DVD Regional Coding

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Consider the case of teenager Kris, living somewhere in Europe, who buys “Charlie’s Angles” on DVD in a movie store while traveling to a foreign continent. Back home, Kris wants to watch the latest movie in her collection on her recently purchased laptop. However, her laptop refuses to play the DVD and displays a message that the DVD is designed to work in another region and not compatible with Kris’ player. The teen calls her tech-savvy friend Jon to get advice. He suggests software available on the internet to work around the “Regional Coding Enhancement” that prevents the DVD from playing on the laptop’s DVD-player. Kris follows the advice and is soon able to watch the movie. The question whether Kris is in conflict with applicable anti-circumvention laws, i.e., whether the act of “working around” the regional coding on the DVD is a prohibited circumvention of TPM, clearly depends on whether the respective legislator has taken a restrictive or a liberal approach to the definition of TPM. Under a comprehensive approach as applied in the copyright acts of the U.K., Germany and other Member States, which expressly stipulate that access control technology falls within the scope of protection, Kris would violate anti-circumvention law. By contrast, there is some likelihood that Kris could legally circumvent the regional coding of her newly purchased DVD if, for instance, Danish law were applicable (see „Digital kopiering - hvad er lovligt?“ See also Gasser/ Girsberger).