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Sony Cutting Back on UMD Sales 108

Posted by Zonk
from the proprietary-formats-for-the-win dept.
Karsten writes "An article in Variety claims that Sony is cutting back on UMD releases. While comedies are doing well, other genres simply aren't getting much traction." From the article: "Some have reasoned that sales may have slowed recently because of a shortage of new titles in the last month and because users may be illegally copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read. Sony is hoping to combat online piracy starting in March when it begins selling movies online via its Connect digital media store. Users will be able to download a pic and watch it on PSP without a disc."
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Sony Cutting Back on UMD Sales

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  • Illegally? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hammerikaner (570527) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:27AM (#14732976) Homepage
    Ahemm, wouldn't copying your DVD to work on another device be a clear example of fair use? You can tell it's fair use because what the company would like you to do--buy a whole new copy of something you already own--would be completely unfair.
    • by lordcat (949055)
      Haven't you been reading /.? Copying a CD or DVD to work on another device is clearly not an example of fair use... well.. maybe it was a few weeks ago... but now-a-days fair use doesn't include copying or ripping or backing up (or even playing for that matter) any media you buy...
      • I would like for the RIAA and MPAA to define, in their infinite wisdom, what they think IS "fair use".

        I would also like them to tell me, again, if I've paid for the medium or the content, and if I've paid for the content (or use of the content, as they keep telling me), then why I can't view the content elsewhere.... I mean, I've paid to use the content, right?
        • In the case of CD's/DVD's you have paid for a disc with the content on it which was a great way to do it when people owned vinyl records (alot harder to copy) it's gotten alot more complicated now its so easy to copy content. people who have paid for something, want to keep it, so they copy it, but they dident pay for the rights to recreate content.
          • I disagree... when you bought vinyl, you bought a medium and the right to access the content on it (within limitations of copyright and other laws). Congress declared copying to a cassette to use the content elsewhere was fair use. That didn't mean I was allowed to copy to tape and distribute it to anyone else for free or for gain, it meant that if I owned the vinyl, then I was entitled to listen to the content on it. We still pay a royalty on blank cassettes.

            It's the exact same thing with CDs. I can co
    • Pretty much (Score:5, Informative)

      by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:33AM (#14733039)
      I think this is exactly what's covered under fair use [eff.org]:
      Personal use also permits music fans to make "mix tapes" or compilations of their favorite songs from their own personal music collection or the radio for their own personal enjoyment in a more convenient format, or "format shifting." Another example of acceptable personal use copying of a copyrighted work is "time-shifting," or the recording of a copyrighted program to enjoy at a later and more convenient time.
      Personally, I think they're slowing down sales because the PSP isn't selling all that well and people like to watch movies on big screens as a general rule of thumb. The iPod videos generally works because the costs are in the range of $1 or $2, the install base is huge, and sometimes they let people download the tv show the day before it's on television.
    • Re:Illegally? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DaHat (247651) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:36AM (#14733073) Homepage
      Lets not forget that copying a DVD is a little less clear cut in the US because of the DMCA which makes bypassing a copy control mechanism illegal... just what has to occur to bypass the CSS on a DVD to make the copying succeed.

      In short, space shifting is legal, bypassing a copy protection mechanism for such a purpose isn't. Granted its amazingly easy today compared to just 5 years ago... but that doesn't make it any less illegal or wrong in the eyes of the content makers.
      • Glad to see that someone else here actually seems to understand what's going on. I'm sure there are others, but so far they haven't spoken up...
      • However, wouldn't breaking the protection for shifting be legal due under the interoperability exemption?
        • That's why I say that its 'a little less clear cut'.

          Courts have gone both ways on the issue and there is not yet a definitive ruling or legislation that answers this question... until then it's pretty much every man and company doing what they think is right.
      • Re:Illegally? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:56PM (#14734018)
        Lets not forget that copying a DVD is a little less clear cut in the US because of the DMCA which makes bypassing a copy control mechanism illegal...

        Read the law. You can find it here [loc.gov]. There is no blanket prohibition on bypassing copy control mechanisms - this is a big, big misconception about the DMCA. In fact, there are both specific and non-specific instances (i.e. basically the same provisions as in earlier fair use definitions) in which bypassing technological copy control mechanisms is explicitly allowed.

        Whether or not format-shifting would count is not clearly laid out in the law, anymore than it is in earlier copyright laws. According to the DMCA, the Librarian of Congress is supposed to review cases like this every 3 years to determine whether they would be legal under the DMCA's provisions or not.

        The entire purpose of this part of the DMCA was not to stamp out fair use, it was to specifically prohibit circumventing technological measures that were implemented in order to prevent copyright violations. But the bottom line is (or is supposed to be) that if you're not violating copyright law, you are allowed to circumvent these technological measures. The DMCA was not supposed to take away your fair use rights.

        How the law has been used and referenced since it was enacted may be another story. But that is the way the law was written, and I'm confident that if it was actually tested in court (and format-shifting has not been, to my knowledge), that both the letter and intent of the law would be followed by the court.
        • Re:Illegally? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by sirambrose (919153)
          While you may be correct that the DMCA recognizes fair use, it prohibits the sale of technology that is capable of making the copies. Without some sort of DRM it isn't possible to design a program to only make fair use copies. Much of the deffinitions of what is fair use involve the intent of the copier. The DVD ripper can't just ask if you intend to use the copy for litterary criticism or for mass duplication and sale. Video game companies can get away with hiding the web pages for M rated games behin
      • So... downloading a copy of a movie you already own on DVD is okay, because you're not actually bypassing the copy protection yourself?
      • Re:Illegally? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @02:02PM (#14734718) Homepage
        The last 4 dvd's I ripepd and converted to Divx for my home on demand system had no CSS encryption on them.

        Finding DVD's that pay the money for CSS and Macrovision "protection" is getting less and less. The makers know it's useless to put that "protection" on there as it is trivial to go around it.
    • Sony is praying that customers eventually forget about fair use entirely by refusing to acknowledge that it ever exists. Eventually they'll get their wish and pay some congressman tack on some midnight rider to some unrelated bill that does away with fair use entirely without anybody noticing. The DMCA was a good start, but there are still a few holes that need to be patched up before they'll be happy.
    • If you want you content in another format you should rebuy it, you nasty pirate!

      Yeah, of course your right and in any normal country you do have the right to make a copy for personal use. If you do not have that right then you do not live in a normal country and are a silly person who deserves sillyness.

      Fight for your right to recode your own content for your own use!

  • I get it (Score:5, Funny)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:28AM (#14732986) Journal
    "comedies are doing well"
    So does this officially mean UMD movies are a Joke
  • by millennial (830897) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:29AM (#14732995) Journal
    As much fun as it is to watch a two-hour-long movie on a 480x272 screen on a battery that might die if you have to rewind too often, it's extremely aggravating to be pigeonholed into a single media viewing system. As for their complaints about copying DVDs to the memory stick: if they're DVDs I own, Sony hasn't lost any money from me. Yes, movie piracy is a problem, but many people can't be bothered to download a 700MB movie, compress it to PSP size with PSP codecs, then watch it in grainy, blurry pictures.
    • Yes, movie piracy is a problem, but many people can't be bothered to download a 700MB movie, compress it to PSP size with PSP codecs, then watch it in grainy, blurry pictures.

      I did it. Once, as a proof of concept only to myself. I could watch Advent Children on my sibling's psp. Joy. I said to myself "What was the point?". The PSP was sold not long after, so that the gods of redundancy I didn't set up some ridiculous batch job.
    • As much fun as it is to watch a two-hour-long movie on a 480x272 screen on a battery that might die if you have to rewind too often, it's extremely aggravating to be pigeonholed into a single media viewing system.

      These are UMD discs. There is no need to rewind. Of course, there IS the need to rotate the disc, and that still uses a lot of energy, but you definitely don't need to rewind it like a VHS tape. I suppose in the future this could change, if instead of discs we change to a solid-state format,
      • He's talking about repeating parts of the movie by using the "Rewind Button" which simulates a tape rewind. That would artifically extend the length of the movie, thus using more battery power.

        I think he gets the point that DVDs/UMDs are not VHS tapes.
      • Uhhh..... SD cards are solid state storage, and so are memory sticks (if only an expensive version).
        But the shitty thing is, Sony only lets you play video in half the resolution on the PSP, probably because they want you to buy the UMD's.
        What's the point on buying a rediculously overpriced 2GB Stick if you can't encode into a format that could use that space?

        Anyway, I think "rewind" has manifested itself in our language to describe the process of moving back video in reverse to find the desired scene. What
  • Too expensive (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Winterblink (575267) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:30AM (#14733000) Homepage
    Of course it couldn't have anything to do with people not wanting to buy the same movie twice at nearly the same price, once for home theater use and once for portable use?

    The latest news about them bundling UMDs with DVDs is a step in the right direction, at least.
    • Re:Too expensive (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      Here's another idea...why not turn this problem they have into a revenue stream that is potentially more profitable than standard UMD sales...why not *gasp* SELL BLANK UMDs? Let people copy their movies over, and turn the UMD into a mass storage device similar to DVDRs. Of course...this is Sony we're talking about, so thats not even a remote possibility, but whatever.

  • Good! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Whoever came up with this UMD idea should be shot. The world doesn't need Yet Another Fucking Incompatible Movie Format, especially not one that locks you into a Sony platform. Burn them, burn them all.
  • Illegal (Score:2, Informative)

    by pubjames (468013)
    users may be illegally copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read

    If I own a DVD, and make a copy so that I can watch it on my PSP, I'm not breaking the law.
    • In most senses true. Just as long as, our little friend, DMCA doesn't sneak up on you for decoding it.
    • If you own a copy-protected DVD and circumvent that protection to make a copy, then yes, technically you are breaking the law (specifically the DMCA). Of course, this is something that many of us here don't like to admit. The only way to change this is by getting the law or portions of it changed. Let your Congress-person know why you don't like it and why you think it should be changed.
      • Re:Illegal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pubjames (468013)
        I don't think we have the DMCA in Europe (yet!?) and so I'm not breaking the law.
        • Ahhh. You caught me in my Americentricism again. Thanks for pointing this out.
        • I don't think we have the DMCA in Europe (yet!?)

          We have the EUCD, which is suspiciously similar to the DMCA. However, like all European directives it has been implemented to the letter in some states, to the letter and beyond in others, patchily in still others and totally ignored in the rest.

          Precisely what the law about cracking copy restriction actually is now is anybody's guess.

    • If I own a DVD, and make a copy so that I can watch it on my PSP, I'm not breaking the law.

      In which country? Some major developed countries have enacted legislation that bans decryption of a copyrighted work not authorized by the work's copyright owner, even for purposes of uses that would otherwise be considered fair.

      • I hope you mean "bans decryption ... with a non-authorized device", because decryption is part of the playback process :)
        • I hope you mean "bans decryption ... with a non-authorized device"

          That was implicit in "bans decryption ... not authorized by the work's copyright owner". An example of an unauthorized decryption would be anything that involves a fixation of the decrypted data in a tangible medium.

    • I'm pretty sure that that you'd be violating the DMCA. While the act itself may simply be an attempt to circumvent Fair Use, going against it is breaking the law until the Supreme Court takes it off the books.
    • If I own a DVD, and make a copy so that I can watch it on my PSP, I'm not breaking the law.

      Of course you are. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the DMCA, despite the best efforts at disinformation spreading by the slashdot chorus. You don't have the right to copy movies. You can't copy VHS tapes. You can't copy DVDs. You can't do it for personal use, you can't do it for "backup", you can't do it to change formats. It's not fair use, and it never has been.

      The AHRA gave specific exception for per
      • Re:Illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        Fair use isn't an exhaustive list of allowed uses. It is possible that given the nature of the copy (single copy for personal use), and the effect on the market (is it reasonable that someone should have to pay twice for the same movie?).

        The media cartels don't bother prosecuting over small scale issues like this, and without a court ruling on the matter, any statement that something is, or is not fair use is merely an opinion.
        • I agree that personal copying may be fair use, and probably should be fair use.

          I don't agree with the original poster who claimed that it unquestionably is fair use, or that any copying for personal use was undeniably legal until the evil DMCA came and took away our rights.
      • Re:Illegal (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:50PM (#14735877) Journal
        You are allowed to copy music only because of the AHRA. There is no similar law allowing the copying of movies.

        Wrong, but thank you for playing. Fair use is embodied in USC Title 17 sect. 107[1 [cornell.edu]]. Title 17 is where copyrights are defined. Title 17 refeers to all copyrightable works, therefore, it follows that sect. 107 applies to all copyrighted works.
        The sticky point is that Title 17 sect. 107 never actually mentions personal backups specifically. However, the fourth part of the test provided in the law:
        (4)the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
        Would generally seem to allow a personal backup, as this will not have an effect on the "potential market" for a work. Also, since a personal backup is a noncommercial use, the onus will be on the plantiff to show that this personal use does, in fact, damage their potential market.
        As always: I am not a lawyer, but I play one on Slashdot.
        • Would generally seem to allow a personal backup, as this will not have an effect on the "potential market" for a work.

          You're joking, right?

          People buying additional copies of a work after their first copy wears out is a "potential market."
  • Maybe it's because people don't want to rebuy their movies -- yet again -- for yet another -- format that will be outdated in two years, just to watch it on a six inch screen.

    I'm sorry, but "shortage of new titles" and "oh crap, teh warez!1" are even crappy excuses.
  • What?!? (Score:1, Redundant)

    It's illegal to copy a DVD you OWN to a memory card to watch on another device?
  • What did you expect? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steveo777 (183629) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:39AM (#14733117) Homepage Journal
    users may be illegally copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read.

    The nail in the UMD coffin says, "Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo" right on it.

    They knew what they were doing.. even included the software.. And, despite the fact that people are pirating movies with their memory sticks, a lot of them are copying movies or shows they already own. Then there's the whole issue that it requires far less battery power to read/display a movie off solid state memory than to spin a disc. So it's even more appealing to do so.

    The real question is whether or not they will allow it to continue. Will there be a new firmware update that requires a license to play every movie? And beyond that, will they be producing any "killer apps" that make people want to buy the product that will install it? From what I've heard, the PSP has been distinctivly Gamecube about news lately. In other words, pretty well dead in the water. Very few titles. Not much to get excited over.

    • I went out and bought 2 PSPs for Christmas. The PSP has a feature which allows you to share a game for multiplayer use. However, I have yet to find any sharable games worth playing (and I'm not going to buy the same game twice for one that won't share). Most of the games that take advantage of this feature just offer the second player a demo of the original game.

      I'm hoping the PS3 release will fix the PSPs coolness problems. If the PS3 is a LocationFree Station out of the box then my PSPs will get much
  • Interesting.. will Sony finally be able to save a failing media [wikipedia.org] format [wikipedia.org]?
    • Compact Disc was a Sony/Philips media format which emphatically did not fail in the marketplace. As Philips was not involved in MiniDisc, Betamax, or UMD, it would appear that Sony needs Philips.

      • Philips was also behind the Digital Compact Cassette which deservingly failed miserably, it's main competitor being MiniDisc. Sony&Phillips also collaborated on SACD, which isn't making too impressive inroads in the marketplace either many even being sold as CDs. VCD? Not unless you was yellow. Then there's the Enhanced CD mess which has shown to be an efficient way of installing rootkits on Media Center PCs - although with the wonderful sideeffect that many less techsavvy people now equals DRM with roo
  • A lot of people have bought a UMD or two when they bought their PSPs or soon after, to try the format out, especially in the winter holiday season when there was extra bundling going on. But the average Joe is figuring out that these little discs are useless in anything but a PSP, and at prices similar to DVDs (or even higher), he might as well just buy the DVD.

    One thing I can't explain at all is, how can you get really involved in a movie, or even a TV show, on such a small screen? Obviously people do, bec
    • Just wanted to say, as someone who's bought some content for his iPod (and converted most of the DVD's he owns to iPod format): I don't plan to watch them on the iPod. A standard cable, avalible at any electronics store (though the labels are wrong if you don't get it from Apple) will let you play it on just about any TV. That's where I watch videos.

      A recent example: I was a chaperone for a church youth group overnight. By bringing my iPod, I had eight or so movies with me, in a form that fit in my pocke
      • I have to think the picture quality isn't all that great, especially if you're watching in a group on a larger size set. The sound is probably not as good as DVD, either. But you're right... it is a lot easier to keep track of than DVDs. So I like the device itself, but I'd probably rather transcode DVDs and DVR recordings down to fit, than buy content at that resolution.
        • The quality isn't bad, actually. Not enough difference to be noticeable, usually. Though I do admit that if I watch a video back-to-back iPod and DVD I'll notice less comression artifacts on the DVD version.

          The resolution seems to be about what a TV normally works at. The limiting factor for the iPod is the bitrate (and the quality of the compressor). I usually go for average bitrate, just because my computer is a couple generations old and that lets it complete a movie while I'm at work. Note this mea
  • maybe people realized that if you bought 2 you weren't getting a double...
  • by larsoncc (461660) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:47AM (#14733223) Homepage
    One thing that many folks are confused about is the legality of copying DVDs that you own.

    To the best of my knowledge (not being a lawyer and all that), it's not legal right now - when you break the copy protection found on the greater majority of DVDs on the market, technically, you're breaking the law in the United States. The specific law being broken is the DMCA.

    There are a couple of points to make:
    1. They can screw right off with that law, I'm putting my movies where ever I damn well please.

    2. There is a neat little exemption in the DMCA about devices that are obsolete. I hope these new High Def player break compatibility with the old formats (yeah, high hopes), because as soon as the tech is obsolete, we get to crack the encryption "legally". Frankly, DVDs are, and will be, "good enough" for me for quite some time.

    The other thing to consider here is that UMDs and downloadable movies are essentially new ways to re-purchase content. This process isn't always bad, but in this -case- is very bad. Unlike the move to DVDs, Sony wants us to pay MORE for LESS quality... and pay multiple times.

    Sony is trying pretty hard to un-do some damage that they've unintentionally done with the PSP. By providing users a capable media player that works with writable media, they've broken their business model. They've made customers happy, but happy doesn't buy corporate jets.
    • In regards to your second point. I've not heard much about this "loop hole." It's intriguing, but at the same time, I'm skeptical. Far be it for me to fear the all-powerfull DMCA monkeys, but I'd like to know exactly what constitutes breaking compatability?

      Does that mean that home players have to play all formats? Like VCR, Beta, DVD versions of movies? Or does that mean that they have to release legacy media formats (like CD releases must be also in the form of cassettes and vinyl)?
      Like I said, haven'

      • Question: What is the DMCA's malfunction exemption? [chillingeffects.org]

        Answer: Due to the incidences of software and electronics products manufacturers that go bankrupt or do not respond to customer service complaints, it is not a violation of the DMCA to circumvent malfunctioning, damaged or obsolete software programs that use access control mechanisms. The Copyright Office noted that such circumvention is reserved for only those circumstances where an individual sought, but failed to receive assistance from the copyright own
    • Let me let you in on a dirty little secret. a standard DVD has room on it for 2 High DEF 1080p Movies on it. Using a compression system that works great and is in wide spread use.

      Mpeg4

      They want blu ray and HDDVD to try and plug the ability for you to make them yourself at home.

      I have a large amount of HD content that looks great on my HD television in Divx playing off a nice Dlink HD media center.

      The movie companies really do not want you to know that.

  • Same old, same old (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "An article in [Periodical] claims that [Company] is cutting back on [Production]. Some have reasoned that sales may have slowed recently because of [Scapegoat(random)] and because [Scapegoat(piracy)]."

    Just once I'd like to see the following claim:

    "Our sales our down because our product just plain sucks. I wish we could blame the pirates, but that would be intellectually dishonest."

    Widescale copyright infringement has been around for decades and has not had any noticeable negative effect on any media

  • Then what would they sell?
  • Give us a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrWorf (216691) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:04PM (#14733442) Homepage
    "Some have reasoned that sales may have slowed recently because of a shortage of new titles in the last month and because users may be illegally copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read."

    Riiiight... So, copying a DVD to a PSP is illegal? Meh! They better get with the program, there is still such a thing as "fair use" (atleast outside the states).

    Why should I pay premium for UMD just to get a lowerquality movie with no extras when I just as easily can take my favourite movie, process it and enjoy (well, as much as it can be enjoyed on a small screen with lots of ghosting).

    If they had their way, my bought media would be hardlinked with just ONE device, which could only playback to ONE display, requiring the user to buy a copy of the movie for each playback device, and a playback device for each display.

    If it ever gets to that stage, I guess it's time to start doing other things than watching bad hollywood flicks.

    Irritated? Hell yeah! >(
    • "If it ever gets to that stage, I guess it's time to start doing other things than watching bad hollywood flicks."

      Way ahead of you.

      Jaysyn
  • What??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:07PM (#14733473)
    Sony???
    Is anybody still buying from them?
    • Sony???
      Is anybody still buying from them?


      I think you should cogitate on your sig.

      (No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. - Winston Churchill)
      • Perhaps you're right, but their recent rootkit shenanigans have caused me to Swear A Solemn Oath... I'll be in the market for a new TV very soon, and I know who I won't be buying from, and why; "different corporate divisions" be damned.

        As for being "Insightful", yep, mods on crack. I was going for +1 "Smartass".

        • As for being "Insightful", yep, mods on crack. I was going for +1 "Smartass".

          That's essentially what I always strive for. :->
  • by Kamalot (674654)
    I have a little writeup of this situation and some keys to the success of portable movies.

    http://kamalot.blogspot.com/2006/02/portable-movie -sales-dry-up.html [blogspot.com]

    Sony does not seem to think of the big picture.

    Make the PS3 a Recorder
    The PS3 will come with the ability to playback DVDs. Why not embed the ability to copy the contents of a DVD to a Memory Stick for viewing on the PSP? Sony could control the fair-rights copyright within the PS3 and PSP since they create the hardware for both. They could enforce that
    • BThe Funny thing is, that Sony could not do that, even if they wanted to. ecause they would bypassing a copy control mechanism which is against the DMCA. Sweet Sweet Irony!
      • The Funny thing is, that Sony could not do that, even if they wanted to. ecause they would bypassing a copy control mechanism which is against the DMCA.

        Only if Sony doesn't own the copyright. Sony does own MGM and Columbia Pictures; giving PS3 owners the ability to reencode Sony movies to a Memory Stick could boost sales of Sony movies over the other five studios' movies.

  • by CokoBWare (584686) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:34PM (#14733785)
    The movie publishers just don't get it. Retailers will see a BIG boost in sales if the movies drop in price to about 50-75% the current price. I never bought 1 UMD for my PSP until about 2 weeks ago when Blockbuster had a sale and were selling selected UMD titles as "buy 2 for $20" CDN. You can't get any better than that. I picked up "Snatch" and "Cowboy Beebop: The Movie", and if they still have the sale on, I'm going to pick up a couple more. The lesson here is the that consumer may be willing to drop $20 US for a comedy title since a person can typically watch a comedy over and over again... the genre has a high replayability factory. But this isn't just a question of demographics and content, it's about the price too dummies.
  • They can also blame TiVo, which allows one to copy recorded programs to a networked PC where one can use programs like PSP Video 9 to convert and transfer shows to the PSP memory stick. I think that as memory stick capacity increases, this will become more common.
  • copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read

    How is this any different from the legal activity of copying a CD to a tape to listen in the car?

    • Because DVDs are encrypted, so the act of ripping the picture to an unencrypted format goes against the DMCA. If the DVD was not encrypted, it'd be perfectly legal.

      This is why so many people raised a fuss about the DMCA back when Clinton was still in office: As far as digital content goes, it kills the fair use clause of copyright law. Any new media format WILL be encrypted, and breaking the encryptionsystem , or writing a program that breaks the encryption system is illegal. Just read about the Elcomsoft
  • Who'd have thought handheld video would never have caught on? Those handheld TVs that came out in the 80s were such a huge hit, you know. Everyone should want to watch their favorite movies on a 2-inch screen!

    Let's think about this for a minute. The average movie is 90 minutes or longer. To watch a movie on a portable player, you'd have to be somewhere you can sit or stand for 90 minutes without distraction if you're really going to enjoy the movie.

    As best I can figure it, there are only two places that a l
    • The PSP isn't nearly as impressive to me as the GameBoy DS for gaming.

      Call me a pedant, but it's the Nintendo DS, not GameBoy DS - Nintendo's been very pedantic about saying that it's not a GameBoy and that it's a brand in its own right (the "third pillar"). They're likely to launch a new GameBoy in the next year or two, and it'll sell in parallel with the DS (and more likely that not won't run any DS games, just as the DS won't run the new GameBoy's games).

  • "Some have reasoned that sales may have slowed recently because of a shortage of new titles in the last month and because users may be illegally copying films from DVDs onto a memory chip the PSPs can read." Maybe they have slowed because the consumer has finally realised that having to buy a movie on a new format is stupid, let alone one for a tiny screen. OR Maybe they have slowed because the savvy consumer is putting their pennies in a jar to save up for buying their blu ray collection. Thanks to Sony
  • So the nationwide trend is towards bigger and bigger home theaters and PSP movies are on a 480x272 screen. UMDs are the same price or higher than the price of regular DVDs (which actually have cross-hardware compatibility, unlike UMDs). Battery issues on the PSP may also contribute. There's also a lack of availability of good movies on UMD.

    And, of course, Sony blames poor sales on piracy.

    When will Sony et al realized that scapegoating piracy is not a panacea for their poor sales resulting from poor b
  • It's about time they stopped selling UMDs. After spending billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives on a wild search for UMDs in Iraq, you wouldn't want Sony just selling them in the shops, now would you?
  • by demon (1039) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @03:15PM (#14735493)
    As an owner of a PSP, I can say I'm among the group that would rather rip a DVD and recode it for use on the PSP than spend the money on a UMD of it. I've already bought the DVD. I have done this with several movies in the past - when I'm traveling, it's easy entertainment. I can slap a couple movies onto my Memory Stick, and hey - there's 4 hours' worth of entertainment, and I still have games and room for some music.

    For people who can't or would rather throw money at the problem, fine, let them. But they really shouldn't blame the fact that not all people have infinite cash to throw at re-buying the movies they already own on UMD. In the meantime, worry about getting more good games on the PSP - I have some money, and I'd rather spend it on good games than buying my movie collection all over again.
  • UMD's cost $30, when you can buy a DVD at higher encoding quality for $12-18... and they wonder why no one wants to buy them??
    Morons?
    Even if they were evenly priced, why would I want to watch a movie on my tiny PSP screen?
  • Overlooking for a moment that no one really wants to watch a crappy movie on a 2" screen, have you noticed the prices for UMD titles? A new DVD at WalMart can be had for as little as $14. Older titles as little as $5. Compare that to a UMD disc which typically sells for about $25. I've seen Best Buy sell a newly released DVD for $15 while the UMD version is $30.

    Now, I don't own a PSP and I haven't looked too hard at its specs for watching movies, but why would anyone choose the UMD format?
  • It is disturbing to me that nowadays companies like Sony like to treat their customers like criminals, instead of people who keep them in business. Us end users, who pay for their digital products, are nothing but the necessary evil that needs to be tightly controlled, otherwise we will all just steal and trample on their rights. When did customer relations turn into a warfare about "their rights vs. our rights"? UMD was an idea born dead. Selling movies that usually to cost more than regular DVDs and can

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