Samuel sez, "Hey guys. Several months ago, I bought an episode of Star Trek on Google Video, just out of curiosity to see how it worked. Today I got an email letting me know my videos would stop working in five days."
As a valued Google user, we're contacting you with some important
information about the videos you've purchased or rented from Google Video.
In an effort to improve all Google services, we will no longer offer the
ability to buy or rent videos for download from Google Video, ending the
DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective
August 15, 2007.
To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we
are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus for $5.00. Your bonus
expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores listed here:
http://www.google.com/checkout/signupwelcome.html. The minimum purchase
amount must be equal to or greater than your bonus amount, before shipping
After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased
or rented videos.
If you have further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to
contact us. Thank you for your continued support.
The Google Video Team
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Notice that Google called these videos "purchased" and "download to own" — as though by buying them, they became your property. Funny kind of property, that. Imagine if these were DVDs: one day, a man from Virgin Megastore shows up at your door and says, "We're taking away all your videos. Sorry! But we'll give you a credit to spend at a different store. Not a credit for videos, though. Also: it expires in 60 days."
This is a giant, flaming middle finger, sent by Google and the studios to the customers who were
dumb trusting enough to buy DRM videos. How many of these people will trust the next DRM play from Google (no doubt coming soon from YouTube) or the studios?
The terms that Google sold its video on were similar to those laid down by other downloadable video "stores," like Amazon Unbox. These stores claim to "sell" you things, but you can never truly 0wn the things they sell — they are your theoretical property only, liable to confiscation at any time. That's the lesson for DRM: only the big motion picture companies, search giants and other corporate overlords get to own property. We vassals are mere tenant-farmers, with a precarious claim on our little patch of dirt.
Hey, class-action lawyers! This seems like a golden opportunity.