Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

Summary: Here comes round two of Google vs. Android phone owners with word that the Blockbuster app on the Droid Charge sniffs out rooted phones and blocks video streaming on them.

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I feel like I am yelling in an echo chamber. Google set the Android customer base on its ear by blocking its own movie rental service on rooted phones. I yelled in the chamber at that, as I saw it as only the first round of Google tightening the screws to its customers. Now comes round two of Google vs. Android phone owners with word that the Blockbuster app on the Droid Charge sniffs out rooted phones and blocks video streaming on them.

I see a grim Android world coming where lots of activities are barred from those cheeky enough to root their phones. I fall into that crowd, as do millions of Android smartphone owners. The nasty excuse of DRM is so often the reason things are taken away from consumers, and it is doubly bad when it is Google itself that sticks it to us. Oh you blame Blockbuster for this latest restriction? It turns out the DRM system that is shutting down rooted phones for Blockbuster is Widevine. Google owns Widevine. Consider yourself thoroughly thrown under the bus.

Image credit: Droid Life

Topics: Hardware, Google, Mobility, Security

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26 comments
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  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    From my understanding and based on what friends with androids have told me, they root the phone to get rid of the bloatware like the blockbuster app.
    LoverockDavidson
  • Many Android users do not even load Apps at all, so this is not critical

    for the platform.<br><br>As well as Symbian smartphones never had app-craze, the same goes with most of Android phones, which are simplistic with 400x240 resolutions, superslow SoCs, and even with no access to Android Market at all.<br><br>Huge legions of that kind of stupid smartphones are selling every month, and this is how Google gains its record-breaking activations rate, which has reached 400 000 per day. Here, on Tech site, it may seem that all activations has to be on HTC Evo G4 level, but no, smart smartphones are only part of these.
    DDERSSS
    • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

      @denisrs
      Can you provide an example of these non-smart Android phones?
      30otnix
      • Lets do the math: 400 000 activations per day make about 37 000 000 Android

        @30otnix: devices per quarter.

        You may look at Motorola's, Samsung's and HTC's reports and see how many smartphones they all sold together in a quarter. Most of these devices are "smart smartphones", but <b>the quantity will like twice less</b> of total quantity of 37 million.

        The difference is "stupid" no name smartphones sold in China, India, other regions in huge quantities.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

        There are countless of no-name cheapo Android phones in China, India, etc like that (these concretely are not no-name, but you will have an idea):<br><br>Android Behold 2 | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Droid Eris | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Fiesta | Resolution: 240 x 320<br>Android Galaxy | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Generic | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Moment | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Morrison | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android myTouch | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Opal | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android SDK | Resolution: 320 x 240<br>Android Tattoo | Resolution: 240 x 320
        DDERSSS
    • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

      @denisrs [b]Many Android users do not even load Apps at all, so this is not critical for the platform.[/b]

      Interesting theory... but based on the growing number of apps in the Android Market, Amazon Android market, and other sources of Android apps I'd say your theory is way off base.
      athynz
      • Not that way off base: smart-smartphones' sales are big enough for quantity

        @athynz: ... of apps to grow. Still, stupid-smartphones sales are even bigger.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

      @denisrs "stupid smartphones" kind of oxy-moronic, don't ya think?
      fritzendugan@...
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    Why are you surprised? Google doesn't own these movies. Do you think those that do would allow distribution of their content without DRM? Do they for any platform? Hell, at least Android is getting these services. None of this is anywhere close to available on any other other Linux platform.
    30otnix
  • I don't blame Blockbuster or Google

    The blame correctly lies with the content providers and lawmakers. I said it before and I'll say it again: Google, BB, Netflix, Apple etc. are content DISTRIBUTORS and to stay in the distribution business they need to keep the content providers happy. You as a customer have the final say on where you spend your dollars but the providers also have final say in how their content will be legally distributed. Google just wants happy customers on both sides, it's vote really is irrelevant.
    oncall
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    Rooting a phone has NOTHING to do with DRM. To make the leap that rooting a phone breaks the DRM is silly. It is not necessary to have DRM and to prevent rooting too.
    JamesKendrick
    • Your analysis may be spot on

      @JamesKendrick

      But irrelevant to the providers. As we have seen for years now the "entertainment" industry (I am just going to lump them all together here) is more than willing to shoot itself in the foot (or head) just to make a point. Those who play the DRM game, like Apple, get nice contracts and access to the newest content denied to distributors who don't want to play.

      It may be off topic a bit, but you think it's just chance that iTunes was chosen over DVD as the movie distribution channel for voters of the screen actors guild to decide the Oscars?
      oncall
      • RE: ...more than willing to shoot itself in the foot ....

        @oncall

        I have always though the location involved was half way between the two endpoints you have suggested. (From a male perspective.)
        fatman65535
    • That is exactly what these moronic providers need to figure out.

      @JamesKendrick
      You're exactly right. Denying access to people with root access to their phones is like denying access to people running a PC. Pick any operating system - you automatically have root access whenever you install pretty much any operating system because you need to be able to make changes when something is wrong (at the very least).

      On my new Android tablet I installed some software from the Android market that failed and got into a state where it couldn't be uninstalled properly. My only recourse, having not rooted the device, was to rename the folder as it could only be written to by the root user. I'm stuck with that folder on my device's filesystem now until I decide to root the tablet so that I can remove it.

      It is pretty ridiculous that content providers are saying, "Oh no, people can make administrative changes to their device? They may be able to put something on there that can defeat our DRM!" What they should be doing is making their DRM better or more foolproof (if they're going to have it at all, but that's a discussion for another day).

      Another point - who in their right mind would be interested in trying to pirate a highly-compressed low resolution video from their phone, anyway? And this is the content these providers are trying to protect so ridiculously?
      hotwirez@...
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    That's funny because getting rid of the Blockbuster application and all the other uninstall-protected applications was the primary reason I rooted my phone. If companies would stop trying to foist crapware that can't be removed on their users, then rooting would lose a lot of steam. Timely updates are nice too...
    gotamd@...
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    Why would anyone use Blockbuster? I think this is a good reason to try a different way to watch movies.
    Droid101
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    Users aren't Google's customers, they are the "product" Google provides to advertisers, Google's real customers.
    bannedagain
  • RE: Google's own DRM system blocks rooted phones on Blockbuster

    It's all about perception. Rooting a phone may not have anything to do with DRM yes but the perception is, those power users who root Android (take administrative control over the phone) are most likely the ones to bend the rules in other areas. Are we really surprised that the movie studios are perceiving Android rooters as freeloaders?

    http://gozzip.me/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/iPhone-vs-Android-vs-BlackBerry_large.jpg
    dave95.
    • LOL

      @dave95.

      That was a great picture, thanks for the laugh.
      oncall
      • Agree; that picture is a **must** to look at

        @oncall
        DDERSSS