Paramount Pictures sells DRM-tastic hard drives pre-loaded with movies, crippleware

paramountth.jpgParamount Pictures will sell 500-gig Seagate drives loaded with the 2009 movie "Star Trek" (and the option to load 20 other films) for $100. According to reports, that promotional pricing will only be available for a month, then prices jump.

Ah, but there's a catch! Windows, and a DRM system that presumably prevents you from doing stuff like moving the movie from that drive to other computers in your home.

The other movies distributed by Paramount, including "GI Joe," "Nacho Libre" and "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" come pre-loaded with a digital lock that requires a code that can be purchased online for $10 to $15 each. Even watching "Star Trek" requires registration. The pre-loaded movies come with a Windows-based digital rights management system that prevents file sharing. They take up about 50 GB of the drive itself.
(thanks, Cyrus)


    1. Agreed. With $140 you can get an external TB, rent lots of DVDs, and have cash left over for weed.

  1. … that will be cracked in less than 24. Silly Mega-Corporations, your no match for poor hackers with free time and a can-do attitude.
    Ugh, it’s like they’re living in a different reality where math doesn’t apply to them.

    1. I don’t see anyone bothering to crack this. I don’t think that any of this product’s potential customers – that is, people who think that buying films this way is a good idea – would even consider looking for a way to disable the DRM.

  2. I may be willing to put up with DRM, if they’re going to pay me $100.
    Oh, I would have to pay them?

  3. …why would anyone buy this?
    500GB HD – $70
    Blu-Ray 3 disc version of Star Trek – $20
    50GB worth of software that acts to screw you over – $10? Really?

  4. Yeah, not sure these people live on the same planet as the rest of us. The cited ‘regular price’ of $140 is twice what you can actually buy them for, and the cost to unlock the bundled movies is more than the cost of buying them on DVD. This just makes no sense.

  5. I have a standard riff I use with cashiers about occasionally overpaying them because I don’t want to deal with (or wait for) change. “If I object to you keeping my money, I shouldn’t have come in here in the first place.”

    Now ask me why I’ve pretty much quit going to movies.

  6. Let’s see…

    Paramount is going to charge you MORE than if you were to buy a blank drive and all these titles separately.

    Ah ha ha ha!!! ROTFLMFAO!

  7. Looks like Paramount’s four-decade-plus history of selling crappy Star Trek merch continues unabated.

  8. How could they possibly use 50 GB for DRM? That is insane. If the DRM takes that much overhead, I can’t imagine its design will pose much challenge to crackers. Sometimes, you want to give old media the benefit of the doubt but then they demonstrate yet again how incompetent they are with these things.

  9. 50GB for DRM? WTF! I can’t even imagine what it does.

    #8 anon: It will be cracked simply for the sake of cracking it. That’s how these people work.

    /been deeply involved with cracking

  10. The DRM itself isn’t 50GB, the 21 movies are. That’s about 2.38 GB per movie, by the way.

  11. I just love it when they couch a deal in terms that sound good but you just know that something is wrong. No thanks. I can get 200 gig externals free from my office all damned day long.

  12. maybe, if the hd was shaped like the enterprise, and it really flew around the room and could project the movies onto the wall…then maybe…

    drm is a sure way to ensure they make less profit in an effort to make more, and to ensure they screw the customer in an effort to keep their own interests safe. i guess they assume the best defense is a good offense, especially since they’ve been screwing the consumer and artists for so long. tyranny remains in power through continued tyranny.

    i’d maybe buy the drive for that price you could fill it to the brim from their movie library and they got rid of the drm.

  13. But the biggest joke of all is the lame selection of movies. GI Joe? Nacho Libre? Jimmy Neutron? YMBFKM.

  14. I know a way to make DRM irrelevant, stop piracy and guarantee a solid income stream for all movie studios. Set up an on-line store where I can download back catalogue titles for $2 and new releases for $5. Make the downloads good quality using a standard compression codec/algorithm and watch the money roll in.
    Piracy will practically stop because the cost of a download will be so small that pirating it will present an unnecessary risk to the downloader. Still, when you see idiotic attempts like this HDD, you realise that the lawyers and marketing bozos will never find an idea as simple as mine appealing.

    1. That’s funny. Paramount paid for my graduate school education at MIT in the 80s, where we were working on an idea called “Paperback Movies”. Nobody copies a paperback book, ‘cuz it is cheaper to buy than to copy.

      We presented a consortium of movie makers with the technology to make copies of movies for $.20 (i.e. a DVD), allowing them to sell them for $3-4 and still make a decent margin.

      As history shows, they decided to use the technology but sell them for $20 instead of $3, thus providing plenty of incentive for the resulting arms race.

      1. Those of us a little older might remember a time when pre-recorded movies (on VHS) cost $80-100; blank tapes ranged near $20. Video rental stores were everywhere and making money. Then the price of the prerecorded tapes dropped to $20, $12, $10, even less. Video rental stores closed en masse.

        Big box stores today sell new releases at about $20 on DVD, $27 or so for Blu-Ray. Promo pricing knocks off 5-6 bucks…

        You know what drove the initial VHS boom? Porn. Mainstream acceptance followed, when the consequent drop in price to the consumer, but bucket-loads of cash to the studios.

        And these numb-nuts can’t seem to recall why they were financially successful. Fuck ’em.

        catcha: resigned newer!

  15. so this is a better deal than buying a drive and a dvd and copying the drm free movie to your drive? uh…. no. idiots.

  16. And I was just at Costco yesterday and almost bought a $99 Seagate 1TB external HDD. The 250 Gig one I got 2 years ago for more is still going strong, just getting full.

    But not Sh-t movies I haven’t even bothered to RENT yet.

    Hope these companies DIE. Almost nothing but SH-t out there, thanks to them. I won’t even “Steal” their Cr-p.


    Oh, btw, filling the HDD with 3D stuff, animations, musical creations and countless text files. I actually create my own content in no small part because I hate most of the “Corporate (corpophagic) Media Culture” with a passion.

    1. I object to your use of language Gestalt. Either refrain from swearing, or grow a pair and do it without the self censoring.

      Shit and crap are mild terms to use about this offering. Calling Paramount management “a bunch of syphilitic cock suckers in the grip of terminal paresis” is both liberating and accurate IMNSHO.

  17. I guess that is, all in all, the worst sales pitch I heard this year.

    I mean, they could have written “Hey, gullible idiots! Pay for my 7th Porsche!” on the front without making it worse…

  18. I suppose at some point companies will realize DRM hurts there business, I suspect it will be right about the time we prove hell exists and are shocked to find it frozen over.

  19. If you insist on using DRM, you need to provide adequate support to deal with the inevitable problems that legitimate customers will have. Paramount doesn’t. I liked Star Trek enough that I bought the Blu-ray disc. It came with a “digital copy” that required a code to unlock it. When I entered the code, I got an error message saying it was already used, meaning it had been hacked, since the code was in a shrink-wrapped box. Code problems are common enough that the Paramount support site has a standard form for complaints, which apparently routes them to /dev/null.

  20. Even if I felt like paying $100 for a 500GB drive, it probably wouldn’t be this one. Suppose I hate the movies and want to get the space back so I format the drive, which wipes out the DRM. In some pea-brained MAFIAA lawyer’s head, I’m now guilty of “removing” their DRM.

  21. You make this work somehow with that stupidshit airport Blockbuster flashdrive vending kiosk, and HOT DAMN, WE’VE GOT A DEAL.

  22. Unfortunately, these folks are blind to reality. They don’t live down here with us “regular” people and therefore do not get why this is such a stupid idea. To them they think, “well, I have all kinds of money to waste on useless shit so this seems like a great idea. And whoever doesn’t is just worthless scum.”

    That’s why if they were ever to have to fly on a regular airliner they would be appalled at the ridiculous hoops they would be forced to jump through. To them it’s just get out of limo, get on private jet, fly, get off private jet, get in limo and never have to see, smell or touch the filthy unwashed masses. This ridonkulous HDD scheme of theirs just shows the gaping hole between us and them. And of course their total lack of common sense but that is the difference between being filthy rich and just plain filthy. When you have money you don’t need to make sense because you can afford to be stupid and be told you are right and make sense.

    *shakes head in utter dismay at the state of the world*

  23. I thought you get Star Trek + 20 other movies for $100. I’d go for that, DRM or no.

    But of course that would be fair pricing. You get ONLY Star Trek, and the others cost nearly as much as a DVD each. What crap. I’ll wait until Blockbuster goes under and be there to buy their stock at $2 apiece.

  24. I have to admit that I used to get all excited about buying the $14.99 new release DVD’s at Best Buy and ripping them to whatever format for any number of players – Archos, Cowon, iPod, etc. However, now with the new Sony TV’s and Tivo HD’s there are tons of ways to get digital content directly. I came to the realization that there is a very, very short list of content that I actually want to own, and most of it is barely rental quality. Well, now thanks to I can rent new releases in HD and have the movies stream directly to either TV in the house for $4.99, or with iTunes I can do the same for iPad (Which is AMAZING when it comes to international flights – 10 hour trip to Frankfurt last week – the thing was on the whole time and landed with 53% battery remaining), anyway… The thought of wasting my own storage space with a studio movie seems absurd to me. The only case I can really think of is when I store the digital copy that accompanies a Blu-ray disc for free.

    I agree with the previous poster. Movie studio execs seem to be living in an alternate reality when it comes to understanding the consumption of digital content. Blu-Ray has already shot itself in the foot with pricing alone. I have nearly half a dozen ways to play Blu-ray in my house now, and still purchase less than 10% of what I used to on DVD due to outrageous pricing. At this point, I don’t know if $14.99 pricing on new release Blu-Ray titles is enough to save the medium.

    This movie on a hard drive technology sounds like bad idea, wrapped in shortsightedness, and enshrouded in stupidity.

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