Harry Potter released unprotected.
June 15, 2002 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Harry Potter released unprotected. In a move that makes me say both "Wha?" and "Kickass!", Warner Bros chose to release the Harry Potter DVD and VHS home versions sans the Macrovision copy protection. It could stand to be quite an experiment, or quite a blunder on their part.
posted by mathowie (14 comments total)
Here's the upshot: if you wanted to, you could make VHS copies of your DVD.

Here's my prediction: It won't negatively affect sales, as the people that would seek to pirate copies of movies have already figured out ways around the protection. By and large, the vast majority won't care or ever use this "feature." (I doubt I ever would)
posted by mathowie at 8:38 PM on June 15, 2002

My DVD player has the capability to turn of the Macrovision (it's an Apex before the recall). I thought, "Hey, I can rent movies and then copy them to VHS."

Never happened.

First of all you have to record at 1x which is kind of a bother. Plus, why go back to VHS when you have a DVD player? It's a lot easier to just buy the damn thing. Plus as Matt said, anyone who wants to copy already can. Joe Shmoe has a hard enough time getting a DVD player to work. Let alone making a digital to analog conversion.
posted by geoff. at 9:03 PM on June 15, 2002

this also means us little linux monkies can watch dvds without "circumvention devices", atleast iirc

posted by y0bhgu0d at 9:08 PM on June 15, 2002

y0b: No, you still need your "circumvention devices". Macrovision only prevents analog copies. It's CSS -- the encryption -- you're thinking of, which is probably still going to be used as well ... even though it's not any more of a deterrent to large-scale pirates than Macrovision is.
posted by zztzed at 10:06 PM on June 15, 2002

hey, I applaud this. I think cheap or reasonable prices on movies is worth more than investing in copy protection. I too would rather just buy the movie for $19 or less than deal with trying to copy a movie to VHS.

Now, if only the MUSIC industry would think this way. I mean, a movie costs in the MILLIONS to make and market, and a CD is maybe $100 grand. Why then doesn't the music industry lower prices to like under $10 for CDs and sell more?

I dunno. DVDs are great, cheap, and I buy them all the time.
posted by ericdano at 10:39 PM on June 15, 2002

Yeah, no Macrovision is a good thing. Hiding the deleted scenes in a maze of annoying puzzles, not offering a filmmaker's commentary, and selling separate pan-and-scan and widescreen versions? Not so hot.
posted by toddshot at 10:46 PM on June 15, 2002

zzted: nope, it's Macrovision. My DVD-ROM has the capability to turn off Macrovision as well. I don't think you can buy 'em like that anymore, though.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:09 AM on June 16, 2002

Ryland, I think you missed the point of my post ... and the third z in my name.
posted by zztzed at 12:44 AM on June 16, 2002

Macrovision is easy to get around with virtually any DVD player, even a PS2 (you just buy a lead). Again though, I wouldn't bother putting a DVD onto VHS when you can have the extra high quality of the DVD/scene selection blah blah. Macrovision also degrades the video quality, so this is a good thing.

I got the Harry Potter DVD the day it came out, and my little sis still hasn't been able to get to the deleted scenes. Its quite frustrating (+ the bonus DVD seems to mess up on my PS2 and only works on my PC - does it work on other peoples DVD players?)
posted by Mossy at 5:31 AM on June 16, 2002

Plus, why go back to VHS when you have a DVD player?
Amen, man. Btw the DVD on VHS thing really gives bad quality. Not as bad as the -- omnipresent in the Far east especially -- pirated DVD's of still-in-theatres movies, but bad enough to be a pretty uninteresting option

Macrovision is easy to get around with virtually any DVD player, even a PS2
A simple 'DVD Region X' or modchips basically turn a PS2 into a codefree, Macrovision-free (Neo 4 chip) DVD player. And you can play videogames, too.
posted by matteo at 6:44 AM on June 16, 2002

"...Hollywood may have decided that it is cheaper to let a few people copy than spend money on protection."

This is the key right here. If I remember correctly, MacroVision is not cheap. It can eat into the profits of a movie that is otherwise successful. Warner may be testing to see if not having MacroVision is affecting sales of a blockbuster, and in the future, may not utilize MacroVision at all.

The industry is finally waking up to something that consumers have known for years. MacroVision is easy to circumvent. The fear is not so much DVD to VHS though. You could use a capture device, analog copy the movie into your computer, covert it back to MPEG2 and burn it with SVHS quality to a VideoCD which could then be sold on the black market. Or you could compress it into DIVX format, burn it to a CD, and someone with any computer or hacked XBOX could play it.

But how much of this happens? Not a lot by volume of actual sales. How much does this affect sales? Not at all, because the people doing this would have found other ways around it to achieve their goals, and therefore would not have led to an increase in sales.

Truth is, people will buy movies. I know I do. I do my part to buy movies, especially if the movie industry keeps their DVDs in the 20 dollar or less range. I don't think movies are overpriced, and will definitely buy them. It's not like the music industry, where salary is based on sales, and they put out something that took a week to produce, and then charge 20 bucks for.
posted by benjh at 6:49 AM on June 16, 2002

I have an older VCR in which i can dub any tape. gives fair copies. got a dvd player, (my first) for F-day. am working out how to dub as i type. but buying blanks, then renting, the time put in. It only seems worth it with new releases.
posted by clavdivs at 7:23 AM on June 16, 2002

You could get a new mac & burn yourself a copy of the DVD... onto DVD.

Like most have said before, I really doubt that this will cut into sales. I think movie piracy figures are probably pretty stable. There's people that do it, then there's everyone else that just buys it. There's not alot of people who want to go through the trouble of recording a DVD 1x onto VHS, putting it onto VCD is a total pain, and to do it on a mac will take a while too. You might as well buy it.

Side note, I never buy anything new. I always wait until the video stores are getting rid of all their extra copies when they move it from the "New Releases" section to the normal area. You can save quite a bit of money.
posted by password at 9:36 AM on June 16, 2002

password: especially lately. They buy about a hundred copies for the popular films.
posted by ODiV at 2:01 PM on June 16, 2002

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