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
    DaveBG, 16 Dec 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Much, much hilarity to be had here, in both the original piece and some of the comments.

    First off, sorry "dudes" but I think too many of you geek types put far too much emphasis on this kind of stuff. Take a deep breath, a step back, and then realise that just because you're torrenting and having wet dreams about "everything on the cloud!" you're a teeny, tiny sub-niche compared to the average consumer who has neither the time or the inclination to delve into your seedy little world and is far happier picking up a disc and sticking it in a player. Those at the fringe might whinge and whine about DRM but the consumer leviathan didn't, doesn't, and probably never will, care.

    Secondly, those comparing "$30" Blu-Ray discs to $30-40-50-60 SD cards. You do realise that a "$30" Blu-Ray has a movie on it right? And that you can buy a 15 pack of 25GB Blu-Ray discs for $35 from Amazon? Just to spell it out, that's $2.33 for 25GB, copared to $30 for 16GB SD card. "Give it a year or two"? Do you reckon Blu-Ray blank prices will have stayed the same, or do you think they might just drop like CDs and DVDs have? Fact is, even with the oversupply problems that have caused manufacturers to scythe SD card prices over the last 3 years or so, they've never EVER managed to get anywhere near the price/GB of optical media. The incumbent optical format ALWAYS wins, and nothing coming down the pipe in SD/SSD production is going to reduce costs by the order of magnitude needed to compete any time soon.

    Lastly, the ones talking gleefully about the death of physical on the altar of HD and SD storage - truly hilarious. Here's a clue - are they abstract media? Virtual media perhaps? Unbelievable.

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