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Rooted Devices Blocked From Android Movie Market 321

tekgoblin writes "Google has released the Android Movie Market to Android tablets with Honeycomb 3.1 and in a few weeks for users with Froyo and Gingerbread. However Google has stipulated that the Android Movie Market will only be available to Android devices which are not rooted. So if you have a rooted Android device, don't expect to download anything from the Android Movie Market any time soon (or at least until a workaround is found)."
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Rooted Devices Blocked From Android Movie Market

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  • by Palmsie ( 1550787 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:43PM (#36213160)

    Which will be in about a week.

  • Rats! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And I was totally planning on abandoning Netflix and BitTorrent in favor of yet another half-baked movie service!

  • by cultiv8 ( 1660093 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:55PM (#36213216) Homepage
    I didn't even know there was a such thing as a "Android Movie Market", an honestly don't care, I don't plan to pay $3.99 to "rent" a movie to my phone. I'll be happy once Netflix comes to Droid.
  • by Edmund Blackadder ( 559735 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:56PM (#36213224)

    For all the idiots that are going to complain about Google reneging on their openness promises this was obviously required by the content owners. There is no way the studios will allow any of their precious precious movies to run on a device without them being absolutely certain that they know where the data goes from the network connection to the screen and they can ensure nobody copies it.

    Believe me, I know. I run Linux and there is no way to get any of the legal paid for movie services on my computer. iTunes does not work, Netflix does not work, the Amazon thing does not work. (I can only get free services like Hulu).

    So it is not Google's fault, Google has no choice about it. In fact they are to be commended on convincing the studios to release their movies on Android at all, because I am sure Android's open source scares the hell out of the studios.

    • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:03PM (#36213282)
      I really wish Big Content would get some kind of a clue. Stopping a legit method does not stop other methods from working
    • Google's Android crew isn't *privately* rooting for you to find a way to do it anyway.

      Just shut up about it already, so you don't get them in dutch with the studios, alright?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by symbolset ( 646467 ) *
      Once again the studios are #winning by making it harder to give them money than to just download the movie you want in an open format. [/sarcasm]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward


      Amazon's video streaming DOES work in Linux. It's flash-based. I've used it. Netflix does not work because it requires silverlight (and moonlight doesn't work).

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Personally I don't understand what they think would be different. Look at TPB today. What would TPB look like if they dropped DRM? Oh, exactly the same because it's all there anyway. It's like they're all dreaming that some day they'll find a DRM that works and manage to secure every link. Or that "casual pirates" haven't heard of the Internet. You'd have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to have found it. Sigh...

    • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:49PM (#36213496)

      So basically all the Android users who made fun of iOS users for ages are up in arms because Android continues to follow down the iOS path.

    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:56PM (#36213542)

      For all the idiots that are going to complain about Google reneging on their openness promises this was obviously required by the content owners

      How does that change the fact that Google is reneging on their promises?

      We criticized Google for filtering search results in China, so why should we not be critical in this case?

    • by Fnord666 ( 889225 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:01PM (#36213568) Journal

      There is no way the studios will allow any of their precious precious movies to run on a device without them being absolutely certain that they know where the data goes from the network connection to the screen and they can ensure nobody copies it.

      You know, high tech devices like DVD players for example.

    • The obvious other choice Google has is to NOT provide such service. That should be a realistic alternative.

      Or will really everyone suddenly buy an iPhone at twice the price of an Android phone just to watch movies? So not having a movie market, would that really dent their competitiveness? That market is probably US-only anyway.

      Or will Android users simply resort to piracy to get their movies on their phones instead? In which case the movie companies lose out more than when there would be an unrestricted

    • DRM isn't about stopping piracy, (theres always the analog hole) it's about taking away fair use and turning the world into one where pay per view is universal.
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      Considering that they've done the Cloud Music storage deal without licenses, I don't buy that line of reasoning.

    • not an intention. A door is not "open" when it is shut simply because you intend for it to be open. Shut is shut.

      Android's source is open.
      Android as a platform is nowhere near it.

      Techies care a great deal about the former.
      Everybody else only cares about the latter.

      But techies have done a good job of convincing everyone else that open source code for Android OS == open platform in the marketplace, in practice.

      And the debates rage here on Slashdot as if there was some question about whether Android, in realit

    • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @02:41AM (#36214634) Journal

      For all the idiots that are going to complain about Google reneging on their openness promises this was obviously required by the content owners.

      Google then should not have made a promise it could not reasonably be expected to keep. No one forced them to. How does this make people who complain idiots exactly?

    • by devent ( 1627873 )

      "So it is not Google's fault, Google has no choice about it."

      Yeah right, Google could just say NO. But than Google would lose a few million bucks, but why do I care? They had a choice and they choose to just accept the terms of the movie studios. So why shouldn't I be pissed at Google and the movie studios?

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Funny, people can play this content on their personal computers. I too am dissatisfied with Linux support, but anyone claiming they don't support Linux it's due to DRM is full of it. So long as they let a Windows PC (which gives the users administrative access) play back the content, the argument is moot.

    • by Kynde ( 324134 ) <kynde&iki,fi> on Monday May 23, 2011 @10:26AM (#36217230)

      For all the idiots that are going to complain about Google reneging on their openness promises this was obviously required by the content owners.

      That's a load of crap.

      Google could've said no. Just as they should've said no when it was china doing the asking.

      "You want to sell movies in Android? Then sell to those who rooted the devices, too, because it has jack to do with piracy. You fight your piracy wars on your own turf and where it has considerably less collateral damage to legit user experience."

      Having a spine when it counts is what not being evil is all about. Being not evil only when it's parallel to profit, is not being not evil.

      I really need and use the features that rooting the device provides. Without it, I'd be a lot less inclined to even buy Androids. Denying that in the name of DRM is just ridiculous. And Google should've said so.

  • Just look at how they got NetFlix running on a rooted Nook Color. I'm sure there will be a work around. Not that I'm going to care one way or another since I dont see the point in buying DRM heavy single platform movies.
  • Before we go all crazy on Google, we have to understand that Google has a business to run and any movie marketplace site like this will have to come up with notices like these to even get started. I don't think the fault is completely with Google on this one. It is the movie making production companies that want to enforce these kinda things to avoid piracy.
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      I don't care *who* 'wants' it, Google is going along with it (and has been going along with it from even before movie studios were involved). The whole reality that one has to root/jailbreak your phone means the vendor is not being completely open.

      Though less 'open', WebOS at least gives end users more sanctioned control over their device. You enter a well-documented code to enable the option to provide root shell and sideload applications. Too bad they have not seen success in the market, *but* I would

  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:06PM (#36213314) Homepage

    I don't have a rooted device, but I'm not going to access the Movie Market anyway (let me guess it's not available where I live; I haven't bothered to find out).

    I see a movie about two or three times a year. When I do, we go to a movie house - big screen, plush seats, expectant crowd - and make an evening of it. Movie, then dinner somewhere, perhaps a beer or two someplace. Part of a full nights entertainment.

    Watching a movie - made for big-screen immersion - by myself on a small screen, with distractions all around - no thanks, I'll rather do without.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Exactly. I can't watch more than a few minutes of video on a tiny little screen like that. It's not fun. It's not entertaining. I've got a 47" HDTV to watch video entertainment on. They can keep their mobile video crap.

      • by Nikker ( 749551 )
        I have to second that. Once you have a decent setup with a nice screen it's hard to watch something longer than a couple minutes on a 4" screen. Having a tv with built in wifi would be a good start but being able to manage the functions via remote. Make mobile rentals just like renting a movie, your phone is in the same area as the tv and it plays what ever you have access to, NetFlix, Hulu,etc. It would be like bringing relatively large collections on your mobile and being able to watch them on any screen
  • I'm curious how they plan on detecting if it is rooted or not. The easiest rooting method for my phone (if your using stock roms) or any custom rom you install on your own, uses the Superuser app to request root access anytime an app wants it. If they just try to run a root command, its going to pop up asking to allow or not and all you have to do is disallow. Blammo. Your phone looks like its unrooted.
    • Couldn't they just search for the most common locations of the superuser app, or watch to see if a superuser app pid comes up? I mean it wouldn't be that hard to find out if the phone has been rooted

    • I'm wondering if they're going to be making a distinction between rooting and unlocking. My Nexus One was unlocked using just the stock tools that Google provided through HTC for that specific purpose. There's no reason why I can't just re-lock the phone and none but Google and myself is the wiser.

      It seems to me that given that I didn't need to download any cracks that it shouldn't count against me. Owners of handsets that needed to be rooted in order to be unlocked may be in a different situation. Although

  • Little overlap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bifurcati ( 699683 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:09PM (#36213332) Homepage
    I would expect that the people who know how to root their phone are also unlikely to pay $3.99 to rent a movie - I can't imagine there's a lot of overlap or heartache here amongst the users.

    On the other hand, these are also the most tech savvy users who might actually be swayed by a convenient and cheap (and legal) movie downloading system. Certainly I used to buy music from a certain Russian site because the cost was worth the convenience of high quality music on demand.

    • That's actually a bit insulting. You're essentially saying people who root their phones because they don't like to be told by the corrupt phone companies what to do that they are criminals? movie pirates?

      A lot of people pay for netflix out of convenience. It is a reasonably priced service. Why would someone who roots their phone not want it?

      • Apologies if I offended; you're right, perhaps that wasn't a fair comparison. I still think there would be a correlation - maybe not as strong, though?
        More to the point, in Australia we can rent physical DVDs from $2.95 (new release) overnight. On Tuesdays, all DVDs are $1. If one of the intentions of these sort of stores is to make inroads against piracy, you'd have to be working at beating these price points, even with the convenience of home based downloads.
        • People who root their phones are likely to have the technical know-how to be able to pirate movies safely and effectively, even if they don't actually do it, so your comparison was apt. In the US, if you can wait for movies to make it to Redbox (vending machine for DVDs, basically, with a 30-day delay between initial release for purchase and availability at the Redbox), they're $1/day, so $4 movies aren't likely to be big sellers.
    • That is the stupidest thing I ever heard. I rooted my phone because it was still at 2.1, my phone company never pushed out the promised update (only shipped it on the same model if you bought a new phone), and it had so much stock crap in it, the phone was unusable. I rooted my phone to run CM7, not to get pirated software. I still buy apps from the Android Marketplace and from Amazon.

      Just because you CAN run pirated apps on a rooted phone doesn't mean that that is the only reason people root their phones.

  • You are unlikely to care about Android Movie Market. So what's the problem?

    I certainly don't care.

  • I wonder if there's somewhere else to download and watch the movie? Some place that doesn't care how I've configured my OS or my hardware. If there were such a place, one would think the content owners almost want me to go there to get their movie by making it impossible to get the movie directly from them. Ah... if only there were such a place...
  • by rossdee ( 243626 )

    Why would you want to watch a movie on a small phone sized screen? (Shouldn't you be keeping an eye on the road?)

    I can understand watching 'live' events (like news, weather and sport)on a mobile device, you can't be home at the time its happening. But a movie can wait until you are sitting down in comfort in front of a big (er) screen)

    • You're trapped in the airport for three hours on a layover. There's a power plug in front of you. Wifi is free. If all you have is a phone, watching a movie seems like a pretty good idea.
    • by bahstid ( 927038 )
      People might want to watch a movie on a train commute... where I live an hour each way is not particularly unusual. Also have you considered what could be done with a phone that has HDMI out?
  • So if your device is rooted, then your movie viewing is rooted. ;)
  • Apart from the DRMesqueness, I would like to know how an app (suid root or not) could tell if the box had been rooted? AFAIK, when a [tiny]box is rooted, the root entry in /etc/passwd (or maybe /etc/shadow) is changed. That's it.

    Sure, an app can read /etc/passwd (or suidr /etc/shadow) but how will it know what should be there? Is unrooted some fixed PW ??? This would be worth quite some cycles on a clustercracker.

    • by Tr3vin ( 1220548 )
      I think it is looking to see if the device is unlocked, not if it is rooted. Unlocking allows for customizations, such as different kernels or root enabled images. If I remember correctly, the unlock flag is stored in the NAND memory, and is checked during the boot sequence. The Xoom can currently toggle that field, so that you can easily unlock and re-lock the device. The catch is each time you do that, the device reset to factory settings. There is also a verification that happens when you re-lock the dev
  • Workaround? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mclearn ( 86140 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:03PM (#36213590) Homepage
    If you've rooted your phone, then what guarantee does ANY question posed to the phone have of being legit?

    Q: "Are you a rooted phone?"

    A: "Ummm, why no, I'm not. Yessir. Not a rooted phone at all."

    • You mean, what guarantee in general do you have posing that question to a phone? And I'd wager about the same if your server queries browsers about their useragent.

    • Of course, it's just that you may have to tailor the answer to the asker. Most apps you want to know the phone is rooted - that's the purpose of rooting the phone after all.

      Still the workaround seems simple indeed: figure out the root detection method, and provide the correct answer to the app. Oh and simple does not necessarily mean easy :)

  • And so the era of mandatory "trusted computing" begins, kicked off, ironically, by Google.

    If you wish to consume licensed IP content on a device in your possession, then the content owners will determine what computing functions are allowed on such device. And the device remote kill-switch will make you think-twice about content misuse.
    • btw, Trusted Computing [] is almost as much of an oxymoron as Digital Rights Management [].

      This Orwellian doublespeak makes my brain hurt. They only sound like features because marketing won't call it "Limited Application Execution" and "Digital Restrictions Management". Has anyone seen my tinfoil hat?
      • A google search for DRM:

        The first result is the "digital rights management" page of Wikipedia, where in the introduction the proper term "digital restrictions management" appears already, in bold.

        The second hit is WP's disambiguation page.

        And the third link points to the "digital restrictions management" page from

        So not all is lost :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Which is where one must ultimately make the decision, "Do I really want that content?"

      The problem with the direction that the media is heading is it makes the underlying assumption that people need their content. Where in actuality, it is a want.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.