Movie TheaterIf you thought the unskippable FBI warning about piracy included on every DVD was annoying before, it's about to get even worse.

Soon, home entertainment customers will have to sit through an additional pre-roll message, brought to you by Homeland Security. Yes, Homeland Security.

In a joint press release, the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Homeland Security Investigations Bureau announced the additional warning screen. Like the FBI stamp -- which warns of jail time and massive fines for intellectual property lawbreakers -- viewers will not be able to skip or fast-forward through the tsk-tsking.

With six unnamed movie studios (presumably the fabled "Big Six") already agreeing to add the new warning screen, you'd better start getting used to staring at this:



Time Out -- Everyone!

The beefed up warnings are obviously aimed at those who make or buy pirated content. Ironically, the law of unintended consequences most definitely applies here.

The effort to educate us on the evils of piracy just might make pirates' video booty more appealing. After all, pirates mostly strip out those warnings before they sell their illegal downloads or flea-market DVDs, giving customers quicker access to the content they want.

Still, viewers may not ever be able to avoid the studio scare tactics -- even on channels they pay subscription money to access.

Gallery: Ways Hollywood Can Save the Local Multiplex
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Netflix (NFLX) streams were blissfully free of FBI warnings for years. But I recently ran across an FBI badge attached to a Netflix stream. That particular film was an off-off-off-Hollywood piece of ballet instruction made for PBS and school libraries. (Don't judge -- I have a 6-year-old daughter.) So there's not even a megastudio mandate behind it.

Add warning bells and antipiracy whistles to every legally licensed consumption venue and it starts to seem like there's no way to simply sit back and enjoy the movie anymore.




Motley Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of and h s created a bull call spread on Netflix but holds no other position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix.


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Rick Bauer

I'll just wait for them to be on TV with that ignorant crap cut out. Hope that helps the movie companies bottom line. I'm reasonably sure it will also bring the theaters back into profitability again if we all just wait for the movies to be broadcast with the FBI and DHS crap removed.

May 17 2012 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
landslowrance

What a bunch of B.S.!!! I don't believe this is what President Bush had in mind for Homeland Security. Then again, nobody knows what "W" had going on in his mind.

May 17 2012 at 7:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lurch2112

SOPA flopped. Now look at what there doing.

May 17 2012 at 4:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robin

What about music piracy?

May 17 2012 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
morphiss7

Its amazing that Homeland Security is doing the movie industries bidding on the taxpayers dollar. Where is the warning about shoplifting for the reatil industry or stealing cars for the car industry and on and on. Its good when you have an ex senator heading up your industry, you get all kinds of Napalitano benefits.

We get rid of Obama we get rid of Napalitano. Between those two these they are totally blowing away our liberties.

May 16 2012 at 11:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
polarbears217

Buying inane movies by the thousands by a freakin brainless public isn't going to help the economy....We need a sustainable economy, not selling one fad after the other....Innovation at one end and then environmentalists going on about the stuff we buy and how to dispose of it....Why even start....?......
If I want to pirate a movie, I can.....but I don't think people care to have a million DVD's in their house....I wouldn't want it if you gave them to me....FREE......A few movies I'll buy, but you can't prop up an entire industry....when people don't have jobs or a prospect for jobs.....When there's nothing for new graduates to do.....We've done it all......I don't think rapid fire sales of blu rays is what is going to matter....A friend I know has a 3D TV with glasses that he hasn't even opened....for 6 months....There's nothing to buying a gimmick....
Homeland Security......Next we won't be allowed to recycle a ziploc bag and re-use it to help sales.....

May 16 2012 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johnmarlin

Just like the IRS. They're here to help us. God help us.

May 16 2012 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bzh484

Sounds like payback to the movie industry for donations to the democratic party.

May 16 2012 at 10:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mmcle82796

I would think Homeland Security would still be busy going after those knock off purses at flea markets. Wasn't that their priority last month?

May 16 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
bdog73

Please, you have got to be kidding me, our boarders are wide open, terrorists are wandering in every day, illegals skip across to steal jobs and homeland security is worried if the moive studios and over paid actors get every nickle owed to them? I stopped buying cd's when the greedy record companies shut down napster and i didn't even use it. I guess if you hold big fundraisers for the sitting president you get homeland security guarding you wallet.

May 16 2012 at 9:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bdog73's comment
johnmarlin

Is there some irony in politicians complaining about the wealthy not paying their fair share at a $35,000 a plate fundraising dinner?

May 16 2012 at 11:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply