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Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer" 498

Uncle Rummy writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney is close to releasing a new system that will sell permanent, multi-device access to digital media. The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices, and thus as a way to finally shift media sales from an ownership model to an access model. They claim that such a service would reduce the risk of losing access to content as a result of a single vendor going out of business, as purchased content would remain available from other vendors. However, they do not seem to have addressed the question of what happens to customers' access to purchased content if the Keychest service itself is discontinued."
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Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer"

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  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:42PM (#29827547)
    I mean, does the solution here have to be complicated?
  • Out of Business? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:46PM (#29827601)

    Or what if Disney itself goes out of business?

    If I buy it as a DVD as it is now, I don't have to worry about vendors, like Best Buy, to go out of business.

    Why try "fix" something that isn't broken? What they need to fix is their prices. Maybe if it was cheaper and worth buying, people wouldn't copy so much?

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:48PM (#29827631) Homepage
    They continue to try and convince the world that THEIR problem is actually the world's problem. No. People LIKE owning. We don't like 'accessing'. If I want to own a movie, I pay the cost to watch it no more than 3 times. If I want to 'access' a movie with a huge screen and fantastic sound, then I go to a theater and pay less than 1/3 that cost. If you want to charge for access instead of ownership, without the enhanced screen and audio, then you have to charge a lot less than ownership. If Disney's new system is going to be priced like ownership, no one will use it.
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:49PM (#29827645)
    So, "any device" means anything running a supported OS with supported software and access to their cloud.

    Which means any device other then something I would want to use to watch a movie while on an airplane. More or less the same problem I have with current "digital copy included!" DVDs on the market. They don't actually work with anything I want to use.
  • by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:50PM (#29827659) Journal

    This sounds pretty much exactly like Valve's Steam service, extended to other forms of entertainment. Seems like a lot of people have little problem with Steam, so not sure why they'd have a problem with Keychest? I guess one concern I could come up with is that, I suspect Valve is a *lot* more committed to Steam, than Disney might be to Keychest. While Disney themselves is probably at little risk of going out of business any time soon, I wouldn't be overly surprised if Disney tried this, then a year or two later decided to pull the plug and try something else, when the service doesn't instantly make them hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:51PM (#29827679) Homepage

    I mean, does the solution here have to be complicated?

    For you, no. All you have to do is 1) purchase the DVD (or whatever), 2) rip it to a hard drive, 3) transcode to whatever format the playing device will accept (MPEG, AVI, MP3, whatever 4) transfer it to the device 5) enjoy 6) Backup original so you don't lose or destroy it. Repeat as desired.

    For Mush-for-Brains average consumer - it might be a bit much to expect. Hence, other ideas.

  • by OscarGunther ( 96736 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:54PM (#29827717) Journal
    I saw the WSJ article on this. The only thing it solves is the problem of storing large media files on low-capacity hardware. In all other respects, it's an industry solution in search of a consumer problem. Given a comprehensive set of easily-followed instructions on how to convert and load media files on different platforms (PCs, phones, etc.), this "solution" solves nothing for me. If I'm sufficiently technically savvy to convert a movie so it will play on my iPod, why do I need this?
  • wrong again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:55PM (#29827723)

    Shifting media sales from an ownership model to an access model is the major "customer concern" with DRM. All other "customer concerns" are really just derivatives of this one.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:58PM (#29827763) Journal

    Or what if Disney itself goes out of business?

    Hahahahahahaha! Hah!

    If Disney goes out of business, you'll have more important things to worry about, like the collapse of civilization as we know it.

    Disney isn't going anywhere, not when they have the backing of the US government (among others) to ensure that you, citizen, can only watch/read/listen to items if you pay the Disney tax (for things that should have been in the public domain decades ago).

    The DVDs you have purchased will wear out long before Disney is dead and gone.

    Why try "fix" something that isn't broken? What they need to fix is their prices. Maybe if it was cheaper and worth buying, people wouldn't copy so much?

    Why do that, when they can just make sure that people are punished for copying? Make it not worth the risk to copy.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:01PM (#29827811) Homepage

    ...the Holy Grail of the "content" industry.

  • by Dunkz ( 901542 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:02PM (#29827825)

    Only when I buy a game on steam I won't want to play it through my home theater, or on my iPhone, or in the car.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:03PM (#29827835) Journal

    I don't particularly like owning films. I own quite a lot, but I haven't bought many in the last few years (and those only from charity shops when the DVDs were really cheap). They take up a lot of space, and I don't watch them very often. I rent a lot more. There are few films I want to watch more than once, or maybe twice, and, given the choice, I would much rather watch a new film than one I've seen before.

    And that is Disney's real problem. The thing that they have of value is the ability to produce new films. They need to stop fixating on trying to sell copies of their films and focus on how to persuade people to pay them to make new films. That is the kind of innovation the industry needs, not new forms of DRM.

  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:03PM (#29827847) Journal

    *WHOOSH* did you forget your own sarcasm detector?

    welcome to slashdot.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:06PM (#29827871) Homepage
    assume this wont work.

    1. you were never meant to keep these 'treasured classics' forever like a book. this hurts the business model and prevents releasing such wonderous hits as Cinderella 4.

    2. if it isnt open source, it wont be worth a damn. Proprietary encoders and decoders once obsoleted are nearly impossible to reconstruct or reverse-engineer for playback without finding yourself hauled into a Texas courtroom for patent infringement. the 'final solution' they tout will likely involve nothing but closed source players interwoven so closely, you'll forget to question it being a bad idea in light of historical defiance between them.

    3. If its a DVD killer, and you own a majority of DVDs, why would you buy it? youve obsoleted the very thing you seek to keep indefinitely?

    my theory is there will be a transition. first we had purchasing movies, now we have licensing movies to DVD, and finally we will have with Disneys 'killer' the ability to license limited viewing rights. the content may remain available in a unary format forever, but a recurring cost is introduced and you lose in the end the ability to watch a movie without being monitored for content infringement of "intellectual property" rights. inevitably movies may be retired from the collection, rerendered to lower or higher formats at disneys whim, or require suddenly a new television or provide new advertising content not originally found in the obsolete version you saught to keep. "authoring rights" will be expanded and more buttons on your remote will do less things when you want them to (example: skipping 'dont download a car' scaremercials.)

    there is also another possibility entirely: Disney develops this device to lure customers into parting with books and DVD classics, then retires the device in ~8 years to ditch the poor suckers who believed in it as a viable alternative thus driving up sales in existing media for the time as a sort of 'umbrella' in case of stormy economic conditions. user ditches device, goes to walmart, buys latest instalment of Cincerella 5 and another copy of Cinderella 4 because that one is dead now, disney cash registers ring.
  • by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:08PM (#29827895)

    You know, that annoying little detail in the copyright law that states once the copyright lapses the content becomes public property?
    The price we are supposed to get for our taxes paying for the protection of their rights?

    Oh, they didnt think of that? Their intention is for us to never own the content? Hmm.....

    Although the DMCA has tried to remove that 'right' already, of course through making it illegal to be able to remove such protection.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:09PM (#29827915) Homepage Journal

    Or what if Disney itself goes out of business?

    Highly unlikely.

    BUT the point is valid. Everyone that has ever hawked centralized-server-drm says that they could never possibly go out of business. A few say they'll release a tool to unlock all the content if they go under. To my knowledge, no tool has ever been released in such a case, and there are over a dozen large examples of such companies going out of business or simply shutting down their activation servers, turning purchased content into useless bits.

    "There oughtta be a law". That says DRM is only legal if the universal unlocker is kept in escrow somewhere (and kept updated) with terms to go public with it if they ch7,9,11,etc or simply shut off their servers.

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:09PM (#29827917) Journal

    Not quite. Video games come in very few forms, where audio and video come in very many. Steam limits you to the one type of digital output for video games that they use, meaning PC games. I can't however download it in any other format than they provide (not that keychest would be different on that front) - but basically I can't download the ISO image for the CD for the game, nor can I download the 360 version of Half Life 2 from Steam.

    What disney seems to be doing is saying:
    Hey, You like the Lion King? (I mean I like the lion king) - Go ahead and buy it. You like WMA? Here use our WMA. You like AVI? Have an AVI. New format comes out? Don't worry, when its made available, you'll have access to it.

    While similar in theory, Steam does not quite approach what Disney is about to undertake. Keychest will take what Steam does to the next level.

    And in my opinion - it will flop horribly. Steam does alright for itself, but when I want to play a game with my friends, they just log into my account- install the game, and we LAN it up. Albeit, perhaps this is a leniency that Steam has agreed not to fix to keep their fans happy - this sort of thing applied to movies will result in a bigger loss. Hey, I bought the Lion King, now so long as I have access, everyone I'm friends with has access. And if I have alot of friends, thats alot of potential customers that won't even consider buying it.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:11PM (#29827945) Journal

    Why do that, when they can just make sure that people are punished for copying? Make it not worth the risk to copy.

    How do you plan on doing that? The risk of getting caught is infinitesmial, so in order for the expected payoff to be negative you would need enormous fines. Even larger than the 80,000 per track Jammie Thomas faces. And still, people would keep copying in the expectation that "it could never happen to me".

    The only other option is to make it much harder to copy by locking down our general purpose computing hardware, which would destroy the US's technological advantage.

    Neither of these cases are at all sustainable. We do not need an unwinnable "war on copyright violation" in the vein of the "war on drugs". The only sensible solution is to understand that the world has changed, and that some business models are not viable anymore.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:14PM (#29827991) Homepage

    See personally, I disagree. Part of my problem with current online digital media is that they're focusing on "owning" rather than "accessing". Take iTunes, for example. I can "buy" a season of a particular show, but I can't just pay to watch it once. Not only does "buying" theoretically increase the price to watch a show once that I'll probably only want to watch once, but it also puts me on the hook to store and maintain a copy. Sure, I can throw it away if I really only want to watch it once, but then I've payed "buying" price for a "rental".

    Personally, I wouldn't mind paying for most TV shows and movies per-viewing, so long as it was cheap and I had the option to buy. Further, what I'd really like to do is buy free access to downloads in perpetuity, regardless of new/improved formats. What I mean is, I might actually be convinced to spend $20 on a movie on iTunes if I knew that I could re-download it whenever I wanted (if the original file was lost or deleted), and that if they release it in 1080p in a couple of years I could download that copy, too. And then if they released it in whatever replaced 1080p, I could get that free too. That would be my preference as a consumer, that they quit trying to force me to re-buy the same movie over and over again.

    Still, I would agree that they're really trying to solve their own problem instead of the consumer's problem. The "consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices" is entirely caused by two things: selling less-than-ideal quality versions so they can sell you better versions later, and locking users in with DRM. I know everyone knows what I'm talking about with DRM, but movie studios are selling DVD quality movies on iTunes even after the Bluray has been released. Hell, there are even cases where they'll let you rent the 720p version (meaning it's on Apple's server) but will only let you buy the DVD-quality. And that's only 720p. Why should I spend $20 on a 720p version when I know a 1080p version exists and there's no predefined upgrade path.

  • by Cheapy ( 809643 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:14PM (#29827995)

    Unfortunately...that's not quite true. Steam, and especially Valve's games, have done quite well, despite the customer not owning the game.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:14PM (#29827997) Homepage Journal

    I seriously doubt this will be a DVD killer, and Disney isn't likely to stop selling DVDs unless everybody else does, too. And it's incredibly stupid on the MAFIAA's part; most slashdotters would happily get rid of physical media, but even here you see lots of folks saying they don't want an ebook reader, they want real books.

    Most people, when they buy something, want to own it. Downloaded media is rental. I want to be able to sell or loan my stuff; when I buy something, I want to BUY something. I don't buy movies, I buy DVDs. I don't buy music, I buy CDs.

    From TFA: could contribute to a shift in what it means for a consumer to own a movie or a TV show, by redefining ownership as access rights, not physical possession.

    To paraphrase Shakespeare, a turd by any other name would stink as badly. Access rights are NOT ownership. If you rent a house you have access rights, but you don't own it. I own my CDs and DVD's. They're mone and I can do with them as I wish. Not so with "access rights".

    Are the world's liars remaking the English language these days?

  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#29828025)

    More important question:

    Would Disney ever promise that?

  • There's a typo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#29828033)

    The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices...

    The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned to lock our customers into a DRM system, so that we can squeeze every penny out of them...

    There, fixed that for you Disney.

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:18PM (#29828047)
    Buy 2 or 3 from different retailer under different name and a different CC. Then look at WHERE the difference are. It does not matter if you udnerstand what the data is (encrypted) or not, all you need is to remove or garble it. And they can't have a very big watermark in *All* frame changing msot of the frame, can't they ? For that reason, I doubt watermark can ever work on a digital content which is not DRM protected.
  • Re:Watermark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PayPaI ( 733999 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:18PM (#29828049) Journal

    Watermarked content (...) Amazon audio

    I'm gonna need some more information here.
    According to this: [wired.com]

    Since Amazon itself does not apply the watermarks, and labels presumably supply only one MP3 copy of any given song, there’s no way for a label to directly identify and sue an individual if, say, someone were to steal that person’s iPod and share its songs all over the internets

    You privy to any more information than that?

  • Re:Watermark (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:22PM (#29828131)

    Watermarking won't help them. A pirate would just buy the product anonymously, with an anonymous credit card ($30 cards available for $35 at walgreens). The pirate would download it over Tor, or if that's too slow, through a botnet, or Internet cafe. Then, when the pirate uploads it to the pirate bay, Disney sees that the watermarked version is registered to the credit card of: John Smith, 12345 Fake Rd, Principality of Sealand.

    I think they know this. Their content will have both watermarks and DRM, and it will be an "unlimited number of [approved OS] devices".

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:23PM (#29828149)

    ...that aren't yet served by adequate high-bandwidth Internet access this is not going to work. According to the WSJ article:

    "when a consumer buys a movie from a participating store, his accounts with other participating services--such as a mobile-phone provider or a video-on-demand cable service--would be updated to show the title as available for viewing. The movies wouldn't be downloaded; rather, they would reside with each particular delivery company, such as the Internet service provider, cable company or phone company."

    Then how does one view the movide? If the movie doesn't need to be downloaded, the only way one can view it is to, um, download it. When you want to "access" your movie it's still being transferred from the remote storage to your viewing device. I don't care if you call it downloading or streaming. It still has to move across something with a hell of a lot of bandwidth. (Silly me for thinking that someone from the WSJ would pick up on that.) Sure I wouldn't have to store it on a computer or in/on a phone but -- and maybe it's just me -- I suspect that most people don't save movies on hard disks (other than those they've saved on their DVR's hard disk). When I can get a computer or a phone with a 57" screen, then maybe I'll consider watching movies on something other than my TV.

    Want to bet how much your cable and/or phone bill will increase once you start "accessing" that movie you supposedly bought? And those folks who don't even have sufficient bandwidth to stream crappy YouTube videos? Imagine watching an entire feature-length movie in five second chunks. Boy, that's entertainment.

    I have to agree with those posters who mentioned that this is a solution in search of a problem. A Rube Goldberg answer from entertainment industry engineers in response to a question posed by the company legal department.

  • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:24PM (#29828155) Homepage Journal

    And that is Disney's real problem. The thing that they have of value is the ability to produce new films. They need to stop fixating on trying to sell copies of their films and focus on how to persuade people to pay them to make new films. That is the kind of innovation the industry needs, not new forms of DRM.

    DOES Disney create new films? I thought they just recyled stuff that was already out there, tweaked it a bit, then released it as "Disney's 666th film". The last truly original thing they did involved a cute, but very elderly by now, mouse, and a duck with a speech problem.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:25PM (#29828161)

    Seriously, this consumer is not interested in buying into a system that relies on the continued external support of the access controls. I'm sure their glib answer is "Disney is huge, and won't go out of business" - but Walmart is even bigger, and they still made the decision to terminate support for their DRMed music store.

  • by proc_tarry ( 704097 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:29PM (#29828241)
    In order to provide the most choice, freedom, and protection from consumers, use of Keychest will become mandatory.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:30PM (#29828255)

    >I seriously doubt this will be a DVD killer, and Disney isn't likely to stop selling DVDs unless everybody else >does, too.

    That is the idea.

      DVD sales are down and the studios are losing money. Instead of blaming the recession (and people not just automatically buying the latest Transformers movie), the studios think piracy is the root of the problem. Also the ideal for the studios is that you are charged every time you view something. This is a step toward that.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:30PM (#29828275) Homepage
    If it wasn't for Disney et al, it would be as easy as dropping your latest DVD purchase into your computer, and clicking the Copy To Computer/copy to ipod/copy to video game system/copy to another DVD button. But since they insist on making it illegal to copy your own discs for your own private use, we have to resort to convoluted methods of making those copies. Think about how easy it is to copy a CD to your library in iTunes. It should be just as easy for a DVD movie, but I don't think that Disney, or anybody else would stand for such a simple to use, widely available method of doing this.
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:31PM (#29828289)

    The thing that they have of value is the ability to produce new films

    I have to disagree. The one thing that Disney can do like no one else, and which is therefore their primary value, is merchandising the crap out of existing content. When was the last time you saw a good Disney movie (Pixar doesn't count)? When was the last time you saw Disney produce original content that even its current target audience won't cringe at in a few years?

    For crying out loud, they're releasing a double-feature of Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D now! Creatively, Disney is dead. Their saving grace in that department is Pixar. And Disney knows that - which is exactly why they're focusing so much on merchandise, 3D, theme parks, copyright protection, and now this scheme. They know they can't create new content. That's why they're coming up with a million ideas on how to sell you old stuff again. And again. And again.

  • Be afraid! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:32PM (#29828309)

    I don't care what the ads say. The only thing that will matter is what's in a legally-binding contract. Not a TOS that Disney will doubtless reserve the right to change, but a contract. And in case you're wondering about the possible limitations that will likely come along, let me throw out a few:

    1. Sure, you get perpetual viewing rights, but they only last for as long as the Keychest service does. Anyone who bought DRM'ed music from MSN or Yahoo got a taste of what could happen if the DRM servers are taken down. And, as someone else already pointed out, there's nothing to stop Disney from pulling the plug if profits aren't to their liking. Does that mean you'll lose access to all the stuff you bought? Yes, but here's a book of discount coupons so you can save a few bucks on all the DVDs you're going to have to buy to rebuild your movie collection.

    2. Would you like to sell that movie you've grown tired of? Not with Keychest, you can't. Suddenly, used DVD sales go away, which is something the studios have wished for for quite a long time. See, wishes can come true!

    3. It's a fact that studios love trailers and commercials. Actually, trailers ARE commercials, and a service like Keychest allows the ads to get changed out at any time, and I'd be willing to bet that you won't be able to skip them. Are there no ads before that movie you just bought? Maybe not now, but they could appear any time down the road.

    The thing is, Keychest is meant to solve the studios' problems, not mine. I have no problem with the ownership model, thank you very much. I also have no problem with playing the movies on my shelf in any device I want. If I want to load them onto a laptop, I'll either burn a copy to a blank disc (so the DVD can stay safely at home) or rip it and load it on the hard drive. Does that violate the DMCA? Maybe, but it solves my problem very nicely, it doesn't distribute the movie to anyone who hasn't paid for it, and I don't need a crippled service like Keychest to accomplish it, so I'm just fine with it.

    I don't care if Disney sees this as a DVD killer. They may want to kill the DVD, but I don't, so they can go pound sand for all I care.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:39PM (#29828389) Homepage

    This sort of "screw the customer" system coming from
    Disney is really no big surprise. We have reached the
    point where many consumers may not see the point in
    buy future formats as what they already have (DVD)
    seems "good enough" for their intended purpose. Some
    4 year old that wants to watch the same movie over
    and over again probably won't notice the subtleties
    between 480i and 1080p.

    Thus Disney is in the problematic position of having
    a durable physical medium that may cause an eventual
    saturation of their target market.

    Who knows. Perhaps the next generation will inherit
    all of our Disney DVDs and there will be no reason
    for him to buy his own copy. THIS is probably what
    scares the bejezzus out of Disney.

    That's not even getting into "rips".

    Also, Disney seems to be the most active studio when it
    comes to screwing around with the current DVD format to
    try and layer "error based" copy protection over it.

    Disney are the ABSOLUTE LAST people you want to trust with
    a consumer video format that doesn't offer some sort of
    physical ownership token or first sale rights.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:41PM (#29828419) Homepage

    I dare Disney to drop making any and all DVD's or BluRays and go just this route. It will finally take them down.

    Honestly, most of their back catalog is whored hard. and they keep putting it "back in the vault" to create shortages to try and keep value up of their kid crack.

    Me? I've got all of them I would ever want from Disney, my daughter is 17 and does not care about little mermaid anymore.

    I double dare them to switch to only that model for their movies.....

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:44PM (#29828463) Homepage Journal

    No. Corporations have a habit of reneging on that sort of offer or rendering it effectively void somewhere in the microprinting in the 'O' in the 23rd paragraph of the 95th page of the 'agreement' which is indistinguishable from Sanskrit.

    Or they just reserve the right to change the agreement at any time by placing a copy in a disused filing cabinet somewhere and further require any disputes to be arbitrated by the people they pay a million dollars a year to (so long as they are 'satisfied' with the results of course).

    Perhaps if they place it in escrow with a 3rd party that has no conflict of interest at all...

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:46PM (#29828475) Homepage

    Yet every disney DVD ad on tv states.... "OWN IT TODAY"

    If they hate the ownership idea, then why do they push it with their false advertising?

  • by ArbitraryDescriptor ( 1257752 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:46PM (#29828485)
    You have to put up money to cover maintenance for the life of the plant and cleanup.

    If you host a DRM scheme, I submit that you should be required to hold in escrow funds to keep that system running until the content secured by the system falls into public domain. I would further suggest that Disney should suck it, and finally reap what they have sown.
  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:51PM (#29828551)

    my daughter is 17 and does not care about little mermaid anymore

    Ah yes, but some point in the next decade or two your daughter's daughter will... That's the Disney Machine in action.

  • *slaps forehead* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#29828567) Homepage Journal

    any media distribution system that takes distributor's concerns into account will fail. distributor's concerns are orthogonal and sometimes hostile to what consumers want. therefore, addressing these sideshow concerns winds up designing a media distribution system that is suboptimal from the only concern that really matters

    what concern is that? you determine the media distribution system that will succeed based on... drum roll please... this amazing newfangled metric called GIVE THE CUSTOMER WHAT HE FUCKING WANTS. END OF FUCKING STORY

    i swear, is it a job requirement for being a media executive to be tone deaf? pun not intended: these assholes are seriously conceptually tone deaf

    perhaps previous job experience such as "grave digger" is germane as well?

  • by jdgeorge ( 18767 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:56PM (#29828607)

    I'd ask if you're new here, but your UID suggests you may be one of the original bearded ones.

    Food for thought: Early Slashdotters were just as mentally handi-capable as the recent Slashdotters.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:01PM (#29828653)

    he's more machine than mouse now.

  • You don't have kids, do you? Disney has a TON of value in their old films. Kids will watch the same movie hundreds of times, until they can quote and follow every single line. And then they'll watch it again. Hell, my wife still has Aladdin pretty much memorized. They want these laws because they realize that they can rake in the cash and not have to do any work other than bitching to Congress about the evil citizens wanting copyright to not be forfuckingever and a day, and copying things like they're part of the culture instead of Disney's sole property.
  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:10PM (#29828761) Homepage Journal

    Truthfully, most of the corporations within the "content," industry need to be.

    They wreck and subvert the legal system in order to support their own greed, and they avoid any form of real creativity in the material they produce, as much as possible. They are staffed by the usual evil, soulless bean counters who don't want anything other than generic, white box assembly line product year after year, purely in order to make consistent profits.

    They only profit from human stupidity, and the fact that those of us who care about how badly they treat everyone else, are the minority. If the majority didn't insist on being so unrelentlessly brainless and avoidant of personal responsibility, we might be able to generate support for these companies simply being rendered insolvent.

    Unfortunately, however, the mainstream sheep just keep standing there, mindlessly, sleepily chewing their cud, waiting for the slaughter.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#29828775) Journal
    Wanting real books has more to do with the preferred method of enjoying them rather than a preference of storage. I'm sure most Slashdotters would happily have their library stored electronically if they could read it like a paperback (natural light conditions, no battery issues).

    Access rights are NOT ownership. [snip] I own my CDs and DVD's. They're mine and I can do with them as I wish. Not so with "access rights".

    The thing that you seem to be misunderstanding is that, although you own the CD/DVD, you do not own the CONTENT of the CD/DVD. You never have, and (given the way the copyright laws are bending) you never will.

    I don't buy movies, I buy DVDs. I don't buy music, I buy CDs.

    This is exactly right. You own the plastic, but Disney/Sony/whoever owns the bits.

    Buying a CD/DVD is a granting of access rights to the bearer of that CD/DVD. Current equipment also grants the ability to duplicate the content of that CD/DVD - cheaply and flawlessly - as many times as desired. It is that ability that the studios want to squash. However, the genie is already out of the bottle. The sooner they realize it, the sooner they can work on a business model that works on copy abundance rather than copy scarcity.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:12PM (#29828781) Homepage

    I have a 35 year old VCR that will hook to my 2009 High Def TV.

    Honestly, Composite Video will not go anywhere in the next 20

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:19PM (#29828873)

    So ... when the entire file is different, on every copy ... what do you do then? Why do I ask? Because thats how it works. Its not that there are a few bytes changed here and there, the whole file is slightly modified, not a few bytes here and there.

    Watermarking and cryptography is slightly more advanced than you realize I think.

  • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @05:31PM (#29829041) Homepage

    No, I wouldn't trust such a promise (even in the form of a contract) to ever work out in my favor. What would happen is Disney would decide they're done with this business and are exiting it. So they spin off that part of the business as its own legal entity (or sell it to someone), which after a year or so declares chapter 13.

    Consumers would be left with no recourse; Disney can no longer be held responsible, they don't own that contract that this spun off company is now in fault of. That company is under bankruptcy protection without anywhere near enough assets to meet its obligations. Consumers get nothing.

    It's too easy for corporations to shuck obligations when they're exiting a market. Any consumer protections surrounding such an event built into contracts are a lie and unenforceable.

  • Re:Watermark (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PayPaI ( 733999 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:14PM (#29829521) Journal

    I don't doubt that, but while the User ID tags embedded in iTunes+ downloads are pretty well known, I can't find any info (besides that article) about Amazon watermarking mp3 downloads, especially in a user identifiable way. OP implied that Amazon themselves were marking downloads.

  • by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:31PM (#29829681)

    No, no, no, stop being so rational. With concepts like you posted, you'll never understand the mindset of the media execs. They aren't unaware of the concept of customer service you're writing about; they simply disregard it. In their mind, they own the content, and from about a century of experience, they've come to the conclusion that consumers want the content to the extent that our entire culture has been built around it, so they figure they can demand whatever they damn well please, and we'll bend over and take it.

    Remember in the movie "National Lampoon's Vacation" where the Griswold's car breaks down out in the middle of nowhere, and Clark asks the sleazy mechanic how much it's going to cost to fix it? The guy answers, "How much you got?" Clark then says, "No, how much will it cost?" And the mechanic repeats, "How much you got?" Well, that's the attitude you're dealing with here.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:42PM (#29829781) Journal

    Oh c'mon, it's not about online movies. This is yet another try at switching users from purchase to long-term rental, in the face of clear evidence that consumers do not want this. Disney clearly hasn't learned anything from DIVX and the 48 hour self-destructing DVD. They seem to think that all they need to do is find the right technology and the right marketing technique, and they can continue to depends on rebuys for a significant part of their revenue stream, despite that business model being dead since the VHS days.

    When I purchase a movie, I don't want the content to be out in "the cloud", depending on services that will inevitably go TU some day, or depend on "phoning home" for permission to play the media I have purchased. I want a physical, non-encumbered archival copy, else it's just a high priced rental, competing unsuccessfully against dirt-cheap rentals like Netflix.

  • No thanks Disney! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:44PM (#29829791)

    Another silly attempt by disney to control all of the media all the time. They tried this with the "DiVX" DVD format and failed miserably. Disney, guess what, I already have a fool proof method of keeping all of the media that I BUY, FOREVER, its called DVD, and if I want something to be digital I can by an MP4 or other digital media file. Keychest will fail.

  • Trust Disney? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:44PM (#29829799) Homepage Journal

    Umm no thanks.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:54PM (#29829887) Journal

    Why do they keep saying "buy" when what they really mean is "rent"?

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @07:01PM (#29829959) Journal

    Instead of going to such lengths to protect 80-year-old films, why don't they put that effort into producing some decent new titles?

  • by minorproblem ( 891991 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @07:36PM (#29830215)
    It would only take one person to purchase the movie with a stolen credit card, and then release it.. then it wouldn't matter what watermarks there where embedded into the film.
  • by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @08:52PM (#29830805)

    Well, I'd disagree there.

    Disney's problem is that the vault isn't going to work anymore, and their largest asset is still and probably always will be their back catalog of classics. In the old days they kept the value of these things up by taking them off the market, they're still trying this, but it's probably not going to work anymore. I've got a 4 week old, and I would like to share some of the memories of my childhood with him including the classic Disney movies. Most parents feel the same way. While I am by no means rich, I am perfectly happy to pay a reasonable rate to purchase legitimate copies of these movies. It costs me money, but I don't really pirate movies anymore, and buying the old classics is pretty good value for money IMO. On the other hand, if I'm not given the option to pay someone money for a product I want, and I can acquire that product by another means, I don't feel too bad about it.

    Disney are starting to wake up to this fact and to realize they can't completely control distribution, but they also don't really want a glut of back catalog stock sitting in stores all over the world slowly dropping in price and value. By creating a digital distribution scheme, Disney can, in theory, provide access to the movies that people want to buy whenever they want to buy them without drastically reducing their value and sale price through oversupply.

    Personally I'm reserving judgment until I see more details and read some reviews. Pay once use anywhere, if it works, is actually a pretty cool service and one which is worth paying for. It's content as a license but with all the benefits of a license instead of the usual deal which is content as a license, but sold to you like a physical product, all the restrictions, none of the flexibility. That's a major pet peeve of mine, if I'm paying for a license I should be able to exercise that license in anyway I see fit, at any time, and to get a new copy of the product I've licensed whenever I want, if I've bought a physical product I can do whatever I want with it, you can't have it both ways.

    Disney haven't been too unethical over they years, they've extended or modified the DVD spec a few times, and that's certainly caused some issues, but I haven't heard of them suing anyone, or being particularly evil. I'm not a huge fan of the Disney vault, but it's good business sense and within their legal and ethical rights.

    That doesn't mean this will work properly, or that their won't be risks involved(early adopters always take risks, if you bought an HD-DVD you've got movies that won't play on anything when your player dies and that's physical media), but it's not a fundamentally bad idea or fundamentally evil.

This is now. Later is later.