Google's Copy Protection: Supplying The Tools For Others To Be Evil

from the yay!-less-choice! dept

When we called attention yesterday to the news that Google was apparently launching its own proprietary copy protection, we dinged AP and Reuters for completely ignoring it in their reports. At least for the AP, the reason they didn't mention it was because it was under embargo, and that embargo is now over, since Larry Page is on stage in Las Vegas talking about it. Unfortunately, Google's copy protection scheme sounds just as bad as we feared. It is their very own, and it will limit what you can do with the video significantly. You can't transfer the video to mobile devices. It doesn't work on a Mac. And, you can only view the video when you're online, as the copy protection obviously is calling home first (which, of course, opens up the potential of security holes).

On the flip side, Google will (I'm sure) quickly point out that their DRM offers more "flexibility" than others, in that you don't have to use it, and if you do, you have choices about how restrictive it is. In other words, Google is basically going to say that they built the locks, but it's up to the content provider to be evil with those locks. As part of this whole offering of letting anyone sell videos through their system, they're also offering more payment options so that (unlike iTunes) content providers can choose how much things cost, and even allows some variability (for example, Charlie Rose will offer free streaming for a day after his shows air, and then unencumbered downloads for $0.99 after that). Google takes a 30% cut of any sale. It's nice that they're giving content providers some choice, but it's still quite worrisome that there's now yet another incompatible copy protection scheme that will be making the rounds. This isn't good for anyone and shrinks the overall market. Google may think that it was "necessary" to simply give content providers the option to hang themselves with bad copy protection, but it's a cop out position. Google, at this point, should have a strong enough market position to let content providers know that there's a better way to offer content without copy protection -- and if content providers are too scared, that's their problem. Eventually they would come around when they saw success stories without copy protection.

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  1. identicon
    TriXx, 6 Jan 2006 @ 5:54pm

    but why?

    When I buy something, I consider it mine. I understand that companies believe that they are loosing money on copying and illegal recording of videos and music and such. My problem is the fact that the very machines people use to copy these products are in fact made by the same companies that are producing the anti copying technology. Like sony for example, the believe there right to protect their property means they can invade my computer with files typically used in hacking and such, leaving me open to further attacks (which they stole from another company from what i understand). Do these big buisness not see that the public is getting smarter and is recognizing the fact that sony wants you to buy a cd/dvd burner, and disks, but they dont want you to copy anthing with them. They want you to buy there movies and music but they want to control how we use them. I dont know about anyone one else, and perhaps my arguments are irrational, but I kinda feel like there taking my money, am I'm not really getting anything in return except headaches. If i buy something, i want it to be mine, to do with as i please. If you dont like the fact that i copy something, or download something, change your buisness model to allow me to do what I want, i hold all the cards, i am your customer, its my money you want. FIGURE IT OUT! *sry for bad spellings

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