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Studios shift from DVD to iTunes to distribute Oscar nominees

post #1 of 43
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Movie studios are seeking to distribute their award nominated films to Academy and Screen Actors Guild voters using Apple's iTunes rather than conventional DVDs, in hopes of limiting piracy of the pre-release films.

Previously, the studios have pressed advanced copies of their films to the tens of thousands of members who vote on them, but those DVDs are easy to pass off to other people, and ripping the media is trivial to do. That results in early copies of the studio's best films seeing widespread unauthorized distribution before they even go on sale to the public.

To combat the problem, according to a report by LA Times, Fox Searchlight set up a special purpose rental code with Apple's iTunes to deliver "Black Swan" and other nominees to the nearly 100,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild this month.

The privately distributed code allows voters to view the movie within a 24 hour period, just like conventional iTunes rentals. Other studios have followed suit, including Paramount Pictures and Focus Features.

Awards garner views, bootlegging kills sales

While it isn't impossible to break the DRM on iTunes Movies, the problem isn't seen as being one created by direct ripping of the films by voting members of the award groups. Instead, the report cited studio executives and law enforcement as saying the actual uploading of DVDs to torrent sites "is typically done by someone several steps removed from the recipient, often without that person's knowledge."

While the studios print warnings on the custom movies that instruct viewers to destroy the DVDs and not distribute them, it's very easy for friends or family members to pass them around. iTunes erects a separate barrier that makes casual distribution that much more difficult, so it is seen as a way to prevent movies from getting into the hands of those who would want to widely distribute them.

Illegal distribution of movies is seen as a problem that costs studios billions. Since 2006, DVD sales have slid from $20.6 billion to just $14 billion last year. Most of that loss is blamed on video recordings of movies, but early films distributed to award voters is also recognized to be a major problem.

Attempts to stop award bootlegging

Beginning in 2004, some studios experimented with distributing custom "SV-300" DVD players incorporating stronger DRM, but that was abandoned as unwieldy and complicated because voters didn't want to haul around a single purpose DVD player, particularly during the voting months that typically fall into the winter holiday season.

In 2008, the report noted that widespread distribution of "Slumdog Millionaire," "Australia," and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" were tracked back to two men using digital watermarks; the pair were convicted of felony copyright infringement.

Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures already have sales agents (who are in charge of selecting movies for airlines and cruise ship licensing) screen advanced copies of their films from a secured website intended to make redistribution more difficult.

Apple's iTunes offers benefits that DRM-protected, web-based streams don't. David Kaplan, a senior vice president of anti-piracy at Warner Bros, told reporters, "I don't know how thrilled filmmakers would be to have their films seen on a laptop instead of a flat-screen TV."

Via iTunes, the studio could offer playback of its Oscar nominated movie "Inception" in a format that isn't tied to a web browser, allowing Academy voters to watch the film on their HDTV rather than being tied to a computer.
post #2 of 43
How do you strip tr movies of their drm? I'm not posting it to anything or sharing it. I just want to keep vids longer than the rental period.
post #3 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Movie studios are seeking to distribute their award nominated films to Academy and Screen Actors Guild voters using Apple's iTunes rather than conventional DVDs, in hopes of limiting piracy of the pre-release films. ...

This is a neat idea, but I've never understood why it was so hard to figure out who was leaking the stuff in the first place.

Every torrent I've ever seen of an Oscar candidate at this time of year has "Property of Weinstein Company" right across the screen.

Just arrest those guys.
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewmspace View Post

How do you strip tr movies of their drm? I'm not posting it to anything or sharing it. I just want to keep vids longer than the rental period.

Oh, I see. You don't want to share, you just want to steal (and don't know how to use Google).
post #5 of 43
Do you know how ridonkuously easy it is to remove DRM from anything iTunes? You drag and drop a file into "abc program" and that's pretty much it.

iTunes files are very convenient too because the files don't have to be ripped and decrypted to the computer from optical drive. The file is already ripped and half ready.

ipa, m4a, and m4v files are everywhere.
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

Oh, I see. You don't want to share, you just want to steal (and don't know how to use Google).

The race has been already won.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is a neat idea, but I've never understood why it was so hard to figure out who was leaking the stuff in the first place.
Every torrent I've ever seen of an Oscar candidate at this time of year has "Property of Weinstein Company" right across the screen.
Just arrest those guys.

Yes, arrest the Weinsteins.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Do you know how ridonkuously easy it is to remove DRM from anything iTunes? You drag and drop a file into "abc program" and that's pretty much it.

iTunes files are very convenient too because the files don't have to be ripped and decrypted to the computer from optical drive. The file is already ripped and half ready.

ipa, m4a, and m4v files are everywhere.

I thought those programs removed the Drm but not the unique watermarks that Apple inserts into the content.
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post #8 of 43
It does sound much more convenient as a means of distribution, but it's seems very, sillily, ineffective as an anti-piracy maneuver. I've seen postings on websites recently for screeners that mention being distributed through iTunes -- I wondered if guild members really were receiving screener copies through iTunes now, and obviously this story now confirms that.

Maybe only a couple of titles out of many that might be being distributed this was have made their way to file-sharing sites and it actually could be viewed as a small success, but they can be and already are being "unlocked" and shared.
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

Oh, I see. You don't want to share, you just want to steal (and don't know how to use Google).

I tried that and couldn't find a good free program. You're also correct in saying that I'm not sharing files.
post #10 of 43
Ya' know, I posted this to another AI thread about 3 hours before DED posted this, his, article.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...68#post1796068

What is interesting is that the article I referenced in the original post was skipped in the DED article and he copied a link to the LA Times article from the original article.

Is this just coincidence, sloppiness or journalistic license?
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post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undecided View Post

It does sound much more convenient as a means of distribution, but it's seems very, sillily, ineffective as an anti-piracy maneuver. I've seen postings on websites recently for screeners that mention being distributed through iTunes -- I wondered if guild members really were receiving screener copies through iTunes now, and obviously this story now confirms that.

Maybe only a couple of titles out of many that might be being distributed this was have made their way to file-sharing sites and it actually could be viewed as a small success, but they can be and already are being "unlocked" and shared.

The point is that Academy voters aren't usually the people ripping off movies; their DVDs just get handed around because "why not?" and then somebody else puts them up in mass distribution. Presumably, Academy nominees are aware they won't have a job if they destroy the movie business in the same way the music business was obliterated.

Ask any music exec if you're still thinking that the album has any life left in it. The point of Bluray was to stop the same from happening to DVD, but its only a matter of time. At least with iTunes, its slightly harder for *pre-release* content to be copied without direct efforts by authorized viewers.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewmspace View Post

I tried that and couldn't find a good free program. You're also correct in saying that I'm not sharing files.

We don't talk about anything that can be used for piracy here. He was making a joke.

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post #13 of 43
Too late, I've already seen these available for download days ago. Downloaded one myself to take a look and they look great, they are HD quality. It's actually worse for the movie studios because the DVD screeners were obviously only DVD quality and had those messages that scrolled across the screen and/or switches to black and white for a short period of time. With these iTunes copies they are full 720p HD copies of the movies.
post #14 of 43
Time to return to old school bootlegs with a shaky camera pointed at a screen sold by a shady vendor on a New York sidewalk.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archos View Post

The point is that Academy voters aren't usually the people ripping off movies; their DVDs just get handed around because "why not?" and then somebody else puts them up in mass distribution. Presumably, Academy nominees are aware they won't have a job if they destroy the movie business in the same way the music business was obliterated.

Ask any music exec if you're still thinking that the album has any life left in it. The point of Bluray was to stop the same from happening to DVD, but its only a matter of time. At least with iTunes, its slightly harder for *pre-release* content to be copied without direct efforts by authorized viewers.

Not giving guild members the opportunity to lend out their screener copies in this way sounds like a worthwhile effort, but I'm just saying that it doesn't seem to have succeeded in that way.

For the rest of what you said -- I'm being honest when I say that I don't know how much of that is you being tongue-in-cheek facetious or if you're speaking in all seriousness.

The music industry hasn't - by any means in the slightest - been obliterated (?), and the shift that is happening from physical media to digital distribution is natural and in large part a very positive response to piracy.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is a neat idea, but I've never understood why it was so hard to figure out who was leaking the stuff in the first place.

Every torrent I've ever seen of an Oscar candidate at this time of year has "Property of Weinstein Company" right across the screen.

Just arrest those guys.

mmmm ... but you are on the torrent ...??

Meanwhile.... what's a DVD anyway?
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post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Is this just coincidence, sloppiness or journalistic license?

while i wholly believe in a collective consciousness, i also believe that appleinsider is not the most original content provider and have seen instances in the past where they have very obviously ripped content from another source and passed it off as their own. that is not a comment on ded, but on appleinsider in general.
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post #18 of 43
Quote:
Illegal distribution of movies is seen as a problem that costs studios billions. Since 2006, DVD sales have slid from $20.6 billion to just $14 billion last year. Most of that loss is blamed on video recordings of movies, but early films distributed to award voters is also recognized to be a major problem.

Yeah, that has nothing to do with digital distribution methods like iTunes or Netflix streaming movies.

No, nothing at all.

Also, we had a little ... what was it? ... oh yeah! A RECESSION! As much as these guys love to blame piracy for every single dollar they "lose," it's just not a valid argument.
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by payeco View Post

Too late, I've already seen these available for download days ago. Downloaded one myself to take a look and they look great, they are HD quality. It's actually worse for the movie studios because the DVD screeners were obviously only DVD quality and had those messages that scrolled across the screen and/or switches to black and white for a short period of time. With these iTunes copies they are full 720p HD copies of the movies.

I've seen them available for download as well. I agree that it's funny because now the rips are HD (though with a bitrate much lower than a regular Bluray rip, but that's expected as iTunes != Bluray) and way better than the DVD Screeners of the past. And as others have said, now the movie has already been ripped into a computer file, so no optical media ripping is necessary. This might make it harder to distribute the movies (since no passing to 2nd and 3rd persons), but all you need is one person with a DRM - remover and presto, internet!

And a simple Google search will affirm that this has already happened: There are rips for The King's Speech, The Fighter and Black Swan out in HD from web sources (and True Grit from a regular DVD Screener rip), and those were 4 of the biggest releases of the past few months.
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post #20 of 43
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Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Meanwhile.... what's a DVD anyway?

It's what you'll use to upgrade your Mac to Lion from Snow Leopard. Next.
post #21 of 43
While you all argue, Apple solidifies it's strategic position in the distribution of digital art. Not that as a shareholder I am opposed - just commenting
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

It's what you'll use to upgrade your Mac to Lion from Snow Leopard. Next.

Chances are that the software will be distributed on a USB stick, like they are doing now with the new Air laptops.
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post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewmspace View Post

How do you strip tr movies of their drm? I'm not posting it to anything or sharing it. I just want to keep vids longer than the rental period.

I read that the files, anything, you are buying on iTunes doesn't have any DRM or copy protection. That's all done within iTunes itself. So in order to save a file longer than the rental period you need to grap the file from your NIC/WiFi _before_ it gets added to your iTunes library.
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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

It's what you'll use to upgrade your Mac to Lion from Snow Leopard. Next.

I was just kidding really. I had just inserted a movie DVD today on my MBP I have had for six months and it asked me what region I am in so obviously the first one it had been asked to play. I was checking through some old DVD-Rs I had in a draw to see what was on them at the time. It was then I realized how much DVDs are a thing of the past for me.

However, I wonder if this might not be the first new OS for Apple to offer a download version as an option? I, like many now have 30 Mb/s + d/l speed and it would not be a big deal. You are correct of course it will have to be on a DVD too.
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post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I, like many now have 30 Mb/s + d/l speed and it would not be a big deal. You are correct of course it will have to be on a DVD too.

And you pay, what, $100 a month for that? It's a big deal. They won't have a download option for an 8GB+ OS.

3Mb/s is $35 for us. It's complete nonsense.

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post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And you pay, what, $100 a month for that? It's a big deal. They won't have a download option for an 8GB+ OS.

3Mb/s is $35 for us. It's complete nonsense.

I pay $50 for 10 Mb/s (actually only get 8 based on speedtest) with a 60 Gb monthly limit. Now Rogers is starting to charge for going over the monthly limit, which of course happens every month. Not to change the subject, but I would be interested in knowing what other people's actual speed is compared to what the service is rated at.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And you pay, what, $100 a month for that? It's a big deal. They won't have a download option for an 8GB+ OS.

3Mb/s is $35 for us. It's complete nonsense.

Damn, I pay $30/month for 16Mbit/s. $35 for 3Mb's is ridiculous.
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post #28 of 43
Don't want to watch it on a laptop? Fine. Get a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter. Surely MPAA members can swing that.

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post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Illegal distribution of movies is seen as a problem that costs studios billions. Since 2006, DVD sales have slid from $20.6 billion to just $14 billion last year. Most of that loss is blamed on video recordings of movies, but early films distributed to award voters is also recognized to be a major problem.

I'm sure some of it could be attributed to pirated copies but I suspect more of it is a result of people buying fewer DVDs & instead streaming more content on hulu or netflix. A lot of people probably do netflix or redbox & then rip stuff to their computer so in that regard I guess a lot of it does go to that type of piracy. If the studios would get over themselves & start offering more HD content for purchase straight from iTunes or other online services then they'd probably see a decrease in piracy. They like the physical sale of discs because they can charge a premium on top of the production costs too so they make money 2 ways.

I don't agree with piracy at all but I'm not crying for these bafoons. Start churning out better movies & I might start believing they are worth 20 - 30 bucks a pop. For me I'm patient enough to wait for them to hit the $5 movie rack at walmart.

PS. these people should clarify that they don't loose any money, they just take it away from other people & do things like move production to China (which probably accounts for a lot of the piracy!). Most businesses lose money like that & we'd say they need to change the way they do business, these guys loose money & suddenly it's everyone else's fault.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

Damn, I pay $30/month for 16Mbit/s. $35 for 3Mb's is ridiculous.

Where do you live?

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post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos
****, I pay $30/month for 16Mbit/s. $35 for 3Mb's is ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Where do you live?

I want to know too!! My ISP is killing me, they are raising my rates like 3x cost of living!
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

It's what you'll use to upgrade your Mac to Lion from Snow Leopard. Next.

If you have Snow Leopard up to date it will have the App Store app in the doc. Won't they distribute the upgrade to Lion that way? Those who don't have Snow Leopard may need a DVD though.
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post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And you pay, what, $100 a month for that? It's a big deal. They won't have a download option for an 8GB+ OS.

3Mb/s is $35 for us. It's complete nonsense.

It's a FiOS package that includes phone and HD TV for a little more than that ... but it is the future I'm sure and once we get 100 Mb/s it will be a standard way to get even an OS. BTW I pay for 25/25 but tests consistently show 30+ on the download side.
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post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

If you have Snow Leopard up to date it will have the App Store app in the doc. Won't they distribute the upgrade to Lion that way?

Absolutely not. You can't install an OS from the hard drive on which it's being installed. Not everyone will have Snow Leopard OR the Mac App Store, even if they are fully up to date.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Absolutely not. You can't install an OS from the hard drive on which it's being installed. Not everyone will have Snow Leopard OR the Mac App Store, even if they are fully up to date.

so how do they do these whole hog os updatres over teh internet... you are wrong
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicFingers View Post

so how do they do these whole hog os updatres over teh internet... you are wrong

Ah, which is why Apple has always given 10.x updates as downloads.

10.x.x updates never change the entire OS.

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post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Ah, which is why Apple has always given 10.x updates as downloads.

10.x.x updates never change the entire OS.

apple has done quite a few huge os updates by down load. Some have included changes to the underlying os and firmware.
The computer goes into its install mode and does its work, restarts (sometimes twice for firmware) then goes on.
other than size/bandwidth issues, I see no reason they wont offer os updates as downloads.
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicFingers View Post

I see no reason they wont offer os updates as downloads.

It would take many users an entire day to download, taking up all of their bandwidth as it does so. Apple blatantly states they want to be noninvasive in their video tutorials.

There will come a day when this can happen. For now, the sneakernet is still faster.

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post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It would take many users an entire day to download, taking up all of their bandwidth as it does so. Apple blatantly states they want to be noninvasive in their video tutorials.

There will come a day when this can happen. For now, the sneakernet is still faster.

for some it would. I watch many HD movies on apple tv. takes about 45 min for 2.5-3gb download. still easier for me and many others with broadband than the sneaker method.
post #40 of 43
.

As others here noticed ...

"Illegal distribution of movies is seen as a problem that costs studios billions. Since 2006, DVD sales have slid from $20.6 billion to just $14 billion last year. Most of that loss is blamed on video recordings of movies ..."

Maybe, but Probably Not

Argument could be made that for 10 years or so, EVERYONE was buying DVDs to replace their VHS Tapes.

Once that was done ?

Thank You Movie Folks - now what's this BluRay Stuff ?

You expect us to re-tool, again, so soon ?

(and ditto with 10 years earlier as Music moved from Vinyl to Tape to CD)

Ignorant Greedy Basterds want 100% of 'nothing' instead of being happy with 50% of 'something'




.

AronJ - you're correct in your 'Business 101' Observation

Just because they did not 'make' that money, does not mean it was 'lost'

Well, at least according to Old School Economics

These days, no telling

Not with all the Smoke/Mirrors, Accounting Gymnastics, and Paper Profits

(see Enron - Poster Child of Reaganomics and Rising Tides - Microsoft could be next)

Much/Most of the USA's 'Prosperity' in last 50 years is just 'Vaporware'




.

Also, as Tallest Skil points out ...

"We don't talk about anything that can be used for piracy here."

Yes, correct-o-mundo

Just the MENTION of the "p" word could cause MPAA or RIAA to "flag you for observation"

D'oh - too late now



.
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