Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

Summary: It seems that Google has begun to crackdown on 'rooted' Android device, starting off by banning them from its Android Movie Market.

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TOPICS: Android, Google
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It seems that Google has begun to crackdown on 'rooted' Android device, starting off by banning them from its Android Movie Market.

Rooting an Android device is a similar to jailbreaking iOS devices in that it removes the limitations that the manufacturers and carriers put on what the owners do with the device.

Well, if you've rooted your Android 'Honeycomb' device then you're not welcome in Google's new Movie Market video rental portal (currently only available for devices running Android 'Honeycomb' 3.1). If you have a rooted device and do try to download a movie you'll be faced with the following error:

Failed to fetch license for [movie title] (error 49)

Google even tells you why you're not welcome:

You'll receive this "Error 49" message if you attempt to play a movie on a rooted device. Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.

[poll id="635"]

I guess the reasoning is that a rooted devices could allow access to the movie file and allow it to be ripped off. I'm pretty sure that honest folks wouldn't do this and that those who do want to rip stuff off will find ways to rip stuff off despite this roadblock.

So if you want to enjoy Google Movie Market, don't root your Honeycomb device.

Topics: Android, Google

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20 comments
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  • Could you add more technical details, Adrian?

    So - Could you add some details to this? If I've got, say, a Nook color, is that going to work? Or will it fail with some versions and work with others? Or is this protection only for android based smart phones? Or does it cover everything? Is this ONLY for Honeycomb 3.1? Or does it affect Honeycomb 3.0, Froyo, and others?
    jakerson9@...
    • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

      @jakerson9@... The highest I've seen a Nook color is Android 2.3. Go to cyanogenmod.com they will have a firmware load you can use along with instructions.
      scubashnurpel
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    "I?m pretty sure that honest folks wouldn?t do this and that those who do want to rip stuff off will find ways to rip stuff off despite this roadblock."

    Exactly what I was already thinking. There's a lot of other sources for ripped off movies already out there... I know they want to prevent piracy and all, but you are also blocking out the legitimate guys.

    I know a lot of you guys will say "Oh, but that's an ok compromise to prevent you jerks from stealing content. Don't pretend you won't steal and pirate things. You rooted your device, and thus we know you will pirate content." (oh wait, does that sound like Sony?)

    Google, blocking them out will not stop them. They will just download bittorrent formats compatible with their device... "At least they didn't rip it off from our service." well, at least they're no longer paying you up for being jerks.
    zaghy2zy
    • I suspect that Google simply must do this

      in order for content creators to agree to allow streaming of video to a device. If they don't content creators will say they can't stream their files.

      Personally, I think the DRM idiocy could have been better mitigated with signed apps, and a service which only allows signed apps to access the streaming data, but this is (likely?) the quick-and-dirty way to get content providers to say "OK".

      All DRM can be circumvented (if the device can play the video, someone can copy it). Unfortunately is probably more about making it hard enough that content providers feel good.
      Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
  • Google are covering their backsides and revenue...Can you blame them?

    No this doesn't go along with the openness ethos of Android, but Google are not just saying no. They're saying no because they fear getting in legal trouble and losing money if people start ripping off movies on their Android 3.1 devices.

    If I had a rooted 3.1 device I would be annoyed, but I can't really blame Google for it. Unfortunatly there probably isn't a way for them to allow it either.
    DevJonny
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    It's going to be interesting watching Android slowly, but seemingly surely creep, one step at a time, towards being "closed" and watching people at each junction explain why the decision is justified and is actually a good thing. " but Google are not just saying no. They're saying no because they fear getting in legal trouble and losing money if people start ripping off movies on their Android 3.1 devices.[...]I can't really blame Google for it."<br><br>I wonder if people have considered that perhaps Apple just saw the writing on the wall and, instead of insulting the intelligence of people(or screwing them later) just jumped in and said "We are curated. That's it."<br><br>If there were ever an example of slowly boiling the frog, Android openness is it. I can only hope that the users like flies.
    dhmccoy
  • This is BS and a punishment to users

    Unlike Jailbreaking iOS the reason to root an android device is more a case of suppliers not keeping their devices up to date and savvy users wanting the latest and greatest firmware - instead of needing to buy a new device. Sprint abandoned the Moment 6 months after it was released refusing to update the unit to Android 2.2. Lots of hackers have proven that this same device is able to run 2.2 and even 2.3 pretty darn well. So what is the fairness in that?

    If Google wants to legitimately stop rooting then they need to tell their partners to update devices until the device is no longer viable to support the updates. Or even better - Google needs to take control of the update cycles and make sure that users are given their bang for the buck. Until that happens they should not limit the usage of any sites.
    DS-Solutions
    • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

      @DS-Solutions Well reasoned, the failure of companies to keep current with updates to their devices is a major reason for so much chagrin
      kennyjw77
    • What do you expect?

      The goal of these companies is to make money, not to waste resources supporting an old device. And in today's world old might mean 6 months. It's the capitalism consumer treadmill, sell more products, make more money!!!
      @DS-Solutions
      GoPower
      • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

        @GoPower

        one of the foundations of properly working capitalism is the consumer side refusing to accept improper practices by refusing to buy.

        do you seriously think McDonalds Coporation would maintain the Ronald McDonald House charity organization if their various studies didn't show that 20-30% of their customers bought McDonalds products specifically because of the charity? even if it is only 20%, that is still more revenue coming in than they put out into the charity.

        that is the oddity though, in most markets (cellular especially), the consumer mass is little more than noisy sheep waiting to be sheared.
        erik.soderquist
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    Typo city! Are there no editors at zdnet?
    googam
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    The reason for rooting a device is not to "steal" anything. it's to overclock and some other control features that aren't available on a non rooted device. Who wants to steal a movie for a ten inch screen? Google's movie service you stream or download with a DRM so it only lasts a month. I can take a non rooted device and do that same thing and remove the DRM just as easily as a rooted device. This is about something else we just don't know what it is yet. Besides that, the service is Expensive! 4.99 for a movie streamed to a 10 inch screen? I don't think so.
    chethammer
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    Guess I'm buying an Android evice then. Sucks for them.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    Just another case of guilty until proven innocent.

    Does rooting a phone means that the person will use it for piracy?

    Lets compare this to another situation.

    When you drive a car, you have a potential murder weapon. Does that means that all drivers are possible murderes? No. You need to take other facts into account.

    Yet use exactly the same logic when talking about rooting phones. Guilty until proven innocent.
    rxantos
    • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

      @rxantos When you drive a car, you are required to have liability insurance on the assumption the driver will hit something or someone, so there is that. So from your analogy, we should require all rooted android users to get insurance to pay for when they pirate movies before they are allowed access to the movie market.
      rapple37
      • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

        @rapple37
        But you replace car with gun and you get a better analogy. not everyone who owns a gun is a murderer and steps arent taken pre-emptively to stop them from accessing bullets.
        chethammer
  • No

    It isn't consistent with 'openness', but it's obviously the right thing to do from a business/legal perspective.

    I think the excessive focus on 'openness' is misguided anyway. It seems to mostly be used by uncompetitive firms, as a mechanism for reducing product differentiation. If all products are 'open', then none adds any unique economic value, which brings the market closer to perfect competition. This is good in the short run, since it brings down prices. In the longer run, however, investment often dries up, leading to stagnation.

    The successful products that generate the income necessary to invest in product development are almost invariably closed. Google, for example, go on about 'openness' with Android, but the real aim is simply to try and erode Apple's competitive advantage, to protect Google's dominant search/advertising position from a potential Apple threat based on iOS. Web search/advertising is Google's only really successful business, and Google's platform there is one of the most closed systems in the world (much more so than Windows or iOS).
    WilErz
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    I don't think Google has anything to do with this. You know the guy who has the license rights can dictate the terms of your use under law. If they say you can only play xyz on an unrooted device then Google has to comply. No big deal. Besides, if you want to root your device, you are bound to rub someone the wrong way. Google is learning that people love to consume content and the content makers get the dictate the rules of the game.
    rgor@...
  • Bangalore Pubs

    Google just always make the quality products items like android OS for screen touch mobile and now chrome note book Google is the best since long decade so there is no doubt about the Google android OS i used it and i found its the best OS in the market today and specially more than one lac application are available for on android market its amazing....
    roosevelt92
  • RE: Google blocks rooted devices from Android Movie Market

    I have purchased a few apps from the market. I purchased a new phone thinking I would get my apps back. Google has removed them. I paid for these apps. If Google continues to remove purchased apps. Should they give your money back. To me this is another form of stealing from the buyer. I want my money back, but Google will not pay me.
    gottheit2005@...