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DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of Avatar In Germany

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the token-of-our-appreciation dept.

Movies 386

Fraggy_the_undead writes "According to German IT news site heise.de, yesterday several 3D showings of Avatar couldn't take place (German; Google translation to English), because the movies were DRM protected such that there had to be a key per copy of the film, per film projector, and per movie server in the theater. The key supplier, by the name Deluxe, was apparently unable to provide a sufficient number of valid keys in time. Moviegoers were offered to get a refund or view an analogue 2D showing instead."

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Defective by Design (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477510)

Just keep trying to micromanage everything, you DRM-loving assholes. Best-laid plans of mice and men ...

Re:Defective by Design (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477650)

Exactly which mice plans was he really honing in here on? The best laid ones go aglay, some of the worse laid ones are okay? Some of them get through? He was fucking off this trolley! “See, mice also make plans, unbeknownst to most people. They plan to get cheese! They run, they scamper Oh, one’s fallen over! No cheese today Oh, plan two: they’ve got three, another one’s got a stick, he’s gonna put the stick into the mousetrap No, he’s broken the stick! What a jessie! Plan three – Oh, they’ve got a flip chart now! Very serious there’s a lot of mise surrounding the meeting, and they’re having a discussion Oh, good plan this, probably! Their best laid plan, I believe -Eddie Izzard

Re:Defective by Design (-1, Offtopic)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478018)

I'm confused...what keys are needed to take the film out of the can, and thread it onto the projector?

How do they DRM that?!?!

Re:Defective by Design (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478046)

It's not film. It's digital. Think a big, honkin' flash drive

Your sig is somehow appropriate.

Re:Defective by Design (3, Informative)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478690)

His confusion is not surprising considering the annoying tendency to keep calling all motion pictures 'films' even if a piece of celluloid was never incorporated in the production, distribution, or showing. We even have skateboarders calling their videos "films". At the same time some people actually still make films. Please, can we call things what they are?

Motion picture/picture/movie--a series of pictures that appear to move when viewed in quick sequence.

Video--an analog or digital electronic encoding of motion pictures.

Film--a piece of thin cellulose or plastic, that may contain pictures. Once upon a time, all motion pictures were films, because that's all there was.

Re:Defective by Design (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478580)

You'd be hard pressed to find a film projector today, it's all digital.

Although, you apparently didn't even bother to read past the headline, the summary should have made it obvious with the line "and per movie server in the theater."

Re:Defective by Design (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478676)

LOL...yeah, not reading the whole article on slashdow...who'd a thunk it?

:)

Seriously, interesting. I've not been in a theater projection room in quite awhile, and honestly I don't go out to see movies that often anymore (I have a much better system at home, with no idiots in the audience with me, and a fully stocked bar). But the past times I've been out...I would swear they were using real film projectors, and these aren't all old old theaters. I mean, unless they have the little hair dancing on the edge on the digital projectors just to make it realistic...

I'm thinking I've actually not seen a digital projector in a movie theater. Is this prevalent in the US, or just in EU?

Re:Defective by Design (1, Troll)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478528)

Just another reason to avoid theaters and download a ripped copy instead.

Re:Defective by Design (3, Insightful)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478626)

No it isn't.

Re:Defective by Design (1, Flamebait)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478692)

No it isn't you insensitive clod I make my living from those films thank you very much.

not surprising (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477530)

Maybe now some of the rank & file will begin to understand the evils of pervasive DRM, even if only in Germany.

Re:not surprising (5, Insightful)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477744)

How is this off topic?

Infact it couldn't be more ON topic.

The biggest problem is that people don't understand what DRM actually means and how it can impact them.

Things like this shed light on the pitfalls of DRM.

I am not a proponent of piracy, however I have had more than my fair share of DRM related issues in my home theater and as a result I vehemently oppose DRM schemes.

Snafus like this really opens the eyes of the public and hopefully informs a few of them while we still have a chance to understand the problem and vote with our dollars(or euros).

Re:not surprising (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477880)

Agreed -- when I try to tell most people about the dangers of DRM all I get are blank stares, or an "STFU, nerd". I notice, however, that people start to pay attention when it gets in the way of them using the stuff they paid for.

Re:not surprising (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478072)

I just use a real example. Hey you want to borrow some music from me? wait I cant just copy the files? What about the TV show I recorded last night, you want that? Oh I am sorry you cant...well you can because I had the foresight to put in a DVR that doesnt use DRM but your TiVo is gonna screw you. They understand perfectly clear then.

Re:not surprising (3, Interesting)

WeatherServo9 (1393327) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478506)

I don't think that a snafu like this will do anything to open the eyes of the public to DRM; it's a technical snafu some theaters had running the movie, something which most patrons know nothing about, will never see how it works, and don't care how it works. This isn't equipment anyone is looking to buy or use, and the software (in this form) will never be available for purchase! From a patrons point of view something went wrong behind the scenes and they got a refund, something that happens all the time at theaters for various reasons (could be data corruption loading the movie, digital key problem, or with film a defective or missing reel, shipping problem, and so on).

Re:not surprising (5, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478568)

I began to consider piracy when I bought a DVD with non-skippable ads on them.

Re:not surprising (5, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478728)

By far, this is the most annoying thing about DVD's. So-called "acceptable user operations". The DVD decides what you get to do or not do, including watching a bunch of previews for movies you don't want to see. I could understand this happening once, the first time you watch it. But really, its an insult to avid movie fans with movie libraries. Forcing them to watch ads for movies that came out 10 fucking years ago is ridiculous.

Re:not surprising (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477910)

The rank and file, for the most part, will be mad that the projector was broken.

Re:not surprising (2, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478036)

Sorry buddy, the suits in control will just look at it as a distribution problem, not a tech problem. Couldn't be anything wrong with DRM after all, it is going to save them billions! Thats right just keep drinking that Koolaid...

Re:not surprising (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478112)

Good thing this wasn't the Dragon Ball Z movie, they'd laud DRM as the savior of humanity.

Re:not surprising (2, Informative)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478474)

s/Dragon Ball Z/New Moon
Pop-culture update complete!

Re:not surprising (1, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478412)

Maybe now some of the rank & file will begin to understand the evils of pervasive DRM, even if only in Germany.

If the fact that it's difficult to get right makes it evil, then what does that say about the Space Race?

There are some good arguments to make against DRM, but that isn't one of them.

Re:not surprising (4, Interesting)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478604)

Except not a single person leaving that theater knew that DRM had anything to do with it. Or even the meaning of the acronym itself.

"Sorry, folks, little glitch with the 3D thingamajig here! Heh heh... Well, you're all welcome to stay and enjoy the show in all it's 2D glory, including some free popcorn! Or we'll gladly refund your money."

And they all came back the next day, and paid their money to support the now properly-running DRMed-up-the-ass movie, none the wiser. Do you really think the theater hauled out Cory Doctorow to hold forth on the evils of DRM for the audience's benefit?

Re:not surprising (0, Flamebait)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478716)

I don't care what you think of it we are not shipping first run theatrical resolution films unencrypted. Get over it people at this level encryption is here to stay.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477540)

Ha-ha! - Nelson Muntz

And... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477544)

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

cocksuckers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477550)

Stop whining about the fight against piracy, cocksmoking thieves!

Re:cocksuckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30478026)

We don't have boats and guns you insensitive clod!

DRM (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477552)

It's a good thing that they allow us to manage our rights like this.

Re:DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477752)

"It's a sad thing that we allow them to manage our rights like this."

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:DRM (2, Funny)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477852)

WHOOOOOSH!

Hah! (1, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477588)

In Germany, DRM does you!

Re:Hah! (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477802)

I think that applies everywhere, not just Germany.

Re:Hah! (5, Funny)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478328)

Except in Soviet Russia.

Why do I think this will just add fuel? (5, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477596)

Somehow, I believe the studio will twist this story to sound more like "See! Piracy is causing us to lose money!"

This despite them putting in the DRM, and despite them generating $10B revenue in 2009.

Re:Why do I think this will just add fuel? (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477676)

They couldn't distribute the keys in time? Easy fix: Distribute them with Bittorrent. Easier fix: Don't encrypt the content.

Re:Why do I think this will just add fuel? (2, Insightful)

0x15e (961860) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477874)

Isn't that kind of like "You make me do this to you! Why do you keep making me hit you!?"

Not denying that they did / would say that. I just thought it was funny noticing the parallels there.

Re:Why do I think this will just add fuel? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478494)

Isn't that kind of like "You make me do this to you! Why do you keep making me hit you!?"

Not denying that they did / would say that. I just thought it was funny noticing the parallels there.

Yes! Exactly!

Re:Why do I think this will just add fuel? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477928)

Somehow, I believe the studio will twist this story to sound more like "See! Piracy is causing us to lose money!"

As in "It may have been DRM which caused us to lose money in Germany, but it was only needed because of piracy" or something similar.

This despite them putting in the DRM, and despite them generating $10B revenue in 2009.

A small part of 2009, since the movie didn't come out on the 1st of January 2009.

Re:Why do I think this will just add fuel? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478226)

Somehow, I believe the studio will twist this story to sound more like "See! Piracy is causing us to lose money!" As in "It may have been DRM which caused us to lose money in Germany, but it was only needed because of piracy" or something similar. This despite them putting in the DRM, and despite them generating $10B revenue in 2009. A small part of 2009, since the movie didn't come out on the 1st of January 2009.

I'm not sure what you mean by your last statement. In the USA, revenue generated in 2009 is reported as revenue generated in 2009. Hollywood movie studios made $10B this year, despite all their crying and whining about piracy. This is a clear case of having your cake and eating it too, IMHO. Criminalize people that would never pay you for your work in the first place, rape everyone else that would under false pretenses.

Keygen (5, Funny)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477628)

Once again the pirates solve a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=avatar+keygen [google.co.uk]

Re:Keygen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30478396)

pretty sure that's for the pc game, not the movie.

Good thing, too.. (3, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477638)

I'm sure someone planned to bring in a cellphone with a 3D camera and release a barely-watchable 30-second clip of some of the less important dialogue.

DRM prevents piracy again! Yes!!!! Huzzah for DRM!

Re:Good thing, too.. (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478146)

The drm in question is to prevent an insider at one of the theaters from posting the movie (which is the sort of piracy that is really hard to defend), not to obscure the analog whole.

whole-> (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478202)

hole.

non 3d Digital movies have the same DRM and with o (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478156)

non 3d Digital movies have the same DRM and with out the drm also some needed to do is have make a copy of that 150gb HDD to have a very High PQ copy of the movie.

Safe from piracy this way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477660)

Well, at least the movie remained safe from those evil pirates!

The problem is bigger than DRM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477680)

It's the fact that what you watch in a movie theater these days is, television. Give me 24 simultaneous images on my eyeball.

No Fate But What We Make For Ourselves... (5, Funny)

d474 (695126) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477684)

James Cameron was right when he said Avatar is the FUTURE of movies to come: DRM'd to the crippling point.

Re:No Fate But What We Make For Ourselves... (1)

Stupid McStupidson (1660141) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478270)

If Avatar is the future of movies, then I guess I won't be seeing any more movies. It's in 3D OMFG! Who cares. I'll save the twenty bucks, tape a couple smurfs to my TV and watch Dances With Wolves. Or Pocahontas. Or Ferngully. Or any of twenty other movies that follow the exact same archetype. You'd think with more than a decade of development you could at least fool me through the trailer.

Re:No Fate But What We Make For Ourselves... (1, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478688)

Who the fuck watches avatar for the plot anyway? Look, you watch avatar for the same reasons that you watch the first three star wars episodes. You don't watch for the plot, you watch for the "BOOM BANG POW POW POW BZZZSH LIGHTSABER FIGHT!!" and the obscene amount of special effects. You watch avatar for the special effects, the bang boom bzzzsh, and the smoking hot 10 foot tall blue alien women.

great organisation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477704)

With organization like that it's no wonder they lost.

Re:great organisation (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478054)

I thought that was a TV show?

Wait... (5, Interesting)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477714)

I don't want to be the one modded to hell and back for saying it, but isn't this an issue with the company not purchasing the proper licenses in the appropriate amount of time rather than an issue with DRM?

I understand this wouldn't exist if there were no DRM, but then the theater would still not have paid for the rights to show the movie. I'm just unclear on how that makes this a noteworthy "DRM is bad" case.

Re:Wait... (4, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477756)

Hey ...you .. shut-up
We're hating on DRM now.

Re:Wait... (4, Insightful)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477830)

I'm just unclear on how that makes this a noteworthy "DRM is bad"

I think the main point is that their fall-back plan was a DRM-free acetate film strip.

Re:Wait... (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478044)

I think the main point is that their fall-back plan was a DRM-free acetate film strip

DRM has vanishing utility when the medium in question requires a $100,000 worth of equipment to play. Of course, then again, D5 decks aren't exactly cheap either...

Re:Wait... (4, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477868)

Well, a recurring theme in almost any kind of DRM (and content licensing in general) is the entire issue of knowing and acquiring "the proper licenses."

Did I buy enough Microsoft Client Access Licenses? Did I buy enough Oracle licenses for my upgraded machine with more cores? Did I buy the correct licenses for commercial use of this software? Is this DVD for a zone my player isn't licensed for?

To some extent, the DRM community hasn't completely succeeded yet in shaping all consumer behavior. The Content Provider's fondest dream is that every consumer reflexively asks "Am I licensed to [do|use|listen to|view] this copyrighted content? Should I be giving those nice Content Providers more money?"

So yeah, the problem was that the consumer didn't buy the right licenses. The problem behind the problem was "Why wasn't the consumer properly warned they weren't buying enough licenses for their needs? And why should that be possible?"

Re:Wait... (0, Troll)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477996)

You can't interchange consumer with supplier. The theater is a supplier. The individuals sitting in the seats are the consumers.

Should Bob, 3rd row, center aisle #24 be responsible for his license in this scenario? No. He's the consumer.

Should Ed, manager of local franchise be responsible for ensuring his theater has the proper rights to display the movie? You bet.

The consumer got screwed by the supplier in this instance.

Re:Wait... (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478384)

The theater is a supplier in the product/service market (technically, they make most of their money off the concession stand, but that's totally irrelevant). It is a consumer in the factor market [wikipedia.org] (the movie (or license) is a factor of production of a service). Bob isn't involved in the factor market at all; Ed is the consumer, and Hollywood is the producer.

Re:Wait... (3, Interesting)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478556)

The consumer got screwed by the supplier in this instance.

If DRM prevails, this will be the reason why: the general public tends to view the consumption of media as if it were the consumption of food or oxygen. As if our only options are to cough up the asking price, or assume the life of a 'pirate', skulking around shady web sites grabbing torrents for the latest content.

What ever happened to the option of just not consuming? Shouldn't we say, instead of "the consumer got screwed", "the consumer received yet another demonstration of some of the flaws in the DRM model"? Wouldn't you rather seize the power that you have as a consumer and make a choice to spend your dollars elsewhere, and influence your friends to do the same, than to take the victim's stance and believe that we are totally helpless when somebody like the MPAA screws up and just assumes that we'll quietly get in the next line?

The simple fact is that DRM cannot succeed unless the consumer chooses to support it.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30478260)

A theater chain is not a consumer, it is an exhibitor. Their entire business pretty much consists of getting licenses to show films. Any theater chain that claims they don't know exactly how many licenses they need is lying.

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

manyxcxi (1037382) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477906)

You're right in this isn't a cut and dried DRM is teh evulz case. It does however highlight that everyone following the rules, forking over their cash, and generally being socially acceptable, still got screwed over by a DRM system. I'm assuming the movie theater(s) in question paid all the money they were supposed to to all the people involved. All of the movie goers paid over all their money to legally see it in such a way that the movie studios would allow, if only barely (the customers did leave the box office with their souls presumably). All of them were screwed when somewhere along the DRM chain someone dropped the ball.
This goes along with the DRMed mp3s that no longer work when a company kills its servers. Office 2003 not opening files because of a bad cert, etc. The pirates remove all these 'security features' and the products work so much smoother. I have used pirated copies of software that I legally paid for due to activation/reactivation rules, and I'll probably do it again.

Re:Wait... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477914)

The key supplier, by the name Deluxe, was apparently unable to provide a sufficient number of valid keys in time.

The problem is that even if they did pay the proper royalties, the key generation system still wasn't capable of providing the needed keys. It highlights the issue with DRM that it in no way benefits legal movie patrons. At no point does anyone other than the greedy MPAA/RIAA scum benefit from it. Perhaps even in this case, showing that DRM doesn't even benefit the content companies either.

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478638)

DRM isn't supposed to benefit movie patrons directly. It's purpose in digital films is to prevent piracy of HDD movies from people working at the theater. I am guessing they will claim that DRM does benefit the customer by controlling piracy, which if left uncontrolled would drive the average price of the movie tickets up. Whether or not this is true I have no idea, but I am guessing that is the stance they will use to justify the DRM.

Re:Wait... (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477922)

isn't this an issue with the company not purchasing the proper licenses in the appropriate amount of time rather than an issue with DRM? I understand this wouldn't exist if there were no DRM, but then the theater would still not have paid for the rights to show the movie.

Wait, what? If DRM didn't exist, why do you think the theater wouldn't have the permission of the rights holders (either through payment as you suggest, or however the system works) to play the movie?

Re:Wait... (5, Informative)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477942)

Reading the Google translation, it seems to say that the theaters had purchased enough licenses for their showings, but a glitch, or technical ineptitude, prevented the DRM from validating all of their copies of the movie.

I think it's a big leap to go from that, to where the submitter says that the supplier was unable to provide enough keys.

The most persistant argument against DRM surfaces here: because of the intricate technicalities involved in DRM systems, legitimate customers were denied access to material they payed for.

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478514)

Deluxe were unable to provide keys or validate the keys they had provided. The supplier was unable to provide working copies of the movie.

So a phone line being down, or a network card dropping to 10Mbit/s or whatever the technical problems was causes movie viewers all over a country to not be able to watch a movie, for which all the data is already within the theater.

DRM - your rights in their hands.

Re:Wait... (2, Insightful)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477998)

I'm just unclear on how that makes this a noteworthy "DRM is bad" case.

More like a "DRM is stupid" case. The point is not whose fault it was, but that DRM prevented a perfectly legal use of the material. The fact that the theater, having properly licensed the movie from the studio, still had to overcome this ridiculous DRM hurdle, shows that DRM is a pitiful joke.

Re:Wait... (5, Informative)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478090)

,,,isn't this an issue with the company not purchasing the proper licenses in the appropriate amount of time rather than an issue with DRM?

The issue with most DRM is that it a) Does not actually stop pirates (at best it slows them down) and b) Does impair the ability for legitimate owners to use their purchase as intended.

This is a perfect example. The DRM was broken so quickly, keys were available online http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=avatar+keygen [google.co.uk] so pirates were not inconvenienced, but the legitimate customers (the theatre who was showing the movie) were unable to use the item they had purchased in a timely manner.

So I would disagree, this issue is indeed with DRM

Re:Wait... (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478558)

This is a perfect example. The DRM was broken so quickly, keys were available online http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=avatar+keygen [google.co.uk] so pirates were not inconvenienced, but the legitimate customers (the theatre who was showing the movie) were unable to use the item they had purchased in a timely manner.

You are aware that "avatar+keygen" gives no meaningful results, aren't you, because it's just link spam from fishy sites? Even if it *did* give meaningful results, they would be about the *game*, not the *movie*.

Re:Wait... (4, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478104)

Well, it's hard to say why the key generator company was unable to produce enough valid licenses in time. According to the article, the movie theaters had licenses but they turned out to be "no longer valid" on opening day. I suspect that either "Deluxe" (the key distributor) had a major systems failure and couldn't regen the day's licenses, or forgot to tell their customers that they needed to have the keys renewed frequently, or something.

The movie distributor was certainly able to deliver the movies (which are delivered by courier on AES-encrypted hard drives) on time, so if the actual physical movies could be delivered you'd think the key generator company that the movie could keep up by issuing one key for each drive physically delivered, and if those keys have to be generated each time the movie is shown you'd think they'd have that worked out.

I get the impression that the theaters (multiple, independent theaters across Germany were affected, not just one) have all been planning and looking forward to this for some time. Th article indicates that they all received their copies of the movie they purchased in plenty of time, and copied them to their theater server well in advance, but that the keys turned out not to work when they hit PLAY. But maybe this is the German equivalent of a RIAA/ASCAP thing where you buy the movie from one source and you have to buy the licenses to play it from an entirely different source, and the theaters didn't realize that the keys they originally got only worked for testing or something.

Still, with all the advance planning, and all the various theaters that were affected, I find it hard to believe that so many theaters who had planned screenings so far in advance would somehow "forget" to buy licenses to play it. They had the physical movie, they had the glasses, they sold the tickets, and it sounds like they paid since the key distributor was able to get them the keys the next day.

Re:Wait... (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478160)

The DRM in digital cinema copies is pretty evil alright. You'd think that digital distribution would make it easier for small moviemakers to put their work out, what with the ease of duplication as compared to 35 mm film copies? Dream on - the digital copies are mastered in such a way that each copy is essentially locked to a single projector, so you'll have to make a copy for each theatre you want to show your film in, and that of course means going to some post production house with the proper equipment, and forking over cash. Not pennies either, from what I'm told.

Re:Wait... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478470)

Digital distribution does significantly reduce costs. It is a major reason we are seeing a proliferation of IMAX theaters; the 70mm prints they used to use were ungodly expensive.

Re:Wait... (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478238)

isn't this an issue with the company not purchasing the proper licenses in the appropriate amount of time rather than an issue with DRM?

It's perfectly indicative of how DRM is bad. DRM assumes that everything would work perfectly, all the time. And when it doesn't, for whatever reason, you lose the right to use your own legally owned content. Just like the movie studio, a leagal user of the film, lost their capability. If the movie studios and their limited number of partners with gazillion-dollar pieces of equipment can't make it work, what chance do meaningless slobs like me have?

Answer: none. I need to just assume that sooner or later the content I paid for will just stop working. And that's wrong.

Re:Wait... (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478264)

Dang. Messed up the quoting on my last post. Only the first line should have been quoted... Didn't look that way in the preview...

Re:Wait... (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478392)

don't want to be the one modded to hell and back for saying it, but isn't this an issue with the company not purchasing the proper licenses in the appropriate amount of time rather than an issue with DRM?

Consider an alcoholic who beats his wife. Is the problem that he beats his wife (with a solution that he signs up for marriage counseling), or that he can't stop drinking?

Say he also doesn't pay his bills on time. When the gas or electric get shut off and the kids don't get fed, what's the problem? That the kids are hungry, that he doesn't have enough money, that he didn't find a sympathetic ear at the utility company, or that he can't stop drinking?

Microsoft routinely brushes off Windows activation "issues" with an implicit argument that it's an implementation snafu. Your argument is the same. Personally, I think it misses the point.

Re:Wait... (5, Informative)

Noonian Soong (1016626) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478510)

No, it is not a licensing problem. I read the German article and it clearly states that everyone paid, but the company providing the final keys (it is a process with several stages) could not produce the correct key. It was due to technical difficulties, not licensing issues.

Here is my non-Google translation of the important part that explains what went wrong technically (sorry for the slightly unidiomatic English; I tried to stay as close to the original as possible so that the text would not become my interpretation of the original):
Apparently, the DRM-keys for the film files were the cause of the problem. The distributor of 20th Century Fox sends the JPEG2000-encoded and AES-128-encrypted movies on external hard drives via courier. After that, the data (in the case of Avatar 150 GByte) needs to be copied to the theater server. Each digital projector/server combination generates a different certificate and transmits it to the DRM service in charge. The DRM service creates an individual key for each movie and sends it back to the theater. The key is always only valid for one copy of the film as well as one projector and can be limited to specific time periods and times of day.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the transmission of the correct keys for the 3D screenings did apparently not work in several cases, though. Theater technicians tried for several hours to decrypt the gigantic pile of data, but apparently the service responsible for the digital distribution of the film, Deluxe, could not provide valid keys yesterday.

Re:Wait... (3, Insightful)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478666)

Noteworthy in that it exemplifies a very real problem with DRM. They did pay for the licenses but the supplier of the license basically withheld the license and therefore the customer got screwed. This has come up many times as a theoretical question: What do you do when the validator of the license no longer exists, changes their rules or is unwilling to validate your license (or in this case incapable of) ?

You're screwed. That's the answer.

What people have to understand is what "Digital Rights Management" actually means. When we hear the word "right" we always think about "our rights" not the other party's rights (unless they belong to the same peer group.) So for instance, if I talk about providing "right to free speech" you are happy because you assume it includes you as a recipent of that right. We are biased to assume that rights are universal. (inalienable, etc.) That we all share the same rights. That an increased number, strength or quality of rights is better.Basically we will tend to support any right because we are subconciously programmed to believe it benefits us.

The proponents of DRM are specifically using this psychology against us. They market their product with the term "rights" in order to make the intended audience/mark comfortable with their sales pitch/con game. Their "rights" yield to you NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL. What it does do is guarantee specifics rights for them which you cannot circumvent or otherwise deny or share in. What they ARE selling to you is "Digital *Restriction* management". In otherwords, you are agreeing to allow them to restrict what you can do with the product that you buy. And there is nothing that you can do to improve your position in the future should they change their mind or cease to exist. This is true whether or not legal issues change as well. For instance, let's say that you were convicted and jail for alcohol sales during prohibition. The law changes and it is no longer a crime. However you don't get let out of jail because your key/license was crafted without that right. Basically if things change in your favor the license does not automatically change for you.

The United States has a Bill of Rights and the citizens generally hold this to be a significant factor in the quality and justice of the United States. Imagine how low we would think of a country who's government was based on a "Bill of Restrictions". A description of limited abilities that the government allows, arbitrarily or to the benefit of its politicians/dictators. Well that is *exactly* the relationship of DRM. It is truly Digital Restriction Management.

Give yourself 100% discount (2, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477738)

Do not see this movie.

Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477748)

All these content companies clinging so tightly to their precious DRM. They think that they're protecting their income stream, but I think they're really just pissing it away.

Eventually people are going to get fed up with having to navigate the endless tangles of DRM, and will decide it's just not worth the hassle just to see the latest crappy movie or hear the latest crappy over-compressed music album.

I'm already there. I don't bother with any media that requires me to fuss with DRM just to view/listen to it, or to exercise my fair use rights (backup copies, etc). If that means I have to completely stop buying movies/music/software/ebooks/etc, then I'm perfectly fine with that. I won't miss it. There's enough free stuff out there that's just as good, if not better.

Avatards (0, Offtopic)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477780)

I accidentally the DRM keys for the movie... is this bad?

Re:Avatards (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477916)

How is Avvatar formed? How movie not get prjcted?

#22 Rodriguez (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478064)

How is Avvatar formed?

You must first bend air [wikipedia.org] . Then you must buy "Air Bender" sneakers with a #22 [wikipedia.org] on them.

Re:Avatards (2, Funny)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478320)

They need to do way instain theater> who kill thier movvys. becuse these movvy cant frigth back it was on the news this mroing a theater in ar who had kill her three movvys . they are taking the three movvy back to new york too lady to rest my pary are with the custimers company who lost his movvys ; i am truley sorry for your lots

Re:Avatards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30477936)

I accidentally the DRM keys for the movie... is this bad?

Oooooh! I love Mad Libs. Someone suggest a verb!

Re:Avatards (2, Funny)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478082)

Oooooh! I love Mad Libs. Someone suggest a verb!

I accidentally flushed the DRM keys for the movie... is this bad for __(direct object)__?

And... ? (2, Insightful)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477782)

An isolated failure with no particularly big consequences. The story tries to make DRM look bad, but really, is this the first time a critical demo went bad at an embarrassing moment?

Hate on DRM all you want for all the evils it might contain. I do. But this is a nothing story.

Re:And... ? (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#30477968)

DRM creates un-necessary barriers that make pirating unlocked media even more appealing.

Re:And... ? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478386)

But it's another one of those failure that *don't* have to be, that you know is there just because of DRM. Just like my annoying TV, it is supposed to support HDMI but it only manages direct HDMI. Run it through any pass-through and it'll fail. I did check online and yeah, it has HDCP handshake timing issues. It could have been the receiver too but the point would still stand. Same on a computer, you upgrade something or don't upgrade something or reinstall or swap hardware and something and you know that wouldn't break it, DRM broke it. Want to get a Mac or a Linux box? Yeah good luck transferring those. I accept that things fail or break, it's not a perfect world. But that doesn't mean I want something that's intentionally prone to breaking.

Re:And... ? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478724)

This is one of those issues that should prompt people to make a mental leap. A large institution is using its power to attach strings to the content we want to see. If we were as organized as that institution, we could broker a deal that would cause them to stop. Due to a trick of fate or of legislation passed in the 40's, the only organization we have today as consumers is governmental.

Unfortunately, especially among the technically oriented, there's this idea that we're not allowed to use that organizational power, so we sit on our hands, get screwed, and call it freedom. Thanks, Libertarians. Thanks.

Given all the reviews I have seen .. (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478102)

This should been a welcomed effect of DRM. Everyone is basically saying "pretty pictures, but the story sucks", and at almost 3 hours long I'd hate to be stuck in the cinema wading through that.

Re:Given all the reviews I have seen .. (2, Insightful)

Thanatos81 (1305243) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478552)

Stuck in the cinema? Well, I do not know if you get handcuffed to your seat in your favorite cinema, but over here in Germany you are free to leave the cinema at any given moment. Indeed, I have done so on some rare occasions like "Tomb Raider". Of course you won't get a refund for the time you leave earlier. And some might point out that they paid for the movie and it would feel like wasting money. But I for one prefer to leave early and do something else I enjoy, than sitting there for another hour or so and get bored to death.

Achtung! (3, Funny)

Skelde (697341) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478198)

Diese DRM nicht for the gefingerpoken

DRM = Digital Restrictions Management (4, Informative)

VitaminB52 (550802) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478286)

The legal system manages the rights on books, movies and music.

DRM 'manages' the restrictions when playing a recording - in fact DRM often violates the rights of a consumer (e.g. when preventing making backup copies while the legal system grants consumers the right to make a backup copy).

And that's (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478378)

Moviegoers were offered to get a refund or view an analogue 2D showing instead.

      And only because it would be illegal if they didn't offer the customer any form of compensation. It's not as if they care enough about their business to make sure things are done right.

      When you go to the cinema, this is exactly the sort of crap you are supporting.

Re:And that's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30478684)

Oh, come on... be serious here. (And I'm posting AC to avoid being flamed)

They had a technical screw-up that prevented them from showing the 3D version of a film. What would you expect them to do? If it were not illegal, word would get out VERY quickly and the cinema would lose business anyway. It's not just because it's illegal - they did the best they could given the circumstances.

Now, charging 8 Euros for a bucket of popcorn - that's highway robbery.

Actually, this is the movie industry's clever plan (2, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 3 years ago | (#30478442)

Just pay. We don't give a damn if you watch it.

Only one thing can sum up what I feel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30478464)

And that would be the following commentary: http://www.tk421.net/gallery/sounds/haha.wav [tk421.net]
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