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Google takes back ownership of customers' purchased video

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 11 Aug 2007 8:09 User comments (11)

Google takes back ownership of customers' purchased video Say goodby to buying and renting from Google Video. On Wednesday the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/download-to-rent) service operated by the search engine company will stop renting and selling videos.
They announced this to customers with a letter like the following, received by an actual customer:

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 $2.00.
Your bonus expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores
listed here:
The minimum purchase amount must be equal to or greater than your
bonus amount, before shipping and tax.

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

"Both Google and YouTube are exploring a wide variety of ways to monetize online video content - from pilot testing AdSense for video syndication to trying various ad formats on YouTube - and the early results have been very encouraging," said Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker. "Reaffirming our commitment to building out our ad-supported monetization models for video, we have decided to remove the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/download-to-rent) feature on Google Video."

If this story seems vaguely familiar, you may be thinking of the ill-fated and short lived Digital Video Express (aka Divx) format from the late 1990's which required a special player connected to a phone line to enable acquisition of a temporary license for playback. Discs could initially be played back for 48 hours after being put into a DivX player (a special DVD player). When Digital Video Express folded in 1999, after only a year of operation, anyone with Divx DVDs that hadn't been viewed yet was left with a Coaster.

Although Google's decision hasn't left any coasters to remind consumers of the money they wasted on the service, it will likely leave a bad taste in their mouths, and could affect the search giant's bottom line in future ventures.

Don't be surprised to see a class action lawsuit regarding Google's use of the word "own" in the coming months.

Source: The Register

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11 user comments

111.8.2007 8:54

So a clip you legally purchased now auto deletes thanks to the drm.

Originally posted by idiots:
but, if you're not doing anything illegal drm is not a problem!
but this is just a taste of what's to come with blu-ray drm, called BD+ which uses time stamped, expiring discs, they know that they can make more money by licence renewal so its another consumer screw over!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Aug 2007 @ 8:58

211.8.2007 13:23

How much did this service cost? Does a $2 coupon cover the cost of heavy users?

311.8.2007 14:10

I seriously doubt that $2 covers the cost of what users have spent to purchase this digital media.

If they sold it then by taking it back will surely cause some ire and possible lawsuits.... but I'm sure that tucked away in the EULA is some small print (font=2 lol) that says that the definition of the word buy really means rent lol

411.8.2007 16:31

I don't claim to know the details of the laws that would govern this ordeal, but I would think that if your service is called "DTO/DTR (download-to-own/download-to-rent)," this to me seems to imply that you actually "own" the product that you have "purchased."

512.8.2007 5:26

just like when you BUY music it implies that you OWN the music.

The implications of ownership run completely contrary to DRM...except when those pesky little EULA's come into play and then it changes the traditional definition of ownership into something that means the exact opposite.

612.8.2007 7:49

I don't have any first-hand knowledge of the service's EULA, but I'm sure all they were purchasing was a license to view. Even when you buy a DVD that's primarily what you're paying for. I expect that their terms of service specifically indicate that the licenses can be revoked if their service ceases to exist.

However, as the Blockbuster "No late fees" lawsuit proves, the fine print doesn't always count for that much. If their marketing lead customers to believe they would have permanent licenses, they may still be liable for damages to folks who made purchases based on that assumption.

The word "own" has a specific meaning in the English language. Much like it's inaccurate to call pirates thieves (they're actually trespassers in the legal sense), it's inaccurate to call a ownership of a license ownership of the video. In the case of something like a DVD that they can't revoke the license for, it's alright to call it ownership because the effect is basically the same. In the case of Google's service the effect was very different, and a consumer should be able to reasonably expect Google to make that clear before the purchase.

That's pretty much what I'd expect a lawyer to argue.

712.8.2007 17:37


People actually buy videos from google?

813.8.2007 12:32

Originally posted by madman91:

People actually buy videos from google?
Why do you think they are throwing it out? :)

917.8.2007 18:31

Google is going to get rid of all the Google video sites and focus on Youtube as their online video site.

1017.8.2007 22:14

Hey, I want to sell you this car. But next month, I'm taking it back & giving you a coupon so you can buy something else from me (which I'll take back later).

1118.8.2007 12:30

This and other posts where it is identified that "Google" is filtering search results sure asks questions about the integrity and credibility of "Google".

Sell your "Google" stock.

As "Google" keeps track of searches, everyone should search for the following--Google + fraud.

As Google spent Billions to aquire youtube, they should provide each and every customer with a coupon to be redeemed at their local video store for a dvd of that title.

We the public also have one more resource open to us--boycot any and all advertisers on google.

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