Cory Doctorow on DVD region coding

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Technology
February 1st, 2005 • 1:25 pm

Cory Doctorow, being the typical North American that he is (now living in the UK), discovers the DVD region coding scheme that every non-North American movie buff has known about for years. And he gets angry at… Apple.


I didn’t even know about the fact that, in theory, the region code can be changed up to 25 times. But who cares? Whether it’s 5 times or 25 times, it’s not Apple’s fault. Cory’s anger is totally misplaced. If he wants to express anger about the DVD region coding scheme, he should direct his anger at Hollywood and the big American studios. The scheme was cooked up years before DVD players even became available in computers.

And I don’t blame Apple for not wanting to commit to a policy of allowing consumers to return their computers to get their region coding reset by an authorized reseller 5 times. Resellers have better things to do!

The region coding scheme was cooked up to prevent Europeans from being able to get Hollywood movies on DVD before they actually come out in the theatres. (American movies often are released later in Europe, for whatever reason.) But of course it also prevents North Americans from watching DVDs from Europe, which has no commercial justification whatsoever. That’s brainy Hollywood for you.

Personally, I watch DVDs on the TV, not on my PowerBook — and I got a region-free DVD player a long time ago. It’s not like it’s that hard to find — especially not in Europe, I bet!

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