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Google Video Store Shutting Down

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the calling-it-quits dept.

Google 155

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

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155 comments

Change of motto. (4, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195545)

"Do no business"

Re:Change of motto. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196385)

Oh, Google is doing business.
The same fine article which announces the end of the Google Video store announces that Google is getting into video advertising! As if these things are related... hmmm....
Just think. What would it mean if the real purpose of Google's video store was to get their internal video player working well enough that they could do AdSense on video? [sigh]

Re:Change of motto. (4, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196907)

The same fine article which announces the end of the Google Video store announces that Google is getting into video advertising! As if these things are related... hmmm....
Just think. What would it mean if the real purpose of Google's video store was to get their internal video player working well enough that they could do AdSense on video?


Eh?

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

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

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

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

Re:Change of motto. (2, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197783)

Infact "do no evil" is alive & well : this make DRM harder to sell.

Once again... (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195551)

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

Re:Once again... (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195577)

The problem comes in when you equate "citizen" with "consumer".

Re:Once again... (3, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195659)

The problem comes in when you equate "citizen" with "consumer".

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

Actually... (3, Insightful)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195889)

The problem is when customers and citizens fail to realize that they are ALL consumers... citizens are consumers of government services, the same way customers are consumers of company services. Since both of those groups rarely insist on being informed consumers or better yet, SELF RELIANT, they end up at the mercy of their service providers.

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

Re:Actually... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197111)

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

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

That's not to say that regulation can't be used to create or prop up monopolies, but the answer isn't to get rid of regulation completely. The problem today is that our politicians are in bed with big business, and they no longer regulate in the public interest (or at all).

That's CAPITALISM'S problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195969)

SAIA

Re:Once again... (4, Interesting)

Afecks (899057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195645)

This really sucks. I bought quite a few videos I couldn't find anywhere else. People take for granted that VHS and DVD are at an endless supply. That's simply not true. Most VHS and a lot of DVD are out of print now. The only way to watch these are to get very lucky and find an overpriced copy or do something illegal.

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

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

Do no evil my ass!

Re:Once again... (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195727)

Did they operate also in the Western European market? The EU has laws requiring the owners of a closed down business to continue to provide support for several years, and the non-EU Western European countries have consumer protection laws even stricter than that (the expected lifetime of the product), which would come into play here. Continued support for the DRM part would be expected.

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

Re:Once again... (0, Redundant)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195995)

Did they operate also in the Western European market? The EU has laws requiring the owners of a closed down business to continue to provide support for several years, and the non-EU Western European countries have consumer protection laws even stricter than that (the expected lifetime of the product), which would come into play here. Continued support for the DRM part would be expected.
--
Usually such companies would be of the 'limited responsability' type, where the most that people could get is the 15000$ guarantee that the company has deposited as guarantee, and that's about zilch.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197083)

Anything that follows two dashes looks like a signature, not a reply.

I was looking at your message and figured that you'd included the parent text but forgot to reply to it...

You can quote using {quote}blah blah{/quote} (replace curly brackets with the usual HTML < and >)

Re:Once again... (2, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195809)

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

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

Re:Once again... (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196751)

Of course, Google really should be giving a cash refund and cutting checks, but that doesn't excuse /. for once again getting a story wrong.


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

This is exactly the problem with DRM: if the technological means (e.g., the proper hardware/software with the necessary encryption keys) to watch the content that you legally purchased goes the way of the DoDo, you're left having paid for something you can no longer consume.

That's not fair to the consumer and it's absolutely contrary to the purpose of copyright.

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196889)

And people wonder why many of us want NOTHING to do with Steam..

Re:Once again... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197597)

If I could have done something to protect my investment (I bought it to own, not rent) such as burn it to a CD or backup to another HD I would be fine. As it is, I'm completely screwed, thanks to the whim of some company that cares absolutely nothing about me.

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

Re:Once again... (0, Offtopic)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195911)

Wait, how has Microsoft's music service (Urge, IIRC) harmed the consumer? Did I miss a story?

Re:Once again... (1)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195939)

This seems to be going on in many industries at the moment. A few years ago in the UK the train companies started referring to their "passengers" as customers. It was widely regarded as removing their responsibility to actually transport you anywhere.

Re:Once again... (4, Insightful)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196061)

Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.


Somewhere, Richard Stallman is muttering "I told you so" through a gnarly beard...

Re:Once again... (2, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196157)

Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.
Somewhere, Richard Stallman is muttering "I told you so" through a gnarly beard...
Of course, since he covered his RFID badge in foil, we don't know where.

Re:Once again... (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196289)

How is Google shutting down a DRM business and leaving customers disenfranchised different than any other rental store closing down and leaving its customers all bummed that they have to return their stuff, get a refund, and go somewhere else to rent things?

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

That's why Apple is selling lots of iTunes songs and Windows Media stores aren't. It's also why Universal wants to do its DRM-free trial independent of iTunes to see if it can divert any traffic into Microsoft's partners and gain concessions out of Apple. If it can breathe any life into the former PlaysForSure partners, it will then immediately suspend the DRM-free trial and hook up the world to Windows Media DRM, as it originally intended, and mainstream music will be fucked.

But we knew that already.

Universal vs Apple in the iTunes Store Contracts [roughlydrafted.com]
When reports surfaced that Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, refused to resign its existing deal with Apple's iTunes Store, there were private schadenfreude celebrations held in many closets.

How is it different? (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196497)

It's one thing if a rental store closes down and everyone has to return their rentals.
Actually, with brick-and-mortar rental places renting out physical media, you may have the chance to buy some of the media while it's shutting down, since they need to raise money and dump assets. I did it once, back when VHS tapes for sale were rare.
It's another thing if the rental store closes and, thanks to the terms of service, you didn't realize what you have isn't yours. If this happens in the physical world, expect a collection agency to call...
Seriously, some of the "rental" videos Google was selling were sold this way: for one payment, a customer could watch a video "forever" on the Google website. Quite a few customers interpreted this as meaning they had actually bought, not just the right to watch the video, but a "copy" of the video itself.

Re:How is it different? (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196767)

Quite a few customers interpreted this as meaning they had actually bought, not just the right to watch the video, but a "copy" of the video itself.


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

Re:Once again... (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196641)

``Yet another example of where DRM harms the consumer.''

Example? We need examples of that? Harming cosumers is the _only_ thing DRM _does_!

Because it's so hard to use Google Checkout (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195573)

Oh wait, it's not. And, I doubt someone that used Google Video Store would have a huge objection to using it. Did anyone actually use Google Video Store anyway?

Piracy is the only consumer guarantee (5, Insightful)

biocute (936687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195575)

leaving users who bought videos that used Digital Restrictions Management without their purchases

That'll teach them to never buy non-pirated videos in the future!

Re:Piracy is the only consumer guarantee (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195749)

Is this anything new? Pirated versions of movies and games have always been superior. No unskippable (UOP) fbi warnings and previews on DVDs, no region codes, games that don't require a disc in the drive... plus movie pirates are the best in the industry when it comes to video compression with minimal loss of quality. We've been taught over and over again that the legitimate options always fall short of the abolutely unrestricted nature of pirated IP

Re:Piracy is the only consumer guarantee (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196403)

"We've been taught over and over again that the legitimate options always fall short of the abolutely unrestricted nature of pirated IP"

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

It's a great medium and I'm sad to see it being supplanted by low quality DRM'd audio from iTunes etc.

That is so very sad. (4, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195799)

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

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

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

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

Re:That is so very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196271)

Have you ever thought you maybe uh, suck at simple act pirating stuff?

Re:That is so very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196425)

Have you ever thought that you maybe, uh, suck at the simple act of writing?

Re:That is so very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197023)

Dare I say it? Well, on the legit side, there's Netflix, reasonably priced. But when I subscribed I felt like I had to constantly be watching stuff, even when I didn't want to. And sometimes stuff was unavailable or the annoyance of waiting for returns to be checked in and new disks to come in the mail when I was excited about something in my queue...

Also for a reasonable monthly fee, there are premium usenet providers like giganews with unlimited accts and various binary groups with DVD rips that are minus the annoying things like forced ads you get in the retail deal. You talk about queues on usenet? Really? I've never heard of such a thing. Yeah downloading 100 million headers and such would suck, but there are search engines, search services built into newsbinpro and newsleecher and grabit I think now. It's still a pain in the ass. I'd pay money to legit outlets if they offered it, but they don't. They do all this stupid DRM crap, force unwanted things, ad's, warnings, etc. Over compress the downloads etc. So WTF?

Occasionally I'll go to a store and rent something too. But really, all ways are wearing thin on me. I'm sick of dealing with usenet, sick of renting, sick of dealing with it all. I've mostly switched off of mainstream media at this point. There ought to be a legit outlet where you could download a DVD or BluRay, just the movie even, no unwanted extras, no you-are-forced-to-this-or-that crap. Hmm actually I thought I read on slashdot that some ppl in the porn industry are allowing download of DVD and you burn it yourself ... LOL Maybe if you want to be legit you should be looking into spending more money in the porno industry :-P I hear the script writing, story telling, acting, and production quality has really improved over the years.

But seriously we're overloaded with options these days. I spend my time downloading mp3s, buying a few CDs here and there (careful to not support any RIAA affiliates). Talk radio, books, PDFs, occasional documentaries. If Hollywood and Major Record industry vanished from the face of the earth tomorrow, I wouldn't even notice, except for all the bitching of the addicts going throw withdrawal. I'd still enjoy a flick every now and then, but I find it hard to enjoy considering all the politics surrounding the issue. On top of that bandwidth politics, both with the FCC/ISPs, and at home when there isn't enough to go around.

Re:That is so very sad. (2, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197165)

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

I think you'll find that has more to do with Hollywood than incompetent video services. It's a capitalist market - if the service isn't there, there's an opportunity for you to start one and cash in. But, you'll probably find you have the same problems with licencing as the rest of them.

Re:That is so very sad. (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197219)

Hollywood is who I was talking about when I said "they". I guess I should have been clearer.

You are right on the money, me thinks.

Re:Piracy is the only consumer guarantee (3, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196585)

Reminds me of an ad they used to put on rental VHS tapes. Some guy buys a pirated copy of "train spotting" off some dodgy guy down at the market, and tries unsuccesfully to get his money back as the tape is of unwatchably poor quality. The follows a stern warning that pirated tapes suck and can even damage your VCR.

10 years into the future, and the situation is reversed. People now laugh at the poor dope dumb enough to buy a legitimate copy. And they don't laugh because he paid money. I'd pay, to get a decent copy without the hassle of having to find it first (and downloading it only to find it's a German language version). As long as that copy is mine.

But is this any different ... (0)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195581)

... from buying services (a gift certificate or classes or something) from a brick-and-mortar store that then closes? This happens all the time. We arrived to arrange our first cooking classes at a store around here to find bulldozers disassembling the place. It was a bummer, but there wasn't anything we could do about it (and I expect the owners of the place would have preferred to be profitable enough to stay afloat and honor our gift certificate). I just don't think there should be any special expectation that because something is digital and/or a subsidiary of a larger, healthier company that it exist forever.

Re:But is this any different ... (4, Insightful)

ductonius (705942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195627)

A better analogy would be you arrived at the cooking school and the receptionist told you they no longer teach the classes you'd paid for, but they could give you credit for yoga lessons at a place across town.

Re:But is this any different ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195685)

Also you aren't allowed to cook the things they taught you to cook anymore.

Re:But is this any different ... (3, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195675)

[But is this any different] from buying services (a gift certificate or classes or something) from a brick-and-mortar store that then closes?

Yes, I think it is. Customer expectations are different when they buy a film; they expect it to be like a video or DVD where they get ongoing access. Personally, I think that's a legitimate expectation.

Now you can argue that expectations are going to have to change if you want. But that isn't going to help if no one buys DRM content because they've not received the value they expected for their transaction.

Re:But is this any different ... (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195687)

The question then becomes: Should an online purchase of music, something that recording companies desperately want us to believe is equivalent to acquiring a CD, be treated like the purchase of a gift certificate? The model here allowed a customer unlimited and indefinite use of a particular song or video, but requires Google's participation to make the media usable.

I suppose that in a lot of ways, this is more like a pricey unlimited membership to a video rental shop. Unlike that situation, however, users here paid "full" price for each piece of content to which they wanted unlimited access. That suggests a situation much closer to acquiring an actual CD or DVD. Although transferring that value to Google Checkout probably works adequately for most of their customers, this situation still highlights weaknesses both of DRM and of online purchases of media in general.

Whether I'm streaming media or purchasing media encumbered with digital rights management, the seller has a mechanism that makes me dependent upon them to continue receiving what I've paid for. Unless I work around their locks and protections, I never retain an actual copy of the media for myself. That is dissimilar to the situation in meatspace. If I buy a CD, I have a CD.

Re:But is this any different ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195705)

omg do not state the obvious and the reasonable here, this is slashdot, where kiddies from moms basement will use any old bullshit excuse to get away with justifying illegal video, music and software piracy. you must be new.

Re:But is this any different ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195853)

... where kiddies from moms basement ...

How ironic.

Because it isn't a service (2, Insightful)

Captain Tripps (13561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195731)

Movies (and music, and software) are traditionally considered products, not services. Nowadays there are plenty of folks willing to sell you subscriptions to these things, but Google gave the option to buy these videos outright, with no time limitations. And the customers would have been able to watch them indefinitely, or resell them, or loan them to friends, except for the artificial restrictions of the DRM. That's the main problem with DRM: it limits the concept of "ownership" to be whatever the seller chooses, even if that's more restrictive than what the law allows. Apple's changed the rules on FairPlay before, so not are they limiting your rights, they're doing it after the fact.

I'm very encouraged that things seem to be turning around, though. Five years ago, I'd have never guessed major labels would be selling unprotected tracks.

On closer inspection (1)

Captain Tripps (13561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195769)

It does look like Google provided this more as an online service, albeit an indefinite one. So your analogy is apt. Though only providing refunds as store credit is a little skeezy.

Re:But is this any different ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195779)

Yeah it's different. These guys did not have store credit to buy videos at a future date, they had already bought videos. From the conventional point of view, the purchaser "owns" the videos they purchased, so the store they bought them from closing should have no effect on watching the videos. Of course with digital restrictions systems this is not the case, yet another big problem with DRM.

Re:But is this any different ... (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197045)

This happens all the time. We arrived to arrange our first cooking classes at a store around here to find bulldozers disassembling the place
No, this is having taken your cooking class, and then they show up a little while later and suck the knowledge back out with the Hoover BrainSucker (tm) aka: DRM-Enforcer. Sure they offer you some coupons to buy other things that you previously didn't want to buy (when you had the actual cash in your hand and elected to buy the cooking class!) but on a happy note your newly lobotomized brain can't tell what it wants anymore...so you're happy.

Re:But is this any different ... (1)

bwy (726112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197085)

What happened with the Google Video Store is more like buying a bunch of cookware and using it for a year and then one day waking up to find out that it had self destructed into a pile of ashes.

Re:But is this any different ... (1)

mh101 (620659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197913)

A more accurate analogy in this case would be if you did indeed take those cooking classes, but when they closed down they forced you to forget everything you learned there.

Linus shutting down Linux (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195593)

In an announcement today, Linus said that he is closing down the Linux kernel.
Any users who are currently running this kernel are to reformat their machines.
Linus said the DRM* built into the kernel will ensure this occurs.

*DRM is based upon the honour system, operators are forced to stop using it.

Re:Linus shutting down Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195653)

that's gay dude... come up with something funnier.

Re:Linus shutting down Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197391)

As funny as it may seem, this scenario is actually possible - not for Linux in general, but for tivoized devices. You may have a copy of the sources, but you cannot modify it and run it on the device. So if the provider runs out of business and there's some change in file formats or whatever, all the advantages of open source are useless.

I guess this is one of the things GPL v3 addresses.

Well be honest (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195607)

It's not like they really promoted it or anything

From day one it seemed like some form of filler and not some serious venture.

Re:Well be honest (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195647)

Probably practice for whatever their real offering will be, assuming Google decides that's a market it is even interested in pursuing.

Re:Well be honest (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195683)

It is, of course, always possible that this was just an idea that didn't pan out. Google is not immune to mistakes, and this wouldnt be the first product that they've withdrawn. They're a good company, and they have a lot of good products, but sometimes things just don't workout the way they are planned.

Re:Well be honest (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196297)

This may not be the first Google service to shut down, but is it the first paid service?

From the perspective of customers that don't know any better, Google is planning to forcibly take back the videos customers purchased on a permanent basis, then compensate them with a gift certificate. Sounds like a great way to advertise their payment service which hasn't overtaken PayPal like they thought it would - and Google still makes money on the transaction fees.

Re:Well be honest (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196535)

I think Google's real offering is going to be Video AdSense. At any rate, the fine article that announces the closure of Google Video includes Google's announcement to roll "Video AdSense" out, so...

Another great slashdot edit... (3, Insightful)

Denis Troller (1002792) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195633)

If you happen to read TFA, you will notice that there is no mention of DRM.
Simply because this is not a DRM issue. This service offered to WATCH video on demand, not download it.
Once the service stops, there is no way to continue watching information you don't have (you might call that the ultimate DRM...)

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

Now, the fact that Google will provide refunds only through Google Checkout, now that seems pretty unfair to me.

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195701)

If you happen to read TFA, you will notice that you're talking out your ass.

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

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


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

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

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (4, Informative)

Denis Troller (1002792) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195805)

I'm just saying that what /. people usually yell about is companies that try to sell you something as "goods" (I bought a song) when it really is only a "service" (I bought the right to listen to a song).

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195945)

OK, thanks for clearing that up. You're right, it's not technically DRM. Google was selling streams.

So, once again the slashtard editors get it wrong, probably intentionally, although we might give them the benefit of the doubt and call it merely incompetence. This doesn't excuse the Googletards for the somewhat sketchy solution of offering a refund via Google checkout rather than cutting checks. But that also brings up another question about the story summary. It says that customers that didn't use Google checkout are screwed. Point One, was it possible to buy access to these streams without using Google check out? Point Two, if this group that didn't use Google checkout is larger than zero, is it established as fact that they won't be getting a refund in some other way?

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (2, Informative)

r3m0t (626466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196187)

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

Instead people get some credit that they can't turn into cash. The shows they bought, they no longer have - maybe they can find it elsewhere for more.

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (3, Informative)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196577)

I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to think of a stream as DRM. Do we talk about FM radio being DRMed (or ARMed)? Pay-per-view cable? When you are prevented from bringing a video camera into a movie theater (which is streaming from the projector, onto the screen, and then to your eyes), do you complain about the theater's DRM?

Yes, you can video tape pay-per-view (afaik). You can do the equivalent to a stream coming in to your computer using a variety of software and methods. So, why the insistence on calling everything DRM? The word is losing its meaning. It's getting watered down and eventually will mean "anything I don't like about an entertainment product".

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197431)

That depends whether or not the stream in question is, in fact, DRMed. FM radio (and most online streaming stuff) isn't; there's nothing to stop you from recording/stream ripping it. The for-pay Google Video videos were apparently DRMed to prevent copying, and required a special player. (Also, according to the Wikipedia page, the Google Video Player saved all videos to the local hard disk before playing them.)

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196117)

You can only watch it through a viewer on Google's site. Google is no longer offering the service, thus your videos are not watchable.

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


Let's say my cinema decided to sell a service, where I'd get my personal 1-seat cinema running the movie I had paid for to see as many times as I want. If that cinema closed down, I wouldn't be able to see my movie anymore but it'd hardly have anything to do with DRM. You never had a proper copy, only a transient copy bouncing over the Internet via your Google viewer to your screen. Granted, it might be DRM that prevents you from capturing that stream to make such a permanent copy, if law and license permits it. But one could just as easily argue that the service never granted you any right to reproduction, which is one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder and that the service was like a remote personal cinema. You could argue fair use, and they could possibly use the DMCAs anti-circumvention clauses which would bring DRM into it but I don't think that's central.

You bought access to a service, that service has disappeared. You don't have any DRM-locked files you can't play, because you got nothing. As such it's really more a question of whether what you bought (lifetime access to a service) is what you thought you got (own a permanent copy). Because when you say DRM, that sort of persumes that there's something to manage.

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196517)

Ah, but Google is not shutting down. Google is simply discontinuing a service that is costing them very little in the way of resources but which, by its discontinuance, is breaking a contract they made with their customers. And most likely the only reason they are doing this is to eliminate the redundancy with YouTube.

Re:Another great slashdot edit... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195997)

Now, the fact that Google will provide refunds only through Google Checkout, now that seems pretty unfair to me.

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

Never trust someone else to keep giving you access (5, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195643)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (3, Informative)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196409)

This is precisely why I won't buy video from iTunes.
Unless I can burn it to a standard DVD, I will never buy DRM'd video from anyone!.

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

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

eMusic's stock (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196625)

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

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (2, Informative)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196923)

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

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

That said, their selection largely amounts to 1) Classical 2) Assorted ethnic and non-English stuff 3) Non-RIAA indie labels. I'm currently listening to some Pixies and White Stripes music I got from eMusic. Anyhow, if any of those three types appeal to you, I encourage you to sign up; it's certainly worth it. If you want popular music, stick with more mainstream online music stores, like, er, BitTorrent. ;)

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (1)

ivanski (89701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197699)

You're mistaken about not being able to see the catalog:

http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html [emusic.com]

As far as availability of popular stuff, it's true you don't get stuff from the big 4, but there's plenty of popular music not put out by them (Matador and Merge are fairly substantial labels and on eMusic). What have I gotten from them recently?

- Paul McCartney/Memory Almost Full
- The Arcade Fire/Neon Bible and Funeral
- Spoon/Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction
- The Decemberists/Picaresque and Her Majesty
- Cat Power/The Greatest and You Are Free
- Camera Obscura/Let's Get Out Of This Country
- The National/Boxer
- Stars/In Our Bedroom and Do You Trust Your Friends
- Interpol/Antics and Turn Out The Bright Lights
- Neko Case/Fox Confessor
- Of Montreal/Hissing Fauna and Satanic Panic
- New Pornographers/Twin Cinema and Electric Version

These aren't for the most part Top 40 acts, but ain't complete unknowns either.

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196437)

If you don't like the idea of rentals, don't sign any contracts to obtain limited use of somebody else's stuff in exchange for money. They might default.

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

loans
service and support agreements
marriage (divorce)

It's a disappointing world when partners can terminate a contract they no longer want to fulfill. The problem isn't DRM, that's just leverage in a specific kind of agreement. DRM is only as trustworthy as the entity offering it. If you don't trust anyone, you can't trust anyone.

So stock food inside a compound you own, not rent; better yet, grow your own food. Dig your own well and generate your own power. Then all you'll have to fear is the gov'ment coming for taxes. But you won't stuffer the anguish of losing your online movie rentals from a company you thought you could trust, nor are you likely to get married to someone who might leave you.

It is a lonely life however.

--
Universal vs Apple in the iTunes Store Contracts [roughlydrafted.com]
When reports surfaced that Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, refused to resign its existing deal with Apple's iTunes Store, there were private schadenfreude celebrations held in many closets.

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196663)

My girlfriend stopped giving me access.

If only I had owned her...

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (1)

bwy (726112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197175)

This is why a world where you don't own anything is a bad idea.

Sadly, in todays world even owning it means nothing. Eminent domain laws guarantee others the right to take your property to do other things with it, like build a large condo complex for low income families or build a road. When this type of thing starts happening on a wide scale, nobody will want to own anything, because of fear from having it taken away. In that case it will make more sense just to rent. Or, to take whatever the government is going to provide. I'll just live in my government housing watching government provided digital media. Sounds good, yeah?

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (1)

lysse (516445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197233)

This is why a world where you don't own anything is a bad idea.

Only for you. For the people who do own everything, it's a great idea - feudalism was stable for centuries.

Re:Never trust someone else to keep giving you acc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197245)

This is why a world where you don't own anything is a bad idea. The people leasing or licensing the access to you can and will take it away from you


hear, hear.. I absolutely positivitly hates that they expect me to return the car I've rented.

What? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195663)

Google had a video store? This is news to me!

As for closing shop and having to refund all the customers, that wasn't such a bright move on Squirrelboy's part. Of course, using DRM in the first place wasn't so bright.

At least it's a valuable object lesson (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195671)

For years, us geeks on /. have been very wary of DRM. Mainly because many implementations depend on being able to regularly phone home - and if "home" ceases to exist (or, for that matter, continues to exist but decides it's not taking any more calls, as in this case), all the media you've paid good money for essentially evaporates.

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

On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195845)

But as long as that's a theoretical problem, one that's never been known to happen - it's one which won't get taken seriously by the masses who actually buy this stuff. Now, however, there's a concrete example. "Do not buy this, all your music and video can suddenly stop working for no immediately apparent reason and you won't have any comeback whatsoever".
 
Bullshit. I was just over at msnbc.com and they didn't have anything about this on the front page. The public never gets beyond that. This example of the problem, which isn't the first, is going to be ignored and most joe sixpacks shrug and say the users were compensated anyway. This is going no where as far as a news story or as far as getting the public to turn against drm. Infact, I would be you that most of the public wouldn't see this as a drm issue anyway (as in iTunes).

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

r3m0t (626466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196211)

DIVX was the first semi-major example. This is the second.

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196255)

And then I started making them evaporate?
Awesome! I wouldn't have to go through and clean up all my old useless shit!

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196417)

My first thought when I saw this story was that *maybe* Google had set it all up deliberately so it could go down in flames at this point - becoming, as you say, a concrete example of the evils of DRM.

It just might be true...
 

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197155)

My first thought when I saw this story was that *maybe* Google had set it all up deliberately so it could go down in flames at this point - becoming, as you say, a concrete example of the evils of DRM. It just might be true...
Sure. Google might just do something that is more likely to damage their own reputation than DRM in general, because they're martyrs and *so* good that any damage to their multi-billion company is worth it to expose the evils of DRM even by the most miniscule amount.

Or it might be complete bollocks. I know which one has a 99.999999999% of being true.

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

dirk (87083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196715)

Except that isn't what is happening at all. This is not a case of someone purchasing something and downloading it and then it stops working. This was a streaming video site, people never downloaded anything. If they paid for this, they had to watch the video streamed from Google. There was no DRM because there was nothing to DRM, it was all streamed. It certainly sucks that people paid for a supposedly infinite right to stream these shows and now won't be able to, but that is not DRM at all. IF I paid for a lifetime movie ticket to my local theatre and they closed, I would be in the same boat as these people.

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197443)

---Except that isn't what is happening at all.

Really. you dont say.

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

Yes, it is.

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

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

---There was no DRM because there was nothing to DRM, it was all streamed. It certainly sucks that people paid for a supposedly infinite right to stream these shows and now won't be able to, but that is not DRM at all. IF I paid for a lifetime movie ticket to my local theatre and they closed, I would be in the same boat as these people.

Buy Google isnt closed. They just took money and now refuse to render service.

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196987)

Mainly because many implementations depend on being able to regularly phone home - and if "home" ceases to exist (or, for that matter, continues to exist but decides it's not taking any more calls, as in this case), all the media you've paid good money for essentially evaporates.

Or even "change their number" or just stop taking calls from you...

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197009)

On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?

You'd better hope that your (ex) customers hadn't paid you in "evaporatable" money :)

Re:At least it's a valuable object lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197087)

See Gas/Petrol market/racket.

"On a side note, I wonder how long I'd last in the real world if I sold physical products which could, if I so desired, evaporate overnight with no prior warning and the purchaser having done nothing wrong? And then I started making them evaporate?"

Never was for real (2, Interesting)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20195751)

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

It was never really any good, and no one other than CNBC anchors ever thought it was for real.

oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20195885)

The users of Google Video Store will be compensated with Google Checkout credit

Wow, with all the users of that service, that must have set them back for at least 20 dollars!

there was a store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20196105)

No, really, I had no clue (not that I would have used it). I use Google Video all the time, and am amazed that I didn't notice.

Google should've followed Microsoft's example (4, Insightful)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20196777)

This incident shows the pitfalls of DRM, but Google didn't HAVE to do this.
When Microsoft shutdown their MSN Music Store (the music store portion of http://music.msn.com/ [msn.com] ), they kept the DRM servers in place so users that had purchased music from there could still obtain DRM licenses for the music as needed (for example, when moving the music to a new computer). Google has *plenty* of money and ability to do the same. This is a BS move by Google.

Re:Google should've followed Microsoft's example (3, Informative)

raynet (51803) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197013)

The difference ofcourse is that in Google's case, the files are streamed, thus continuing the service would require more resources than just a DRM authentication service. But instead of refunds, Google should have allowed users to download the videos and perhaps, if required by content owners, put some "traditional" DRM on them, eg. Playsforsure or whatnot.

Re:Google should've followed Microsoft's example (2, Interesting)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197963)

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

Re:Google should've followed Microsoft's example (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20197073)

LOL!
Look at this! For once, MS is more ethical than Google?
There were pragmatic factors, though. MS makes Playsforsure, but they weren't the only corp. using it. They likely would've gotten into trouble if they'd shut down half a dozen other legit corporate stores with their own, and they scared at least one of those stores enough to get it offering DRM-free music. They had to keep their DRM working to keep their embrace intact.

A Music store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20197319)

Google had a music store? That's news. I didn't even know that and already they're shutting it down. Must be a political decision. Surely Google had the technical ability to make their online music store presence known to the average web surfer. So, what's the underlying story here?
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