The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, November 22, 2002

SELF-DESTRUCTING MEDIA
you're on the clock
Well, this would appear to be the RIAA's dream come true. DVDs with promo material for the new James Bond movie came with a warning that they would "self-destruct" within 36 hours of being unpackaged. Actually, the discs didn't blow up or dissolve or anything, but they did undergo some sort of chemical reaction that turned them purplish after a day and a half, and therefore unreadable. Naturally, they were also copy-protected.

Interesting potential. Actually, I'd think this would be more useful for the software industry than the entertainment business. With software, it makes tons more sense to sell programs on discs like this, to prevent use on multiple computers; and it's more foolproof than required licensing and other nonsense. With music and movies, I don't think the concept of buying a disc and being able to enjoy it for a limited number of plays or limited period of time would fly too well; DivX already failed once. In the case of the Bond usage, it is pretty clever, though; and it was only promo stuff for media use.

Of course, this wouldn't be a complete solution to the piracy problem. After all, 36 hours is plenty of time to rip music tracks or video onto a hard drive or other storage. Copy protection might stop Joe Ordinary from making copies, but for the most part it's very crackable. However, in terms of stopping the casual-copying-and-swapping majority, this would work just fine.