Networks do all kinds of things now to try and prevent people from selling DVD screeners on eBay. ABC, much to the chagrin of critics, only makes its programs available online, meaning you get to see a big lavish pilot like “Eastwick” on a 15-inch computer monitor, not a 46-inch flat screen, like God intended.
HBO took to imprinting codes on the discs, so they’re in the corner of every frame. Sometimes they use initials, meaning there’s a “BL” etched in, which always reminds me of “The Odd Couple” line where Oscar says that it took him awhile to figure out that “FU” meant “Felix Unger.”
“Mad Men” now has a numerical code that pops in and out. It’s less intrusive, but still slightly distracting — though admittedly, that’s a small price to pay for getting to see those episodes before the rest of the unwashed masses.
Fox puts a disclaimer on the front of its DVDs, telling us that piracy hurts everybody and that if we don’t abide by the rules, the network won’t be able to supply us with advance screeners. I know, there are a lot of sleazeballs out there that have violated these guidelines, but still, there’s nothing like a relationship predicated on trust.
So I was amused to see the following warning on the latest screener that came from Comedy Central: “Don’t even think about posting, swapping or putting this up for sale to the highest bidder or karma, not to mention the FBI, may come and get you.”
I only wish more of their shows were that clever.