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Google Video Store Shutting Down 155

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the calling-it-quits dept.
babbling writes "Google is going to close the Google Video Store, leaving users who bought videos that used Digital Restrictions Management without their purchases. The users of Google Video Store will be compensated with Google Checkout credit, but it seems they will be out of luck if they don't happen to be Google Checkout users."
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Google Video Store Shutting Down

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  • by Funkcikle (630170) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:33AM (#20195545)
    "Do no business"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Oh, Google is doing business.
      The same fine article which announces the end of the Google Video store announces that Google is getting into video advertising! As if these things are related... hmmm....
      Just think. What would it mean if the real purpose of Google's video store was to get their internal video player working well enough that they could do AdSense on video? [sigh]
      • by badasscat (563442) <[basscadet75] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Saturday August 11, 2007 @01:33PM (#20196907)
        The same fine article which announces the end of the Google Video store announces that Google is getting into video advertising! As if these things are related... hmmm....
        Just think. What would it mean if the real purpose of Google's video store was to get their internal video player working well enough that they could do AdSense on video?


        Eh?

        I think you've managed to confuse at least three different points in your last sentence.

        First of all, adsense is for content creators. Google obviously gets a cut, but the whole point is that people attach adsense ads to their own content. So now you'd be against revenue sharing with video content creators? I've always thought it was pretty offensive that sites like YouTube get to keep all their ad revenue themselves while those who actually make the content that draws the traffic in get nothing. Talk about a racket! AdSense for video would be one of the best things to ever happen to YouTube. People would actually have a real incentive to create more videos, and better quality ones too (since there's no incentive in creating videos nobody would watch). And those who actually draw the traffic in would be able to make money, not just the YouTube guys sitting there watching it all happen.

        Second, there's no big mystery to getting a Flash video player "working well enough", and anyway the Google Video and YouTube players are totally different. Google basically admitted defeat to YouTube when they purchased them; they're now de-emphasizing Google Video. Little or none of that technology is going to end up filtering back to YouTube - they already have a player that works perfectly fine.

        Third, YouTube (post-Google purchase) has been talking about their plans for pre-roll video ads for at least six months. These will be at the option of the content owner, ie. Google won't be inserting them. The purpose of this is to attract more major commercial content owners, many of whom will not (or legally cannot) post video to YouTube without having a sponsor ad shown beforehand. My company, for example, is one of the few that does post video on YouTube, but we have certain videos that we have to hold back because we have sponsor deals that say pre-roll must be shown before any web exhibition. Once they get pre-roll going, we'll be able to add those videos. Some people may get pissed off about this, but the alternative is that we just don't post those videos. You either watch with an ad or you don't watch at all; that's the choice. (And the logical extension of that is that these clips wouldn't even exist without the sponsor; that's why they require the pre-roll.)

        • by bit01 (644603)

          but the alternative is that we just don't post those videos.

          And that would be a good thing.

          When the sole purpose of releasing a video is as a vehicle to push advertising the net value of the video to the viewer will approach zero; the video will just steal time and attention that could be better spent elsewhere.

          ---

          "Advertising supported" just means you're paying twice over, once in time to watch/avoid the ad and twice in the increased price of the product to pay for the ad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Weezul (52464)
      Infact "do no evil" is alive & well : this make DRM harder to sell.
    • ... to demonstrate to people the evils of DRM. Think about how many people are pissed off now.
  • Once again... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:33AM (#20195551) Homepage Journal
    Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer. This has happened now with Microsoft and their music service among other examples and now Google with their video service. Once companies (and governments) stop thinking of all their customers and citizens as criminals, we might start getting somewhere. This is not about business protection, it is about providing services that protect and enrich peoples lives that are being selected voluntarily. You (companies and governments) do not have a *right* to me as a customer or a citizen, but you exist at the customers or citizens pleasure. Once we manage to get that concept across, garbage like DRM will go away.

    • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:37AM (#20195577)
      The problem comes in when you equate "citizen" with "consumer".
      • Re:Once again... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:45AM (#20195659) Homepage Journal
        The problem comes in when you equate "citizen" with "consumer".

        Hey, once governments started conflating economies with their *rights* to exist, the calculation of citizen and consumer became inevitable. You will find this as far back in history as you can find organized monetary systems. The problem of course is when companies start thinking of themselves as governments or government entities with certain *rights* that supersede those of citizens. Occasionally, companies and governments forget that they exist because of who their clients or citizens are, and when that happens you have two outcomes: Fascism and state/corporate sponsored war or revolution... take your pick.

        • Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @11:22AM (#20195889) Journal
          The problem is when customers and citizens fail to realize that they are ALL consumers... citizens are consumers of government services, the same way customers are consumers of company services. Since both of those groups rarely insist on being informed consumers or better yet, SELF RELIANT, they end up at the mercy of their service providers.

          DRM is merely the latest in a monopoly non free market that has been prevalent since government got created and got involved in regulating the market. Until the sheep stop being livestock and assert their own right to exist and make informed decisions, until the slogan singing stops, there will be little but more of the same. Tyranny never stopped, it merely dropped the eastern iron gauntlet and grabbed the velvet glove... and it hasn't lost a match yet, and once more, we're nearing the game point of the match called "Western Civilization".
          • by langelgjm (860756)

            DRM is merely the latest in a monopoly non free market that has been prevalent since government got created and got involved in regulating the market.

            Hold on there. Government regulation doesn't equate to monopolistic players in the free market; government regulation is what prevents those monopolies from coming into existence in the first place. A market without regulation is what enables monopolies to exist. In order to ensure a truly free, competitive market, the government must engage in regulation, to

            • by FLEB (312391)
              Hear, hear.

              I think the whole argument is a complexity issue. The optimal level of regulation for business is unknown, argued-over, skewed by perspective, gray, mushy, and changes based on the prevailing circumstances.

              (Granted, this stance is just a cop-out from taking a stance, but I still think it's rather true.)
      • It comes as no surprise to me that companies with monopolies (Microsoft, MAFIAA) also equate citizen with consumer.

        They try to get away with things like DRM because they figure everyone has to buy their stuff.
    • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Afecks (899057) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:44AM (#20195645)
      This really sucks. I bought quite a few videos I couldn't find anywhere else. People take for granted that VHS and DVD are at an endless supply. That's simply not true. Most VHS and a lot of DVD are out of print now. The only way to watch these are to get very lucky and find an overpriced copy or do something illegal.

      Now that I look back over my purchases, I see a few shows that were never released to DVD at all. So the only way to watch these is to record them off the air or watch the download that I paid for. Suddenly it looks like I won't have that option now. If I could have done something to protect my investment (I bought it to own, not rent) such as burn it to a CD or backup to another HD I would be fine. As it is, I'm completely screwed, thanks to the whim of some company that cares absolutely nothing about me.

      Using this as a way to push Google Checkout is even more evil. Not only do I not get what I paid for, I don't get a refund and to claim my exchange I have to jump through hoops and buy something I didn't want in the first place.

      Do no evil my ass!
      • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Informative)

        by arth1 (260657) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:55AM (#20195727) Homepage Journal
        Did they operate also in the Western European market? The EU has laws requiring the owners of a closed down business to continue to provide support for several years, and the non-EU Western European countries have consumer protection laws even stricter than that (the expected lifetime of the product), which would come into play here. Continued support for the DRM part would be expected.

        IANAL, but I believe the only way to pull of something like this in Europe, and get away with not providing support for several years, would be to spin off a subsidiary as a wholly independent company, and then when the subsidiary declares bankruptcy, there's no new owner of that part of the business.

        • >>The EU has laws requiring the owners of a closed down business to continue to provide support for several years

          Can you please provide a citation for that?

          Or did you just pull that 'fact' out of your ass?

          Insightful?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If anyone ever had an ethical basis for snagging a copy of something off of bit torrent, it is you, my friend. That or crack the DRM. Granted, your legal rights are not so clear cut. You'd probably be running afoul of the law. But you'd be doing it with a clear conscience at least.

        One question for you. The /. summary states that the customers that didn't use google check out will not be getting refunds. But was it even possible to purchase the videos without google check out? Of course, Google really should
        • Of course, Google really should be giving a cash refund and cutting checks, but that doesn't excuse /. for once again getting a story wrong.

          No, Google should be providing a DRM-free version of those downloads so that people can retain what they purchased. Then, the whole issue of how they checked out is moot, because they paid for the content and it is theirs to watch in perpetuity.

          This is exactly the problem with DRM: if the technological means (e.g., the proper hardware/software with the necessary encr

          • by kalirion (728907)
            No, Google should be providing a DRM-free version of those downloads so that people can retain what they purchased. Then, the whole issue of how they checked out is moot, because they paid for the content and it is theirs to watch in perpetuity.

            But can Google legally do it? I'm assuming that the video rights owners only let Google sell the videos because of the DRM.
      • If I could have done something to protect my investment (I bought it to own, not rent) such as burn it to a CD or backup to another HD I would be fine. As it is, I'm completely screwed, thanks to the whim of some company that cares absolutely nothing about me.

        On the bright side, at least you've learned your lesson never to buy anything with DRM again... right?

      • by Kris_J (10111) *

        Most VHS and a lot of DVD are out of print now. The only way to watch these are to get very lucky and find an overpriced copy or do something illegal.
        Unless you're referring to stuff that was particularly hard to get originally, this simply isn't true. There's a rich secondhand market that's fairly capable of supplying anything that used to be popular. Not to mention the huge number of on-line stores you can scan through for that illusive copy of whatever.
        • I cheerfully accept the rich second-hand markets of all colors and the on-line stores. But you do realize that scanning for illusive copies of whatever won't do much good? If the work doesn't exist, you're never gonna find it.
          I think what you're looking for are elusive copies of whatever.
          • by Kris_J (10111) *
            Stupid wrong words that are in Firefox's dictionary.
            • Yeah. But it's not wrong words, exactly. Now that I have a spellchecker on my Firefox, it's doing wonders for my writing, but it can't tell if you've written the wrong homonym.
              Unfortunately, I can sometimes tell if someone is using a grammar checker that does flag homonyms: it's when every single homonym in the writing is the wrong one. [sigh]
      • by symbolic (11752)
        It seems Google is becoming quite an asswipe of a company. Anyone who has followed YouTube closely for the past few weeks can tell that there are some real, sucky changes going on. Just today I saw my first video where the sound had been disabled by YouTube because it contained "copyrighted material". At this rate, there's nothing I'd like to see more than a few of these content lords keel over and die. And it can happen. All it will take is some discipline on the part of consumers.
    • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thomas.galvin (551471) <slashdot&thomas-galvin,com> on Saturday August 11, 2007 @11:46AM (#20196061) Homepage

      Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.


      Somewhere, Richard Stallman is muttering "I told you so" through a gnarly beard...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by xaxa (988988)

        Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.
        Somewhere, Richard Stallman is muttering "I told you so" through a gnarly beard...
        Of course, since he covered his RFID badge in foil, we don't know where.
    • by DECS (891519)
      How is Google shutting down a DRM business and leaving customers disenfranchised different than any other rental store closing down and leaving its customers all bummed that they have to return their stuff, get a refund, and go somewhere else to rent things?

      The problem isn't DRM, it's intellectual property rentals. Any DRM that supports the idea of rental/limited use/subscription is going to disappoint. But we knew that already.

      That's why Apple is selling lots of iTunes songs and Windows Media stores aren't
      • It's one thing if a rental store closes down and everyone has to return their rentals.
        Actually, with brick-and-mortar rental places renting out physical media, you may have the chance to buy some of the media while it's shutting down, since they need to raise money and dump assets. I did it once, back when VHS tapes for sale were rare.
        It's another thing if the rental store closes and, thanks to the terms of service, you didn't realize what you have isn't yours. If this happens in the physical world, exp
        • Quite a few customers interpreted this as meaning they had actually bought, not just the right to watch the video, but a "copy" of the video itself.


          And I'd contend that because the distinction is pure legalese, people were very reasonable in making such an assumption. That's the sort of thing a judge would look at Google for and say, "What the hell did you expect them to think?"
    • Re:Once again... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @01:01PM (#20196641) Homepage Journal
      ``Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.''

      Example? We need examples of that? Harming cosumers is the _only_ thing DRM _does_!
      • Yes, because this particular harm is what even joe sixpack (and a non-technically minded judge) understands as *bad*.
      • by RonnyJ (651856)

        Harming cosumers is the _only_ thing DRM _does_!

        I'm going to disagree here, as this relies on two conditions being met - firstly, that the product would be available to consumers in some form if DRM wasn't available, and secondly, that any non-DRM version would be more acceptable than a DRM version to some consumers (e.g. a supplier could decide to make a DRM version higher quality than they would a non-DRM version, so some consumers would prefer the DRM version in that case).

        For an example, the BBC iPl

        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          ``I'm going to disagree here, as this relies on two conditions being met''

          I will address them in the opposite order you gave them.

          ``secondly, that any non-DRM version would be more acceptable than a DRM version to some consumers (e.g. a supplier could decide to make a DRM version higher quality than they would a non-DRM version, so some consumers would prefer the DRM version in that case).''

          In that case, it's the supplier deciding to give you crappier quality, not the DRM giving you better quality. The DRM
    • I have been expecting moments like this ever since the DRM fever started spreading... unfortunately, this is too mild to be the big *IT* that I have been waiting/wishing for. What I want to see is for a highly popular media outfit with centralized DRM management mess up the service for all their customers due to some random server hiccup (like somehow losing the root keys for the DRM scheme) and cause instant worldwide outrage.

      Seeing how Apple and others have started backpedaling on DRM though, I am startin
  • by biocute (936687) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:37AM (#20195575) Homepage
    leaving users who bought videos that used Digital Restrictions Management without their purchases

    That'll teach them to never buy non-pirated videos in the future!
    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:59AM (#20195749)
      Is this anything new? Pirated versions of movies and games have always been superior. No unskippable (UOP) fbi warnings and previews on DVDs, no region codes, games that don't require a disc in the drive... plus movie pirates are the best in the industry when it comes to video compression with minimal loss of quality. We've been taught over and over again that the legitimate options always fall short of the abolutely unrestricted nature of pirated IP
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 11, 2007 @12:31PM (#20196403)
        "We've been taught over and over again that the legitimate options always fall short of the abolutely unrestricted nature of pirated IP"

        Music is the exception (I know you did not mention it).
        Red book music CDs are better fidelity than mp3s, last longer than CDR copies as they don't fade, have nice artwork, and have no intrusive copy protection. The compatibility is outstanding, so you can play them anywhere in the world on any of the billions of CD players out there.

        It's a great medium and I'm sad to see it being supplanted by low quality DRM'd audio from iTunes etc.
      • by FLEB (312391)
        It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to... y'know... MAKE THE FILM.

        That said, I do think that the "industries" could take cues from people like the competitive movie pirates or places like AllOfMP3. I've seen faint sparks... glimmers of hope around, for instance, the independent and small-label music distributors. Things like adding perks (CD-ROM portions, music videos, documentary DVDs) to increase legitimate-format sales rather than the oft-hurdled roadblocks to prevent piracy. (I'm not sure a
    • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @11:08AM (#20195799) Homepage

      That'll teach them to never buy non-pirated videos in the future!
      The fact that this comment is right on the money is really depressing.

      I hate pirating as a way to get entertainment, not for some ephemeral moral reasons, but simply because it is a pain in the ass. Bittorrent takes forever (maybe that isn't true for everybody but my ISP shapes traffic), IRC and USENET are unreliable and ususally have queues. Quality is sometimes good sometimes not, you never know. If your tastes are the least bit eclectic or outdated, you can forget about finding what you want easily. Pirating entertainment just sucks. It sucks less than going to the store to get your entertainment, but it still sucks.

      I would love to pay money (even at the current going rates for CDs and DVDs minus a couple bucks since I have to make my own cases and provide my own disks) to download quality files from fast servers. And, low and behold, every time somebody starts something like this, they make it suck more than pirating movies. You get tied to a platform, the store closes out from under you, you have to run an interface that shows you ads just so that you can play your music, movie, whatever.

      How hard is it to make an interface that sucketh not? Their content is already on thepiratebay, so its not like offering video and music for download is going to increase piracy. They should at least offer a viable alternative for those of us who would rather pay (and I bet there are many of us).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jez9999 (618189)
        And, low and behold, every time somebody starts something like this, they make it suck more than pirating movies.

        I think you'll find that has more to do with Hollywood than incompetent video services. It's a capitalist market - if the service isn't there, there's an opportunity for you to start one and cash in. But, you'll probably find you have the same problems with licencing as the rest of them.
        • Hollywood is who I was talking about when I said "they". I guess I should have been clearer.

          You are right on the money, me thinks.
    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @12:54PM (#20196585) Journal
      Reminds me of an ad they used to put on rental VHS tapes. Some guy buys a pirated copy of "train spotting" off some dodgy guy down at the market, and tries unsuccesfully to get his money back as the tape is of unwatchably poor quality. The follows a stern warning that pirated tapes suck and can even damage your VCR.

      10 years into the future, and the situation is reversed. People now laugh at the poor dope dumb enough to buy a legitimate copy. And they don't laugh because he paid money. I'd pay, to get a decent copy without the hassle of having to find it first (and downloading it only to find it's a German language version). As long as that copy is mine.
  • In an announcement today, Linus said that he is closing down the Linux kernel.
    Any users who are currently running this kernel are to reformat their machines.
    Linus said the DRM* built into the kernel will ensure this occurs.

    *DRM is based upon the honour system, operators are forced to stop using it.
  • It's not like they really promoted it or anything

    From day one it seemed like some form of filler and not some serious venture.
    • Probably practice for whatever their real offering will be, assuming Google decides that's a market it is even interested in pursuing.
      • by Miros (734652) *
        It is, of course, always possible that this was just an idea that didn't pan out. Google is not immune to mistakes, and this wouldnt be the first product that they've withdrawn. They're a good company, and they have a lot of good products, but sometimes things just don't workout the way they are planned.
        • by Baricom (763970)
          This may not be the first Google service to shut down, but is it the first paid service?

          From the perspective of customers that don't know any better, Google is planning to forcibly take back the videos customers purchased on a permanent basis, then compensate them with a gift certificate. Sounds like a great way to advertise their payment service which hasn't overtaken PayPal like they thought it would - and Google still makes money on the transaction fees.
      • I think Google's real offering is going to be Video AdSense. At any rate, the fine article that announces the closure of Google Video includes Google's announcement to roll "Video AdSense" out, so...
  • by Denis Troller (1002792) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:43AM (#20195633)
    If you happen to read TFA, you will notice that there is no mention of DRM.
    Simply because this is not a DRM issue. This service offered to WATCH video on demand, not download it.
    Once the service stops, there is no way to continue watching information you don't have (you might call that the ultimate DRM...)

    In the end, it's about people who have been drawn to an service which cannot guarantee them what hey might think it does. It is not a DRM issue, it's a "customer thinking before he buys" issue. Google has every right to close its store and people should have thought about that.

    Now, the fact that Google will provide refunds only through Google Checkout, now that seems pretty unfair to me.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:52AM (#20195701) Journal
      If you happen to read TFA, you will notice that you're talking out your ass.

      Google has been selling the right to watch a wide range of video, including sports, music and news, since January 2006. Most of the video sold for anywhere from a couple US dollars to $20. Customers could pay less to "rent" the right to watch a selected video for a day or buy the show so it would be available to watch indefinitely.

      All paid programming had to be watched through a viewer on Google's site.


      To compensate customers who will no longer be able to see the videos that they purchased, Google is providing refunds in the form of credits that can be used on its online payment service, Checkout.
      You can only watch it through a viewer on Google's site. Google is no longer offering the service, thus your videos are not watchable.

      How is that not DRM? And does that clarify the matter?
      • by Denis Troller (1002792) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @11:08AM (#20195805)
        I'm just saying that what /. people usually yell about is companies that try to sell you something as "goods" (I bought a song) when it really is only a "service" (I bought the right to listen to a song).

        It was a rental service. When you rent a movie, you clearly have no right to make a copy or whatever, and neither do you have any right to keep the tape if the store chooses to close. Not a DRM issue in my book.

        What Google sold was clearly a service. If from what Google sold people thought they would be able to watch it "indefinitely" then they deserve what happened. It was a stupid move in the first place.

        The content wasn't sold and locked out. What was sold was clearly an access right. You were never supposed to have any possibility of accessing it otherwise (which is what most people think they can do with DRM'd files, up to the point where it explodes in their face).

        I agree, the business model was shitty from a customer point of view. And I agree that you could tie that into the whole DRM stuff somehow as far as educating the customer and so on. I was just pointing out that it's different from companies selling you files and THEN trying to lock the content out of your reach and sue you when you use it as intended.

        It would not bother me if Google was to reimburse its customers in a proper way, because people in that case got what they actually bought, which is not a DRM'd file.
        On this board it is enough to say DRM to see people going up in arms, without even bothering to read TFA to see what really happened.
        • OK, thanks for clearing that up. You're right, it's not technically DRM. Google was selling streams.

          So, once again the slashtard editors get it wrong, probably intentionally, although we might give them the benefit of the doubt and call it merely incompetence. This doesn't excuse the Googletards for the somewhat sketchy solution of offering a refund via Google checkout rather than cutting checks. But that also brings up another question about the story summary. It says that customers that didn't use Google
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by r3m0t (626466)
            The DRM was that you couldn't download it. You had to watch it on their website. If you use the "rent" feature, this is OK. If you use the "buy" feature, you expect that (even if you can't download it, and have to log in to view your video) you'll always be able to watch it. Especially for a company like Google - can't they afford to stream the shows that people bought, basically forever? Apparently not.

            Instead people get some credit that they can't turn into cash. The shows they bought, they no longer have
            • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @12:53PM (#20196577) Journal
              I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to think of a stream as DRM. Do we talk about FM radio being DRMed (or ARMed)? Pay-per-view cable? When you are prevented from bringing a video camera into a movie theater (which is streaming from the projector, onto the screen, and then to your eyes), do you complain about the theater's DRM?

              Yes, you can video tape pay-per-view (afaik). You can do the equivalent to a stream coming in to your computer using a variety of software and methods. So, why the insistence on calling everything DRM? The word is losing its meaning. It's getting watered down and eventually will mean "anything I don't like about an entertainment product".
              • by makomk (752139)
                That depends whether or not the stream in question is, in fact, DRMed. FM radio (and most online streaming stuff) isn't; there's nothing to stop you from recording/stream ripping it. The for-pay Google Video videos were apparently DRMed to prevent copying, and required a special player. (Also, according to the Wikipedia page, the Google Video Player saved all videos to the local hard disk before playing them.)
                • I didn't say it was going to be as easy as just pushing a button on your VCR. However, I've seen no evidence that the stream is DRMed. It requires Google's special player? Big whoop. A proprietary player doesn't equal DRM. There are methods to capturing that stream into a format that is playable on other players and storable, and if you really cared beyond just complaining about DRM, you'd know about them. If my father cared enough, he'd learn how to program his VCR so it doesn't blink 12:00, 12:00, 12:00.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        You can only watch it through a viewer on Google's site. Google is no longer offering the service, thus your videos are not watchable.

        How is that not DRM? And does that clarify the matter?


        Let's say my cinema decided to sell a service, where I'd get my personal 1-seat cinema running the movie I had paid for to see as many times as I want. If that cinema closed down, I wouldn't be able to see my movie anymore but it'd hardly have anything to do with DRM. You never had a proper copy, only a transient copy boun
        • by kalidasa (577403)
          Ah, but Google is not shutting down. Google is simply discontinuing a service that is costing them very little in the way of resources but which, by its discontinuance, is breaking a contract they made with their customers. And most likely the only reason they are doing this is to eliminate the redundancy with YouTube.
    • Now, the fact that Google will provide refunds only through Google Checkout, now that seems pretty unfair to me.

      Not only is it probably unethical, it's also seems likely to be illegal in some places. In my country, for example, I wouldn't be surprised to find that if Google has taken money and then backed out on an agreement, they would lose a lawsuit from a customer claiming a refund, or perhaps a partial refund that reflects whatever part of the deal Google has already lived up to. I'm not sure exactly what the TOS for Google Video Store have been, so perhaps I've misunderstood the nature of the service, but if t

  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:44AM (#20195643) Homepage Journal

    Buy DRM locked music from Microsoft? Surely there is no possible risk. They even labelled it "PlaysForSure", so I know I'll still have access to it in a few years. Oops, you old music doesn't work on the new media player, and your new music doesn't work on your old media player. [bbc.co.uk]

    Buy DRM locked movies in the form of silver access to DIVX disks? A giant chain like Circuit City won't screw you. Unless they decided it's no longer profitable and take your access away. [sfgate.com]

    Love your EV1 electric car and would happily pay to own it? Too bad, the manufacturer wants it back and would rather destroy the car than sell it to you.

    Buy video to watch online through Google? Google's a good company with a long view, there is no risk there. Oops, again.

    This is why a world where you don't own anything is a bad idea. The people leasing or licensing the access to you can and will take it away from you. It's alright to agree upon fixed terms up front (I'm only guaranteed my apartment for a year; I'm only guaranteed access to a given NetFlix video stream for a day or two), but when I decide I want access forever, it damn well better be forever.

    • by eggoeater (704775) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @12:32PM (#20196409) Journal
      This is precisely why I won't buy video from iTunes.
      Unless I can burn it to a standard DVD, I will never buy DRM'd video from anyone!.

      I do buy music from iTunes since they openly allow you to burn it to disc, therefore making it usable even if I run out of "authorized computers" or Apple decides to deprecate their DRM.

      I'm in the process of looking at eMusic too, but they won't show you their whole catalog unless you sign up (ie. give them a credit card number) for their free trial. I'm guessing their catalog is, uh, limited since they don't want you to see it before you sign up.

      • Yes, eMusic's stock is somewhat limited. Since they have no DRM and low low prices (not counting their access fee), they only have contracts with indie labels. This means that most of the hot hits popular among the masses aren't going to be there.
        On the bright side, I hear rumors that Sir Paul McCartney's latest album, Memory Almost Full, is on that site. Now, where's Hear Music on the riaaradar? [grin]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by syntaxglitch (889367)

        I'm in the process of looking at eMusic too, but they won't show you their whole catalog unless you sign up (ie. give them a credit card number) for their free trial. I'm guessing their catalog is, uh, limited since they don't want you to see it before you sign up.

        I could be wrong here, but I think that may have more to do with crappy website design than actively preventing you from looking at their selection. Try using Google searches with site:emusic.com to turn up the normal pages instead of the "SIGN UP NOW LOLZ" pages. Although, they may have changed that more recently. I'm a happily paying customer of eMusic now, so I haven't tried it lately...

        That said, their selection largely amounts to 1) Classical 2) Assorted ethnic and non-English stuff 3) Non-RIAA ind

      • The eMusic catalog is heavily weighted with independent labels, unsigned artists, works on which the copyright has expired, but they have a surprisingly large amount of music that I never would have expected to be there. Since I don't care too much about whether I'm listening to music that everyone else is listening to, eMusic is great.

        The downside is that their website is occasionally flakey, and while it's heavily targeting IE it can be flakey even on IE on Windows. Their credit card processing is likewis
    • If you don't like the idea of rentals, don't sign any contracts to obtain limited use of somebody else's stuff in exchange for money. They might default.

      You might also be disappointed by defaults as they apply to any other contract:

      loans
      service and support agreements
      marriage (divorce)

      It's a disappointing world when partners can terminate a contract they no longer want to fulfill. The problem isn't DRM, that's just leverage in a specific kind of agreement. DRM is only as trustworthy as the entity offering it
    • by bwy (726112)
      This is why a world where you don't own anything is a bad idea.

      Sadly, in todays world even owning it means nothing. Eminent domain laws guarantee others the right to take your property to do other things with it, like build a large condo complex for low income families or build a road. When this type of thing starts happening on a wide scale, nobody will want to own anything, because of fear from having it taken away. In that case it will make more sense just to rent. Or, to take whatever the governm
  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @10:47AM (#20195671)
    For years, us geeks on /. have been very wary of DRM. Mainly because many implementations depend on being able to regularly phone home - and if "home" ceases to exist (or, for that matter, continues to exist but decides it's not taking any more calls, as in this case), all the media you've paid good money for essentially evaporates.

    But as long as that's a theoretical problem, one that's never been known to happen - it's one which won't get taken seriously by the masses who actually buy this stuff. Now, however, there's a concrete example. "Do not buy this, all your music and video can suddenly stop working for no immediately apparent reason and you won't have any comeback whatsoever".

    On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?
    • by r3m0t (626466)
      DIVX was the first semi-major example. This is the second.
    • by dirk (87083)
      Except that isn't what is happening at all. This is not a case of someone purchasing something and downloading it and then it stops working. This was a streaming video site, people never downloaded anything. If they paid for this, they had to watch the video streamed from Google. There was no DRM because there was nothing to DRM, it was all streamed. It certainly sucks that people paid for a supposedly infinite right to stream these shows and now won't be able to, but that is not DRM at all. IF I paid
      • ---Except that isn't what is happening at all.

        Really. you dont say.

        ---This is not a case of someone purchasing something and downloading it and then it stops working.

        Yes, it is.

        ---This was a streaming video site, people never downloaded anything. If they paid for this, they had to watch the video streamed from Google.

        If they didn't download the movies, how did they watch it? Psionically?

        ---There was no DRM because there was nothing to DRM, it was all streamed. It certainly sucks that people paid for a suppo
      • ... or insightful, or something, so long as it's up.
    • by mpe (36238)
      Mainly because many implementations depend on being able to regularly phone home - and if "home" ceases to exist (or, for that matter, continues to exist but decides it's not taking any more calls, as in this case), all the media you've paid good money for essentially evaporates.

      Or even "change their number" or just stop taking calls from you...
    • by mpe (36238)
      On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?

      You'd better hope that your (ex) customers hadn't paid you in "evaporatable" money :)
    • On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?

      Ask people who bought Omnisky internet access for their PDAs.

      Well, I guess the Omnisky receiver hasn't evaporated, but it might as well have for all te good it does.

      Now, just wait until companies start shipping devices with Vista-only drivers.

      Because, don't forget,
  • Never was for real (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855)
    The Google Video store was nothing more than a cheap attempt to boost the stock price by creating press releases that made it sound like they had created something that was the best of you tube and iTunes store blended together.

    It was never really any good, and no one other than CNBC anchors ever thought it was for real.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @01:16PM (#20196777)
    This incident shows the pitfalls of DRM, but Google didn't HAVE to do this.
    When Microsoft shutdown their MSN Music Store (the music store portion of http://music.msn.com/ [msn.com] ), they kept the DRM servers in place so users that had purchased music from there could still obtain DRM licenses for the music as needed (for example, when moving the music to a new computer). Google has *plenty* of money and ability to do the same. This is a BS move by Google.
    • by raynet (51803) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @01:48PM (#20197013) Homepage
      The difference ofcourse is that in Google's case, the files are streamed, thus continuing the service would require more resources than just a DRM authentication service. But instead of refunds, Google should have allowed users to download the videos and perhaps, if required by content owners, put some "traditional" DRM on them, eg. Playsforsure or whatnot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nasarius (593729)
        Well, I doubt Google is cutting off access due to lack of resources. If they wanted to shut down the service and avoid pissing off customers, they could just continue to offer streaming to those who already bought videos. It's more likely that their contract with rights holders is running out, and continuing to offer videos in any form would require renegotiation, and more money and time from Google than just giving refunds.
      • by fm6 (162816)

        But instead of refunds, Google should have allowed users to download the videos and perhaps, if required by content owners, put some "traditional" DRM on them, eg. Playsforsure or whatnot.
        I doubt they had that option. Content providers don't just say "present our content from being pirated, we don't care how." Their agreements with Google must specify that content can only be provided as streams.
    • LOL!
      Look at this! For once, MS is more ethical than Google?
      There were pragmatic factors, though. MS makes Playsforsure, but they weren't the only corp. using it. They likely would've gotten into trouble if they'd shut down half a dozen other legit corporate stores with their own, and they scared at least one of those stores enough to get it offering DRM-free music. They had to keep their DRM working to keep their embrace intact.
    • Yeah, right. And when GemStar decided to go out of the eBook business, they kept their DRM servers in place... for about a year. Then they shut them down.

      The natural lifespan of a book is well over a century. The natural lifespan of a vinyl LP is at least half a century, and equipment for playing one (and digitizing one) is still readily available. Then natural lifespan of a CD gives every indication of being equally long.

      The natural lifespan of anything with DRM seems to be a couple of years.
  • I have bought a few videos with google and got the "You are not getting a refund, you are getting store credit at these OTHER stores" message. How is it that I can purchase a video from them, and then I find out I can not have the video and I can not get a refund - only store credit.

    Forget that - American Express will refund my money and I hope everyone who 'lost video access' from this does the same thing. Google is a big company but credit card issuers will refuse to do business with places who have a h
  • ...Google had a video store?

    Not to troll, but just to say, maybe they didn't do a good enough job of letting people know it was even there.

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