Copy protection! What’s the point? It inconveniences legitimate customers and doesn’t actually stop piracy. The music industry has finally woken up to the fact that copy protection benefits no-one – and as a result, you can buy and download unencumbered digital copies of music from iTunes and Amazon – but the movie industry is still clinging to the belief that they can stop pirates by, er, targeting paying customers.
After all, they wouldn’t steal a handbag, although if their new handbag keeps nagging them not to steal handbags, they might wish they had.
What these idiots somehow don’t seem to grasp is that their tactics are more likely to drive people towards piracy. Here’s a comedy image that hilariously lampoons the difference between a DVD and a pirated copy – except it’s pretty close to the truth. When you can’t enjoy a thing you’ve bought without getting warnings and adverts rammed down your face, it hardly inspires you to go out and buy again.
Blu-rays are the next generation of annoyance. This was brought home to me last week when I couldn’t even play a blu-ray I’d bought, after looking forward to its release for weeks.
The root of my problem: I don’t have a HDTV, so I watch blu-rays on the computer instead. You might think that to view blu-rays on a computer, you simply need:
- A computer
- A blu-ray drive
- A screen
Well, you’re part right. Unfortunately, what you require isn’t just a screen – you need an all-star, Hollywood-approved screen, with anti-piracy nonsense built in. And if your screen doesn’t support the anti-piracy gubbins HDCP, as mine doesn’t, blu-rays will refuse to play through a digital connection like DVI.
Luckily, the vast majority of blu-rays don’t have any objection to playing through a VGA connection. If scrabbling around under the desk swapping over cables is the price I have to pay to watch a blu-ray on my inferior setup, so be it. A mild annoyance, but not the end of the world.
So imagine my displeasure when, last week, I was met with this dialogue.
Yeah, I couldn’t watch this sucker through VGA. And I definitely couldn’t watch it through DVI.
What to do? Go out and spend over £100 on the display equipment world’s answer to Fort Knox, able to stand firm against all forms of video piracy, except perhaps piracy with my eyes, which even movie company dullards are just about able to stomach?
Or should I spend a couple of hours on Google, figuring out how to get around this ridiculous restriction?
I opted for the latter option and was pleasantly surprised by how straightforward the process was. Far from a spelunk through dingy corners of the Internet fraught with danger, finding the right software was pretty easy and using it was simple too.
So thanks to the movie industry’s anti-piracy bullshit, I now know how to pirate a blu-ray, a subject in which I previously had no interest. Well done guys.
The blu-ray? Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD.
It’s glorious, it’s decrypted, and it’s on my hard disk. I can watch it, but it’s certainly made me think twice about purchasing more blu-rays in the near future. What if the software doesn’t do the trick next time? Why take the risk that I won’t be able to watch something I’ve purchased legitimately?
Far from protecting themselves from piracy, the distributors of the Star Trek blu-ray have both taught me how to do it, and made me dubious about buying anything further from them. Brilliant.