Studio gives Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie backers substandard, DRM-crippled rewards

DVDs are region locked and have their own DRM, so I don’t see how this is a huge advantage. [quote=“teapot, post:40, topic:25822”]
You know you could rip all those DVDs and throw the plastic away, right?
Not legally, you can’t: while ripping for personal use is probably fair use, defeating the DRM to do so isn’t.

Or are you ignoring all the happy customers because you are having a problem? Yes, I too have spent hours (days) ripping DVDs to watch on planes. And then watched only one or two of them while actually in all my (frequent) work flights. So The time I spent ripping was not worthwhile for me. (Notice how I said “for me” - because I recognize others have differing and valid experiences.) So then I bought a kindle with the ability to watch content offline. So yes, it works on a plane. And no, I generally don’t “rebuy” in a different format, but if I already pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime, and they have things I own in my DVD library, I’m not going to bother putting in the DVD when the roku is already on. Sheesh. I’m out of this conversation now. I wanted to post a different opinion than what I was seeing on here since I and my friends have been extremely happy with the whole kickstarter, not to get into an argument with someone who clearly has no respect for someone who disagrees with them.


Yest another argument why DRM is crap and anti-consumer.


I see no disrespect in Teapots response. As I see he is pointing that you expect other people to settle to your expectations, like paying twice for the same content.
You say you and your friends have been extremely happy with the kickstarter, but being happy doesn’t mean not to criticise any of it´s aspects. I have, and I’m backing some kickstarters right now, and although I’m happy with them, I can always find some point to improve or fix.
And, sincerely, DRM has never, and will never, be a positive feature in any product.
Also, If you don’t like to get into arguments there are better places to express your opinion and not getting a response, like the arctic tundra or the abyssal deeps.


I don’t know. If you look at things this way, then you would probably have to say that piracy and copying is anti-artist, anti-corporate, or anti-creative.

In my opinion, DRM is just another form of price discrimination, and it’s the kind of thing everyone does all the time. As the DVD-ripping and torrent examples show, DRM is really pretty ineffective for those who absolutely refuse to pay more. But for those who are actually willing to pay more, it’s a good sorting mechanism. Region 1 DVDs cost more than Region 3 DVDs, but if you wanted to buy a region-free DVD player and import DVDs you can do so. All DVDs can be ripped and transcoded, but this is a bit of a pain and takes time to get a good encode. This sort of price discrimination doesn’t seem hugely different from the book industry or even how Cory distributes his books: there are different prices in different markets, with more expensive hardcover editions being released before cheaper paperback editions, and DRM-free downloads available for free from his personal website even though Little Brother is $7.45 if you order from Amazon instead. There are multiple price points for fundamentally the same product, though all of them are slightly different in terms of packaging and availability, with the net result that those who are willing to pay more (or, in different terms, less unwilling to pay more) do pay more.

Why would I have to say what would be the opposite conclusion and reasoning of looking at things that way? That makes no sense, I’d never say anything so ignorant.

The media corporations own almost all the music, and are anti-artist, anti-consumer, and anti-creative. Very few artists own the rights to their own music anymore, the corporate labels own most of it and they make the lion share of the profits. DRM is their ineffective attempt to keep complete control over the markets that they now monopolize.

Actually no, region free dvd players, are also considered circumventing DRM, just like dvd ripping software, they live in a murky grey area that technically breaks modern copyright law. You do understand the whole point of regions on dvds right?

Yes their are multiple price points for different markets, the media corporations are trying to maximize what they can get from each market. The artist sees pennies on the dollar, often doesn’t get paid for secondary markets. This in no way justifies DRM, in fact it is another argument against it. Some markets have to wait several years to get releases or never do. Modern piracy has put pressure on the industry to correct some of these BS tactics that they had no market incentive to correct on their own.

The system is F*cked. Fortunately there are some new labels that pay artists fairly and let them maintain the rights to their own works. The big corporate labels are trying every anti-competitive practice they can to crush them so these labels and the artist really need our support if they are going to make a dent in the broken paradigm that has an iron grip on the modern media markets.


Why is DRM inherently anti-consumer? To the extent it allows maximization of revenue streams, it allows for the creation of new creative product. This should actually provide a future benefit to consumers. But if you want to ignore that and simply look at how DRM limits consumers, then piracy and copying should limit the revenue streams that artists, corporations, or creatives might otherwise enjoy.[quote=“redesigned, post:46, topic:25822”]
The media corporations own almost all the music, and are anti-artist, anti-consumer, and anti-creative. Very few artists own the rights to their own music anymore, the corporate labels own most of it and they make the lion share of the profits.
I understood that this might be your perspective, which is why I included “anti-corporate” and used the word “or.” But if we wanted to look at movies instead of music, then movies have pretty much always been funded by studios and movie stars do extremely well.

Circumventing DRM may be illegal, but in the case of DVDs it’s trivially easy. You actually responded to my post noting that circumventing DRM on DVDs is illegal. While illegal, it’s not much of deterrent, especially to consumers. There’s nothing about the technical illegality of circumvention that will practically prevent the importation of foreign-region DVDs or the purchase of region-free DVD players.

I’m going to need to see some evidence for this.

How is it an argument against DRM? Studios have a responsibility to release products that it might be unprofitable to release? It’s a market failure that I can’t get obscure Iranian cinema on BluRay in my country? It’s unfair or wrong for Hollywood studios to charge more for DVDs in Europe than they do in Nigeria? That’s a market failure? Is it also unfair that I can get a really good iced coffee on the streets of Bangkok for $1, even though it costs more in Toronto, and even more in Beijing? Is it crazy that the McDonald’s two minutes away from an airport costs way, way less than the McDonald’s inside the terminal? Is it crazy that I can buy a 2 liter soda for less than a 500 ml soda in the same store? Or is it all just the economic reality of how the world works?

DRM exists for the sole purpose of limiting and inhibiting the consumers use of a product, it in no way whatsoever assists in any way with the creation of new creative product and is 100% unnecessary, period.

except every study that have ever been done on the subject shows the exact opposite.

Yes, but not by their design, just due to their incompetence. With every successive DRM they do their best to increase the difficulty to circumvent it. fortunately there have always been smarter people cracking it.

When it is intentionally manufactured, and only exists due to artificial manipulation of a monopolized market then it is the oppsite of the free market and capitalism and indeed a form of market failure.


This whole pre-ordering business model seems eminently sensible, so long as the folks collecting the cash deliver the product.

I’ve backed Alex Cox’s “Bill the Galactic Hero” because I want to encourage him in his film making. I’ve also back VGHS Season 2 and 3, even though they are available for free. I could see me doing the same with Joss Whedon if he decided to raise capital for a second series of Firefly. I’d be more than willing to help fund a Sam Axe TV series.

To a certain extent it takes a bit of control out f the hands of producers and puts it in to the sweaty paws of the fans. One would hope this will allow producers to make more adventurous programmes and films in the future.

Yay for the future of popular entertainment!

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You don’t actually have to defeat the DRM to rip a DVD. By convention, people do, because that allows you to strip out all the pre-movie crap and anything else that vexes you and video codecs have advanced considerably since MPEG-2 so you can get good results in a much smaller and more torrentable size; but this is The Future, Man, ~10GB/disk, sometimes rather less, for a bit-for-bit copy, absolutely no DRM broken, of the entire disk contents is way less intimidating than it used to be. Boring Best-Buy-Special laptops can probably handle 20-odd, and even all-flash devices can probably handle enough for the plane(and if your device swings that way, a 32GB SDHC card runs you what, $20 and will be good for somewhere between 3 and 5 depending on the exact disks in question).

If you do this, you need a player on your device that can cope with CSS, which will…probably… not end up being a piece of software that the Copy Control Consortium approves of; but the DVD rip will be A-OK with the DMCA!

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DRM, as you have acknowledged, exists for the purpose of maximizing revenue (even if you disagree whether it achieves that purpose). Increased revenue by studios is more money they can spend on creative projects.

I don’t believe they do. The studies may show that people who pirate a lot also purchase a lot, but they don’t show that increased piracy increases revenue. If they did show this, we would expect media revenue to have increased as piracy has increased, but they have not.

Maybe, but we’re not at that point yet. Right now, it does act as a form of price discrimination. If we get to a point where media DRM is as effective as Adobe CS’s subscription models (which is difficult to imagine in the short term as it would essentially require all customers around the world to have 24/7 internet connectivity), maybe we’ll be there, but we’re not there yet.

The intentionality of DRM is irrelevant for market failure purposes, and the entire point of copyright is to grant a limited monopoly on a specific creative work. Despite the monopoly with regard to a specific work, there is a large and non-monopolistic market for books, films, records, and other forms of media, all of which exist in a capitalistic marketplace. If DRM is truly intolerable to consumers and DRM-free products are superior, there is plenty of space in the marketplace for competitors to succeed.

CSS is a form of DRM and you need deCSS (or its equivalent) to rip a movie.

Most dvd rippers do break the dvd DRM and full video output re-encoding is why they originally fought so hard to add artificial output restrictions to all dvd player software at the beginning. It was a nightmare. Or course once the dvd DRM was broken on dvd’s the cat was out of the bag so to speak and they quickly gave up on that notion.

Their initial intentions for dvds were that they’d only be playable in the region they were intended and that all dvd players would have artificially restricted output controls. Additionally, any bits of dvds they didn’t want you to be able to skip would require you to be forced to play them every time you played the disc. Whatever your view of piracy, it is only thanks to piracy that we don’t have all these limitations of dvds today.


No, you misunderstand. There hasn’t been a type of DRM in widespread production that hasn’t been cracked, so anyone who wanted a pirated copy could get one. The result is that DRM has not at all hindered piracy, nor lead to an increase in revenue, and only hindered paying customers. Pirates get DRM free versions every time. DRM has largely been a failed experiment.

Worst form of price discrimination ever.  People who pay get an inferior crippled locked down version, wheras people who pirate can get the full unencrypted, DRM free, full resolution versions of almost anything, or a space optimized compressed version, it is their choice. They are never forced to watch previews or ads, they can play back their media on any device that supports the format or re-encode it without restriction. The people that pay are getting the crappy version. BUT this is a good point, instead of trying to get the market through artificial restrictions, why not offer a higher quality, easier to obtain version at a reasonable price. You know, get the market through value, not through strong armed tactics. Novel concept i know, but is the cornerstone of capitalism and any truly free market.

Actually, yes they do. You don’t have to “believe”, you can actually look up the studies. Please read any of the studies on the subject, there is a very strong correlation and market effect. It isn’t just that pirates purchase more media then anyone other group, they also increase the demand for the media among non pirates. This is true for music and movies. There hasn’t ever been a case that has been studied where it hasn’t had an revenue increasing effect, unlike DRM which has been shown time and time again to have a revenue decreasing effect.

Yes, but before DRM, people would purchase and own a copy of a work, since DRM they are only licensing the rights to play a copy on a limited selection of devices and in many cases that license can be revoked for any reason at any time. Take the story of the Christmas movies that amazon pulled before Christmas. DRM exists for a very different reason then copyright. Sure they are both are examples of systems that are largely failures and have caused more damage then good, but the concepts are in no way interchangeable.

And DRM isn’t at all irrelevant to the concept of market failure. It is an example of a failed attempt to artificially restrict consumer use for the sole benefit of the corporation that own the rights to some artists works. It is by every possible definition a failure in every possible way.


That’s charmingly optimistic, but the very structure of Kickstarter–which encourages people to throw money at projects without thinking it through–mitigates against that. If Joss Whedon did a Kickstarter for another Firefly movie tomorrow, it would get $50 million in funding before anyone bothered to ask if any of the original cast would be in it.


OMG, take all my monies now kickstarter. You had me at “firefly”. :slight_smile:


As I’m in Canada, my copy of the movie came with a requirement to sign up for TWO separate webservices - UltraViolet and Flixster. And like the original poster, I run an AppleTV.

Meanwhile, I could download the torrent in 2 minutes.


CSS is definitely a form of DRM; and you do need a CSS decrypter (licit or illicit) to get your plaintext MPEG-2 out of a DVD; but CSS doesn’t do anything (nor was doing anything within the scope of its design and intentions) about bit-by-bit copies of the contents of a DVD.

dd if=/dev/dvd of=~/dvdrip.img

It’ll work just fine. The image will still be encrypted, so you’ll have to do something about that to actually play it (and, if memory serves, the CCC takes the position that they will license a product that plays whole-disk rips for a legal copy of the decrypter approximately three Friedman units after hell freezes over); but CSS won’t even enter the picture.

This, aside from analog-hole recaptures of varying quality, was how the bootleg disk industry operated before CSS was cracked: if you just made a perfect binary copy of an encrypted disk, your pirated and encrypted disk could simply be decrypted by the customer’s legal-'n-licit DVD player’s licensed CSS decryptor. They added a few not-burnable-with-normal-burners tracks to stop people with nothing but home gear from making copies; but the semi-pro and pro operations didn’t much care.

I don’t think it is a failed experiment. I know people who copied VHS tapes and ripped CDs but don’t copy or rip DVDs, solely because they haven’t gotten over the technological hump. It may be a small hurdle, but it’s enough for many people. I also know people who pay for all their music largely out of fear. I also know people who only buy Region 1 DVDs even though you can get legit Region 3 DVDs for a lot cheaper, and I’m not aware of major R3 DVD sales on places like Amazon (in contrast to all the cheap Chinese/HK gadgets on Amazon), probably because most DVD players in North America can’t play R3. And if DRM really had absolutely no effect I doubt that so many would still use it.[quote=“redesigned, post:53, topic:25822”]
Worst form of price discrimination ever.
There are arguably “worse” forms of price discrimination out there, such as the pricing structures of RyanAir, or opt out marketing schemes. But there’s really nothing bad about any form of price discrimination if it successfully sorts people according to what they are willing to pay for something, as it means lower prices for those who are less willing.

Correlation is not causation. As I said, showing that people who pirate a lot also buy a lot doesn’t show that piracy increases revenue. Cory has posted a lot of such studies here, but most of them do little more than show correlation among certain segments of the population being studied.

On the other hand, it is incontrovertible that over the last 15 years music sales have decreased (by over half) while music piracy is up over the last 15 years. How does that jibe with your assertion that piracy has never had a revenue decreasing effect?

DRM is not the same as a license. The right of first sale applies to DVDs as well as VHS.

DRM is not a market failure since everyone knows that DRM exists and there is nothing preventing a competitor from offering DRM-free products. Consumers have the ability to make informed choices and demand alternatives. This is how the free market works.

Fair enough. You could copy the track but not the key, meaning you had an unplayable file, which really isn’t much use to anyone.

I don’t think this would work, since you need the key from the DVD in order to play the movie: simply having a CSS compliant playback device isn’t enough—or are you saying these commercial operators were also copying the key-containing lead-in tracks, too?

You have your order incorrect. Hollywood does not make a movie, then make money on the distribution rights and sales. Hollywood bakes that into the costs of production. That’s why so few films, even ones that do poorly in the box office, lose money for the studios. They are businesses and they are not in the habit of taking risks.

When a movie is greenlit, it usually has already broken even before it ever hits a theater. Rights for cable distribution packages, international partnership distribution rights, video rights, online service rights, Netflix and others, merchandising rights and more all defer the costs of production long before the film is even completed. A good write up on this is Edward Jay Epstein’s “Hollywood Economist 2.0”, where he breaks it down at length.


It looks like Warner employ someone in their complaints department :smile:

“The vast majority of Veronica Mars backers who attempted to redeem their code had a successful experience.”

“A successful experience”? Who talks like that and what planet do they originate from?