Movie Studios Try Charging Users For Diminished Fair Use

from the try-again dept

In the UK, Universal Pictures is rolling out a program that for £19.99 allows a consumer to buy a DVD and two digital files of it, one for both the PC and a mobile device. It’s a rough attempt at giving users some flexibility as to how they watch their media, without actually letting them control it. The studio claims the move is meant to broaden their market, though the digital files can’t be played on either the iPod Video or the Sony PSP (not to mention any Apple or Linux PCs), two of the most popular handheld devices. Far from liberating users, the offer gets them to pay extra for diminished version of fair use. One positive way to look at the deal is that they’re selling the digital download, but offering a DVD as a permanent backup. Given the high price of movies, this may hold some appeal to people, who want the reassurance that they’ll have it (especially after they buy a new computer). Universal claims that the offer will “completely revolutionize” watching movies; they might be surprised to find out that people are already copying and sharing them with much more flexibility and function than what they offer.


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Comments on “Movie Studios Try Charging Users For Diminished Fair Use”

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11 Comments
Compzen says:

Sure, I’ll let you put a leash around my neck. Then stake it to the ground. Oh, yeah… and I’ll pay you to do it to me. (said with sarcastic tones)

Does the movie industry really think people will allow this? I am all for paying a fair price for a DVD, but I WILL use it for my own viewing any way I see fit. I for one am NOT a submissive slave, nor will I allow myself to be sheared down to the skin. Next they’ll want to track how many times we view a movie and charge us for every one! (Probably with an RFID chip!)

thecaptain says:

Re: My god!

Do they really want to try something this stupid? It’s not like they don’t have plenty of suggestions that would work to save the company. Yet they still want to suck as much money from us and give us as little as possible in return!

Actually, while they do want to suck as much money, this won’t be the way they do it.

They are fully aware that this won’t work…that’s why the plan is so stupid…its stupid on purpose so that it won’t work…which gives them a big target to point at and say “see? we CAN’T make money on the internet!”

and allow them to legislate fair use to oblivion and get even more money in the long run with tighter DRM control over distribution.

Keith (user link) says:

Universal Studios "gets it" in the UK

The major complaint here is that the DRM on the digital media wont work on iPods and Sony PSPs, and as a result will fail.

While iPods may be a huge existing market, it is a closed system. You have to go through Apple to distribute your content through it. The complaint seems to be that the media has DRM, and also is not iPod compatible. But isn’t iPod content DRM’d as well?

Certainly getting the files without DRM would be preferable. You’d then be able to play the content on almost any digital media device you can find assuming the format (WMV, MPEG, AVI, etc…), but if you’ve got DRM’d video content… I’d much rather have it play on a variety of devices rather than just those devices from a single vendor.

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