Blu-Ray To Allow Users To Make 'Copies' — With Lots Of Strings Attached

from the asterisk dept

“Beginning next year, studios and other content holders will be required to give consumers the ability to make one copy of any Blu-ray Disc they buy,” says the article (via Engadget). Sounds great — movie studios and others finally realizing that people should be able to freely back up DVDs they legitimately purchase. The devil, of course, is in the details. While discs will have to support this “managed copy” feature, it will require new hardware, and there’s no mandate that DVD player manufacturers include support for it at all. The copy, as you’d expect, is all DRM’ed up, and in order to make the copy, the Blu-ray player will have to connect to an “authorization server”. This is the sort of model that’s caused lots of problems in the past, when companies decide to pull the plug on the servers, rendering the feature useless. But the biggest potential problem with the feature is that movie studios and others will be free to charge whatever they wish for it. That means this really isn’t a backup or a copy at all, it’s simply the distribution means for the latest incarnation of the entertainment industry’s favorite business model: getting people to pay for the same content over and over. That’s why the studios want to block things like Real DVD — not because they’ll increase piracy, but because they cut off the only business model the studios can see for digital content.

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Comments on “Blu-Ray To Allow Users To Make 'Copies' — With Lots Of Strings Attached”

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Anonymous Coward says:


So is this Fair Use for Blu-Ray as interpreted by “Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.”?

I like it, except a glaring change has occured. Sony leadersihip has changed. It’s not Japanese anymore. This fact is quite interesting indeed. How does Sony under England Leadership under Howard Stringer, (oh sorry, I meant “Sir” Howard Stringer) change things?

Property rights, anyone?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What if someone makes a movie or a film or some video (or some song) and puts it on blueray disk and they want to allow others to freely copy it to their computers and disks without any third parties involved. Can they do that? Can others copy this authorized content without an Internet connection on the computer they are doing the copying on?

Anonymous Coward says:

Carlo, since I know you never read these things or comment after, I won’t address my comments to you. Too bad, because you ALMOST got the story right.

The future of media likely a registration model. There is no chance that media companies will continue in the long run to produce content that they cannot profit from. You make a single blu-ray disk, hand it to TPB guys, and everyone and their dog has a copy tomorrow for free. That isn’t a supportable business model.

Without a real viable business model (and no, miniputt and t-shirts are NOT an option here), the content producers will quite simply leave the business. Nobody will actively flush millions of dollars down the toilet just for fun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The future of media likely a registration model. There is no chance that media companies will continue in the long run to produce content that they cannot profit from. You make a single blu-ray disk, hand it to TPB guys, and everyone and their dog has a copy tomorrow for free. That isn’t a supportable business model.”

Prove this is what will happen.

Also, I am not saying that these collection agencies shouldn’t exist whatsoever, just that it should be up to artists to decide whether or not they want these collection agencies (like the RIAA) representing them. If an artist wants to give away his music for free without having some unnecessary third party profiting from it (ie: some random artist making music on his computer or whatever) he should have that right. If he wants to allow restaurants to play his music without a license or without paying some third party some royalties, that should be his right. If an artist wants a collection to help him collect money, that’s fine too. But don’t ask the government to hold the RIAA’s hand and force artists to fund them if they don’t want to.

Bettawrekonize says:

Re: Re:

“Without a real viable business model (and no, miniputt and t-shirts are NOT an option here), the content producers will quite simply leave the business.”

Please provide evidence that this will eliminate all content producers. And, “oh, there is one content producer that’s not making it” doesn’t cut it. Even before file sharing many content producers still didn’t make it. Some musicians are big one day and their music gets old the next. People get tired of them. This has been happening long before music sharing. Peoples tastes change. What you need to prove is not anecdotal nonsense that one artist is having a hard time (for one thing that could be due to a number of factors; the economy, people are getting tired of his music, this happens without file sharing programs. One person is a big hit one day and forgotten the next only to be replaced by someone else. For another, who’s to say that one artist represents the entire industry? Even if one artist does suffer as a result of file sharing that’s not to say there aren’t other artists replacing him).

Now I am not here advocating downloading songs illegally. What I am saying is that artists should have the freedom to give their work away for free if they choose to (without having some unnecessary third party profit from it). They should have the freedom to allow others to copy it all they want if the artists choose to (again, without having some unnecessary third party profit from it). They should have the freedom to have their work played on radio (both broadcast and online) and television stations without these third parties being paid royalties if that’s what the artist wants. They should have the right to have some restaurant play their music without paying for any license or without paying some third party royalties if that’s what the artist wants. If the artist does want to charge for his music he absolutely has that right. If he wants to prevent his work from being played on radio (online and broadcast) and television stations or to prevent them from being played in restaurants without someone paying him royalties, then I’m fine with that. If he wants to hire a collection agency to go after pirates of his music, I’m even cool with that too. I have no problems with that. My point is if he doesn’t want all that, if he doesn’t want some unnecessary third party to profit from his work, he should have that option. That’s ALL I’m saying.

Perhaps he wants to work a deal with a restaurant where the restaurant pays him for a license to play his music without involving some unnecessary collection agency (of course he would have to pay the normal taxes on his profits, just like anyone else who buys anything). Maybe he’s not happy if someone pirates his music but he wants to handle it himself, he doesn’t want some collection agency to handle it. He wants to independently sue or hire his own lawyers. Or, if he wants to delegate the work to a collection agency, that’s fine too. But what we don’t need is for these collection agencies to lobby congress to pass laws to extort money away from artists against their will.

Jonas says:

@Anonymous Coward,

“Or someone will come up with a free program to rip and copy blu-ray disks on their own.”

Already exists. Not ripping, but copying. All it takes is a computer with a blue-ray burner and a working installation of any Linux-distro. One commandline invocation (the dd command) is all it takes assuming you have one blue-ray reader and one burner. Two if the source and destination is the same physical optical unit. Not userfriendly in the least but possible. At least for the two disks I’ve tried with.

zcat (profile) says:

I'll buy blue ray

when the encryption is broken. And by that, I mean broken to the extent that I can practically and easily bypass it.

Just like I held off buying anything remotely DVD related until I knew that the DRM was broken six-ways-to-Sunday and copying most DVDs was trivially easy. (as it happened I went out and bought my first DVD burner about the time Jack Valenti died. It seems a good thing to celebrate. I’m a cold bastard.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Some very good comments by people who appear to be computer savvy. Just imagine, however, the honest tech simple consumer. He or she has been used to simply putting any CD they own in the drive and having it easily copied – DRM Free – to their PC (which automatically sync’s it with their portable device. Next year, whenever Blu-ray managed copy kicks in, they put a disc in. If it’s the small percent that can’t be copied – frustration. If it’s one from a company that just says type in your email address so we can spam you – probably not much of a problem. But what will be the reaction when the message is – pay us another $5 to make a copy? Not to mention some of the potential technical glitches noted above. While I would never violate the DMCA by pointing people to illegal solutions, I have a feeling even the average consumer might be driven to those solutions, which, as one commenter noted, already exist.

brent says:

why don’t the movie companies just start releasing their movies onto SD cards, sell players that play the SD cards and charge one or two bucks a movie. that way people won’t really have a problem paying for stuff over and over. imagine the scenario, im at the airport, i got my portable player with me but i really got a desire to watch gladiator. well i left the one that i bought at home. i pop into the gift shop, two bucks and i can buy gladiator again and i won’t feel like i’m doing more than buying a coffee. hell i might end up with lots of copies of the same movie but at least i paid for it and i’m not angry about it.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not a half bad idea, but really, SD cards are probably more expensive to manufacture than CDs/DVDs/Bluray discs. However if part of the idea is to decrease the actual physical size to correspond with the decreased size, thereby enforcing the concept of the incidental purchase, I’m sure they could find a way to mass produce SD (or your favorite alternative) very inexpensively.

GJ (profile) says:

business model that includes DRM

Go online, purchase the rights to watch something, say “Spiderman VI” for $30 (or so…). You get mailed a physical copy, DRM-ed to the hilt.

If you want another copy, you go online again, authenticate, and because you have the rights to watch some specific contents, you can get a replacement physical copy for $5, including shipping, again mailed to your physical address. Put a cap on how many replacement copies you can order to, say, 3 per year, or as many as you like, as long as you send the original (broken, or damaged) media back.

There’s a small profit margin for the additional copies, and it makes it interesting to buy a physical replacement copy (from one of your friends) instead of doing a torrent download.

By increasing the cap on replacement copies without returned damaged media, you can now compete with (free) torrents, because it’ll be a service worth paying for.

Where do I file a patent for this idea?


g bruno (user link) says:

prc compression

off topic, but…
How do the PRChinese bootleggers put 24 movies on one DVD?
Must be some fantastic compression algorithms!
The pictures sometimes get blocky – eg when running through forests, the algorithm seems to choke on lots of leaf patterns. (apocalypto)
The labels say blu-ray, but thats PRC BS, they’re just DVDS,
cost about $2.
Best quality: Oscar pre-release movies, evidently sold by “academy members” to PRC.
Worst quality: handheld camera in cinema, where people sometimes stroll in front of the camera.
Bangkok, Manila, the poor get to see movies before you do.
Sadly the PRC have ‘cleaned up’ Hong Kong, hard to find DVDs on the street now. PRC are choking HongKong, turning it into Disneyland, they dont want it to succeed. ShenZen has all the bootleg hardware now, I bet they have DVDs on the street there.(I havnt been)

Shane (user link) says:


Do they think that putting this protection will do anything? People find ways around it and will release it on the internet or just transfer them to their computers to do with them like they please. Warez-bb is a perfect example of how things can float around between people very easily – especially with the H264 codec to cut BluRay’s down to 4-10 Gigs per movie with little noticeable quality loss, sometimes none at all.

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