ONTD Political

DVDs and Blu-Ray disks to show 20 seconds of unskippable government messaging

10:11 am - 05/11/2012
DVDs and Blu-rays will now carry two unskippable government warnings

You know those FBI warning messages that appear at the beginning of DVDs and Blu-ray discs? They're getting an upgrade—and they're multiplying.

The US government yesterday rolled out not one but two copyright notices, one to "warn" and one to "educate." Six major movie studios will begin using the new notices this week.

The main change is that Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has, in the last several years, made itself a key player in the copyright wars. The FBI has shown extremely limited interest in going after individual websites, but ICE has done so with gusto; it has so far seized more than 750 domain names after rightsholder complaints. This new prominence is reflected in the broader logos used.

ICE now appears on both notices. The first notice shows the traditional FBI seal and a warning that "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." The logo for ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit now appears beside the FBI's.

The first screen

The second notice shows the logo for the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which involves 20 different US government agencies. It features one extremely angry eagle who would probably pluck your eyeballs from your sockets if he could get those talons near you. "Piracy is not a victimless crime," says the notice. "For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit www.iprcenter.gov."

The second screen

Will the two screens be shown back to back? Will each screen last for 10 seconds each? Will each screen be unskippable? Yes, yes, and yes.

An ICE spokesman tells me that the two screens will "come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD. At which point the movie rating comes up, followed by the IPR Center screen shot for 10 secs and then the FBI/HSI anti-piracy warning for 10 secs as well. Neither can be skipped/fast forwarded through."

The idea isn't to deter current pirates, apparently (the new scheme requires all legal purchasers to sit through 20 seconds of warnings each time they pop in a film, but will be totally absent from pirated downloads and bootlegs). It's to educate everyone else. As ICE Director John Morton announced in a statement yesterday, "Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort."


I thought this was interesting. It doesn't really matter to me personally since I don't buy a lot of DVDs. I used to buy a lot of DVDs though, and I always disliked ones with "mandatory content" (so much so that I have been known to rip the disk and burn a new disk with just the movie).
paulnolan 11th-May-2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
At least it's not the ridiculous "YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR" or "pirates are scary terrorist-enablers: just look at the red background and molten metal and shit" we have to put up with... XD
ladypolitik 11th-May-2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
LOL, those are classic.



bunnika 11th-May-2012 05:43 pm (UTC)


lol, thiiiiiiiis.
dark_puck 11th-May-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Well, they're experimenting with 3-D printers, so downloading a car may be an option in 50 years to a century.
paulnolan C:11th-May-2012 05:52 pm (UTC)

beuk Re: C:11th-May-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Exactly what comes to mind every time I read about these messages.
thelilyqueen 11th-May-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
Not to mention, if I got a car via unauthorized means, there's someone/some company it belongs to who no longer has the car. It's an actual, physical object that can only be in one place at one time. My obtaining a pirated copy of a CD could be unethical for other reasons, but there is a difference between that and shoplifting/'conventional' theft, where the store would no longer have the CD to sell.
ladypolitik 11th-May-2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, as a serious assessment of ethics/law, it's definitely an inherent ridiculous analogy.
mycenaes 11th-May-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
I think my favorite is "You wouldn't download a pizza" or something equally ridiculous.
one_hoopy_frood 11th-May-2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
I absolutely would download a pizza. I wouldn't even hesitate for a second. I would eat so much pizza.
simplefaith08 11th-May-2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Dude, if I could download food? It would be all over, haha
lisaee 11th-May-2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'd love to be able to download a car. And pizza. And other people's handbags. I'm not made of money.

/skewed moral compass
castalianspring 12th-May-2012 02:02 am (UTC)
Just gonna leave this here...

masakochan 11th-May-2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
There was commercial I'd seen uhhh... sometime around the whole SOPA/PIPA deal (I think), that had me laughing because the background-voice was saying stuff like, "Pirates. They're everywhere. And they are stealing jobs from true hard-working Americans. Say 'no' to Piracy." And this was all done with that tone you'd hear from an announcer on some show like 'Mysteries Unsolved'.
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