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Solving DRM in the BitTorrent Age 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-let-us-steal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "FiringSquad has a new article on DRM in the BitTorrent Age. They argue that the movie industry looking for "perfect DRM" should aim for the printed book model (people still buy books even though they can read them for free at Barnes & Noble). They argue that the missing element is that screenwriters are not marketed by Hollywood in the same way the book industry markets its authors."
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Solving DRM in the BitTorrent Age

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  • Auteurs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:53PM (#17838714) Homepage
    In the 1960s, auteurs like Bergman and Antonioni created films with a highly personal stamp, but while their films had some measure of popular success at the time, people today are no longer interested and films mainly function as simple mindless entertainment. I don't think that the average movie-goer cares about screenwriters--and studios often subject a script to rewrites that take it far away from the screenwriter's original intent--they just want a few laughs, the proverbial roller-coaster ride of suspense, or a heartwarming love story, and why pay for that if it's on Bittorrent?
    • He cites the common book at the best example of a perfect form of copy protection, and looks forward when a similar state will will exist with HD media. I suspect that Moore's Law will undo him more than he realises. Thus, it may be a constant race of technology.

      In some ways, the HD ecosystem is going to buy time to help DRM reach that magic steady state that we enjoy with books. With HD movies requiring huge amounts of space, there's already a barrier to casual copying if only for HDD space issues. The
      • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @05:47AM (#17840932) Homepage
        Moores law will fuck things up seriously. At the moment books are sort of protected for the simple reason that no reader-device is available which is even close to as comfy as good-old paperbooks. But the moment they are, things are going to get very interesting.

        At the moment, typical home-bandwith is perhaps 1Mbps. Typical home-storage is perhaps 300GB. Which means (order of magnitude-estimates)

        • Downloading a book takes 10 seconds. You can store 300.000
        • Downloading like for example the complete harry-potter series takes a minute or two. You can store 50.000
        • Downloading a song in FM-like quality takes half a minute, you can store perhaps 100.000
        • Downloading an album in FM-like quality takes 10 minutes, you can store 7000.
        • Downloading an album in CD-quality takes an hour, you can store 1000.
        • Downloading a movie in low quality takes 2 hours. You can store 500.
        • Downloading a movie in DVD-quality takes a day. You can store 50.

        Which means for most people, bandwith and storage is a limiting factor for the last few of these options. (depending on patience) High-def movies migth add another order of magnitude size, so we're up to a week of downloading and you can store like 5-10 of them, which is definitely way into impractical-land.

        But that's all today. Bandwith and storage grows exponentially, and though 1Mbps may be *typical* even today a significant (and rapidly growing) part of the population has a lot more.

        Lyse, my ISP have stopped *offering* speeds lower than 6Mbps. Their top offering currently is 50Mbps. Which brings the high-def movie in original (blueray/HD-DVD) quality back down from a week and to 4 hours.

        I expect 100Mbps to be the norm in my neighbourhood before the decade is out. The infrastructure is certianly already there, the only reason it's not the norm today is that few care for it. For 99% of the users today, 6Mbps (symetrical, same upload!) is adequate enough that they have no interest even in the "premium" 50Mbps offered for a modestly higher price.

        Already today, people are downloading albums rathe than songs. And to some degree complete discographies rather than albums. And books are tiny compared to music.

        We're only a short way away from being able to in effect say: "Screw it, I don't know yet what I want to read on the plane, let's just download 'all_books_published_in_the_usa_this_decade.zip' and put it on the reader, that's only a few TB anyway."

        Just how large would "all_movies_ever_shown_in_an_american_theatre-dvdr ip.zip" be anyway ? How many years away from being able to download that in say a day are we ? How are the *AAs going to deal with it ?

        We live in interesting times.

        • by Aladrin (926209)
          You claim there are no 'comfy' reader devices for ebooks, and I totally disagree.

          I've been using Palm and PocketPC devices to read ebooks for years. While the device costs a lot, and the books don't cost much less, I still far prefer them to physical books. Why?

          Bookmarks.

          I long ago found the 'best' bookmark for physical books. It's a device that clips to the back page of the book, and has an arm that holds the page. As you flip pages, it automatically moves to the next page. This device isn't perfect,
          • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @08:27AM (#17841824) Homepage
            Most people don't, infact, read much books on screen. It's *possible* that you're rigth, and that unfamiliarity and price are the two main blocking factors, but even if those two where the only two problems, those are still significant enough that books currently totally dominate.

            I don't agree though. Most devices I've seen also suffer from one or more of the following:

            • Sucky (less than 10 hour) battery-life.
            • Small storage (less than a few GB)
            • Poor readability in brigth ligth (such as in a sunlit park)
            • Proprietary one-off file-formats rather than good support for standard ones (html, pdf)
            • Tiny screen. A4 or atleast A5 would be a good start, alas most I've seen are even smaller. For some types of books A5 is really to small.
            • Miniscule resolution. Even just 150dpi on a a4 book would require 2500x1800 pixel resolution, most readers I've seen has like literally a tenth of this (as in 800x600) The same pixel-count would be required for 300dpi at a5 size.
            • No, or poor, possibility of making notes, filling in forms or similar. (I realize many that only want to stricly *read* don't need this, it'd still be a tremendous boost for many applications though)

            Ok, so maybe these don't matter to you, and are all trumped by bookmarks. But I'd be willing to pay quite a bit for a device without these problems, and I *have* been deliberately searching, with no luck whatsoever this far.

    • by westlake (615356)
      In the 1960s, auteurs like Bergman and Antonioni created films with a highly personal stamp

      Foreign films have always struggled to reach an American audience, and a director so precious and conceited as to call himself an "auteur" has a particularly hard row to hoe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's the film fans who call Bergman and Antonioni "auteurs." I'm not sure if they called themselves that.
        They got called "auteurs" because it is believed that their directorial vision colored their work enough that they effectively authored it--regardless of who wrote the screenplay.
        Those intending to sell films the way books get sold should use directors, not screenwriters.
        • by westlake (615356)
          They got called "auteurs" because it is believed that their directorial vision colored their work enough that they effectively authored it--regardless of who wrote the screenplay.

          I know the theory.

          But I can't think of anything more likely to be the ruin of an American original like Orson Welles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skreems (598317)
      This is true of many main-stream films, but not of the majority of movies that come out. Charlie Kaufman writes amazingly unique movies, as do Aaron Sorkin and Daron Aronofsky; Terry Gilliam and Paul Thomas Anderson direct artistic masterpieces, and Chris Carter is fast gaining a reputation for interesting touches, as did Guy Ritchie in the late 90s. Also, certain actors tend to work in very interesting films; Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Al Pacino, Tom Cruise before he went nutso, all had a tendency to pic
    • by aztektum (170569)
      Maybe that's the problem then. They keep rehashing the same themes and aren't creating much content with originality. Much like the games industry or any large, over saturated big money industry these days. People are tired of paying over and over for the same trite crap with a different title or "reimagined" logo.
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        People are tired of paying over and over for the same trite crap with a different title or "reimagined" logo.

        They say they're tired of it, but they keep buying it. Same as healthy food. Everyone says they want it, but junk food is what sells.

        There are thousands of movies made every year. They're not all crap.

    • Screenwriters might have been popular if they had been given the credit they deserve. One example I always bring up in this is German board games. Board games in Germany (or even in the US) have no real protection unless they're patented, which is very, very rarely profitable. This means that for most published games, you can make a clone, change the name slightly and reword the rules (withot changing their essence at all), and publish it and make money. In boardgames, commercial "piracy" is essentially leg
    • by Ash Vince (602485)
      Actually a great many of us are interested in a decent film still thats not just midless entertainment. The problem is that hollywood rarely produce anything except the usual run of the mill tat.

      That why most of my favourite films nowadays are either European or made by small non-hollywood directors.

      The question is why are hollywood now such cowards with regard to backing anything that might cause a fuss?

      Take a film like "La Haine". There is no way hollywood could manage to produce a film about disadvantage
    • TFA is trying to say that the "Intellectual Property" (I hate that term more every time I see it) in a movie is the work of the screenwriter.

      It's interesting what this (and the parent) says about the changing way films are made. In many of my favorite movies, the screenplay is one of the least important and unique parts of the entire work. Think about Citizen Kane or Apocalypse Now and you realize that the screenplay was very nearly unnecessary to the creation of the film. In fact, I wouldn't be surprise
      • by heroofhyr (777687)

        It's interesting what this (and the parent) says about the changing way films are made. In many of my favorite movies, the screenplay is one of the least important and unique parts of the entire work. Think about Citizen Kane or Apocalypse Now and you realize that the screenplay was very nearly unnecessary to the creation of the film. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if in Apocalypse Now, Coppola accidentally dropped the screenplay off the side of a boat two weeks before shooting started and never looked back.

        A screenplay is what gets studios to back your film when you go in trying to convince someone to spend millions on your idea. A screenplay is what actors learn their lines from. A screenplay in its final shooting script form is also what allows someone like Coppola to film scenes X, Y, and Z in one place with complete notes on what each camera angle will be, changes to the dialogue, etc., while his assistant director(s) are somewhere else filming scenes M, N, and O with complete notes on those scenes as we

  • by bacon55 (853395) <mikesm@shaw.ca> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:54PM (#17838718)
    You can print out the free book from the net...but its on Printer paper, it's 250 - 400 sheets, and you have to fold and bind it.

    Copying a movie or music onto a disk and playing it on your home theatre, stereo, computer, is exactly what you would be doing if you paid for it.

    Interesting thought - but not a valid comparison.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      Or one can simply read the book on screen. A glance at any file-sharing network will reveal thousands of scanned IT books and language tutorials in PDF format.
      • by idonthack (883680) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:41AM (#17839140)
        Reading books on a screen sucks. When I'm reading a book, I like to sit sideways in the armchair, hang over the edge of my bed, or sprawl out on the floor. You can't read a screen like that. Books are also convenient for actually taking places where it would be impractical, expensive, impossible, or maybe just socially unacceptable to take a computer. Usually outside. You know, that big room with the blue ceiling.
        • by smidget2k4 (847334) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @01:05AM (#17839310)
          I read e-books from time to time on my PDA, outside, under the big blue ceiling, with no problems. That being said, I do prefer the tangibility of paper books. There is something about turning the page, measuring how close to the end you are via a bookmark, etc, that adds extra appeal to a book.
          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by jlarocco (851450)

            Maybe I'm just not "with it", but the idea of reading more than a few paragraphs on a PDA makes me want to shoot myself in the head. Not to mention all the other disadvantages of a PDA when compared to a book.

            • by cgenman (325138)
              On my PDA I can carry literally thousands of different books, from Tolstoy to Japanese folk tales. It can automatically scroll pages, and search for text (for those fun foreign names). You can read it when it's a lot darker than with a standard book, and the text is as nice as reading from a laptop screen... which is not to say great, but definitely passable. Size fonts to your liking, not the publisher's. Never lose your place. Doesn't actually take up room in your pocket (if you were already carrying
            • I read a lot of books on my smartphone. The screen is bright & crisp, even in daylight, the text is well-defined, and I can read for hours with no hint of headaches or eye fatigue. The "page" is small, but flipping pages is effortless with the scrollwheel under my thumb.

              However, what convinced me to prefer it over paper are the things books can't match:

              • Size - it's smaller than a single paperback, yet can store vast numbers of books on a 2GB memory card. Great for long business trips, or for portable
            • "Maybe I'm just not "with it", but the idea of reading more than a few paragraphs on a PDA makes me want to shoot myself in the head."

              The idea? But have you actually tried it? I've read about a dozen or more ebooks on my PDA (lying on my side in bed) and find it far more convenient than a "real" book because I just turn on autoscroll and I don't even have to hold the PDA - I prop it on a cushtie pillow FWIW. I also made a rig for my cross-trainer to hold my PDA and now train while reading (again no page tur

            • by zakezuke (229119)
              Maybe I'm just not "with it", but the idea of reading more than a few paragraphs on a PDA makes me want to shoot myself in the head. Not to mention all the other disadvantages of a PDA when compared to a book.

              Books are nice. You can flip pages, you can put a bookmarker in them, and they require no boot up time.

              However, a tablet PC is really the next best thing. The aspect is perfect for full page documentation, they are self lit, and you can store a ton of books on a the HD.

              The best of both words would be
            • by rtechie (244489)
              There is also the fact that reading off a monitor is harder on your eyes because of the very slight "wiggle" of text characters. There is also contrast, "warmth", etc. And yeah, it's a fact. Reading off a computer monitor will cause eyestraing and exacerbate nearsightdness MUCH faster than print. These problems haven't been changed by the transition to LCDs. PDAs and E-Book readers are even worse because of their shitty screens.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:07AM (#17838862) Homepage Journal
      Which is why all the decent e-book readers mysteriously fail to reach the market. In all the last 15 years, since the invention of e-ink, dozens of companies have attempted to make viable e-book readers and been quashed by patents or by the copyright owners who have demanded that the product include draconian DRM. The OLPC, intended to (eventually) sell at US$100 per unit, has a 1200 (H) x 900 (V) resolution (200 dpi) [laptop.org] display which is readable in direct sunlight. That is what you need to comfortably read a book. That, or e-ink, with even higher dpi. These things are clearly not expensive, where are they? The OLPC shows what engineers can do when they are able to stop thinking about what will make the most money, and just try to make something great.
      • by westlake (615356)
        These things are clearly not expensive, where are they?

        Unwanted, mostly. Audiobooks have had remarkable success. Hands free, perfect for the road. The hardcover or the paperback is for the bed, the bath or the recliner. No batteries to replace. No dynamos to crank. There is a market still for the book as art or craft. People for whom names like Bruce Rogers and N.C. Wyeth still have resonance.

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          Unwanted, mostly.
          If there's anything consumer products manufacturers should have learnt by now, it's that they have no idea wtf people want.. Of course I admit that it's a bit much to ask that they just make something, throw it onto the market and see what happens. That would take courage.
      • Sony Portable Reader System PRS-500 is $350. That's without actually paying for the books. The couple of sites I've looked at recently have ebooks ranging in the $7-8 around the price of a paperback. That's another 50 or so books that you could have bought instead of the e-reader. You can pick up new hardcover books from Amazon's other sellers dirt cheap after a book has been out for awhile. There's about 50 sellers that have Davinci Code Hardcover for $7.50 shipped. I've never found a e-reader that justifi
    • There's even more to it than that. For those that buy books in person in stores, there is no difference between that and picking the book up at the library (which you can also do with a lot of movies). Yet, people still buy books, and they even go the extra mile and frequently buy hardcover instead of soft. Books have collection value, which isn't really the case for movies. It's easy to compare antiques to books, but there is little more value in an official DVD than in a burnt copy.
    • by rizzo420 (136707)
      you're also forgetting that books suck to read on a computer screen and even on a PDA, it's not that great because it's generally smaller.

      and comparing downloading movies for free with reading a book at barnes and noble for free is apples and oranges. your time is limited in BN, while your time is unlimited downloading movies at home.
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:57PM (#17838760) Homepage
    Solving DRM in the BitTorrent Age

    The only DRM that works is having movies that are large enough, that most people won't want to spend the time downloading them. (i.e. 24gb HD-DVDs.)
    • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:10AM (#17838886)

      The only DRM that works is having movies that are large enough, that most people won't want to spend the time downloading them. (i.e. 24gb HD-DVDs.)

      This works for books, even though people can read them for free in electronic form or at the book store. The reason people buy books is that they're nicely bound and easy to hold, take with you, etc.

      I don't get into downloading movies - got better things to do than chase my tail with all the garbage files, encrypted RAR files that ask you to go to installspyware.com with Internet explorer to get a password only to find out that the file has some 60 year old movie you never heard of and now your machine is part of a botnet (no, I dont' do it but i know people who do).

      There is huge diversity in books. You can go to a book store and find lots of different books on lots of different themes. There are a selection of mainstream authors that publish the same junk over and over, then there are the lesser known authors who publish unique works. People actually pay for that stuff. Also, technical references are so much better in book-bound form. Electronic and printed/ringbound just don't cut it for quickly looking stuff up.

      The only people you hear complaining about piracy of movies (and music) is the *AAs who really only care about the huge-ass big budget mainstream (that is mostly the same formula-based crap over and over). The best DRM is make movies that people really want to pay for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by flokati (926091)

        Also, technical references are so much better in book-bound form. Electronic and printed/ringbound just don't cut it for quickly looking stuff up.
        I would say that the primary benefit of an electronic format is quickly looking stuff up.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by teknognome (910243)

          I would say that the primary benefit of an electronic format is quickly looking stuff up.

          It depends on how one remembers what you want to look up. If it's a specific word or phrase, sure, electronic is ideal. If you remember that it's 3/4 of the way down a right-hand page, with about an inch-worth of pages left in the book, paper is probably going to beat electronic for look-up speed. Some people remember tactile/spacial information better, and electronic doesn't (yet) provide such feedback too well.

        • That depends on how it's organised. Many are book-format PDFs and a lot are HTML renderings of the book format. A lot of time it's not easy to navigate to right part of an electronic book. Keyword searches show you hundreds of false entries and the page numbers in the index/contents don't actually match the page numbers that the viewer thinks. They're always out by a bit. HTML books often don't get illustrations or equations right.

          I also prefer to have the desk reference open rather than a document on
      • by Duds (100634) *
        I don't get into downloading movies - got better things to do than chase my tail with all the garbage files, encrypted RAR files that ask you to go to installspyware.com with Internet explorer to get a password only to find out that the file has some 60 year old movie you never heard of and now your machine is part of a botnet (no, I dont' do it but i know people who do).

        If you actually believe any of this is generally the case then the RIAA have done a better job than I thought.

        Without getting into it, unl
    • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @02:10AM (#17839758) Homepage
      That fails becuase you take the 24gb version and shrink it down, DIVx, then bit torrent it (let alone that a lot of DVDs aren't much better resolution than a VHS tape). The problem with DRM is one one side you have completely unreasoning greed, their ideals are;

      If you rewind to play again you should pay again.

      As you increase resolution you should pay more

      Hit pause and pay extra for the still frame.

      Someone looks over you shoulder they should pay for the number of seconds they see the screen and if they can actually hear it they should pay more again.

      The whole family watches then the whole family should pay.

      If you read the cover to decide whether or not to buy it, you should pay, they never gauranted a free quote.

      Fot the same content on three different devices then you should pay three times.

      Backup, BACKUPS, your not entitled to any stinkin' backups.

      Lend the media to a friend then the friend should pay a rental fee.

      You also stricly forbidden buy law to comment upon the quality of the content, in any way shape or form.

      On the others side you have reasonabe customers who are only willing to play a reasonable price and fuck the publisher if they think they can control how the end users choose to make use of the licenced copy for the equivalent life of the content copyright. Copyright last for 70 years beyond the authors death, the your licence should be warranted to survive exactly the same amount of time regardless of the media and it should be the media publishers responsibility to ensure that it does.

    • The only DRM that works is having movies that are large enough, that most people won't want to spend the time downloading them. (i.e. 24gb HD-DVDs.)


      $for pass in `seq 1 2`
      do
      mencoder -dvd-device /mnt/hddvd dvd://2 -vf scale=640x-2 -oac lame -lameopts q=6 -ovc x264 \
      -x264encopts subq=7:4x4mv:8x8dct:me=3:frameref=6:bframes=6:b_ad apt:b_pyramid:weight_b:bitrate=512:pass=$pass \
      -of lavc -o pretty_small_file_by_comparision.mp4
      done


      OK, lavc won't actually work with b-frames at the moment, but there are ways around

    • by PDAllen (709106)
      Which anyway doesn't work, because the pirate rips it, drops the quality down to DVD size and puts it online, the same way they used to rip DVDs down to CD size when broadband speeds were slower and DVD-R wasn't cheap.
  • Print Version (Score:3, Informative)

    by roger6106 (847020) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:58PM (#17838778)
    Print Version [firingsquad.com] - all on one page, less clutter
  • by metlin (258108) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:01AM (#17838794) Journal
    How about original, quality stuff for a change?

    There are so many movies out there that I do not care about, but if it's a movie I really like, I will go out and buy the DVD.

    Ditto for a book - if it's good, I will go ahead and buy it.

    And people with tastes different than mine will do the same for books and movies.

    The advantage of a book is that most books are quite cheap (well, unless you are looking for a specific one in a narrow area, say something by Springer Verlag or something).

    Movie DVDs are getting there, but music is far, far away. That is the problem. And the signal to noise is terrible for music - so much crap out there.

    And finally, I can do anything I want with my book - photocopy it, scan the pages, rip it - whatever the hell I want.

    The music and movie industry is trying to stop me from doing just that - and that is the heart of the problem.

    IMHO and all that.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      There are so many movies out there that I do not care about, but if it's a movie I really like, I will go out and buy the DVD.

      Ditto for a book - if it's good, I will go ahead and buy it.

      I've never really understood the idea of buying DVDs. If there's a really good movie, I prefer watching it in a theatre. You can download a DVD, but you can't do that with a proper movie experience, unless you have a badass home theatre.

      One problem I have with buying DVDs is that I rarely watch the same movie twice. There are so many great movies yet to see, and so little time. I also don't like hoarding physical books/DVDs that would spend most of their lifetime gathering dust in the shelves. Then ag

    • Most books are not cheap. An average paperback in the fiction section of a Waldenbooks is probably > 5 US $. That's for maybe 300 pages of low quality paper and black on white print. Downloading it yourself and printing it on decent paper is cheaper. But, it is inconvenient.

      What's worse is comic books (for those that are into that thing). A single 30 page comic (containing 6 pages of advertisements!) costs > 2 US $. Go to a comic book .torrent site and you can download every comic published this
  • by acid06 (917409) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:07AM (#17838864)
    But the media cartels will still probably need another 5 years to get it.

    And the funny thing is: if they ever end up developing a really hard to break DRM or copy protection scheme it won't really succeed in most of the world. Technology in emerging economies (such as Brazil, Russia, India and China) only gets widespread usage when their copy protection is broken.

    As a brazilian gamer I used to track down PlayStation 2 adoption around here. PS2 only got mainstream after pirated games were available. But that doesn't mean Sony lost revenue. It didn't. If the copy protection had never been broken, PS2 would've never succeeded around here.

    In the end, DRM only hurts those that try to play by the rules (well, at least until they get tired if being abused and get their [pirated] goodies for free).
    • I doubt they'll ever get it, frankly, but I just hope that enough of the rest of the world moves on without them that it becomes a non-issue.
  • by Nova Express (100383) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {nosrepecnerwal}> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:11AM (#17838894) Homepage Journal
    We'll see that shortly after The Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh Home for Gay Communist Welfare Cheats opens in East St. Louis.

    Haven't you heard the joke? "Did you hear about the Polish starlet? She was so dumb, she slept with the writer."

    Hollywood pays writers very well compared to non-film jobs, but also treats them like dirt and screws them over at the drop of a hat. They're well below actors, directors, and producers on the Talent Totem Pole. Here's an easy way to confirm for yourself how little heed Hollywood pays writers: Without looking at the IMDB, name any writer who has won an Academy Award (other than Peter Jackson) for best original or Adapted Screenplay. Get one and you're probably doing better than 99% of the movie-viewing public.

    Or to put it another way: We'll see Hollywood start promoting writers right after they stop making films based on TV shows or video games.

  • F'ing problem solved.
  • Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:16AM (#17838950) Homepage
    This makes no sense. I don't read books online because it's uncomfortable and inconvenient. Movies and TV shows are shown on a projected screen with no pause button (unless you have special equipment) and, in the case of TV, interruptions of advertising.

    Online books don't take over physical books because physical books have more value.

    BT takes over TV and movie theaters because movies/episodes downloaded over BT have more value than their original equivalents.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by radtea (464814)
      I don't read books online because it's uncomfortable and inconvenient.

      And you don't copy them because it's expensive, inconvenient and produces a very low quality product.

      The article claims that we buy books because we want to "support our favourite authors" or something like that. But the truth is that we buy books because they are good value for money, copying is a real pain, and the quality of the copy is substantially inferior to that of the original.

      Movies, on the other hand, are dead cheap to copy an
  • by SEWilco (27983) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:17AM (#17838958) Journal
    The librarians of the world would like to teach the submitter something.
    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      Yeah, not the least of which is that books are not just about entertainment. I don't exactly trawl around bittorrent sites, but I'm betting their aint too much in the way of educational materials on there.
      • by melikamp (631205)

        There's quite a bit, actually. Pirate Bay top 10, by seeds:

        1. Learn JavaScript ? In a Weekend
        2. ! Home Electrical Wiring [1-3] - Build Your Own Smart Home 2003
        3. Windows Vista The Missing Manual
        4. Windows Vista(TM) Inside Out
        5. PINK_FLOYD_SHEET_MUSIC
        6. 135.For.Dummies.ebooks.Wiley.Publishing
        7. WoW Burning Crusade Guide
        8. !! Maximum Energy For Life - A 21 Day Strategic Plan To Feel Gre...
        9. O'Reilly - Building the Perfect PC, Second Edition
        10. (eBook) Real Estate - Robert Allen - The Road To Wealth

        But, to help you point, (1

      • by Nasarius (593729)
        Here, enjoy [demonoid.com]. And there are very popular private trackers like BitMe and Elbitz that are specifically dedicated to educational material. If it's possible to put into electronic form, there's a community that fills the niche.
  • by Speed Pour (1051122) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:20AM (#17838982)

    The industry needs to recognize that it'll be impossible to stop piracy. The more complex, innovative, or intricate the content protection system, the more interest and zeal crackers will have in subverting such protection
    This is the problem? Sorry, I believe this is the side effect of the problem, that the studios have prioritized copy protection and anti-piracy above user experience.

    This article ignores the detail that the people who get their hands on cracking tools, or get their hands on drm-free versions of movies are enjoying a higher quality user experience than those people using legally purchased movies/music. I've heard several accounts of having to fiddle with the connections, or turning the power off and back on again just to get the player to handshake correctly with the TV or to reset the correct in-memory keys. There are also frequent issues with players/tv downsampling video even if everything should be working at the highest possible quality. The article really misses the point that DRM is becoming a cause for piracy rather than a side effect of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      the studios have prioritized copy protection and anti-piracy above user experience.

      User experience. OK. How about the user experience of P2P:

      Bogus titles. Bonus points if "Corpse Bride" or "Over The Hedge" downloads as triple-X porno.
      The camcorder video that looks like a shot of a 16mm print projected on the walls of Mammouth Cave during a blackout.
      The amatuer's artifact-ridden DiVx rip. "Back to the Future" Drive-In sound.

      I've played this game and I've gone back to Netflix, Movies Unlimited, The Ser

  • The reason... (Score:3, Informative)

    by urbanradar (1001140) <timothyfielding@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:22AM (#17839008) Homepage
    The reason why people still buy books because that is the most convenient format for reading and can't easily be copied. Your alternatives essentially come down to reading everything on a screen or printing everything out on your home printer, neither of which is very comfortable for most people. Plus, illegal copies of books are hard to come by because they aren't easy to make if you don't have access to the original source. It takes a lot of scanning and/or copywriting, e.g. a lot of work.

    Hollywood not marketing its screenwriters like book authors has nothing to do with it. And the only way this realisation that books are "perfect DRM" could be applied to, say, music or movies would be by... going back to vinyl records and film reels. Yay.
  • Yes, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nexuspal (720736)
    In about 10 years, everyone will have cameras on them that document EVERYTHING they see and put it in an easily retrievable form. Flip through a book and B&N, go home, and read it to your hearts content. We are headed into an infomational age nothing like you have ever seen or dreamed of...
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:30AM (#17839056) Journal

    They argue that the missing element is that screenwriters are not marketed by Hollywood in the same way the book industry markets its authors
    That's just not true, for some interlinked reasons:

    1. Screenplays are fundamentally different animals than novels. They're written to be the blueprint for a movie, not something to be enjoyed in their own right. This isn't to say that a screenplay can't be enjoyable to read, but you're never* going to read a screenplay for enjoyment unless you've already seen the movie it was made into -- because if a screenplay was good enough to sell copies of it to the public, then it was more or less by definition already made into a movie.

    2. Screenwriters can't be marketed by Hollywood the same way novel authors are marketed -- for one thing, the screenwriter is one of dozens, maybe hundreds of people involved in the movie's production. Even if you just consider the 10 or 15 most important people -- director, a few stars, a producer or two, writer, DP -- the money is going to focus on promoting the biggest names, and that's the stars (and maybe the director). Stars are always the most well-known people involved with a movie, and that's not just because that's who the studio markets; it's because you stare at their faces for 2 hours.

    An author, by contrast, is one of only a very few people involved with the creative aspects of a novel -- even if you take an editor or two into account, the author is still responsible for 99% of what you read. So there's a single, obvious focus for the marketing effort.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kfg (145172)
      you're never* going to read a screenplay for enjoyment unless you've already seen the movie it was made into -- because if a screenplay was good enough to sell copies of it to the public, then it was more or less by definition already made into a movie.

      Harlen Ellison's adaptation of I,Robot, published in Asimov's Science Fiction because Isaac thought it was so good it needed to be seen, but was never going to be made into a movie.

      KFG
    • by istartedi (132515)

      You've gotten to the heart of the matter, I think. People might be a bit reluctant to screw their favorite author by pirating their work. That's because the author is a single person. You wouldn't brag on your warezing skills if the author was in the room with you. OTOH, Hollywood movies are massive collaborative efforts where the big name talent is very well paid. It's all orchestrated by a faceless corporation. If the star were in the room with you, you still might not brag on your warezing skills,

    • All of this is true for plays, and playwrights have no problem getting recognition.

      • Plays usually have one playwright per play. Sometimes two.
        Films are often written by committee. We can have up to four writers under "written by," perhaps another four under "story idea," another if the work adapts an extant non-film, and any number of unacknowledged minor writers.
      • The author of a play is the playwright. The author of a movie is the director.

        In the theater, the director's job is to work in service to the playwright to bring his vision to the stage.

        In film, the screenwriter's job is to work in service to the director to give him the raw material to bring his vision to the screen.

        Evidently this author of TFA is not aware of this reality.

        One can certainly imagine things being different but this is how it has always been.
  • by JoshJ (1009085)
    Solution to DRM in the bittorrent age?
    Get rid of it.

    Everyone knows DRM doesn't stop the "pirates"- it blocks legitimate use. The "pirates" will crack it anyway.
  • by melikamp (631205) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:43AM (#17839144) Homepage Journal
    I don't even know where to begin with this article...

    Digital Rights Management is a good thing.
    Welcome to Slashdot.

    A world completely free of DRM is the wishful thinking of pirates or the quixotic dream of the naive.
    The author is 10 years old?

    A world without DRM is a world without premium content.
    Or 9, may be?

    Every implementation of DRM has only hurt honest users.
    Since he already stressed that DRM cannot stop piracy, doesn't it stand to reason (on his view) that DRM was specifically designed to hurt honest users?

    "Perfect DRM" already exists today. [...] It's called the printed book.
    It's like he has all the clues, but no lightbulb. Dead tree--hard to replicate--we need publishers' services. Digitized information--easy to replicate--publishers can kick the rocks.

    In some ways, the HD ecosystem is going to buy time to help DRM reach that magic steady state that we enjoy with books.

    Magic? Enjoy? The books should have been digitized like 30 years ago, and e-books are at least 5 years overdue. Thanks to copyright being infinity minus one day, some books are almost impossible to find. My personal grudge is that many great old textbooks are prohibitively expensive simply because they are rare. No one is printing them anymore, and no one is allowed to digitize them either. Enjoy? I don't think so.

    And for the love of me, I have no idea how to comment on his screenwriter theme. Yeah, there are other people working behind the curtains. But if movie people themselves think that the most important and creative part is done by the actors and the director, are they going to lie to the rest of us? That makes no sense at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:43AM (#17839150)
    It's just another dude promoting artificial scarcity.

    "Let's make movies hard to copy like books are hard to copy, because you don't see much piracy in books, do ya?"

    One day, hopefully soon, this whole concept of scarcity of information will just vanish.

    • It's just another dude promoting artificial scarcity ... One day, hopefully soon, this whole concept of scarcity of information will just vanish.

      You, Sir, fail to make the fundamental distinction between CREATION of information and DISTRIBUTION of said information.

      Creative information IS scarce. If you disagree, I challenge you to produce a novel / movie / song which has the potential to become widely popular and/or receive critical acclaim. By next Monday.

      However, once this information has been created, it
      • Thank you Sir, very well writ. One thing is, you fail to make the distinction between someone failing to make a distinction and someone knowing full well his argument boils down to "I want it free, screw everyone else".

        The "information wants to be free" crowd knows that people will quit producing the moment everyone can legally rip them off at the post. They just don't care beyond their immediate wants.
  • I'm sure a huge majority of people prefer a real book but I know at least a small minority would sure like to have the ability to log in and just buy it and download it. I can't count how many times I got the urge to read something late at night when the store was closed or even worse a book that sounds good is out of print and has to be ordered used.

    Really what it comes down to though is that these industries have been price fixing for years. They always put pretty window dressing on it like making you b
  • A nice fat book will keep you company on the commute for a week or more, and if it's any good, keep you thinking long after that.

    A DVD will give you two hours of mindless entertainment then merely take up shelf space.

    A book costs about the same, or less than a DVD.

    No contest.
    • by Duds (100634) *
      Well that very much depends on the film.

      My DVDs of Futurama have been watched as many times as any of my books and several films certainly made me think.

      Whereas there are plenty of throwaway books just as there are films.
  • Vast differences (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrRevotron (994894) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @12:59AM (#17839242)
    For one, the fact that you can read a book at Barnes and Noble for free is more of a marketing strategy than just a convenience. Unless you intend to come back every day for X days to keep reading the book, you're most likely going to buy it. I doubt anyone could read an entire book during a visit to a bookstore like Barnes and Noble.

    However, when it comes to movies, you're talking about a solid one to two hour viewing. If Blockbuster worked like Barnes and Noble, they'd have little to no rentals or purchases - people would watch a movie and leave.

    But anyway, back to the topic. It's doubtful that any DRM will work swimmingly with BitTorrent, simply because the method with which you activate the DRM/authenticate the movie would most likely be transferred in the torrent. (Like Windows XP, you can just hand off the CD key with the ISO.)

    I can see an effective DRM being an IP-based solution. For instance, a client would have the movie file downloaded and the player for that file would contact a central server for a one-time key. If the client's IP doesn't match, then no key is issued. But this has its downside as well (Dial-up and dynamic IPs... although if you're downloading at those speeds, just buy the damn DVD.)

    DRM is a useless trend, just like SOA and 'Web x.0' and all the other buzzwords (People put DRM on podcasts, for Christ's sake). Give it time and it will die.
    • by bogjobber (880402)
      I actually have read an entire book in a bookstore. I had to read Heart of Darkness for a class and all the libraries were out of copies and of course I didn't want to buy one, so I sat down for a few hours and read it in the store. Granted, it's only about 200 pages but I am still pretty proud of that fact. I've thought about trying something a little more hefty, but frankly it's not really worth it. If I want free reading I'll just go to the library.
    • by Duds (100634) *
      However, when it comes to movies, you're talking about a solid one to two hour viewing. If Blockbuster worked like Barnes and Noble, they'd have little to no rentals or purchases - people would watch a movie and leave.

      And to extend this point, wherever you read that book, you're getting the full experience. Whereas watching a movie on the TV screens round Blockbuster is absolutely not comparable to at home in your comfy chair with 5.1 and a beer.
  • drm and bittorrent (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436)
    there's a simple way for movie studio's to distribute their content and make money from it without it being tied to "nasty" drm. simply release their own BT client which will allow you to 2 options - buy the movie outright and allow 10 copies of it to be burnt ( you can't call that unfair, who the fuck needs more then 10 copies ) OR you can view the movie for free after you have seeded 2x the size of the movie. that way they are assured there will be plenty of freeloaders out there to support the network, t
  • What movie companies need to do is create the movie equivalent of the book. I like paperbacks because (1) they're inexpensive and (2) they're amazingly resilient and I can take them with me everywhere I go, require no power (only light) and can provide me hours of entertainment and stimulation.

    In order movies to be of the same quality, I'd need some way to make cheap, reasonably-good quality videos easily available, highly portable, and very power-effective. What we need is a decent-sized, fairly tough, f

  • I think the author failed to take into account the lack of concern for quality scripts in movies...
    Notice how crappy movies are consistently in the top 10 at the box office [rottentomatoes.com].

    People who read books have higher standards... (slightly?) :)
  • Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @02:34AM (#17839946) Homepage Journal
    I thought bittorrent WAS the solution to DRM.
  • Mod me off-topic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by photomonkey (987563) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @02:54AM (#17840052)

    but, why is it when anyone mentions free reading, it's never about libraries anymore? It's all about Borders/Barnes & Noble/etc.

    Break out of the marketing and go to a library where, for once, you can't buy anything.

    • Not just reading. My local library has a few hundred DVDs, VHS tapes, and music CDs available for anyone to borrow for free!!!.

      Frankly, when it comes time for me to start getting rid of my CDs and DVDs, I'm donating them to a local library. That way others can enjoy them in the future.
      • Slightly off-topic: The children's DVD movie section of my local library has a rich collection of DVDs (at least a couple hundred), including a bunch of movies that Disney has "put into the vault".

        In other words, I can find Disney DVDs at the library that are essentially out of print elsewhere. When my kids outgrow their movies, my library will get a windfall. :-)
  • by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @03:23AM (#17840208)
    movie industry looking for "perfect DRM" should aim for the printed book model (people still buy books even though they can read them for free at Barnes & Noble). They argue

    Yes, you can read a book at some stores rather than purchasing it and taking it home, which is not true of DVD movies. But you can get a book at the library and take it home and read it, for free. And now, MANY, MANY libraries also lend DVDs, meaning you can take movies home and watch them, for free. The biggest library system in NE Ohio, at least, is usually pretty good about getting new releases (there may be a little bit of lag time) and has a fairly large catalog, though you may have to wait in line. So how long will it be until the big-money movie folks start really looking at some of our greatest national resources as their enemies? Will they include licensing restrictions that somehow prevent libraries from buying their products?

  • My 2 LCD TVs don't do HDCP although they have HDMI. But I don't care. I dont buy many DVDs anyway. And going down their DRM hell is not worth it IMHO.

  • What makes DRM so worthless isn't some technical, legal, or user experience problem. The problem with DRM is that it addresses the wrong issue altogether. DRM tries to answer the question, "how can I stop LOSING money because of copying?" The right question should be, "how can I start MAKING money using copying?"

    People are going to be making digital copies of stuff with the Internet because that is what the Internet is: a vast digitial distribution machine. Copying and hyperlinking aren't "problems" to be solved, they are facts of online life. How can artists and distributors and publishers use these facts to their advantage?

    Google has certainly shown one way to make money from the web. And no, it's not by advertising. That's merely one way of making money. The real mother lode is in LINKING. Google makes money by bringing buyers together with sellers right at the point where the buyer has pre-qualified themselves. Any time you can do that, you can make money -- lots of it.

    Things to note here:

    1. It is in Google's interest to provide real value to the customer in clear exchange for the right to lead them to a commercial link.

    2. It is in Google's interest to be completely up-front about which links are commercial and which ones are not.

    3. It is in Google's interest to only offer commercial links that are as closely-related as possible to what the customer appears to be looking for.

    Let's apply these lessons to the music industry. Imagine a large copyright holder having every song in its catalog available on a web site. Visitors can listen to samples of each and every track -- good samples that give a true feel for the music, not just some arbitrary clip such as the first 30 seconds. A search engine helps people find not just the big, popular numbers, but other interesting pieces that are related. "If you like this artist, have you tried these three others? People who have listened to this track have listened to these 10 others. Here is a list of every track of every album that features this drummer."

    Every opportunity to share information about music, artists, and compilations is an opportunity to offer a tangible product or service to sell. The web site has clearly marked commercial links to buy physical media, purchase the track, add the track to a mix CD, purchase concert tickets, get a t-shirt, subscribe to a download service. It also has non-commercial links to share what the user has discovered with others. "Hey, listen to this track. It's awesome."

    There is a lot of money to be made here. DRM is a distraction. It's leaving money on the table, and one of these days some smart music exec is going to wake up and leave the rest of the competition in the dust.
  • Cheaper movies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nmg196 (184961) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @06:16AM (#17841064)
    Just make movies cheaper so that people can't be bothered to pirate them. This works especially well with HD films which take days/weeks to download.

    If I could buy the film I want in HD for £3-£5 ($6-$10) and get it the next day, I'm hardly likely to bother downloading a 20GB torrent link am I?

    Unfortunately even SD DVDs cost a ridiculous amount of money here in the UK and I don't see why I should spend £15 ($30) on a DVD when I can rent it for £3 in a few months time. I rarely watch the same film several times before it's shown anyway on sat/cable.

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