Friday, May 11, 2012

Get ready for an agonizing wait: 20 seconds of unskippable warnings on new DVDs

Get ready to be annoyed by 20 seconds of PSAs at the beginning of DVDs and Blu-rays, and that 20 seconds of information cannot be skipped, either. They are the new "copyright notices" that you see at the start of optical video discs, and yes, they are now plural, not singular.

You're probably used to seeing the FBI warning at the beginning of DVDs, but now you're going to see two of them. One is the normal "don't do this or else" warning message, and the other is designed to "educate" people.

ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) has been prominent in anti-piracy activity of late, including the seizure of many domain names. With that, ICE gets to co-star with the FBI on the first of the two warnings.

This notice shows the familiar FBI logo along with the logo for ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit and a warning that says:

"The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."

Following that, you'll be subjected to an educational notice, one that features the logo for the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which includes 20 different U.S. government agencies. The message:

"Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit"

Great pricing on mobile phones!
The two screens will be shown back to back. They will each last for 10 seconds. Finally, each screen will be unskippable. Anyone who has been subjected to unskipped previews know how annoying they are, and this sort of thing just makes one want to rip the disc and remove the "offending" warnings. 20 seconds is a lot of time in this "instant-on" age.

Most people won't do that, and perhaps will use the 20 seconds to get some coffee, just as they do with TV ads - oh wait, we have DVRs to get around that now. Heavy sigh?

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