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Download-to-own Films Coming Soon 335

riflemann writes "CNN is reporting that Universal Pictures will soon launch a service whereby films can be downloaded legally to own, i.e. non time-limited digital downloads. Currently most legally downloaded movies are time limited. Buyers will also receive a DVD version in the post. Is the movie industry finally listening? And how will they define 'own?'"
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Download-to-own Films Coming Soon

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  • zones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noelo ( 661375 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:54PM (#14985376)
    I wonder will they enforce region encoding on these DVDs or will they be zone free....
  • Own (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @10:54PM (#14985383) Homepage
    How will they define own?

    Ownership agreement:

    You will not make backup copies of your files.
    You will not have your files on more than one computer.
    You may not share the files under any circumstance.
    You may not playback the movie to more than 5 people.
  • Restricted Access (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:05PM (#14985430)
    For the past couple of years, I've been increasingly restricting the funds I contribute to the media cartels' war chests. Until they stop the lawsuit shenanigans and begin distributing media in DRM-free, non-patented formats, I will continue to do so. Besides, indie music and films are much better, so it's not like I've been missing much.
  • Re:Restricted Access (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:24PM (#14985520) Homepage
    You've never seen an Independent movie? I bet you just didn't know it. Some of the best movies ever made are indies. There's a list of the top 50 at imdb which includes titles like []
    • The Terminator
    • Apocalypse Now
    • The Usual Suspects
    • Psycho
    • Pulp Fiction

    It's kind of sad (from the aspect that Hollywood makes lots of crap), but many oscar winners and oscar nominees start out as indie films. There are many more that never make the mainstream distribution channels and are only shown in 'art houses'. Just keep in mind, indie doesn't mean good either. Many of the best written movies are indies, but many of the worst movies I've seen are also independent.
  • by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:29PM (#14985540) Homepage
    Let's face it, most downloaders aren't in it for the convenience.

    Which brings up an interesting point, how big of a problem are illegal downloads of movies. Personally I don't download them, netflix is way more efficient and I can watch on my TV which has a bigger screen, better sound and a nicer chair than my computer. This is nice for people that want to download, but I don't see the masses downloading movies to their computer on a regular basis like they do music. Music downloads are a totally different animal. You can have thousands of songs, put them on shuffle and put them in the background (just like xmms is doing fo me right now). Movies aren't as versatile that way. If I'm going to watch a movie, I'm going to sit down and pay attention to it. There's no point for me having many thousands of movie titles.
  • by skaet ( 841938 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:43PM (#14985593) Homepage
    This raises the question of what formats will the movie be offered in? Sure we might get a PC version but I'm certainly not going to use it if it requires a proprietary player - and how long would it take for a crack that lets us copy the file from someone else and watch it? What if they come contained in a self-playing executable (such as Bink Video).

    The files would also have to be within a reasonable size, the current 700MB standard would be perfect so I could burn it to a CD for later playback. Will the files be available for re-download in the event of a hard drive failure or format? This sounds like a great step forward in the right direction - provided they do it right. Finally someone has listened to the consumer... Well, they could have chosen a better movie than King Kong as the first film available...
  • Re:wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @11:49PM (#14985614) Homepage
    That's because the MPAA is fine with it, I'm sure; by "own," they mean watch only in their special DRMed format on valid Windows XP/Vista PC's only - no copying allowed.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:03AM (#14985672) Homepage Journal
    Well, if I can't email directly, I can Email them a link to the file [] which is stored on a separate server and let them get it from there anonymously. Actually, I can input a fake email address with this service and just paste the link that's generated to SEVEN other people.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. There's ALWAYS a way around some security measure, and as usual, it's been around for some time now. Anything in the DMCA covering pre-existing services that only now happen to circumvent distribution/content-protection?
  • by RockyPersaud ( 937868 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:07AM (#14985689)

    SpaceChannel.TV will be doing this too. We're rolling out next week a download site (specific to the Space Entertainment, Space Sports, and Science Fiction market) where our programs may be purchased to own. AND -- 6 to 12 months later you'll be able to RESELL your copy through our site. Videos will be encrypted, and you'll have to be online for just a few seconds for our custom video player to grab the decryption key -- after a few seconds you can go offline and continue watching the video.

    We're not delivering DVDs, but perhaps we could in the future.

    Another thing we're working on: videos are purchased through a credit exchange system. You can purchase credits directly, or watch ads to be given credits by our system. We collect revenue from advertisers whose ads you watch, and pass on the value to you. In the first six months, that value is passed on at par!

    Rocky Persaud
    President, IPX Entertainment []

  • too expensive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by beautiful leper ( 892064 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @12:12AM (#14985708)
    By the laws of supply and demand I feel they are asking for way too much. They are assuming the cost of overhead as if they had to send on trucks jewel cases and cds with printed media. But I guess wasting forty minutes downloading on painfuly slow lines is somehow worth 18 dollors.

  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @04:11AM (#14986404)
    Maybe it is wrong. But it is not to you to decide, but owner of work, who owns copyrights. Exactly listen to word - copy right. He is the one who has full rights to copy. You have only mererly rights to "fair use", use song on your iPod/iRiver, computer in FLAC format, whatever. And even that not in all countries.

    That's the law. Like it or not. The same law GPL and BSD is founded on.
  • Re:40$ for Kong? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @04:30AM (#14986448)
    Don't buy their stuff.. any of their stuff!

    I disagree. You can buy their stuff and still put even more economic hurt on them than a simple boycott.

    My strategy - buy used DVDs, buy them from rental stores for ~$5 a disc. Then lend them out to as many people as you can. I usually work at companies with mostly well-educated, well-paid employees. I lend my $5 used DVDs out to anyone who asks, after seeing another guy do it, I even keep an inventory of recent titles on my desk for easy borrowing.

    These people are the studio's target audience - the single people have plenty of disposable income and the parents have kids which dispose of their income for them. When I lend out my $5 copy of Star Wars ep3 to 20 people over 3 months, that's at least 10 less people who would otherwise have paid money to rent or buy (I presume the other 10 just borrow it because its free, so no real loss of business opportunity there.)

    For each $5, I am stealing (to use the MPAA/RIAA's favorite terminology) around $100 worth of business away from the studios and their associates (they've got 'revenue-sharing' deals with Blockbuster and Hollywood Video) and not only is it 100% legal, I also get to own the DVD of the movie too.

    You might not think that just one guy can make a difference - that might be true, but if you check Blockbuster Video's financial status, you will see they are soo deep in the red that they will probably be bankrupt within 3 years, maybe sooner. I claim complete responsibility for that!
  • The UK price (Score:4, Interesting)

    by payndz ( 589033 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @05:16AM (#14986555)
    A lot of Americans in the thread seem outraged by the price, but £19.99 is actually the standard UK recommended retail price for most new DVD releases.

    Of course, there's no way in hell I would ever pay that much for a DVD - supermarkets generally discount new releases to around £14, and online retailers like often go even lower. But somebody must be paying full whack for DVDs, otherwise places like HMV that do charge the full RRP would be in trouble...

    Reading TFA, the deal is that with this new service you get a large (presumably DRMed-to-the-hilt) file for use on a computer, a small copy for use on mobile devices... and an actual physical DVD. So what they're saying is "If we give you a digital backup of the physical DVD, that's fine. If you make a digital backup, you're a filthy pirate!"

  • Re:wait, what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ngwenya ( 147097 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @11:10AM (#14987749)
    And yes, my apologies still go to Linux users who can't run iTunes (6) with QuickTime (7).

    That's all right. We just use compatible technologies like P2P($0) and Usenet($15).

    Arrr, shipmate ... How be the HDTV movies business with yer iTunes these days?


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