Hollywood studios pressure Apple for stricter DRM limitations | iLounge News


Hollywood studios pressure Apple for stricter DRM limitations

Hollywood studios are pressuring Apple to strengthen its iTunes copy-protection scheme. The studios—Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros.—are reportedly in discussions with Apple about selling their movies on the iTunes Store. “After months of discussion, a sticking point has emerged over the studios’ demand that Apple limit the number of devices that can use a film downloaded from iTunes,” reports The Financial Times. “The studios want to avoid the experience of the music industry, which has yet to recover from years of illegal digital piracy. Apple must introduce a ‘new model’ for feature film content delivery, said one studio executive involved in the talks.”

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I consider myself to be as anti-DRM as the next person (but not as much as some people here), and this doesn’t bother me.

As long as they allow the videos to still be shown on the 5 computers authorized for your iTunes account, and allow access through Apple’s upcoming iTV (obviously), I would accept a limit to the number of portable devices I can download a DRM’d video to.

I think one iPod is too restrictive, but I’d accept a compromise of 2 or 3 iPods. As long as the restriction was based on each individual video, and not on the entire library.

In my scenario, a family with 5 video iPods would all be allowed to download videos purchased from the same iTunes account. However, no more than 2 of them could have the SAME video on their iPods at the SAME time. So the 2 young kids could fill their iPods with SpongeBob shows, the teenager could fill his/her iPod with music videos, and the parents could fill their iPods with The Office. (Pardon my generalizations.)

Of course, any limit like this would require a hefty new software update from Apple, for both iTunes and the iPods. And I’m not a programmer, but a DRM system with these restrictions doesn’t sound easy.

If the movie studios want to restrict access to the entire library at once (rather than individual videos), then I think the number of allowed devices should be higher, like 3 or 4.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on November 29, 2006 at 11:21 AM (CST)


I’m pretty much anti-DRM as well, but I also see and understand the need for it.  However, iTunes has one of the best DRM strategies out there and I feel that it is already restrictive enough as it is. 

While I understand where the movie industry is coming from, I feel that they are beginning to become just as bad as the music industry in their demands.  I already can not legally rip a DVD (because doing so breaks the encryption which is against the DMCA) and now they want to limit how many devices I can put a movie on?  Meaning I’d have to eventually buy one copy of the movie for every device I own (DVD, iPod(s), and anything else that comes out) and I think that is just ridiculous.

Posted by Koby on November 29, 2006 at 11:29 AM (CST)


Uh-oh. After rereading what I just wrote, I realize that there are too many rules and restrictions in my system. It’s overly complicated, like a Zune-to-Zune wireless transfer.

I hereby retract my first idea. Make the restriction library-wide, but allow 3 or 4 iPods to access the same video library.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on November 29, 2006 at 11:32 AM (CST)


Bottom line?  There are already too many restrictions on content we PAID FOR.  If they insist on making it worse, then we’ll simply stop paying for content altogether. I’m getting really tired of being treated like a criminal when I pay for content over and over and over.

How many households really have more than one or two iPods?  This is a solution in search of a problem. So in order to fight a non-existent problem, we’re going to accept a huge amount of DRM that will require yet more overhead in the software?  We’re going to roll over and take being treated like criminals when we actually PAY for content?

Not me.  I’m sick of it.

Posted by stark23x on November 29, 2006 at 11:38 AM (CST)


Ahh, just bought another DVD. Oh the crisp picture, oh the great sound. Oh, I’ll likely borrow it to a friend for the weekend.

Now why the ZUNE should Apple limit the number of devices? That would only push “the social” - people gather in front of ONE SCREEN instead of staring at their individual iPods. Just as they do anyway. I bet the MI really hates this social practice, and in fact there is a conspiracy to have all new-born implanted with RFID chips so by 2025 your screen will display “movie will not start until persons without valid license pays up or leaves the room. Thank you for your cooperation.”.

Posted by Bad Beaver on November 29, 2006 at 12:35 PM (CST)


I don’t understand the logic behind piracy: I realize it’s free, but it’s also risky. Plus I don’t have the mentality to be a thief.

But I understand why companies worry in today’s digital world. Ultimately, any movie you buy from iTunes will inevitably come with restrictions, å la their music.

This is why I will stick with CDs and DVDs. I want to OWN what I pay for, and with the music I buy from iTunes, I don’t feel that way.

Posted by bookcase on November 29, 2006 at 1:13 PM (CST)


You think you own it because you have a DVD?  Try putting that DVD you own on your iPod without paying YET AGAIN for the exact same content.  Oh wait, you can’t, it’s illegal.

Piracy exists on the scale it does today because the MPAA and RIAA have become far, far too powerful.  It;s easier to steal via bittorrent than it is to put up with ridiculous DRM, rootkits and every other pile of idiocy the music and movie business come up with.

It’s so simple a monkey could think it up: Give us the content we want, allow us to use it on the devices we own, for our own personal use, and we’ll pay you fairly for the content.  Keep treating us like criminals and we’ll start ACTING like criminals.

Posted by stark23x on November 29, 2006 at 1:19 PM (CST)


Wow; they do realise that it’s EASIER to steal their content?

I’ll stop downloading content without paying for it as soon as I’m offered a product that is better for a fair price; until then, it’s not the film industry who are loosing out, it’s the consumer.

Posted by Levi on November 29, 2006 at 1:23 PM (CST)


If Hollywood studios sold their movies at a fair price, I’m sure most people would pay for the movies instead of resorting to piracy.  All the studios talk about is more restrictions, and not about these ridiculous high prices for a single dvd.

Posted by JOG on November 29, 2006 at 1:41 PM (CST)


I respect the intellectual property rights of the studios.  As an analogy, if you buy a real book (such as a paperback or hardback book from a bookseller,) and you want to read that book at home, at school, and at the office, what is your solution?  You can carry the book with you, buy a few copies of the book, or you could copy every page and make your own copy of the book.  The first two options are legal.  Third option is illegal and impractical because it would take quite awhile to copy every page of a large book.  It is just as illegal to exceed the the number of allowed copies of intellectual property, even though it is easier to copy digital material, such as iTunes-purchased music, TV shows, or movies.  So I’m not sure why all of you are against DRM.  The author, artist, studio, etc., has a right to protect its property.  I think it’s lenient to allow the five-PC limit as it is.  Technically, studios could force a one-copy license of their intellectual property on iTunes purchasers.  A $50-$100 portable DVD player will solve your issues with DRM.  Buy the DVD and you can watch it on your portable DVD player anytime, anywhere, and the studios will be happy, too.  Ripping a DVD and transferring to an iPod is as impractical as copying an entire book.  The handful of you out there complaining about this non-issue seem to want to watch video on your “video” iPods to simply justify your purchase of a video iPod.  If you bought an iPod just to watch video, it was a poor choice for a video player.

Posted by gym sock on November 29, 2006 at 1:44 PM (CST)


Gym sock, your analogy is flawed in that a book doesn’t require special external equipment to enjoy its content.

Ripping a DVD is not as impractical as copying an entire book.  It’s actually quite easy.

I should not have to buy a portable DVD player to watch it on the plane if I enjoy it on my iPod screen.  Your opinion of watching a movie on an iPod is YOUR opinion, and it is not universally shared.

The reason there are a “handful” of us complaining about the movie studios f*cking us every chance they get is because most of the population is ignorant about the DMCA and its implications.  Luckily it appears this is changing, and more people are standing up for their consumer rights.

Posted by alexarch on November 29, 2006 at 2:04 PM (CST)


What, being limited to your PC and your iPod isn’t enough?  A pox on Fox.

Posted by phennphawcks on November 29, 2006 at 2:08 PM (CST)


Ummm… is a bigger threat to movie studio revenue not the thousands and thousands of illegally copied DVDs you can buy for $4 at any Asian mall? Seriously studios - control your content/piracy at the theatre level.

That being said, I can see how easy it would be for the public to make copies of “ripped” movies and not think twice. How many friends have offered an original CD to someone so they can make a copy without even considering rights.

Posted by Warren Piece on November 29, 2006 at 3:06 PM (CST)


Strengthen the DRM all you want….. I simply REFUSE to buy anything w/ DRM….. I’d go get a CD and do whatever I want with what I’ve paid for…. not from any company that try to sqeeze more money out of you using the DRM scheme…... It’s ridiculous that with newer technology comes more restriction….. talk about going backwards…....

Posted by DJ on November 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM (CST)


yet again, someone using UPPERCASE to emphasise that they PAID for a film. No, you didn’t. If you want to buy the movie, contact the studio direct and they may give you a full license with no limitations…but I bet you can’t afford it.

Posted by You paid for a license, not for the content on November 29, 2006 at 4:09 PM (CST)


One of the challenges posed by digital distribution is, simply, the problem of accessing a library of music and video files, say, ten or fifteen years from now. I suspect that Apple will improve its codec as the internet pipeline gets fatter and storage media devices like hard drives and Ipods have more capacity.  I look at my collection of reel to reel tapes that I recorded 25 years ago, and all of them are unplayable, even if I had a reel to reel machine. The media degrades after some time. I understand that cds and dvds have the same problem. Not to mention the issue of backwards compatibility. Do folks think that the quality of video and audio won’t get better over the years? When sound movies were introduced, audiences couldn’t tell the difference between monaural speakers or an orchestra behind the curtain of a stage. I dislike the compression artefacts that are visible on even a small screen when I play an Itunes video. As a martial artist, I realize that there really is a need for a 60 frame per second video file with the same resolution as Imax to provide useful frame by frame analysis of motion. Once a format like this is out there, it will eventually trickle down to home users.

Posted by Gordon Cooper on November 29, 2006 at 4:14 PM (CST)


Sigh, when will the studios learn. They keep looking at digital downloads as a replacement of DVD sales. Perhaps if they looked at it as a complimentary sale. For example. Sell a digital download for $3.99 (the same price I can rent a movie for at Blockbuster). If I like the movie, then give me the option of applying the $3.99 towards the purchase of the full blown DVD. In the long run, they would make more money from me on $3.99 sales than they would on sales for a full blown DVD. I don’t watch that many movies over and over, hence I don’t buy DVDs of some movie I might be mildly interested in seeing comes out. In some cases less is (eventually) more.

Posted by Rand on November 29, 2006 at 4:39 PM (CST)


I have respect for copyright, but in return i expect a certain level of respect as a consumer. My level of respect for the copyright holder is directly proportional to the amount of respect accorded me. I am just barely satisfied with the iTS experience. I routinely run into issues using my music with non-Apple devices, and it is troublesome, but not yet enough so that I will abandon my iTS addiction. However, with regard to movies, I see the studio’s desired endgame, and it wreaks of greed. I have no doubt they expect consumers to pay a separate license fee for every device their content is played on.

Posted by mrfett on November 29, 2006 at 8:42 PM (CST)


(above rant continued)
If the studios insist on pushing through anti-consumer DRM in the name of solving a problem that doesn’t exist, they will ensure push me right into netflix-ripping nirvana with zero guilt. the money I would have spent on their content will go straight to Hitachi for terabytes of storage.

Posted by mrfett on November 29, 2006 at 8:44 PM (CST)


(don’t understand what triggers post rejection on these news pages, it seems to occur arbitrarily. also, “ensure” should have been omitted in previous post)

Posted by mrfett on November 29, 2006 at 9:32 PM (CST)

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