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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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  • Not Important (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyclopedian ( 163375 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:06AM (#8225580) Journal
    Disney is not going to be a "titan" any longer. They're on the decline. Unless Eisner and the current board of directors are gone, Disney will be run into the ground. At that point, we won't have to worry about Disney DRM or their Senate Lackeys.

  • by Selecter ( 677480 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:08AM (#8225609)
    From the Pixar/Apple deal gone bad. Eisner is going to try to punish Jobs for dismissing him.

    Vain egos often make bad business decisions. Pixar does not need Disney any longer, and most of Disney's recent ventures have been pale imitations of Pixar's work.

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:09AM (#8225613) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for using the proper term here: titans. Disney and Microsoft are surely powerful in their industries (right now, today). But everyone here has the choice to not purchase or support these products. No one is forcing you to buy Disney products, watch ABC television, or wear their licensed gear. No one is forcing you to buy products using MS DRM technology.

    Remember that before you suggest that either is a monopoly. Look at things in your life and find out where the real monopolies are.

    Can you bow out of Social Security? Are you forced to eat at McDonalds? Do you have to pay into federal unemployment insurance? Did you pick your car insurance company, or was it "granted to you" by the voting majority?
  • Re:Just wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knetzar ( 698216 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:10AM (#8225624)
    Disney movies only play on windows.
    New Pixar movies only play on macs.
    hmmm...I dunno if I like this
  • by zboy ( 685758 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:10AM (#8225630)
    The only Disney movies I've actually paid to see in the last few years were all Pixar animations. Now that Pixar's gone, Disney doesnt have much left, and I dont think a little cell phone screen is going to make their animations look any better. I think they need to focus on creating quality features before they try and start selling them...unless they're trying to bypass stores all together and go to a direct-to-phone distribution..
  • Disney vs. Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward@yah o o . com> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:12AM (#8225645) Journal
    Or rather, Eisner vs. Jobs.

    They hate each other.

    Jobs is determined to become the next Disney.

    And Disney is turning to Microsoft. I almost feel sorry for them, no-one (and I mean no-one) has ever done a deal with Microsoft and not regretted it later.
  • Seems rather early (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SparafucileMan ( 544171 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:12AM (#8225652)
    Considering most people in the U.S. don't have broadband, this seems rather premature. And would those with broadband really want to wait an hour or ten to watch what, compared to a DVD, is pixelated crap? Would you really want to invite your gf to watch some grainy compressed video or would you splurge on the $3 DVD rental?
  • by The Placid Casual ( 661461 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:13AM (#8225664)
    This has all the hallmarks of being just a dig at Pixar after the two companies very public 'falling out' earlier this month... (Falling out = Disney trying to shaft Steve Jobs?)

    I'm guessing that all this will mean is that Mac users won't be able to watch 'Lion King 7' on their computers when it come out... :p

    Without Pixar, Disney could be in real trouble film wise...

  • Re:Not Important (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <.moc.citerehck. .ta. .etihwts.> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:15AM (#8225682) Homepage Journal
    I agree that the quality of Disney productions is declining, but Disney will continue to be the pre-eminate supplier of Children's content until some one steps up to fill the gap.

    Also, let's not forget Touchstone, either. Or their licensing business, which is still doing a stunning trade, judging by the number of Winnie-the-pooh and Tigger products I see.

  • Re:Great News! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LehiNephi ( 695428 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:15AM (#8225684) Journal
    copy-protection software will let Disney distribute content on mobile phones, PDAs and portable media players

    Does anyone around here have an interest in watching a movie on a 1.5" (4 cm) lcd? I guess some people may like it, but for some reason I have a hard time believing people are going to shell out their hard-earned cash for a movie that will only play on their cell phone.
  • Re:Not Important (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:16AM (#8225693) Homepage
    Disney's Senate Lackeys have ensured that the company will be able to continue indefinitely on the momentum of its intellectual property rights.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:19AM (#8225722) Journal
    of a mouse in chains. But it wasn't any ordinary mouse - this mouse was gigantic and fat. It ate everything it saw, and stomped on the things it couldn't bend down to eat.

    The mouse was very old; seemed like it had been around forever. Whenever anyone talked about the mouse, it'd better be good or *stomp*! No one was allowed to take a picture of the mouse or fashion its likeness in any way.

    All the people around the mouse were tired parents in chains - as long as you put chains on when you were in the presence of the mouse you were safe. As soon as you took the chains off - *stomp*!

    I really have to lay off the homemade guacamole.

  • Re:Not Important (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:21AM (#8225738)
    Disney was on the decline for a long time in the 70s and 80s, and then picked up again with The Little Mermaid, etc. They're on the decline again with their recent poor animated movies and losing the Pixar contract, but at some point they'll produce another few winners and be back on top of the pile again. Aside from the movies, they still have all of the theme parks and the merchandising.
  • by leifm ( 641850 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:21AM (#8225743)
    Figure it'll cost as much as going to Hollywood/Blockbuster and renting a DVD. Add in potential connection issues with streaming, time do dl if it's download, and then it's on a computer. I'll take renting a DVD, throwing it in and watching it on a TV. Less issues, probably the same cost. Movie downloads aren't going anywhere for several years at least, let Disney roll with MS DRM, it's going to fail anyway.
  • Not like RIAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WarSpiteX ( 98591 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:25AM (#8225764) Homepage
    At least they're being pro-active about this and are creating a legal way to download. I think they'll also need to lower prices relative to DVDs, but that's beside the point.

    Rather than joking about Microsoft security or Disney's financial situation and friendship with certain Senators, why not discuss the possible viability of the online movie market. Will people really download these legally, rather than get DVD rips off Kazaa and BitTorrent links? Or worse, when the DRM technology gets cracked, will the movies spread for free?

    Personally I believe that this won't stop online piracy or make up for the lost sales, but the legality and conveniece will make the downloadable movies an attractive alternative. The revenues will never be the same but it'll be better than trying to prevent online distribution at all.
  • by mr.capaneus ( 582891 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:25AM (#8225767)
    Do you know what a Monopoly is? Extending the definition to include social security and unemployement insurance is really a stretch and not really in any way useful. We have a different word to describe what you are talking about. It is "government". There's really no need to make it any more complex than that.
  • more can be less (Score:3, Insightful)

    by madchris ( 266878 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:26AM (#8225777)
    There are times when forcing more control over something leads to a total loss of control. As individuals, we tend to resent being distrusted. As a group we are no different. I don't see anything useful coming out of these DRM schemes. Dishonest people will *always* find a way to break into something.
  • Monopolies, yes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:30AM (#8225816)
    You are the quibbling sort, always looking for any excuse to avoid reality. Microsoft has been convicted of being a monopoly, and has not appealed it; Microsoft thereby admits to being a monopoly.

    One of the classic anti trust cases involved a railroad bridge across the Mississippi River. There was no other suitable location for a bridge crossing within hundreds of miles. The railroad was convicted of being a monopoly, because there was no practical alternative.

    You are the kind of quibbler who would say, oh they could ship around Cape Horn. Oh, they could build a new railroad and bridge hundreds of miles out of the way. Oh, they could barge it across.

    Bullshit. Disney itself may not be a monopoly, but Microsoft sure is, tried, convicted, and admitted. And Disney's membership in the MPAA sure taints them with monopolistic practices.

    Get real.
  • Re:Great News! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:31AM (#8225834) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget the fact that not only will they allow you to watch movies on a tiny screen, they'll cost you $7 a pop, and only be watchable for 48 hours before they evaporate...the real purpose of DRM in this case is not to prevent copying, it is to facilitate per-view fees and the "rental model" for movies.
  • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:32AM (#8225837) Journal
    >"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.

    Exactly how is Disney a monopoly?
  • by chod ( 587534 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:33AM (#8225840)
    The timing of this decision is definately suspect. After Mike and Steve had that public spat. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss's Zax:

    "And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax, "That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School. Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least! Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east! I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!" Well... Of course the world didn't stand still.

    Only time will tell who really needed the other person. But from this spot, it certainly looks like Disney is making one bad decison after another and Eisner may run Disney into the ground before he gives up the controls.

  • Crash and burn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Petronius ( 515525 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:33AM (#8225844)
    People don't want to buy DRM media. Period. Let Disney try it and then feel the wrath of consummers when they figure out they *lost* the "rights" to the movie/clip/music they had *PURCHASED* with their hard earned dollars. MS's DRM is dead on arrival. To this day, I yet have to meet a single person that encodes her music to WMA and that is psyched about it. People stick with MP3 beacause at this point it's open enough and it'll be supported for life. Good luck Disney.
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:33AM (#8225845)
    ... is the deal that Microsoft made with the Shrub administration when it came in, to water down the antitrust case as far as possible. You can't deny that has been a good deal for the politicians, lots of money was had from that.

    And for you moderators without any clues, here is one ... :-) and several more ;-) :-O =:-O
  • by eraserewind ( 446891 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:33AM (#8225848)
    Well, you are correct about Disney, but some US states, and assorted countries around the world disagree with you about Microsoft.

    You say that no-one is forcing you to buy microsoft's DRM technology, nor presumably their browser technology, or media technology, or office technology.

    To a certain extent you are quite correct, However because of their monopoly position in one market (achieved through technical excellence, being good at business, or sheer luck, it doesn't matter), they are able to leverage their position to control other markets. Most people, through their representative governments, think this is a bad idea, since it undermines the free market, and stifles innovation, and cost reduction, which are held to be the basis of our prosperity.

    The solutions are usually to break up the company, which Microsoft has avoided so far, to fine the company, or to recognise the monopoly, and place certain obligations above and beyond those of normal businesses on those who hold monopolies.

    Governments have a monopoly on tax collection, and law enforcement. That is why they also have many legislated obligations related to those areas.
  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:38AM (#8225897)
    A recent /. talked about the demise of record stores. Is the same bound to happen with movies? With legal downloading - even if it's for one-time viewing - what's the use of Blockbuster?
  • by kerry-buckley ( 647774 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:41AM (#8225921)
    From the Pixar/Apple deal gone bad. Eisner is going to try to punish Jobs for dismissing him.

    I wonder if it might have been the other way round -- Jobs dropping Disney because they were insisting on using MS's proprietary DRM.
  • Lots of good stuff without the marketing dollars behind Disney. I'm not a Disney fan, I assure you, and my child watches PBS and Nick Jr., not the Disney Channel. But we have quite a few of the old Disney movies - can't deprive her of Dumbo and Winne the Pooh :).

    I would love to see PBS with the budget that Disney has. :)

  • by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <.moc.citerehck. .ta. .etihwts.> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:47AM (#8225994) Homepage Journal
    I should hope that you would understand the difference between "monopoly" and "attempt to monopolize". I didn't claim Disney was a monopoly - or Microsoft, for that matter. The word confuses the issue because a corporation does not have to be a 'monopoly' in order to violate the Sherman Act. That's the point I was making. It's restraint of trade that matters.

    If you don't think that this is the first step in trying to establish Microsoft's DRM as the de-facto standard prior to governmental requirement of DRM in support of the media corporations lobbyists, you're looking at the world through some seriously rose-colored glasses, my friend.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:48AM (#8226008)
    "Content providers want DRM,"

    There are a lot of things that big business wants, but that doesn't mean that consumers will go for it. No consumer benefits from DRM, so if it makes their life harder they just won't buy: to work at all it needs to be a non-DRM DRM like Apple's iTunes, where you can still burn DRM-free copies to CDs to listen to.

    As for producing our own DRM, why? We don't want it, Joe Sixpack doesn't want it, just let it crash and burn in the marketplace like all those other bad inventions that big business tried to push on us (like the DIVX disks and self-destructing DVDs).
  • by JawFunk ( 722169 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:50AM (#8226028)
    Microsoft has put increasing emphasis on its entertainment technology and Hollywood relationships over the past few years, as it envisions a role for the personal computer as the hub of the average home's living room entertainment center.

    This is a great step forward in Microsoft's strategic plans forthe future. Facing a growing threat from competing operating systems, and losing market share in international circles, mostly business clients, Microsoft has braced itself for the future, when it will not be the no. 1 OS. Take for example MSNBC, a money losing venture for Microsoft since its launcha few years back. Xbox barely takes in a profit. Yet these two products are examples of how MS is carefully pushing itself into media delivery, a business I believe Gates is targeting in the future. By having even a presence in these industries, even if a small one, companies and shareholders in the future will learn to trust MS in this field.

    Some years from now (like 8) when MS does another big buyout or forms a subsidiary in a movie business or production studio or home entertainment encryption, MS may have established itself as a trustworthy name, and the OS part of its company may play a lesser role at that point. Remember that Disney has influcence and presence in many circles of business as well, making this an alliance to watch carefully.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) * on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:51AM (#8226045)
    I have a long memory, and have been working with Disney professionally on-and-off for over 20 years. I remember Disney before Pixar, their ups and downs. Mostly ups. Sure, the Disney/Pixar relationship was great for both organizations, and a more cynical person could easily argue that Pixar, despite their obvious talents, needed Disney *then* more than Disney needs Pixar *now.* There are other Pixars "out there" just waiting to be taken under a big corp's wing (the MS/Bungie deal come to mind immediately, I don't know why...), and both EisnerCo and GatesCo have demonstrated they know how to find them. Sure, Pixar has raised the bar, and my hat's off to them, but the animation bar now rises at an almost exponential rate annually due as much to the tearing down of tech barriers as to the pushing of creative envelopes. Content is of course still "king," but in no field is that crown held on so uneasy a head as it is in animation.

    As for the whole DRM bugaboo, I gotta tell you, most people don't care. In fact, most geeks don't care. Should they? Sure, but it's a topic for a different conversation. Disney will be making and distributing -- and MS will be securing -- entertainment for the mass populace. If everybody who sez they'll never buy a DRM'd download REALLY never buys a DRM'd download, it will still be less than a rounding error on the Disney/MS titan's ledger.
  • Re:Great News! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by john82 ( 68332 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:53AM (#8226059)
    Does anyone around here have an interest in watching a movie on a 1.5" (4 cm) lcd?

    Perhaps not, but what about background images and ringtones? There are plenty of identifiable Disney IP that's already availble in those categories (albeit illegally). But there are also newer game machine/phone hybrids for the 12-20 set (as evidenced by the new model from Nokia). I'm sure those are not the last instance of such integrated functionality we'll see.
  • Great News!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <curt.johnson@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:59AM (#8226116) Homepage
    Given Disney's trackrecord of turning every DRM solution they touch into a consumer backlash, we should be able to watch the market failure of MS's DRM product.

    Remember, these are the guys that have watched DivX and disposable DVDs flop in the market. Maybe third times a charm, but it'll be more fun to watch MS get sucked into Disney's inability to squeeze more money from the pre-school crowd who watch those movies till the VHS tapes are worn thin.

    I say, let the games begin. ;-)
  • Re:Not Important (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thebiggs ( 625489 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:59AM (#8226122)
    It's true that they may not have much new quality material to apply the DRM to, especially since Pixar's gone away (at the same time as Disney has cut all of it's own animation staff.) BUT they have a formidable back catalog, and one can imagine them applying some pretty formidable rules to it. For instance, you can buy Snow White and watch it on your PDA, but only until it goes "back in the vault," after which you'll have to wait 5 years to buy it again.
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:05PM (#8226161)
    No-one _needs_ Disney movies: we need to eat, we need to drink, we don't _need_ to watch 'Disney's Little Aardvark'... any demand that exists is pure hype and marketing. You're making the fatal mistake of assuming that just because Disney have a monopoly on Disney movies, that people don't have a choice as to whether they watch them or not.
  • Re:Great News! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by debian4life ( 701155 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:05PM (#8226165)
    Ok so you are telling me that all this stuff I am hearing about phones that you can surf the Internet on, IM, take pictures, use Bluetooth, ssh, VNC, etc, all while typing on a numeric keypad with buttons 1/10th the size of my finger is a bunch of overblown hype. Now I have to cancel my order on my Motorola v27000
  • copied or played (Score:2, Insightful)

    by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:18PM (#8226280)
    "The two companies signed a multiyear agreement for Disney to license Microsoft's Windows Media digital rights management technology, which protects digital content from being illegally copied or played."

    not being able to play it eh.. j/k

    anyways my point is that I don't understand illegally playing it. If you can't make an illegal copy how could you illegaly play it in the first place. The thing I guess I don't like about these new programs where you download music online and now movies is that when it comes down to it I want to make copies to watch on other computers other devices and such that is still legal to do. At least where I live in Canada U.S. has got so anal about it I'm not sure what the law on that type of thing are anymore.
  • Re:Great News! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hashbrownie ( 313486 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:27PM (#8226360)
    Don't forget the fact that not only will they allow you to watch movies on a tiny screen, they'll cost you $7 a pop, and only be watchable for 48 hours before they evaporate...

    I don't understand why anyone would want Internet Video on Demand in its current form. If you care about immediacy, you use your cable box to order a pay-per-view or OnDemand; if you don't care about immediacy, you rent from Blockbuster or whatever. In both cases the price is about the same (or less) as Internet movies, and the quality is better.

    Now, if I could watch movies on my PDA on the subway ... that's a different story.

  • by Octagon Most ( 522688 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:30PM (#8226391)
    "... a corporation does not have to be a 'monopoly' in order to violate the Sherman Act. ... It's restraint of trade that matters."

    But wouldn't a company have to have significant, if not near dominant, market share to be considered restraining trade in this case? Disney is a corporate titan but has nowhere near the market share necessary to restrict consumer choice with a distribution technology.

    "... this is the first step in trying to establish Microsoft's DRM as the de-facto standard prior to governmental requirement of DRM ..."

    Of course this is a significant step in establishing Microsoft's DRM as a "de-facto standard." I don't want that to come to pass, but a de-facto standard is not the same thing as a monopoly. The technology industry relies on de-facto standards. I do share your concern somewhat, but I don't see how Disney is anywhere near a violation of Sherman, nor is Microsoft doing anything wrong in promoting their technology with a partner.
  • by renelicious ( 450403 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:39PM (#8226490)
    What good is Disney without Pixar?

    Its funny every time something about Disney/Pixar comes up on Slashdot every says
    "What's Disney without Pixar?"

    Its funny because Disney is ALOT without Pixar. They question these people pose (rhetorically?) is only true for ADULTS. Yes adults enjoy the Pixar films, but Disney's goal is not to entertain adults. They produce content for children. So Disney without Pixar will probably be just fine. They have many, many, many other assets that they can keep. Yes Disney without Pixar won't be interesting to YOU, but I bet people are still buying Baby Einstein tapes for their kids or Winnie the Pooh toys for their nieces and nephews.

    Now don't get me wrong I'm not a Disney Fanboy, and the Pixar films are probably the only ones I've seen in the past few years (except Brother Bear that vile turd of a film) but I think Disney does enough other things that losing Pixar probably won't bring them to thier knees.
  • Disney and Divx (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Angry_Admin ( 685125 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:42PM (#8226530)
    Titan or not, Disney hasn't had much luck lately trying to control how their media is distributed and what hardware is allowed to view it.
    Just take a look at its track record with Divx and the "disposable DVD's". Yet they still refuse to acknowledge that people (their consumers) want to play movies/music in whatever hardware they have. They don't want to jump through the studio's hoops just to watch a movie or listen to a piece of music.
  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:44PM (#8226553) Homepage Journal
    You overlooked a crucial player -- Pixar. They just ended their distribution contract with Disney, who took an unfair share of the profits.

    Look at their comparative output in the last ten years. PIXAR is the new Disney. (Well, at least in the animated feature arena. To be fair Disney has several other allied businesses that Pixar is not in. Yet.) And Disney, lacking any real vision or innovation, it resorting to anti-consumer DRM lockin. Just the kind of strategy you'd expect from a company that's lost it's edge.

  • by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <.moc.citerehck. .ta. .etihwts.> on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:50PM (#8226606) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the establishment of Microsoft's DRM as a standard is that, sooner or later, those corporations who depend on IP for their income will succeed in lobbying congress to require mandatory DRM inclusion. If Microsoft's is the 'de-facto' standard, there is significant incentive to adopt it as a 'standard' rather than some open standard; Chances are that it will cost money and open software like cdrecord or Linux or *bsd will be in violation of the law.

    Yeah. It could literally make free software illegal in the US. Sound like fun?

    I would have thought it obvious, however, that I was not referring to Disney as being in violation of the Sherman act, but Microsoft primarily, and Disney by association - in that they will be lobbying to make their choice the default choice of law.

    Mandatory DRM will present a significant barrier to entry in any creative industry that touches on the electronic. There have already been discussions by Congress at which industry shills promoted mandatory DRM on products - i.e., as an independent musician with a website distribution model, I would be required by law to apply DRM to my music - at whatever the prevailing price might be - before i could distribute it electronically. Since I can't make Albums in my basement, I'd have to pay for the DRM product to 'protect' my content - even if I want to give it away.

    I assure you that the Media's worst nightmare is a fad that swept children and young adults to a different distribution channel - like pay per song musician distribution sites that cut Sony and pals out of the picture entirely.

  • What a moron (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:58PM (#8226691) Homepage
    Monopoly by definition does not include the government, no matter how evil and controlling that government is. Though I don't always agree with them, most Libertarians are quite intelligent and logical, and you are insulting them with such stupid arguments.

    If the evil government said everybody *must* purchase Microsoft, then Microsoft would still be the monopoly, not the government. The government would be a bad government.

    PS: Microsoft certainly is a monopoly. It is physically impossible to do many things that are required in life (such as work at many jobs) without purchasing a product from Microsoft (ie you must have it on your home computer).

    PPS: A lot of the power of the monopoly Microsoft and of Disney (who really are not a monopoly) are due to anti-libertarian laws such as copyright and patents and protectionism. You should be finding arguments on how these laws are helping unscrupulous and greedy people to get more power than they should be able to have under a "free" system.
  • Re:Not Important (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 ... l.com minus city> on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:31PM (#8227025) Homepage Journal
    When's the last time Disney did something truly creative? Look at Pixar's stuff, then look at Disney's stuff, and you see where things are going.
  • by eaddict ( 148006 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:34PM (#8227059)
    I know that we buy Disney DVDs right now cause they can be played anywhere. We have a DVD player in the van (for road trips - ha!), DVD players on the kids computers in the basement, and of course, the DVD player by the entertainment center. I even have a DVD player on my laptop that is used on flights and in hotels. I can't imagine streaming a copy to my TV then buying another copy for the van or PC. How will DRM affect how I share my movie through the 4 or 5 ways I can watch it right now?
  • by michael_cain ( 66650 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:39PM (#8227106) Journal
    (me shows joe his new sharp zaurus and other Linux-based devices)

    On which you can't play any mainstream movies or music. The media giants are learning. From CDs they learned, don't distribute digital content in the clear. From DVDs they learned, encryption based on trade secrets can and will be reverse engineered. WMA offers the "advantage" that some aspects of it are covered by patents, that any player not properly licensed infringes on the patents, and that MS can easily win the infringement cases against the developers in court. Financially ruin a couple of hackers for life (personal bankruptcy won't get you any relief from that $10M judgement you owe MS -- you're going to be poor FOREVER) and the hackers will quit.

    And for better or worse, Joe Sixpack and his family want to consume mainstream content. Joe WANTS to see the local sports teams. His tykes WANT to watch Disney cartoons. And so on. If the Linux-based device won't play WMA, Joe's not going to be interested. And possession of an MPEG version of the video (as an example) will be a trivially easy copyright infringement case to win -- since the only legal copies that are distributed are in WMA...

    I used to do technology intelligence work for a large media firm, and predicted this as a likely evolution at least three years ago.

  • by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:41PM (#8227123) Journal
    Is this the new Netscape/MS-type battlezone?

    Jobs versus Eisner & Gates. Hmmm. Eisner is under attack by the Disney family (having kicked the Son off the board [google.com], effectively) and has had a high profile contract loss (Pixar [wired.com] itself). Gates is reviled and ridiculed by roughly the same people since Greenspun made his Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock [greenspun.com]; this hasn't hurt [] him much at all. Jobs is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma (without the genocide [januarymagazine.com]). Pixar had a disappointing earnings report

    Will Time Warner choose sides?

    Speaking of which, will this Internet/Media marriage have as much impact as TimeWarner/AOL [com.com]? if so, this is non-news.

  • by rjung2k ( 576317 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @02:30PM (#8227722) Homepage

    Pixar is a bunch of very creative folks with a lot of CPU horsepower, but no distribution channels. Disney is a very large, diversified company with a LOT of "pull" (or is it "push"?) with theaters and rental outfits. It doesn't matter how good the movie, if no one can view it.

    I can't think of one movie distribution channel in Hollywood who wouldn't give a major portion of their anatomy for the chance to distribute Pixar's stuff (and get a cut of the action, natch).

    Pixar will have NO PROBLEM finding someone to distribute their stuff.

  • by Genus Marmota ( 59217 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @04:54PM (#8229797)
    This is not a joke.

    There's a story going around about the early days of VCR development: RCA was presenting to Disney it's first design for a "non-rewindable" cassete. They set up a meeting with some Disney bigwigs to show them how it worked. You needed a special device to rewind the cassete which presumably only the rental shops would have had. It was tamper-proof to the extent that casual attempts to rewind it without this special device would break the cassette or at least render it unplayable.

    At the meeting the RCA engineers showed the cassete design, demonstrated the features and said "well, what do you think?"

    The response of the Disney execs was to object that there was no way of controlling how many people were in the room watching when it played. They declared it unacceptable and left.

    I've talked with Disney (video) engineers who assure me that this is precisely how these people think. But they're not alone. More than one "grand vision of the future" from corporate lobbyists presumes that we're going to pay for electronic print media a page view at a time.

    If this keeps up, fair use is dead, and the days of free public libraries are numbered.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.