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Movie studios want new "anti-piracy" model from Apple

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Amid growing concerns over digital piracy, major motion picture studios are pressuring Apple Computer to develop a new distribution model for digital films before they agree to make their flicks available on the company's iTunes download service.

The studios -- Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros -- are all in talks with the iPod maker, according to the Financial Times, but are demanding that company limit the number of devices that can use a film once it's purchased and downloaded from iTunes.

"The studios want to avoid the experience of the music industry, which has yet to recover from years of illegal digital piracy," the report states. It quotes one studio executive involved in the talks as saying Apple must introduce a "new model" for feature film content delivery.

With the average cost of a blockbuster film approaching $100m, movie studios have more to lose than music companies, the exec said. "We’re very willing to do a deal but we’re keen to get some concessions from Apple that will account for the differences between the value of music and television content and feature film content."

Thus far, Apple has signed on just one major studio in Walt Disney Co., which joined iTunes in September and has since sold over 500,000 flicks through the service -- a sell-through rate of approximately 62,500 movies a week or 9,000 each day.

Of the four motion picture heavyweights yet to ink a deal with Apple, Fox is rumored to be one of the closest to reaching an agreement to join iTunes. Earlier this month, CNN quoted the president of the studios parent company, News Corp., as saying the two parties were engaged in 'positive talks,' but that several details still needed to be worked out.

Lions Gate Entertainment, an independent, is also rumored to be closing in on a deal to distribute its films through iTunes.
post #2 of 73
how is what apple does for its movies not safe? they are encripted (i think) and they can only go on 5 computers. these studios just do not get it.
post #3 of 73
Geez the studios need to back-off. Apple does not allow movies to be burned to DVD period, so what's the problem? You can backup a movie to DVD but that's totally different from burning a playable version of the movie.

Piracy is going to happen if there's a will no matter how much DRM. Greedy b-stardz!
post #4 of 73
[QUOTE=The studios (...) are demanding that company limit the number of devices that can use a film once it's purchased and downloaded from iTunes.[/QUOTE]

WFT?!? Did they even look at Apple's DRM?!?

As fas as I know Apple's (music) DRM scheme already takes care of this when buying songs from the iTunes Store. Unless you want to burn your own DVDs in order to re-rip them into some other format (which, by the way, takes ages...) for your friends, their claim is pretty worthless IMHO.

P.S. I'm sure that copy protection also applies to movies bought from iTunes - which all we people outside the US still can't... Grmpf...
post #5 of 73
The problem is the law is on the studio's side. We should own the damn DVD if we buy it.

Piracy is a product of the studio's bullshit. Let them deal with it. It's amazing how a company can put out a product and completely distrust their customers.

It;s just a matter of time until they are in exactly the same boat as the music industry was- The studios can't stop piracy with penalties and laws- only by making your content attractive to purchase. If no one wants to purchase their content, then improve your fukn product.
post #6 of 73
Quote:
"The studios want to avoid the experience of the music industry, which has yet to recover from years of illegal digital piracy,"

Back in the beginning days of music piracy that's all that was really pirated, music. Internet connections were too slow for movies, yet alone for high quality movies. Plus, there weren't any DRM/iTunes solutions back then. The landscape has changed and it's obvious the studios haven't fully grapsed this yet.
post #7 of 73
Oh, so making the downloads from legal sources (i.e. iTunes) less attractive is going to reduce piracy? Remember how the music industry got where it was? By taking ages to provide digital downloads legally and then covering them in DRM...

How can they be so stupid?
post #8 of 73
approaching 100 million $
what part is the actor's salaries. do they think i want to pay that much for brad pitt or someone else to be in a movie,??
post #9 of 73
I am going to guess that the studios are worried that someone will figure out how to crack Apple's encryption and release their high-quality movies onto the P2P networks.

If someone does that today from an AAC/iTunes song, it is AAC and has to be recoded to MP3 and then all that work simply impacted a single song. For movies, they will have a pristine H.264 movie ready for viewing. No re-coding (which means less work and no loss in quality).

Their fear is justified; the reality is that I don't think that there is a technical solution that blocks all risk.

SO, the studios need to feel that they are getting something for the risk they are taking. I think Steve will be able to sell them on this, once iTV is here and people are digging it.

Sometimes negotiations take time simply because people have to get used to a new idea and I think steve is pushing the studios along as fast as he can.
post #10 of 73
I think marketing plays an enormous part of the cost of today's "blockbuster" films. Just ask Georgie-Boy Lucas why he's moving most of his production work to television & video, away from films (not completely, mind you).

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post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwoloszynski

I am going to guess that the studios are worried that someone will figure out how to crack Apple's encryption and release their high-quality movies onto the P2P networks.

If someone does that today from an AAC/iTunes song, it is AAC and has to be recoded to MP3 and then all that work simply impacted a single song. For movies, they will have a pristine H.264 movie ready for viewing. No re-coding (which means less work and no loss in quality).

Their fear is justified; the reality is that I don't think that there is a technical solution that blocks all risk.

Of course, everyone already knows it's nearly impossible for uncrackable encryption, it's just a matter of how far Jobs is willing to be pushed to accommodate the studios. Remember, kids... the real plan is to cut out the middle-men entirely. No more distributors.

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post #12 of 73
I suspect that the studios really just want Apple to offer a rental only model. They absolutely can't stand the fact that you purchase and download a film and can watch it as many times as you want, or on muliple devices.

They would much prefer that you download it , watch it, and it disappears from your computer. So for example. If you watch "StarWars" 10 times during your lifetime, you make 10 smaller payments for a rental, instead of one larger payment for life. It keeps the file from hanging around on your computer and tempting you to share it with your friends.

Were they not the driving force behind the failed attempt at dvd's that would erase themselves after viewing?

I absolutely hate those greedy basterds.
post #13 of 73
I agree with the studios. I think iTunes movie downloads should be 100% piracy-proof.

Just like DVDs!
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwoodpecker

WFT?!? Did they even look at Apple's DRM?!?

As fas as I know Apple's (music) DRM scheme already takes care of this when buying songs from the iTunes Store. Unless you want to burn your own DVDs in order to re-rip them into some other format (which, by the way, takes ages...) for your friends, their claim is pretty worthless IMHO.

P.S. I'm sure that copy protection also applies to movies bought from iTunes - which all we people outside the US still can't... Grmpf...

here here---make it easier to own. and make the theater experience better. sometimes i will go to the movies (less so now its $7.50 and 4.50 popcorn) i think they are killing the golden goose (we are tired of paying big $$$$ for crap. hollywood needs a shrink and some self analyis.

so long as they don't piracy will only grow and grow and grow. guess what language SJ will use for these guys???

another problem, the studios also know that people view movies different than music. i can play ted nuggent and led zep for years, because they are 4-6min mood makers, but movies hmmmmm different. the studios know they have to milk us within 3 months for as much as possible before "it's last years has been". they also hope in that magic 3 months that the 25 million dollar star dosen't piss off all his audience ( how does scientology help with this one tommy boy)
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post #15 of 73
Now that Steve is the majority stockholder at Disneypixar, he should insist on the correct course of action and enable downloaded content to be burned to a DVD! He needs to be the one leading the charge. Once a major studio gives the OK to do that, the others will fall in line.

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post #16 of 73
I say fuck digital distribution period. Let hd-dvd beat blu-ray because I'm afriad of sony's tight ass tacktics when it comes to drm. I have more faith that hd-dvd will become as easy as dvds to copy so let's just let hd-dvd win, buy only hd-dvds and do what we want in the privacy of our own homes.
They have really no way to know if I'm putting my own dvds and hopefully hd-dvds one day on a video ipod, I'd rather spend my own effort to do what I want then pay twice for something like all the studios want.
No download service should win, itunes should just have every tv show, but I can't put up with the bullcrap the studios want for movies. Especially because in a number of years this junk is supposed to replace physical disks, no way I would rather a crackable disk then some annoying ass drm.
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post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by zzcoop

I agree with the studios. I think iTunes movie downloads should be 100% piracy-proof.

Just like DVDs!

ha ha, good point.

DVDs are extremely easier to use as sources of piracy than iTunes videos are.
post #18 of 73
DRM is here to stay no matter what the consumer demands. The honor system simply doesnt work as there are far to many shitbags out there that just leech off society and steal anything they can get their hands on.

What needs to happen is for the DRM to become less restrictive while still providing the inability to share easially. This is a huge task which is why its not happened yet.

The problem with movie pirating is that the actors and executives dont suffer its the support crew that is affected.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

Now that Steve is the majority stockholder at Disneypixar, he should insist on the correct course of action and enable downloaded content to be burned to a DVD! He needs to be the one leading the charge. Once a major studio gives the OK to do that, the others will fall in line.


That would be nice, but I don't see that happening.

If you could burn it on a DVD it would take away from the sales of the iTV.
post #20 of 73
The movie studios all need to jump on board with iTunes as quickly as possible. And they shouldn't be bargaining for a new anti-piracy model, they should be arguing for higher quality.

I will continue to rip my DVDs because I'll get higher quality video. And it will be in an un-DRMed file, easy for piracy. I won't buy from iTunes because of the low quality and high price.
post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

The studios -- Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros -- are all in talks with the iPod maker, according to the Financial Times, but are demanding that company limit the number of devices that can use a film once it's purchased and downloaded from iTunes.

"...limit the number of devices..."

I assume they already know about the whole 5 computers limitation.

They're probably concerned about the fact that content can be synchronized with an unlimited number of independent playback devices (iPods).

To me this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how iPods fit into Apple's DRM scheme...
If I try to send my movie over to a friend's iPod, I must either merge his library with my own (requiring his iTunes password, and making my computer take up one of my friend's "5 computer limit") or else purge the iPod of all its existing content first.

When my friend gets his iPod back home, and he decides to synchronize with his own media collection again, he must either merge the content I provided with his own library (requiring my iTunes password, and taking up one of my "5 computer limit"), or else purge any of my content that happens to be on the iPod.

When you look at it in that context, I really don't think it counts as a vehicle for piracy...

"Okay," you hypothetically say, "what about someone who bypasses the iPod's synchronization limitations and manage to copy the content to their computer without transferring licenses?"

Well, in that case, the file he ends up with is worthless because iTunes won't have the license required to play it back.

"But what if that person proceeds to crack the DRM so that he can play it back and make as many copies as he wants?"

Then you've bypassed the question of using the iPod as a vehicle for piracy entirely, haven't you? The determined pirate could have simply transferred the file via any number of P2P file sharing services, or even using a Data DVD.

So it seems clear that the studios really do what to make it so that the movies, once obtained through iTunes and synchronized with whatever device will be doing the playback, cease to exist as independent files on whatever PC (or Mac) happened to have been used as the vehicle for the transfer.

What if you buy a new iPod, or your existing iPod needs to go through a factory reset? I guess you'll have to buy the movie again....

What if you intend to watch the movie you purchased on your PC (or Mac)? I guess you're just out of luck...

And those responses are simply unacceptable to this consumer.
post #22 of 73
Quote:
Now that Steve is the majority stockholder at Disneypixar, he should insist on the correct course of action and enable downloaded content to be burned to a DVD! He needs to be the one leading the charge. Once a major studio gives the OK to do that, the others will fall in line.

You mean like they've all fallen in line now that I see on the Movie store?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking

I say fuck digital distribution period. Let hd-dvd beat blu-ray because I'm afriad of sony's tight ass tacktics when it comes to drm.

Blu-Ray isn't Sony's format much more than DVD is Warner Brother's format.
post #23 of 73
$hit like this makes me want to pirate movies just to screw the film companies, cause they keep on trying to screw us! And look at the alternatives, keep selling on DVDs and keep watching as movies get put on the internet from those DVDs
post #24 of 73
Its PR posturing from the studios, just like that clown from Universal. They all understand that Apple could potentially 'own' ALL of them in five to ten years time. I imagine Apple confuses the hell out of them with its total lockdown of pre-negotiation info.

I would LOVE to be in those meetings.
post #25 of 73
What the hell are they talking about? Apple doesn't have a problem with anyone stealing music, TV shows or movies. Why would they have any problems with digital movie thefts from movies sold through iTunes? The answer is, they wouldn't. The whole thing is BS.

The problem with music was someone would rip a CD and put the tunes out on the Web for all to download for free. Same with DVDs. Someone would rip a DVD and put a movie out there as a digital download. It isn't Apple's fault, isn't Apple's problem. I'm sure Jobs & co. are in the process of explaining the facts of life to these idiots.

Now, about that stupid Universal thing. Fat chance they'll get a piece of the iPod profits. Jobs should tell them to go pluck themselves. MS made a huge mistake with the Zune but I don't think Apple will follow suit.

BTW, thinking about the movie biz, some local theaters in the DC area are closing. As more people get HDTVs and eventually get HD DVD players and HD movie downloads, the movie theater biz will dry up and it's in the process of doing that now. It won't be too long before more and more movies are made direct to disc and/or download.
post #26 of 73
Have these people even heard of freeware such as Handbrake? (I would never recommend the use of -- let alone use -- something like that, though.)

8)
post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

… before they agree to make their flicks available on the company's iTunes download service.

Amazing how Cover Flow is allready creating a new language! iTunes is the new Leopard. And it's gonna find its way to the new iPhoto, Finder and Address book … 8)


Quote:
The studios -- Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros -- are all in talks with the iPod maker, according to the Financial Times, but are demanding that company limit the number of devices that can use a film once it's purchased and downloaded from iTunes.

Ha! they will go all bananas when Apple is gonna release their much rumoured ghost phone.
And PDA, and iTv! Their movies are gonna be all over the place!!!
post #28 of 73
i believe this to be Walmart related. or at least pressure from Walmart has entered the big movie studios heads. Much like paint on a blank canvas.
post #29 of 73
So many good points have already been brought up. Just a couple more thoughts to add:

First: Part of the rising cost of movies is because the industry chooses to use "superstar" actors. There are so many other actors out there that are equally as good, if not better than the big names... except the industry is too stubborn to try this *slightly* riskier approach. They would very likely save money in the long-run.

Second: The DVD is a versative piece of equipment. It can be played on a huge number of devices... your DVD player, your friends' DVD players, your computer's DVD drive, etc. The only thing you can't do legally with a DVD is rip it to your computer or make copies in any other way. Why, then, should we be robbed by being limited to 5 iTunes-equipped and owner-varified COMPUTERS (although iTV/TelePort will likely change this)? PLUS, the movie is of lesser quality. The industries might be afraid of piracy, yes, but they should be less afraid of iTunes content than physical DVDs. It's very likely that anyone who is computer savvy enough to run an iTunes movie through a DRM cracker would also be savvy enough to simply rip the DVDs they own... and perhaps the most savviest of users will forego buying all together and order/rip from NetFlix. So there are more prominent enemies for the studios to lash out against besides Apple.

In the industy's defense, since it is their copyrighted content, they technically get to set the rules. They're just being unreasonable about where they're deciding to be strict about it. This whole issue is a perfect example of "The harder you squeeze wet sand, the more slips through your fingers."

-Clive
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post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five

First: Part of the rising cost of movies is because the industry chooses to use "superstar" actors. There are so many other actors out there that are equally as good, if not better than the big names... except the industry is too stubborn to try this *slightly* riskier approach. They would very likely save money in the long-run.

It would be hard to argue for or against that without having any actual data about whether having them in the movie helps sell tickets or DVDs. My guess is that they probably have that.
post #31 of 73
these people really are dumb. Distribution is a service. They don't realize that and they dont see people will pay for that service if it is done right. net flix has realized that and created a great model. Apple could do the same with a download netflix type service. But they can also offer download files like they do now. I don't see why any restriction should be placed on teh download that is not placed on the actual dvd. As you all have mentioned it is easier and better quality to rip the netflix dvd than the Apple download.
post #32 of 73
What the movie studios really want is a secret code in each and every downloaded movie that causes the purchaser's head to explode if he (or she) even thinks about making an illegal copy.
post #33 of 73
I hope Apple and Steve Jobs are holding up. As soon as at least one more major studio signs and shows that the model works and that people buy the movies online and they don't loose that much on DVD sales, that's when the other studios will view it like "they can't afford not to be on iTunes."

A DVD is playable on any DVD player with the right region settings. Just bring the freaking disk and play it. A digital movie should behave somewhat like that. I'd say ok, restrict it to 5 computers or any authorized iPod. Just bring an iPod video and play it on someone's iTV or Mac from the authorized iPod. That would make the movie portable between friends, but it wouldn't spread. Now get to it..
post #34 of 73
Idea here. Although I'm new and maybe it's out there, forgive me.
Can independent artists post music to iTunes. Much like YouTube? If they could create an account with iTunes as a 'provider', then iTunes could pay them a royalty directly. This way it skips the bone heads at major music labels. iTunes could be a richer source of music if anyone could post.
post #35 of 73
The most logical source of pirate DVDs is the factories where the DVDs are made. They are invariably located in developing nations where virtually nobody can afford to pay US prices for anything. The manufacturers can probably make as much money selling DVDs out the back door as they get from the studios (huge contracts usually have very low profit margins).

However, physical DVDs are being replaced with digital files that can be transfered quickly across the internet and those digital files are showing up before anyone has even started manufacturing DVDs. Casino Royale was available on the internet during its first week of theatrical release

Clearly there are leaks very high up the distribution chain. If the movie studios can't stop those then they need to accept that the piracy war is over and the pirates, as expected, have won. The only way to sell their content now is to make it easier and "cheaper" to obtain than an illegal copy.

The iTunes Music Store works because searching is easy, downloads are fast and the music and TV content is reasonably priced. Disney movies are the type of thing the kids will watch repeatedly so the price isn't too bad for them. I can't justify buying most movies because I'll only watch them twice.
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

It would be hard to argue for or against that without having any actual data about whether having them in the movie helps sell tickets or DVDs. My guess is that they probably have that.

All-star actors were just one example of costly decisions that the industries make... and I'm sure you're right, at least in some light. Yes, they may help to sell movies, but think about huge "all-star cast" movies... would it be any riskier if there's only one star to sell the movie, and a bunch of competent but lesser-known actors? Think of the hundreds of millions the producers of The Departed had to pay for Aflek, DiCaprio, Nicholson, Sheen, etc. In my opinion, the movie could held either Aflek and/or Nicholson, would have been just as good, and would have sold just as well. Yet, Hollywood keeps trying to cram as many stars into every single film it defecates these days.

But you're right, you can't argue concretely in either direction. I, personally, would like to see a broader range of actors in Hollywood, not the same eight over and over again. Ben Stiller, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carell, Johnny Depp... At least one of these 8 are in 90% of films these days. Some fresh blood would be nice. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that... so Hollywood should get the picture (pun intended \).

-Clive
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post #37 of 73
Screw em'

How else do you, as a customer, show the studios that they 'jsut don't get it'

Untill a cheap, fair alternative is avalible people will Bittorrent. It's Just that Simple.

Albeit "films" (most of what they crap out could not be called this) do have high production costs, but guess what, for piracy they have big bandwidth costs as well. The time/frustration barrier of downloading a movie is much higher than a mp3. SO, if they were to offer a cheap, fair alternative to Bittorrent etc. people would use it.

The thing is they don't WANT anybody to downlod period (hence shite quality, dragging feet and heavy DRM). Why? BLu-Ray etc. With 1080 It is hoped people will re-buy their DVD collection, and the studiios can charge $25-30 for the HD wonderfulness per disc. If they offered a viable alternative to that on iTunes (720p, play anywhere) at a reasonable price, A) apple would be slicing into the margin and cutting per transaction profit B) heavy investment in the new disc formats would out the window C) "piracy" concerns (unfounded) would scare them all - I mean its going on tubes! to peoples homes! and D) their distribution channels would loose it.

meh, but whatever, skrew em'

Any industry that profits as excessivley as the movie studios by making (more often than not) complete bollocks movies push marketed, and then pleads pain of piracy on the backs of techies/sound crew that don't get medical benifits because of teh big bad 'criminal' terrorosit' pirates....should be flushd down the torrent of bits.....

AND its NOT PIracy: Internaitonal Piracy is forcefully capturing goods (as in teh end user doesn't get them) or randsoming people on teh high seas!! - punishible under INt. Law. This is copyright infringment. A fcking misdameanor - like recording off the radio...except, you now live in the land of ones and zeros MPAA nut bars....where you actually have to be switched on and move ahead to keep your profits coming in, ....this aint' FM radio repression time anymore (look it up).....power to the people and all that blah balh...

phew...OK....jsut had to get that out apperently....
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post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo

Now, about that stupid Universal thing. Fat chance they'll get a piece of the iPod profits. Jobs should tell them to go pluck themselves. MS made a huge mistake with the Zune but I don't think Apple will follow suit.

Now I suppose they will be going to all the CD, DVD and VHS player manufacturers and asking for a cut because people will be playing pirated content on those players as well.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by zzcoop

I agree with the studios. I think iTunes movie downloads should be 100% piracy-proof.

Just like DVDs!

Apple should just buy NetFlix and be done with it.
They could integrate NetFlix right into iTunes.

You set up your viewing list in iTunes.
Apple sends you the DVD.
You download HandBrake.
You rip the movie to your HD...DRM free
You watch it on your iTV
You send back the DVD.

I guarantee the studios will be breaking down Steve's door and begging him to go digital.
DVDs are the industry's achilles heel.
post #40 of 73
I think what they want is for justin long to take a 2x4 and beat a pirating teen to death.
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