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Headweb offers DRM-less movie downloads using P2P

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 11 Sep 2007 8:09 User comments (22)

Headweb offers DRM-less movie downloads using P2P A new download service in Sweden claims to offer probably the most consumer-friendly movie download service on the Internet. Headweb uses P2P technology to sell movie downloads without Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection. The movie downloads will be fully compatible with regular DVD players (when burned to a DVD disc) and maintains the same video and audio quality you will get from retail DVDs.
Furthermore, Headweb builds on other movie download services by working on more platforms than Windows, even apparently supporting Linux. For now, the company is working on offering full DVD downloads, but will expand to other formats in the near future. Since the service does not use DRM, it is not limited to a proprietary format such as Windows Media.

Since the service will be expected to protect copyright somehow, it uses watermarking technology that will make it possible to identify a movie being shared illegally and link it to the users' account. This watermarking won't be visible and won't cause any problems for the user, unless the download is spread through file sharing networks. The company believes that watermarking is an excellent alternative to DRM for the consumer.

To encourage users to share the movies they download to more users (help with distribution), Headweb will offer "credits" which can be later used as payment in the store. While its not fully Live yet, Headweb claimed in July that around 500 titles have been brought to the service. Set for launch in Autumn, Headweb has already made its way into a report received by the Swedish Justice Department on the development of legal solutions for downloading music and film over the Internet.

For more information: http://www.headweb.com/

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22 user comments

111.9.2007 15:04
WierdName
Inactive

Interesting. People are starting to realize DRM does nothing more than piss off the consumer by limiting them.

211.9.2007 15:24

Quote:
Since the service will be expected to protect copyright somehow, it uses watermarking technology that will make it possible to identify a movie being shared illegally and link it to the users' account. This watermarking won't be visible and won't cause any problems for the user, unless the download is spread through file sharing networks. The company believes that watermarking is an excellent alternative to DRM for the consumer.
Most movies are "released" before retail by pirates from the "real thing" aka a ment-for-retail DVD anyway so someone foolish enough to try and upload a movie using something other then an original, store bought, DVD deserves to be caught.

Since, as I stated, pirates usually use original DVDs no one using this service will really have to worry about a "false positive" of them being accused of uploading a movie bought using this service.

If the price is right and the only "DRM" on the DVD is an invisible-to-the-naked-eye watermark then this could be exactly whats needed to help lower piracy rates.

I believe you can never eliminate piracy but with something like this it can be reduced.

Peace

311.9.2007 18:01

Id pay for this

411.9.2007 18:49

It's people like these that are truly pioneers in the digital age. Everybody wins in this the consumers doesn't have to deal with DRM, lackluster audio/video quality, and gets credits for uploading to other users. The Copyright holders get compensated for there works. And the company has developed a successfull(hopefully) business model that essentially rewards users for sharing their bandwidth. I would pay to use this HeadWeb service.

511.9.2007 18:54

A move in the right direction.

611.9.2007 20:24

This will fall flat on its ass. Usenet has them beat by about 10 years.

712.9.2007 3:18

This sounds great! I'd pay for it if the price is right. I'm sure though, that by the time I post this, some big hollywood / iaa mandate will have already fubar'd this.

812.9.2007 17:06

Like everyone else I would pay if the price is right. Try 30% or more less than the original dvd price would be fair considering they do not have to pay for the factory, labor, and media cost. You would think they would all be doing this considering the low hassle. One compression per movie, buy the license, and maintain the servers.

912.9.2007 17:30

With no DRM, would that mean that if the company goes under or they stop supporting the service ( like Google did), that I will not be able to watch my movies? I also want to know who "owns" the movies?

1013.9.2007 12:17

sorry double post

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Sep 2007 @ 12:27

1113.9.2007 12:26

... interesting ... but how are they going to implement watermarking on a p2p network...As I understand unique watermarks will be embeded into the video stream so ... each customer will get a slightly differenbt version of the video file... im interested in how they are going to do this on a p2p network .. torrent, ed2k and simmilar existing systems wont work.

1213.9.2007 18:53

This is really cool. Yea for forward thinking entrepreneurs! May http://www.headweb.com be blessed with success!

@windsong:

lol, the people can't handle usenet. It's too wild! Too free!

@DancingWD:

Interesting point, D.WD; I think it would be trivial for the p2p client to patch a watermark into the DVD image after it has completely downloaded.

1313.9.2007 18:59
WierdName
Inactive

Originally posted by maitland:
Interesting point, D.WD; I think it would be trivial for the p2p client to patch a watermark into the DVD image after it has completely downloaded.
Or, they may set something up so that their servers will identify a connection and send them the full download EXCEPT one part, which is the watermark that it will patch in. Of course, this would be a stupid idea because then all you need is two different versions to do a file comparison to find the watermark in order to remove it. What would be a better idea, is that it would download the file except that as it's being downloaded, the individual user client will modify a random part of the file to include the watermark. This would also be a stupid idea because hackers could find a way around that too. Interesting to think about though.

1414.9.2007 7:13

Quote:
Originally posted by maitland:
Interesting point, D.WD; I think it would be trivial for the p2p client to patch a watermark into the DVD image after it has completely downloaded.
Or, they may set something up so that their servers will identify a connection and send them the full download EXCEPT one part, which is the watermark that it will patch in. Of course, this would be a stupid idea because then all you need is two different versions to do a file comparison to find the watermark in order to remove it. What would be a better idea, is that it would download the file except that as it's being downloaded, the individual user client will modify a random part of the file to include the watermark. This would also be a stupid idea because hackers could find a way around that too. Interesting to think about though.

well modifying for exmaple one torrent piece (ex the first) and forcing it to download form the main server while the rest goes through the ussual p2p process is posssible :D
but on the other hand ... depending on the watermark system .. you dont actually need to remove it ... :D just modify int so its no longer associated with your account and thats that - I asuume comparing two versions would show the watermarks place in the data stream and there for you can change it.
Well ... my point is invisible watermarking is a very inovative idea but far form being the holly grail. on the other hand p2p distiributing assuming hte price is right could be very atractive option.

1514.9.2007 16:01

You guys are right, the watermark would be almost as easy to remove as it would be to insert. Most people don't know how to do this, though, and they prolly wouldn't go to the trouble to learn how.


~Maitland

1614.9.2007 16:36
WierdName
Inactive

Trouble to learn how? Pretty much all you would have to do is run two or more downloads through comparison engines to find the watermark that you just manipulate to random values to cover up yourself. Unless, this Headweb was smart enough to use an algorithm that would make sure you have a valid file ID to play it. It would check the ID by a pre-set algorithm to set a parameter in which are valid IDs, one of which the file must have.

1715.9.2007 17:27

@WeirdName:

Of course, the scheme you outlined seems obvious to us, but I just said "most people" as in the general, ignorant public.


~Maitland

1815.9.2007 19:31
WierdName
Inactive

Originally posted by maitland:
@WeirdName:

Of course, the scheme you outlined seems obvious to us, but I just said "most people" as in the general, ignorant public.
Typically though, they don't just stop at difficult for the average user though. They will usually go to make it difficult for the non ignorant power user who knows a thing or two. Personally, I don't see how a company smart enough to realize it needs to do something other than DRM could be stupid enough to not make it difficult to remove the watermark. That's just my personal thoughts though.

1916.9.2007 1:40

Agreed. I mean, I'm certainly not planning to undo their watermarking scheme. I don't really see why anyone else would go to the trouble, either. It would be much cheaper and easier to just rip DVDs from netflix or something (if one were so inclined ;)

2028.11.2007 7:15

I just thought I mention that we now have launched Headweb for the Swedish market. Rights issues restricts us from open up geographically to more countries at the moment though. The response from customers have been very positive and people are asking for more content which we're trying to give them! /Peter, founder of Headweb.com

2128.11.2007 9:56

Thanks for the update, Peter. Here's to the continued success and expansion of your company!

2219.4.2012 21:27

we can use getflv to download videos from headweb.
http://www.superlogix.net/headweb.com-downloader/index.htm

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