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Broken Fingernails Only Part of My Gripe With DVD Security Packaging

19 Aug, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Let me preface this by saying that I'm no retailer, and I'm sure theft costs retailers — and studios, for that matter — a heck of a lot of money. And yet I can't help but feel all these theft-deterrent methods we're hearing about for DVDs amount to overkill. I've said before that those blasted three sides of stickers on DVD cases are harder to crack than the CSS code; I'm having a devil of a time at home right now because I'm on a DVD-viewing binge and am opening up a lot of older titles that have been sitting around my house for several months. I've already broken three fingernails and ruined 30 percent of my cases because the glue seems to get stickier with age and won't separate from the plastic.

Now, in the middle of my rant about this, a press release comes across my desk from Nexpak. The DVD packaging company has come up with something called the Benefit Denial System, aimed at the rental market. The Benefit Denial System, as its name implies, features a locking hub mechanism that must be removed at the point of purchase. From the press release: “Any improper removal of the disc results in the destruction of the disc and the case, thus denying the benefit of theft.”

Denying the benefit of theft. Wow.

I love the folks at Nexpak. I really do. Well, maybe not love, but I do respect them. They've come up with some innovative ways to pack a lot of discs into a small amount of shelf space, and it's nice to see them constantly innovating and coming up with new concepts and ideas.

But excuse me — this nasty little device makes no sense to me. Yes, you deny the thief the benefit of owning the DVD, but you also deny the store owner the benefit of renting it again. It's like a human sacrifice.

Maybe there's an alternative that wouldn't destroy the disc. How about destroying the thief, or at least causing him/her great bodily harm, distress or at least discomfort?

Consider the Eyesight Denial System. A thief tries to pilfer a DVD, and out of locking hub mechanism comes a shot of pepper spray. Or mace.

Or how about the Itchy Rash-Inducing Anti-Theft System. A spray of itching powder like the kind they sell in magic stores is unleashed once the disc is tinkered with, from a tiny pouch embedded in the hub. The thief thinks he's come down with a bad case of poison ivy — and yet all the retailer has to do is carefully wash the DVD and it will be as good as new.

But hey — what do I know? I once tried some “Goof Off” to peel back a particularly nasty and dried sticker on one of my DVDs and wound up permanently staining my pants.

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