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Warner Bros. to Sell Movies Over BitTorrent 319

Posted by Zonk
from the a-little-looser-rules-please dept.
martinmarv writes "The BBC is reporting that Warner Bros. is to sell movies over BitTorrent. Disappointingly, the pricing is set to be about the same as the DVD, even though the download will only become available at the same time as the DVD release, and can only play on one machine. In distributing films via download, Warner will join the ranks of MovieLink and CinemaNow. Perhaps they should wait to see how their $1.50 experiment works out first?." From the article: "Other Hollywood studios are now likely to launch similar services. They believe movie fans will prefer to pay a reasonable price for a legal downloaded movie rather than risk illegally swapping a computer file that could contain viruses or be a poor quality copy of a film. "
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Warner Bros. to Sell Movies Over BitTorrent

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  • No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:09AM (#15292361)
    The movies they're distributing will be in Windows Media Player format and won't play on Linux or Mac OS X. (Yes, there is a "Windows Media Player" for Mac but it doesn't support DRMed content.)

    I'll stick with The Pirate Bay for my cross-platform movie needs. Warner Bros. should set up a PayPal tip jar so that I can send them a few bucks if I think their movie was good.
  • Do they know (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neurotoxic666 (679255) <neurotoxic666@hotmail. c o m> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:20AM (#15292435) Homepage
    Kazaa's era is over?

    They believe movie fans will prefer to pay a reasonable price for a legal downloaded movie rather than risk illegally swapping a computer file that could contain viruses or be a poor quality copy of a film.

    No we won't. Not all of us. People who already download movies illegaly now have access to forums where quality copies are available, feedbacks and comments let people judge if the movie is worth the download, some titles are posted before they're released on DVD, many languages, subs and regions can be found rather easily -- FOR FREE. Of course, there's always the crappy cam or the bad compression here and there. But it's not like you pay much for them either...

    I think the industry just missed the boat. If they want "pirates" to use their service instead, they'll need to provide some insentive, which same-as-DVD release date and prices are not.

  • Re:Am I an idiot??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by shawb (16347) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:25AM (#15292465)
    If the media player you use is unsecure, the media file could cause a buffer overrun (or even use innate scripting abilities... remember word macro viruses?) to run "arbitrary code." It's even possible to do this simply viewing a picture...
  • No, just uneducated. (Score:4, Informative)

    by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:28AM (#15292492) Homepage Journal
    Considering Windows Media Player interprets scripts embedded in video files, they can contain executable code. Then there's always the possibility of buffer overflows within the player code that handles the data part, which turns your data into executable code, and there are probably dozens of other things I haven't thought of off the top of my head, too.
  • Re:Am I an idiot??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:31AM (#15292513)
    The article claims pirated videos can "contain viruses." Am I an idiot, or how is this possible? My understanding is that a virus can only be contained in executable code.

    You're not thinking like a Windows user are you? This is the platform that brought us e-mail viruses. E-MAIL VIRUSES for Christ's sake! Who would have thought 10 years ago as we were all laughing at the newbies passing around the Good Times virus hoax chain letter that Microsoft's "innovative" e-mail client Outbreak and Outbreak Express would make it entirely possible to spread very virulent e-mail viruses within a few years? You could get infected without even opening the e-mail message! Ugh. So, do you really trust your Windows PC to not be susceptible to viruses embedded in video streams? I sure don't.

    Oh, and as for other platforms, I'd bet you 100 DVD-RWs that the only platform this service will support is Windows.

  • iTunes doesn't use Bittorrent for distribution of it's content. It uses regular HTTP transfers (I think) from a lot of servers placed strategically around the country/world (by Akamai). The Akamai servers have the unencrypted files, and then encrypt them for a particular user when you go to buy/download one. The result is that the file I download with my iTunes userid is different from the file that you download, with your iTunes userid. This would keep us from using Bittorrent to download the files -- they're not the same.

    What the GP was referring to is that Bittorrent relies on the files being the same (or at least having a lot of identical chunks) -- and if the files are the same, then they aren't being encrypted/DRMed in transit, like iTunes' are. Thus, it ought to be fairly trivial to intercept the data before it gets DRMed all to hell on your computer and locked down. At least theoretically ... it'll be interesting to see how they deal with this.

    The other option is to send an encrypted file, for which there is only one key, but then once one person recovers the key, they can share it with everyone else who's downloaded the file and you lose a lot of security.

    Basically it just doesn't seem like Bittorrent in general is really conducive to transmitting DRMed content, at least in the way that most companies are implementing DRM right now.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:31AM (#15292970)
    Not since iTunes 6.x, and it is no longer possible to purchase songs from the iTMS using earlier versions of the software. The software the old /. article talks about doesn't work anymore (that is, you can't download songs from the iTMS with it anymore).

      See what DVD Jon says [nanocrew.net] about the situation.
  • Re:one machine (Score:3, Informative)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:46AM (#15293089) Homepage Journal
    Sigh...Every time I see one of these stories, they always have to offer up digital content with some kind of poison pill that turns off many of the people they are trying to sell to. Have they not learned anything from the success of iTMS? If I can get legally download a movie at a competitive price and burn it to my own DVD to play in the living room, which is all I want, then I'm cool. But this "one machine" crap just makes me go WTF! As long as pirates offer an easier to use and more flexible product, it will be difficult to establish legal movie downloads as the first choice.
  • Re:But! (Score:4, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:38AM (#15293489) Homepage Journal

    Its normal for people to have 100-200 CDs worth of audio content today and to have between 20-50 DVDs. 20 years ago, 100-200 LPs were only for music freaks/diehards, and video was pretty much not collected before DVDs. I'm basing this on my experience and observations, I have no hard data behind this, but it seems to be accurate in my observations.

    Not disagreeing with the rest of your post, but I don't think this part is accurate. Lots of people had large VHS video collections after the videos became reasonably priced (for a few years they were $80+ per tape, so mostly it was only rental stores that bought them). I still have a few hundred VHS tapes that I haven't gotten around to chucking yet.

    And looking at the LP collections of my parents, my wife's parents and their friends, I think it was also quite common to have large LP collections. I know plenty of people who still have boxes of LPs around who were never really heavily involved in music. If you buy a record once a month or so, it doesn't take that many years to amass a large collection.

  • by GlowStars (57169) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @02:24PM (#15295146)
    Funny... Warner already has a similar P2P-download-service in open beta-test over here in Germany and Austria, not based on Bittorrent.

    http://www.in2movies.de/ [in2movies.de]

    Still making up their minds which technology to use?
  • Re:But! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @03:29PM (#15295792)
    Right now, the one reason I would is that I don't have access to equipment for pressing CDs and DVDs.

    What are you talking about? Google for "CD replication service" and you'll find lots of places that will do professional glass masters for you for dirt-cheap prices (assuming you buy CDs in lots of 1000 or more).

    If you want to sell your own music, it's easy these days. Find a small recording studio and record your album, burn it onto CD-R, send this to one of these replication services along with your artwork, etc., and they'll send you 1000 complete CDs (with jewel cases, booklets, etc) for $1000. Send these to cdbaby.com and sell them for $10 each; cdbaby will give you around half the revenue. That's $4 per disc in profit. Way more than the record companies will ever give you.
  • by Movie Downloads (963478) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:35AM (#15298823)
    EZTakes already provides movie downloads [eztakes.com] that you can burn to standard DVDs. Prices start at $1.99 and average about $6.

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