Studios Continue To Ignore Just How Badly They Hamstring Legal Download Sites

from the blue-in-the-face dept

It’s been clear since the outset that the movie download sites supported by Hollywood studios have been far too clunky and user-unfriendly to attract many users, and they’ve made only marginal improvements over the years. They provide the perfect insight into how the movie industry puts its stupid fears about piracy above everything else — including creating a product that consumers will actually want to pay for. While it’s been blindingly obvious to many of us, Jeff writes in to point out that BusinessWeek is highlighting, for Hollywood’s benefit, the fact that these sites will never be successful when copy protection is the top priority. It’s often easy to marginalize complaints that an overemphasis on DRM and copy protection are hurting big content’s business as the whining of a tiny group of geeky consumers, but articles like this one in mainstream publications make it clear that isn’t the case, and that only when services like these are usable and useful do they stand a chance of succeeding. Still, the movie studios must not read BusinessWeek, since it was almost a year ago that another article in the magazine pointed out that the movie studios couldn’t find a buyer for Movielink, the download site they own, because all the potential buyers realized that it will never succeed as long as the studios insist on locking down their content so rigidly.

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Comments on “Studios Continue To Ignore Just How Badly They Hamstring Legal Download Sites”

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Point says:

On a Kind of Unrelated Point

If it was possible for people to drop their cars in a machine and immediately churn out a copy for half the price of a new car, they would do it. If they could download a chair, they would do it. If it was possible to copy an entire book as easily as it is to copy an MP3, people would do it. (And have been doing it since copying books got easier than it was when you had to use a photocopier to pages one by one.) The only reason we buy things instead of making them ourselves is because it’s more cost-efficient to buy. Copyright owners could rant and rail and get legislators and courts to declare the actions illegal, but that wouldn’t stop people from doing it.

I’m not sure what my point is, but I think this is something that many companies would do well to realize, accept, and learn to work with. I don’t think it’s a tendency that’s going to go away.

Not Steve Jobs says:

Who will show them the light?

There is one company with tremendous power to change this equation with the greatest of rapidity.

That company is Apple, with their CEO, Steve Jobs being the majority owner (and board member) of Disney.

Steve said in his “thoughts on music” essay that he thought DRM was doing nothing but holding back the industry, and that removing it was the only valid way to move forward (bad summary is my fault).

However, it looks like Steve is completely two-facing this issue, as he has stated the oposite applies to video. In the realm of audio, he blames the labels for holding back their own industry.

Meanwhile, HE IS THE LABEL when it comes to video. He *COULD* convince Disney to ship DVDs without CSS on them, and he *COULD* have iTMS sell those same movies for Apple TV and for iPods with no encryption. (and of course with no DRM, that same video could also be used on any other device)

How much you wanna bet he doesn’t?

Joe Smith says:

Self serve

There was a a time when all of the goods in a retail store were kept away from the consumers, safely behind counters. To access the goods a customer had to deal with a clerk. Security was no doubt a major reason for this arrangement. Moving to self serve increased enormously the risk of shop lifting.

Apart from jewelry stores, who else keeps their merchandise locked behind a counter these days. Self serve wiped out the old model of retailing because it puts the customer first.

There is a lesson in there for the movie studios. Put the customer first.

Pointguard says:

Re:On a Kind of Unrelated Point

I believe that the problem is that the respective industries that are grinding against the unstoppable gears of the internet still won’t let themselves admit that they can’t make things work their way. The problem is that it’s a big machine (riaa, mpaa, etc.) and they don’t understand or know that their way won’t work even if they somehow got their way. The internet isn’t a beast to tame. You can’t lasso in a tidal wave let alone a puddle of water.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re:On a Kind of Unrelated Point

So true. I think the main problem is that the movie industry thinks if they get rid of DRM restrictions, then a flood of people will opt to copy the video rather than buy it. This is silly and there is a good reason why people would buy a movie than burn it.

Media and burners. The home consumer usually does not have the money to buy professional grade burner or high-capacity media disks, therefore their copy is of lower quality. Also, why not make it so only the movie is offered, but you need to buy the disc for the bonus features? I like the bonuses and would gladly fork over the money for a DVD.

Most people are not inclined to steal and most of those people who DO steal videos tend to grow out of it when they get older and begin making more money. I think the movie industry should at least give people a chance rather than label everyone a thief. They might be surprised.

Pointguard says:

Re: Re: Re:On a Kind of Unrelated Point

Yes. I do find myself growing into buying things more instead of acquiring by other means as I get older. But from my experiences with people I would say that piracy really isn’t a problem. Most people i meet don’t know much about computers and don’t have a clue what bittorrent is! I had a refreshing slap in the face when I spoke to a girl who needed help with her comp and upon inquiry had no clue what even a CPU was! Zounds!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:On a Kind of Unrelated Point

Yes. I do find myself growing into buying things more instead of acquiring by other means as I get older.

What I found was that I stopped pirating as I got older. But I did not replace my pirating with purchasing. I just consume far less mindless drivel nowadays.

(yes, I’m one fo those jackasses who used to go buy stuff after pirating it, yes, we really do exist. Now that I ahve stopped pirating, I have also stopped buying. What a weird coincidence…)

John Mann says:

Re: Re: Re:On a Kind of Unrelated Point

“Also, why not make it so only the movie is offered, but you need to buy the disc for the bonus features? I like the bonuses and would gladly fork over the money for a DVD.”

You do realize that all it takes is one pirate to purchase/steal an “original” DVD to allow the bonus features to be available for download, right?

As for quality of pirated versions – you really can’t tell the difference. Of course, being played back on a 109″ television might bring out imperfections… But if you own such a display device, you probably have enough money to afford the storage required for higher quality pirated copies of your movies.

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