Anti-piracy dots ruining films!

In this thread about Mystic River, this exchange took place (there are spoilers in that thread):

I mentioned (well, ranted about) them in a Pit thread.

People who love to see movies in the theaters are being punished. I hate it!

Here are a couple of links:

Roger Ebert’s Answer Man

A Home Theater Forum thread, with photo examples of the dots.

I forgot to mention that the Pit thread was not specifically about the Dots.

I don’t go to theaters. What’s up with the dots?

I asked about them when I saw Freddy vs. Jason.

Basically, New Line is inserting red dots in specific formations in certain frames of their movies.

The various formations are specific to theatres and are supposed to help New Line identify which theatres (or more likely which projectionists) are running bootleg operations on the sly.

The problem is, the dots occur several times during the film, and are dead centre in the screen. I’ve heard people who didn’t even notice them, but others (like me) thought they got in the way. I spent a few good minutes wondering “what the heall was that?”, and the second time I saw it I knew what they were and found myself waiting for them to come up, and being distracted from the film.

There has got to be a better way to copy-protect films than to ruin the picture. Hell, they may as well stamp “PROPERTY OF NEW LINE CINEMA: DO NOT COPY” across the bottom of the screen every few minutes. It just bothers me that we have ot sit through a marked print like it was some freebie instead of something we paid for!

So would you object if they had something small in the corner of the screen during the entire run like the TV stations do?

Yes, I would. I paid to see the film, I don’t expect them to mark it. (Of course, I’m also of the opinion that theatres with only 1 projector shouldn’t even have reel change markers! -It’s an outdated element.)

But I don’t think the way to save movies is to ruin them. Especially when they are ruining the experience for those of us who got off our lazy asses and forked over our $12+.

How is it that a measure intended to interfere with bootleggers is really only interfering with the paying audience?

I first saw them in Kill Bill. At first, I thought they had something to do with the filmaking, but when they started appearing at random places outside of that one specific storyline, I realized it was something else. DIdn’t realize they were there to help fight piracy. Personally, I think this whole piracy issue is getting to be a bit out of hand. But that’s just me.

This just doesn’t make any sense. If you’re going to include anti-piracy measures of this type, why make them so visible? Not only does it piss off the audience, but the pirate isn’t blind, either. He could easily just remove the offending (and identifying) frames from the digital video he distributes. It seems like a better method would be to hide sequences of dots that blend in with the background and are difficult to see as they’re flying by at 24fps on the screen, but can be traced by a person who knows where they were inserted.


Reminds me of clueless amateur photographers who post pictures on their Geocities-hosted website with some 50-point 100% opaque ugly-ass font declaring “COPYWRITED ©2003 BY BILL THUMBSHOOTER - CONTACT THUMBSHOOTER@HOTMAIL.COM FOR INQUIRIES” instead of watermarking them.

Changeover marks drive me nuts as it is. Introducing additional non-movie elements is a baaaad idea. An on-the-order-of-an-“I think I’ll invest in a decent home-theatre setup and leave off going out the movies altogether” bad idea.

I haven’t seen the dots, yet. I will not be pleased if I do.

I definitely saw them all over Kill Bill. Had to make a conscious decision to ignore them. I liked the movie anyway, despite the distraction.

This “solution” will not last long, due to the hatred it’s engendering. It also won’t solve the problem, which means they’re pissing people off for no reason. Somebody will eventually come up with a really clever trick, and then we’ll all settle down again. For now, though, it’s pretty irritating.

(I’m imagining a scene in thirty years: “That’s right, Timmy. We used to have dots on the screen to thwart pirates. No, Timmy, it didn’t work at all. That’s why today we have to clamp our wrists into armrest-mounted manacles that keep track of the positions of our hands, and that report anybody holding something in front of their face for more than ten seconds to the security booth.”)

Those dots are D-U-M dumb. If i wanted to watch a movie with a guy with a laser pointer having an epiletic seizure, i’d go invite Eddie from down the block.

Are changeover marks those black ovals in the upper-right corner of the screen? Because yeah, those are pretty annoying.

If the problem is folks with videocameras, the solution is to flood the screen with whatever patterns you want, in the near infrared. Heck, you could probably go beyond just identifying the pirates, and completely ruin any bootlegged prints.

How would flooding the screen with near infrared help? Do cameras pick up on that stuff?

The dots were ALL OVER Runaway Jury!!!

No shame at all! Not even an attempt at subtlety!

Hollywood is pissing in its own drinking water!

Are these dots going to make it into the DVD releases, or just the theatrical release?

Is there a way to find out in advance if the movie I want to attend is dotted up before I pay $8 to see it?

just start bitching for your money back. if enough people do it, the studios will comply. Or lose money, since defeating piracy seems to be more important to them than pulling a profit.

Hey, it’s the new Hollywood diet!

Totally agree. It sure seems like they picked the almost worst of all posible solutions, didn’t they?

Maybe, but it would take all of 1 day before they show up with lens filters.