Saturday, 17 April 2010

Copyright crystal balls

Farrar wished for markets in legal hard-disks loaded with movies; I said anything of the sort would be hopelessly crippled:
...odds are that if the 125 movie hard disk were available at Whitcoulls, you wouldn't be able to move the files onto another hard drive and the format would require some kind of copyright-chipped TV that would verify that you're the registered owner of the drive (and that would wind up failing when you upgraded your TV down the line). There seems to be a variant of Murphy's Law that whatever digital format is supported by the content industry will wind up being crippled in some important way.
Commenter Hamish pointed out that Paramount the next day released a hard disk version of Star Trek 9, with a bunch of pre-loaded movies bundled along. Crippled beyond usefulness? You betcha! BoingBoing:
Paramount Pictures will sell 500-gig Seagate drives loaded with the 2009 movie "Star Trek" (and the option to load 20 other films) for $100. According to reports, that promotional pricing will only be available for a month, then prices jump.

Ah, but there's a catch! Windows, and a DRM system that presumably prevents you from doing stuff like moving the movie from that drive to other computers in your home.
The other movies distributed by Paramount, including "GI Joe," "Nacho Libre" and "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" come pre-loaded with a digital lock that requires a code that can be purchased online for $10 to $15 each. Even watching "Star Trek" requires registration. The pre-loaded movies come with a Windows-based digital rights management system that prevents file sharing. They take up about 50 GB of the drive itself.
I'd be impressed with my crystal ball if Hollywood weren't so predictably predictable. A 500 GB blank drive ought to cost about $70 retail. It could hold 250 movies without much difficulty. Sell that, uncrippled, for $300 and folks would be interested. But $10-$15 per movie with hassles of registration and digital locks and never being able to migrate the files to a larger drive? I wonder how many they'll sell. If I were given one for Christmas, I'd wipe it: the blank drive is worth more than the blank drive plus crippled content.

Slashdot also is scathing.

Odds someone eventually finds a rootkit on this puppy that lets the MPAA scan your home network for infringing content? 10% chance? Higher?

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd rather just buy a cheap 500gb drive and download a few torrents :)