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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UltraViolet DRM – Another Useless Tool

It turned out that the latest hope for DRM realized on Blu-ray is just another useless tool which most likely won’t succeed but instead will encourage users to switch to illegal content.

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UltraViolet was announced as a digital rights authentication system, especially designed for the film industry. The very idea of this tool is fairly laudable, as it is meant to provide users access to the material they’ve purchased across a number of electronic devices. However, it recently turned out that the DRM is too tied up with proprietary applications, so it only allows very limited access. In addition, it stuffs up the viewing experience, which should be the very idea of purchasing content.

The idea of UltraViolet is the following: when you purchase a Blu-ray movie, you also get a piece of paper inside the case. There is a 12-digit code written on that piece of paper, which directs you to a certain online service. On the Internet, you have to face Flixster – a multi-platform application which will force you to set up an account with the service in order to redeem your different digital copy rights. In addition, you will also have to download plenty of programs that will allow you to view the digital version of the film you paid for.

Although the applications are heavy on social network integration, they are not quite user friendly. Besides, you aren’t even allowed to upload a version of the film with higher resolution! If you have finally worked out how to download the material you want, it becomes visible in your file directory and you are able to move it around. Still, the feature is that you will not be allowed to open the movie without the Flixster program agreeing.

So, it seems that UltraViolet rights simply provide you with doubtful access to streamed and downloaded versions of the movie you purchased. Moreover, this access is only granted for “at least a year”! In other words, you may kiss your decision to make a decent collection goodbye. As you can understand, all these restrictions and difficulties are very annoying. That’s why the very idea of UltraViolet DRM will fail. The industry experts agree that instead of jumping through the DRM hoops, Internet users will choose to do something simpler – for example, switch to illegal content. 

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