New Die Hard DVD's Digital Extras: Too Little Too Late?

Well, the details of 20th Century Fox’s new digital experiment are now public: the DVD of “Live Free Or Die Harder,” which goes on sale tomorrow, will allow purchasers to transfer a digital copy of the movie twice, once to their PC’s hard drive and once onto a PlaysForSure portable device. If you’ve got an iPod device or even a Zune, you won’t be able to do anything with it.

Not surprisingly, analysts aren’t exactly bowled over by Fox’s take on the future of digital commerce.

“If it doesn’t work on the iPod, then it doesn’t exist,” said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director at New York-based analyst firm Jupiter Research. “It’s the right idea and they’re taking steps, but it’s just not enough,” he said. “Consumers want to do the right thing, but they are dealing with a plethora of devices.”

“Fox Gives DVD Buyers a Tiny Taste of Portability” [Wired]

“Die Hard DVD Will Ship With Ripped Movie File Included”


Edit Your Comment

  1. MonkeyMonk says:

    What exactly is it about the MPAA and RIAA that make them so unable to grasp the reality of the situation their industries are in? Their actions are akin to watching someone repeatedly walk into a closed door while never thinking to try opening it.

  2. ogman says:

    One baby step forward, two giant leaps back. These clowns just don’t get it!

  3. Bay State Darren says:

    I’ll just bypass their free transfers and rip it the old-fashioned way. Personally, I think they’re already conning me: I’m a huge fan of the series, so I paid to see the watered-down PG-13 version in theater. Now I’m gonna pay again to see he real version, so no guilt there for steal from 20th Century [literally] Fox. Yippie-kie-yay, moviefucker-ups!

  4. Bay State Darren says:

    @Bay State Darren: for stealing from 20th Century

  5. bohemian says:

    Will your one hard drive download also be a tangled mess of locked down content? If you can’t burn it to a DVD to archive, transfer it to a portable device, or put a copy on your laptop to take with that one download is pretty useless.

    One hard drive crash and its gone.

  6. shoegazer says:

    How very ironic… I will indeed “Live Free” of this digital non-starter, and the movie studios can “Die Hard”. Freudian slip, Fox?

  7. Trae says:

    I was thinking about buying this.

    Now I’m thinking about bittorrenting it instead.

    Okay, I’ll admit it, neither of those statements are true. But I was thinking about *renting* this. Who gets the free digital copy off the rental?

  8. nursetim says:

    Who wants to bet that this will be used as an excuse to fight even harder against allowing transfers, since this will fail miserably.

  9. stinerman says:

    Honest consumers won’t be stopped by DRM because they’re honest. The rest won’t be stopped by DRM because it’s available via P2P networks.

    The media companies are one of the few businesses who intentionally cripple their product. The result is that your customers have an inferior product to those that chose to not give you their money.

  10. savvy999 says:

    Even for popcorn fluff, it’s an extraordinarily crappy movie. Why would anyone want to see it again?

    Anyways, I would be interested to see details on exactly how a read-only DVD could know it’s only been installed a couple of times. Are there registration keys that need to be pinged back to some home server for it to work (a la Microsoft)? Since it’s compatible with MS devices, I would guess that’s the case.

    This experiment will fail horribly.

  11. IphtashuFitz says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I was horribly disappointed by this movie so they’ll never get a sale out of me in any event. The first movie in this series was mostly believable, as was the second one. What really turned me off to this movie was the way they totally suspended reality in any of a number of ways. I wonder how many people who see movies like this will begin to believe that jet fighters can hover next to highway ramps and turn on a dime as if it was a helicopter, that gas pipelines can be easily sabotaged and made to explode by simply telling a computer to divert the gas in high pressure to a single location, etc.

  12. JustAGuy2 says:


    That was my problem with the movie as well. The first Die Hard, well, the premise ($700MM in bearer bonds, yadda yadda yadda) was only a bit silly, and everything Willis did fell into the category of “if I were truly a badass, and got very very lucky, I suppose I could pull that off.” The fourth has delved into pure magic. Pity.

  13. cerbie says:

    CDs are still alive because we can do what we want with them (CD->iTunes->happy…or CD->EAC+FLAC->happy), not what the content companies feel we should have a right to do with them (also that the content companies don’t want to offer us downloadable content of equal or superior quality and value). DVDs are only that way for techies and friends of techies.

    A simple way to do with DVDs what we do with CDs is difficult purely because of the steps these companies make to keep some control over the content they release. We have 500GB hard drives at decent prices, now, guys. We’re going to use them.

    Oh, well. That’s the **AAs, for you. Hopefully the birds will start flying and popping on cars as the dinos die off.

    “At the end of the day, consumers don’t care about DRM or technology, they just want to say, ‘I bought this and it works.'”

    Yet, it doesn’t. Because of DRM. Because that is the reason that DRM exists as we know it. But, I’m sure he gets paid enough to not care.

  14. JustinAche says:

    Remember folks, AnyDVD will allow you to use you’re favorite software to make a legal backup copy, bypassing any DRM :)

  15. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Let’s be honest here. This is a bad approach. But as creative as the industry might try to be, people just want to steal digital content – whether it’s music or movies.

    500,000 supposed Radiohead fans stared the band in the face, raised up their middle finger, and said, “We’re not going to give you a single penny for your work. Instead, we’re going to download it for free.” As long as cute girls date ugly drummers, there will always be music and bands. But the days when a band or musician could take years to craft a perfect album and support themselves on record sales are soon going to be over. The musicians whose work inspires us for years and years are going to be replaced by jingle writers and ringtone providers.

  16. axiomatic says:

    SLYSOFT AnyDVD for the win!

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    You know, if they were half as creative at discussing how to share a pittance of digital residual revenue with writers as they are at screwing their customers, the WGA wouldn’t be on strike right now.

  18. MonkeyMonk says:

    “500,000 supposed Radiohead fans stared the band in the face, raised up their middle finger, and said, “We’re not going to give you a single penny for your work.”

    I’ve seen no evidence that actual Radiohead *fans* decided to download the latest CD for free. For all anyone knows this group might be made up of 500,000 people unfamiliar with Radiohead who were willing to give the new album a listen because it didn’t cost them a dime. News of the Radiohead download was all over mainstram media so it can’t be assumed that only fans were aware of the download.

  19. mavrc says:

    Silly digital “distribution” idea for equally silly movie. As if I needed another reason to not buy this movie.

    @stanfrombrooklyn: Suggesting that downloading something is somehow tantamount to disrespecting the creator of that content was the first mistake made by the content industry, and the primary thing holding them back. Maybe those 500,000 people just prefer to download from sites that they use regularly. Maybe they’re just cheap. The fact that we can now easily track the number of illicit copies is a good way to incite anger, but when I was young borrowing and copying other peoples tapes was common. There’s always been illegal distribution, and bands still get paid.

    Oh, and it’s interesting you totally ignored the hundreds of thousands of paid downloads and box set preorders they got on their site.

  20. savvy999 says:


    But the days when a band or musician could take years to craft a perfect album and support themselves on record sales are soon going to be over.

    Ummm… hate to say it, but album sales have NEVER generated big money for artists. The way that recording contracts are crafted, artists rarely see pennies per unit from mechanical royalties after the studios take their cut and charge back recoupable expenses against the artist.

    As musician in a former life– who made several albums and toured all over– I can tell you that it’s only the hard work of self-production, gigging and merchandising that make any money. If you don’t drink/smoke/f*** it all away, that is.

  21. PaulMorel says:

    @Bay State Darren: Copyright infringement is NOT stealing. There’s a big difference.

    Big media companies want you to believe that they’re the same, but they’re just not.

    The most obvious difference is that nobody loses anything when copyright infringement occurs. In other words, when you steal a pen from workplace, your workplace loses a pen. When you install Word at home from your company’s install disk, your workplace doesn’t lose their copies.

    It’s a subtle difference that our current lawmakers have no idea how to recognize or deal with.

    Personally, I think that I am well within my rights to rip DVDs that I have legally purchased. It’s not stealing, and technically it IS copyright infringement, but once we elect lawmakers who actually understand modern technology, it will be recognized as a legitimate use of media.

  22. Leiterfluid says:

    @PaulMorel: That’s not entirely accurate.

    When you install a copy of Word you’ve “acquired” from your workplace, you’ve prevented Microsoft from generating revenue from a sale. Whether you would have paid for Word or not is irrelevant. You have taken the value of a sale away from them. That is, in effect, stealing.

    Also, if your workplace is limited to a certain number of installations, tracked through the activation process, you may have consumed a license that may otherwise have been used on a valid business machine. In that model, you have stolen a license.

    Look, I don’t agree with the heavy-handed tactics of the $$AA organizations, but they do have a right to protect their intellectual propertly from unlawful distribution that would undermine a potential sale.

    I agree that buying a software component on a physical medium like a CD or DVD should give you a license to transfer that content to another medium without restriction for your own private purpose; but to say that taking software from work without a valid license (and Microsoft does provide home-use licenses at extremely low prices), is disingenuous at best.

  23. Bay State Darren says:

    @PaulMorel: I’ve actually been using that logic for a long time. It’s scary to realize that I casually used the word stealing without even realizing it. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

    @Too many People To List: LFODH was a very good movie, although heavily marred by the PG-13 edits, which the DVD cut will correct. I’m not sure who was expecting realism, but it’s a friggin’ popcorn, summer blockbuster action movie! Anyone alleging realism in the previous Die Hard films needs their head examined.