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Sony CTO Starts New "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" Group

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the still-just-a-pipe-dream-at-this-point dept.

Media 138

jriding writes to mention that a new effort, headed by Sony Pictures' CTO, will attempt to allow customers to stream video content seamlessly on any device that they own. One has to wonder how successful or "all encompassing" it will be without Apple, TiVo, and Amazon, some of the major players in the space. "It's all very much in the future, however. The press release is peppered with confidence-wilting phrases such as "will define and build a new media framework" (something this complex hasn't even been defined yet?), "we are developing," and "over time." Without even a spec in place, there's no way we will see working products for at least a year, quite possibly longer. And, if the strategy document we discussed in August remains accurate, new DECE-ready devices will be needed to make the whole scheme work. By the time video stores adopt the tech, electronics firms implement it, movie studios support it, and consumers purchase all the pieces to make it work, will it still matter?"

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" long as we say so" (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#25016161)

Sony are notorious control freaks and DRM stalwarts. Need I remind anyone of the Rootkit CD fiasco [] , or the fact that they sold their Blu-ray format largely on the basis of its not one, but *two*, different "uncrackable" DRM layers [] ?

Is there anyone in the world who believes for a SECOND that their "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" will translate to anything other than "Buy Once, Play Anywhere, as long as you let us put our intrusive DRM schemes on your devices and let your devices phone home to get our approval first"?

Anytime you have a hardware manufacturer who is also a media content producer, you're going to get heavy-handed DRM on their devices and media content, all under their strict control. Sony is no more going to let you make copies of their movies willie-nillie than they're going to let you have access to the GPU on the PS3 for your homebrew.

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

poopie (35416) | about 6 years ago | (#25016379)

so, it will work on both blueray and UMD...

but seriously, the only way I see that Sony could make this almost ubiquitous would be to build a web app that uses flash and something like google gears for disconnected content playback persistence.

Sort of like a mashup of youtube and itunes.

Sort of like a Sony music store [] except... better.

They dont need to learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016739)

Sony et. al. already know darn good and well that the buying public wants open formats with unrestricted freedom of use. They have known this all along.

They just don't want us to have that, for obvious reasons. So, they have no intention of giving it to us...ever.

Once they feel like they have exhausted all options for making DRM marketable and acceptable enough for us to tolerate it as a second best alternative to what we actually want...they will just pay the government to make it illegal to buy, sell, or own any non-DRM-encumbered hardware device, and aggressively police our living rooms.

It is just a matter of time.

and then they go bankrupt nt (1)

MattW (97290) | about 6 years ago | (#25017025)


Re:" long as we say so" (1)

bendodge (998616) | about 6 years ago | (#25017033)

I know this is a bit offtopic, but that Wikipedia page says that the BD+ format includes a VM in playback devices and allows native code execution for patching hacked devices.

Sound like fun! (Disks that automatically "patch" devices...?)

Re:" long as we say so" (2, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 6 years ago | (#25017277)

This is not just Sony. This is pretty much the ideal DRM system for the big media companies.

Because it is centrally controlled, and it is setup so the copyright owner controls what you can do with your purchase.

This is the basis of a long-term strategy by the RIAA/MPAA companies.

First, create a DRM system that is completely controlled by themselves, and get hardware manufacturers to embed it into as many devices as possible [like DVDCSS and AACS]. Make sure it is not beholden to anyone else [such as Apple or Microsoft].

Second, push adoption of this system by making it initially fairly cheap for HW companies to license and by making content available for it that has fairly reasonable limits [ie, as many of your devices as you wish, probably cheaper than what competitors can offer, while denying competitor systems similar possibilities].

Third, squeeze out the competition. Either keep content exclusive for this system, or make it cheaper and more flexible than what the competition can offer.

At this point, the media companies need to basically wait for customer adoption. Music will difficult because it is already offered DRM-free, but video will be easier because they can throw this stuff into the DVD and Blu-Ray specs so you can transfer new releases to computers and portable devices, while preventing competing systems from working.

Fourth, (and this step depends on adoption), just outright deny licensing content to competitors, and now they are free to start locking down the system by say, having a small fee for transferring that movie to your phone, or increasing the licensing fees [so they get a decent cut of all hardware sales], or just increasing prices, as you don't have a choice [other than piracy].

The MPAA companies have seen what Apple has done to the music industry and they won't let that happen to their industry. They are willing to spend a LOT of money to try to replicate it, but so the system is totally under their own control. They don't want to have to only charge $10 or $15 bucks for a movie, because that's what Apple thinks is a reasonable price for a movie. That's why the iTunes movie store selection is so crappy. They'll take some money from Apple, but they are hell-bent on making sure nobody but themselves will be dominant in the distribution chain for video. And the RIAA companies are only too happy to jump onto this bandwagon. And the hardware companies are eager for any system that gives them access to content, particularly video content.

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25017473)

Buy Once, Play Anywhere, as long as you let us put our intrusive DRM schemes on your devices and let your devices phone home to get our approval first

I go to forums about videogames on consoles and I see zero DRM topics. I go to any news item about games here on /. and I see nothing but DRM topics, primary issue be dammned. If this gambit works, one good thing to come out of it will be that we can talk about other things for once!

Kidding of course. As the owner of a non-ipod MP3 player, that would suck. My wife buys tons of songs on itunes and I can't listen to them. Moreover, if music and video formats get as bad as consoles with exclusitivity (they're not actually quite there yet, cynics), I'm going to give up on them entirely. I can't afford to buy the systems on which to play all the games I want to, which I am pissed about. If the only way to watch all the movies you want were to buy two different expensive DVD players? Fucking ridiculous.

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

Tink2000 (524407) | about 6 years ago | (#25018861)

Er ...
My wife buys tons of songs on itunes and I can't listen to them

Right click on the song in iTunes.
Select "convert to mp3".
Move file onto your device. (After all, it's still a storage medium and a file.)

Barring that: (much slower)
Build a playlist in iTunes of the protected songs you want.
Switch to that playlist view, insert a cdr, and click "burn."
Go to another computer, import as you would a normal cd and move to device.

I don't understand why people overthink Mac stuff.

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25019233)

I was aware of the writing to a CD. That's a timesuck though, and I don't want to waste the CDs.

As far as the mp3 conversion, the last time I tried, several years ago, that was not an option that worked.

I'm not sure if I was overthinking it, but we're not talking vital songs here, and tinkering around with software settings to get the latest catchy song is pretty low on my priorities list, not to mention being more frustrating than doing the dishes or cleaning out the catbox, (which are two of the aforementioned things that are higher up on the to do list.)

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 6 years ago | (#25019395)


Re:" long as we say so" (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 6 years ago | (#25017899)

I'm going to defend them on one point that they finally almost get the "play anywhere" idea and are willing to work across companies to achieve what Apple has already done. Apple has proved that people will buy up electronic copies sold "just like a book" and usable on so many devices. The "pairing" of iPods and Apple TVs to "mothership" computers has worked out very well. The only flaw Apple's stuff has is that you can't automatically aggregate stuff (to backup all your media) among machines even under the same account.. that's disabled because they still think we're all pirates. My opinion is that the "missing link" in Apple's cap is that Time Capsule should also act as a storage for all the iTunes you might purchase then treat PCs just like iPods to "check out" songs.

I think that's exactly what Sony and co. want to do. You'd have one "mothership" at home, constantly "phoning home" but everything else would be invisible.. you'd buy on a phone, or email, or PS3 and all the sales would go back to the "mothership" for archiving the keys. Buy however many media devices you want and sync away all day.

This is just like Amazon mp3s, the media companies will create a whole new thing simply to do what they've already obligated Apple NOT to do.

Re:" long as we say so" (1)

rtechie (244489) | about 6 years ago | (#25017959)

Is there anyone in the world who believes for a SECOND that their "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" will translate to anything other than "Buy Once, Play Anywhere, as long as you let us put our intrusive DRM schemes on your devices and let your devices phone home to get our approval first"?

Me for one. It will translate to "abject failure that won't work at all and nobody will use". Remember movies sold on UMD and MiniStick? Sony has a long history of format failure that doesn't seem to dissuade them for cooking up new failed formats. There is no such thing as DRM that doesn't piss off users. Either it's strong enough to prevent many attacks so it's a major annoyance, or it's so weak that it doesn't protect against many attacks but it's still a minor annoyance.

I dunno . . . (5, Insightful)

catbertscousin (770186) | about 6 years ago | (#25016191)

I kinda like my membership in the "Download Once, Play Anywhere" Group.

Re:I dunno . . . (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#25016265)

Hey! I've heard of that group. Don't they distribute in the "ripped DVD" and "ISO" formats for maximum portability?

Cleaning up. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#25016721)

Only a few major publishers are arrogant enough to distribute in customer hostile formats. Everyone else uses well established standards that just work. DVD has been overcome but we can't be sure people will be able to break the next generation. The harder they make things, the more they lose.

request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016765)

it would be nice if you could post a response or two in this thread [] , which you started.

Re:request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25018745)

He did, he just used a sockpuppet.

Re:I dunno . . . (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | about 6 years ago | (#25016279)

More insightful than funny. Why do we need DECE-ready devices to support this when plenty of no copyright-bit-detecting devices already exist?

The *aa's have a different take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017391)

I kinda like my membership in the "Download Once, Play Anywhere" Group.

The *aa's want all us to be members of the "Download Once, Pay Everywhere" Group.

Re:I dunno . . . (2, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | about 6 years ago | (#25018525)

I like my rip once, play anywhere cult.

We've interpreted "fair use" to include portability and archive reliability since, ooh, 1985 perhaps...

Unfortunately, Congress effectively outlawed us with the passage of the DMCA, even though we kept to the spirit of copyright law by not giving away our portable copies and archives.

Buy once! Play anywhere! ... (4, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#25016267)

... as long as it's on a Sony product! But trust us, it's really close to anywhere!

Re:Buy once! Play anywhere! ... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#25016337)

So it can play on a Sony Vio with Linux... Cool.

Re:Buy once! Play anywhere! ... (2, Informative)

HoppyChris (1310725) | about 6 years ago | (#25016649)

Wow, when did Sony start selling Vaios with Linux on them? (PROTIP: it also won't work on the replacement firmware you made for your other Sony Devices)

Re:Buy once! Play anywhere! ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016957)

There is no Sony device in my home. The CD rootkit desaster was the last drip which made me get rid of the last (only) Sony device I had.

Open formats (4, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 6 years ago | (#25016269)

To play anywhere we want at any time, we need open or widely implemented video and audio formats supported by any hardware and which can be carried on any kind of memory (optical drivers, flash memory, ...) and that can be transfered from one device to another using standard connection protocols like USB mass storage device, FTP, ... No lock-in crap, closed formats, or "DRM that allows playing on any device in your domain" or other such silly short lived things. So if what I described isn't what Sony plans, it sucks.

Re:Open formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016415)

That rules out Apple then.

Whether we like it or not, the world is moving to pay per play for movies, TV and gaming. Digital distribution has big media masturbating away. One day there'll be so little physical media, there'll be no pre-owned market for our content. We'll be paying recurring monthly fees to keep our media alive, some companies will close down the less profitable channels and limit our choices. New battle lines are being drawn. Each year I feel they're so bad the masses will start telling big media to fuck off, but each year no one gives a shit.

Game over.

will it still matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016291)

Probably not, what was the point of this press release? Sounds like the typical "I got a great idea last night" press release.

Good, but they can do better : (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#25016295)

buy once, stream to anywhere, anytime without restriction.

i want music provider to be my backup vault. if anything happens, i should know i can get what i bought from there again, with a click.

if i go traveling anywhere, i shouldnt need to worry about taking my mp3 player with me, platform, framework and shit. i should just be easy to know that from anywhere, i can login to the 'music provider x' and get whatever i need from there, again. they can limit my download to 1 per day if they want or anything. or, even can charge me something like 0.1 cents for each additional download for all i care.

i just want NO hassles, and full reliability.

its amazing that it took them THAT long to realize that this is the real deal.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

bryce4president (1247134) | about 6 years ago | (#25016527)

I think you are a bit unrealistic. Did you also demand that if you broke or otherwise rendered useless your CD/Tapes/VHS/DVDs purchased that you should be able to return the broken medium with a proof of purchase for a replacement copy? I highly doubt it. So why, after you purchase a digital copy, is it their responsibility to know that *you* bought it and have the *right* to it? Once you have your copy you should be able to do with it what you please, including backing it up how you see fit to preserve said copy.

How is that for NO hassles? Full reliability? Its not like they would even give you those rights, but that is where it should be.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (3, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25016757)

If you subscribe to their notion that you're purchasing a license to listen rather than a copy of the music, then yes, they should absolutely replace broken/damaged/lost media. I think there's a saying involving cake about their approach...

Re:Good, but they can do better : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017113)

If you subscribe to their notion that you're purchasing a license to listen rather than a copy of the music, then yes, they should absolutely replace broken/damaged/lost media. I think there's a saying involving cake about their approach...

The cake^W promise to let you play anywhere is a lie?

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#25016793)

Because when you buy a CD, you have a physical product you can hold onto. When you buy a digital download, you don't have a physical item, so they should allow you to redownload in the case of it being lost. Assuming the download service you use doesn't have record of your purchases, how do you prove to the police/RIAA that the 15 Gigs of MP3s on your computer is stuff you bought from said music provider is actually legally yours, and not something that you just pirated.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

bryce4president (1247134) | about 6 years ago | (#25016971)

When you download music to a HDD its no different that having it on CD. Its just a physical medium holding data. The only difference is that the physical medium is already paid for in bulk... you basically only have rights to the data.

First of all, you don't really have any problems if you are just downloading, its when you share them out that you break the law. Obtaining isn't the part that will get you in trouble, its the distributing. Like you said, how can they prove how you got it? They can't. But they can "prove" that you distributed the content, albeit they can't do it by any legal means, but it can be done for the most part. As to Firehed... If you buy a book and then lose that book or accidentally set it on fire then do you think you have a right to another copy? You paid for your copy, you ruined/lost/destroyed it, you then have to buy another one. The same thing goes with the CD. Your argument only strengthens my point that once you obtain your copy you are responsible for preserving it. I don't prescribe to their notion of licensing and fair use supports me.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

rtechie (244489) | about 6 years ago | (#25017875)

So why, after you purchase a digital copy, is it their responsibility to know that *you* bought it and have the *right* to it?

Because it's trivially easy to implement, has virtually no cost for the provider, and is a great value-add for the consumer.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

Underfoot (1344699) | about 6 years ago | (#25017039)

Reminds me quite a bit of how Steam handles its game media.

The problem with moving that sort of idea to music is the much larger pool of songs / artists / etc. that would have to reside on the service provider's servers. I don't think this is plausible without some sort of service contract (which makes this idea a lot less appealing - to me at least). The effort needed to host that much content on live servers capable of streaming to that many devices on demand just isn't justified in the pay once business model.

JMHO. YMMV. etc. etc.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#25017259)

im sure they can get a good deal. this thing is gonna be in a wholesale size anyway.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

rtechie (244489) | about 6 years ago | (#25017877)

i want music provider to be my backup vault. if anything happens, i should know i can get what i bought from there again, with a click.

Liquid Audio offered this in 1998.

The music studios specifically didn't want this. They want you to repurchase music as much as possible and they don't care how much it pisses off consumers. Their wet dream is pay-per-play.

Sony doesn't need to develop a new "framework" or "technologies". What this deep marketspeak means is that they're trying to develop a new kind of DRM that will be more transparent to users so they'll be less pissed off about it. Good luck with that.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#25018207)

so what did they accomplish ? nothing.

they could be making effortless billions by now. morons.

such is the way of the self centered. while trying to get their own way all the time, they damage their own interests.

Re:Good, but they can do better : (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#25018849)

Or 15$ a month and you get all the music you can torrent?

Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (0, Flamebait)

nysus (162232) | about 6 years ago | (#25016307)

Sigh. If people are dumb enough to fall for Sarah Palin, the lipstick on McCain's pig, how can we hope to educate them about how this scheme would usher in the dystopia RMS warned us about in "Right to Read"? []

Re:Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 6 years ago | (#25016529)

We don't have to do anything. This isn't lipstick on a pig, its a plan that will work when pigs fly.

Re:Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (0, Offtopic)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#25016547)

how can we hope to educate them about how this scheme would usher in the dystopia RMS warned us about in "Right to Read"?

Yes, how can we warn them away from that unreadable garbage that is RMS's "Right to Read"? People are moving towards open source, colleges are moving that way, and there's always going to be an anarchist underground that will attack proprietary DRM, if only to help themselves get something for free.

Drawing a ridiculous relationship between the presidential election and RMS's drivel is new, however. Maybe you should look at the way that Obama comes off as a patronizing elitist who will ignore you for your own good to understand why people are drawn to McCain and Palin. Just a thought.

Also, let me go on record as saying that by 2010 most music will be purchased in a DRM-free format.

Re:Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 years ago | (#25016591)

Sigh. If people are dumb enough to fall for Sarah Palin, the lipstick on McCain's pig, how can we hope to educate them about how this scheme would usher in the dystopia RMS warned us about in "Right to Read"?

The answer is, usurp control of the right-revocation system. Use it to revoke the rights of set top boxes to play back recordings of the most popular shows on television. Use it to revoke the rights of computers to run software in some hospitals, but restrict your activities to the software that controls accounting and payroll. Use it to revoke the rights of computers to run the most popular games, en masse.

No real harm done to anyone, no ones safety put at risk, but everyone will be forced to pay attention and contemplate how much worse it could have been.

Like if you'd revoked more important software in the hospital, or if you'd just revoked the odd newscast instead of whatever crap is popular on TV these days, or if you'd revoked all the productivity software at the office instead of just games.

In my opinion, it is a victory for those pushing DRM that we're talking about movies and music in the first place.

Re:Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25018057)

The hospital thing may be on point for all I know - but I don't. What I do know is that the more you prevent users from sharing their purchased media or playing it on multiple formats, the more you teach them about where to find these things for free. The more gypped an individual feels, the more likely he/she will try to "ungyp" themselves. But once Pandora's box is open and they see the potential to get ALL KINDS of digital information for free (movies, games, applications, learning software, ebooks, and yes, porn), why would they ever go back? Why would you EVER pay for something that you can get for free? Especially as easy as it is to get it for free. will search all the popular torrent sites. Download a torrent and wait. Then BOOM. I don't even download singles anymore. If I like a song, I'll download the whole album, because hell, why not?

Re:Putting lipstick on the DRM pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017055)

I am very happy being dumb in falling in love with Sarah.

Does that mean (4, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 6 years ago | (#25016309)

that Sony has written a multi-platform rootkit?

It's all about patents/licensing. (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 6 years ago | (#25016325)

Consumers need to buy replacement devices, and companies need the specs to make them. If this truly is buy once play anywhere, what's the difference between patent-free devices and a completely encumbered system which has the same effect? That's right, someone owns the patent and is making money. Like selling bottled water.

Re:It's all about patents/licensing. (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 6 years ago | (#25017499)

The difference is what happens in the long term.

In the short term, the 'rights' you will be granted under this system will be generous and prices will be cheap. This phase is known as the "adoption phase".

However, in the longer term, assuming this system gains traction so they can just stop licensing content to competing systems, such as the iTMS, prices will go up, and the rights you are granted will be less generous.

Like in the short term, you may be able to go to your friends how, and add their TV to your domain, and watch a movie you downloaded to your computer. But down the road, maybe you won't be able to. Maybe a device can only change domains a limited number of times [much like current DVD region changes].

Maybe you move from the US to Japan, and now you can't play any of your videos, because your devices are trying to check the permission for your domain from a country that your content hasn't been released to yet.

And of course, no re-selling your license to a movie to somebody else. Even though you paid the same price for this license as a regular DVD or Blu-Ray disk.

(I may have just outed a trade secret)

Correction in Title (5, Funny)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 6 years ago | (#25016345)

Title should read, "Rent Once, Play Certain Places Until Obscure Format is No Longer Supported"

Re:Correction in Title (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 years ago | (#25017011)

> Title should read, "Rent Once, Play Certain Places Until Obscure Format is No Longer Supported"

Yep. Or, "Rent once, play certain places until we decide the service is no longer profitable, and your device can't phone home anymore because we've turned off the servers.

But I'm being foolish. This has never happened before.

Changing Tracks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016353)

This is just an attempt to "change tracks" [no pun intended].

Instead of paying multiple times for the media, you now have the privilege of paying multiple times fot he devices which are compatible with your media.

I'm sure it will all balance out in the end. [Consumers will get the short end of the stick, as per usual].

Round Two (2, Interesting)

PMuse (320639) | about 6 years ago | (#25016369)

Dupe [] ? Not really, as we now see just how much support this thing has.

It already exists. (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 6 years ago | (#25016375)

According to Singer, video should become a buy once, play anywhere technology like CDs and DVDs. ... will define and build a new media framework

Ummm.... doesn't this already exist? I mean, if you want to release video in a format that will play anywhere, on any device... this is trivial. Just release it using a well-established video codec. Every laptop and OS and browser and media center and video iPod and mobile phone can then play the file.

Of course this would be by far the most consumer-friendly approach, and would satisfy the requirement of "play anywhere technology." But of course the subtext to the article, which isn't explicitly stated, is that they want a "play anywhere" format... but with DRM.

This is basically an oxymoron, though. Like a "drive anywhere" car, that is incidentally specifically designed to shut-off if you drive outside of a pre-approved range. Or a "cook anything" microwave oven that reads the barcodes off your instant-meals, and incidentally won't turn on if unrecognized things (like home-made food) are put inside.

This whole venture is doomed to fail. It will fail because for a truly "play anywhere" ecosystem, the DRM spec would have to be open and not costly (in which case, homebrewers and hackers alike will circumvent it within minutes). It will fail because big companies (like Apple) have no reason to help this idea. It will fail because the implementation will be complicated and error prone. It will fail because consumers will still notice the DRM, and have to overcome it frequently (thereby defeating the purpose).

You can't achieve "play anywhere" with DRM.

Re:It already exists. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#25016727)

Shut up, communist. DRM enables consumer choice!

I jest; but that really is the self-serving mythology of all this. Consumers are pitiful, helpless creatures totally incapable of creating anything for themselves(except when we are lobbying for more draconian laws, in which case they are terrifying interwebs-enabled super pirate/terrorists), so if we don't provide music downloads, or video streaming, or whatever, it doesn't exist. Therefore, when we finally get around to offering some pathetic, DRM crippled, overpriced attempt at the genre, we have enabled the consumer digital content experience!

The whole thing is utter nonsense; but it is actually fairly convincing if you don't keep your eye on the unspoken assumptions. Be sure always to do so.

Re:It already exists. (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | about 6 years ago | (#25016735)

One has to wonder what "framework" they are talking about. Doe they mean a container format that could be accepted by any device? Say by way of WiFi, USB, Firewire or some new connection? Do they mean networking all the devices in the home (TV, PC, PMP, game console) to stream between? Or do they mean DRM? Or some combination of these? There are several ways to do this and they aren't forthcoming about which they intend to establish. Of course we expect them to jump to the DRM/"secure" connection conclusion but that may not be the case. Wait and see I guess.

Re:It already exists. (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25019173)

So right. It's called CD and DVD. Well, maybe not Sony's.

Maybe the creationists have a point. This evolution thing doesn't seem to work too good lately.

Typo (2, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#25016387)

It's actually called "Buy Once, Pay Anywhere" ... they want to make sure that you have to pay for your content no matter where you watch it.

Time saver (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 6 years ago | (#25016393)

I'll save them millions of dollars and thousands of hours of meetings and development time: Xvid / MP3

Re:Time saver (3, Funny)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | about 6 years ago | (#25016755)

Here, I'll save everyone even more money: Xvid / OGG

No pesky mp3 licensing fees.

Re:Time saver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017323)

Thanks, now my videos look shit. I have shitty compressed audio. Worst of all my consumer devices are slow as shit and have even shittier battery life. I had to buy a new music play because my previous one didn't support ogg. You have saved no money for anyone.

DRM=DRM no matter how you paint it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016395)

DRM cannot by design be both completely inter-operable and control how a consumer uses it, which is in effect what DRM does... control what you can and cannot do with the information you've just "rented." make no mistake, any incompatibility caused by DRM will likely be dealt with through piracy, the only way to lessen the amoutn of piracy going on is not to bother people with DRM nonsense at all.

No thanks (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#25016399)

The DRM thing is having a knock-on effect in my buying habits that go beyond the realm of media and into consumer electronics.

I'd rather build replacements for most home entertainment out of increasingly available mini ITX kit. A nice general purpose computer that I control all aspects of the product lifespan. Hey, no forced obsolescence! All except the ipod, but thankfully I'm not interested in that.

Things that defy mathematics, part CMXCVII (2, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25016405)

DRM is mathematically impossible, customers loathe and despise it more than any industry person could comprehend, and it never actually works.

But they're so addicted to control they'll keep begging people to take their money to sell them yet more snake oil. []

Never another download or unpaid viewing! Not ever! This time! For sure!

Buy Once, Play Anywhere = non DRM'd MP3! (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 6 years ago | (#25016409)

All of this amounts to little more than big corporations attempting to unite, in order to better fight off the most dominant players in the marketplace (Apple's iTunes store, primarily).

They knew from day 1 that Apple wouldn't go for it, since they rather like their "ecosystem" being undisturbed.

In the big picture though, ditching the DRM is the real answer. We already have standard audio and video formats out there! They're proven to work effectively on all sorts of hardware.

The content sales people always talk about "format incompatibility" because it sounds better, but this is REALLY about unifying protection schemes bolted on TOP of the formats.

And who did they forget? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25016419)

They forgot Nokia, Samsung, LG. No movies on mobile phones? EPIC FAIL [] .

Dead in the water (4, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | about 6 years ago | (#25016433)

Won't support the iPod. Won't go anywhere.

Re:Dead in the water (1)

Artuir (1226648) | about 6 years ago | (#25018009)

Oh jesus christ. the ipod is not the be-all-end-all fucking product of the century. are all apple customers so damn self centered?

Re:Dead in the water (1)

rhizome (115711) | about 6 years ago | (#25018427)

are all apple customers so damn self centered?

How do you know he's a customer?

Don't you guys recognize a press release when UC1? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#25016439)

This is for the investment community on a bad stock market day.

There is no reality here.

This is Sony, who would give you a rootkit to control their DRM. Expect that this works with and only Sony products, sometime when your hair turns grey, if then.

Maybe the join Amazon (1)

netrage_is_bad (734782) | about 6 years ago | (#25016443)

Amazon already supports this by using the MP3 format.

Plays for sure, MK2 (1)

rdebath (884132) | about 6 years ago | (#25016489)

Any takers ... someone ? ... anyone ?

"Play Anywhere" ... just like "PlayForSure"? (4, Insightful)

Edgewize (262271) | about 6 years ago | (#25016495)

I seem to recall another DRM solution with fairly broad manufacturer support, that promised to work "for sure".

How many times will the industry bring out new, better, "consumer-friendly" DRM? At what point do they realize that you can't dress up restrictions and pass them off as features?

People might not always be educated on topics like DRM or copyright but that doesn't mean that people are suckers. Attention music industry: don't piss on our heads and tell us it's raining.

The World Through Sony's Eyes (4, Funny)

Rie Beam (632299) | about 6 years ago | (#25016549)

Consumer: "I wish I could have a digital backup of my music..."
Sony: "We'll offer you streaming versions of your favorite songs! Buy it once, play it anywhere!"
Consumer: "Awesome! So how do I use this on my iPod?"
Sony: "...well, you can't."
Consumer: "But you just said..."
Sony: "Listen, kid. We have a streaming service that works through a couple of major retailers, and works with some very popular devices..."
Consumer: "But I want it to work on mine!"


Consumer: "Alright, I got one of these new-fangled...whatevers...that supports PlayAnywhere. Now what?"
Sony: "Go online and buy a that one you have right there..."
Consumer: "This CD? But I already have it..."
Sony: "What's your point?"
Consumer: "Fine..."


Consumer: "I lost my new-fangled whatevers! Quick, let me download a copy of my songs!"
Sony: "I'd love to, but that new device you just bought supports version 2.7.1 of PlayAnywhere. I'll need you to upgrade your songs or buy them outright -- either way, gimme your wallet."
Consumer: "..."

Re:The World Through Sony's Eyes (2, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about 6 years ago | (#25017121)

**even later**

Consumer: "Well, Sony weren't very helpful, but the great thing about PlayAnywhere is I'm not limited to a single supplier! Let's see who else supports these files...Great! Microsoft is a fully paid up member! Now, where's that new Zune I won in the McCain For America raffle..? OK, *Squirting files to device*...'Incompatible format!' WTF?"

Consumer: "Hey Microsoft! It says right here you fully support the PlayAnywhere Ecosystem! Why won't my files work?"

Microsoft: "Oh come on kid. Don't you get it?"

Comsumer: "?"

Microsoft: "Look, every couple of years they come out with one of these schemes, and we always sign up to it just to fuck with Apple. But we obviously wouldn't be caught dead using it ourselves! Tell you what, how about we give you a free upgrade from Vista to Mojave to thank you for your feedback?"

I already know how to do this. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25016621)

We call it MP4 and MP3.

Okay the are not totally patent free but are common enough to work.

For something to truly be Play Anywhere it would have to be.
DRM free, patent free, and documented.

Why do I think that this Play Anywhere will end up being like my Unlimited broadband and Cell phone data plan?

Re:I already know how to do this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016841)

I call it H.264/AAC, because MP4 could mean MPEG-4 (H.264 is better) and MP3 is more than a decade old (and AAC is superior).

At least you're not pushing Quicktime, Windows Media, RealMedia or DiVX crap.

Re:I already know how to do this. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#25017105)


H.264 is, in fact, MPEG-4 AVC, as defined in MPEG-4 Part 10. MPEG-4 ASP, as defined in MPEG-4 Part 2, is what DivX and others are based on.

MPEG-4 ASP is much more mature (in terms of both encoding and decoding) than MPEG-4 AVC. It does not have the robust features, or the tighter bitrates, but it is still the king for portable media due to the much lower decode complexity.

Quicktime uses H.264.
Real's latest RMVB codec is actually very good.
WMV has always been good. Not great, but it's focused on distribution, not storage.

DivX is currently busy working on both an H.264 encoder and decoder. You can play with the alphas if you like at (or something).

If history repeats itself, we'll end up with DivX taking the quality crown (assuming you know what you're doing and don't mind spending some more time on your encodes).

MP3 is more than a decade old. CDs, which are superior quality than 99% of music people have stored digitally, are what, 2 and a half decades old now? AAC provides better quality at lower bitrates, sure. But most people don't realize that a lot of the AAC stuff has the sample rate sacrificed. The added decoding complexity doesn't matter too much anymore, but you can't just call it "superior". Battery life is very important in portable players. Making sure all devices support your format of choice is important. Making sure your device supports the entire format (iPods don't support AAC-HE for example) is important.

Re:I already know how to do this. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25017155)

I thought that H.264 was more patent encumbered than MP4. AAC? I said MP3 because it is so common. I would rather have full OGG support, Vorbis, FLAC, and Speex myself. Speex would be great for audio books.
Xvid/Divx isn't too bad. Much better than Quicktime or Windows Media.
Now RealMedia is interesting. They have open sourced some of their stuff but I am not sure what or how good it is.

Will it come with SecuROM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016643)

Just asking because Sony love to dick around with your PC DVD drivers or to they reserve that crapola for other companies products?

great.... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 years ago | (#25016825)

Rootkits on our phones.

UPnP is dead. DLNA is dead. Long live DECE (1)

heroine (1220) | about 6 years ago | (#25016835)

This new standard will be the standard to end all standards. Plug & Play. Interactive Java games. Local storage. Not so sure about movies.

Great! (1)

Vexorian (959249) | about 6 years ago | (#25016849)

I for one can't wait for the time I'll need RIAA's permission to own devices! It will be awesome, they are selling this BS as if it will make people's life easier, but you see, the fact people will not be able to own as much devices as they want will really piss them off, this could be the final blow to DRM.

Re:Great! (1)

Vexorian (959249) | about 6 years ago | (#25016879)

Buy once, pay everywhere!

Already got that... But Sony can help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016851)

New fangled technology called MP3...
Works on my car stereo, ipod, sansa, pc, phone, ....

There is only one problem with it; evil peoples try to steal my music.
I just wish there was a way that I could securely protect all MY content from the bad people...
I wish I could encrypt my MP3's with a super secret key that only I knew that would integrate into all my devices...
Actually, I wish I didn't have to know the key in case I lost it...
I could store it on a central server...
Maybe with a company I trust...
Someone like Sony who will look out for my best interests and protect me.

Thanks Sony.. you Rock.

Just What We Need (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#25016875)

One more store/service/group in the fractured land of media licenses, stores, and players.

They forgot the "forever" part again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25016893)


We already have this, avi format (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 6 years ago | (#25017115)

Sony is trying to build something that nobody wants. This feels a lot like Microsoft hailstorm or passport or whatever it was called solving a problem that nobody really had or would buy into. How about get rid of the DRM and sell DRM free versions of the content on a distribution system that is easier to use than it is to pirate.

Re:"easier to use than it is to pirate" (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 6 years ago | (#25017279)

I agree with this statement fully. It is the reason I find Steam so compelling. It truly has been easier for me to re-download games onto a new system, easier for me to purchase new games, than it would be to pirate them.
Of course, I've never tried to play such games on Linux, but Steam is the closest to "getting it right" I've seen.

Make it easy to legally use your game, and people will do so.

I have the perfect name for this: (1)

Perseid (660451) | about 6 years ago | (#25017123)


You know what this is going to be... (1)

qazwart (261667) | about 6 years ago | (#25017127)

I wouldn't mind DRM if it was truly buy once, play anywhere, but that's not how it's going to work.

Heck, these are the same people who came up with the concept of DVD "Zones". You can own two identical DVD players from the same manufacturer, but you can't play the same DVD in them if one player is set to one "zone" and one player set to another "zone".

This is also the same group that allows me to buy a song via iTunes, and play it on my iPhone, but won't let me play that same song as a ringtone without shelling out another buck. (Yes, I know Apple isn't in this group, but the media companies that decided that a license to listen to music doesn't cover listening to it as a ringtone are in this group.)

As far as these people are concerned, each device needs a separate license, and I have to pay for each one. That's how this is going to be played out.

My New Motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017173)

Steal everything.

For an industry that moans so much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017267)

For an industry that moans so much about lost revenue, they sure seem to have a lot to throw at developing entire DRM infrastructures.

What's even funnier is that unprotected digital copies of most of this content is usually available on CD.

Think about that for a minute... Imagine if a new fangled PC game could either be downloaded with intrusive copy protection or bought off the shelf totally copyable and protection free. That's the situation the music industry is in right now.

Dear Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25017283)

I cannot trust a company who's expensive hardware fails after less than one year of regular daily usage.

I cannot trust a company that keeps introducing new media formats while the market is already flooded with choices.

I cannot trust a company who sells SecuROM to game companies.

I cannot trust a company who is also a content producer.

Damn you Sony, you have me in your grip already! (1)

Grendel_Prime (178874) | about 6 years ago | (#25017437)

With my Sony TV, the PS3 and my alarmingly fun and useful PSP, I've slowly become BORG. In fact, because of that stupid PSP that I love so much I even did the unthinkable and purchased some putrid memory sticks. Oh how I've come to loathe myself... but at least I can do that loathing while watching the Big Lebowski or Trading Places on my PSP (legally owned and transcoded, naturally).

Re:Damn you Sony, you have me in your grip already (1)

owlstead (636356) | about 6 years ago | (#25019105)

"(legally owned and transcoded, naturally)"

I'll bet you were circumventing DRM though?

Umm its not play *anywhere* (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 years ago | (#25017845)

Its playable only on devices you own.

Sounds like the 'home domain' thing from the RIAA earlier in the week, but with a more palatable marketing spin for the average joe.


Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25018007)

There needs to be a "failed sony data format" category at slashdot.

I think the marketers are really on to something. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#25018283)

Find something people will buy. Don't give them the best quality that you can initially. Intentionally make it defective by design. Sell them that stuff. Come back a year later, remove the defects, and people may buy it again!

I can already do this (2, Insightful)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | about 6 years ago | (#25019049)

just download the bittorent then re-encode it for whatever device you want to play it on. easy.

Other manufacturers will certainly jump at this (1)

owlstead (636356) | about 6 years ago | (#25019071)

Or maybe not. Sony has a brilliant track record playing with standards as it is. Basically, the standard (memory cards, mini-disk, blue ray, etc.) has got to be theirs or they won't support it.

I'm curious if they will succeed with such a scheme, with many people both in the industry and of course us geeks being violently against it.

Don't think so, they might as well design a new HTML protocol and try to get that standardized.

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