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Customer Review

66 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you sure you got an authentic disc?, September 11, 2005
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This review is from: The Little Mermaid (Limited Issue) (DVD)
People need to be VERY cautious when buying Little Mermaid. This DVD has been out of print so long that it is actually quite rare to find a truly new disc. I've actually had the misfortune of buying several Disney DVD's at auction only to find that they are counterfeit discs even though the box is shrinkwrapped. I e-mailed the seller of one of these DVD's and found out that apparently there are a lot of people who separately buy counterfeit DVD's in bulk (usually from Asia) along with packaging materials. They then assemble all the stuff together, shrinkwrap the whole thing (yes, people actually buy shrinkwrapping machines to do this!) and sell it as new on the web. This also explains all those electronic auctions where the seller makes the outrageous claim that their DVD's don't ship in a hard case but instead come in a more protective sleeve (which is BS) or they're trying to save you shipping (that's because they don't have the authentic cases to send you).

So how can you determine whether you disc is authentic or not? Well, from my experience, several things have clued me in to a particular disc being fake. First start with the packaging. Any authentic Disney (or any brand) DVD has tamper-proof stickers that must be torn or removed to get to the disc. There is always a sticker on top, but some titles also have them on the side and bottom too. Almost all (although I have seen some exceptions) Disney DVD's have shrinkwrap that are stamped with a Buena Vista logo so you can tell if the shrinkwrap was put on at the factory or done by someone else. Also, since counterfeiters frequently are putting everything together themselves look for abnormal signs of wear and tear. For example, if you see a scratch or dent on the paper cover artwork, but the case itself is physically fine, you should be suspicious as to how the artwork could have been damaged if it is supposed to be new and the case itself is undamaged. Another sign I've encountered (and rather obvious one) that a DVD is re-packaged is that the DVD itself will have scratches and/or fingerprints on it. When's the last time you picked up a brand new DVD from a store and found the disc to have scratches and/or fingerprints? That's right - never.

Now the most important way of determining whether a disc is authentic or not is to check the content on the DVD, specifically the size of all the data on the DVD. For this step you'll need to put the DVD into a computer to find out the size of the DVD. For example, the fake Little Mermaid DVD I got off eBay showed up as having 3.6 GB of data. This immediately raised a flag in my head because the back of the Little Mermaid DVD packaging claims that the disc is in dual-layer format. Dual-layer format DVD's are only used for movies that have more than ~4.5 GB of data. In fact a search on the internet revealed that the authentic Little Mermaid DVD was supposed to have 5 GB of data ([...] The fact the data of my DVD wasn't more than a single layer's worth meant that the content of my DVD had been compressed and was a counterfeit. Furthermore, it explained why the quality of the movie was so bad. So check if the packaging says that the disc is in dual-layer format, the data takes up more than ~4.5 GB of data, or even better see if you can find the exact size of the disc from an online review.

If Disney cared about the damage these low-quality discs have on their reputation, they should clamp down on the rampant sale of counterfeits of their movies online. BTW, after discovering this new world of Disney fakes, I finally was able to find an authentic, new Little Mermaid DVD. People who are selling authentic discs usually know they are rare & valuable and typically charge more (think ~upper $20's to $40's) than the bootleggers.

BTW, to explain my rating of the DVD - I would have given the movie 5 stars for the movie, but knocked off 1 star for the lack of extras. We all know Disney can put out some really high caliber releases which, unfortunately, this being one of the earlier DVD's is not one of them.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2011 4:55:12 AM PST
A. Cella says:
I have had the same problem with counterfits! I recently had a baby and I wanted to get him all the Disney Classics and figured it would be easiest to get them through here. Instead I got such a headache, I have gotton three Bootlegs so far and I have 3 more that could also be fakes! everyone beware I guess there is a huge market for fake Disney Movies! Another couple good tips in addition to theirs almost all disney movies come with a cardbard embossed outer sleeve. Most of the newer Disnet movies have Disney Rewards points in them. ( I recieved a fake that had the rewards on the outside and no slip on the inside) and lastly the Pictures in the brochure shouldn't be blury or look photo copied!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2013 11:52:53 AM PDT
A Movie Fan says:
The movie is supposed to be re-released later this year (Oct 1, 2013) as a Blu Ray/DVD combo pack.

Posted on Oct 11, 2013 11:21:31 PM PDT
This is an old review from years ago and is not relevant to this Blu Ray listing. I wish Amazon would categorize movie reviews for each specific product.
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