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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 Breaker_1 ( 688170 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:08AM (#8225605) Homepage
    Will they be using a standard format then that would be compatbile with many devices or are they going to be using a custom format?
    Wait.. do I REALLY need Mickey Mouse (C) on my cell phone?

    ::runs for the hills::
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:12AM (#8225655) Homepage
    I wonder if Steve Jobs took his little computer animated characters and left Disney because they went with M$ DRM. Deals like this don't happen over night. Just a thought...
  • by lennart78 ( 515598 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:13AM (#8225662)
    Disney made a genious, tough at the time risky, move to do business with Pixar. Pixar, with every new movie they put out, has raised the bar on animated movies. Traditional 2D-Disney animation is on a steep decline, and Pixar is now breaking free of Disney. (I've seen the figures somewhere, don't have a link, but take it from me, it's impressive...)

    For this deal with MS to be a success, they must have content people are willing to watch. And that is something they're not putting out anymore with Pixar off their team.

    They can still be considered a titan, but for how long?
  • DRM will be cracked (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SparafucileMan ( 544171 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:15AM (#8225681)
    I mean, seriously....haven't they been paying attention to the friendly hackers? Once it gets popular we'll break the DRM faster than Bush can say "weapons of mass destruction."
  • by Lightwarrior ( 73124 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:18AM (#8225705) Journal
    Don't write 'em off yet. Pixar still has three movies it owes Disney. How long has it been since the last three Pixar films? How long do you think it would take Disney to setup a Pixar knock-off?

  • 2 titans... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:18AM (#8225708) Journal
    ... on the way downhill
    i would rather bet my $$ on the Apple/pixar tandem : 2 stars on the rise
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:26AM (#8225773) Homepage Journal
    I have a vga port on mine.. so im not really limted to just the LCD.

    Also dont forget homebuilt 'tivo' like devices. Most of them wont be compatible either.

    Or laptops running something other then the latest ( not even old will work i bet ) versions of windows.

    I dont belive that 'pda content' is the end all goal.. not for a moment.
  • Not feature films (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:29AM (#8225811) Homepage Journal

    Does anyone around here have an interest in watching a movie on a 1.5" (4 cm) lcd?

    I don't see Eisner pushing full-length feature films in this medium as much as 11-minute-or-shorter episodes of "Recess", "Pepper Ann", "House of Mouse" or any of the other ABC crap that Disney has tried to push on K-12 kids.

  • by InsaneGeek ( 175763 ) <> on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:36AM (#8225863) Homepage
    Let's face the facts. DRM is coming, it's going to be here no matter how much kicking and screaming people do it's going to be here. Many of the Slashdot crowd have been wringing their hands concerned with Linux/BSD/other being squeezed out of being able to view movies, listen to MP3's, etc. All they have been saying is M$ is bad because of DRM they are going to screw *US*. Well they are going to screw non MS users if we don't do something about it.

    Content providers want DRM, MS probably doesn't care a bit about DRM but they realized that providers want it before they'll release their product. So they fill the niche because opensource has only been against it instead of offering their alternative. If opensource, etc doesn't want to be completely squeezed out of this market they need to offer an alternative. An alternative that can be used on any platform without cost. Content providers don't want to pay a M$ license, they just want a warm fuzzy. If we can give them a warm fuzzy without cost; it'll still be DRM but it'll be *our* DRM that won't prevent *my* OS from being able to view their content. We need to get an acceptable alternative out there before we non-M$ users completely lose any use (even a crippled DRM use) because we let M$ control the market completely.
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:50AM (#8226022)
    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..

    To be quite honest, you don't matter to Disney (unless you are a parent). They market their tripe to the mass-market of parents. Good, wholesome family values. They get parents to buy every friggin thing they put out with this method. Who wants to hear a kid screaming over and over that they want to watch The Lion King 1 1/2? Just buy the DVD so the kid will shut up for a couple of hours. Go into a mall, and look at who is actually buying things in the Disney store. Go to that train-wreck Disney themed indoor amusement thingy. Go to Disney World. Ugh. They aren't concerned with quality, they are concerned with $$$$$. Microsoft is the way to go for them...

  • Expiring DVDs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:51AM (#8226038)
    Didn't Disney attempt to sell the DVDs with an expiration date? And if I recall that failed gloriously.

    And who will really want to stream a movie? Pay, say $5 for something that looks like crap; or maybe they'll let you download DVD quality...who couldn't download 3 - 4 gigs of video, right? Disney really has had some strange ideas lately.

    In any event, buying the DVD will probably only be $10 more than paying to download it, so why bother at all?
  • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @11:58AM (#8226109) Homepage Journal
    can't deprive her of... Winne the Pooh :)

    the irony here is that it's debatable whether winnie the pooh is really disney's to use and distribute.

    some guy called slesinger bought, lock stock and honey pot, all the rights to pooh from a.a. milne back in something like 1930. he licensed those rights to walt disney (the guy, not the company) sometime later for a royalty payment.

    now disney co. is apparently being remiss in their royalty payments and has been manufacturing poohware outside of the scope of the licensing agreement for twenty-something years. so slesinger's widow is suing.

    and now disney wants to put drm on pooh content to stop people from "stealing their property."

    sweet irony.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:09PM (#8226202)
    Speaking as a parent of two kids, I'd say that Nick and Pixar are enjoyed by my kids far more than Disney.

    The magic is *gone*.
  • "Industry"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @12:29PM (#8226382) Homepage
    Titans perhaps, but industry? Doesn't that imply the production of useful goods or services?
  • Re:Expiring DVDs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by defwu ( 688771 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:00PM (#8226708) Journal
    I think most people want to stream movies. It is called pay per view and works wonderfully for the cable market. It is a mistake to confuse the methodology and use model with the underlying technology. If consumers want the ability to see a movie, rewind it, etc, but not actually own it, then soemone will provide a way for them to do that. I would love to be able to download a (any) movie for limited time use and avoid Blockbuster entirely. Again, I think that it is the same idea, just a different medium.
  • Yep. Although I'm no fan of Jobs particularly, there is no doubt that Pixar has more creativity in their bathroom than Disney has in their whole company. And this, by the way, is not to knock the talent at Disney, which still has some of the most talented people in the world. But the environment there doesn't encourage creativity any more.
  • by EvanKai ( 218260 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @02:41PM (#8227857) Homepage
    ... literally. A couple of Disney "Imagineers" were in town for a presentation and said that Disney has changed to the point that they are now cracking down on free coffee while DreamWorks is providing free lunches in an effort to keep it's talent on campus.

    The Disney approach is typical accounting mentality towards creativity. Because profits are down, we need to tighten the screws. Meanwhile the talent is spending 20 minutes deciding where to go for lunch, 20 minutes to get there, and if they're networking with anyone, it's to look for a new job.

    During their introduction, a sketch of Mickey was slowly drawn on the screen with the explanation that some of the greatest ideas start with a sketch. It was all I could do not to yell out, "Yeah, a sketch of Steam Boat Willy!".

    I refrained and was allowed to listen to these two blather on about how outdated Disney's creative process is. These were supposed to people be people who actually designed physical attractions, but there was no mention of 3D visualization, rapid prototyping, or virtual walk throughs.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday February 09, 2004 @04:32PM (#8229456) Homepage
    ...I doubt I will be elligible to buy from Disney. :( Forget about DRM, what about the amount of data I would be downloading? Would I be able to download my kids' favorites to watch without fear of being disconnected?

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