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[ EEPI-Discuss ] Spielberg's "Munich" sidelined from British awards due to DVD error

Date:    Wed, 11 Jan 2006 16:40:13 EST
From:    David Farber 
Subject: [IP] more on Spielberg loses out at the push of a button
To:      ip@v2.listbox.com

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston 
Date: January 11, 2006 4:13:00 PM EST
To: dave@farber.net, ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: RE: [IP] more on Spielberg loses out at the push of a button

On a related note. In looking at
writing about the dispute over the next DVD format -- Blue-Ray vs HD
DVD -- there an interesting comment:

Additionally, Knox refuted claims that Blu-ray's use of Java for its  
menu system and interactive features will make development easier. He  
explained that Blu-ray is actually using an imported specification  
from Europe named JEM.

It's a reminder of how differently Tellywood views technology. Last  
year at CES I had trouble communicating one of the Tellywood people  
who couldn't understand the idea that a traditional SD (Standard  
Definition) DVD and an HD-DVD had anything in common. There is no  
reason you can't use a current 4.7 (or 8.5GB DL) DVD for HD content 
especially when it can play 16x. You can use better compression or  
less time. Of course if you used the DVD as a transport and took  
advantage of the 300GB drives becoming common then there are no  
technical barriers to doing much higher resolution than HDTV circa 1995.

The DRM aspect is only part of the problem the DVD is a product 
not just a delivery system. This is the reason why it's so hard to  
negotiate rights. It's all about getting rights for a specific  
product. Change any aspect and the agreements are no longer valid.  
Thus the problems with showing classic TV content you have to  
renegotiate each right.

This week there was a discussion on NPR (which does make a lot of its  
content available) about re-releasing old records (aka Vinyl CDs) and  
the difficulty of even finding the copyright owner since, unlike  
Europe, the copyright is forever.

It's strange that music is given such stifling control.  I can sample  
phrases from a book all I want but use an extra note in music you're  
in deep trouble. Why?

Decoupling system elements is a major contributor to economic  
progress (among other benefits) but coupling systems together is  
favored by the incumbents at any point in time. The US constitution  
did attempt to find a balance but those who have lost the large goals  
have fixated on the means because it's too easy to focus on narrow  
solutions that preserve present (AKA, the past).

At very least we need to be able to articulate the systems  
considerations rather than argue about moral positions or how to  
solve immediate intermediate problems like how will the artists get  

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 13:41
To: ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: [IP] more on Spielberg loses out at the push of a button

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston 
Date: January 11, 2006 11:41:08 AM EST
To: dave@farber.net, ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: RE: [IP] Spielberg loses out at the push of a button

This is closely related to the NYT page one story on diabetes in NYC.

People have a tendency to ignore evidence. Murphy's Law is always
with us -- what can go wrong will go wrong.

DRM systems must fail if any component of the system fails for any
reason - be it pressing the "wrong" button or attempting unauthorized
innovation. In this case the system was acting as designed -- better
to prevent copying that allow for recovery.

Resilient systems allow for success despite failures and allow for
overall system redesign.

It's not just DRM -- systems that are task-oriented tend to fail if
users act outside the scenarios or attempt unanticipated
combinations. Bluetooth being a prime example system that works as
planned but fails as unplanned.

Instead of recognizing that there is a system-design failure people
see only the proximate cause -- the wrong button or, in diabetes,
people who don't take care of themselves.

One worrisome version of this is to accuse those of not acting
according to the proper scenarios as being wrong and treating them as
disruptive and going against the proper order of things. After all,
why do you need protection from the rules (or the law) if you are
acting properly?

In a complex world understanding how systems work should be part of
basic literacy.

The NYT story shows how the health care system resists preventing
illness because the compensation system is heavily weighted towards
expensive treatment. This isn't new but the story provides a dramatic
example of how local behavior composites into a dysfunctional system.

FYI NYT/C = New York Times/City


I have to resist my tendency to look more deeply into those issues
lest I confuse things. I could point out that DRM prevents the
movement of the decoding into software and thus prevents improved
design of systems as a hole but then I'd have to blur the distinction
between DRM and other design constraints. What makes DRM special is
the degree to which it is a defining constraint rather than a choice.

I also don't want to speculate too much about design choices in
health care. I don't know all the reasons but I can understand how it
is easy to create fraudulent bills if you are providing counseling
and not treating anything. Thus it is prudent to view such costs with
suspicion. Expensive treatment is expensive and thus one can afford
the overhead to cover the administrative costs of assuring proper

In writing this I can't help but think about attitude towards child
abuse by priests -- it's blamed on the moral failure of priests
rather than on a system that makes such failures likely. Failures are
not always systemic -- we need to be able to understand systems so we
can recognize tradeoffs.

-----Original Message-----

From: David Farber []
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 10:25
To: ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: [IP] Spielberg loses out at the push of a button

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brian Randell 
Date: January 11, 2006 4:38:01 AM EST
To: dave@farber.net
Subject: Spielberg loses out at the push of a button


Here's a nice front page story from today's (UK) Guardian, about
region-protected preview DVDs, and how Steven Spielberg is likely to
lose his chance of getting a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and
Television Arts ) award for his latest film.

  > Spielberg loses out at the push of a button
  > Xan Brooks
  > Wednesday January 11, 2006
  > The Guardian

  > From Jaws and Close Encounters through to War of the Worlds, Steven
  > Spielberg movies have rarely had trouble connecting with audiences
  > in the UK.

  > But the man who put a capital B into the contemporary blockbuster,
  > whose films have grossed billions and whose name is usually the
  > stamp of glorious cinematic success, has been humbled. By a button.
  > Pushed, it seems, mistakenly.


  > But the preview DVD sent to the academy's members is unplayable on
  > machines used in the UK. As a result the majority of Bafta's 5,000
  > voters will not have seen the film, due to be released in Britain
  > on January 27, and can hardly be expected to recommend it for
  > acclaim.


  > The problem, it appears, was partly down to teething troubles with
  > the limited edition DVD players issued last year to Bafta members.
  > Developed by Cinea, a subsidiary of Dolby, the players permit their
  > owners to view encrypted DVD "screeners", but prevent the creation
  > of pirate copies. Munich screeners were encoded for region one,
  > which allows them to be played in the US and Canada, rather than
  > region two, which incorporates most of Europe.


Full story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/

School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon
EMAIL = Brian.Randell@ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 222 7923
FAX = +44 191 222 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/~brian.randell/

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