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February 4, 2005
The DMCA wants to be violated
Turns out that DVDs aren't the only things that are region-coded. Games, such as those for Sony's PS2 console, are also often region coded. And, no surprise, there's a whole industry out there in getting around them.
As an aside, I can't figure out for the life of me why a game should be region-coded. Movies can fall back on the argument of theatrical releases and non-US theatrical release timing versus DVD sales timing yadda yadda. Dumb, but it's an argument to be made. I'm baffled what the comparable reasoning is for console games. In particular I don't see why region coding is not an a priori argument that the industry is practicing discriminatory pricing and similar practices that the WTO frowns upon.
In poking around, this page on how to circumvent region coding for PlayStation 2 caught my eye. It's neat in that it describes a purely external mechanical process, rather than the resistor cutting or soldering approaches that are more commonly seen.
The prevalence of these kinds of pages attests to two things - one is the ingenuity of the consumers. Sony's customers are clearly smarter than Sony gives them credit for. Also, although these procedures may seem onerous they're clearly perceived by the end user (a.k.a. paying customer) as less onerous than living with the Cartel-imposed restrictions. Thus we see how mindless DRM promotes policy. User experience trumps everything.
(Those playing along at home may have noticed that this blog entry may itself be a violation of the DMCA; it would certainly be a violation of the proposed Induce legislation. That's because I linked to the taint.org Web page. This fact is direct evidence of what's wrong with copyright law and thiking in America, in case anyone was still wondering.)
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