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Give Your DVD Player The Finger 620

sebFlyte writes "Wired is reporting on some scary new DRM tech being developed. From the article: 'At the store, someone buying a new DVD would have to provide a password or some kind of biometric data, like a fingerprint or iris scan, which would be added to the DVD's RFID tag. Then, when the DVD was popped into a specially equipped DVD player, the viewer would be required to re-enter the data.'"
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Give Your DVD Player The Finger

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  • by A Boy and His Blob ( 772370 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:36AM (#12577962)
    I like my idea for a bimodal hand geometry/voice recognition system better, me giving the MPAA the finger while telling them to "bite my shiny metal ass."
  • by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:36AM (#12577965)
    "biometric data, like a fingerprint or iris scan, which would be added to the DVD's RFID tag."

    Can I just use the finger that I found at Wendy's?

    Seriously though, what if you wanted to buy a gift for somebody? This isn't going to work all that well.

    How about on-line purchases? Would they take a 'sample' and keep it on file to encode something at a later time. Who is going to trust the security of that?

    I don't see it happening.
    • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 ( 812236 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:51AM (#12578199) Journal
      I doubt it will be used for retail DVDs as it wouldn't be cost-effective.

      However, it may yet be useful in securing workprints and pre-release copies. That would decrease bootlegging. A workprint of Star Wars III hit the BitTorrent networks yesterday. You can be sure George is looking to employ this technology when he makes his next Indiana Jones.
      • Those are good examples. Like I've said before, DRM and other copy-protection schemes are good choices for those who can choose them. We should be not at all concerned when, say, a pre-released piece of consumer media is subject to DRM.
      • I completely agree. Despite the tinfoil hat commentary of the poster, I think this would be remarkably good at securing data, and its use in military and industrial applications is actually not a bad idea. Like most security technologies, though, the downside is the human factor. No doubt the technology to strip this sort of scan will be developed, once it is reverse-engineered.

        However, to think that the next DVD you buy or that next CD you purchase will require you to input a fingerprint scan is very far
        • by lowrydr310 ( 830514 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:27AM (#12578786)
          No doubt the technology to strip this sort of scan will be developed, once it is reverse-engineered.

          Not everything can be reverse-engineered effectively. As far as I know the latest DirecTV encryption technology hasn't been broken yet, and it's been out for a while. Then again, maybe it can be broken (or has been broken) but it's just easier for people to hack another provider's encoding/encryption scheme.

    • by MagPulse ( 316 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:04AM (#12578372)
      The finger-in-the-food story about Wendy's was a scam. That lady has a history of suing fast food companies for putting body parts in her food. Please don't continue to spread this FUD that Wendy's doesn't deserve.
      • That lady has a history of suing fast food companies for putting body parts in her food.
        No, she doesn't. Don't spread misinformation. This is the first time she's employeed the old body-part-in-her-food scam. She has a history of suing corporations.
  • fP? (Score:2, Funny)

    by c0ldfusi0n ( 736058 )
    I, for one, welcome our new finger-reading DVD-playing overlords.
  • by jmke ( 776334 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:36AM (#12577973) Homepage Journal
    that seems like a very user friendly system; way to go!
    • Re:user friendly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bombadillo ( 706765 )
      Exactly. Am I supposed to walk up to my DVD and authenticate every time I play a movie? Even if they get this thing on a remote (Which opens up exploits) it's still a pain. I say let them try and impliment this. No one will use their product.
  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:36AM (#12577974)

    Couple quotes from TFA:

    Ed Felten, a computer science professor at Princeton University, called the proposal the "limit of restrictiveness."
    "I think people would find it creepy to give their fingerprint every time they wanted to play a DVD," Felten said. "It's hard to think that would be acceptable to customers."

    Seth Schoen, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it's unlikely this DRM plan will be any more effective than others preceding it.
    "It only requires one person to break it," Schoen said.
    Schoen said this is the "smart cow problem": Once one of the cows opens the gate, the others will follow.

    Unfavorable bovine comparisons notwithstanding, these two statements sum up nicely why this will never happen:

    • The tech-savvy will easily find a way around this protection...it's only a matter of time.
    • The tech-non-savvy will be so inconvinenced and put off by this incredibly restrictive protection that the public outcry will be deafening.
    • The tech-somewhat-savvy, who previously couldn't be bothered to break other, less restrictive protections like region codes, will have vastly increased incentive to seek out the cracks produced by the aformentioned tech-savvy group, thus effectively compounding the problem.

      Add to all this the increased costs of manufacturing the 'specially equipped DVD players' mentioned in the article, and it's easy to see why this idea is a non-starter.

    • by blowdart ( 31458 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:53AM (#12578220) Homepage
      The tech-savvy will easily find a way around this protection...it's only a matter of time.

      Already done [interesting-people.org]. Finegrprints are easily fakeable, another reason to reject biometrics. If someone else uses your fingerprints how can you recall it, change it?

    • by whterbt ( 211035 ) <m6d07iv02@sneakemail.com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:01AM (#12578338)

      This could easily be employed by the MPAA as a smokescreen. Say they want to implement X, a restrictive DRM scheme.

      They publically announce that they are going to "adopt" this fingerprint idea or some other draconian, over-the-top, Big-Brother DRM technology and attempt to push it down people's throats. They wait for the inevitable backlash, and say, "We're sorry for trying to do that. We'll use this less invasive DRM scheme X instead."

      • Excellent point - in sales there is a term for this called 'anchoring' (also used in NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming) - you first anchor someone at some high price (like the crossed-out prices you see during sale events) and then work yourself down from there (as seen in most informercials). Works everytime - people seem to have a hard time to mentally beat this type of mind-fuck.
  • by ylikone ( 589264 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:37AM (#12577975) Homepage
    such as this will never work. Because people will not buy products with this stuff on it.

    I hope.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:18AM (#12578633)
      No parent will ever buy a DVD like this - imagine having to authorise playback every time your kid wants to watch a moive. Mine sometimes changes her mind 4 or 5 times over the course of an hour. She can swap disks fine herself...

      Besides that, how would you give such a crippled DVD as a gift? Or order one online, for that matter.
      • No parent will ever buy a DVD like this - imagine having to authorise playback every time your kid wants to watch a moive. Mine sometimes changes her mind 4 or 5 times over the course of an hour. She can swap disks fine herself...

        I think you are way over reacting.

        The solution is actually quite simple.

        Simply select the least valuable finger and amputate it. Leave that finger with the DVD player so that it can authorize all disks you purchase. (Note, you would need to take the finger to the store w
  • wow..just wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rackemup ( 160230 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:37AM (#12577977) Homepage
    And this is going to "save" how much money at the sake of convenience?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:37AM (#12577982)
    Looks like my collection of severed fingers FINALLY has a use!
  • by Stop Error ( 823742 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:37AM (#12577985) Homepage
    I for one would go back to a VCR before submitting to this. Simply insane to think that I need to be treated like a thief when BUYING something they think I may STEAL later. (making available)

    This is nuts.
    • The mindset of the people that develop these things must be very strange. Do they think that people have to buy their stuff?

      Let's do a thought experiment. Suppose the crack man, having a local monopoly, develops a new form of the drug that requires one of his fancy hi-tech crack pipes. Do you suppose that all the addicts will just pay the extra money indefinitely, so he can get richer? That another dealer might not be tempted to offer an alternative?

      Those of us who are old enough will remember "copy

    • Thick as theives (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jfengel ( 409917 )
      While I concur that this is a stupid plan, could you elaborate on the "treated like a thief" theme that I see so often on slashdot?

      You treat most people like theives. More accurately, you treat them like they could be thieves. You lock your car and your house, because you don't trust people you haven't met. When you rent a car or a movie they go to great lengths to assure you'll give it back. You assume people are thieves because it's easier than getting your stuff back later.

      When you say "treat them like
    • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:04PM (#12579264) Homepage Journal
      IMHO, this goes back to the "greed is good" binge of the 1980's, which was really an economic transformation of the US. (and beyond) Prior to the transformation, GM/Ford/etc was in the business of making cars, and sold those cars to make money so they could go on making and selling cars, and reward their employees and stockholders. The ??AA were in the business of making music and movies, and selling/showing them so they could go on...etc.

      After the transformation, it seems that every business is first and foremost in the business of making money. The products they market are mere incidentals, necessary evils in order to further their primary mission. Witness that GM revenue is divided 1/3 - 2/3 between selling cars and selling financing. (forget which third is which) They're making a significant amount of their revenue dabbling in what used to be banks' business. Or consider that a sizable part of Microsoft's revenue comes from playing financial games, and that their multibillion dollar war chest gives them a lot of ability to do this.

      There's a more subtle shift here, too. Prior to the transformation of the 80's, employees were valuable resources, especially those with experience. Now employees are annoying expenses, and a drain on profits. Customers used to be valued, hoping for return business. Now, at least in some industries, they're "thieves."

      I had a discussion with my son about this last night on the way home. He received several downloaded songs from friends of a European group called, "Nightwish." He now has 5 of their 6 CDs, and my daughter has 2. (and as soon as my son can find the 6th, actually their first, he wants to buy it.) I asked how likely he would have been to plunk down $17 for a CD never having really heard their music, and of course he said, "not at all." A few downloaded songs have translated to 7, potentially 8 sales, in my immediate family.

      Oh, some time ago, after he had begun his Nightwish collection I sternly cautioned him about any trading in downloaded songs.

      The ??AA is also more than a little STUPID in counting every downloaded song or movie as a lost unit of revenue. Case in point, me. I think long and hard before plunking down $15 for a CD. If CDs (that I like) were $7.50, I'll bet I'd buy more than twice as many. If they were $5.00, I'll bet my purchases would more than triple. At some point, I'd reach my limit of storage and clutter.

      But for the guy the RIAA is suing with 10,000 songs, or whatever, he NEVER HAD the kind of money to buy that much music. Even if he had a good income, when it costs real money, you balance your music against food, rent, clothing, gasoline, eating out, going to the movies, going to concerts, etc. The only reason he would have that collection of 10,000 songs is because they were (at the time) effectively free, costing only bandwidth and space.

      Choke off ALL downloads, filesharing, etc, and I suspect the ??AA wouldn't see more than even a 10% increase in their sales. Lacking the "free" source, I'll bet those people would simply choose not to buy, most of the time.
  • by khelms ( 772692 )
    I sometimes think most people are sheep, but still I doubt they will put up with this.
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@COLAtpno-co.org minus caffeine> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:38AM (#12577995) Homepage
    ...what you are saying is you want to force another procedure on a wage slave who will, in all likelyhood mess it up royally ( because of being the affore mentioned wage slave ).

    Right. You know, I'm all for worrying about my rights, but I think, at least in this, we are being far to paraniod for our own good. And in the process, giving your average walmart worker far too much credit.
  • by Gondola ( 189182 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:38AM (#12578006)
    You'd have to keep running back to the DVD player every time they wanted to watch one of the 10,000 Disney and other assorted DVDs that they like to watch endlessly.

    This is crazy talk, really, and really prevents the fair use rights we have now (loaning to friends, etc.)

    Why don't they just sell tickets every time we want to watch a DVD? "They're $2 cheaper per viewing than going to the theater!"
    • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:45AM (#12578114) Homepage
      Ringing phone.


      "Mommy, movie broke again."

      "Honey, I told you that when I'm at work I cannot authorize, er unlock the movie for you."

      "Mommy, I wanna watch my movie!"

      "I know, sweetheart, but I can't come home until later. Please play with your toys until then, or let your older brother play one of his movies for you instead."

      "Yuck! Hate "Kill, Kick, & Maim!" I wanna watch "Honeydumpling Sweethearts" again."

      "I understand, but you'll have to wait."


      (Silently cursing DRM)

    • It was called DivX (not to be confused with the encoding scheme) circuit city was tried launching it at the same time as normal DVDs. In case you forgot, you paid around $10 for a DVD and old watch it for 2 days, if you wanted to watch it again you could pay $5 and watch it for 2 more days, o pay another $10 to unlock the video forever.
      People hated it, the only remnent is a character on penny-arcade.
      • Re:they tried that (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        It was called DivX (not to be confused with the encoding scheme) circuit city was tried launching it at the same time as normal DVDs. In case you forgot, you paid around $10 for a DVD and old watch it for 2 days, if you wanted to watch it again you could pay $5 and watch it for 2 more days, o pay another $10 to unlock the video forever. People hated it, the only remnent is a character on penny-arcade.

        They tried to hire me, I worked out the scheme they were proposing during the telephone call with the rec

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:39AM (#12578016)
    Then, when the DVD was popped into a specially equipped DVD player, the viewer would be required to re-enter his or her password or fingerprint. The system would require consumers to buy new DVD players with RFID readers.

    The market has already proven this won't work.

    Gadh said he could not reveal specifically how the system would work, as it is still in the research stage. A prototype will be available by the end of the summer, he said, and at that point, it will be shopped around to movie studios and technology companies.

    Thanks for giving this company free advertising to the media conglomorates Wired/Slashdot, the market appreciates it!

    When something strinkingly familiar was posted a couple of days ago here [slashdot.org], I said almost exactly what I am going to say here: How does this product enable me to enact fair-use?

    It doesn't.
    • by applemasker ( 694059 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:50AM (#12578184)
      Perhaps this is being nitpicky, but it's worth pointing outh that "Fair Use" (and parody for that matter) are not "rights," per se. Only authors/creators of the work (not the public) are granted rights under the Copyright Act.

      As a dotrine, Fair Use is an affirmative defense to a claim of infringement. This means the person claiming Fair Use has the burden of proving that their actions did not constitute infringement.

      The obvious problem, if you are defending an infringement claim is that it is extremely expensive to succssfully raise a Fair Use or Parody defense, which, if it fails, causes the heavy hammer of infringement and all its penalties falls down upon you. Because of this, it's common to hear, "Yes, it's probably fair use. You will spend a billion dollars to get a chance to prove that." Just ask these guys [wired.com].
      • It is being nitpicky. Just because something is implemented as an affirmative defense does not mean that it is not a right. Few would argue that you have a "right" to defend yourself for example and self-defense is an affirmative defense.
  • by mbrinkm ( 699240 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:39AM (#12578018)

    I, for one, would never purchase a product that required this level of security for my home entertainment. The only time I would consider giving my fingerprint or some other biometric data would be for a HIGH security job.

    I don't trust any person at electronics stores with my SS#, why would I trust them with more personal information?
  • by Hulkster ( 722642 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:39AM (#12578024) Homepage
    Or optionally, if you happen to come across a finger in your Wendy's Chili, can you use that to watch their DVD collection?
  • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:39AM (#12578027) Journal
    This will be about as desired in the market as the DVDs designed to cloud over in 24 hours after being unsealed, or DIVX.
    There's no compelling reason for consumers to agree to even more useless encumberance than we already face with CSS, Macrovision and region coding.
  • by jocknerd ( 29758 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:40AM (#12578029)
    My kids have put about a million fingerprints on all my dvds.
  • I doubt it'll even get to market.
    If I buy a teletubbies DVD for my kids I'll be damned if I have to demean myself to actually playing it for them!
    I'd rather not be in the house at all when that sh*t is happening.

  • Outrageous! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:40AM (#12578040)
    I'm used to being able to do whatever I want with my current DVDs. I can take them to any region of the world and play them with no problem. If I want to fast-forward through the several minutes of commercials at the beginning of a DVD, no problem. If I want to make a backup copy in case the original gets destroyed, the movie companies have bent over backwards to make this easy.

    DVDs have never been horribly crippled in any way in the past, so they shouldn't be in the future.

  • It's the sound of me not buying one of those DVD players. Woosh.
  • This would seem to be the same story covered here [slashdot.org]. It's been repackaged a lot in its passage round the news outlets, so I'm not surprised Zonk didn't spot it.
  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:41AM (#12578052)
    So, after dad dies, I'm gonna hafta keep his finger around to view his pr0n collection? That's doubly creepy...
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:03AM (#12578361) Homepage
      So, after dad dies, I'm gonna hafta keep his finger around to view his pr0n collection? That's doubly creepy...

      It gets worse, Pr0n will probably use an imprint of your schmeckle. Then you'd have to have your dad's weenie to watch his Pr0n after he's gone --- way beyond nasty. :-P
  • Talk about ways to make me want to buy a pirated disc.
  • Libraries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aarku ( 151823 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:42AM (#12578066) Journal
    This would screw over libraries. How sick.
  • DIVX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Captain_Chaos ( 103843 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:42AM (#12578074)
    Sounds good. Should be at least as popular as DIVX.
  • The more steps you add to a intuitively simply process as popping in a CD and pushing play, the more annoyed end users will be. And the less likely they are to use your tedious product, on a subconcious level.

    This will make the negative feelings surrounding systems like pay-per-view seem less so.
  • If they asked me to do that at the store, I can assure everyone its not my finger that would be brought out to be scanned...
  • Ironic (Score:5, Informative)

    by mattmentecky ( 799199 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:43AM (#12578084)
    How ironic that www.boingboint.net [boingboint.net] linked to an article How to fake a fingerprint [www.ccc.de] just yesterday ;)
  • by TLouden ( 677335 )
    It's not a practical technology. If the father purchases a dvd player for the family you can't reasonably expect that he'll be in the house every time somebody want's to play the dvd. I'm sure it's fun to work on such devices but it won't replace the existing systems in any major way.
  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:44AM (#12578105)
    So, if this comes to pass, huge numbers of people will buy the DVD, take it home, enter their fingerprint ONCE, and rip it to a non-protected copy. Then, they'll just use the much-more convenient copy.

    In other words, everyone will have and regularly use a DVD copier. And, once you're copying it for yourself, what's the difference if you make a few extra copies? Hey, while I'm sitting here, Aunt Martha might enjoy this movie too.....
  • This is horrible for sales. Mainly because giving a DVD for a gift is going to be a pain in the ass. Either you'd have to be there for them to watch it all the time, or somehow have THEM buy it... for their own gift...

    "Honey, can I get your finger print before I go to the store?

    My FINGER PRINT? ...are you buying me another DVD?

    Uhh.... nooooo.... just uh...."
  • Evil Researchers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adavies42 ( 746183 )
    Ordinarily, I'm all for free scientific inquiry, but people like this really make me wonder sometimes. Does this kind of guy even think of the consequences to society before he starts assembling a new freedom-defeating device? I worry sometimes that RFID, biometrics, etc. researchers are going to usher in the true Big Brother era mostly through their own shortsightedness in only looking ahead to the next grant or journal article.
  • Just buy a 6-pack of fake fingers with identical prints. Leave one next to each player, give them to your friends, etc. Time to trademark and register phakephinger.com
  • How would this reasonably work for DVD rentals? I sense we have another divx (the bad kind of the later 1990s) here and customers will tell them which finger they can have: ..|..

  • No, not that DIVX, the old Rent-a-DVD-that-phones-home DIVX.

    That was less intrusive, and it flopped because people didn't buy it.

    I'll bet this new technology doesn't get even as far as DIVX did.
  • Trade Secrets, and screener movies possibly, but NOT comercial DVD movies.

    Maybe comercial software activation.

  • Now that's smart... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by budhaboy ( 717823 )
    Make it impossible to give DVDs/CDs as gifts.

    I'm sure the MPIA/RIAA are going to be all over this.

  • The idea is insane. It will never work. Among all the other reasons, is that they would hamstring their own industry. I believe that a significant margin of DVD sales are for gifts. I have only ever bought a DVD as a gift and all of my DVDs (all 4 of them) were gifts. If you need biometrics to play them then the gift system breaks down.

    The notion will never gain traction. It's quite stupid.
  • Why is it though, that organizations made up of seemingly intelligent people will spend so much time and money coming up with crap noone will want?

    Who in the hell is going to be willing to go through a fingerprint scan or whatnot in order to purchase a DVD? How about anal probes for people buying books while we're at it?
  • This won't work: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brontus3927 ( 865730 ) <edwardra3&gmail,com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:53AM (#12578216) Homepage Journal
    • For gift purchases - I've bought as many DVD's as gifts as I have for myself.
    • For online pruchases - I've bought more DVD's online through eBay and Columbia House, than I have in a store
    • For reselling old DVDs - I don't care what the
    • MPAA wants, I don't need to copies of Shawshank Redemption. When I got the Collector's Edition, I sold the original on eBay.
    • For DVD rentals - rentals are a big part of the DVD space. You think Blockbuster is going to go for this?
    • For small resellers - Is the MPAA going to stock every mom&pop cd shack that also sells DVDs with biometric devices for this? Small time operations certainly can't afford to buy this stuff themselves.
    • For households where there is more than one person and the buyer actually has a life (i.e. isn't available to biometrically okay the playing 24/7
    • For fair use applications (not that the MPAA cares about that)
    • For disabled persons - what if they don't have that finger anymore for some reason, or its covered with a bandage temporaily?

    On second thought, I hope the MPAA does this, so a huge class-action lawsuit against the MPAA is filed on behalf of all the people who can't use it. And another class-action suit for all the sellers who loose business because of it. And another by the EFF or whoever on behalf of consumers in general. We could be looking at several billion dollars here, all told.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      On second thought, I hope the MPAA does this, so a huge class-action lawsuit against the MPAA is filed on behalf of all the people who can't use it.

      Don't forget to bring the Americans with Disabilities Act into the fray. How is a quadriplegic supposed to use this?

  • Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:55AM (#12578246) Homepage
    I wouldn't buy it.

    It's time to return to my little library of books, which are light, were cheap, are deeper than DVDs or CDs, and don't accuse me every time I interact with them.
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:56AM (#12578263) Homepage
    This is getting beyond a joke. We need to do our jobs better - this means you! Its no good us geeks sitting around on Slashdot agreeing with each other about how awful and dangerous this DRM crap is. We need to tell everyone else in a way that they understand. All the Joe Sixpacks, people in communist russia and the people in old korea. All of them! Once they understand, we need to make them care.

    At the moment all people are hearing is that a few nerds are getting arrested for pirating dvds and music and that pirating dvds and music is BAD. 6 months ago I was talking to my girlfriends dad. He was harping on about how evil pirating music and dvds is, and that they should throw the book at them. 2 months ago I got him a mac and taught him how to use iTunes. Last night he asked me how he could share his iTunes with me so that we didn't have to buy the same disc/aacs twice, like he used to do with tapes. He didn't see the connection between doing that and piracy. Now he cares. He feels that his right to share music within 'the family' are being restricted. I also bought them a DVB-T box. He's annoyed that he can't watch one channel and record another, like he's always been able to... I wonder how long it will be until he starts to want to know how I do it.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:59AM (#12578307) Homepage
    All of this would change the ability of a consumer to resell an object they've legally purchased.

    DVDs instead of being an object you'd 'bought' and own and can do anything will become something you've licensed like software and don't get to do anything with it when you're done.

    I'll stop using technology and move to a monastery long before I'll give my )#$*% thumb-print to turn on a DVD or somesuch. This is patently absurd, and I really hope that the consumer market rejects any such plan.
  • by TempusMagus ( 723668 ) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:03AM (#12578363) Homepage Journal
    Listen, stories like this are more about selling technology to a frightened industry than it is about a valid technique to save that industry. These people are scared to death about losing money in the way the music industry has and, much like the music industry, will entertain just about every hair-brained customer frustrating technology they encounter. Needless to say the music industry is still around and is still being forced to reinvent itself in a way that benefits the consumer and artist more.
  • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:17AM (#12578606) Journal
    Tying biometrics with Copyright Material, with network verifications....

    This assumes that ANYBODY who wants to buy material (movies) also has an "always on" internet connection.

    Not true.

    This assumes that the purchaser is the end user.

    Not true.

    This assumes the replacement of millions of DVD players.

    Not true (unless extra features are supplied - eg HD DVD).

    The assumes that First Sale rights will be eliminated, and people won't notice.

    Not true (even Blockbuster "buys back" DVDs).

    Schools, institutions and libraries won't be able to purchase the material -- it will be useless to them. Not even families (hey, *I* buy Lion King, but the *kids* load it and watch it -- and I am not even necessarily in town).

    Individuals only.

    The product sold (well, not sold in this case) has less value. It should cost a lot less. In which case it MIGHT play. Effective pricing? If I can currently purchase a movie for $20, and I can sell the movie to Blockbuster for $5, the new format can cost no more than $15.

    Further, the inability to use as a gift item means it is purely a personal purchase (even the kids can't use it). My wife sets my "discretionary foolish purchase" limit at $10. So, it can't be more than $10.

    Now, I expect them to subsidize part of my Internet bill. Knock off a couple of bucks for that, as well as an incentive to purchase a new player.

    There you go; I am willing to spend $5 for a new movie in that format -- TOPS.

    Will that play?

  • Fielding reactions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:18AM (#12578636) Homepage
    I mean, do they put out press releases like this one so that people like us can provide them with free insightful feedback? Way to get a free think-tank. "Hmm, wonder how the geek crowd will react to this? Should we pay a think-tank? Naw, let's just make sure we get on slashdot."

    Seriously... if only some of your dvds are RFID-DRM'd, meaning your play will play non-RFID-DRM DVDs, then just disable the RFID tag in a DVD and viola, no thumb print needed.
  • by cutecub ( 136606 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:27AM (#12578791)
    Seriously, requiring that you authenticate yourself to the media before purchasing or playing it would completely end mail-order DVD sales and Mail-order DVD rentals.

    That sounds like a pretty big chunk-o-change to throw out the window. Not even the MPAA is that stupid.



  • Reaching the limit? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:48AM (#12579063)
    While this is an obviuous non-starter, it points up a collision of two trends. First, a limit, the public won't hand over their hard-earned money for an overly intrusive DRM scheme (the original DIVX proved that). Second, the now mature and highly effective P2P distribution infrastructure, which will quickly cut through all non-intrusive DRM.

    I don't believe there is a level of DRM, strong enough to work, that the public will tolerate. I don't believe that the *AA will be able to strongarm the market into adopting blu-ray or whatever - they'll just lose so much money trying that they'll have to surrender and release on DVD. I know that politicians, bought or not, don't dare push the public too far.

    Sooner or later the only option is going to be: let people copy, because you can't stop them.

    What will the *AA do when they realize their bind?
  • Remember Divx? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:01PM (#12579225)
    no...not the codec, the other thing that limited your viewing.

    Look, the thing is, people buy movies and such so they'd have the convenience to watch it any time, at any place of their own choosing, and as many times as they want. Certainly, MPAA et al can put in the restrictions, but they are just slapping us in the face at the same time they are robbing us. Why would we pay for something that will be less convenient? Let them put these things out and let them lose their money on it.

    What the hell ever happened to "the customer is always right" anyway? Why have we gone from being customers to being cattle? Why is it that the people who are NOT pirating the movies, etc., getting more angry about these things? Why do we think $25-$50 for a DVD is a reasonable price?

    And while I am at it, how could the MPAA claim it's losing money that it's never made?

  • Oh, Where to Start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:25PM (#12579538)
    There are so many things wrong here it's just a question of where to start:

    It will be an interesting demonstration of technical abilities, but who is going to pay more for player that's harder to use?

    Until the players are widely adopted, what movie company is going to release their product exclusively in such a limited format? So we have a chicken and egg problem.

    Requiring the buyer to be present kills off all mail order and gift sales. Bye bye Amazon.

    This encoding equipment would need to be at all retail locations. Hello higher prices! And don't forget lost sales when the equipment fails.

    No more rental market. Bye bye Netflix and Blockbuster.

    And the real secret agenda here: No more used DVD sales! Every viewer has to buy a new DVD!!

    While the last part is an MPAA wet dream come true, they'd have to virtually end their highly profitable DVD sales until they could force consumers to buy the new players. Then it becomes a tug-o-war over will the consumers buy new, much more restrictive, players just to keep watching movies, or will the movie studios lose their immensely profitable home market DVD sales.

    My guess, this is another DIVX fiasco in the making. A system that works, does what it is intended to do, and will never sell. There really is a limit to the stupidity of the consumers, and I think this exceeds it.

    Even if the government mandates all new player have this feature (and survives the next election after doing so), they can't force you to buy them.

  • by Vidael ( 809720 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:25PM (#12579540)
    ...for many, many reasons that have all been listed above.

    In addition, if this were implemented and someone broke into your home and stole your DVDs, they'd also want your finger too. Great. So now human fingers become a commodity on the black market; beautiful.
  • by tres3 ( 594716 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:45PM (#12579766) Homepage
    I hope something like this passes so that the non-slashdotters can start to understand what we have been raising hell about for the last x number of years. We can all see the problems that are going to come down the pipe with these types of technologies but until the average consumer cannot use something that they have paid for they will never understand. And we need to insure that they understand that it is not their device that is causing the problems but the way that the content owners have mandated that the device works is the problem. With this particular device the problems are something like:

    1) As someone else pointed out, the end of mailorder DVD sales. Amazon, are you listening?
    2) The end of DVDs as gifts. How are you going to provide the recipients finger print at purchase time?
    3) The ultimate parental control. If daddy buys the DVD then the kids, and the wife, cannot watch it unless daddy provides his fingerprint.
    4) The end of high end home theatre systems that distribute content throughout the house. Do you really want to pick a movie from the comfort of your bed and then run downstairs to the player and provide your finger to print?
    5) Forget leaving your media library to anyone in your will, if you don't will them a finger then they will never be able to use them.
    6) What about injuries? If you crush your hand you're going to get sent home from the hospital in a cast with a bottle of pain killers. What better way to recover than to lie in bed and watch old movies -- except your finger in now innaccessible!

    The issues are already starting to enter the market but most people haven't figured it out yet. Your average iPod user won't really understand Apple's DRM until their device is outdated and they buy a different one and then learn they have to re-purchase all of their favorite music for the new device. The content should be required to clearly print the types of devices that it will work with AND the devices that it won't work with. Unfortunately non-tech savy people are never going to understand these things until they get bitten by them.

    What really needs to happen to slow the content owners down is to make it ILLEGAL for them to charge for the same content twice. If someone purchases a movie on DVD and the studios want to release it in another format then the studios should be required to provide a copy of the content in the new format to anyone that has legally purchased the original version. If someone buys a portable music player that is not compatible with their iTunes music then the music studios should be required to offer an exchange of their iTunes music to the new format free of charge. This is not a perfect solution (it doesn't ensure that music purchased for the living room will play in the car) but it should at least give the content owners pause before introducing new technologies.

    If a new DVD player has to be online to verify that the certificate in the player is still valid and the content can be played then if that certificate is ever revoked the company that manufactured that DVD player should be required to replace the player free of charge. If they choose to fix it instead then they should have a week at most to fix it. If anywhere along this chain the content won't play on the purchaser's preferred playback device the content owners should be required to provide the content in the format that the consumer wants. Period. If the content owners refuse then the retail outlets that sold the content should be required to provide a no questions asked refund. It should be made easy to win a lawsuit against the content owners and/or the retail outlet that sold/produced the movie/music for breach of contract if any of these things are violated. It needs to become more expensive for the content owners to screw their consumers than it is to the consumers who are getting screwed.

    Sadly, this will never happen. The content owners have purchased too many politicians for any laws of this type to

  • Smartest Cow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thenerdgod ( 122843 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:45PM (#12580463) Homepage
    This is really easy, and I can make money on it. I hereby exclaim my intent to patent "The Electronic Thumb" which will be a rubber thumb printed with the exact same thumbprint on every product. The consumer then uses "The Electronic Thumb" whenever they want to purchase a DVD. They keep another thumb at home, taped to the "Prole Identity Authenticator" on their telescreen. This way you can lend someone your DVDs to watch and your "The Electronic Thumb" acts as a replacement for you.

    That's why this is stupid. Eventually there'll be a bugmenot.com for DVDs, where the community selects one universal token for identification.

  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:23PM (#12580938)
    At the store, someone buying a new DVD would have to provide a password or some kind of biometric data, like a fingerprint or iris scan, which would be added to the DVD's RFID tag.

    People still buy DVD's at STORES?
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <slashdot@nOsPaM.metasquared.com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @05:13PM (#12582871) Homepage
    That's OK; I'm sure the pirated versions won't require this.

    Seriously, when are the DRM-supporters going to realize that they're just making piracy more and more appealing? I don't buy (or pirate) movies, but if I ever wanted to, I certainly wouldn't consent to giving up biometric data. The scary thing is that most people probably would, no questions asked.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak