EZTakes: 5,000+ strong DRM-free online video store

Jim sez,

When I co-founded EZTakes, my intention was to create a movie download service that encrypted content with DRM. But after hearing Cory give a speech on DRM at a 2005 indie film conference in Montreal, I decided to launch a DRM-free service. I've continued the fight ever since.

Today, we offer about 5,000 DRM-free feature films that we licensed from over 80 distributors and studios. We've focused on finding the great movies you used to get at that quirky corner video store (when it was in business), and can't find among all the rows of "Avatar" at Wal-Mart. Our catalog includes classics such as Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," movie riffs like the entire Cinematic Titanic (former Mystery Science Theater 3K crew) collection, indie films like "Super Size Me," and campy/cult films such as "Plan 9" and "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." Our revenue has grown steadily, and the vast majority of our content partners are pleased with the income they get from us.

We've also rejected the ridiculous restrictions that other download services seek to impose on paying customers. From our Terms of Use: "EZTakes shall not take away, nor attempt to take away, rights related to your use of Content as a consumer, including but not limited to, 'first sale' and 'fair use' rights in the USA, or similar rights held by consumers outside the USA. If we ever say anything different, the foregoing shall take precedence." You can read our entire Terms of Use on our Web site.

We've just re-launched our site with a host of new features. Now when you buy a title from us, you almost always get: a tiny MP4 that plays on most smart phones; a high-quality MP4 that plays on any iPad, iPhone or video-enabled iPod; a downloadable DVD (for some titles) that you can burn and play on DVD players; and you can stream your purchase immediately, even while other versions download (broadband connection permitting). As an added benefit, iPhone and Android users can login to our mobile site (http://m.eztakes.com) to get their purchases streamed to their mobile phones (no download required). We also let our customers re-download, even if it's far into the future. So, I think it's safe to say that we've bent over backwards to give consumers reasons to buy. The "scarce value" we provide is our service, which lets our customers easily enjoy their content when, where and how they want.

It hasn't been easy. We've flirted with DRM. Just last year two major Hollywood studios offered us large catalogs of films, with no upfront payment, if we'd just use a certain vendor's DRM. Last week we walked away from a contract with a large media company because they wanted us to charge for re-downloads. Last year we ditched a deal (after spending tens of thousands on legal fees) when a well-known media company changed their mind at the 11th hour and told us they wanted DRM (even on trailers!).

IMPORTANT: If you look at the EZTakes site from outside the USA, you won't automatically see our entire catalog. Although we've tried, we couldn't always get world-wide rights. Many of our content partners had pre-existing deals with distributors in various territories.


(Thanks, Jim!)