you, before finally letting you leave.

        haha, yup!

          You should have added to the end;

          "While you're leaving you see a dozen people stealing everything and anything they want from the store. The staff don't care and do nothing about it. Not only do they not pay, but they also miss out on being accosted by the cashier. They couldn't seem happier, while you are out of pocket and your wrist hurts, not to mention you have been insulted."

    I've found on occasion that if prompted for a language when I first insert the DVD, I can choose something a little bit foreign like say Czech, and the piracy warning doesn't bother playing! Presumably they're only recorded in English and it's just skipped when you select otherwise. If this changes the audio or enables subtitles once the film starts, that's easily fixed from the rc.

      really? I never would have guessed... will have to try that!

    The real reason for not being able to skip the piracy warning is that is a few years this will be replaced with adds and people already got used to waiting for the movie to start.

    "You wouldn't steal a car".


      “You wouldn’t steal a car”


        I lol'd

    I haven't paid for a DVD for years, largely because of that crap. The ones I have are all gifts, or the rare rental when I'm away from home.

    Not paying david prowse royalties for starwars and then having the most profitable opening weekend ever with Avengers, which trumped last years most profitable opening weekend ever for Harry Potter and the litany of other anti piracy bullshit just makes me more and more reluctant to contribute to the jerks running that nonsense.

    I'd much rather pay for tickets to cons where artists I like are presenting, or buy merch when I know the revenue goes back to the artists, then contribute in any way to the studios who are getting rich on screwing artists and trying to screw consumers.

    I'm a Pirate, Ninja and a Mage. Kudos.

      I'm a Paladin with +100 Skill in DVD Decrypter.

        I've got a +50 in DVD Decrypter and a +50 in Handbrake.

    Advantages to using a Linux box running XBMC to play DVDs: It will quite happily let you fast-forward / skip "unskippable" warnings and previews.

    Alright here we go:
    15-20 minutes of ads before a movie AFTER we've paid $15-25 dollars on a ticket? They wonder why we pirate.
    10-15 minutes of unskippable trailers, etc before we can watch a purchased DVD/Bluray? They wonder why we pirate.

    I mean.. If maybe they didn't treat legitimate people like dirt maybe there would be less piracy?

      I like the ads before a movie. It's part of the experience and the trailers are always new and exciting things.

      I hate the ads before a DVD. Watching them the first time is sometimes okay if it's a recent DVD, but for older DVDs or ones I've already seen the ads are old movies that I honestly don't care about anymore.

        I kind of miss the previews on videos. I think they should be skippable, but I'd watch them the first time if they were there. It's part of the experience.

    Yeah some people here are right. The anti piracy ads are for those that are viewers who can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves. Kind of like a peer pressure sort of thing. My mother in law was extremely paranoid about getting sued by the RIAA for downloading one song, and actively told me and others to curb our music-downloading ways.

    So I did. I went to my brother's place and copied his Metallica collection. Didn't have to download it, meaning I'm not a pirate!

    Funny. Before even reading the article, I thought "There's another reason to download stuff rather than buy the DVD"

    I rip DVDs to bypass of the Piracy warnings. So...

    I never have to worry about these warnings. My missus smokes. So we put on th DVD then she goes outside to have one and when she gets back the movies is ready. What do I do while this is happening I hear you ask? ... I wait patiently.

      Like, +1, Agree

    Now i have a nice shiney samsung TV with USB input and a i5 desktop with 16 gig of ram i rip all my dvd's, pop it on USB and watch. bonuses: No unskippable crap, orginials discs don't get mangled, (especilly by my daughter) and all my movies are avalable in the 1 place.

    good topic you've raised, never really given it a second thought but you're absolutely 100% right. i love not having to watch annoying unskippable menu's.. ad's are just as un-fun, but we cant avoid those when we're not paying money.. something ive payed for really should be the way i want.

    'Would you steal a car?'...

    This ad always makes me think they aren'ty really seriously about it. It's the same ad for every DVD and they spent stuff all on it.. If the studio's and distributors were really worried about it, the ad would be high budget and change evey 6months like drink driving ads.

    "You know I can't watch your ghost downloads, bro"

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