The Dread Pirate [your name here]

Earlier this year, publisher HarperCollins came up with new license terms for libraries lending ebooks, which were duly mocked in this space. Apparently that wasn’t hilarious enough, since this maneuver is nearly as perverse:

Warner Home Video is forcing DVD distributors to:

  • place a 28 day embargo on sales of Warner feature titles to libraries
  • discontinue providing libraries with DVDs that contain all the bonus features, but instead only sell us the “rental” version that is just the movie

Will this actually work? Probably not:

[T]he law gives libraries several tools to lawfully combat this kind of policy, according to Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries.

“The first-sale doctrine allows libraries to buy DVDs lawfully in any channel and then lend them without asking permission,” Butler said. “If a library wants to circumvent the 28-day delay or buy a full-featured DVD, for example, there is nothing to stop them from buying DVDs from regular stores like Amazon or Target,” he said.

I note with some amusement that Amazon is now considered a “regular store.”

Lest we think that they’re just picking on libraries, be it noted that Warner’s rental discs will be similarly delayed and decontented. As always, if there’s anything that content providers really hate, it’s providing content.


  1. Stark Dickflüssig »

    22 October 2011 · 2:53 pm

    Even if I buy a DVD legally, I still rip it down to a movie file, because:
    a) I don’t care to watch the 3-15(!) minutes of unskippable garbage before the movie starts.
    b) I don’t care to have to wait, choose a menu item, wait some more, and then choose another menu item when all I want to do is watch a stupid movie.
    c) DVDs get scratched. With the movies in a digital archive (with redundancy & backups) I’m not as likely to have problems playing the movie.
    d) I take extreme delight in breaking pointless and senseless laws.

    Also, “bonus features” are usually a bunch of drooling idiots saying things like, “Oh, this is where Batman jumps out of his car and buys a latte. I had fun shooting that scene.”

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    22 October 2011 · 9:29 pm

    Stark said everything I was going to say, except I don’t rip the disks because I it takes for fricking ever, and most disks play fine, and I don’t want to be stuck with a copy taking up space just because I invested the time in copying it, which I would do.

RSS feed for comments on this post