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Microsoft Businesses

Disney Licenses MS Windows Media DRM 385

securitas writes "CNet/ZDNet reports that Walt Disney has licensed Microsoft's Windows Media DRM technology for use in online movie distribution via the Internet. Reuters reports that Disney plans to sell movies online in late 2004 or early 2005, while AP reports that the multi-year license for Microsoft's digital rights/restrictions management and copy-protection software will let Disney distribute content on mobile phones, PDAs and portable media players (mirror). The companies are expected to officially announce the deal later today (Monday)." Conspiracy theorists, start your engines; kidding aside, this is something to watch, as these are two titans of industry.
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Disney Licenses MS Windows Media DRM

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  • by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <stwhite@kc h e r e t i c . c om> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:27AM (#8225792) Homepage Journal
    The measure of a monopoly is not whether you are forced to buy their products. No one has to watch movies - does that mean it wouldn't be a monopoly if there were only one company? No one has to have a telephone; does that mean that there can't be abuses of the Sherman Antitrust Act by a phone company?

    If you think that Microsoft, Disney, or most other large corporations have not violated the sherman [] Antitrust Act of 1890, you should probably read it. The word 'monopoly' has been bandied around specifically to confuse the issue. Section 2:

    Section 2. Monopolizing trade a felony; penalty
    Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

    "Attempt to monopolize" etc. Section 1 discusses restraint of trade - which this could most certainly be percieved as a step towards, dependin g on how Microsoft and Disney deal with the DRM issues - and with their track record, it's not looking good.

    Creating a barrier to entry is what the industry is trying to accomplish with mandatory DRM. If you have to pay a $50 license for DRM, and it's illegal to distribute something (software, os, hardware, or all three) without it, then the Free Software world - and, perhaps, open source - is essentially relegated to irrelevance here in the US. And in any country that would hope to do business with US and the IMF/Wold Bank. Bleah.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:38AM (#8225888) Homepage Journal

    Pixar still has three movies it owes Disney.

    Two now that Finding Nemo is done[1]. Or does the contract specify that Pixar owes Disney something beyond The Incredibles and Cars?

    How long do you think it would take Disney to setup a Pixar knock-off?

    Knockoff? Not long at all. Division whose movies survive for a strong second weekend? Not while Eisner remains in power.

    [1] "Done" as in "dinner's ready" [].

  • by KD5YPT ( 714783 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:42AM (#8225931) Journal
    PBS, not enough budget. Nickelodeon? Don't like it, plus bad drawing. DreamWorks might have something, they got potentials.
  • by null_session ( 137073 ) <{ben} {at} {}> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:45AM (#8225965) Homepage
    How long do you think it would take Disney to setup a Pixar knock-off?

    I don't think the question is setting up a Pixar knock off. If Disney wanted a fully 3d animation studio I'm sure Eisner could put it on his personal platinum card and have it bought this afternoon. So let's say they do that, what then? The problem is that Disney almost never produces any original ideas. Most of their work has been adaptation of existing stories. Outside of their distribution agreements with Ghibli and Pixar(oops), There aren't manny original stories that they can claim. Oh, and before you tell me that the Lion King or Disney's take on Atlantis were original, you had better check here [] and here [].

  • by Fishstick ( 150821 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:47AM (#8225991) Journal
    How long do you think it would take Disney to setup a Pixar knock-off?

    Like PDI/Dreamworks? A looong time.

    Creating a reasonable facimile of the technology to generate these kinds of pictures? Probably not too long?

    Assebmling an organization with the talent needed to produce films on par with Monsters, Nemo, Shrek, Ice Age, etc? That's a different question. That seems to be the area where they can't deliver anymore, innit?

    Once upon a time, they had ppl that could develop stories and characters that made films like Lion King, Beauty & Beast, Aladdin, etc the successes that they were. Then something happened. Disney started making crap like Atlantis, Treasure Planet, etc. No amount of mind-blowing animation technology can make up for a basic lack of entertaining story and characters.

    Pixar makes some beautiful movies, to be sure. These movies would not be nearly as successful without the Woody's, Buzz's, Mike's, Sully's, Marlin's and Dory's
  • Re:Not Important (Score:5, Informative)

    by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:52AM (#8226049) Journal
    Disney wasn't on the decline in the 80's. It was on its DEATHBED. Michael Eiser and the late Frank Wells were brought in to help rescue the company back in 1984, which evidently was a takeover target. Animation, which they finally killed off this past year, almost died then, after The Black Cauldron. The Little Mermaid turned things around, of course, shepherding an almost decade-long era of big profits.

    The point is, back in 1984, when Disney almost ceased being Disney, they had theme parks and the merchandising, and that would have done was provide the corporate raiders with more pieces to break off after buying the company. Unless Disney can continue producing more properties for its library and for the distribution channels that it paid so much money for (cable and ABC) its future growth is in question. Look at MGM as an example of where Disney does not want to end up - anemic, and perpetually on the auction block.
  • Re:Monopolies, yes (Score:1, Informative)

    by Caiwyn ( 120510 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:56AM (#8226092)
    How about YOU get real? I can't believe this drivel gets modded up as Insightful. Failure to appeal a court decision is NOT an admission of guilt -- heaven help us if it were! And the "conviction" was already on shaky ground due to public statements made by the judge that implied bias on his part. But Microsoft had no need to appeal the court decision when there was no real penalty. Why spend the money to fight a case when winning doesn't gain you anything except a bunch of whining linux zealots accusing you of rigging the courts?

    If I so chose, I could do everything I wanted to do right now without using Microsoft products. I could install any decent Linux distro for simple day-to-day tasks, and if I really wanted to do creative work, there's always Apple. One of these options is cheaper than Microsoft, and the other is generally considered easier to use. And the both of them are causing so much of a dent in Microsoft's wallet that this is the first year MS has reported no profit increase. Doesn't sound to me like Microsoft has much of a hold on anything.

    You put a lot of stock in the decision of a single judge on a lower court. How about you think for yourself rather than letting the government do it for you, hm?
  • MS Press Release (Score:4, Informative)

    by pmhudepo ( 595903 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:16PM (#8226264) Homepage
    Microsoft has posted a press release [].
  • Re:copied or played (Score:2, Informative)

    by inf0mike ( 676125 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:25PM (#8226329) Journal
    Even now, if you buy a DVD or VHS version of a film, there are restrictions within the "license" that restricts playing your copy in public places, specifically, pubs, clubs, oil rigs etc.
  • Nonexclusive (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:28PM (#8226365)
    Keep in mind the deal is nonexclusive so there's nothing keeping Disney from also licensing someone else's DRM solution.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson