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November 11, 2002

BLOGGER ERNEST MILLER (of LawMeme) has an oped in the L.A. Times on copy-protection, etc. Excerpt:

What would you think if you had to get permission from the architect before you could have your house painted another color? How would you feel if the photographer had to agree with your selection of a frame for a favorite photograph? What if the director of a movie could decide when it was OK for you to fast-forward through a DVD you had rented?

Sounds crazy? The last example is now the crux of a lawsuit brought by the Directors Guild of America against a number of companies that make DVD-playing software.

What has the DGA up in arms is the emergence of new technology that controls the playback of DVDs so that they can be enhanced with additional material, such as audio commentary by a film historian, or allows parents to filter out content they feel is inappropriate for their children.

In the words of DGA President Martha Coolidge: "They are taking films and using technology to alter them without permission from either their directors or their copyright holders."

These guys don't just think they own their movies. They think they own you.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Melton observes: "And this lawsuit comes from those who will change the beginning, middle, end and every other part of a book they turn into a movie." Boy, isn't that the truth!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Baker adds: "Not only are these directors objecting to how I view movies in my home, but they're probably the same ones creating special editions and then not allowing me to view the original on DVD if I so desire."

Yep. Those would be the guys.