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 @ 6:27pm

    *nods*

    Thx Dave, and I agree with choice, and the content owners having the ability to protect their investments, but not at my expense. All the money they spend on copy protection, and lawsuits and killing their customer base, should be used to find a way to let us do what we want. There must be a way, all the brain power their using to piss us off could be used to give us what we want, they would be hero's. I know this would'nt work, but a suggestion would be perhaps a blanket fee.. download, copy, upload, an do whatever you want for a yearly fee... not only would something like that solve alot of shipping issues, it would make us happy. I don't want to use this service to get this movie, that service to get that song, and yet another to get my software, the whole time my computer is being hacked to pieces by some 12 year old thats exploiting some software crack. I want a one stop shop for all my media that i can download and upload and copy untill my fingers fall off and my cd burner explodes, that i dont have to worry about spyware, hackers, or people trying to figure out what kind of stuff i like so they can pop up a bunch of crap on my screen, and I dont mind paying for it as long as its mine when i buy it, w/o a disclaimer a half mile long threatoning me with legal action should i do this or that....I want to buy something that is mine to do with as i please.. its that simple.

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