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GOG Introduces DRM-Free Movie Store 126

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the am-I-dreaming? dept.
Via Engadget comes news that GOG, the DRM-free game store platform, has launched a DRM-free movie store. The initial set of movies are gamer oriented, and you won't find major studio releases (yet, and not for a lack of trying on the part of GOG). From GOG: Our goal is to offer you cinema classics as well as some all-time favorite TV series with no DRM whatsoever, for you to download and keep on your hard drive or stream online whenever you feel like it. We talked to most of the big players in the movie industry and we often got a similar answer: "We love your ideas, but we do not want to be the first ones. We will gladly follow, but until somebody else does it first, we do not want to take the risk". DRM-Free distribution is not a concept their lawyers would accept without hesitation.

We kind of felt that would be the case and that it's gonna take patience and time to do it, to do it, to do it right. That's quite a journey ahead of us, but every gamer knows very well that great adventures start with one small step. So why not start with something that feels very familiar? We offer you a number of gaming and Internet culture documentaries - all of them DRM-Free, very reasonably priced, and presenting some fascinating insight into topics close to a gamer's heart.
Videos are mostly 1080p (~8GB for a 90 minute film) and can be acquired for about $6. They're using h.264/mp4 and not VP9/Matroska, but you can't have everything ;). If you don't want to download that much data, it looks like all of the videos are also available in 720p and 576p.
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GOG Introduces DRM-Free Movie Store

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  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:05PM (#47765901) Journal

    Gaming and culture documentaries. So, hackers, right?

    Off to hack the gibson. BRB.

  • CODEC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:09PM (#47765931)

    They're using h.264/mp4

    And I'm glad they do, because that's what people use in the real world.

    • More like, it is what a few players have conspired to force the world to use, by making it a trap.
      • by Ksevio (865461)
        Here in the real world, when players collaborate on something for everyone to use, we call that a "Standard"
    • Yea, this...

      The thing is, a few years ago I encoded a bunch of stuff in mkv format, only to discover that everyone and their dog supports mp4.

      My new truck will play files directly off a USB drive or a SD card, but only in MP4 format.

      I'm now having to reencode everything, grr...

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        MKV is a container format, not a video format. You can easily repackage the contents of an MKV file into whatever you want and vice versa.
        • by tepples (727027)
          Nothing plays VP8 codec in MP4 container either.
        • Will Handbrake take a MKV and turn it into a MP4 without recompressing the video?

          I just loaded one in and I can't find an option for that to save my life, but I'm open to suggestions.

          • by ncc74656 (45571) *

            Will Handbrake take a MKV and turn it into a MP4 without recompressing the video?

            No. IIRC, the CLI tool MP4Box will mux into .m4v, but you'll probably need to use mkvextract (another CLI tool) to demux your .mkv source file to separate video/audio/subtitle streams first.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    90 minutes of 1080p @ 8G with h.264? That seems large for streaming/distribution. Even my high-motion archives are 4G with pass-thru audio; the stuff I want to stream gets crunched down to 2G with zero discernible loss of audio/video fidelity.

    • Ya, I absolutely refuse to download an hour and a half of entertainment at 8 Gigs. Offer it in a range of quality settings, because I can garment you 80% of people cannot afford that much bandwidth and/or do not want to wait 3+ days for that download to finish.
      • by Shinobi (19308)

        8 gigs? Eh, it downloads while I go and make a cup of tea and a sandwich

        • About 22 minutes from what I usually get from gog.com.

          Sure, it's not instant-on, and you will have to, you know, plan a bit.
          But you can keep the movie, to view when you like.

      • by reikae (80981)

        Considering that half of the world's population has to live on a mere few dollars per day, you're right most people can't afford the bandwidth.

      • You cannot wait patiently for 3 days to download 8 GB?

        Then you should not be on Comcast / Time-Warner.
      • 8G in 90 minutes boils 12mbps. If you can afford to pay $6 and have a screen large enough to actually profit from 1080p you should be able to afford an internet connection faster than 12mbit. Where I live you can't get anything below 20 mbit. Of course you might not be able to reach that speed but for most it shouldn't be a problem.

        • If you live in a major city in that happens to lead the world in internet connectivity, sure. Maybe about 1% of the population of the world has available speeds exceeding 12M. But India (half the world) for example has an average of 5M and that is only counting the ones who can actually get internet at all.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Did you not read the summary? 720p and 576p also offered.

    • Re:Size (Score:5, Informative)

      by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:31PM (#47766167) Homepage
      Looking on there site, they appear to have actually released a decent selection of qualities and sizes.

      For Example:
      TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (1080p) 8.2 GB
      TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (720p) 4.1 GB
      TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (576p) 781 MB
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Looking on there site, they appear to have actually released a decent selection of qualities and sizes.

        For Example:

        TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (1080p) 8.2 GB

        TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (720p) 4.1 GB

        TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard (576p) 781 MB

        Why is 720p over 5 times the size of the 576p version? Encoding using same number of bits per pixel, it should only be about 1.6 times the size, i.e. about 1.3GB.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      8gb is pretty respectable for 1080p actually. Good 1080p rips sometimes weigh as much as 15gb depending on running time.

      Raw bluray rips are upwards of 40gb so it's funny when people complain about size vs. quality. Like all the idiot YIFY fanboys that seem to like their 1080p rips in bad VHS quality with crushed stereo sound. God I hate them....

  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:19PM (#47766043) Homepage Journal

    my DRM-free movie store is my local indie record store...they have a nice DVD section...

    library works too...but not technically a store

    • indep record store (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jnik (1733) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:26PM (#47766123)
      Most DVDs aren't DRM-free [wikipedia.org], either. They may well be restrictions you can live with, but they are encumbered.
      • by 91degrees (207121)
        For practical purposes they are. When the DRM can be cracked in seconds, who really cares? Sure, there are valid socio-political to object in principle, but if you want media that you can copy and format shift, DVD is fine.
      • hey, jnik, judging by your UID# & the text of your comment you've been away from the internet since about 1996...

        there are many free/shareware DVD rippers that circumvent that DRM

  • by Matheus (586080) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:21PM (#47766063) Homepage

    "it's gonna take patience and time to do it, to do it, to do it right." That's kind of catchy... pretty sure I'll write a song with that as the chorus :-)

  • Why not MP4? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pope (17780) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:21PM (#47766065)

    Why wouldn't they choose h.264/mp4? It's playable just about anywhere these days.

    • Re: Why not MP4? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Patents

    • Re:Why not MP4? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:29PM (#47766157)

      Because there's a good chance that anyone who cares about it being DRM-free also cares about it being patent-free. I certainly do, although this is still "a good start."

      • Re:Why not MP4? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:51PM (#47766393)

        Because there's a good chance that anyone who cares about it being DRM-free also cares about it being patent-free.

        And such people can go fuck themselves. I prefer quality. VP9 is NOT quality, despite the claims to the contrary.

      • Re:Why not MP4? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @01:12PM (#47766651) Homepage

        Perhaps not so good a chance as it seems.

        Sure, most of us Slashdotters are in the middle of that particular Venn diagram, but my wife, for example, lies far off to the "hatred of DRM only" side. She doesn't care about patent licensing, but just wants to watch a movie easily. For us, that means no physical media occupying our limited shelving space.

        It should be easy. Many movies are now offered with a digital copy, available on various services. Last time she wanted to watch a movie right now, we tried that, buying Frozen from iTunes. Unfortunately, iTunes apparently won't play such things to a VGA-connected device, because it can't verify the device supports HDCP. Naturally, there's no warning about this until you actually try to do it. I think the next thing we tried was Plex, streaming to our Roku device. That didn't work, either.

        We ended up getting a refund from Apple, and bought a physical copy from Amazon. Once the physical disk arrived, it included a code to get a digital copy. We had to choose carefully how to use the code, judging by current compatibility charts what devices would be able to play the copy. Still hoping for convenience, we tried Amazon's streaming service, but that wouldn't play at all on our TV-connected laptop, and the Roku didn't feel like connecting to Amazon to even attempt playback. We finally just gave up and played the physical copy, several days after the initial attempt.

        My wife is fine with respecting copyright and paying for entertainment. She just expects that entertainment should not be the reward for solving a puzzle of compatibility.

        I've praised GOG before, and I'll do it again. Their primary concern seems to be that entertainment should be easy, and I'll support that, even if it means throwing a bit of support behind patents.

        • She doesn't care about patent licensing, but just wants to watch a movie easily. ... My wife is fine with respecting copyright and paying for entertainment. She just expects that entertainment should not be the reward for solving a puzzle of compatibility.

          OK, so seriously: since you ordered it from Amazon (but it wasn't in your physical possession yet), why not download it and watch from TPB in the meantime?

          Or if that offends your sensibilities (since you didn't actually have the physical media and thus you haven't yet legally executed any shrink-wrap agreements), then put that copy up on the shelf and let someone else rip and encode it for you. THEY might not have a license to use or distribute, but YOU have a license to watch -- literally. Your wife w

  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:25PM (#47766095) Homepage

    GCC Introduces DRM-Free Movie Store

    Something else for Linus Torvalds to complain about after GCC 4.9.0 [slashdot.org]. :/

  • It's been a while since we had a proper Slashdotting, especially of a professionally run website, but right now GOG is down, overwhelmed by the attention. They deserve the attention. Let's hope they sell a lot and get the message across to the movie industry.

  • 99 cents might sway me, but as it is none of these are worth the price

    • This. Unfortunately GOG does not have nearly enough industry sway to make them take reasonable prices for their product.
      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Eh, $6 is cheaper than most movie tickets and non-bargain blurays these days and I can watch the movie whenever, however, and wherever I want so it's more than a rental. The selection is underwhelming but if they ever get something I wanted to see in HD I'd probably do it.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      GOG runs weekly sales on their games, and seasonal mega-sales against a large portion of their catalog. I don't see why this wouldn't be the case for video, so just wait and you'll likely see something you want for a price you're willing to pay. Ah, the joys of a free and open market ...

  • Where is ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448)
    Where is GET LAMP (2010), where is Going Cardboard (2012), where is BBS: The Documentary (2005), where is The King of Kong (2007)?
  • Why don't they see about getting some really old movies that have passed into the public domain and cleaning them up. The first one that comes to mind is Nosferatu [wikipedia.org] but there are a number of other old films that would qualify as well.
    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      Because there just aren't that many movies made before 1923 with extant prints?

      • by Kiwikwi (2734467) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @02:34PM (#47767501)

        There are more recent films that also lapsed into the public domain, due to a failure to register the copyright, "Night of the Living Dead" being perhaps the most well-known example.

        The real reason why GOG doesn't include these films is three-fold:

        1) There are already sites doing this (for free), e.g. the Internet Archive [archive.org].

        2) The quality of the original prints is often poor, restoring old movies requires great skill and is very expensive, and existing restorations are not public domain.

        3) Most importantly, it's besides the point. GOG is trying to get the film industry to recognize the value of selling DRM-free movies, like the music industry did before them. Selling public domain movies would be plain counter-productive.

        Here's hoping they'll succeed where others have failed before them.

    • Why don't they see about getting some really old movies that have passed into the public domain and cleaning them up. The first one that comes to mind is Nosferatu [wikipedia.org] but there are a number of other old films that would qualify as well.

      Because some might already be available, on YouTube?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Archive.org is your friend

      Beyond movies, you can also find old TV shows and music that are no longer under copyright

      • by tepples (727027)

        you can also find old TV shows and music that are no longer under copyright

        How is that possible? Practical TV broadcasts didn't begin until years after the January 1, 1923, cutoff for the Copyright Term Extension Act. And U.S. copyright law allows state copyright in sound recordings to continue until 2067.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:36PM (#47766215)

    Well, boys and girls, doesn't this finally solve all your complaints regarding movies being peppered with DRM by the request of MAFIAA? ;)

    As GOG's collection grows, and if you find content that you actually are interested in, would you prefer this movie service over pirating?

    • by Piata (927858) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:50PM (#47766375)

      Yes, I definitely would.

      I use Steam, Humble Bundle and GOG for games.

      I use http://bandcamp.com/ [bandcamp.com] for music

      If I can find a DRM free source for Movies and Television, I'd never need to "acquire" anything again. GOG's prices are a little high ($6 would be the most I'd pay for most movies) but provided they do sales where they slash prices 50% or more, I'd buy movies through them.

      • by Ravaldy (2621787)

        But currently renting a movie on Vu is $6.00. Would $6.00 be very reasonable for owning unless I'm miss understanding the DRM Free concept.

        • by julesh (229690)

          But currently renting a movie on Vu is $6.00. Would $6.00 be very reasonable for owning unless I'm miss understanding the DRM Free concept.

          $6 is very high for renting a movie. I can rent a physical copy locally for $3-$5, depending on how new the title is, or I could get a netflix subscription for less than $10 per month (as I watch about 5-10 movies per month, this works out at $1-$2 each).

          • by Ravaldy (2621787)

            There are no local places left that rent movies in my area. I would have to drive 15 minutes minimum to get one and the selection is slim to say the least. As for Netflix Subscriptions, you get what they want you to see. You don't get to sift through a list of owned movies like you do with your music.

      • I do too, and if I am looking for something new, I will first go to GOG and to Steam second if GOG doesn't have what I am looking for. Even if the GOG version is a couple of dollars more, I'd rather have a binary that I can download and install at my convenience, then a download only version.
    • by q4Fry (1322209)
      I was somewhat sympathetic to the "We pirate because there's no legal way to get it online" until I read an article yesterday that highlighted NetFlix piracy.

      If NetFlix doesn't serve your country, fine. I am not talking to you. If, however, you're getting House of Cards on isohunt or whatever the kids do these days, you can't claim it as "no legal way" anymore. Admit that you just don't want to pay $8 a month to be entertained.
      • That's also assuming that they're using one of the Netflix "Blessed" OSes and/or devices.

      • Netflix imposes onerous DRM and just doesn't work on GNU/Linux. The way they backdoored DRM into HTML5 is pretty disguisting too.

      • what if i subscribe to netflix and download?

        • by NotDrWho (3543773)

          You're not supposed to download from Netflix, you're supposed to STREAM. Big difference. If Netflix were a movie PURCHASING service, yeah, I could see you're point. If it were all-you-can-download, it would cost a shitload lot more than $8/month.

      • by Mantrid42 (972953)
        Unless you have a crappy connection that makes streaming all but impossible.
      • by Junta (36770)

        I don't download that stuff, but as a netflix user who also has DVD rips and DVR recordings that I manage under XBMC, I can easily understand the appeal of having the content locally and in a form that can be integrated with media from other sources.

        Netflix outages are frustrating. When it is up, sometimes I can't stream the best quality in real time. Sometimes the client has to be kicked in the head for no apparent reason to make it stream at all or stream the best reasonable quality. Any seeking takes

    • I had pretty much given up all hopes of DRM-free video via legitimate channels, even as music is pretty much DRM-free exclusively.

      I'm not getting my hopes too much, but like DRM-free music before it, I'll be very eager to give them my money instead of buying DVDs with it.

      I'm however fully expecting like eBooks, the DRM-free selection will remain sad and pathetic.

    • Not in the slightest. Until there is a DCMA exception for fair use, the MAFIAA is still well on the hook. Fair use should not be allowed to be bound by encryption.
  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @01:06PM (#47766581) Homepage

    While they have been true to their word about no DRM, I've always wondered if GOG games (and now movies) have some sort of digital watermark embedded in them so they can track any piracy of their sales back to the source. While this wouldn't be a foolproof method, it probably would catch the more common sort of file-sharing. It doesn't really seem to have any drawbacks for the customer either. If such a watermark does exist, it might make the major studios more willing to consider GOG as a distribution partner.

    • by Kardos (1348077)

      I can think of a $12 experiment that would answer that question

      • by dkman (863999)
        +1 Insightful. True. True enough.
        I always have mod points the day before I want to use them.
    • That should be easy to test; sha1sum a bunch of the installers, and compare the results to someone else's list. I've got some DOS games, both on the original CD and via GOG; the game files themselves weren't modified in those cases, so any watermark would have to be contained elsewhere, in the GOG-provided files (which aren't strictly necessary to run the games, if you provide your own DosBox and configuration).
    • Licensee specific watermarks always seemed to me to be a logical path to take, even with other DRM in place, just to help track and find sources of distribution.
    • I'm everywhere

    • Watermarks are pointless in this context. Watermarks are used to annoy pirates and nail leaky insiders, thats about it. Its an extremely limited tactic.
      • by Kiwikwi (2734467)

        Watermarks are pointless in this context. Watermarks are used to annoy pirates and nail leaky insiders, thats about it. Its an extremely limited tactic.

        Exactly. Watermarks are useless against general piracy, since the burden of proof is simply too high to take the case against John Q. Public.

        For instance, most people don't know that when you buy music on iTunes, Apple puts your e-mail-address in a metadata comment field in the file. But now that you do know, feel free to take a look at The Pirate Bay and start collecting e-mail addresses from AAC files.

        Note that it's not a watermark - it's not in the audio data, it's plainly visible in the file and it's tr

    • by Ardyvee (2447206)

      Isn't that a kind of DRM, though?

    • As long as the watermark does not interfere with the quality, I am 100% for watermarks. I fully and emphatically support the right of a creator to be acknowledged throughout all of time to be the creator and to possibly profit off of the piece that was created. The profit part implies some sort of copyright laws but it should be noted that I strongly and emphatically despise current copyright law.

      In short, anything that does not affect the use by the person paying for the copyrighted work is fair game.

  • To Steam's credit, they too provide Indie Game: The Movie without DRM. You can just pull out the file after it's downloaded.

  • I was planning on filling that 8TB drive with documentaries on the female body but I guess DRM-free 1080p will work too.

  • GOG is not competing with video retailers, they're competing with streaming services like Netflix. GOG, meet Netflix. They get my $8.55 a month and will continue to do so for as long as I can stream videos from them without a price restriction. When you can do this count me in.
  • I'd love to see if they can acquire a ton of the 60s/70s Italian Cinema (eurocrime, spaghetti westerns, horror).

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