Video industry plans escape from iTunes with 'open' standard

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Afraid that Apple will gain the sort of lock on downloadable video that it did with music, Sony and a group of video business heavyweights are planning a new standard that would let copy protected movies and TV from any participating service work with many devices..



Put under the umbrella name of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the coalition was started by Sony Pictures but now includes rival studios Fox, Lionsgate, NBC Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Microsoft and web security firm VeriSign are also onboard, as are hardware makers such as Cisco, HP, Philips and Toshiba. Alcatel-Lucent and Best Buy are also part of the venture.



Officially, the goal is to create an interoperable but still locked down approach to distributing videos online where buyers or renters could simply assume that an online video could work. As long as a device is in the user's "domain," content would play. In a presentation on DECE obtained by AppleInsider, Sony also claims that such a system would create a much more consistent rights environment: customers wouldn't face shifting copy limits if they choose to switch stores, while many stores today are ultimately balkanized.



On Monday, the studio also noted that DECE rules would be looser than they are with many video services today. A shopper would have the option to make unlimited copies, including the DVD burns that have regularly been off-limits at current online providers. In the strictest conditions, a user could still have access to a "locker" which recalls the customer's rights to play certain videos and stream content without any permanent copy involved.



But while this public objective is meant to remove some of the isolation between stores, Sony's presentation also underscores an attempt to head off Apple at the pass. The movie giant cites iTunes' prominence as a music store as an example of "the problem:" by allowing proprietary stores to exist, the music industry has effectively left the dominant format in Apple's control. The latter's decision to move quickly on downloads essentially cornered the market by making it first past the post, Sony says.











Adopting DECE as a standard would prevent this from happening to video by divorcing control from the individual stores and making the rights the service offered to the end user.



The consortium plans to unveil its more detailed strategy for DECE during the Consumer Electronics Show in January, though the described approach bears some similarity to Microsoft's PlaysForSure standard. On its invention in 2004, the Windows Media-driven approach was envisioned as guaranteeing that content from supporting stores would always play on approved computers and devices; that standard continues to struggle for acceptance as its heavy dependence on Microsoft-made software has left it out of the current market, where Microsoft is only a minority.



Both Sony's outline and outside speculation also suggest the movie production house is worried that it might have to remove DRM its videos, which it sees as a negative that would make sharing too easy, remove obligations and prevent companies from invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to enforce usage rights.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    Interesting how there was not a single iPod in the second example image -- do they intend to keep their content away from 80% of MP3 players?
  • Reply 2 of 85
    I think they've missed the mark there, I'd say it was Apple's iTunes software (and it's integration with the hardware) that makes Apple successful, not the ability to have choice over the vendor.
  • Reply 3 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macosxp View Post


    Interesting how there was not a single iPod in the second example image -- do they intend to keep their content away from 80% of MP3 players?



    You assume that they excluded Apple. It is much more likely that Apple refused to participate. Doing so would help Apple's competitors reduce iTunes' strength in the music industry.



    I really hope that this standardized DRM (calling it 'open' is just helps spread the false idea that it is in any way comparable to DRM free files) does not slow down the adoption of DRM-free media distribution. I think it probably will though, which is a shame.



    I really don't see what these companies are going to accomplish by standardizing DRM. Unless they prevent a single DRM-free copy of these files from getting on the internet, they are not going to hamper piracy with DRM. Apple's DRM made sense because it locked people into iTunes/iPod, but standardized DRM? Maybe the intention is just to lock people *out of* iTunes/iPod.
  • Reply 3 of 85
    I believe something like this will be integral to the downfall of physical media, although I doubt this gang will get it right on the first try. For a system like this to succeed, there would need to be a third party who acts as the keyholder to your media; this keyholder simply keeps a log of all the media you've purchased, from any of the participating digital stores. Having a license for a particular song, tv show, or movie would grant you access to download that media on any of your devices in it's preferred format and DRM encryption; for example, if you bought a movie on your Apple TV, you would have instant access to download the same movie from the Microsoft store for your Zune (presuming both were participants in the keyholder program).



    All the user needs is a username and password for their keyholder account, and would log in exactly as you do on the iTunes Music Store, only your account information would be the same for all digital stores. With this system, the media itself is still tied to each individual device in whatever proprietary format and DRM the device creator chooses, but the user has unlimited usage of the media in that it's not tied to any single device. A licensing system can work if all the major players recognize the license.
  • Reply 5 of 85
    Server stored content is not palatable because people don't trust that their content providers will remain in business. This model is doomed before they even begin.
  • Reply 6 of 85
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    I can't wait to download music from the Shell Oil online music store! [last picture]
  • Reply 7 of 85
    it tilts the playing field so it's not completely facing the movie and music industries. It gives the consumer (you know, wallets with people attached) far too much flexibility.



    How dare you:

    -not pay a tax to the movie and music industries when you purchase a consumer electronics device (yes, this 'plan' definitely includes a tax on all devices, labelled "licensing fees", paid indirectly to the labels)

    -not pay a tax to the movie and music industries when you transfer their precious content from one device to another (you might not have to pay at the beginning, but you WILL have to if this can kill the iTMS)

    -pay a reasonable fee, similar to the price of a CD or DVD for a movie or a song. The industry must be able to charge significantly more and/or go back to forcing the bundling of 10-15 songs at a time for them to be able to make any money at all.



    The industry hasn't approached Apple to join this project simply because the purpose of this project is to put Apple's iTMS out of business AND to force Apple to accept the industries terms WITHOUT negotiation. They know it, and Apple knows it. The industry doesn't want the general public to realize this until it's too late, and they get significant industry adoption, so you don't have a choice but to buy a device with this incorporated in it if you want to listen to music or watch a video.
  • Reply 8 of 85
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Why don't they give up on DRM already? I can get any movie I want for free as it stands now, so I don't know what piracy they are preventing. I know for a fact that DRM is preventing me from purchasing digital media, if I want to buy something, it will be a cd or a dvd not something that I can't re-download and has restrictions on its use.



    That doesn't help them if I get the urge to buy something after the stores have closed, i either download it for free or forget about it by the next day.
  • Reply 9 of 85
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post


    The industry hasn't approached Apple to join this project simply because the purpose of this project is to put Apple's iTMS out of business AND to force Apple to accept the industries terms WITHOUT negotiation. They know it, and Apple knows it. The industry doesn't want the general public to realize this until it's too late, and they get significant industry adoption, so you don't have a choice but to buy a device with this incorporated in it if you want to listen to music or watch a video.



    Exactly. That was the only reason the big three music labels "allowed" DRM-free MP3's to be sold through everyone's music store.... except Apple's. Anyone that backs an endeavor like this will only be shooting their own foot.
  • Reply 10 of 85
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    I can't wait to download music from the Shell Oil online music store! [last picture]



    I saw that too.... totally stupid...
  • Reply 11 of 85
    DRM... Do not want!
  • Reply 12 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zweben View Post


    You assume that they excluded Apple. It is much more likely that Apple refused to participate.



    Then why is iTunes listed in the top of the graphic as a participating store?



    -- Jason
  • Reply 13 of 85
    Pretty sure these are examples of vending method, not confirmed tied on companies. If so the iTunes logo would be current and not something era of Version 4.
  • Reply 14 of 85
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    If it works properly this actually wouldn't be too bad if apple was part of this (obviously they aren't going to want to be until the last possible moment). Most people would still buy from itunes anyways, but it would work on an ipod, psp, zune, whatever. And if I bought from napster, amazon or whomever it would work on all the same devices.



    Seems fair.
  • Reply 15 of 85
    i love how in the second photo half of those products are Sony's and the PS3 photo is still showing the old "boomerang" controller.
  • Reply 16 of 85
    Have to see how this shakes out but it makes no sense to me as described. As has been pointed out already, if everyone is using the same DRM and the DRM is broken, (as it always is), it still does nothing to stop illegal downloading.



    Also, maybe I missed it, but what format are these files going to be in? How can the same DRM work for a Windows media file as well as an Mpeg or an AVI file? If video and audio files are to be interchangeable in this broad fashion, they'd do better to standardise the formats before they worry about DRM. I don't see MS giving up their attempt to control the formats, so even if the DRM is the same, I still couldn't watch the video on my player of choice.



    Lastly, they are basing this on the mistaken assumption that people actually *want* to buy stuff form multiple outlets. This is just not true. No one wants to go all over town price shopping for DVD's and no one wants to check out five different online stores to see who is offering things cheaper. The companies themselves want this because it means at least some of the time you will overpay for a product.



    I'd definitely put this in the "unlikely to succeed" column. Bottom line is that the easiest way to achieve the goals they are setting out here (interoperability and multiple vendors) is to simply offer the product at a reasonable price and without DRM. When a group of companies like this gets together and then *doesn't* pick the simplest solution, you know something is fishy.



    And why isn't this illegal anyway? Collusion amongst all the top media companies to fix sales criteria, prices and control? This is just a monopoly in effect.
  • Reply 17 of 85
    irelandireland Posts: 17,668member
    Consumer choice picture doesn't include "one" Apple product. What they don't realize is; iTunes is winning because the service and products are better, so people "choose" it.
  • Reply 18 of 85
    So the 1. World (Media) War begins...



    - Is Apple in trouble?



    - What should they (Apple) do?



    - Should they abandon AppleTV?




    I really like the iTunes model. But then again... almost all my gadgets wears the Apple logo I surely do´nt want to abandon them...??!
  • Reply 19 of 85
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,611member
    DRM as an issue aside, this idea makes perfect sense. And I can't see why Apple wouldn't support this if SJ really meant what he was saying re DRM in relation to music.

    Like everybody here I lean towards Apple solutions and Apple's way of thinking but the concept of proprietary formats is inherently undemocratic and unfair for the end users as well as for the 'players'. It is expensive, it hinders innovation and necessitates duplication. If I buy a piece of music I should never have to be concerned with where or how it is played back. What I buy is the 'right' to listen to that piece of music however I choose. The function of any available music playing device should first and foremost be to serve that end in the best possible way. In a practical day to day sense I don't care if my content is locked to Apple - at this point in time, anyway - but who knows what the situation will be in 10 or 20 years. From a political and philosophical pov I completely resent having my content tied to any device or brand, whether it belongs to Apple or Microsoft or whoever.
  • Reply 20 of 85
    No thank you. I'll stick with iTunes.



    Before iTunes (and after), we as a mac users were locked out, unable to do anything such as: order musics at napster, walmart, microsoft and other music/movies sites (before it was DRM-free). iTunes saved us and it's tightly integrated.



    Their ideas = bullock. I know there will be softwares + hardwares incompatibles (like you cannot run software on a last year model, only required this year model.) I doubt it will be any good b/c they will hurry up and all they think is the profit they want and lack of innovation and creativity. Also, I'm not sure if this was SONY powerpoint but I've noticed there aren't any mac or iphones in 2nd slideshow - so I assumed they will lock us out again like it was before iTunes.



    hulu.com is a good site BUT close to iTunes for now. iPhone/iTouch is a good device and no other device are close to it.



    Good luck Sony and whoever with it.
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