Google Kills Off Videos People Thought They Had Purchased

from the see-why-DRM-sucks? dept

It's tough for many to remember these days, following the growth of YouTube and free videos online, but in January of 2006, when Google launched its online video service it was supposed to change the world. Remember, they had all these partners signed up who were going to sell video content via Google? It seemed pretty pointless at the time and the near total failure of the video sales to take off simply confirmed it. One of the key points that seemed particularly poorly thought out was the decision to create yet another type of DRM that would require the content you bought to call home every time you wanted to play it. Plenty of people pointed out all of the problems with this idea, with one big one being that, should Google ever kill the service, the content people "bought" would no longer be available. Guess what? Google is killing off the service and the content people "bought" will no longer be available. Apparently Google is handing out credits for Google Checkout for those who bought videos, but they can't use those credits to buy the videos anywhere else. Of course, chances are many of those videos are now available for free on Google-owned YouTube, but that's a separate point. In the meantime, does anyone else find it ridiculous that anyone who makes or uses any kind of tool to circumvent this DRM to view the content that they legally purchased will now be breaking the DMCA's anti-circumvention laws and could face jailtime?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:00am

    Not circumvention to view

    It depends upon the interpretation of your jurisdiction, but strictly speaking the DMCA prohibits circumvention of TPMs in order to infringe copyright (make infringing copies).

    1) Viewing is not a copyright infringement.
    2) Ephemeral copies created in the process of viewing do not constitute copyright infringement.
    3) Therefore circumvention for the purpose of viewing does not constitute violation of copyright or the DMCA/EUCD, etc.

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

  2. identicon
    StinkBait, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    Re: Not circumvention to view

    Don't worry, the *AA will soon buy an amendment to their already-purchased legislation to make watching their movies illegal, unless it's on an approved media player connected by approved cables to an approved television set.

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

  3. identicon
    Chris, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Not circumvention to view

    And going to approved eyes and ears in approved audiences at approved locations and at approved times

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

  4. identicon
    Tommy, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:39am

    On the other hand...

    Google is big. Google is huge. Google has lots and lots of money. Yet Google failed and screwed its customers - leaving them high and dry with useless DRM'd content. If this can happen to Google it can happen to any company. What an excellent example for the (few) lawmakers not on big media's payroll or for judges facing decisions on DRM'd content.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:48am

    I'm glad this finally happened ... maybe it will wake up iTunes users:
    Google selleth then taketh away [showing evil power of DRM] (via hymn project) ...

    > Also, it may not be up to Apple ... what if
    > Universal (who just stopped selling on iTunes)
    > decided that their agreement entitled them to
    > un-sell all their music on iTunes, initiated a
    > lawsuit, and won ... and then Apple was forced
    > to un-sell all songs sold by Universal. Or, if
    > Eminem wins his suit where he's claiming that
    > Apple didn't have the right to sell his stuff
    > in the first place.
    > Scary stuff.

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

  6. identicon
    nipseyrussell, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:52am

    hence, why i would not buy any DRM'ed content
    (excluding DVDs and the like that are on established physical media)

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

  7. identicon
    MEoip, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 8:56am


    I would have thought better of google. Maybe partner with Netflicks to give everyone a few free months of service. Or get them copies on Itunes. I wonder how many videos were bought using this service?

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

  8. identicon
    Just Me, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 9:13am


    How DARE You!!?? Just because you BOUGHT a video you think that gives you the right to enjoy it??!!

    What IS this world coming to?

    Honestly people. What are you thinking??

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

  9. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 13th, 2007 @ 9:32am

    Getting Out Of DRM?

    On the upside, does this mean that Google has learned a lesson, and is getting out of the DRM world of partnering and being toady to big media?

    I'm glad they're ditching this plan, with my apologies to those getting screwed. Now, once bitten, they and other companies will be reluctant to play according to Hollywood's rulebook.

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

  10. identicon
    Dan, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 9:33am

    Perhaps google understands side effects that this

    It would be to google's advantage to have less DRM on products from the media industry, and they had this division of the company was doing poorly. This will help show the major problem that exists with current DRM, and it will give ammo to those who argue against DRM.

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

  11. identicon
    Buzzfriendly, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 10:19am


    It doesn't work, it doesn't stop piracy, it punishes the legitimate users and fails to stop the pirates it was intended for. Yet the MPAA and RIAA just keep pushing it. Far as I am concerned the can continue to spend until they are broke and can no longer fight. Then they will claim to have this great idea of non DRM material and the problem will self correct. Well I could say more but RipIT4ME just finished so time to change media.

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

  12. identicon
    jhozae, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Re: On the other hand...

    Goggle...the new, and improved, Microsoft.

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

  13. identicon
    Chris, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 12:06pm

    THe alternative

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

  14. identicon
    Chris, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 12:07pm

    The alternative

    Well, this story has scared me so much I refuse to legally buy DRMed content and will now turn to the pirate bay

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

  15. identicon
    ThreeToedSloth, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 12:36pm

    This is why

    I won't download it if it's DRM'd. Just won't do it, won't play that game.

    What these money-hungry, offended companies don't realize is that they're FORCING honest (yep, HONEST) people to resort to either leaving the internet table without ordering their DRM infested content, or getting it through "third party sales" that have removed DRM protection.

    What a circle-jerk.....

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

  16. identicon
    Nicholas, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 1:49pm


    Well, there goes the two videos I purchased.

    Thanks a lot, Google, for taking my trust in your company down about 50 notches.

    My blog:

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

  17. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Aug 13th, 2007 @ 1:56pm

    This goes beyond DRM

    I've been raising this potential issue for the past two years. Hopefully, the public will begin to realize how bad DRM is to them.

    This issue actually goes beyond DRM. We now depend on company websites to provide us with updates on all types of software and products. The availability of updates on the internet can also mysteriously disappear. Companies, when they discontinue, a software product should make a final version of that product available to their customers.

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

  18. identicon
    Buzz, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Blah

    I understand why you feel that way, but would you rather Google had gone on offering their DRM-infested content? Google knew this would happen, but it was a better choice than letting it fester on. DRM sux.

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

  19. identicon
    Nicholas, Aug 13th, 2007 @ 4:43pm



    I would rather they had fully refunded the money I spent on my videos, or re-released them in a DRM-free format.

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

  20. identicon
    PaulT, Aug 14th, 2007 @ 12:54am

    Re: Not circumvention to view

    Yes, but doesn't the DMCA also prohibit the distribution of tools to circumvent the DRM? A hacker can certainly circumvent the DRM for their own use, but if they released a tool online saying "hey, everyone else who got screwed by Google, here's a program to let you watch the videos you bought again", wouldn't they be open to prosecution?

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

  21. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 14th, 2007 @ 2:25am

    Not circumvention tool to view

    The tool would probably need to show intent and predominant use to re-enable viewing rather than facilitate/induce copyright infringement by circumvention of TPMs.

    This is why the developers of such a tool should probably remain pseudonymous and distribute the source code on file sharing networks - because it would inevitably have a predominant use for copyright infringement.

    The funny thing is MPAA needs circumvention tools too - if they want to circumvent the encryption TPMs that file-sharers might use, in order to inspect the copies of works that they're sharing. After all, how can they know whether people are sharing home movies* or Hollywood blockbusters unless they can circumvent the sharer's TPMs?

    * Home movies are copyrighted too.

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

  22. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 14th, 2007 @ 4:12am

    Re: Not circumvention tool to view

    THis gives me an idea: If everyone who distributed home movies on the web put a liscence on the video which stated that it was not to be viewed by any employees or contracctors of the MPAA or member companies, and then people stated to add this to the behgining of copyvio movies, then the MPAA would have to break the liscence on legitimate home movies to find out if the files were illegal or not.

    Also, if a new file-0sharing format is invented, the rights to make a client for it should be liscenced subject to terms which prevent the use of any information gained by use of the service for any commercial purpose, or to provie evidence for a lawsuit, with a further clasue preventing its use at all if such a condition is illegal. THis would enable users to transmit files with impunity, since if the *AA wanted to gather evidence of uploading, they would have to break the terms of the liscence, and the inventor of the network could sue them through the nose for every infringement.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2007 @ 5:45am

    Re: Not circumvention to view

    that doesn't fly at all...

    it is forbidden to, in any way, try to crack or circumvent a (digital) copy protection

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

  24. identicon
    mike allen, Aug 14th, 2007 @ 9:29am

    I have got rid of DRM from vids and wil comtinue to do so and before you lot yell and shout I am not in the USA

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

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