Will DivX become more of a troublemaker than MP3?

New DVD file conversion format is bound to turn the motion picture industry upside down

A new method of copying DVDs is spreading fast across the Internet, and looks set to send motion picture industry regulators into another rumpus.

DivX, a codec for converting DVD files to AVI format, was released on IRC earlier this month.

DivX allows DVDs to be copied at a greatly reduced size and with little loss of quality. According to some, it is likely to kick up as much of a stink as its MP3 cousin. A representative from the British Video Association, for example, believes that this application is likely to cause a headache for the authorities.

"It's a constant battle with pirates," he said. "Anything that makes it easier to pirate content makes it more likely that pirated content will proliferate."

The Norwegian teenager who created an application called DeCSS, which bypasses the encryption protection on DVDs, is currently being prosecuted by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) for alleged piracy.

Reduced size, high-quality DVDs could start proliferating the Internet in a similar way to MP3s. The current excitement over Napster and similar MP3 file sharing applications are causing similar headaches for the music industry.

Take me to the MP3 special.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom and read what others have to say.