(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss: Google Building Content Locks?

from the do-just-a-little-evil dept

We're a bit hesitant to take seriously any reports concerning what Google is really announcing this week after all of the ridiculous rumors from earlier this week. However, the Wall Street Journal and some other trusted sources appear to have it on good authority that Google will be offering up videos for sale. That's not that surprising, really. Google had said that was a part of the plan from the very beginning of its video offering. And, not surprisingly, given Google's market power, the company has convinced some big name content providers to put their content in the system. Of course, simply copying what others are offering with broadcast content really is kind of boring and not that interesting. As we've seen, the power of online video is that it gets around the broadcasters and lets more people create and share their own content.

However, the really interesting point isn't even being covered by most of the media. The Associated Press version and the Reuters version don't even mention it, and the original Wall Street Journal version of the story buries it as the last sentence: "Google has developed its own digital-rights-management software to protect downloaded videos from piracy." Google obviously felt it needed to do so to convince the big content companies to take part -- but what it probably means is that we now have yet another incompatible copy protection system that is likely to lock people in (while also opening up new security holes). Hopefully, the actual details won't be as bad, but hearing that the company has gone out and built a totally separate copy protection system (which, of course, will be broken quickly) makes it sound like Google's taking a lesson from Apple in trying to exert extra control on a market.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Steve, Jan 5th, 2006 @ 11:11am

    No Subject Given

    Just because they are going to use DRM doesn't necessarily mean it will open up security holes. A lot of the problems with the ones on Windows thus far have been total hacks that overwrite drivers, install stupid software, and are basically poor methods of authentication.

    DRM can be implemented in a smart way. Basically, all you really need is an account and authentication server, with some unique identifier on the client's computer, and then a secure passage to the server. It's not complex -- just that most measures up until now are trying to lock down more than they really should, and screwing up people's computers in the process.

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

  2. icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 5th, 2006 @ 11:27am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I'm not convinced of that. Almost any attempt at locking down content opens up some potential security hole. In your implementation, it's the connection to the authentication server.

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

  3. identicon
    Ben McNelly, Jan 5th, 2006 @ 1:46pm

    No Subject Given

    Well, I for one will be pleased to hack google stuff for a change of pace. I think google knows that its own search engine will be the fastest way to find out how to hack around their DRM... And for the most part they are just apeasing a wary media conglomerate here and there... If I buy a video I want to be able to do whatever i want with it within reason, say like save it as a bitmap sequence on 21,000 floppy disks then take it to the library for 7 weeks printing each frame out one by one, untill eventuly I have a whole role of movie large print toilet paper. (thus re-defining the frase "crappy movie")

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

  4. identicon
    haggie, Jan 5th, 2006 @ 1:47pm

    No Subject Given

    Building a DRM system will be a real test of their "Don't Be Evil" unofficial corporate motto considering that DRM, in my opinion, is evil by its very nature.

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

  5. identicon
    AVChamp, Jan 5th, 2006 @ 2:56pm

    Hundreds of DRM-Free Video Downloads are already a

    There are already 100s of DRM-free videos available online from 4Flix.Net The files are all Mac, PC, and iPod compatible, and encoded using multi-pass AVC/H.264 codec. Just $1.99 each, with many free samples avaiable to boot!

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

  6. icon
    Jason (profile), Jan 6th, 2006 @ 8:58am

    Re: Hundreds of DRM-Free Video Downloads are alrea

    Bah. Most of those movies are older than my mother, and nearly as old as my grandmother.

    Heck, half of them have probably aired on Turner Classic Movies in the last year...

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

  7. identicon
    Matt, Jan 6th, 2006 @ 12:16pm


    DivX have one of the better DRM imlementions around and it is flexible enough that you can view DIvX encoded CDs and DVDs on a DivX certifed player .

    Thats where DRM needs to go if is to get from the Computer to the living Room .

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2006 @ 6:36am

    No Subject Given

    Alls I know is DivX rocks because it is Linux friendly. I still don't like vendor lock in though. When I buy it it's mine and if that gets rid of money or whatever sustem the vendor is using then so be it because it's the future.

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

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