Google Won't Let You Rent Movies If You Root Your Device

from the open? dept

For all the talk from the entertainment industry about how anti-copyright Google is, it's really quite amazing to see how the company seems to bend over backwards on most issues to please copyright holders at the expense of users. The latest is the news (submitted by a few folks) that Google's annoying movie rental offering won't work on rooted Android devices, because of Google's fear that it could get around the DRM of the movie service. Of course, this is silly. All of that content is already available from unauthorized sites. Purposely punishing those who want to buy but who use more open devices is pretty counterproductive.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Freedom, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Short sighted ...

    I guess that means Google isn't going to ever stream movies to a PC type device then ...

    That's really a shame as one of the first things I do is root all my Android devices. My EVO hasn't seen HTC Sense since day 1 and I have become a huge fan of cyanogen.

    I wonder if this means that NetFlix and other types of content services will also stop working on rooted devices?

    Freedom

     

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  2.  
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    A Dan (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Support reference

     

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  3.  
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    John Doe, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:36pm

    This has been my argument

    Purposely punishing those who want to buy but who use more open devices is pretty counterproductive.

    This is exactly what I tell people and they just stare at me blankly. They haven't slowed down the pirates at all but sure do limit the paying customers options. Funny how they don't see the correlation.

     

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  4.  
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    Dan Roe, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:38pm

    Google Profits

    *cough* BS *cough*

    The same reasoning they cripple their Google Apps functionality. Force paying users to make additional purchases through the marketplace...

    Because they profit when you rent the movie a second time?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 5:34pm

    Just Say No To DRM

    Do not buy crippled stuff. If any vendor offers you something with DRM, just walk away. The presence of DRM should be commercial death. We need to work on our friends and family so that they all understand. The sooner the general public gets the message, the sooner the DRM-loving companies are going to go out of business. Are the companies going to learn? Nope. They are run by old fogies who are not going to learn anything from anybody. The only solution is for them to go broke. It is called "creative destruction" and is well known to economists.

     

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  6.  
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    Rekrul, May 23rd, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    I don't want to defend Google, but I'm sure that this limitation was imposed by the entertainment industry in exchange for granting the license they needed to be able to stream the movies.

    Placing artificial limits on normally unlimited technology is SOP for them.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 7:54pm

    I don't have a problem with their idea of limiting how you can use what you pay for since I'm not going to use it. They shouldn't have a problem with lack of payment for it either.

    I'll go where there are no limitations on it and I don't have to watch piracy warnings at the start. Sounds fair to me.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 8:05pm

    It might be a little more reasonable to assume the fear is from the studios, not Google.

    Perhaps Google has no choice: no DRM, no movies from the studios?

     

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  9.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    "Google Won't Let You Rent Movies If You Root Your Device"

    If you get treated like a criminal.. Act like one. WTH.
    Use Google to search for the torrent of your favorite movie title. Or The Pirate Bay, or.... ;D

     

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  10.  
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    James (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Short sighted ...

    Nope, works fine on my EVO. (Netflix that is)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 9:35pm

    I hate DRM, but with that said. I think Google had to do this as a concession for securing the rights to the movies.

     

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  12.  
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    faceless (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    so they don't want my money? ok...

     

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  13.  
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    Michael Long (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:36pm

    Re: This has been my argument

    Well, from their viewpoint, a rooted phone has already shown that its owner could care less about violating his carrier contract, and his device EULA, and probably Google's Android agreement to boot.

    Given that, if someone believes that X set of circumstances is unfair, or that they're entitled to "cheat" under Y set of circumstances, then Google has no reason to believe that they won't rationalize their way into cheating under other circumstances as well.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Well, from their viewpoint, a rooted phone has already shown that its owner could care less about violating his carrier contract, and his device EULA, and probably Google's Android agreement to boot.

    You really don't know much about what you're talking about, do you? Have you ever even read the Apache and GPL licenses Android is licensed under?


    Given that, if someone believes that X set of circumstances is unfair, or that they're entitled to "cheat" under Y set of circumstances, then Google has no reason to believe that they won't rationalize their way into cheating under other circumstances as well.

    Given that if someone makes crap up about one thing, then there's no reason to believe that they won't about other things as well. Congratulations.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:59pm

    Re:

    I don't want to defend Google, but I'm sure that this limitation was imposed by the entertainment industry in exchange for granting the license they needed to be able to stream the movies.

    That's no excuse.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re:

    Perhaps Google has no choice

    What, do you really think they're being forced? Maybe the president of the MPAA is holding a gun to the head of Google's CEO or something? I doubt it.

    no DRM, no movies from the studio

    That's still a choice.

     

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  17.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 1:14am

    Re:

    So Google tries to help the entertainment industry by being as friendly as possible to them, while screwing over paying customers, by imposing that limitation on users of its mobile platform.

    Meanwhile, Google is being spat in the face by the same moneygrubbing entertainment industry-scum claiming that it's so anti-copyright.

    Seems to be that Google is more like a masochist, who likes to be tortured and comes back for more.

     

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  18.  
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    Richard (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Well, from their viewpoint, a rooted phone has already shown that its owner could care less about violating his carrier contract, and his device EULA, and probably Google's Android agreement to boot.


    Suddenly I'm a criminal just because I want to tinker around with my own hardware.

    And from the free software community viewpoint, the use of DRM by Google's service shows that they couldn't care less about the spirit of free software licences that they purportedly propagate Android under. Plus the fact that the phone has been rooted doesn't necessarily mean that any agreement has been violated - although it may indicate that the user has the technical ability to get around other booby traps.

     

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  19.  
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    Michael Long (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 3:32am

    Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Regardless of terms of the Android OSS license, I'm pretty sure that the standard user contract with AT&T or Verizon forbids "rooting" the phone. As does the typical manufacturer EULA.

    The source may be "open", but the Samsung Super Epic X (or whatever) itself is locked down. Root it, and you violate the terms of your agreements.

    That's the deal you signed when you bought the silly thing.

    So no, coward, I'm not making up "crap"...

     

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  20.  
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    Michael Long (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    "Plus the fact that the phone has been rooted doesn't necessarily mean that any agreement has been violated..."

    Like I said. Read your carrier service contract and your device EULA. I'll bet dollars to donuts that rooting your phone and installing "unauthorized" software is prohibited, and a violation of your agreement.

     

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  21.  
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    Lance (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 4:47am

    A different title for the article

    To paraphrase a comment that I read elsewhere...

    The title for this article should be changed to 'Google Issues New Challenge to Android Developer Community.'

    I would give full attribution to the commenter and/or the website that had the comment, but I don't remember either one.

     

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  22.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Um.. IANAL, but I believe that a carrier's contract stating that you can't root your device would be unenforcable as the LOC specifically requires carriers to allow the user to unlock the phone.

     

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  23.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:27am

    I'm 99.9% sure that someone is going to figure out how to get around whatever check that Google is using within the next 72 hours. All they have to do is detect what packets are going in and out for the check and clone them. The Pirates are smarter and faster than businesses.

    If Google was smart they would make their DRM so easily broken that all the end user has to do is side-load an app (should be easy for someone that has already rooted their phone) and it works. Google would still be holding up their end of the deal to the MPAA, the content has DRM...

     

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  24.  
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    Niall (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Key term here being "bought" - not "rented". So it might invalidate a warranty, but it what kind of 'agreement/EULA 'could you have with the manufacturer?

    "The Customer (hereforward known as 'The Mark') shall agree to not use his Fake Automobile Qompany (hereforward known as 'FAQ') product (hereforward known as 'vehicle we would like to pretend we still own') in any illegal act, including but not limited to: drive-by shootings, hit-and-run attacks, bank robberies, illegal speed racing, ramming cop cars, and checking out rival companies' products.

    The Mark shall also agree not to have his vehicle we would like to pretend we still own checked, modified, fixed or sold at any dealer not officially licensed (hereforward known as 'suckers forced to pay silly money to have the license to do what any backstreet mechanic can do') to FAQ to do any authorised maintenance or system checks (hereforward known as 'rip-off look at the on-board computer'). Unauthorised maintenance of any kind will void this EULA and require The Mark to return the vehicle that we like to pretend we own to FAQ and forfeit all sums already paid on said vehicle that we like to pretend we still own.

    Additionally, any form of access to the electronic subsystems of the vehicle that we like to pretend we still own (hereforward known as 'fake electric wires, sensors, lights and encryption a 2-year-old child could bypass') shall trigger the full authority of the DMCA, the MAFIAA and every single department of the DHS (hereforward known as 'our pals') and lead to you being publically labelled as a "pirate and pirate sympathiser" (hereforward known as 'person who has too much brains to have really bought our product but we had better treat all our customers like dirt just in case')."

    To the eedjit, etc.

    Do you see "Department of Health and (Social) Security" when you see "DHS"? I also keep mixing them up with "DFS", the sofa company that always runs half-price sales.

     

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  25.  
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    jsl4980 (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:49am

    That's sad. I root my phone because Verizon has no plans to update my phone so I'm stuck with a version of Android that has known bugs and less features. So now people get to choose between having security fixes or renting movies...

     

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  26.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Your money is no good here

    So Jane Doe wants to PAY to RENT a movie. (At a high price I might add.) But it is convenient, so she tries anyway.

    Oh, but Jane can't pay to rent because her device is rooted. (Or what iPhone users call "jailbroken".)

    The clear message is: go download your movie from somewhere else!

     

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  27.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: "Google Won't Let You Rent Movies If You Root Your Device"

    The best way to get adults to act like a child is to treat them like one.

    The best way to get adults to act like a criminal is to treat them like one.

     

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  28.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: "Google Won't Let You Rent Movies If You Root Your Device"

    Or to criminalize something that everyone's already doing.

     

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  29.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    So run the rental application in the more limited user? It should be trivial-ish to let Google (or the app) think that you're not rooted. I thought OSes were supposed to let people use more than one user simultaneously. Maybe only UN*Xes? What's Android based on, anyway...

     

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  30.  
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    Rekrul, May 24th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re:

    What's the alternative? Google tells the movie industry that it won't block rooted devices and the industry replies "Then no movie rentals for your users."

    Why not place the blame where it really belongs? With the paranoid movie industry.

     

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  31.  
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    Arthur (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 8:01am

    Rooting

    Well, from their viewpoint, a rooted phone has already shown that its owner could care less about violating his carrier contract, and his device EULA, and probably Google's Android agreement to boot.

    Michael, you make many assertions without any facts.

    My carrier works for me. I don't work for them. I pay them, like I would any employee, and they provide the service I've contracted them for. No document gives them the legal right to dictate what I do with equipment I own. And they know that. You're the only one who doesn't seem to understand what's going on.

    If you with to claim I am "violating my contract", you will need to provide a direct quote from that contract. Same with the mythical EULA you claim I violate.

    The worst they can threaten me with is that I may "void my warranty". That's the extent of their powers in this matter -- and it's a pretty empty threat.

    You think rooting is illegal in some way? It isn't. You claim it "violates my contract"? It doesn't.

     

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  32.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 8:48am

    Re: Rooting

    """You think rooting is illegal in some way? It isn't."""

    Actually, technically speaking, rooting an Android device could very well run afoul of the DMCA anti-reverse-engineering clauses. However, since iPhone jailbreaking has been granted a DMCA exception, I consider that to also cover Android devices. A clever (or very loud) lawyer would probably try to make the argument that the iPhone exception does not cover Android devices, much as they say it does not cover rooting gaming consoles.

     

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  33.  
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    Arthur (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re: Google Profits

    The same reasoning they cripple their Google Apps functionality. Force paying users to make additional purchases through the marketplace...

    "They"? Now who would that be? Google developers? Independent developers? Third party companies? Who? And are "they" all in on this conspiracy together?

    "Cripple"? And how are they "crippling" their apps? Examples?

    Nice troll. Now back it up with some facts. "Facts"? You know, examples that prove you are not totally full of *cough*BS*cough*.

     

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  34.  
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    Jason G. (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Blaming Google

    I'm a little surprised that TechDirt ran with a headline blaming Google; clearly this is a provision of the agreement that the movie studios insisted upon. We all know that content providers have a history of drastically overvaluing their content, but it would be foolish to say that it had no value at all, and in the negotiation I'm sure the content companies, with no understanding of why a user would root a phone, made this an absolute sticking point. You can say that "block rooted devices or no movies" is still a choice, but it is really a non-starter. Google engineers know the Android community will not be stopped; they never have been, and if a user has taken the time to root a phone, they will have no problem loading some patch to allow them to rent movies. Knowing that, why wouldn't they approve this provision of the contract? Let the movie studios have their security blanket to get the service off the ground then let the hardcore community go nuts.

     

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  35.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    """That's no excuse."""

    In my opinion, it actually *is* a pretty good excuse. If they have to promise not to allow rooted phones access to that service in order to get the entertainment industry to come on board, I absolutely don't blame them. Furthermore, it's a completely ridiculous rule anyway, since by nature of being rooted, the device does not have to "admit" to being rooted, but can easily respond back as a regular unrooted device.

    Rest assured, if any rooted user even wants this service (which I doubt), it will be available to them in less than a week after rollout.

     

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  36.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Read your carrier service contract and your device EULA.

    I don't have Verizon, which you apparently do. According to my carrier service contract, I am free to do whatever I want to the phone, but my carrier will not support the phone if I do so. Says nothing about installing "unauthorized" software, and the device EULA just has the various open source licenses that I agree to follow.

    Dude, Verizon is your problem. Go with a company that responds to its customers wishes and doesn't try to lock them into crazy and anti-customer contracts. I cannot believe people still use them. My parents bought new phones that specifically had GPS capability, only to find out that Verizon disabled the GPS they bought until they paid the $20/mo to activate it. My phone comes with GPS, and my carrier does nothing to disable it. I use it with third-party software all the time, and I've never heard them complain (except when I reinstalled the OS on my phone...I got a phone call from them asking me if the phone was having technical problems, and I told them that I just wanted to upgrade the software on the phone. They said no problem, and when I took it in for problems I was having they still supported the phone under warranty.)

    Ditch your current provider...they just aren't worth it.

     

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  37.  
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    Richard (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Like I said. Read your carrier service contract and your device EULA.

    Please read my comment properly. Note the word "necessarily". One or two carriers may put in the clauses you mention, but they may not be legal in some states/countries, and other carriers don't do it.

    Besides even if the contracts are legal - they are effectively agreed under duress and hence immoral.

    I'm sure Jesus broke a few rules when he overturned the money changers tables in the Temple.

     

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  38.  
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    Richard (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Rooting

    Given that "Android has been available under a free software/open source license since October, 21 2008." how ccan anything you do to it be illegal - please explain.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Cory Vanderyacht, May 24th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Pure Logic

    Let me see if I understand the reasoning here: in order to prevent people with rooted phones from pirating movies, they make it impossible to watch said movies on their devices without pirating them...Huh.

     

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  40.  
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    nasch (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: This has been my argument

    Given that, if someone believes that X set of circumstances is unfair, or that they're entitled to "cheat" under Y set of circumstances, then Google has no reason to believe that they won't rationalize their way into cheating under other circumstances as well.

    If you're correct, wouldn't that be exactly the sort of person who's already torrenting movies? Isn't that exactly the person who you might have an opportunity to convert from non-paying to a paying customer given a compelling service? Isn't it very very stupid to ensure any group of people don't have the ability to give you money?

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re:

    Huh? What do you mean that's no excuse. If the choice is DRM movies or offering NO streaming movies, how can you blame them for choosing to offer them to those who are not into IP theft?

     

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  42.  
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    Dan Roe, May 24th, 2011 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Re: Google Profits

    ... try create a global address book of client/customer contacts within a Google Apps domain, a known issue that goes back years...

    The API's (Shared Contacts & Provisioning) provided as a 'work around', don't actually provide you with the tools you need to achieve this task. Unless you feel like hardcoding passwords and maintaining a static system...

    The other 'work around' is to purchase a 3rd party app from... the google application marketplace... and hope the said 3rd party doesn't sell off your companies contact data.

     

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  43.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Rooting

    You are confusing the operating system (Android) with the actual device. If I purchase an AT&T device, you can be quite sure that they have put blocks in place to prevent me from rooting/sideloading/etc, and by most legal interpretations of the DMCA's anti-circumvention clauses those actions become illegal (but not for iPhones, they've been given a free pass). Think about the printer ink fiasco: add a chip to an ink cartridge and all of a sudden the second party ink sellers can't sell cartridges because they are not allowed to reverse engineer the "protection" put in place on the cartridge. Just one of the many foolish (and almost certainly unintended) consequences of the DMCA.

     

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  44.  
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    dwg, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Who needs whom more in this world? The old-ass entertainment model vis Google, I think.

     

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  45.  
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    see above, May 25th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Like the name says.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

    I'm pretty sure that the standard user contract with AT&T or Verizon forbids "rooting" the phone.

    Mine doesn't.

    As does the typical manufacturer EULA.

    Again, mine doesn't.

    So no, coward, I'm not making up "crap"...

    You did and you are.

     

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  47.  
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    aj00200 (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This has been my argument

     

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  48.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:50pm

    Oh, The Irony ...

    ... with Google themselves saying “It’s Not “Rooting”, It’s Openness” ...

     

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  49.  
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    Pat, May 28th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Simple solution

    Expensive to watch movies in movie theatre?

    Hurt Locker lawsuits against anyone and everyone?

    People, the solution is not bittorrent. The solution is to do something else with your time! My family and I go out on the weekends. We play games with each other and friends. We go hiking. Visit friends. And you know what? I can rarely find the 2 hours to watch a movie! I fill my life with active activities rather than passively watching the next POS from Hollywood.

    Here is a concept. Instead of spending the 2 hours/week watching a movie spend those 2 hours learning a new language. You will will be a much more interesting person.

     

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

  50.  
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    Di Fiasco, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 1:10am

    To be fair to Google, this decision may be 'rooted' (pun intended in the stipulations by film publishers before such content is made available in the first place. Rooted devices can be used to introduce piracy measures. Google may be under obligation to prevent such phones from participating.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    KarenBBales, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:56pm

    Rooting Devices

    Here are the guide to root android mobile phones and unrooting smartphone's. i think i accept about Google decision about rooting movie's.

     

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


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