Tokyo - Many industry analysts have wondered which way Sony would
go in the copyright protection debate. Sony manufactures both hardware,
which is harmed by piracy controls, and entertainment, which is helped
by piracy controls. A recent release of a self-destructive DVD player
shows that the entertainment division is winning that internal argument.
amounts of pirated material were hopefully destroyed in
the blaze," said MPAA officials.
"Copy protection has been foiled too easily by pirates, and
we need to do something more effective," said Sony Entertainment
vice-president Harold Wang. "Self-destructive DVDs have been
tried, but rejected by consumers. We feel that consumers will embrace
the self-destructive DVD players, because it gives them that Mission
Impossible I've-got-the-latest-gadget feeling. We even have the player
say 'This DVD player will self-destruct in 10 seconds.'"
Wang addressed the safety concerns of destroying a DVD player: "Sure
there are safety issues, but most homes are equipped with smoke detectors
these days, and are chock full of pirated material which would be
destroyed in the blaze. OK, their house might burn down, but isn't
that a small price to pay to combat piracy?"
Instead of the standard low-powered laser most DVD players are equipped
with, the SD-DVD player from Sony has a high-powered laser which
will eventually burn through the DVD and ignite the highly flammable
material from which the player is made.
Other DVD player manufacturers such as Panasonic and Hitachi also
announced self-destructive player. "I've seen the Sony model
and it slowly catches flame and burns up. Our model is fitted with
a small amount of plastic explosives which causes a much more dramatic
destruction. Consumers will feel like they're in the movie when that
thing goes off," said Ronald Misuki of Panasonic.
Hollywood applauds the move. Chairman of the MPAA Jack Valenti said, "Not
having a DVD player makes it absolutely impossible to view pirated
content, which makes copying a DVD entirely useless. Granted, it
also makes watching the damn thing impossible, but we don't care
if you can't see the content, just as long as you buy brand new,
legitimate copies from your local or online store."
DVD rental chains Blockbuster and Hollywood video expect to reap
a large benefit from consumers who forget to eject a DVD before the
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