My run in with DRM killing a legal use yesterday nearly killed a presentation. The distributor of Occupation: Dreamland asked me to set up to show part of the movie from a DVD he had burned. We were in a state of the art classroom with a great new DVD player, computer hookups and several projectors. I can do this.

Simple to place the DVD in the DVD player and hit play. Or it should be. But that happened was that the DVD was never initialized in the player. Out of desperation, I pulled out my PowerBook and stuck the DVD in there. Apple gave me a nice message telling me that a “Country Code” or “Zone” I forget which was needed. They suggested using 1. I did.

Everything then worked fine after that — except that the lights and screens and curtains didn’t like me changing devices so much. They went through several amusing gyrations as I tried testing between the DVD player and laptop.

The aggravating thing here is that we had a wonderful legal DVD copy with a wonderful legal and approved use, but the code (as Lessig warns us) nearly locked us out.

The battle over zoning DVDs was mostly fought five years ago. Here we were with a completely allowed use and we were stymied — almost but not defeated thanks to Apple.

But this is an incomplete thanks, as Cory explained in January, you only get so many region changes before Apple permanently fixes the Zone so that it will never change again. They are not required by law to do this (according to Cory).

One Response to “AV Geek: Country Code Please”
  1. T says:

    ‘They are not required by law to do this’

    - depends on the country. Here in Finland they have to offer you a way, either a code or software/hardware to remove the country code query.

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