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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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  • 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.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:25PM (#47766101)

    $6 for a 90-minute YouTube video? Going to have to pass for now.

  • 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.
  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:CODEC (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @03:48PM (#47768465)
    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.

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