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. icon
    richshelton (profile), 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:18pm

    The digital copy expiration is only for activation...

    but it's still stupid deadline. Once activated, the copy should work forever (assuming the DRM servers stay online, company doesn't fold, etc). The digital copy is on a disc in the package already but you only have until a certain date to "activate" it (which means iTunes or whatever adds the DRM using your account info and the redeemable code with the disc). It's an artificial limitation that doesn't make sense. What if I buy the disc after the deadline? I now have a disc with content I can't access. By the time of the deadline date, the movie will already be well past the airing on premium cable window anyway (and will have been rentable/Netflixable for longer).

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