This is semi-technical stuff, so you might want to skip over it.

I'm in a really bad mood, mainly because my computer decided to crap out on me yesterday. I'm in the middle of fixing it at the moment, but it's a long, frustrating process.

While setting my computer up again, I ran across a scam that threatens to make me a criminal, while the real criminals are entirely unaffected: DVD region encoding.

Most of the time, region encoding doesn't affect you. If you have a set-top dvd player or use windows or Macintosh and don't own any DVDs from other countries, you don't have anything to worry about. You can pop a DVD in the drive and watch your movie, unless windows crashes in the middle.

But if you are like me, either a user of Linux or someone who likes to buy foreign movies (I am both), you are threatened by the specter of legal enfringement because of a ridiculous scheme that I have yet to comprehend.

I'll give you an example.

Let's say I go to Japan, legally pay the 4000 yen (less than $40) it costs to buy a DVD there, then come back to the states and try to play it in my mom's DVD player. Won't work.

An opposite example goes as follows:

Evil Jesse goes to Hong Kong and buys a pirated version of that same movie for the equivalent of $5 or something. These pirated DVDs, not playing by the game, have no region encoding. Evil me goes back to the US, or anywhere in the world, and can play the DVD on any system, even my mom's home DVD player.

Do you see something wrong here?

It smells to me of uninformed executives being pleased with a technology that sounds good who are unwilling to give the technology up, and are not required to give it up, because their the ones with the powerful lawyers.

A couple of years ago this hit the news when programmers of the Linux operating system