back to article Google's permanent video sales less-than-permanent

So much for buying and renting videos from Google. On Wednesday, August 15, the world's most popular search engine waves goodbye to the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/download-to-rent) feature on Google Video, the video site that's played a barely-audible second fiddle ever since Google acquired the nothing-but-free-clips YouTube late …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breach of contract?

    If your reporter paid more than $2 for the videos, then he's surely entitled to sue for the difference as breach of contract.

    Even if he paid only $2, then he's surely entitled to a proper refund and not a credit note.

    Either that, or google should do the sensible thing and provide a free and non-time-limited player for the content that they sold.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if apple in future decided to discontinue itunes?

    This is very concerning as it appears to me that any purchased "permanent" online video can be rendered useless if the vendor goes out of business or just elects it does not want to do it any more. Additionally, googles "checkout bonus" does not provide a true refund in that it can only be used to "rent" another video for the next month nor does it account for time spent for downloading and setting up the "permanent" video on the computer.

    This really makes me rethink purchasing any online permanent videos-- even from apple. While apple is currently doing quite well, it may not always stay that way. What if something happened 10 years from now where apple decided to discontinue its video or music download service because it was no longer profitable. Would this then invalidate all my permanent video and music purchases from itunes (which could be quite significant if over a 10 year period). This could be a real possibility as there is already talk amongst entertainment industry to find a new way of distribution other than apple. The main concern is that "there is no time limit" on when a permanent video or music download from apple maybe rendered useless. Perhaps this may never happen with apple; but the word "never" is absolute (so is the word "permanent" by the way). Given that this could happen at any time in the future meaning in a period of 5 years, 10 years, or more years, I think the possibility is more likely than not.,

  3. Chad H.

    Dont you just love

    The way companies word these things

    In order to improve our service, we're going to take away your service!

    Hmmm, I wonder If I could set up an ISP which provided ultra-safe internet - In order to protect your PC from Internet Nasties, We're not going to connect your internet.

  4. Lexx Greatrex

    Re: What if apple in future decided to discontinue itunes?

    Does a snowball fly? Does hell have pigs? Er ... maybe

    Apple /is/ iTunes. It's their bread and butter, their cash cow and their lock-in to keep the customers "loyal" to them. They will never, can never get rid of it.

    But this does highlight the disturbing feature of DRM: If Universal, for example, were to go out of business tomorrow (ha!), all of the songs and movies and brain transplants we purchased from them would still work, not so with DRM that requires a "ping" to some server somewhere to validate a license.

    What if Steve Jobs decided to start his own religion, yes another one; so he puts a 3000% "Praise Me" tax on every iTune sold? I don't think the fannys are going to rush over to the dark side to Zuneafy themselves. Those who do make it through deprogramming will find there is a brave new world out there where companies are starting to realise that if they treat their customers fairly, give them choice and don't overcharge them, ... ah wait I had the Fiction Lock button held down. Crap. Back to sleep...

  5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Google Checkout...

    ... Can be used to buy stuff, not just rent a movie. Which is kinda relevant, 'cos you might notice that the whole thrust of the piece was that Google is discontinuing the sales AND RENTAL operation.

    I reckon that the $2 thing is a trial balloon. If people push back hard enough, they may throw a bit more dosh at those who push hardest.

  6. Adrian Crooks

    Nobody has done download video correctly yet

    This is not unexpected. Amazon tried to do something similar (maybe it's still running) and it sucked so bad they resorted to massive legal disclaimers and the like to ensure the customer could be treated at like trash at will.

  7. elder norm

    Please, give me a break

    Hey, what if I left my DVDs in the car and they melted? What if I had an accident and I broke them?

    There are a number of programs out there that let you convert videos, music etc into more permanent storage. As far as I know, Apple's iTunes runs as long as you want it to run. There is no "secret shut off date, but then again, its NOT RENTAL purchases. Big difference.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @What if....


    This is why the few people with brains left have been screaming about media licensing (and giving up, and evading it) for years.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one actually buys from iTunes!

    "Apple /is/ iTunes. It's their bread and butter, their cash cow and their lock-in to keep the customers "loyal" to them."

    Actually... no. That's all a big myth. iTunes means almost nothing to Apple.

    Apple freely admit that iTunes barely makes any profit, and they also admit that hardly anyone uses it. According to Apple's own boasts, they've sold a billion tunes and 100 million ipods: that's just ten tracks (one album) per iPod over the entire lifetime of iTunes. An average of one album per iPod is hardly a lock-in, is it?

    The vast majority of ipod owners use their ipods mainly for DRM-free tracks, either from CD or from more dubious online sources. Very few of them actually buy tracks from iTunes.

    The vast majority of Apple profits come from the iPod hardware sales, and if iTunes disappeared completely it would barely affect these profits. The bottom line is: they don't actually care where you get your music, as long as you buy their music player, because that's where almost all their money is made.

    There isn't really any profit-related reason for Apple to keep iTunes going, they're mainly doing it for PR.

  10. Tim Gardener

    Re: Please, give me a break

    > There is no "secret shut off date, but then again, its NOT RENTAL purchases.

    Neither was Googles download-to-own service - the clue is right there in the title. No doubt there's an inspired peice of EULA-mongering involved so that "own" in this case really means "borrow for as long as we can be arsed to let you keep it", but then DTBFALAWCBATLYKI isn't quite as snappy an acronym as DTO...

    Sadly, it'll probably take a fiasco of Sony-BMG proportions to really bring the issue of license vs owned content to the attention of non-technical consumers - as the article points out the take up was probably so piss poor that this won't happen here.

    @Malcolm & anon... I guess the $2 amount is a reflection of how much Cade spent on the service ;)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What if apple in future decided to discontinue itunes?

    If Apple stopped iTunes all your music will still work as they have been bought and downloaded. Might be a problem installing them on a new computer though but you can of course just burn them to CD.

    Apple makes very little money from iTunes, the store is just there to provide content for iPods so as long as Apple sells MP3 players there will be an iTunes store.

    Alternatively if Napster or any of the other subscription services shut down then all your music collection would definitely stop working as you haven't actually bought anything from them.

  12. Ed

    Re: No one actually buys from iTunes!

    They've actually sold 3 billion songs, they announced that a few weeks back. So, thats 30 tracks per iPod. Your point still stands.

    I believe Apple are actually making more money on iTunes now than they were, due to better a better credit card transaction system (amalgamating small payments together, to avoid paying high charges on small payments). When you're dealing with very cheap items, credit card charges can be your highest overhead (after the cost of the initial product).


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every day and in every way...

    Every day and in every way Google sucks just a little bit more. They really are clueless about everything except advertising.

  14. sleepy

    Apple's DRM

    Unlike the others, Apple's DRM does not require your PC or iPod to "phone home" to keep your DRM'd content alive. (That in part is why there's no rental option). This is one of the reasons it's slightly less problematic for consumers than MS-DRM.

    If Apple and the iTunes store were wiped from the planet overnight, your DRM content would survive for many years, to die with your PC's and iPods (unless you burned it to CD first).

  15. Steve Roper

    Torrents to the rescue

    This is where you turn to bittorrent to get your video and music, simply because there is NO DRM. It's not the first time this has happened: check out if you want to see how "piracy" has benefited the original owner of works when they have been lost to copyright restrictions.


    Doctor Who's missing episodes are the many instalments of the long-running British science fiction television programme Doctor Who that are missing, with no known film or videotape copies existing. They were erased (or "junked") by the BBC during the 1960s and 1970s for a variety of economic and space-saving reasons.

    - [SNIP] -

    These episodes (the only one from Evil and one of only two from The Faceless Ones to exist) had been purchased by Hendry for £8 each at a car boot sale in December 1983.

    - [SNIP] -

    Small excerpts have also been recovered on 8 mm cine film taken by a fan in Australia, who filmed certain scenes directly from the television screen during repeat showings of various episodes.


    These missing episodes, which had been junked because of copyright restrictions, were recovered after the restrictions ceased in effect from people who had violated them. We may well see, in the future when DRM-locked works are no longer accessible, that the bittorrent scene will be vital in preserving our history.

  16. Craig Ringer


    This is one of the reasons "DRM" schemes are so unattractive. They not only remove true ownership, right of first sale, etc, but permit the company you have "bought" the "content" from to revoke your access to it at any point. They may have to compensate you, but as Google has demonstrated there are ways to do so that make using the compensation more hassle than it's worth (handily reducing the claim rate).

    I'm itching to pay for Internet-delivered shows. I live in Australia, where we get everything a year later than everybody else, it's full of ads that are so cheap they tend to be painful to see, and any show can be moved or cancelled if there's overtime in an Australian Rules rugby game or the cricket. They also enjoy randomizing episode order. Cable/satellite aren't significantly better than free-to-air. Given all this, it's desirable to just be able to pay a little bit to download the show, high quality & ad free, off the 'net.

    No such luck. The only services like that at present charge video rental prices (AU$7/night or so) for DRMed poor quality unreliable and slow services. Yay. Bittorrent continues to rule the airwaves of Australia to the point where TV networks are really feeling the bite (as are ISPs uplinks!). Despite this, they seem totally unwilling to compete on the same level - providing a faster, more consistent, more reliable and legal alternative to bittorrent-ed shows at remotely sane prices.

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos

    That is why I am very wary of purchasing video/music content off the Web. Sorry, but Google is always in Beta anyway, so I don't think handing good money for a beta product is a good idea.

    In any case, if I do, one day, after suffering severe concussion and massive loss of neuron connections, purchase online film, I will at least ensure that the actual data stream is downloaded to my hard disk and played from there. That way, with a bit of luck, if my vendor does indeed pull the rug like that, well after screaming and biting and kicking a whole lot (preferably dragging the vendor to court), I can maybe find a hack to make the files playable without vendor approval.

    Statistically, I think I should find what I need.

  18. Christian Convey

    Good(ish) news from Google

    I got one of these emails. I sent a response asking them to refund the purchase price to my credit card, rather than giving me credit at their online store.

    They did! My purchases totaled less than $20, so they only gave credited to my card the actual amount I spent.

    But I'm really much less pissed off now than I was before they issued the refund. They could have handled this somewhat less self-servingly with the refunds, but in the end they capped the amount of evil in which they engaged.

  19. Dave


    Hahahaha at all the suckers that fall for this shit. Corporations are so happy to have the majority of users hovering around 80 IQ.

  20. eddiewrenn


    Torrents are the only ay I'll wach TV nowadays. No other system (NTL/Sky/Freeview/Other forms of downloads) lives up to it. Once they offer a legal, straightforward service I'll try it, but stop treating us like monkeys.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about their online Office clone?

    I wonder how comfortable people should be storing their spreadsheet and word processing documents on Google? I'm not sure I could trust a free hosted hard drive for storing anything of value. What happens if they get bored of online docs and it isn't one of their core businesses?

    I do like Valve's Steam application for installing games like Civilization, Half Life, etc instead of messing with DVDs. They seem to be trustworthy and have a good amount of paying customers. I think Internet delivery should work well like this and is certainly convenient in alot of cases.

    If downloading movies could be done right to a home entertainment system easily and not to costly it would sell well. Watching movies on a laptop or computer screen is fairly useless to me so I could see why that type of service really won't take off.

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