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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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  • But! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:08AM (#15292355) Homepage Journal
    But you can allready download Warner Bros movies over bittorrent!

    Oh wait, sell. Nevermind.
    • Re:But! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      And why would the risk of a low quality DL matter?
      The first torrent was bad/poor? Download a different one.

      I only say this because their product has the same release date as the DVD, which means that a DVD Rip/Screener is already going to be out.

      Maybe the user base just needs to be 'educated' about nomenclature [vcdquality.com] & downloading the sample first.
      • Thanks, I wanted to search for such document for a while... I guess I'm too lazy :)

        Now off we go to illegally swapping a computer file that could contain viruses. :)
    • Re:But! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ilex (261136) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:59AM (#15292744)
      Exactly!. How do they expect a DRM encumbered download which costs as much as the DVD to succeed against a superior quality free download which you can play in your standard DVD player and came out months earlier.

      This is a token gesture which offers nothing of value and is designed to fail. Hollywood just wants to crow about being able to offer legal alternatives, their not at all interested in giving the consumer what they really want.
      • Re:But! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:16AM (#15292854) Homepage Journal

        How do they expect a DRM encumbered download which costs as much as the DVD to succeed

        I don't think they do expect it to succeed. When their half-assed attempt at legal downloads fails they'll have more FUD to spread to lawmakers about evil downloading hurting their bottom line.

        At least their accountants will work out a way to write off the losses for the hardware, networking and other things required for this.
        • Re:But! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:26AM (#15293399)
          I don't think they do expect it to succeed. When their half-assed attempt at legal downloads fails they'll have more FUD to spread to lawmakers about evil downloading hurting their bottom line.

          I don't understand what is so special about movies and music. They are just data/software.

          People have been downloading and _paying_ for data/software for well over 10 years now, but the movie and music people can't seem to be able to do it.

          Trends I have noticed that apparently the people that are in the business have not.

          1) People tend to have more variety and quantity of media today than 10-20 years ago. 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.

          2) Despite the increase in demand and basically an infinite supply, prices have not dropped. In my eye, if DVDs were shipped at $5/movie they would not be able to keep them on the shelves. However, movies are slightly different because their old primary cash cow was the big screen/box office takes. Its a little tough for me to speculate here about how to balance those markets because I really don't participate in the big screen version, nor was I ever much of a box office guy, so I don't know that market. However, music in my opinion and all of the people I have met online and in person is too expensive for what it is. I mean, even downloads of live concerts are about 1/2 or 1/3 of the cost to see the real thing.

          3) Quality is dropping, yet for some reason demand is still high. I don't know if this is just a normal perception as one gets in his mid 30s or if this is a real trend or not, but it seems to be a common consensus that quality is not there as it once was. To me, rock music peaked in the 70s and the 60s-70s era bands were still strong in the 80s with a more polished and professional approach. There was a slight resurgence in the early 90s, but things are tapering off from there. Personally, I've been disappointed in most movies all of my life. There are anomalies, but for 1.5 to 3 hours of one piece of material, you have to keep people interested with solid character development and character constancy and, duh, the thing needs a plot too.

          I simply do not understand why these markets have such a reluctance to give people what they want and stick with the times. Audio formats used to change fairly frequently, but that has stopped. 78s, LPs, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs -- MP3s are still almost a black market item even though people want them. Movies were pretty much inaccessible in people's homes (and cars I guess now) before the 70s and 80s with the video tapes. Then DVDs came out, and people really liked the form factor, pause and skipping abilities, no rewinding, better quality, extra features, etc. But it looks like the movie studio's media diversity has stopped in favor of media that is unwatchable because of DRM or whatever restrictions for making the media play.

          What I see happening, are lower production quality, more grass roots music and video that is shared over the internet, and the big movie/music studios are sitting on the sidelines with their dicks in their hands.

          • Re:But! (Score:4, Informative)

            by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:38AM (#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.

          • Re:But! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Bastian (66383)
            What I think we're seeing here is the recording and music industries trying to do everything they can to make electronic distribution look unviable and only popular with pirates. The reason they would want to do this is that the only thing that keeps the big boys of the RIAA and MPAA in existence is that they control the means of production and distribution.

            If selling music and movies over the internet becomes standard practise, then nobody needs them anymore. Why would I sign some ridiculous recording co
            • Re:But! (Score:3, Informative)

              by Grishnakh (216268)
              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 artw
      • Hummm, I'm not sure that its a token gesture.

        If the studios offerred the movies at $1.50 and it only played on WMP, I'm sure 80-90% of computer users would be satisfied with the deal. People get their cheap entertainment without spending hours online trying to find a good/downloadable version.

        Cheers,
        Ben

        PS. Hell, I'd go for it if it played on linux. Finding downloadable stuff on bittorrent is a real pain in the ass nowadays.
        • Except they're NOT offering it for $1.50 and are instead charging pretty much the price of a regular DVD. Therefore it IS just a token gesture. People who download movies online don't do it because they're allergic to physical DVD media - they do it because the damn things are massively overpriced.
    • I know you were joking but you have a serious point. iTunes succeeded because of the quality of service. You could easily find massive (massive!) numbers of songs, with precise documentation, preview them at high quality, and then buy and download them in a snap without a single surpise. Outside of concentrated areas like univeristies, The filesharing community could not match that quality of service. The reason for this is probably due to two things first the catalog is so large, and the immatrutity o
    • Re:But! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Psykosys (667390)
      It's more 31337 to buy your Warner Brothers movies off IRC.
  • one machine (Score:2, Funny)

    by moro_666 (414422)
    cracks against playing in one machine coming in 3...2...1...
    • Words taken right out of my mouth 1....2....3.....4..... seconds ago
    • As I'm currently pricing out the "every couple of years" computer upgrade, it's on my mind to wonder how they might enforce this?

      It would really bite if I lost the ability to play content I'd actually purchased over BT just because I upgraded to a newer box.
      The article is deathly light on any sort of details on how the technical aspects of that kind of content protection might be done.

      And yes, before everyone chimes in, I KNOW that they'd like me to buy it every time I upgraded my PC ... but
    • Re:one machine (Score:3, Informative)

      by blueZhift (652272)
      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
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:09AM (#15292357)


    From TFA:
    Pricing for a feature film will be about the same as the DVD release.

    Warner added that whether a TV show or feature film, it will only play on the initial computer used to make the download.

    The downloads will not therefore work on other PCs or standard DVD players.
    So let me get this straight...I can download a feature film, but can only play it on the system I downloaded it to, while for the same price I could have a DVD that I can play anywhere I wish. Hmm.

    Also the issue of extra content (out-takes, deleted scenes, yadda yadda yadda) is not addressed. The article says I can download a 'feature film', but it mentions nothing regarding the bonus features (personally, I despise the bonus features, but I know many people who purchase DVDs with the bonus features specifically in mind). Even if the extra content is included (making for a hefty download), that still doesn't justify the price tag, seeing how the download is locked to one machine.

    This doesn't really sound like Warner Bros. "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"...it sounds more like:
    • Warner Bros. wants to appear as if they are supporting movie downloads,
      while,
    • Warner Bros.' actual objective is to discourage the adoption of downloadable content as a standard.

    Thanks for nothing, Warner Bros..

    Why aren't they trying the $1.50 experiment [msn.com] here in the U.S.? Apparently, we're not pirating enough.
    • by Carthag (643047) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:13AM (#15292382) Homepage
      I'm wondering how they will go about using bittorrent and DRM at the same time, effectively. Bittorrent's strength lies in many people having the exact same file, so if the DRM is added post-download, it would be trivial to intercept the data before the lockdown and use it as such. If the DRM is added before the download, I am having difficulties seeing how BT can be used to any significant advantage.

      Encapsulating the movie in an encrypted executable that phones home for authorization? Ugh.
      • Oh, I imagine exactly the same way you press identical DVDs, but instead of 100s of manufacturer codes, you'll get your personal decryption key directly from WB, and then the bulk data via BitTorrent. Of course, this could get interesting if the keys are broken, since you then have legal uploaders which don't know if the downloader is a paying customer or has a warezed key...
      • Look at Fairplay DRM [wikipedia.org]. From what I understand, the assumption is that every AAC audio stream for a particular song is encrypted with the same master key. The user specific part comes in when an AAC player uses the "User Key" to decrypt the "Master key" (both stored in the MP4 container in the case of AAC) in realtime.

        I assume that Warner Bros' scheme will just distributed the master-key-encrypted video streams with Bittorrent and either offload the encrypted master keys to some kind of insideous local D
      • I am having difficulties seeing how BT can be used to any significant advantage.

        It'a easy. The market they're trying to appeal to with this is the same market that is already downloading movies. It's the same reason they started selling movies on VHS. People were recording movies off TV onto VHS. That's your market, and they've already invested in your distribution technology. So they have zero cost to begin using your product. Or, with BT, you don't have to develop a new P2P protocol and then con

    • not to mention, if nobody is seeding it all you paid for is a headache!
      • not to mention, if nobody is seeding it all you paid for is a headache!

        This brings up an even more interesting point. So let me get this straight - WB will charge DVD prices for a less-than-DVD quality download crippled with DRM - and will use other people's computers to serve the bits.

        Wow - lower quality, same price point, crippled DRM, and they don't even pick up the cost of hosting.

        I'm sold - how do I get my computer to act as a server for them? Because I've always wanted my $45/m for internet to be used at the will of media companies to avoid the hosting fees associated with "allowing" users to download DRM crippled overly-expensive movie releases. Huzzah!

    • The big problem I see is the same one I've seen with legal music downloads: The end product is at least in some ways worse than the one you can get for free from emule or torrent sites. Specifically, if I buy mp3s of the new Tool album from iTunes, I have to figure out payment, I have to either keep the mp3s in their limits or jump through hoops, and I don't even think you can play the tracks in a non-iTunes player (I don't actually know, to be honest). On the other hand, if I just download it from a p2p pr
      • "The big problem I see is the same one I've seen with legal music downloads"

        There are a few who actually are useable; Canadian label Nettwerk for example sells real un-DRM'ed mp3's. Painless, fast, works like a charm under Linux, no hoops to jump through.

        Wish there were more like them.
  • No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:09AM (#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.
  • Good idea in Theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kranfer (620510) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:10AM (#15292368) Homepage Journal
    I like the idea of being able to download DVDs legally from the studios directly. However, I would NEVER pay the same price as the normal DVD and only be able to play the movie on one machine. If I could burn it to DVD, and be able to enjoy it on my big screen LCD TV, this would be a service I would use as opposed to going to say Bestbuy or Walmart to purchase the DVD. I always thought that the Internet was supposed to supply convinence, not another thing that will cause me to NOT want to use the service because the movie could only be played on my computer. What is with that? I think the movies should be about $10 and be able to be burned once to a DVD Disc so that people can enjoy them elsewhere and not on a PC. Just my thoughts.
    • by toad3k (882007)
      You'd think it would cost the same as a movie rental. About 3 bucks.
    • I think the movies should be about $10 and be able to be burned once to a DVD Disc so that people can enjoy them elsewhere and not on a PC.

      You and mostly anybody else, but tell that to the Holywood execs. It's a simple problem, except they don't want to see it as such: they're competing with movies in 2 CD format, distributed for almost free, which only cost the downloader the Internet bandwidth and can be used however they please. How do you beat that? Hint: NOT with a 4+ GB download that plays on only one
    • by debest (471937) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:26AM (#15293400)
      I like the idea of being able to download DVDs legally from the studios directly. However, I would NEVER pay the same price as the normal DVD and only be able to play the movie on one machine.

      That's because they want this initiative to fail. It is explicitly designed to fail, miserably.

      Distribution of digital files over the Internet is enemy of the content industry. Their entire business model is built upon keeping the supply of their product scarce. The Internet is frightening to them (and always will be) because scarcity of easily-reproducable data is impossible to maintain on a free Internet. The business model that works for the industry is physical media, purchased one at a time. This way control is maintained. The media industry will never stop trying to prevent the free movement of all data on the Internet, because any data could be their data!

      This is a smokescreen, nothing more. The movie studios want to be able to go before congress during the future hearings for ever-more restrictive copyright initiatives, saying "We tried to offer legal online distribution: no one would pay for it! Piracy continues unabated! We need to regulate the Internet! NOW!"

      Then they will be able to go back to printing physical copies and stomping on the occasional soul who tries to share a file. In the process, they would like to see ISPs be forbidden to provide customers with actual Internet connections: they would like them to be crippled to prevent anyone from providing any content at all. We should good little consumers and buy what they provide: how dare we be allowed to actually contribute anything! Why, that might make the content industry irrelevant. Horrors!
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:10AM (#15292369) Journal
    First off, I wish Warner Brothers would get it through their head that if they are to compete with piracy, they have to price the movies as such.

    If they price them as much as the hardcopies, who's going to buy them? Nobody. Your pirates are trying to escape high prices & your regular DVD buyers are going to balk at the offer for the fact that they could order a nice shiny cased DVD off amazon for the same price.

    I highly doubt anyone will use this service if they keep the prices on par with the DVDs. If they offer them at even half price, then you might see some movement from both sides (pirates and DVD buyers) to that middle ground and hopefully recoup some of your losses from the pirates.

    Offer downloads so cheap that you run the pirates out of business but leave quality lacking so true fans will always buy the DVDs.
    • by rhsanborn (773855) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:17AM (#15292415)
      I don't work in the movie industry, but I'm willing to bet that pricing these at anything below current DVD prices won't increase revenue.

      I can't imagine that people who pirate movie represent a large portion of the buying public. They don't like paying and they know they don't have to. I don't think you will see a ton of pirates stopping that and purchasing downloads.

      Instead, I think you would see people who already buy DVD's buying these downloads. So, to cut the cost of the product would only take people who are already paying a high price for the product, and giving them a lower cost alternative.

      Studios make most of their money from DVD sales. It is in their interest to keep the price high. The cost of media and packaging isn't really that high. At least not high enough to justify a significant price break.
      • by Hrshgn (595514) <rince2001@@@gmx...ch> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:28AM (#15292490)
        But people who buy DVDs today might download MORE movies if prices were lower. I only buy movies of which i'm sure that i'll watch them more than once. If prices were lower, i would also take the risk and download an unknown movie. hrshgn
      • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:37AM (#15292562) Homepage
        Nonsense.

        Kids, unemployed people maybe. Adults much less so. At some point you realize: "Hmm, I can either pay for this with 15 minutes of work, or spend 2 hours looking for a crack that might be loaded with spyware. Then I'll probably have to spend a day to reinstall Windows."

        If you don't have money, you just "pay" with your time instead. Give me MP3 at $0.1 per song and pirating will be completely pointless. Movies I'd be willing to buy at about $5, with no DRM, as a DVD image.

        Personally, I don't buy DVDs. Why? Expensive, insane industry, forced ads in content I'm paying for, DRM interfaces... like hell I will pay for that. Remove all that insanity, offer it with an easy to access system that works from Linux, and I'll happily start buying.
      • The cost of media and packaging isn't all that high, but the cost of middlemen is. Picture the costs involved in getting a DVD from the press to the customer in the store: shipping, distributors, warehouses, shipping again, loading/unloading, stocking shelves, paying the lease/taxes on the store property, cashiers, purchasers, managers, janitors, insurance, lights, heating/cooling, sick days, training, the physical shelves the product sits on, security, breakage and shrinkage etc etc etc all add up to a si
  • Ironically, there is also this article [businessweek.com] from Businessweek about "How undercover FBI agents nab the bootleggers who threaten the movie biz". That article goes into some really unjustified sensationalistic nonsense, seems to be mix up movies and warez, and also refers to movie piraters as "bandits".
  • viruses and quality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:12AM (#15292375)
    I'm far more concerned about getting slapped with a lawsuit than I am about getting a virus or crappy quality when I download.
  • Cost of bandwidth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xiangpeng (324117) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:12AM (#15292380) Homepage
    So, I have to pay the same price for the movie, minus the physical media? Shouldn't WB be paying people who are helping to distribute the movie too? Users using this service will have to pay for their bandwidth AND the cost of the movie at the same price of a DVD?

    Thanks WB. Wonderful business plan you got there.
    • by zxnos (813588)
      you have to pay for the vehicle and the gas to get to the store. (at least many of us). actually this is a just a ploy. when it flops because fewer people pay full price for less of a product, WB will say: see, that doesnt work, they just want to pirate... i would pay a buck or two to download a movie and watch it. not full, media in my hand price though...

      personally, i have received a number of free rentals through movielink. i will never pay for the service because the cost of a rental from them is the s

  • by UnixRevolution (597440) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:14AM (#15292396) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps it'd be worth it to not spend 8 days downloading the Swedish version of Star Wars Ep. I like my friend did, thinking it was english.
  • New Computers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mizhi (186984) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:18AM (#15292420) Homepage
    What about when a person who upgrades their family computer and wants to be able to watch the movies he purchased and backed up? Is he forced to buy another copy of the movie to watch it because his old copy won't play on his new machine? Why should I pay for something that will simply be unusable in 5 years after I upgrade my computer?

    Count me out. I'll just stick with DVDs: the price is the same, without the gimping of the product (region codes aside).
  • Do they know (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neurotoxic666 (679255) <neurotoxic666&hotmail,com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:20AM (#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.

    • Of course "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".

      But since Warner's opinion about what "reasonable" means may or may not match the market's opinion, the statement is pointless. But correct.

  • Bad advertising. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kneeslasher (878676)
    "...rather than risk illegally swapping a computer file that could contain viruses or be a poor quality copy of a film."

    Er, I don't know which world divorced from reality the people who came up with this statement live in, but I've (or rather, a friend has) always found that movies downloaded from p2p tend never to contain viruses and are skillfully compressed to preserve good quality.

    Why do the content distributors always conflate their offerings? I am sure this pisses a lot of their potential customers of
  • I could see this being worthwhile for pirates looking for a digital media file to easily transcode into XVid, if ripping from a DVD still takes just *that* much longer...
  • "Hey, we sell the DVD for a (*cough*) reasonable price and we offer digital downloads of our content for an (*cough*) excellent price! They pirate our movies because they want to, not because we don't offer a (*cough*) good way to get it!"
  • by Xesdeeni (308293) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:23AM (#15292448)
    The whole using Bittorrent to distribute anything for a profit should be axed by users until they get a cut. No media, no home theater, single machine, no bandwidth, no storage, but the full DVD price!? Yeah, that'll fly.

    Xesdeeni
  • So WB wants to introduce something that cuts costs for them immensely (they aren't even paying for bandwidth, if I'm understanding this correctly), and then decides not to pass this saving onto the consumer. Together with more dubious DRMing, how is this going to terminate the piracy networks? You might as well ask people to buy DVDs and rip them for personal use. (if that isn't illegal yet)

    I think it's fairly clear who they are aiming for with this: They are not trying to compete with piracy - no matter wh
  • by Detritus (11846)
    Ignoring the other issues, what would the big ISPs do if this caught on? I've read numerous reports of people getting harassed by their ISPs for making use of their "unlimited" Internet access. Plus, this competes with their video-on-demand service.
  • Uh, no thanks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:28AM (#15292494) Journal
    Warner added that whether a TV show or feature film, it will only play on the initial computer used to make the download. The downloads will not therefore work on other PCs or standard DVD players.

    A small step in the right direction, but no thanks. I'd gladly buy an un-DRM'd file that I can burn to DVD and shrink to put on my ipod.

    I require AMP (that's Absolute Media Portability). Can I play it on my non-network connected TV in the bedroom? Can my kids watch it in the car? Can I loan it to my friend? If the answer to any of those is "No", then I'm really not interested. If "Yes", then I'll be VERY interested.

    It seems incredibly stupid to me for media companies to waste money on physical distribution when they could be distributing bits. But I requite that I can do the same thing with those bits that I can do with physical media.

    -S

  • 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.

    And they would be right. However, regarding "reasonable": I do not think it means what they think it means.
  • How can you bittorrent a file that will only play on one machine? Why would people volunteer to share bandwidth and hosting of a file that will not play on THEIR machine? Won't all machines involved in the bittorrent hosting need/want to be able to playback the file? Why should WB expect us to help bear the costs in bandwidth and storage if they're not going to discount the sale to reflect the reduced delivery costs?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:30AM (#15292502)
    1. It costs the same as a DVD.

    Getting a DVD requires:
    1. Going to the DVD store (10-20 minutes and about a buck for gas)
    2. Looking for the DVD I want (5 minutes or 50, depends on whether you enjoy browsing)
    3. Grabbing the DVD and paying for it (5 minutes and whatever the thing costs).

    Getting the torrent:
    1. Going on their webpage, looking for the movie, going through the payment routine etc (15 minutes, a credit card and the amount of dough they want for it)
    2. Waiting for 10 hours to DL the thing (plus cost for bandwidth if you're not on a flat, which is quite rare here).

    So it takes longer, costs the same (with the difference that I'll need some kind of CC) to get something that I can ONLY play on the machine I DLed on, and if I should decide to kill said machine it's gone, and I can't watch it on the DVD player hooked to the large screen, no, I gotta watch it on the smaller PC screen without good sound and other gizmos...

    Again, WB, why should I buy it that way?

    Or is it just another attempt to "prove" that nobody would "buy stuff" over torrent and that torrent should be shut down 'cause it's only a pirate tool?
    • 2. Waiting for 10 hours to DL the thing (plus cost for bandwidth if you're not on a flat, which is quite rare here).

      Depends on what your and their bandwidth supports. My FiOS connection could download a 4.9GB DVD in under an hour. Presuming that all the bells and whistles didn't come with it and you just got the video and AC3 audio stream, download times are even less.

      Most of my movies that I've ripped from my DVDs are in the 1-1.5GB range with AC3 audio. A 3mbit connection is fast enough to download a

      • Good in theory, but over here providers started to throttle non-HTTP traffic (which of course they DOOOOONT do, noooooway). It's interesting to see a SCP session putter along at 5kbps to someone hanging on the same provider as you, when he's supposed to have an upload speed of 256kb and that's supposedly the bottleneck in the connection...

        It might work in some areas of the world, but most will just laugh at this offer.
      • My FiOS connection could download a 4.9GB DVD in under an hour.

        Just as an aside, I downloaded the Fedora Core 5 DVD ISO, 4.4GB, in 41 minutes, over my cable modem (connected to a wireless router, and over 802.11g. Wee.

    • 4. Going back home

      Seriously, it is easy to see the convenience in not having to go to the DVD store and still have a copy of the movie in a fairly short time. You can actually carry on with your regular life while the movie is downloading, while going to the store practially wastes an hour of your time.

      I say it's a terrific idea, even at the price. Illegal downloaders would probably not pay for legal downloads even if prices were 1/2 of DVDs. Lower than that, the studios don't make much money plus they set
  • No use to me. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MartinG (52587) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:30AM (#15292504) Homepage Journal
    This is no use to me. What I want is simple:

    My preferred movie characterastics (in order of priority)

    1) No (or easily circumventable) DRM.
    2) Legal.
    3) High quality.
    4) Cheap.

    This matches 2 and 3, but misses my number 1 priority.

    The best match so far is a DVD, since its easy to bypass the DRM in order to copy the movies onto my home built media devices. Other times I end up downloading the odd movie which fulfils 1, 4, and often 3 as well.

    Currently for many downloading is the best option by far, which is unfortunate because of its questionable legality. If only the industry would lower the price and remove the DRM it would match all four for me and I would be jumping at it. I think they are just too scared and/or greedy to do that though.

    • MartinG,

      What you want is already within your grasp. Why don't you just make a movie that millions of people want to see and then release it in the model that you just laid out? In that world, everyone is making voluntary choices. You released your film your way and Warner Bros releases their film their way. The consumers are free to weigh all of these factors when making their choice.

      Go for it. What's stopping you?
      • I'm already trying to do that in other areas (software) and time doesn't permit me to do everything.

        Besides, everyone is already making voluntary choices and I'm already weighing all of the factors (as outlined in my OP)

        I was just laying out how those choices could be mutually beneficial, that's all. I won't buy movies with DRM (that actually works) in the same way I won't buy CDs with DRM. Most CDs don't have DRM and they sell just fine. If it's one of those crippled CDs with DRM on that I can't use
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:31AM (#15292514)
    Warner Brothers want *me* to pay *them* to download a DRM-enabled movie via BitTorrent.

    And presumably whilst I'm downloading that movie via BitTorrent, I am also using some of the bandwidth I *pay* to rent from my ISP to *upload* part of the same movie to *other* users who are downloading the movie but have *paid* Warner Brothers for the privelige.

    Okay, so maybe I'm missing something and there's a possible explanation for this:

    1. The author of the article has omitted to mention that Warner Brothers will pay me with cash or stock options as the result of my contributing my resources to their film distribution network.

    2. Warner Brothers are on mind-expanding drugs.

    3. I am on mind-expanding drugs.

    4. According to some ancient Incan calendar system, yesterday was March 31st making today April Fool's Day.

  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:38AM (#15292569)
    I wonder if this is part of a legal strategy on Warner's part. They offer movie downloads at the same price as retail DVDs. Then, after a few months, they start to sue pirates who "illegally" download Warner films: "My client offered digital downloads, your honour, but the defendent continued to illegally download bootleg copies of Harry Potter 4. Since he had the choice to legally purchase and download this film, he should definitely be found guilty."
  • is to buy stock in a hd manufacturer and lower the prices on thier downloads, this way they could make up the difference via the harddrive shares from all the space people will need from 4 gig movie files.
  • If it costs me the same as a DVD, I sure as holy hell will not seed it! make it $5 and I may seed for a few hours.
  • Okay, some of these have already been covered, but there are a few others of my own to throw in.
    1. Which version? Widescreen or pan-and-scan ... sorry ... "full screen"? Most likely pan-and-scan ... sorry ... "full screen". No freakin' thanks.
    2. DD 5.1? Probably not.
    3. Extras? Behind the scenes? Highly doubtful.
    4. Separate audio tracks for director's and cast commentaries? Not.
    5. Subtitles for those who need them? Nope.
    6. Portable to other players? Ah. DRM. Nevermind.
    7. Burn your own DVD from the ima
  • What a joke, I don't see them selling a single freaking copy with that kind of plan. If they want to offer a serious alternative to illegal downloading, there need to be very compelling reasons... instead they choose to price them the same as DVD's, but you can do WAY less with them, and you can't get them any earlier than normal DVD release date. Wow, sure to a hit guys! Way to be on top of the times!

    They need to remember they're competing with FREE. If the downloads were $5 max, or if you were able to bur
  • by Rinisari (521266)
    I'm sorry, but if they expect you to pay USD ~$15, they'd better have the servers and bandwidth for direct downloads. BitTorrent is supposed to save money so that people can publish things ultra-cheaply, not make me have to leech off my peers to get what I want.
  • You can only play it on one PC - unlike the DVD which you can play wherever you want.
    You cannot sell it after you have seen it - unlike the DVD which can, or give away as a gift, etc.
    You have to "share" you bandwith, so with a slow upload it can take hours or days to finish - instead of a quick drive to the next shop
    You have to pay the same amount of money - for less product (see above)

    WHY would I buy it then? If I want to be honest, I get more if I just skip all the hassle and buy the DVD, if I don't
  • Sometimes the most effective way to oppose is to publicly support in a format in which is likely to fail. You see this in all kind of political arenas. Seems like WB is just adding another example to the list.
  • If the movie studios would have ran with this tech a few years ago, they might not be trying to play catch up today. What they are now competing with is a free service, albeit an illegal service but that's not stopping most of us, that provides movies not long after they are in theaters. Sometimes the quality is great and most often it's pretty lousy but it's good enough in most cases that I no longer have much incentive to shell out my hard earned cash to see the film in a theater.

    If the studios want my

  • Wurld Media's Peer Impact has the bussiness model that you guys are asking for .

    If you re-distribute content on the Peer impact network you recive a system credit for your contributed upload bandwidth .Peer Impact will soon have Movies and Video from NBC\Universal for rent and sale . Peer Impact sells games and music from the major lables and indies .They currently only support Windows but may in the future a web based client of thier service .

    http://www.peerimpact.com/ [peerimpact.com]
  • 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

    Now come on... I always knew some really short minded people have to drive MPAA and the like, but now I have to change my opinion since these guys seem to be even more behind.

    At the same time as DVD ? At the same price ?

    Why the hell would I buy a digital resctiction managed copy when I can buy the real disk at the same price ? No way, sir, no way.

    Such download-selling s
  • I'm a huge fan of the DVD and CD. I don't buy as much as I used to, mostly because the movies as of late have been sucking wind. It is funny for someone like me who is a proffesional developer and has been playing with computers since I was 12 would be so against them as a distribution model for content, but I am.

    People are going to pirate, no point in trying to stop it. But most of us want the to buy, for many reasons. We also want to be treated fairly. This is when the masses start to pirate. Why should I
  • I will not pay the same price as a regular DVD for an inferior product. First of all, the downloaded version should cost less because there is no physical item to be manufactured. Second of all, it should be functionally equivalent to a DVD. Instead, it is functionally inferior to a DVD, thus it should, again, cost less than a DVD.

    Steve
  • How It Works (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brown (36659) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:14AM (#15293305) Homepage
    It will use the DRM mechanism built into Windows Media Player:
    • The file is DRMed before being distributed

    • User downloads DRMed file from BitTorrent, using a modified client. This is the clever bit; it will use a distribution network of dedicated caches created and run by CacheLogic [cachelogic.com] - see a press-release on a trial of this technology [cachelogic.com], which act as 'super-peers', greatly increasing download speeds and reliability. This also cuts the amount of upload bandwidth for users.

    • When the user plays the file, WMP reads the DRM header, which has a URL to get a licence

    • WMP goes to the URL, which contains a username/password form; user logs in, and receives a licence, for that computer. This also allows the distributer to manage/bill users.

    Magic, the authorised user can play the content on his computer, but it can't be copied (or rather it can - but won't be playable without an account!). (I previousply posted some of this before logging in, just to make it clear I'm not pinching it)
  • Video Quality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:25AM (#15293396) Journal
    The key to drawing many bittorrent users is video Quality. If they can get a Hi-Def version of the show online that they can't get via TV then there is a reason to get it from the studio.

    A 45 min episode of LOST in 720p Xvid Hi-Def looks GREAT. H.264 would be nice but most computers just can't hack it yet.

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