Baby, this DVD is driving me crazy

Mrs Bigmouth and I headed off to hospital yesterday for a 20-week pregnancy scan (everything’s fine, thanks) and on departure, the doctor gave us a shiny disc. Excellent, I thought. We’ve had one of these before. It’s a CD with some screenshots of the scan.

It turns out it was even better than that. It was a DVD containing about ten minutes of video footage. If you’ve done the parent thing and watched an ultrasound scan you’ll appreciate just how mind-blowing it is to actually own a video of your unborn baby; if you haven’t, you’ll have to take my word for it.

So we came home, watched the DVD about 100 times, and then decided to make a backup of it. And we figured our respective mothers would appreciate a copy too. So I stuck the DVD into my DVD recorder, hit One Button Copy – a brilliant invention, I reckon; it copies the disc to the hard disk and then wallops it on to a blank DVD – and nothing happened.

Hello, DRM!

It wasn’t deliberate DRM, but it was DRM nonetheless. Because the doctor used a Sony DVD recorder, and Sony’s a big fan of DRM, the disc he burned was copy protected automatically. Which means that if you have mainstream copying hardware or software it can’t be backed up, and it can’t be copied.

Incidentally, this was a private scan (this year, the NHS in Scotland doesn’t fund 20-week scans) that cost a pretty large sum of money, so the DVD in question is probably the most expensive disc I’ve ever owned.

There are, of course, ways around DRM, so I duly downloaded a dodgy DVD ripper, cracked the copy protection, backed up the disc and ripped the video to my Mac, so I can use iDVD to make as many backups or copies as I want. But how many people in the same situation would know to do that, or know where to look?

We all know that DRM doesn’t work, and that if you’re determined to get a dodgy copy of something you can do so fairly easily. And yet the content owners’ DRM obsession means that while I can easily download a movie torrent, I can’t easily copy the video of my own unborn baby.

7 thoughts on “Baby, this DVD is driving me crazy

  1. Ms Mac says:

    Oh pshaw! You new parents and your new-fangled technology. Way back in 19Canteen, when we had babies the old fashioned way, the radiologist gave you a video tape (remember those old things?) of your baby, iIF you asked AND shelled out a fortune AND gave them a blank tape AND they rolled their eyes at you for daring to ask in the first place.

    And today, the image from the ultrasound is so fuzzy and non-defined that you still need a radiologist to point out the good bits.

    Not that I’m bitter or jealous or anything.

  2. Gary says:

    > when we had babies the old fashioned way

    We’re going to get Google to deliver ours. It seems to do everything else on the planet these days.

  3. rutty says:

    Congrats on the scan!

    …and you’ve quite succinctly described my biggest beef with DRM – it only causes annoyance to people that have legitimately sourced their media and not the pirates, because they’ll always be able to their copies. It’s not an anti-piracy device at all, it’s just a method to restrict markets and ramp up prices.

    it sucks donkey balls

  4. Gary says:

    No, on the NHS you don’t get the 20-week scan at all (at least, not here). At the 12-week scan you get a single print, and you’re encouraged to leave a donation so they can afford to give other expectant mothers a single print. Which implies that the NHS can’t afford the paper for its thermal printers.

  5. Gary says:

    Haha, the first one’s brilliant. The second one makes me think about the cost of prams :)

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