Archive for August 20th, 2006

“Would You Trust These People?”

David Basskin, the head of the CMRRA, commenting on the recording industry as both prepare for a major hearing at the Copyright Board of Canada on online music downloads, has the following to say about the recording industry and the interests of songwriters and music publishers: "Record companies do not […]

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August 20, 2006 2 comments News

30 Days of DRM – Day 02: Region Coding (Markets)

DVDs are a good example of a consumer product that contains several types of TPMs.  Many DVDs include Macrovision (designed to stop copying a DVD to VHS), Content Scramble System or CSS (the subject of important litigation involving DeCSS, a software program created to allow Linux users to play DVDs since they were otherwise unable to do so due to CSS), and region coding.  I think the region coding issue is of particular concern and should be the subject of a specific exception within anti-circumvention legislation.

The premise behind region coding is fairly straight-forward. With DVD region coding, the world is divided into eight regions (Canada and the U.S. form Region One).  Consumer electronics manufacturers have agreed to respect region coding within their products by ensuring that DVD players only play DVDs from a single region.  The net effect is that Canadian-purchased DVDs will play on Canadian-bought DVD players, but DVDs purchased in Europe, Australia, or Asia (all different regions), are unlikely to work on those same DVD players (with the exception of those DVDs that are region coded zero, which can be played worldwide).  The is also true for playing the DVDs on a personal computer – my Macintosh will only allow a limited number of region changes.

Note that the use of region coding has nothing to do with traditional notions of copyright law.  The underlying work may involve a copyrighted work – DVDs and video games regularly use region coding – yet the protection is designed to manipute markets by restricting the ability to use fully authorized copies of works.

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August 20, 2006 22 comments News