Google's new movie rental service is blocked if your device is rooted

In what's sure to surprise quite a few people, Google has decided to block their new Movie rental service on all rooted Android devices, according to a report from Android Central.

"Rooting" is a common practice in the Android world, this allows the removal of applications that came pre-installed which users may not want. Rooting allows the use of applications which wouldn't normally be possible on an Android device, such as screenshot taking apps and the ability to block ads and quite a bit more. It's also normally the first step before installing a custom ROM, such as the very popular CyanogenMOD.

Google announced their service at Google I/O earlier this month, along with their music streaming service. The service allows users to rent movies to their android devices straight from the Android market. As it transpires, Google specifically locks out users of rooted devices for copy protection reasons.

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.

This is a bit of an unusual move from Google, who normally promote the open nature of Android; many rooted users are likely to feel somewhat irked by this. There's a likely possibility that the movie studios are the ones behind the decision, unwilling to let Google license anything without some form of copy protection in place. Because of this, many legitimate users will feel they're being punished for the sake of preventing something from leaking on the Internet, which in all likelihood will already be there anyway.

 

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google is walking on the edge. someone will sue them for this early or later, so they will loose a lot more from this decision.

ngc891 said,
who wants to watch a movie on their phone, seems a bit daft to me anyway.

True. But the new Android tablets are good for watching movies with portability.

studios and publishing houses are using all the wrong methods in fighting piracy. Doing this, or going after sites like pirate bay is like trying to stop locust swarm by killing one at a time.

So they are blocking people from paying money to rent movies....
Google is intentionally saying "you can't give us your money"....
Does anyone else see an issue with that?

Maybe its an attempt to stop people ripping the movies on rooted devices (I'm assuming rooting the devices gives you more accessibility to do such things). There may also be pressure from the original owners of the media to limit the possibility of theft.

Google should change their name to Greedy. But it's probably a requirement from the studio's to prevent piracy, as if people actually pirate movies, these days.

Frankly I don't think we should pat Google on the head like they aren't the ones disappointing anybody.

I have full administrator privs in any desktop OS I want to use, but I can access DRM'd files with little/no hassle. These are also total non-issues in iOS and Windows Phone OS. But somehow, magically, Android has persisted in its inability to securely handle protected data. This has nothing to do with openness, and everything to do with Google shipping a pretty darn clunky OS.

/which I use, and love, but damned if I don't have to do battle with it to get what I want
//it's the freakin' Windows 3.1 of mobile OSes

MindTooth said,
And people wonder why there is piracy?

Never did wonder why. I only wonder when the RIAA and MPAA will just die already so movies and music can be distributed the right way without all the BS license that Google, Apple and Netflix have to deal with.

Nonetheless, I'm doing my part to support the death of the MPAA and RIAA. Enough said.

People are all mad at Google, but in all likely hood it was either do this or they would not have been given rights to even sell the movies.

Yeah, I think so to. It was this or forget about the service. Wonder if similar restrictions will be placed on JB iOS devices. Apple secured all those deals before hand so hopefully the studios can't change them.

Shadrack said,
Yeah, I think so to. It was this or forget about the service. Wonder if similar restrictions will be placed on JB iOS devices. Apple secured all those deals before hand so hopefully the studios can't change them.

License agreements are not eternal. They expire.

InsaneNutter said,
Its a bit of a poor move, but to be honest i don't ever see myself renting a movie and watching it on my phone anyway.

I didn't really see the point of it, either, but I could see someone doing it with a tablet.

InsaneNutter said,
Its a bit of a poor move, but to be honest i don't ever see myself renting a movie and watching it on my phone anyway.

I never understood why people pay per content when you can pay for a streaming service. I'd rather pay $7.99/month to stream unlimited content over paying as little as $1.99 per movie.. That's just me.

UndergroundWire said,

I never understood why people pay per content when you can pay for a streaming service. I'd rather pay $7.99/month to stream unlimited content over paying as little as $1.99 per movie.. That's just me.


That's because those people are too ignorant to do the math.

With subscriptions, Google doesn't make as much money; consumers save money if they overuse* the subscription.

Without subscriptions, Google makes ****loads of money; consumers lose a lot of money because they are bound by Google's tight policies.

This is exactly why Apple has not moved to subscription based iTunes services since they started the music shop.

Netflix will ultimately die because of their subscription system, but so far they are okay because not enough people are overusing their subscription.

*By overusing I mean watching more movies or more content than what Netflix can buy, keep their employees, and stream content while making a good profit to keep shareholders happy for $7.99 per customer.

Edited by Jebadiah, May 23 2011, 8:04am :

not cool, I rooted my stock firmware to get cool features unavailable normally and now I cannot buy & play movies? bad move, you just lost honest customer

turns out I have to pirate because of lacking other options? awesome, Google (and companies that is dealing with) is forcing me to pirating .. have not seen that one coming

so now I wait for a (probably quick) response from amateur android rom devs !

SHADOW-XIII said,
not cool, I rooted my stock firmware to get cool features unavailable normally and now I cannot buy & play movies? bad move, you just lost honest customer

turns out I have to pirate because of lacking other options? awesome, Google (and companies that is dealing with) is forcing me to pirating .. have not seen that one coming

so now I wait for a (probably quick) response from amateur android rom devs !

So before this, you were renting movies on your phone already? You also say that you're now forced to pirate but before this announcement, are you trying to tell all Neowin members that you never did? Continue what you were doing before, this shouldn't change anything, whether you pirate or not. You'll still be able to play movies on the device, just not allowed to rent from the market.

Billus said,

So before this, blablablabla.

It isn't what he meant, so move along.
Although if we remember that everyone, who's not ecstatic about MAFFIA et al, is a "lost sale", it might as well be like that.

Billus said,

So before this, you were renting movies on your phone already? You also say that you're now forced to pirate but before this announcement, are you trying to tell all Neowin members that you never did? Continue what you were doing before, this shouldn't change anything, whether you pirate or not. You'll still be able to play movies on the device, just not allowed to rent from the market.

Just shutup.

Billus said,

So before this, you were renting movies on your phone already? You also say that you're now forced to pirate but before this announcement, are you trying to tell all Neowin members that you never did? Continue what you were doing before, this shouldn't change anything, whether you pirate or not. You'll still be able to play movies on the device, just not allowed to rent from the market.

ROFLMAO ..... remove that foot from your mouth

Billus said,

So before this,(...)
I am saying ... I have no choice, I am forced to either not being able to watch at all or watch it illegally ...
I want to watch but I cannot do it legal way apparently so if I have to I am forced to do it illegal way, yes of course, I do not have to watch at all, hell, I should not even be able to use mobile phone because of that ... or Internet at least! hell am I allowed to live even?

I despise morons and companies treating all customers as thieves ... I own many (for example) games, around 300 titles! But I deny buying from those that treat me as piece of .... I deny buying Ubisoft games - have not bought a single game since introduction of their DRM but same time I bought 30 games from gog.com because they treat me right!

I still cannot believe how comes law says innocent until proven guilty but in any company eyes it's always guilty until proven innocent

Edited by SHADOW-XIII, May 21 2011, 11:22pm :

SHADOW-XIII said,
I am saying ... I have no choice, I am forced to either not being able to watch at all or watch it illegally ...
I want to watch but I cannot do it legal way apparently so if I have to I am forced to do it illegal way, yes of course, I do not have to watch at all, hell, I should not even be able to use mobile phone because of that ... or Internet at least! hell am I allowed to live even?

I despise morons and companies treating all customers as thieves ... I own many (for example) games, around 300 titles! But I deny buying from those that treat me as piece of .... I deny buying Ubisoft games - have not bought a single game since introduction of their DRM but same time I bought 30 games from gog.com because they treat me right!

I still cannot believe how comes law says innocent until proven guilty but in any company eyes it's always guilty until proven innocent


You're in the minority and nobody cares about minorities in a capitalistic society because, as you know, corporations don't make money from minorities. Same with democracy.

mv /system/bin/su /system/bin/su.bak
mv /system/app/Superuser.apk /system/app/Superuser.bak

Two files responsible for root. If (re)moved and backed up, device is not rooted anymore...

Eddie1506 said,
mv /system/bin/su /system/bin/su.bak
mv /system/app/Superuser.apk /system/app/Superuser.bak

Two files responsible for root. If (re)moved and backed up, device is not rooted anymore...

How about renamed and binaries updated every time Google blocks it. Just saying. hint hint.

Thanks, I'll prefer having root over this apologist bullcrap. Less monies for your cool new musics stuff. Oh, you guys didn't need it anyway, right...

Not so open after all, huh? But I'm pretty sure that tons of people will not blame Google for this. It's all the othe bad guys, obviously, and Google is just the victim.

einsteinbqat said,
Not so open after all, huh? But I'm pretty sure that tons of people will not blame Google for this. It's all the othe bad guys, obviously, and Google is just the victim.

Bingo, finally a smart person in here. Yes I can be sarcastic too.

Movies are owned by the MPAA. Google has to agree to certain limitations in order to get into the movie game. I hope that changes your sarcasm to a hint of intelligence. One can hope.

This just proves that there is no "real" company or organization promoting the Open-Source movement. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Google's so-called Open-Source mentality would catch up to it in the real world of Capitalism. Fact is, Open-Source will always be in tune to a dead movement because it doesn't work in the real world where people want to, and have the right to, protect their art and creations.

PlogCF said,
This just proves that there is no "real" company or organization promoting the Open-Source movement. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Google's so-called Open-Source mentality would catch up to it in the real world of Capitalism. Fact is, Open-Source will always be in tune to a dead movement because it doesn't work in the real world where people want to, and have the right to, protect their art and creations.

You really need to be educated on how Google operates. Since when was the Android Market, GMail, YouTube, etc. Apps ever been open sourced? Answer: Since you knew something for a fact AKA NEVER. It says so in the Android Market agreement. Please learn to read and feel free to comment back.

Please don't confuse Android (Operating System) with Google Applications. Lack of knowledge in this is why a lot of people are spreading misinformation.

Google has to agree to the MPAA terms before selling MPAA "Property". Google HAD to do this. I'm sorry if it is difficult for you to understand something like that. It may not be to your liking or to mine but that is the facts and we can't make up stories to make Google look bad.

UndergroundWire said,
(blah blah blah)...

My point here is that the Open-Source community believed that Google was "on their side," even though they were not. I'm not trying to make Google look bad, or paint them in a bad picture or anything, such as you suggested. I simply am saying that the Open-Source movement is a hopeless cause because the one influential company (Google) that could help it has just shown why they don't even care. I know that the Android Market and products have never been open-sourced, and that is why I have made my comment on why Google can no longer be considered a representative for the Open-Source and Linux community (which, if you read their websites, they do consider Google as a representative). Apparently, you were too ignorant to understand that I am not making Google look bad, but in fact am criticizing the Open-Source movement for its ineffectiveness in business. This move by Google clearly shows how openness and Open-Source mentalities do not work in business practices. Quite honestly, if you'd have responded to my post with an intelligent insight instead of an emotionally-driven defense of Google (which was unnecessary since I, once again, was criticizing the open and Open-Source ideologies) you would have given me the impression that you actually harbor something in your mind other than blissful ignorance. Please try to respond to a post with an actual conceptualization of it, rather than blinded, misguided ire.

PlogCF said,

???

The open source community mad no such ignorant assumptions. Apparently you are ignorant in this subject as well as business. What would have happened if Google were to say "Root phones have to be included"? NO MOVIE RENTAL MARKET. Then Google misses out in a business avenue. Do you agree with this or are you too stubborn to actually see that the MPAA has put these restrictions on them?

How many people root there phones? It is a very small percentage to the overal consumer base that have android phones. Contrary to your beliefs, Google wants to make money. So the small percentage of Google users that can't rent is not gonna hurt them. The XDA community will also find a way to circumvent this and Google will not be like Apple or Microsoft and try to block those methods. Of that I am certain.

P.S. If you know anything about Open Source, the true face of Open Source right now is Mozilla. They have nightly builds of there projects, source codes published right away, etc. Google has no such thing. They don't publish nightly builds or there direction they are going. When Android 2.3 was released, that was it. Weeks go by and Android 2.3.1 etc...... Android 2.3.4.

Mozilla is the true company to Open-Source. Hope I've clarified somethings for you.

Next time, quit your exaggerations. It's funny to me, but for the people that don't know, they may actually believe what you have to say here, which would be a travesty. I hate to see ignorance spread ignorance.

PlogCF said,

The open source community mad no such ignorant assumptions. Apparently you are ignorant in this subject as well as business. What would have happened if Google were to say "Root phones have to be included"? NO MOVIE RENTAL MARKET. Then Google misses out in a business avenue. Do you agree with this or are you too stubborn to actually see that the MPAA has put these restrictions on them?

*Facepalms, grabs hair...*
That's my point!!!!! My point here is that Google was unable to allow rooted phones and tablets because of the fact on how it has to be able to conduct business practices.
*Sigh...*
Your idiocy is nothing short of baffling, truly. (Try not to respond to this specific statement by telling me how "idiotic" I am. It just makes you so more predictable.)
If you would understand me, rather than automatically conjure a shallowly uninsightfully pedantic response, you would realize that your percieved rebuttal to my iterations happens to be in my concurance. (We're arguing similar points, in case you couldn't understand that.) My point here is that Open Source and openness cannot coexist with the business practices of such organizations as the MPAA. This clearly shows that openness is in tune to a dead movement, as it has reached its influential extension at the threshhold of protection of media. I'm not blaming Google for this, and I don't think that they're open. My point here was that Google is not as open as they claim to be, and they DO claim to be open. Any person who thinks that they never did so is completely hopeless in thought. *Looks at you* With no real organization or company behind the open-source and openness movement (Mozilla isn't really important. ), it clearly shows how most businesses (like Google) are far too wise to allow the ideas of openness to get in their way. (Not Open-Source, but openness. There IS a difference, you know.) Your response clearly shows how you shouldn't be taken seriously at all in any of your comments. (Again, try not to respond to that statement with an automatic statement of how I shouldn't be taken seriously. It really makes you look all the more predictable in your thought process.)

PlogCF said,

If you would understand me, rather than automatically conjure a shallowly uninsightfully pedantic response, you would realize that your percieved rebuttal to my iterations happens to be in my concurance.

*sigh*

It's hard to understand your incoherent argument. Let me number them for you so we are on the same page here.

1. Google is here to make money, to insult them for not being "as open sourced as you like it to be" is utter stupidity.
2. None of Google's apps have ever been open sourced. PERIOD. Only there operating system.
3. Google has to agree to the MPAA terms and agreements. Such is life.
4. Open-source and MPAA don't mix. To even mention it in this argument is just stupid.
5. The only person that needs criticism here is the MPAA. They have always limited advancements in the home entertainment business. Case and point, the far majority of movie streaming services is limited to a U.S. market. Of course that means they will limit Google on how the rental service will work.
6. I have a headache talking to you. If you don't understand this, your hopeless like I said from the beginning. </argument>

UndergroundWire said,

You really need to be educated on how Google operates. Since when was the Android Market, GMail, YouTube, etc. Apps ever been open sourced? Answer: Since you knew something for a fact AKA NEVER. It says so in the Android Market agreement. Please learn to read and feel free to comment back.

Please don't confuse Android (Operating System) with Google Applications. Lack of knowledge in this is why a lot of people are spreading misinformation.

Google has to agree to the MPAA terms before selling MPAA "Property". Google HAD to do this. I'm sorry if it is difficult for you to understand something like that. It may not be to your liking or to mine but that is the facts and we can't make up stories to make Google look bad.

Ok, you do realize beyond providing a reminder that Google services are not 'open', you are just reinforcing the argument presented by the OP?

thenetavenger said,

Ok, you do realize beyond providing a reminder that Google services are not 'open', you are just reinforcing the argument presented by the OP?

You do realize that I said Google was not the company to look for in Open Source Company that Mozilla is a much better candidate. Please read what I said. I have a problem with people thinking that Google is the face of Open Source Community. They are not.

UndergroundWire said,

*sigh*

It's hard to understand your incoherent argument. Let me number them for you so we are on the same page here.
1. Google is here to make money, to insult them for not being "as open sourced as you like it to be" is utter stupidity.
2. None of Google's apps have ever been open sourced. PERIOD. Only there operating system.


First of all, I'm NOT (for the billionth time) criticizing them for being open-sourced at all. I HATE open-source. I'm saying that they should have never attempted to be open-source, and also that they will never be able to operate under the idea of openness. I am also saying that Google is not the face of Open Source, although some Open Source communities (Canonical, GNOME yes) believe that they are the face of open-source.

Second, Untrue! Google has numerous Open-Source projects and apps! Just naming a few:
* Chromium web browser
* ChromeOS
* V8 Javascript Engine
* Melange
* OpenDuckBill
...and many more. You seem to be the ignorant one here in your lack of understanding that, not only are we both arguing the same point, but that Google is a very open-source company that does seem to represent the Open-Source community in some aspect (mainly because the OSC views Google as their key representative?). Foundations that Google has headed, such as the Open Handset Alliance (which Canonical is a member of) and projects such as WebM which have seen widespread adoption by Linux and Open-Source show how much of an influence Google has in the community.

It is not Google's fault. As with all music or video services, they have to ensure that there is some protection in place.

JTaylor69 said,
It is not Google's fault. As with all music or video services, they have to ensure that there is some protection in place.
Why ? It's already a lost cause.. Most of this stuff is online even before it's available to buy/rent..

Ryoken said,
Why ? It's already a lost cause.. Most of this stuff is online even before it's available to buy/rent..

I think it has more to do with policy than practice.

Ryoken said,
Why ? It's already a lost cause.. Most of this stuff is online even before it's available to buy/rent..

True, but there's also the reality that the piracy war could easily be won by content owners sooner than people would like to believe. There's been this mantra for a long time that "for every site taken down, ten more pop up in its place". But that's not as true as it used to be. Torrent sites, once abundant, are a shell of their former selves, and you're pretty much limited to a few closed membership sites and whatever luck you may have on TPB.

Music streaming subscriptions are FAR more attractive than the effort of torrenting music, and Netflix streaming vs. hours of torrenting isn't even a fair fight. As services become more and more cloud-oriented and media streaming becomes the norm, piracy will become marginalized, and content providers are starting to realize that.

The argument can be made that a pirate "was never going to buy it anyway" so what money are they really missing out on, but even pirates these days pay for Netflix subscriptions. There's a very real chance that convenience will convert the unwashed masses, and at that point, the 'open' argument loses a lot of its power.

JTaylor69 said,
It is not Google's fault. As with all music or video services, they have to ensure that there is some protection in place.

Your typical stupid users do not know this. Hence why most Europeans are complaining like babies why they have no Netflix streaming. WAHHH!!! Learn that the company is not at fault, it's the stupid MPAA.

These kind of stupid agreements is why movie piracy (and music piracy) will never die. Thank you MPAA for encouraging theft.

UndergroundWire said,

Your typical stupid users do not know this. Hence why most Europeans are complaining like babies why they have no Netflix streaming. WAHHH!!! Learn that the company is not at fault, it's the stupid MPAA.

These kind of stupid agreements is why movie piracy (and music piracy) will never die. Thank you MPAA for encouraging theft.

So what, because it's the MPAA's fault, we (Europeans) are not allowed to complain about it?

Kushan said,

So what, because it's the MPAA's fault, we (Europeans) are not allowed to complain about it?

Complain about it. Don't blame Netflix, Vudu, etc... Blame the right group who is responsible (MPAA). Try to keep up with the convo.

Ryoken said,
Why ? It's already a lost cause.. Most of this stuff is online even before it's available to buy/rent..
Exactly. I don't purchase ****. Youtube music/video, Movies/TV Shows on ---- and Hulu, etc. Damn, all I pay for is the Interwebs. Thank you all those people who pay those artists, writers, producers, directors, record companies, movie companies, pirates, etc. for providing me with free content legally and illegally! Good day!

Makes sense for them to do this, but im sure the cfw creators will find a way to circumvent, tho wouldn't that technically be wrong from a piracy/ethical standpoint?

Coolaaron88 said,
What was that about being Open?

What's that about knowing how to read?

Google's OPERATING SYSTEM is OPEN. The use of the Android Market and Google's application are not. If you learn to read the user agreement that you agreed to when you first launched the market, you would know that. If you don't have an Android device, you have no business making that comment.

Good day sir.

UndergroundWire said,

What's that about knowing how to read?

Google's OPERATING SYSTEM is OPEN. The use of the Android Market and Google's application are not. If you learn to read the user agreement that you agreed to when you first launched the market, you would know that. If you don't have an Android device, you have no business making that comment.

Good day sir.

Android is only as open as the defacto standard as defined by Google. Which pretty much means, that all Open means for Android is people can 'give' Google code, and people can see the code in an easy to read higher level language.

The difference bettween iOS, Android, and WP7 when it comes to open? The WP7 and iOS users have to be smart enough to understand machine code. PERIOD.

Good day kiddie...

thenetavenger said,

Android is only as open as the defacto standard as defined by Google. Which pretty much means, that all Open means for Android is people can 'give' Google code, and people can see the code in an easy to read higher level language.

The difference bettween iOS, Android, and WP7 when it comes to open? The WP7 and iOS users have to be smart enough to understand machine code. PERIOD.

Good day kiddie...

Your stupidity makes me laugh all the time. That's why I haven't blocked you. Android OS is open (for the exception of Honeycomb for good reason), PERIOD. Google Apps is not open, iOS is not Open, WP7 is definitely not open.

Please reread what I said originally, I'm tired of teaching you. But keep your posts coming. It makes me laugh all the time.

You have a pleasant day sir.

Shock Doc said,
Not cool Google... Not cool...

Why? They're not stopping you from running the cfw, but in order for the common user to get features ios has had, they have to make the movie industry happy.. so that means drm, sadly something android has been lacking just look at netflix

I always find it funny that IP holders are so concerned with content protection on mobile devices. If someone wanted to pirate a movie don't you think they'd just torrent/irc/newsgroup/ftp an HD copy rather than use a rooted phone to reverse engineer an app to save a low res version?

ad nauseum said,
I always find it funny that IP holders are so concerned with content protection on mobile devices. If someone wanted to pirate a movie don't you think they'd just torrent/irc/newsgroup/ftp an HD copy rather than use a rooted phone to reverse engineer an app to save a low res version?

How do you think people pirate movies to FTP/torrent/filesharing in the first place? Phones and tablets can become the new medium if they are rooted because you *can* get HD quality videos to play on them.

Regardless **** you Google.

Won't be very long until a hack is available that makes movie app think the device isn't rooted.

Anyone taking bets on how many days until the app works?