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News Roundup: DVD Rot, File Sharing and Consumer Rights

Posted by: , 13:42 AEST, Wed May 19, 2004
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A roundup of some recent news, including decaying DVDs, more MPAA/RIAA vs file sharing news and the DMCRA...
There's been some media attention lately on the issue of CD/DVD rot. CD/DVD rot occurs due to poor manufacturing of discs which allows oxidization to occur and eats away the aluminum layer of the discs, causing failed playback. While CD/DVDs are still far more long lasting than their tape cousins, they are apparently not as indestructible as first thought (the often quoted 100 year lifespan might be pushing it a little). Add this to the fact that children + DVDs = fingerprints, scratches and unplayable discs, allowing DVDs to be backed up properly, as a core consumer right, seems more important than ever.

While the RIAA/MPAA cry foul at the damage online file sharing to their respective industries, there is more and more evidence everyday that the loss in sales, if there are any, are most likely due to other factors. This article mentions games as a factor in the decline of box office revenue, as the limited income of younger-adult consumers plus the wide range of products and services aimed specifically at them will lead to someone losing out - in this case, it's Hollywood, although they still seem to get by alright with what they do earn. The music industry, on the other hand, have been experiencing both increasing and decreasing sales in the same time period. More the case of "potential income" lost, rather than "actual income" gained, perhaps?

Meanwhile, the digital rights community's favorite Congressman, Rick Boucher, is hard at work again pushing his DMCRA (Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act) amendment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The amendment aims to ensure fair use is allowed under the DMCA, and that scientific research is not hindered by the flaws in the DMCA. The other part of the amendment tries to ensure proper labeling of copy protected discs, which is especially needed if the copy protection can lead to potential playback problems.


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