I’ve been watching Boston Legal lately, on DVD. Each DVD includes a bombastic, unskippable anti-piracy advert that plays every time you put the disc in the player. “You wouldn’t steal a car,” it says. Nope, got me there. But let’s play along with this idea for a moment. I wouldn’t buy a car that:
- I couldn’t lend to my friends;
- I couldn’t drive in a public place in case someone else saw it;
- Showed me 5 minutes of unskippable anti car theft adverts and corporate logos every time I switched on the ignition;
- Was sold under terms that gave me a licence to use the car but not own it;
- Could be rendered totally useless by the slightest of scratches with no way to repair it.
My dad, seeing these adverts, asked me, “Is there any way to skip them?” “Yes,” I said. “You could have downloaded the episodes instead of buying them. The pirated versions don’t have adverts.”
The only people who see the anti-piracy adverts are the people who don’t pirate their DVDs. Why do DVD manufacturers insist on preaching to the converted? It will just drive people away from legitimate DVDs.
As long as the pirated versions are higher quality, more easily obtainable, cheaper, less restrictive and less annoying than the “real thing”, the media companies are screwed.