New DVD player cuts out the smut


Daniel writes "The Independent is reporting that a new brand of DVD players is being shipped out to Kmart and Wal-Mart stores around the country. These players are "pre-programmed to spare viewers segments of films that feature offensive language, excessive violence or sexual content, by muting the sound or skipping ahead."Some people are cheering, but some Hollywood directors are suing. I wouldn't buy one of these players myself, but I think Hollywood is overreacting by saying that these players will "change the very meaning and intent of films." The demographic will that will buy this player is already skipping parts they don't like.As long as such censoring players are labelled as such, and the sale of regular players isn't banned, I think the market should decide."


If they make FBI warnings unskippable, then the Hollywood bigs could make all of it unskippable, in block chunks.We should have the capability to skip *anything* we want. Currently, we do not have it, and thus the Hollywood bigs have a good chance of fighting this.I think it should be software/firmware, and something you enable, set as a profile. Not something that's permanent on the machine. And it should definitely be labeled as such.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

Thanks, I like you reply. I plan to use it to explain the problem to our board. course I ain't had time to read it yet...-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

I think both of the previos comments make good points. I think there is an argument to be made on both sides in regards to derivitive works. These are the type of issues that Lessig discusses in his new book, "Free Culture" You can download the book free at his website. Every librarian should read it.

But they're not creating a derivative work.You can take the DVD out, and put it in a different player, and get the original uncensored version.The major question is, is it optional or is it required...Just like you can skip past the ad-pages in some magazines.Now if you xerox just the informative pages of the magazine, and repackage it, then you're creating a derivative work... Which may or may not be allowable for personal use (I'd like to think it is, but...)-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

"And creating new versions of movies (sans warnings and stuff), is breaking copyright (ie: making a derivative work)."This is exactly where the censoring DVD players are getting into trouble. The DVD player is preprogrammed to play a derivative version of the film created by the DVD manufacturer.And people are buying the DVD player because they want to see the derivitive works.The lawsuit seems pretty strong to me...

In actuality, the result of the case was "an injunction against the production of the products that allow consumers to copy their legally purchased DVDs for personal use". The ruling did not make it illegal to apply fair use to backup your movies, it just took away a tool to accomplish that (technically the ripping part). The courts cannot outlaw software to create DVDs (that would make it illegal to copy home movies), nor download movies that are not encrypted.321 Studios was in a bad spot, a commercial enterprise with ripping technology. But the code is already out there to rip, so its a moot point.

Northern District Court of California sided with the big movie studios in their efforts to take away your fair use rights, in particular, your right to make personal backup copies of the DVDs you own.From the front-page of that website :)Haven't seen anything that allows you to make mix-tapes, or DVDs sans ads (but of course everyone does it...)-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

First, according to rulings on DMCA, personal backup is allowed, its the software that isn't. Check out for current info on the whole situation. Fair use is still in play, they're just making it more difficult. And derivative works for personal use is allowed (just like mixing your own tapes). They'll keep trying to stop people, and it'll keep failing.Second, you can compress dual-layer movies (those with more than 2 hrs) onto a single-layer disc, it just requies some additional compression. Movie purists may not like it, but your kids won't notice. Usually once you remove the extras, previews and other junk, it will fit just fine.For software, I use DVD Shrink for general ripping, DVD Decrypter for some more challenging works that change keys on you, and ImgTool Burn for other works. This website has the best help available:, and they have links to software.It's fantastic, and I have only had one bad transfer in over a dozen backups. And they all work on several DVD players that we own.

By 'movie' you mean a non-2-hour movie, correct? Yup, I have friends backing up DVDs, but not all DVDs can be split-up nicely, and many don't fit onto the discs that are available to consumer model DVD burners.What stuff are you reading? I'm interested in some links...Either way, it's irrelevant. The MPAA only wants to allow you to legally backup to VHS (for personal use), everything else is breaking copy-protection (DMCA), and is $500K in fines, and/or 5 years in jail (IIRC). And creating new versions of movies (sans warnings and stuff), is breaking copyright (ie: making a derivative work).Creating new versions on your PC has nothing to do with what's accessible, and how, if you buy the original movie and attempt to play it on a consumer-grade DVD player.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

>We should have the capability to skip *anything* we want. Currently, we do not have it...Ah, we can (for personal use), but you have to have the necessary PC hardware. I've used my DVD R/RW to make backup copies of all of my daughter's movies (a significant investment). In the process, I've gotten rid of all the warnings, previews and 'extras'. Now I just pop in the movie, it plays first thing.All using freeware and open source software. It takes a few minutes of reading to understand how it works, but in 20 minutes I can backup a movie and burn it to a new disc.

"But they're not creating a derivative work."That's the big question. The same group previously was selling (or renting?) censored versions of the movie and got busted because it was creating a derivative work. (I think they were somehow addressing the other parts of the copyright law)So now they move to the technology that plays it. It will be interesting to see what the courts decide.For me, the deciding factor is that the player is programmed to edit specific material out of specific titles. So rather than skipping an ad in a magazine, a specific scene is left out of a specific film.