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Why are old films region coded?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by eros, Feb 3, 2001.

  1. eros

    eros
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    Well, has anyone got an answer to this?

    Cheers!!
     
  2. LV426

    LV426
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    It can only be because the collective intelligence of any large corporation (which includes major film studios) is inversely proportional to the number of yes-man middle managers it employs. Have you noticed how the smaller outfits, like Image Entertainment produce R0 titles?

    For the big studios, the middle managers have no understanding for the original reason for region coding (to protect staggered releases). They have no personal willingness to apply common sense or discretion to their decisions. They can only follow the "rule book". To do otherwise might result in disapproval from another middle manager.

    And not a one of them is willing to stick his (or her) head above the parapet and say, "errr, why are we wasting all this corporate cash, producing lots and lots of different disc masters for around the world?"

    PS: I work for a large corporation, that isn't connected with this industry - but does have exactly the same middle-management syndrome.

    [This message has been edited by nigel (edited 03-02-2001).]
     
  3. Reiner

    Reiner
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    I won't think regional coding is related to the master itself.
    Every country has it's own classification or censorship system and different language.
    Sure, in the UK you don't mind (American) English, but users in Germany want German dub and people in France want it in French, etc etc.
    Furthermore the (copy)rights of the movies have to do with that, titles released in the US under a certain label do not necessarily have to be released under the same label in other countries.

    But hold your horses, I am also against regional coding and fully support multi-region / codefree modification!

    ------------------
    If I can't eat it, drink it or fudge it, I ain't interested.
     
  4. eros

    eros
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    I think this is one of the reasons, but don't you think it could have something to do with price fixing as well?
     
  5. LV426

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    Eros - no, not really. If the corporate intelligence were just a little more than that of a peanut, they would realise that they only need master the thing once, but make the prouct available via its legitimate distribution channels (ie the respective copyright owners) in other territories. Prices would, of course, then be determined by whoever does the distribution. This type of activity is widespread in the music industry.

    Reiner - AFAIK, it's only the UK that has legally-enforced censorship which actually prevents the sale of non-certified material. Elsewhere, whilst items may be labelled to indicate their audiences, I don't believe there is actual censorship as we know it.

    As for languages - there's still no reason not to make just one master - containing the requisite languages for the area of distribution. And, if, in the absence of a, say, German edition, the Germans want to buy an English language version, why shouldn't they?

    In short, if only the corpoate mentality could see through their "rulebook", they'd realise that the R2-zone back catalogue could contain the thousands of back-catalogue titles currently available as R1 only. If these were made available via official channels, we'd probably NOT be in the position were are, where ~70% of DVD players in use in the R2 zone have been chipped - defeating the whole object of Region Coding in the first place.

    Now, that's corporate idiocy.
     
  6. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Haven't been in Malaysia before, have you? [​IMG]
    Then you will know what censorship really means ...

    In Germany there is an institution called FSK which does exactly the same as the BBFC (always interesting to read the "Banned in Britain" column in HCC).
    As well in the US is censorship present, e.g. in the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" digital shadows (representing people) were added to hide some of the more explicit scenes as compared to the German release.
    Probably not a movie you and me would consider pornographic or anything like that, but other countries, other rules.
    So it's not all that bad in the UK afterall ... besides, some contries totally ban the import of certain movies.
    Heard about that (American) guy who got arested in Vietnam trying to bring in some "Rambo" movies (and a couple of guns incidentally)?

    As for the Germans: they do like their movies to be dubbed.
    This is not just a translation but a lip sync dubbing (as far as this is possible), unfortunately sometimes destroying the whole movie since e.g. jokes are not necessarily funny anymore after lip-sync dubbing (while a literal translation still could be).
    So even there would be no censorship the dubbing would take some time and by that delay the release of the English version.

    Personally I got "used to" the orignal releases, but that's only because I don't life in Germany at the moment though I would not like to watch a say Chinese or Japanese movie in the original language but rather in English or German (just because that's all I would understand).

    The only solution I would see (for DVDs) to make use of the parental control feature (or introduce a similar feature for that purpose) , but then all countries would need to agree of the levels set - but I guess that will be pretty much impossible.
     
  7. LV426

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    I think we're maybe missing the point. As I see it, there is no NEED to region code back-catalogue material. As to whether there is a commercial reason to release country (note - not region) specific versions (eg dubbed languages, differing censorship regulations), this is a separate issue.

    My point was, that, so long as there is a demand in a given place, and there is no local regulation in that place to make a given title illegal, then there is no good reason not to make it available. Region coding was never introduced to protect local laws, nor language issues. If it had been, then we'd have as many regions as there are languages and legislative bodies. It was there to protect theatrical release schedules. And, by using region coding in the way they do, the studios are actually PROMOTING the use of chipped players - which defeats the object.
     
  8. charles

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    There is a reason to regional code old films and its called control..
     
  9. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Control in terms of money. [​IMG]

    No matter the cut and languages, but there still won't be one master to make a global release, this is done on a country level and hence totally up to the local distributor if and when to release it where it then will be marked with the respective region code.

    ------------------
    If I can't eat it, drink it or fudge it, I ain't interested.
     
  10. RMCF

    RMCF
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    I asked this question away back when DVD was starting to take off, as I too thought that it was stupid to region code a 15 year old film. I too was under the believe that it was simply to do with different release dates in different parts of the world. However I received a reply from someone talking about the fact that the distribution rights for a single film might be owned by different companies in different parts of the world. If that is the answer then I hope that it helps.
     
  11. LV426

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    The argument that different companies own rights in different countries, whilst true, doesn't hold any water in the context of regional coding.

    There are probably as many titles where the same company (or at least PARENT company) owns the rights in, say both US and Europe, as there are titles where a DIFFERENT company owns the rights in, say, France, to the UK. Yet, France and the UK are in the same region and there's nothing technical in the way of importing discs to the UK from anywhere else in the R2 zone. Bear in mind, too, that Japan is also R2; the likelihood of different copyright ownership in Japan vs. Europe, is just as great as between the US and Europe. Again, there's nothing in the region coding system to stop Eurpoeans importing Japanese releases.

    Take this into account and it becomes clear that issues of language and distribution rights are a red herring. I say again, the only real reason for region coding is to stagger releases - and this is pointless as regards back-catalogue titles.

    In order to get access to the much larger range of back-catalogue material in the US, we Europeans have to "chip" our players - which then, by default, gives us access to early "new" releases - thus defeating the whole point of region coding.

    And the large corporate intelligence can't understand why this is happening!

     
  12. Reiner

    Reiner
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    You are right to say that different ownership does not have much to do with regional coding, but the fact remains that the maufacturer / the label has to adhere to the regulations or laws and hence must code the disc.
    And you are right that it should not be a (technical) problem to release titles at the same time, but the inital question was "Why are old films region coded?" and not "Why are old films released at different dates in different countries with different region code?".
    They are region coded because they have to, if it makes sense to us or not!

    I think the replies got a bit off-topic as did my former posts (censorship blabla ...) ...

    [This message has been edited by Reiner (edited 09-02-2001).]
     
  13. LV426

    LV426
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    Still don't agree. The regional coding scheme is not LAW - it's industry agreement. It's actually industry agreement between the software owners (film studios) and hardware manufacturers that regional coding will be present in players, so that IF THEY WISH, studios can limit distribution areas by coding discs.

    There is absolutely NOTHING to prevent a studio choosing to code its discs Region 0 except the corporate middle manager.
     
  14. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Okay, the term "law" was a bit off but why should they release a title as RC-0?

    Your argument regarding one master would not work for the reasons explained above so it comes back to the fact that every country will have it's own release and will most probably adhere to the agreement, forced in one way or the other.
    Even one label owns the rights in all countries they still would probably code it, just for the fun of it.

    And I would not understand why they want to stagger the release of old movies in different countries?
    This may be common practice but neither is it understandable nor would it actually explain regional coding for those movies.

    Any idea?
     
  15. LV426

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    Reiner - you've hit the nail right on the head! There is NO rational explanation for coding old discs. Therefore, it can only be corporate idiocy at play. That's the only conclusion I can draw.
     

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