Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Film Studios May Block DVD Rentals For One Month 545

Posted by kdawson
from the some-dare-call-it-collusion dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The LA Times reports that in an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale. Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster and Netflix would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. 'The studios are wrestling with declines in DVD sales while the DVD rental market has been modestly growing,' says Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix. 'If we can agree on low-enough pricing, delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone.' Three studios have already tried to impose a no-rental period of about a month on Redbox, the operator of kiosks that rent movies for $1 per night, believing that Redbox's steeply discounted price undercuts DVD sales. Redbox has responded by suing the studios, seeking to force them to sell it DVDs simultaneously with competitors. Meanwhile, the company is stocking its kiosks with DVDs it can't otherwise obtain by buying them from retailers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Film Studios May Block DVD Rentals For One Month

Comments Filter:
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:13PM (#29889265) Homepage Journal

    trying to sell people what they want or how they want it~

    • Re:hey, it beats (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:17PM (#29889335)

      Let me check something here ... just a second ... yup, thought so, I don't really care if I get to rent a movie 2 weeks after it leaves the cinema or I have to wait 6 or 8 weeks.

      In neither case am I going to feel any more or less compelled to buy the movie instead.

      • Re:hey, it beats (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:23PM (#29889433) Journal

        In neither case am I going to feel any more or less compelled to buy the movie instead.

        Really? Because I'm the type of guy, when someone tries to push me around, I will do the opposite of what they want just to show them they shouldn't try to push people around. Screw these bozos, I'll put off buying any new movies until they quite this greedy behavior.

        • The other push (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:01PM (#29890059)

          Really? Because I'm the type of guy, when someone tries to push me around, I will do the opposite of what they want just to show them they shouldn't try to push people around.

          Screw these bozos, I'll put off buying any new movies until they quite this greedy behavior.

          But the real problem for them is, that you do not have to put off watching them...

          Delay in distribution means more people pushed to torrents.

          • Re:The other push (Score:5, Interesting)

            by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @07:11PM (#29890963) Journal

            >>>Delay in distribution means more people pushed to torrents.

            No because they are cracking-down on that avenue. I just received my 3rd copyright notice this past week (1 and 2 date back to Christmas 2008), and I've been told #4 will result in termination of my Verizon account. So bottom line: People will soon be faced with having to wait for the delayed DVD rental, or purchase it now.

            Also:

            This isn't the first time movie studios have pulled stunts like this. Back in the early 90s when VHS was king, my local video store told me I could buy Disney's Aladdin but it would cost $90. I asked why the outrageous price, and they explained the price is kept high for one month to encourage rentals..... and then dropped to a more-reasonable $25.

            Movie studios are always trying to control the free market. Record companies too. They forced Walmart, Kmart, and other retailers to stop selling CDs at budget prices of $8 or $9, raise the minimum price to $13, or else the record companies would stop shipments. This continued from circa 1990 to 2000 when the U.S. DOJ stepped-in and sued the record companies for forming an illegal Cartel. (My family, collectively, received five checks of $19 each as settlements.)

            You can't trust corporations. They are filled with avarice, love of money, and will do what is necessary to increase it.

            • Re:The other push (Score:5, Interesting)

              by jonwil (467024) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:16PM (#29891645)

              Whats ironic is that back then they jacked up the purchase price to encourage rentals and now they want to block rentals to encourage purchase.
              Whats changed?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Cramer (69040)

                CD/DVD's cost pennies to make and are pressed by the thousands per hour. VHS tapes take a lot longer and cost a lot more. Rental chains got the "first runs" at insanely higher prices ($100 and $150 PER TAPE were common) before there were quantities available for retail purchase. As such, rentals were a massing source of income. That market is gone, now. They'd rather get $19.95 for a DVD that cost $0.10 to make.

        • by layer3switch (783864) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:23PM (#29890355)
          Yeah, I am same way. For instance, I rented "Ghost" over the weekend and oh boy, that was a good movie. Patrick Swayze should really make more movies like Ghost... because it's recent... oh fuck it. never mind. Too soon...
        • by rhyder128k (1051042) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:19PM (#29892119) Homepage

          "Because I'm the type of guy, when someone tries to push me around, I will do the opposite of what they want just to show them they shouldn't try to push people around."

          The Chuck Norris of internet forums!

          Voice over guy - "They messed with his file sharing. That was their first mistake. They made him insert the disk before he could play a game. That was their second mistake. Then they put a one month delay on DVD rentals. That was the worst mistake they ever made. This summer, a Slashdot user is going POST A COMMENT! Post A Comment is rated PG."

      • Re:hey, it beats (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jayme0227 (1558821) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:42PM (#29889757) Journal

        I'm completely with you. This won't change the way I do things one bit. I love all of the "screw the man" rhetoric that's all over the place, but really, how is this going to affect most people?

        There will be a few people too impatient to wait for a rental so the run out and buy it right away, but most people who want to see a movie that bad will have already seen it in the theaters. There are obviously a few anti-authoritarian types who are going to use this shift in policy to justify breaking the rules. The rest of us will just continue operating the same way we've been operating. We'll buy it if it is a movie we wanted to buy or we'll rent it if it is a movie that we want to rent.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          People too impatient for the rental?

          Maybe 3 of them.

          This is like piracy.

          If they weren't going to buy your product before, eliminating an alternate access method is not going to change anything.

          People have lots of other stuff to spend their money on.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Some of the lyrics of "Because I got high" seem amazingly appropriate to the way these folks are acting:

      I was gonna go to work but then I got high
      I just got a new promotion but I got high
      now i'm selling dope and i know why
      why man -cause I was high [repeat 3x]

      Now i'ma stop singing this song because i'm high
      i'm singing the whole thing wrong cause i'm high
      and if i don't sell one copy i'll know why
      -cause i was high [repeat 3x]

      When will these idiots at the studios work out that their bull market is done and dusted? Maybe someone needs to put it into a newspaper for them to finally get it, because word anywhere else seems to be making amazing WHOOOSSSHHHH noises but little more.

  • So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcwop (31034) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:16PM (#29889313) Homepage
    I'll do what I already do, save it in my Netflix Q, and wait for the rental. I already waited for the rental rather than going to the theater. Hope it works out for them.
  • DVD vs. BluRay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Targon (17348) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:16PM (#29889323)

    With BluRay here, but more expensive, many people may have decided to wait a bit on buying until the BD version gets a bit cheaper. I wonder if these people have even considered that.

    • Re:DVD vs. BluRay (Score:4, Informative)

      by IceFox (18179) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:52PM (#29889919) Homepage
      While advertising makes it look like BluRay has won last I checked it had a big 8% market share. It isn't exactly hot. I personally never plan on owning one and am going to skip over it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Not to insult you, but duh!

      I don't know if these movie studios are stupid or just playing dumb because they think it will make them more money. Sales are flagging for multiple reasons, not the least of which being that there is no good standard for buying movies these days. DVDs are cheap and available and you can easily play them on tons of devices and even rip them to computers. But they're not HD.

      Bluray gives the best quality, but computer Bluray drives are expensive, consumer bluray players are exp

  • Another Viewpoint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:16PM (#29889325) Journal
    A few days ago I happened to read an article from a different viewpoint [nytimes.com] that said:

    Until very recently, most Hollywood heavyweights were loath to speak too openly about the promise of digital entertainment — the downloading and streaming of movies and television shows on computers, Internet-enabled televisions and mobile devices. Nobody wanted to anger retail partners like Wal-Mart or do anything that might slow the DVD gravy train.

    followed up with

    A variety of factors have influenced Hollywood’s new aggression on the digital front. This year, Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers started cutting the amount of shelf space they devote to DVDs, and some other retail partners, like Circuit City, have gone out of business. So movie studios now worry less about angering them by pulling digital levers.

    The article actually highlights some moves that Disney (I know, I was shocked as well) has made to improve digital ownership for the consumer. And there are going to be a lot of failures (Disney already tried Moviebeam) but it's probably pretty clear that this is the future past Blu-ray.

    The film studios' reasons for falling sales? First it was piracy. Now that that's been reigned in it must be rentals, Netflix and Redbox. And once that tapers off and the DVD gravy train doesn't kick back up it'll be some other bullshit. Never will it be the fact that 99% of movie trailers I see today I don't care for and 99% of the ones I watch have little to no replay value. Never will it be the declining quality of the product. Never will it be the fact that I have bought this movie in three other formats goddammit--why do I need to pay for blu-ray? Never will it be the fact that buying it on blu-ray allows me to play it on only one device in my house when I have many more capable of playing movies.

    Go ahead, pin the blame on someone else. I don't care. But you won't fix the problem until you look at all the contributing factors. It is ignorance to think it is just one of these. Die a slow painful death, I just hope my children don't have to put with you acting like children.

    • Few people seem to question the implicit goal that companies seem to hold, that profits must always continue to increase forever. Any deviation from this path is seen as a failure. Thus, even though they are raking in enormous profits from theatres and DVD rentals, movie companies must find a way to increase those profits by putting the screws on already profitable business practices such as renting DVD's.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:17PM (#29889337)

    ...that they provide services that the market wants. (I mean, who ever made a profit pleasing customers?) I hope that anti-trust law isn't too eviscerated to go after them for this BS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      ...that they provide services that the market wants. (I mean, who ever made a profit pleasing customers?) I hope that anti-trust law isn't too eviscerated to go after them for this BS.

      Let's see...Hollywood...huge contributor to one of the major political parties...

      Seems to me that the political party I'm trying to remember might be significant somehow. Perhaps the Party of the Speaker of the House? President Pro Tem of the Senate? President of the Senate? President of the USA?

      One of those guys anyway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)

        yes, that's the same reason MS has never had anti-trust brought against them~

        Idiot.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Valdrax (32670)

          yes, that's the same reason MS has never had anti-trust brought against them~

          Idiot.

          Actually, there's a lot of merit to that statement. After all, MS didn't start pouring sacks of money into both parties until after they got sued, and neither did the tech industry as a whole. Compare the numbers before 1998 to after. [opensecrets.org] They learned their lesson well, and now the IT sector is a huge contributor to BOTH parties, unlike the fools in the oil, tobacco, and housing industries which used to be far more partisan and who got nailed when their parties weren't in power.

          Though they've been pretty eve

    • I would have hoped that you would actually understand what anti-trust meant but that was too much to hope for too.
    • Re:God forbid... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:49PM (#29892317) Homepage Journal

      (I mean, who ever made a profit pleasing customers?)

      (Whores?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:18PM (#29889341)

    Just set up special places where they would show the DVDs on large screens before they tried to sell them.

  • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:18PM (#29889349)
    I have heard of modern film making described as a form of investment banking where somehow magically a movie comes out the other end of the process. Taste, aesthetics, or common sense seem to be no part of this process. I can see why the studios would view the public as the same witless drug addled types as they star in these movies and therefore think them incapable of making the simple choice of not buying a poor product.
    • by sxltrex (198448) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:01PM (#29890045)

      I hate to sound like I'm defending the studios here, but when any movie with a budget of less than $10 million is considered indie, every movie is a sizable investment. If I were in charge of investing $50 million in a project, I think I'd be less interested in the aesthetics and more interested in the probability of turning a profit, too. But that just covers the green lighting process.

      • by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:15PM (#29892093)

        It goes far beyond the green light. I know a guy who's actually sold some scripts to Hollywood studios. The way it works is you start off with a great script (they have a lot to choose from). Then it goes through, literally, five or six rewrites by other writers who've been hired to add profitable elements. No love story? We need that to bring in the high school girls - we'll just shoe-horn one it. Are there enough character elements (aliens, robots, cars, etc) we can use to make cheaply manufactured merchandise? No? Well, we'll change the sidekick from a human to a robot with a simple enough form we can make Happy Meal toys for under $0.50. Are there any elements that might offend anyone in the world (international distribution is key)? We'll just cut those out, or we'll localize them in certain scenes so we can recut for different markets - sex for the Europeans, violence for the Americans. The Japanese get everything.

        It's a production line. They're producing a product that's close enough to everything else that's successful they stand a really good chance of making money. The problem is if all the studios are working from the same play book the movies are so similar they won't do very well. And that's exactly what has happened - the production line works so well the market is swamped with product that's only different in the most superficial ways.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:27PM (#29890423) Homepage

      I can see why the studios would view the public as the same witless drug addled types as they star in these movies and therefore think them incapable of making the simple choice of not buying a poor product.

      The real problem is that, to a large extent, they're right. There are a lot companies that exist and profit while selling a poor product and harming their own customers. The movie industry is just one example.

  • Redbox buying DVDs (Score:5, Informative)

    by The_Wilschon (782534) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:18PM (#29889353) Homepage
    My brother in law works for redbox, and sure enough, every time a new major film is released to DVD, he goes to every walmart in his area (and we're not talking just one county here) and purchases anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand copies, starting at midnight. He then takes them home and one by one puts them into non studio-branded cases, then goes out and stocks the redbox machines he manages.
  • Great Idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:19PM (#29889375)

    Actually, this is so stupid I don't even feel like making a snarky comment.
    All I really have to say is the obvious: Screwing people only drives them towards piracy. People rent a movie because they don't want to pay $20-30 for something they will only watch once. Doing this won't change that, so if the option goes from "pirate it or rent it for $5" to "pirate it or buy it for $20", do you really think that's gonna help the studios?
    So fucking stupid.
    -Taylor

  • by Manos_Of_Fate (1092793) <link226@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:20PM (#29889385)
    The three major players of an industry getting together in an attempt to shut out a perceived competitor? I don't see anything shady there...
  • I'll have gotten impatient and found it on BT.

    oh ya, that's going to help sales....

    brilliant. simply brilliant.

  • First sale doctrine? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by javacowboy (222023) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:20PM (#29889397)

    Wasn't this settled in the 1980's Betamax Supreme Court judgment? I thought that movie rental shops had the right of first sale and don't need approval from studios to rent movies, or am I missing something here?

    • by spun (1352)

      Netflix, Blockbuster and others probably get bulk deals. The summary says that Redbox have resorted to buying new releases at retail, so I'm guessing the studios are simply not offering wholesale prices to the rental companies for a month. So, the rental companies will buy at retail, and pass the costs on to us. They break even, the studios win, we lose.

    • by piojo (995934)

      I read that Blockbuster pays a tithe to the movie studios, and operates with their blessing. Redbox doesn't, so the studios won't do business directly with Redbox, and (I think) have tried to shut them down.

      If Blockbuster participates in this scheme, I imagine it will because the movie studios force them to.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:21PM (#29889405)

    How this is possible? I don't understand the whole rental world. How does the studio have any control over it? Sure, they own the copyright on the material on the disk but I own the disk. I can sell it, why can't I rent it out to someone?

    What legal principle prevents me from loaning out, selling, or renting any (physical) CD/DVD/Book that I have purchased? Do these companies seriously have to buy special versions that they rent out? They have copyright which let's them dictate copying or performance, giving out the physical item I bought doesn't seem to fall in that category.

    • by tsstahl (812393)
      The studios give the big rental companies steep discounts on quantity. Also, they make sure the rental companies have their stock in time for release day renting. Having to pay retail for each DVD REALLY cuts into income, among other things.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rahvin112 (446269)

        Bullshit. The Studios have never discounted to the renters. They hate the renters and would love to see them out of business. If the sold to the renters in advance of retail availability they would charge MORE not less, as that's EXACTLY what they used to do with movies when they came on tapes. Netflix pays EXACTLY the same amount or MORE for what you can buy, the big distributors might cut a slight discount (at a hit to their own profits) for bulk purchases but they don't pay a dime less than the studio's

    • by Mortlath (780961)
      From the linked article:

      To get them on board, studios probably would have to offer them a lower wholesale price than that paid by retailers, currently $18 for most standard DVDs and $25 for high-definition Blu-ray discs.

    • Once you have a DVD in your hands you can rent or resell it as much as you want (first sale doctrine). However, the studios refuse to sell DVDs directly to rental companies, and the studios get their wholesale distributors to sign contracts refusing to sell to rental companies. Then the rental companies have to buy DVDs at retail price at Wal-Mart, which increases their costs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rahvin112 (446269)

        Anti-competitive trust behavior. Also if all the studios do it at the same time it's collusion also. The music companies tried it then paid quite a bit of money to settle a bunch of class actions and a federal anti-trust action that could have revoked their copyrights.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattack2 (1165421)

      Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

      There are *some* limitations. But if you RTFA, these are voluntary agreements by the DVD rental places, so they get cheaper DVDs to rent, but delayed.

      IMHO, it's basically trying to effectively bring back the equivalent of the "video rental window", where the VHS tape originally cost $85 or so, so the rental companies would have to pay a lot so they could rent the "hot new releases"... The people that really want it the day it's released (might) buy it w

      • by tgibbs (83782) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:52PM (#29890735)

        So basically, what this means is that Redbox will get a window when they can rent their retail-purchased copies without competition form Blockbuster! Which will probably drive Redbox's profits up enough to make up for the higher cost they'll have to pay for the disks.

        Blockbuster is probably doomed, though...
        Redbox can afford to pay retail, because red boxes are a lot cheaper than bricks and mortar. Blockbuster cannot, so they lose either way.
        Maybe a win for Netflix, though. They don't have Blockbuster's costs, and since most subscribers have a long queue, they aren't so concerned about the release date of particular movies, so they can afford to observe the lockout. And they aren't really in competition with Redbox, because Redbox can't match Netflix's inventory of older movies, or their ability to deliver content directly to your TV/PS3/XBox360/Bluray player.

        For the film studios, the net result will be the loss of Blockbuster, a big disk purchaser. It's very unlikely that individual DVD sales will make up for that. So a big lose for the studios, too.

  • I've already waited the delay from the theater to the movie rental stores. What's another month?

    I go by the "What's coming out and when" whiteboard in my favorite little movie rental shop anyway. From this perspective, nothing changes.

  • Another epic fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:22PM (#29889415)
    Maybe people aren't buying DVDs cause there isn't much worth owning anymore, or they have found, in a recession, it's just more cost-effective to rent it rather than buy it. How many DVDs do you really watch 15+ times that makes buying it worthwhile?

    So if this is the case, which seems most likely, their "plan" is going to flop. You can't force people to buy something they don't want. They'll just wait the extra month till the DVD hits the rental market, watching other rentals in the meantime.

    I mean seriously, do these idiots really get paid for their "brilliance"? Who are the morons that come up with these ideas, not to mention those that hop on the bandwagon and think it's the best thing since sliced bread? How do they manage to stay employed?
    • There is loads of stuff on itunes movies i want to see but i'm not paying £10.99 for it. I'd rather wait and rent but they already delay rentals.
  • It seems that they too believe that their media isn't worth seeing more than once. Otherwise, it would be worth buying rather than renting for a night or two and leaving it at that.

  • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:23PM (#29889435) Journal

    delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone."

    Hmm... wait a minute. This sounds familiar.

    Oh, yeah, "anti-competitive collusion"

  • I either saw it at the theater or I saw it on TV later. This is, of course, before I got into foreign films.

    Redbox was the first time I actually really started watching things on DVD regularly. I hated Blockbuster, and DVDs cost more than the movie theater for one person, so that was often the cheaper option as well as the instant gratification that netflix didn't have at the time. It's also due to the low cost and convenience. I don't think there is anything that would make me want to own DVDs, like CD

  • Does anyone actually "line up" to see a movie when it's first released anymore? Especially these days, Hollywood is putting out utter drivel, so does it really matter if you see it today or in four weeks' time?

    I think this might backfire on them. People who might be influenced by marketing buzz to see a movie right away, might forget about it by the time it reaches rental. But if they rent it during the new-release period, they might actually decide to buy it later.

  • Wouldn't delaying the renting or for-pay downloading of movies after the DVD release result in a huge increase in downloaded torrents by people who would be willing to pay a few bucks for the convenience of watching the movie, but don't feel like shelling out $18.99 for something they will only watch once? Alternatively, if I can't rent a movie, what stops me from forming a private club wherein members buy one of each new movie and share it with all other members? What percentage of DVD profits come from di
  • Right & Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChefInnocent (667809) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:29PM (#29889529)
    They've almost got it pegged, I've stopped buying DVDs because I can rent them from RedBox. I watch most movies about once and then they sit on my shelf for a very long time before I watch them again, if ever. So, I now only buy movies I think I'll watch multiple times. RedBox has saved me from many bad purchases. RedBox is different than Hollywood Video in that I pay a buck versus 5 bucks. If I rent a movie for $1, if I decide that I later want to buy it, I don't feel like I've overpaid for my watching experience. That is to say, 16/15 is not a bad ratio of overpayment. If I rent a move for $5 and later decide to buy it, I feel like I over spent (20/15 somehow crosses my threshold). So, they have it right that RedBox is cutting into their sales, but only of crappy movies which covers 2/3's (depending on who you are, this number fluctuates wildly).

    What they don't understand is that if it takes a month longer to get to RedBox, I'm just going to wait another month before I "preview" the movie. Before RedBox, I would often wait for a film of suspect quality to reach the $5 bin before watching it. Now with RedBox, most movies will reach the $5 bin before I buy it making the ratios more like 6/5.

    So the executives at the Film Studios can think a month delay will help their sales, but it's more likely to drive people to torrents. I think in the long run, nothing is going to make them happy. Consumers want the feeling of value, and RedBox offers that. I can rent from them all I want for a buck a pop and not feel guilty about copyright infringement. If they do stupid things to take away my feeling of value, then I'm just going to sense greed and have no compunctions against "piracy".
  • I used to buy DVDs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by citking (551907) <(jay) (at) (citking.net)> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:30PM (#29889545) Homepage

    I used to buy lots and lots of DVDs. I still have a pretty decent collection after selling some and trading others. Then one day I was watching a new DVD ("Se7en", or "Seven") when it skipped. I watched it jostle and jiggle for a few minutes, ejected it, wiped it, same effect. Tried the upstairs DVD player. It was even worse.

    The store I bought it from looked at the open shrink wrap and said "Sorry". They wouldn't even let me exchange it because, according to the manager, they'd have to eat the cost of it.

    So having some free time I wrote to New Line Cinema, finding an address online for consumer feedback. I asked them if I could obtain another disc from them and I would gladly ship back the old one and pay to ship a new one to me. The canned response I received back basically told me I was SOL and to go buy another DVD at full cost. Have a nice day.

    Instead, I now spend the equivalent to one DVD a month on Netflix, my fiance and I can each rent our own movies and return them whenever, and if it skips I have a new one in a day or two. I won't buy a DVD anymore unless I have a very compelling reason to, such as a gift for someone or if it is a movie I will enjoy over and over, such as "The Shawshank Redemption".

    Like many, I am tired of paying $19.99 or higher for new DVDs and getting rebuked when the time came to get a replacement disc when another disc became unreadable. So I'll Netflix it, stream it if I am unsure about it, and rip it if I want a copy and it costs too much. I feel a little guilt, but then I remember how the store and New Line screwed me and then I feel OK with it. Bottom line: If you make it difficult for a customer to get something legally that he or she paid for, you better believe that customer will find ways to get around that (and keep getting around it). No one likes to be screwed. I just can't afford to be screwed as much as the studios, distributor, producers, etc. can.

  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:32PM (#29889579)

    What are they going to do about all the little independent video stores? Those places often do good business b/c they have a pretty good inventory and cost way less than blockbuster.

    If I owned a little store I would tell the studios to kiss my ass after I was able to stop laughing at them.

  • If all the studios are considering this at that same time, then it sounds like they discussed it amongst each other? If so, isn't that collusion? That is is illegal in the United States, and probably elsewhere.

    Any time I hear a business model where depriving customers of something increases sales, I start looking for the anti-competitive practices are happening.

  • For the movie to go from the big screen to DVD so I can see it on netflix. Another month of waiting is not going to kill me
  • ...our shelves were starting to get full, and we weren't re-watching them. There's no structural change the motion picture industry can change that will help with that. Instead of trying to figure out how to screw your customers, guys, maybe you should try serving our needs. Why can't I get stuff right away on iTunes? This is like the book industry and their hardcover/paperback model. Basically, they're getting a big hit upfront in hardcover sales at the cost of making people who would have bought

  • that in an effort to push their business model further towards irrelevancy, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would harvest ill will in increasing amounts from consumers for several weeks. Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few hours, after which time filesharing such as Bittorrent and eMule would offer the DVDs for free. 'The studios are wrestling with declines in DVD sales while the rest of the world adapts superior distribution technology,' says PHBasterd, the CEO of Clueless Inc. 'If we can agree on annoying enough artificial tollbooths, $0 could potentially seem far more attractive to consumers.' Three studios have already tried to impose arbitrary attempts to control what they can't control anymore on any forward looking company with a better idea, believing they can stop progress and return to some nostalgic time period when Sonny sang with Cher. Consumers have responded by not caring and doing whatever the hell they want, since IP law was never meant to be used as a club on the general consumer. Meanwhile, media execs snorting coke off hookers' asses have been complaining that there is less coke and less hookers and why don't people understand how vital and important they are to the flow of media and culture."

    it doesn't reflect well on you when you've already lost and you won't admit it

    game over dude

  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @05:51PM (#29889905) Homepage

    There are actually three Redbox lawsuits in Delaware District Court.
    From PACER, the cases are:

    (1) Case number: 1:08-cv-00766-RBK-JS
    Redbox Automated Retail LLC v. Universal Studios Home Entertainment LLC et al

    (2) Case number: 1:09-cv-00613-RBK
    Redbox Automated Retail LLC v. Warner Home Video

    (3) 1:09-cv-00592-RBK
    Redbox Automated Retail LLC v. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC

    Redbox is asking the court to find "copyright misuse" [wikipedia.org] which is an antitrust doctrine that courts use when a company tries to abuse the rights granted under copyright. Redbox is seeking an injunction basically requiring Universal/Warner/Fox to sell it DVDs.

    Factually, the complaint basically alleges that the studios are "shaking down" Redbox for more money. E.g., Universal wants Redbox to sign a "revenue sharing agreement" or Universal will stop supplying DVDs. The agreement states that Redbox will not rent DVDs until 45 days after the "DVD sell-through street date established by [Universal]." It also limits each Redbox kiosk to 8 copies of any movie. It also requires Redbox to destroy all the DVDs when it is done renting them.

    The big case on copyright misuse is BMI v. CBS, 441 U.S. 1. (summary [golishlaw.com])

    Sadly for redbox fans, the legal answer, based on BMI, is most likely that the studios can require whatever the fuck they want in their contracts. We shall see.

     

    • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:21PM (#29891687)

      But the point is RedBox DOESN'T HAVE a contract and doesn't need one. They buy their rental licensed DVDs from distributors the same way any other video store does for fairly set prices by the studios. The studios singled them out and interfered with the free sales of the distributors by telling distributors to withhold shipments from RedBox unilaterally. Now to get their scheduled purchases, the studios want RedBox to sign special agreements... when lots of other little video stores from the same distributors don't have to.

  • by paulmac84 (682014) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:38PM (#29890571) Homepage

    I though the only place to get new movies was through The Pirate Bay.

  • Non-Issue for Many (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prozac79 (651102) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @07:02PM (#29890861)

    My Netflix queue is already 200+ movies long. I'm watching movies for the first time that came out 20+ years ago. So I don't really care if it takes another month for the DVD release because I have plenty of other movies to watch. I can't think of many situations where I absolutely need to watch a certain movie and I will be in that one-month, money-suck period. I'm sure the great majority of netflix and other movie renters fall into the same category.

    I say we let the studio's try this and let the market decide. If it doesn't bother too many people and they make a little more money then fine. If no one likes it and they see a continued decline in sales then they will get the message and drop the idea. The one big fear is that they see a decline in sales and don't get the message and then go whining all the way up the hill to the congressmen that they own.

  • by Aging_Newbie (16932) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @07:43PM (#29891301)

    When I hear about a new movie, I immediately (before I forget!!!) go to Netflix and add it to my queue. Then, I know, just like planting tulip bulbs in the fall, that some day in the future I will have a pleasant surprise when the movie shows up as available. Add a month, take away a month ... who cares ... only if the movie were really exceptional would I actually buy tickets and go see it in a theater. Not that it is impossible, I went to a movie in the past year ... but it better be really good and it better benefit from the big screen, big speakers, and big popcorn .... or I will wait patiently for Netflix.

Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

Working...