UltraViolet Restrictions On Green Lantern Makes Reader Feel Ultraviolent

Reader Justin is steaming because he just found out that the promised “digital copy included” isn’t actually a normal file, but a license to watch the flick through the movie industry’s new “UltraViolet” system.

UltraViolet is a new kind of “digital locker” that aims to let you buy a copy of your movie once and then be able to watch it from any UltraViolet compatible device. Right now your best bet is to use the Flixster app for PCs, iOS and Android. But reader Justin doesn’t like a system where you don’t actually possess and own the file you’ve purchased, you’ve only obtained a license. A license that can be revoked or changed whenever the company feels like it.

“I have attempted to contact Warner Brothers about getting a digital copy that works but my emails have been ignored and the store I purchased the movie from states that they can only exchange an open disk for a second copy of the same one included the fake digital copy,” writes Justin.

The UltraViolet system is rolling out with a number of titles in the next few months, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on 11/11/11, Smurfs on 12/02/11 and Friends With Benefits 12 /02/11.

Unless it offers a way to seamlessly bind together all your online streaming accounts like Netflix and iTunes, consumers are going to either going to shrug this service off or react with the kind of negativity you can already start to see burbling in online forums.

Movies in the Clouds – UltraViolet Format Aims to Boost Sales for Studios, Make Online Movie Market More Convenient for Users [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. legolex says:

    What does that title say? I read it like 5 times.

  2. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I need standard iTunes compatible digital copies so that the iPod/iPad can be hooked up in the car without Internet service. Streaming over 3G is a recipe for a huge bill, poor experience, or both.

    • spazztastic says:

      Exactly! I used to pack a portable DVD player to entertain my son on long car trips, but with my iPad and the included digital copies of recent movies, it’s a lot easier to travel. Streaming video in a moving car doesn’t work all that well.

  3. Darrone says:

    What about when you don’t have access to the internet? Free streaming is not a digital copy.

    Of course, I still blame the OP for spending money on Green Lantern, but that is beside the point.

    • SerenityDan says:

      Exactly, the only time I ever use a digital copy is to watch on my iPod while on a flight. I use an old Classic iPod that couldn’t connect to the internet even if I wanted it to.

  4. El_Fez says:

    Need a Digital Copy? Bittorrent! No DRM and able to put it on any device you want!

    There, sorted! Next?

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Exactly. Piracy is your friend. Especially since you already bought it.

      • Schmoozer says:

        So it isn’t even piracy!!!

        • JoeDawson says:

          Tell that to the lawyers!

          • bsh0544 says:

            Isn’t it a protected use to rip it from a DVD you own, provided you don’t distribute it or show it for profit?

            Although if they put any sort of protection on it that goes out the window, since cracking DRM is against the DMCA regardless of ownership or intent.

            • nugatory says:

              All DVD and BluRay have encryption included.

              Don’t worry, they are doing it for your benefit /s

              • Rena says:

                With DVD, the encryption is technically optional (though rarely is it not employed). With Blu-ray, it’s mandatory. Because your home videos need to be encrypted, right?

            • Aedilis says:

              Nope. The DMCA has a fair use clause that you would think on it’s face would exempt you from liability for copying your legally owned DVD to your hard drive. However, the fair use defense has yet to succeed for individuals who have copied their DVD to their own hard drive.

              It goes against the MPAA/RIAA and even the software industries’ new business model: “You don’t own anything we sell to you, you just ‘license’ it. As such we’ll tell you how you can use your ‘licensed’ copy. If you want to sell your copy to someone? Too bad, that voids your ‘license’.”

              • duncanblackthorne says:

                They can’t sue you for what they don’t know about. Screw the RIAA and the MPAA. Do what you like with what you purchased.

                • Billy says:

                  Yeah. Copy it and sell it at a profit! License the songs out to big movie productions! Open your own theater and sell tickets!

                  It’s “your’s” right?

                  • shepd says:

                    Actually, on the last point, I’ve wondered if I could be sued under the current regime.

                    I built a pretty nice home theatre and often have friends over. Price of admission is they bring their *own* supper and/or beer. Since there is effectively an admission cost (No way I’m feeding a half dozen people for free every other week! Especially when they’re not charity cases…), does that mean I can be sued when I play a DVD? Yet why is the same thing okay if they play a video game instead?

                    These copyright laws are so obnoxious it’s not even funny. We need to just get rid of them and let artists survive the same way everyone else does. Since we have so much DRM capability, if an artist wants to keep their stuff locked up with DRM, let them. Of course, still no harm no foul if you figure out how to bypass it. I imagine we could significantly increase the quality of DRM while also providing significant liberties for everyone, all at the same time.

                    • Egat says:

                      I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think that the lawyers might argue that you are no longer following the terms of your license as you are now putting on a “public performance”…

                    • RvLeshrac says:

                      More than, I believe, three viewing or listening adults is considered “public performance.” The number may be five.

                  • Darraign the Sane says:

                    Yeah, making a copy for your mobile device and setting up a movie theater are the same thing! You tell ’em Billy!

              • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

                ALL decryption is illegal, you can have a copy of something but you cannot decrypt it, YES WE ARE F*** LITERALLY ENFORCING NOT USING MATHS IN YOUR FREE TIME…

    • DragonThermo says:

      Plus no damn ads and no damn FBI warning that can’t be skipped or fast-forwarded through.

  5. pulsar0510 says:

    Thank god the film industry is taking steps to continue to be shitty to consumers in the digital age.

  6. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I think I’d be pretty irritated too. This sounds like you’d need to have a stable and fast internet connection to watch the movie–while that is increasingly common these days, a movie that includes a “digital copy” … should have an actual file, not a key to watch it on streaming.

    Access to a “virtual locker” to stream the movie is not a “copy” of the file. Can they be beaten up for “False advertising”?

  7. Goatweed says:

    the 1080p MKV file I have works just fine…

  8. nandhp says:

    > reader Justin doesn’t like a system where you don’t actually possess and own the file you’ve purchased, you’ve only obtained a license. A license that can be revoked or changed whenever the company feels like it.

    I’m pretty sure the traditional digital copy you “own” uses DRM, so that’s just a revocable license too.

  9. evilpete says:

    That is one of the things I do not like about many blueray disks, many of the added features are not on the disk but are actually downloads, some requiring registration or marketing.

    DVDs started coming out with director comments, deleted scenes etc, they were all on the disk, now when/if I buy a movie they are externalized and require a internet connected blueray player that does to some web site. which 1/2 the time ceases to exist 6 months after the release date.

    instead of the words “extra scenes”, “interviews” etc… the box should just say


  10. Bladerunner says:

    He should definitely sue, and class action this. Otherwise they’ll just get away with it.

    It’s akin to “Free wrench with purchase of tool kit!”, then you buy it and it’s “Well, we’ll loan it to you whenever you want! So long as we’re open. And not too busy. And you’re only using it in a way we approve of. Also we can stop loaning it to you whenever we want.

    • Rena says:

      He probably had to agree to some binding arbitration clause in the EULA that popped up before playing the movie, making him unable to participate in a class action suit.

  11. dolemite says:

    I’ve run into this with a music CD I bought years ago. Now I can’t play it on anything because that app isn’t supported anymore.

  12. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    This is reminding me of that whole DivX disc debacle, just in non-physical-media form.

  13. Cat says:

    I make my own digital copies at home.

    In any format I want. http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html

    • kierzandax says:

      I think Super, like Handbrake, doesn’t rip copy protected media. You’d need something to actually rip the disc. That said, I’ve been using Handbrake to encode files for the iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android phones. I’ll look at Super because I have a cruddy task intensive method for encoding movies for my 1st get Zune. It would be nice to have a set and forget method.

      • JoeDawson says:

        I love Handbrake… I use a DVD Decryption program that scans my drives and lives in the system tray, I got frustrated when I couldn’t rip DVDs I bought years ago (some were protected, some were not). I am currently ripping ALL my dvds 1:1 for backup, and they can then be format shifted without having to pull out the physical dvds.

      • Aedilis says:

        AnyDVD by Slysoft does a GREAT job of making it so I can take my DVDs, rip them, use Handbrake to make them into a video file that I can run on my Windows Home Server to serve up to my TV upstairs.

        Here’s the link: http://www.slysoft.com/en/ It’s seriously the best money you’ll spend in a long time.

      • spazztastic says:

        I used Handbrake to put all the episodes of Star Wars:Clone Wars on my iPod/iPad for my kid…no problems with ripping the content.

      • MarvinMar says:

        You can use Handbrake for batch encoding, really useful for tv episodes on DVD.
        It you ripped all your sources to your hard drive, you could batch encode several movies too.

        For the DVD or Bluray DRM, use Slysoft Anydvd or DVDfab (They have a free version)

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Awesome! +1 for the tip.

  14. Sneeje says:

    Anyone remember DivX?

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      Beat ya by a minute. But I’m glad to see it wasn’t just me thinking that too.

    • chiieddy says:

      I managed to get my first DVD player super-cheap because I bought it the week after the announced Divx was dying. It was a combo DVD/Divx player. I just ignored the whole Divx bit.

  15. wynterbourne says:

    I’m sure all the torrented copies are working just fine.

  16. mister_roboto says:

    Everyone is allowed to make a copy of any DVD movie you buy for personal use- he should rip it himself, and convert the files.

    May cost a little for some software, but hell- streaming isn’t a “copy.”

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Not true. The DMCA makes no provision for fair use copies for personal use. If it’s encrypted it’s illegal to make a copy, even for yourself.

    • evilpete says:

      I back up my DVDs and delete menu and the coming attractions while I am at it. So when I put them in the player start playing automatically.

    • MarvinMar says:

      Except they killed your “Right” by saying it is illegal to break DRM
      Not that it stops anyone, but they still killed your RIGHT to make a backup.

  17. Anonymously says:

    Pretty much all movies, songs, games, etc that you “own” are just licenses to consume on that media type only. Or that’s how the **AA see things.

  18. sumocat says:

    Pfft. Why not sue because the disc doesn’t work in a VHS player? If the compatibility was listed on the box, then too bad. Also, the copy of the movie on the disc is digital and as “real” as any other file format.

  19. Exceptional Vampire Does Not Sparkle says:

    http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvd.html always worked better for me…

  20. Portlandia says:

    Get handbrake, it works but takes some getting used to. You can also watch fatwallet.com and about once a month there’s a giveaway of the day that has free DVD copying software. I use this and can make my own digital copies of my movies and use it on all my different devices.

  21. Odin Zifer says:

    Talk to a manger something like
    “Ether give me my money back for this mislabeled garbage or I do a charge back on my credit card.”
    When the manager refuses drop the disk on the floor and walk out while on the phone with you’re my credit company.

    • shepd says:

      You might do better (legally) by saying you refuse to accept the license terms provided. You can “return” windows bundled with your computer that way. Usually get get cut a cheque for $50 – $100 and the key included is (probably) blacklisted.

  22. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    This seems to be the only point in history where counterfeit goods are significantly better than the actual goods sold. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when pirates downloading it for free get a much, much better product than those who buy it legitimately.

  23. PunditGuy says:

    DVD + DVD Decrypter + Handbrake = free digital copy you can do whatever the hell you want to with.

    Blu-ray + AnyDVD HD + Handbrake = not-so-free, better digital copy you can do whatever the hell you want to with.

  24. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    UltraViolet aside, what did everyone think of the movie?

    • fadetoblack says:

      I’d be amazed if, after watching the movie on the disk, the OP cares at all about having a digital copy.

      Although I do think it was marginally better than Thor, in the same way that horse manure smells “marginally better” than pig manure.

      • dolemite says:

        I thought Thor was a really good movie actually. Up there with Iron Man imo…and certainly better than Iron Man 2. Especially the scenes off-planet (like in Asgard).

        • PunditGuy says:

          I’m with you. I liked how there could be universe-changing stuff going on in one scene, then in the next… people are having lunch. Kept the pacing interesting. But I’ve never read a Thor comic book, so fans may have felt differently.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I liked Thor a lot. It was a fun movie. As much as I liked The Dark Knight, I haven’t watched it more than three times because it’s just not that “fun.” It’s a great movie, but not very fun for a Sunday afternoon. Thor I can watch any day of the week and have a good time.

      • pythonspam says:

        It depends on the pig…
        (insert Chris Christie joke here)

      • Not Given says:

        I loved Thor. Green Lantern wasn’t quite as good, but I got a kick out of watching it. They were both fun to watch in the theater.

    • Mephron says:

      I was very ‘eh’ abou it, despite being a comic fan.

      According to comic writer Gail Simone, the extended cut actually considerably improves the movie by making the first act, before he gets the ring, much better by fleshing Hal Jordan out much more. (Which doesn’t surprise me; they basically made him into a self-centered jerk with the personal responsibility level of a Koch brother.)

  25. Traveller says:

    What people seem to forget and what theoretically gives you the right to make your own digital copy is that buying a DVD, CD, song download whatever, is that you are buying the rights to play that moving, song, whatever.

    Back in the day there was kind of a rights of first use clause, or so I thought on things like albums and tapes that let you make a backup or convert to another medium as long as you didn’t share/give that away. Giving away the original in essence transferred the license.

    This is no different. Owning the raw file does not give you any more rights than showing it on some DRM constrained system.

    If the pirates of the world were not so rampant in their sharing and so hypocritical in saying “if it were reasonable we would pay for it” lines (there have been experiments and the reality is if it’s readily available free (pirated) they won’t pay no matter how cheap, studios wouldn’t resort to these high levels of control on their content.

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      Yeah, I know what you’re saying. It’s a shame the pirating of mp3s destroyed the industry and caused Apple to go bankrupt after the iTunes failed experiment.

    • Billy says:

      Ummm, not really.

      Buying a physical song, movie, etc. allows you to do whatever you want with it except for things that would be contrary to copyright law or any other law.

      But in the digital age, there is no physical copy. There MUST be a license…and here’s why: when one downloads a song (from iTunes, for example), there is a copy being made to your hard drive. Copies violate copyright law…so the owner/distributor MUST license your ability to copy. While they’re at it, they dictate how many times you can do that. They also throw in other terms of the license (some of which mat be duplicative of Copyright law anyway).

      There’s no such thing as a “rights of first use clause”. There’s a First Sale Doctrine and it’s still in effect. It allows someone to sell or transfer their physical copy of something without invoking any copyright issues. But this only makes sense b/c, as I said “you to do whatever you want with it except for things that would be contrary to copyright law or any other law”.

      First Sale doesn’t apply to digital copies b/c it’s not a sale or transfer of a physical object.

      Any law that allowed “a backup or convert to another medium as long as you didn’t share/give that away” is probably found in Fair Use, but it’s ill-defined and fact-specific.

      “Giving away the original in essence transferred the license.”
      There is no license in a physical object normally. You would know if there was one b/c it would be in writing spelling out the specifics of the license.

    • Anonymously says:

      Nothing like the good ol’ days when nothing bad ever happened and corporations weren’t designed to wring every last penny out of you. /sarcasm

  26. axiomatic says:

    NEVER… I repeat NEVER will I use UltraViolet.

    I refuse to use a service that the DRM server will be shutdown in five years tops.

    Look at the already poor support they offer, no email reply period. Why would you subject yourself to this crap?

  27. Mike Toole says:

    I have no interest in the “digital copy” feature. As long as I can get a combo pack that includes a DVD copy, I can just use Handbrake to rip the film to an MP4 file, which can be played back on my iPhone, Dell Streak, and PSP.

    I know the movie biz doesn’t like that, but I don’t like kooky proprietary systems like this, so we’re just going to have to compromise.

  28. jp7570-1 says:

    UltraViolet seems to be headed for the same fate as Divx.

  29. ganzhimself says:

    Yeah… They had the UltraViolet “Digital Copy” included with Horrible Bosses. You can download the digital copy to your PC, so there’s that, but you can’t import it to iTunes to load on your iDevice. It’s pretty annoying. Streaming? Ha! Streaming over 3G? Forget it.

    Handbrake made quick work of the DVD included with the BluRay combo pack so, yeah. Now I have a backup that can be watched on my iPad. Whatever. This DRM stuff is getting out of hand, no one is going to want to stream an entire movie on their phone or tablet, it realy lowers the value of the Digital Copy concept in the first place.

  30. [redacted] says:

    Yeah, I am hesitant now when they advertize this new violet streaming copy. Id much rather have the actual compy that I can use when I’m on a plane. I bought the combo pack of green lantern anyways because I give my grandfather all of the DVDs that come with them.

  31. DCwiExplorer says:

    Another problem with digital copies, is that they are usually only DVD quality, not hi-def quality, which sucks when you’re trying to watch on a big screen. They should give you an option for a standard def, as well as a hi-def. Frankly, ripping and converting is the best way, provided you have the proper hardware and knowledge.

  32. TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

    It says multiple times on the DVD/Blu-Ray box that the “digital copy” is a streaming version through UltraViolet. My copy even has a sticker that says “Instant Streaming with UltraViolet Digital Copy” right on the front in letters almost the size of the movie’s title.

    Not making a statement about the merits of streaming copies, just saying be sure to read the box.

  33. rooben says:

    Yeah, i bought it.

    The UV system shows they still dont get it. Before, i could pop the disk in, enter the code, and the movie copied itself via itunes.

    The UV system requires 2 separate accounts, one with UV, and a 2nd with flixster.

    Then, you enter the code, download Adobie AIR, and they will stream the movie to you.

    It says Download, but they dont tellyou its not in a standard format, say, that you can manage with itunes. nope – you have to play it using their own software, via a browser. You cant watch it on AppleTV, or GoogleTV.

    They try to spin this off as friendly, but really it is Deep control of the film licenses, down to individuals inthe household (i.e. can add up to 5 family members, and each can fave their own device, with the content management all up in your life.

    Not worth the price, i cant use it without internet, no more digital copies for me.

  34. daemonaquila says:

    Cue wholly deserved class action lawsuit for false advertising in 3… 2… 1…

  35. DragonThermo says:

    You can always go 14 miles offshore, into international waters, and rip the DVD or Blu-ray to a useful file format.

  36. C. Ogle says:

    I was also tricked into thinking the Ultraviolet thing was a digital copy when I bought Horrible Bosses, when I would normally just wait for Netflix. Now that I read the wiki on it, I know better. Fortunately Handbrake still exists and works wonderfully for watching on my iPhone. I won’t get fooled again by these shenanigans.

  37. Not Given says:

    I think I’ll try to learn how to rip my own DVDs at home

  38. pika2000 says:

    Rip it, and encode it to any digital format of your liking. Problem solved.

  39. Bripanov says:

    Was wondering when this purported “universal DRM” system would actually start to get noticed by the consumerist folks instead of just the Free Software folks.

    Nothing to see here for me, going to shave my neckbeard.

  40. Bryan Price says:

    This is a valid reason for pirating it. One of these millennia, TPTB will finally realize that DRM isn’t stopping the pirates, it’s just hurting their customers. And if somebody HAS to pirate it, then they’re not satisfying their customer demands to begin with.

  41. VashTS says:

    Terrible idea…..I am sure if Steve Jobs were alive he would fight for our right to use what we purchase the way we want. “I want to make a mix tape/CD/Play List……well, let me end my sarcasm.
    Is it too soon?

    Wall-street vs everyone else; corps and the government vs citizens; nothing is more upsetting than people who worship corporations, Apple included. They have never fought for people’s rights. The fight tooth and nail to prevent the flow of information for free or at a low cost.

  42. shthar says:

    whay is he going to this much trouble for such a crappy movie?

    Is he in it or something?

    Ryan? Is that you?

  43. cspschofield says:

    The Film industry has been trying to get back to the “We own all the copies until nobody wants it anymore” model ever since the video tape boom. Which is stupid, because the old way had them in serious financial trouble, while the video revolution saved their collective bacon. Nevertheless, it apparently bugs them to think of all those people watching all those movies over and over, without paying the Film industry a dime after the first sale.

    I try not to pirate. I really do. I want people who make films that I like to get the money to make more films. But when the industry pulls cr*p like this, I lose sympathy. If you don’t want people to have a digital copy, DON’T PROMISE THEM A DIGITAL COPY.


  44. Rena says:

    Surprise? “Included digital copies” are always some DRM-encumbered useless BS. You didn’t expect Hollywood to give you a real, usable copy?

  45. maruawe says:

    this should constitute fraud. or false advertising or both. When you agree to buy a physical copy of a film/movie you should be able to watch that movie/film on any system ……. file a lawsuit i am sure that it will go class action.

  46. _UsUrPeR_ says:

    Hey, I know where he can get a free copy!

  47. HogwartsProfessor says:

    That sucks. :( I got a real downloadable digital copy of The Dark Knight with my DVD and put it on my computer. I have yet to watch it, though; so far I prefer to see it on my TV. But I guess I better check and see if it still works.

  48. RvLeshrac says:

    So, yeah, once again, everyone who knows what they’re talking about says this is going to happen, and consumers are “shocked” when it happens.

  49. maynurd says:

    Sounds like false advertising to me. Stating that a digital copy of the movie is included when in reality it is not.

  50. maynurd says:

    Return it to the movie studio. Tell them you do not agree to the terms of their license agreement and demand a refund of what you paid for the movie.