"'This disc will self-destruct in 48 hours.' That is the warning The Walt Disney Co. will issue this August when it begins to 'rent' DVDs that after two days become unplayable and do not have to be returned."
- Reuters, May 16, 7:34 p.m. EST
First, there was King Canute attempting to turn back the tide of the sea. Now there's the Walt Disney Co. trying to turn back the tide of piracy with what has to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of the increasingly desperate attempts by media companies to protect their intellectual property.
It will work when as soon as the protective wrapper on one of these "special" Disney DVDs is stripped off, a reaction between the air and a chemical in the disk will cause the DVD to begin to turn black, rendering it unreadable by the DVD laser in two days.
The reason this is dumb is that until the disk becomes unreadable, it can still be copied on any computer with a DVD reader, which means that providing you can copy the disk within 48 hours there's nothing to stop you from copying.
On top of that, there will now be millions of "dead" DVDs creating yet another giant pile of non-biodegradable trash. As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"