Warner Bros. Batman-Blocks Apple Users From Digital Copy

Apple enthusiast David was annoyed to discover his Blu-ray of the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood won’t allow him to use the download voucher to get a digital copy of the film that will play on his Mac or iPod. He feels misled because he had no such trouble with previous digital copy transfers, even from other Batman movies.

He writes:

I recently purchased the Blu-ray version of Batman: Under the Red Hood. As a huge Batman fan, I was really excited to see the latest tale in glorious HD. What clinched the deal for me that the promise of a digital copy of the film as well.

(At this point, I should mentioned that I run it on a MacBook Pro, and all my media devices are iDevices (iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc.). I felt it’s safe to assume that the iPod family of media players is probably the world’s most popular, and with iTunes recently announcing they were the world’s largest music retailer, I figured that I shouldn’t have a problem with the file download. I’ve gotten tons of digital copies before, including a download from Warner’s own Dark Knight Blu-Ray.)

On the inside of the packaging, I found an insert with a redeemable code and a website to download the file. Upon going there, I got a message that the site was Windows-only. While weird, I can dual boot into WinXP, so I did. (Most Mac users would be screwed at this point.)

Going to www.wbdigitalcopy.com/BatmanUnderTheRedHood prompted me to download the WB Media Manager, which I dutifully did. After jumping through all those hoops, I found out that the file is ONLY playable on Windows Media Player with crippling PlaysForSure DRM. The fine print at the bottom of the download screen finally told me “Not Compatible with iTunes or with Macintosh or iPod devices.” I backed out of the program to double-check the insert, before attempting the download.

Sure enough, in seriously microscopic print, it says the same thing on the insert in the middle of a paragraph of equally microscopic text – not exactly easy to spot.

I e-mailed Warner Bros. on August 9, asking about how to use my paid-for-but-can’t-use digital copy, and got this response the next day:


This Digital Copy offer is available only for Windows based operating systems, Windows Media Player 11, and DRM compatible portable devices. Support for Mac operating systems, iTunes, and an Apple portable device is not available for this DVD title.
Warner Home Video is committed to offering Digital Copy as widely as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot provide digital copies of our films in every portable media format for a variety of logistical reasons, which is why the Digital Copy offer may vary from title-to-title.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your feedback and continued support of Warner Home Video releases.

I followed up, mentioning that it wasn’t feedback, but a request for a digital copy that was actually compatible with my system. I haven’t heard back, and probably won’t. I don’t know if anything can be done about this, but thought your readers – especially those owning iDevices or, God forbid, use a Mac – might want to know about this nonsense. And if anyone from Warner Bros. read this, that it’s nonsense like this that drives a lot of honest consumers to piracy.]

If I were David I’d take the movie back to the store and argue it should accept a return for a refund on the grounds the digital copy wouldn’t work. Mac users, have you experienced similar frustrations?

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