Hollywood's Kinder, Gentler DRM Didn't Even Last A Decade... And Is Still Screwing Over Movie Fans

By Fri, Feb 1st 2019 3:09pm — Mike Masnick

Stop me if you've heard this one before: the legacy entertainment industry embraces a "new" DRM that it insists will change everything, and everyone will love it. And then, because of various reasons, they kill it off and people get screwed. Yeah, it's happened over and over and over and over and over and over again. It's one of the points we've raised from the very beginning on this site: buying into DRM means that you are relying on a company to continue to let you have access to the content you legally purchased a license to, and there's no requirement that they have to continue giving you access.

And here we go again, with Ultraviolet. If you don't recall, we first wrote about Ultraviolet in 2010, when most of the major movie studios (notable exception: Disney) stepped up to support what they tried to pitch as a kindler, gentler DRM that wouldn't be so damn annoying. Of course, from the beginning it basically sucked and the studios started trying to give away bad movies to get people to sign up. And then, a few years later, they tried giving away more movies. The only other time in the last decade we mentioned Ultraviolet was that time that it pissed off the backers of a super successful Kickstarter project by making it difficult for thousands of people to watch the movie they'd backed.

Anyway, Ultraviolet is now dead. The studios are killing it off and most people won't miss it. Of course, as with some of those previous stories, there is a half-hearted effort under way for the few people who actually used Ultraviolet to have a method of retaining access to the films they purchased, but you have to keep them tied to a specific retailer now. Of course, part of the reason for the shutdown of Ultraviolet is that Disney (who, as you recall, never joined UltraViolet, and went its own way) has built up its own system, Movies Anywhere. However, as the article above notes, Movies Anywhere is a bit of false advertising, as it's only available in the US. People outside the US are... pretty much screwed as of right now.

As with many past DRM shutdowns, this really won't impact that many people, but that's kind of besides the point. It will still be a pain in the ass for the people who actually "did the right thing" according to the industry, and paid up. And they end up paying for a really annoying experience that could possibly even end with them no longer having access. Punishing the people who actually want to pay and want to support you seems like a really dumb way to run a business -- but here we are. This is yet another reason why some people who would otherwise want to pay end up pirating works anyway: they don't have to deal with this shit because they're not reliant on big, dumb studios deciding to keep DRM servers up for more than a decade.

Filed Under: copyright, drm, movies, movies anywhere, piracy, ultraviolet
Companies: disney