More On Google Copy Protection

from the still-doesn't-seem-very-good dept

Jeremiah writes in with a followup to our discussions last week about Google's new copy protection, which, according to Larry Page "has a lot of details" that he feels are "not important," since people seem willing to put up with copy protection. Jeremiah points out that: "Thomas Hawk has some fresh info on Google Video's new DRM: "The big Google distinction between how they will offer their pay downloads vs. the other guys is that Google is going to actually let you download your paid download files on to your computer and then allow you total control over the file. Want to copy it to your laptop? No problem. To your portable device? Hey, it's your file, you paid for it, why not. Of course you can't just allow people free and easy access with no controls or the content providers would not license their content. How then does Google secure their paid downloads, by using a log on authentication system. Basically you will download the new Google proprietary media player with secret and proprietary codecs and it will play all of your video for you. Basically when you want to view your content anywhere, any device, any time, you'll just authenticate with your user ID and password and be able to play your previously downloaded free and purchased video." A step up from other copy protection schemes, but still requires you to be connected to the internet and still means it's incompatible with lots of other things and (of course) means that anyone can change the terms of what you "bought" at a later date, since the content needs to call home before you can watch it. Doesn't seem like an advancement. Just adding to the mess.

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  • identicon
    Ben McNelly, 9 Jan 2006 @ 2:22pm

    Arg...

    Yes, not fixing much here... You almost expect google to come out with somthing exopional here, you know.. Re-invent the wheele and all. But it looks like it will be better than most, but still the whole, "you bought it, but uh, you cant have it realy" thing here. Of course piracy sucks for content makers, thats not the debate... Maybe if people would have embraced the digital world more quickly people wouldent have got used to hacking and cracking to get thoer digital programs/music/dvd's/you name it... Now if you introduce it the way it should have been done, instead of being greatfull and very few people abusing the system, you have a whole generation that expects to be able to hack/crack and share everything, and have no moral woes with it..

    Media industry... your screwed.
    legitimate consumers looking for easy to use content with no hoops... your screwed.

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

  • identicon
    Rikko, 9 Jan 2006 @ 3:18pm

    Hi, I'm John Smith, too

    Seems that a pretty simple way to subvert that is to simply share your username with a group of friends (or hell, the whole world).
    Unless Google is requiring that the media only be viewed while connected to the internet? That would make it rather useless.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 9 Jan 2006 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Hi, I'm John Smith, too

      The full article notes that Google monitors the login to see if too many people are logging in at once.

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

      • identicon
        Rikko, 9 Jan 2006 @ 4:22pm

        Re: Hi, I'm John Smith, too

        I got that, but it sounded like once you have that media file it's just watermarked for your own login/password, and you can copy it to whatever player you want (offline). If that's the case, how is Google going to track an offline login event?

        The whole thing seems to hinge on the fact that a device has to be online at some point to load the media into the player. For your average desktop or laptop that's not a big deal, but for PDAs and other players that's bound to be irritating.

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

        • identicon
          cory, 9 Jan 2006 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Hi, I'm John Smith, too

          The media likely isn't watermarked; it's just just wrapped up so you can't play it except through the Google player and the Google player gets the license each time from the Internet. It's cumbersome. The Microsoft DRM is far more flexible -- the media files are never associated with a particular user and are just as copyable but if the owner configures the DRM a certain way the player will go out to the internet to get a license which comes back embedded in some HTML. This license acquisition can be done silently or can require a login or a monetary transaction or whatever the owner desires. The player stores the resulting license not in the media but on the PC in secure storage so the user doesn't have to keep going to the Internet to re-authenticate but if she moves the file and runs it on a machine with no license she can easily reauthenticate using whatever means the content owner desires.
          I'm curious how Google plans to handle copying things to PDAs -- they need to write players for each PDA (guess what, dealing with sound drivers and hardware is tougher than web apps) and deal with storing licenses because no way are those PDAs hooked up to the internet all the time for authentication.

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

  • identicon
    Jeremiah, 9 Jan 2006 @ 4:23pm

    keeping it short

    I'm thinkin' Google has made the first step toward the Dark Side.

    They have one good point: without DRM, the bulk of media owners would never allow Google to distribute their works. While I'd submit that most artists have no idea how DRM works, or even if it's a good/bad thing for an individual artist, DRM is here to stay. For now.

    I see the DRM being used as a lever to push people into buying the GoogleBox (Google's soon-to-be-unvieled Media Center), which will *not* have to call home everytime you playback media - only non-controlled hardware platforms will be laden with that requirement (iPods).

    The thing I fear most in this is "creep." In the same way that CalTrans' RAPIDPASS system is now mined by insurance companies (they said they wouldn't), and in the same way that most Internet traffic is mined by various US Gov't agencies (they say they don't), these kind of call-home statistical gathering systems (built behind the DRM) will inevitibly be used to draw inferences about your state of mind, behavior, etc (I'm taking bets on the first appearance of someone's Google search history or Google Video viewing history appearing on The Smoking Gun.)

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


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