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Thursday, May 16 12:01 AM EDT
Sony Unveils New Self-Destructive DVD Player
By Brian Briggs and Christa Morse
Tokyo - Many industry analysts have wondered which way Sony would go in the
copyright protection debate. Sony manufactures both hardware, which is
harmed by piracy controls, and entertainment, which is helped by piracy
controls. A recent release of a self-destructive DVD player shows that the
entertainment division is winning that internal argument.
"Large amounts of pirated material were hopefully destroyed in the blaze,"
said MPAA officials.
"Copy protection has been foiled too easily by pirates, and we need to do
something more effective," said Sony Entertainment vice-president Harold
Wang. "Self-destructive DVDs have been tried, but rejected by consumers. We
feel that consumers will embrace the self-destructive DVD players, because
it gives them that Mission Impossible I've-got-the-latest-gadget feeling. We
even have the player say 'This DVD player will self-destruct in 10
Wang addressed the safety concerns of destroying a DVD player: "Sure there
are safety issues, but most homes are equipped with smoke detectors these
days, and are chock full of pirated material which would be destroyed in the
blaze. OK, their house might burn down, but isn't that a small price to pay
to combat piracy?"
Instead of the standard low-powered laser most DVD players are equipped
with, the SD-DVD player from Sony has a high-powered laser which will
eventually burn through the DVD and ignite the highly flammable material
from which the player is made.
Other DVD player manufacturers such as Panasonic and Hitachi also announced
self-destructive player. "I've seen the Sony model and it slowly catches
flame and burns up. Our model is fitted with a small amount of plastic
explosives which causes a much more dramatic destruction. Consumers will
feel like they're in the movie when that thing goes off," said Ronald Misuki
Hollywood applauds the move. Chairman of the MPAA Jack Valenti said, "Not
having a DVD player makes it absolutely impossible to view pirated content,
which makes copying a DVD entirely useless. Granted, it also makes watching
the damn thing impossible, but we don't care if you can't see the content,
just as long as you buy brand new, legitimate copies from your local or
DVD rental chains Blockbuster and Hollywood video expect to reap a large
benefit from consumers who forget to eject a DVD before the player