Blu-Ray's Managed Copy Appears To Be Another Hollywood Disaster In The Making

from the could-it-get-any-more-ridiuclous? dept

One of the major reasons why Blu-ray is still struggling to catch on (despite winning the long drawn out victory over competing format HD-DVD) is that you're extremely limited in what you can do with Blu-ray content. In an era when people are used to being able to move content and time- and place-shift it at will, Blu-ray is quite limiting. This has become a growing concern to those in Hollywood who thought Blu-ray was going to be its savior. Unfortunately, the response is being equally bungled by Hollywood. The key concept is the idea of "managed copies," which (in theory) will let users make limited DRM'd copies for time- and place-shifting.

Of course, that assumes that the offering actually works. And right now it's nearly impossible to tell. Jerry Leichter alerts us to a story of one small studio that's trying to implement "managed copy" offerings and is finding it to be nearly impossible. The instructions on how to do it are not at all clear, and the studio is not getting much in the way of help from those behind the standard. Furthermore, there's simply no way to test to see if they're doing it right, since there's no equipment that can handle managed copies yet. And this is from a studio, Scenic Labs, that believes DRM is pointless and "piracy is going to happen." So why is it even bothering? It basically has no choice. If you're creating commercial Blu-ray discs, this is the only option you get: it must include this poorly documented DRM if you want to offer a copyable version.

Of course, there is one alternative. As the head of the studio notes, if they screwed up the process, they have no interest in remastering the discs, so they'll just ask buyers to send a cameraphone photo of the purchased DVD, and they'll send them a digital file over the internet.

Filed Under: blu-ray, drm, dvds, managed copy, movies


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2009 @ 6:26am

    Another Perspective

    Before you throw in the towel on Blu-Ray, I offer some observations (i.e., what I have actually seen).

    (1) The Blu-Ray section at my local Sam's Club keeps growing. The end-of-the-aisle display that was once devoted to new movies has been switched to new Blu-Ray movies. The once itty-bitty Blu-Ray section has grown to about 20% the length of the movie aisle.

    (2) It seems to me that the space devoted to Blu-Ray discs has grown the fastest in the last six months.

    (3) Early this year I looked at the single Blu-Ray player at Sam's Club. It was about $280. They had a teeny section devoted to them and they were not selling them quickly. Last weekend I noted that my Sam's Club had a $78 Blu-Ray player in an aisle-end display. The display was getting a fair amount of attention and while the players might not have been "flying" off the shelves, they were being sold in what appeared to be significant quantities. My Sam's Club now offers the same number of Blu-Ray players as standard DVD players.

    (4) If the current growth continues (extrapolating from what I have seen this year), I estimate that by Christmas of next year that Blu-Ray will take up 40 to 50% of the video aisle at Sam's Club.

    (5) My local Sam's Club and Wal-Mart has started offering $10 Blu-Ray movies. While Blu-Ray players are not "flying" off the shelves, the cheap Blu-Ray movies are.

    Conclusion: Just a bit too early to sound the death of Blu-Ray. It seems to be gaining momentum. Incidentally, there were those who sounded the death of DVD's early on (too expensive, too complicated, not enought movies, players cost too much, you cannot record on DVD, etc.), but Laser Disc is gone, Beta is gone, and VHS is gone.

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