Warner Bros. Wants You To 'Buy' Movies Instead Of Rent... And By 'Buy' It Means Spend More To Still 'Rent'

from the that's-not-buying dept

We pointed out that the early reviews of Hollywood's new UltraViolet DRM aren't particularly good, but the industry is still pushing forward with the idea. Leading the way is Warner Bros., who is trying to turn the movie-based "social network" it bought a few months ago, Flixster, into the central hub for your movies. The NY Times has an article about it, where it repeatedly claims that the strategy is all about trying to get people to "buy" movies again, rather than just rent them via Netflix of Redbox. Of course, I find this pretty funny, because nothing about UltraViolet is about actually "buying" anything. You're still renting -- and if things ever went to court over, say, your first sale rights to resell a movie you "purchased" using UltraViolet, you can bet that Warner Bros. would be first in line to claim that the license shows you're merely renting the movie, and not buying it. It's just that you're renting it on an open-ended timeline, basically until the studios bail on UltraViolet and shut down the servers.

Rob Pegoraro, in commenting on the article, notes that oddly, the article doesn't even mention DRM in talking about why people don't want to buy from the studios or the fact that it's still much more convenient to get the content by unauthorized means. But that concept still hasn't reached the brain trust at Warner Bros., who seems to insist that as long as you can access the movies you "bought" from anywhere, people will prefer that to file sharing. While it's great that they're at least trying to add benefits, to make it more valuable and worth paying for, the whole thing smacks of someone's father trying to "act cool" for his kids' friends. Warner Bros. still doesn't seem to understand why people like things like Netflix: the convenience. Everything about Ultraviolet sounds inconvenient, and that hardly makes anyone want to "buy."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Big media is always trying to get people to "go back" to whatever model used to be obscenely profitable for them.

    Any company that drools over past glories is doomed to find that technology, the marketplace, and consumers tend to forward. The next profitable market lies in the future, not the past. Any company that tries to drive the market backwards is destined to miss the next big thing.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re: Oh?

    Oh yeah?

    What if the next big thing is transcribing DVDs to VHS-tape and then time traveling back to when the VCR was king and selling future-movies for an obscene price?

    Now that's a business model! We'll only need a time-machine...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Oh?

    Oh I think I know what you're getting at...

    Col. Sandurz: Private, get me the cassette of Spaceballs the movie.

    Private: Yes, sir!

    DH: Col. Sandurz, may I speak with you please?

    Col. Sandurz: Yes, sir?

    DH: How can there be a cassette of Spaceballs the movie? We're still in the middle of making it!

    Col. Sandurz: There's been a new breakthrough in home video marketing. Instant cassettes! They're out in stores before the movie is finished.

    DH: Nah!

    Private: Here it is, sir! Spaceballs!

     

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  4.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh?

    >>Col. Sandurz: There's been a new breakthrough in home video marketing. Instant cassettes! They're out in stores before the movie is finished.

    Streaming on steroids!

     

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  5.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Piracy definitely is getting the content without paying.
    "Buying" the movie would mean acquiring the copyright.
    In between those is perhaps in need of a new word, though everyone except Mike and a few pirates understand that one isn't really "buying" a movie merely by downloading a file, DRM-ed or not. Sheesh.

    Whole piece smacks of amateur reductionism. It's only by these weenie legalisms that Mike keeps going.

    Here's an example of how easy this is:
    "...it's still much more convenient to get the content by unauthorized means" -- SEE? Mike doesn't at mention that those "unauthorized means" are ILLEGAL! He favors "piracy"!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Buying a movie is not the same as buying the copyright to a movie. But buying a movie is still purchasing a copy of the movie with all the attendant property rights that are normally entailed with ownership including perpetual usage and resale.

    Buying access to a copy is closer to what UltraViolet provides.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    I'm done "consuming" movies and music altogether, legally or illegally. This whole mess with SOPA and the studios' asinine products like Ultraviolet has forced me into a situation where I will minimize money spent on products that goes to the bottom-line of these nazis. I will keep my home TV provider out of fairness to the GF but she is already aware that my money will not be spent on such luxuries beyond that, meaning she has to pick up the tab on any movies she wants to see in the theatres. If you are still supporting these nazis by purchasing anything they sell, then you have no right to complain about their tactics. Standup for what you believe in by not supporting companies that employ such underhanded tactics.

     

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  8.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    "whatever model used to be obscenely profitable for them"

    They're still using the same old business model (of illegal monopoly), and raking in tens of billions at it. Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the "free" model, give away the OS and "sell scarcities"? If not -- and it IS not -- then why won't DRM and enforcing copyright work for movie biz same as does for Microsoft? (And don't try that Microsoft has a stream of new products: so does movie biz.)

    The existence / ungodly success of Microsoft disproves not only Mike's notions of needing "new business models", but also much about the "free market" insuring that the best products succeed and that price in mass markets approaches "marginal costs".

     

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  9.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Here's some required reading on DRM

    http://opensource.com/life/11/11/drm-graveyard-brief-history-digital-rights-management-music

    Of course, this won't stop the naive, the gullible, and the stupid from buying into it yet again, but perhaps those who are at least minimally educable will learn the lesson.

     

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  10.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    You're right. Rent, buy, own; these words are meaningless when you're discussing an infinite good. Words that are also meaningless when discussing infinite goods: property, theft, and steal

     

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  11.  
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    rubberpants, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    So, what you're saying is that the clear and best way for a company to be profitable it to become a monopoly?

    You, sir, have a special mind.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Oh stop!

    Seriously, your example (by its self) has value in the conversation. You've proved from time to time you can make intelligent contributions to the conversation and I look forward to those comments.

    Verbally assaulting Mike for giving us something to talk about is childish and displays a desire to derail the whole conversation. I would think that you would want to know what is important to the other side of the argument/discussion. At least it makes you more informed and possibly a better decision maker.

    I am not the enemy. While I tend (Not always.) to disagree with the basics of the discussions held here with you, I have come to recognize that what you have to say can be important. So I watch for that.

    I want to retain my basic rights and freedoms that the laws now hold for me and my children. I want content creators to get their due and I want tech to continue to innovate. (i.e. Tapes to MP3 to steaming media to digital lockers where I can put my legally obtained media, so I can use it anywhere in the world.)

    I also want, obviously, content creators to continue to make content so I can enjoy it. I have proven over my lifetime that I am willing to pay a reasonable price for content that is easy to use on my devices. (Can some one please get rid of those very annoying FBI warnings!?)

    End of my rant. Carry on smartly.

     

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  13.  
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    rubberpants, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Are you the real OOTB? If not, someone is doing a brilliant caricature of you.

     

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  14.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    If new computers came with the option of being $300 cheaper and having a free OS installed on it instead, I dare say Microsoft would start to die. Most consumers probably don't even realize they're paying for Windows when they buy a PC.

     

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  15.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:39am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    everyone except Mike and a few pirates understand that one isn't really "buying" a movie merely by downloading a file, DRM-ed or not. Sheesh.

    umm... it's Warner Bros. calling it buying - and Mike pointing out that it is not, in fact, buying.

    How did you read this post and get the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it said out of it?

     

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  16.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the "free" model, give away the OS and "sell scarcities"?

    Do you mean like how they took Microsoft Office - one of the most profitable segments of the company - made it free online, dropped the price on their home & student editions, and focused on selling enterprise solutions?

    Because yeah, they did that...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    "Lifetime warranty"

    It's just that you're renting it on an open-ended timeline, basically until the studios bail on UltraViolet and shut down the servers.

    So you're saying this is kinda like getting a product from a company that tells you that it has a lifetime warranty. That is, the lifetime of the company-- not the product...


    Honestly, server-based DRM needs an expiration date: "Guaranteed good until 2014".

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Plus, it sucks

    On top of all the other issues with UltraViolet, I've read tons of reports from people who flat-out couldn't get to work at all.

    And what's with the name? Are they using such an old computer that they can't use spaces in file names?

     

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  19.  
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    Big Mook, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    This is why I hope the physical disc doesn't go away

    The only way I can see anyone using UV digital copy would be if the physical disc were never available and it was the only method of getting the movie for home/personal use. The digital copy is usually going to be sub-DVD quality, and looks blurry even on a notebook, much less on my big-screen TV. Tell me why I would want to watch a blurry video that's going to give me a headache?? I have no use for the digital copy. I guess they keep the video quality way down to save on drive space and/or bandwidth, but today with 1 and 2 TB drives common, and fat broadband available almost everywhere, I don't see the reasoning there.

    When I get a new Bluray disc (purchased legitimately or received as gift), I'm most likely going to rip it to my hard drive. That way, I get a true 1080P digital copy instead of that crappy VHS-quality digital copy that comes "free" in the bundle. My BR disc goes into storage for safekeeping. I've already paid for the disc and I'm using it as I see fit. I'm not putting it up on a torrent, or handing out copies to my friends. I'm just using it how I want since I paid for it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Plus, it sucks

    Nope, that would make it ULTRAVLT or ULTRVLET. =)

    They just think it sounds cool.

     

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  21.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re: "Lifetime warranty"

    "Guaranteed good until 2014"

    Damn, that's optimistic.

     

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  22.  
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    Bengie, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    UV

    I absolutely hate having to use a physical medium, I hate not being able to search my collection, I loath commercials, and I hate low quality video with stereo sound.

    Fix those issues, which is easy with current tech, and they got my money.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    There you go. That is how to compete with free. Match it.

    This is the trend in the world of IT IP. They offer a service and support it through other revenue streams. Some of their argument is to make things more convenient (aka The Cloud).

    The entertainment IP crowd are having difficulty with the 'other revenue stream' part of it, even though radio and TV played that game for a long time (aka advertising). The VCR taught them a lesson about convenience they are now denying.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Just look at the prevalence of the 'Own it today on DVD' commercials on television, and the message is clear. 'License it today' just doesn't have the same ring but they'd like you to think that's what they really said. I sign nothing and agree to nothing when I buy it but the merchant happily takes my money - that, friends, is a sale, not a license.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    Is that why their market share of all devices that access the internet has dropped from 90% to 50%?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: "Lifetime warranty"

    Honestly what you really need is a better ripper.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Re: Plus, it sucks

    DVD specs don't allow spaces/odd characters in names, and I believe neither do Bluray specs.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    Re: "Lifetime warranty"

    a lifetime warranty. That is, the lifetime of the company-- not the product.


    It's my understanding that a "lifetime" warranty would be for the lifetime of the purchaser, not the product. If it was for the lifetime of the product, then it would be the same as no warranty at all. To wit:

    "Hello, this widget I bought last week won't turn on."

    "Hmm. You're right, it looks dead."

    "OK then, please fix it or replace it."

    "Oh I can't do that - it's out of warranty!"

    "What do you mean? I was told it has a lifetime warranty."

    "Oh yes - but as I said it's dead - its lifetime is over!"

    And in general, all warranties (lifetime or not) are limited by the life of the company - if the manufacturer goes out of business, who is left to honour the warranty?

     

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  29.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    "Warner Bros. Wants You To 'Buy' Movies Instead Of Rent... And By 'Buy' It Means Spend More To Still 'Rent'"

    My brain hurts.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    Not entirely, if it was a real sale you would be able to use that as you see fit for personal or financial gain, which you can't, to address that issue courts ruled hilariously that when you are dealing with a physical manifestation of the work you sell the physical part but not work itself, basically meaning you are basically only just buying the container of the work but not the work itself because otherwise it would undermine copyright, which has a lot of problems in and on itself.

    Really copyright should last 30 seconds than nothing in there would be a problem, who can abuse a law in 30 secs?

    Computers can but there are no computers with the power to Judge anything so I don't believe it would be a problem in the near future, maybe for future generations LoL

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Am I the only one who kept reading it as ulrtaviolent and thought it was a fitting name for anything holly based?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    he is a special mix of "conspiracy theorist" and "always against whatever mike says" that surely comes from having his tinfoil on too tight... or maybe eating paintchips or something

     

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  33.  
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    JMT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Plus, it sucks

    Ultraviolet is one word, not two.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    1408.iso
    300.iso
    30_DAYS_OF_NIGHT.iso
    3_10_TO_YUMA.iso
    ADJUSTMENT_BUREAU.iso
    AGORA.iso
    ALICE_W ONDERLAND_2010.iso
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    PREDATORS.iso
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    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).iso
    THE_CONTRACT.iso
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    An ybody want to trade iso files?

    When I say I don't use cyberlockers I'm not lying, when I say I don't use torrents I'm not lying, so unless those people can ban email, zip files, rar files, instant message apps, Facebook, etc they are screwed.

    Make it pricier, make it difficult to use and a lot more people will just trade things among themselves.

    The right price for their products is $0.20/month for all you can eat buffet if we are talking up to a thousand companies more than that and the price will need to drop fast.

    Maybe that is what those companies really want with SOPA the power to destroy others so they don't have to compete with anyone is not really pirates, they are in for harming other business other content producers because they believe they can't fall from grace.

    Warner just may be the one to show them, that it could happen to anyone. Ford also couldn't believe others could produce something Americans would want they were wrong.

     

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  35.  
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    JackHerer (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    The fact that they are unauthorised/illegal is irrelevant to the argument. The point being made is that the entertainment industry has such contempt for its customers that it isn't even prepared to offer a product/service that is as good as or better than the "pirate" services. Their attitude of "we don't care what you want you will take what you are given" is exactly the reason pirate services are popular. The sooner they realise that and offer compelling legal alternatives the better if they are going to survive.

     

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  36.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

    OOTB, did you forget to take your dried frog pills again?

     

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  37.  
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    Joe Perry (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    to be fair, that's probably because "all devices that access the internet" used to mean computers. now it's computers, phones, tablets, game consoles, DVRs, and the list goes on and on.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:18pm

    Re:

    no thank you, all of those are just more Hollywood garbage.
    Think about this one: the only reason you even downloaded those shitty movies is because of marketing.
    Fuck Hollywood trash. Call me and I'll hook you up with some real movies made in the East.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Oh?

    In honor of the response immediately right after THIS (your) comment, I have but one question to ask. When will then be now?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    "Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the "free" model, give away the OS and "sell scarcities"? If not -- and it IS not -- then why won't DRM and enforcing copyright work for movie biz same as does for Microsoft? (And don't try that Microsoft has a stream of new products: so does movie biz.)"

    Actually, while not specifically giving away the OS, Microsoft is giving away Microsoft Office. There are also ad-supported versions of it. So Microsoft is essentially giving away for free (in two variations) their second largest product. Also, this isn't an "old" version of Microsoft Office. No sirree, this is Microsoft Office 2010. The most current version available.

    Also, this "free" model you speak of is actually incorrect. I don't think Mike has ever advocated for "give it away and pray". In fact, I'm pretty sure he recently said that's a dumb idea. What he has advocated for is adding extras to entice customers. The extras can be anything and everything. From throwing in a poster and t-shirt with a cd. To a Q&A session with the director and writer of a particular movie when you see it in a specific theater. Things like that.

    Of course, it's much easier to ignore the proper answers Mike (and others) give and misquote them when you're just trying to shoot down what they say in the first place.

     

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  41.  
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    athe, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    I don't see Microsoft pushing for new laws that mean they can sit back and let everyone else do the policing for them. If they want to use DRM and existing laws, all the power to them if they can, at least they are trying to do it themselves though...

     

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  42.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 16th, 2011 @ 2:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

    "now it's computers, phones, tablets, game consoles,"

    Yep, and Microsoft create an OS for all of those! Funny how their marketshare drops when competition arrives, but that's not a bad thing for consumers.

     

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  43.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 16th, 2011 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re:

    You can't really term Agora and The Killer Inside Me as Hollywood, although I understand your sentiment :)

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    I just use Core FTP Lite and Putty to exchange stuff with friends. Seriously, sometimes old solutions are better.

     

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  45.  
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    JBDragon (profile), Nov 16th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Ultraviolet

    What I don't get, is why is it called UltraViolet in the first place. They are copying the name of the movie Ultraviolet!!! You know staring Milla Jovovich so it's a little confusing. It's not a Original Name.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0370032/


    I won't get into the whole Ultraviolet light area for example, but Naming your new Movie format after a Movie that came out in 2006 seems wrong to me. Strange? Copy Cats?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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