Hollywood movie studios demand Apple strengthen DRM limitations before joining iTunes

“Apple Computer is coming under pressure from some of Hollywood’s biggest movie studios to change the operating environment of its popular iTunes platform, amid growing concern about digital piracy,” Matthew Garrahan and Jonathan Birchall report for The Financial Times.

“The studios – Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros – are in talks with Apple about making their films available for digital download on iTunes,” Garrahan and Birchall report.

Garrahan and Birchall report, “After months of discussion, a sticking point has emerged over the studios’ demand that Apple limit the number of devices that can use a film downloaded from iTunes.”

“‘We’re very willing to do a deal but we’re keen to get some concessions from Apple that will account for the differences between the value of music and television content and feature film content,’ …said one studio executive involved in the talks,” Garrahan and Birchall report.

Full article here.
Why don’t they just put visible and hidden markings on the files like they do for Oscar voters’ screeners? A big “PROPERTY OF UNIVERSAL” across every frame of the film would be nice. And a little audio voice-over stating, “PROPERTY OF UNIVERSAL!” every 30 seconds would be good, too. Along with mandatory upfront signed forms from each customer promising not to circulate the files or face prosecution and/or fines, of course. Aw, heck, why not just sell 90 minutes of black soundless content for $9.99-$14.99. That would work the best.

Related articles:
Disney sells nearly 500,000 movies via Apple’s iTunes Store in less than two months – November 09, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006


  1. This is a riot… because we all know how “secure” DVDs are….

    Give me a break! People will use the iTunes store because they WANT to purchase the content – not because they want to pirate it!!!

  2. Unfortunately, many executives are hired because they are the best at “managing up,” even as they undermine other executive competitors within the company. Too often, those doing the hiring are easily fooled. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

  3. What prevents someone from buying a DVD and ripping it a 1,000 times?

    Studio logic makes no sense. I mean, it’s not like Steve Jobs doesn’t have a vested interest in a Hollywood Studio or something…Like Disney…like billions…

  4. I know this “guy” who belongs to Blockbuster Online and the local Blockbuster video store nearby. Every week he runs to his mailbox to collect three vintage movies at a time, and then to the BB store to check out as many as five brand new titles . . . which he then rips (using MTR) and distributes to a few close friends at a local marina.

    No matter how DRM-manic the studios get (SONY is the worst), there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop the above kind of behavior. NOTHING. All they are doing is pissing off legitimate customers who want to play by a set of fair and easily understood rules. They’re not affecting the aforementioned “guy” one iota. (According to him, “Superman Returns” was copied this morning in a little less than 10 minutes.)

    When will they ever learn?

  5. now lets seriously think about this for a second.

    if i wanted to pirate a movie. what would i do?

    1. go down to the local video store, and hire the movie for 5 bucks.


    2. download the movie of itunes for 10-15 bucks. (up to 3 times more)

    now anyone with some sense would hire the movie.
    Hollywoos movie studios are just being fussy.

  6. It is important to remember that it took the music industry years of piracy to allow Apple to distribute their products.

    It could take a few years of plummeting DVD sales before the movie industry fully accepts a new way of thinking.

    As yet the number of people ripping DVDs is small because of the time it takes and the size of the resulting files. But computers are getting faster, include DVD burners as standard and software better. Soon it will be a cinch to do and ever tom, dick and harry will be getting movies off netflix and rip to their hearts content.

    As for executives being good at their job, the main aim of an executive is to make as much money for themselves as possible. In a lot of cases that makes money for the company and the shareholders.

    Someone will crack HD DVD and Blu-ray sooner or later. However since the files will be larger and the media and burners more expensive in the short term, it will be a while before it becomes mainstream.

  7. Why? People watch a movie once or twice in their lives, with few exceptions. Why would one want to pay such ludicrous amounts of money for movies as they would for music?

    Greed is typical in American businesses, and why America will in the long run keep falling farthr and farther behind technologically thant he rest of the developed world.


  8. Hehe… those shtupid executives. I can just go to one of the mall in Southeast Asia and bought any dvds, even movies that hasn’t even came out in the market yet for US$2.15. Rip ’em using “one of those” free software from the internet and synced them with my iPod with video. Take that…

    Seriously, who are they trying to kid. Are they gonna make Apple put in a software on the iPod to phone home (like Windows XP) and disable it until you call the help line and paid extra money since the video is in more than one iPod? Oh yeah… they did that with the Zune thingy “social” three days or three plays

    Most of these executives just trying to keep busy to show their shareholders that they are doing something to justify the big bucks they are being paid. If not, their title is just gonna be ex of something (which should be anyway considering how many billions of dollars they are missing out by not offering movies on iTunes hehe…)

  9. If these rumors of demands by the movie studios are true, then Apple should just say F*ck it, and go the other way.

    Make iTunes and iTV and iPods compatible with divx, xvid and all that. They’ll certainly sell a lot more hardware that way.

    Personally I cannot see why they are bending over backwards trying to negotiate with the studios. If the studios listened to Apple, it would be mutually beneficial. Instead, the studios want to create the kind of prohibitive video store that only a Zune would like.

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