Macrovision Offering DRM for Indie DVDs

Certainly one way for independent filmmakers to cash in on their work as been to sell self-published DVDs. Nothing like a double-feature of Strongbad and Ask a Ninja on a lazy Saturday afternoon, smug in your knowledge that the profits went to the artists and not some corporate distribution racket (as in the fictional scenario of Nat Segaloff’s Steal This Disc below). But what independent DVD production and distribution has lacked is a way to shackle their customers with DRM — until now!

Thanks to Macrovision, which has over twenty years of experience in trying (and failing) to thwart piracy, you can now apply the patented RipGuard technology even to small runs of DVD-R discs, just like the Hollywood bigshots. You may remember RipGuard as the copy prevention scheme from 2005 that would “stop DVD rippers in their tracks.” Okay, maybe not so much.

Now it’s about “keeping honest users honest,” kind of like how the local shopkeep follows the smart-aleck kids with their skateboards and hippity-hop music around the store — you know, just in case they need help finding something. The cost of all this honesty-keeping? “[L]ess than a dollar per disc to a few dollars per disc, depending on quantity,” according to Chicago Digital Post, who started offering the new RipGuard-MOD 2.4 for DVD duplication customers late last month.

But does RipGuard get results? While Macrovision admits that “no encryption method is 100 percent foolproof,” the company has managed to quantify the effectiveness of their technology through an assuredly scientific and unbiased study of online forums: RipGuard reportedly induces an order of magnitude more “rip frustration” than the older CSS technology. There’s even a handy “Pyramid of Determination” to illustrate that only 5 percent have the skills necessary to rip any protected DVD.

Of course, what Macrovision declines to point out is that only one copy of a DVD needs to be posted to file sharing networks, and the 95 percent of users who might be frustrated by the copy protection could download, watch and share online without ever touching a DVD, protected or otherwise. Rather than paying a DRM tax on a run of DVDs that may end up online anyway, why not have Hungryflix or Cruxy sell downloads for you, keeping your fans happy and saving on packaging and shipping while you’re at it!