Here’s a curious one. (A kid checks a Disney videocassette out from the library, and the cassette contains “hard-core pornorgraphy…)
Curious, actually, on two grounds:
- The mother chose to call the media and police, not the library–and still hasn’t returned the tape. She talks about “documenting” that this actually happened. To what end?
- The library person’s assertion that it’s difficult to sabotage a videocassette this way. Hmm. Tape over the open record-protection slot: two inches of adhesive tape and two seconds. Put the tape in a VCR. Record over what’s there. I believe most blank VHS tapes include an instruction sheet mentioning that you break the tab out of the record-protect slot to prevent accidental rerecording; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to enable recording on a prerecorded cassette. Any idiot could do this; some idiot apparently did.
That’s one rarely-mentioned advantage of DVDs over videocassettes. Unless someone went to the trouble of producing a phony DVD and managing to print a label side that was indistinguishable from the commercial release (possible, but a hassle), you can be reasonably certain that what you see is what you’ll get on the screen: There’s no way to “rerecord” a manufactured DVD. (I suspect that you could tell the difference between a faked DVD-R and a pressed DVD visually; I know that’s true for CD-Rs–but I haven’t used DVD-Rs, so can’t say for certain.)
This sort of thing doesn’t apparently happen very often, although it could with any videocassette rental outlet or library, because there aren’t that many sickos out there with this particular bent. Or maybe it does happen, but most people don’t make a big media/police deal out of it.
In any case, there’s not a thing the library could do to prevent it, other than getting rid of all its videocassettes…
[Thanks to Jim Romenesko's Obscure Store and Reading Room.]