If you are living in the United States, and like to watch a movie from time to time, you are in for a new treat courtesy of the government, the FBI, ICE, and six major movie studios. According to an Ars Technica, new movies will soon carry two unskippable government warnings, that legit buyers will have to look at before they can actually start watching the movie.
The first notice displays a warning that "the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted word is illegal", and that "criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, and " punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000". The screen shows both the FBI and the ICE logo.
The second warning explains that "piracy is not a victimless crime", and that "more information on how digital theft harms the economy" can be found online.
The best part? The screens are shown one after the other, each for ten seconds, with no option to skip it the first time, or any time thereafter.
Once viewers hit the main play button, they will first see the movie ratings on the screen, before the unskippable warning are displayed on the screen for the next 20 seconds.
If you compare that experience to pirated copies of the movie, you will come to the conclusion that it is less comfortable, which seems a counter-productive thing to do. The warnings may have another effect: It may deter some movie buffs from purchasing new DVD or Blu-Ray movies because of a number of reasons.
Some players support codes that let users skip through the unskippable parts. Try pressing stop twice before play again to see if that works for instance. Research on the Internet may help in this regard.
What's your take on this? Will this drive customers towards streaming services or piracy, or will they just sit through the thing without changing habits at all? I for one will return any movie containing such warnings right to the store I bought them in.
Back in 2006, I said the following about a similar experience in cinema, where they let you sit through a series of "piracy is bad warnings" before you can actually watch the movie you paid for.
What the industry currently is doing is to criminalize their customers. Can’t they see that this has one major effect? Customers are getting annoyed by this. If I buy something I don’t want to be reminded that piracy is evil – I want to watch or hear the media i bought – that is all.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.