Studio gives Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie backers substandard, DRM-crippled rewards



I just always find it odd when people point out their lack of interest in something without adding to the conversation on the topic at hand. It’s an interesting reaction to a discussion that is prevalent on the Internet. Your response to me has a lot of interesting questions which can launch a great conversation, but your original post only served to point out your lack of interest.

For my own part, I read your comment because it was short and the second comment. My response was certainly worth my time because you responded and now I know more about your thoughts on the topic than I did originally.

I liked the movie, and I backed it to get into production because I wanted it to exist. I backed it to the level where, as one of my rewards, I was promised a digital copy of the movie.

Got a code through flixter, made a half-hearted attempt to get it the ‘right’ way, until I found out I apparently had to download a program onto my computer in order to get it to work… and I’m not willing to do that.

Then I went right to TPB and torrented it. Not only did I not have to install some crappy program that tells me how I can enjoy it, it was also took far less time and effort than signing up for Flickster.

I’m still happy with my backing of the project and have no complaints. I contributed in order to get a movie made, and it was. I was promised a copy of the movie, and I got one. Sure, they made a mistake, but it all worked out in the end.


Never collaborate; never cooperate. “Pirate” every day. This is the lesson “the industry” teaches.

Micro-patronage, distributed in this manner is a way to fund artistic endeavors, and the existing industry of middlemen see the threat this presents. They will continually spit on people who participate in such, in order to discourage it, and they hope to kill it. Do back independent projects via micro-patronage methods. Never feed the middlemen-crippled industry, because your concerns are their last concerns; they are actively hostile to your interests. May they wither and die quickly.


I bet they don’t rip and encode non drm’ed dvd, digital video streams, etc. It is the video ripping and encoding that is beyond those people, the drm is automatically bypassed by almost all dvd ripping software without any need for any input from the user, they don’t even know it is there.

That is horrible, I’m sorry to hear it.

AND technically it isn’t legal to buy or sell dvd’s outside of their regions.

“There are worse” is not a good argument for.

I’d argue the opposite, there are very few good forms, and again in the context of this discussion the paying customers are the ones getting the far inferior product, not the added value. That is key and cannot be glossed over. This is what makes it a failure. You don’t want to do something that ONLY hurts the paying customers.

Fortunately the studies don’t just rely on correlation. Seriously, read up on the studies that have been done on this subject, they are well done and eye opening.

The physical CD was largely responsible for what is referred to as “peak music”. In most cases you had to buy and entire CD for $16+ and couldn’t just get the track you wanted. Digital music, which has taken over for CDs, allows users to get whole albums much cheaper, and just get the tracks they wanted. So often people are spending $0.99 instead of being forced to spend $16.99. Additional the digital streaming music services have taken about a quarter of the market. Music piracy is actually down during that period. You are looking at an industry trend and inferring a false correlation that doesn’t even exist. The music industry has been slow to respond to the changing needs of the consumer and has been shooting themselves in the foot with anti-consumer technologies such as DRM and that has bitten them as well. We no longer live in the era of the ignorant consumer who would just roll over and accept these things.

Yes, that used to be true, no longer. Almost all new DRM schemes require connectivity for authentication and require that media be licensed and not purchased. Very few are transferable. So while that point is historically correct, it doesn’t reflect the modern state of DRM in the slightest.

DRM is one of the most universally hated technologies of our time. Monopolies are what allow such strong armed tactics to exist and are the opposite of a free market. The free market does not exist in areas that are controlled by monopolies, that is the entire point of monopolies. Your reasoning is flawed because it isn’t taking into account the reality of these markets.

Again, most importantly:

Instead of trying to get the market through artificial restrictions and draconian strong armed tactics that only hurt the paying customers, why not offer a higher quality, easier to obtain version at a reasonable price. No one is going to rummage through pirate sites for a copy if a higher quality version is easier to obtain at a very reasonable price (unless they are the kind of person who would never have purchased a copy in the first place). The industry could capture the market through added value, ease, and reliability. This would be good for consumers, good for everyone. Novel concept i know, but is the cornerstone of capitalism and any truly free market, and the only tactic that works long term. This is the right and only way to win the market long term and the exact opposite of the DRM approach. With DRM everyone loses and there is no added benefit and value, only greatly reduced value.

any technology that only hurts paying customers = market failure.

Every company that has switched to DRM free sales has seen a huge uptick in sales.

For the sake of disclosure I have to ask: Do you work for a company that makes or sells DRM? I’ve never in my life heard a consumer argue for DRM since it is against their own interests, so this conservation has me wondering why you are weighing in on the other side of the argument. Thx.

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Are you being purposefully disingenuous? You can buy region-free DVD players anywhere and any computer can view any DVD using VLC, irrespective of region.

Edit: I notice you’ve addressed this at length already :smile:
@bwv812 What is it you do that makes you such a fan of DRM? Why do you think it’s a good thing beyond maximising revenue for the company which, by the way, doesn’t necessarily go into making more art and is often given to execs as bonuses.


The time I spent ripping was not worthwhile for me.

Protip: Downloading torrents is less labour intensive than ripping DVDs. If you own the DVD and you want a digital copy, just go download one for free. My comment about ripping DVDs was in response to your comment that you watch the same content on Netflix.

I’m not going to bother putting in the DVD when the roku is already on.

Why walk all the way to the TV when I can just get the bits sent to me from across the country? Streamed and disposed of bits make the connected series of tubes fat, slow and sad.


I like you… you’ve saved me so much typing.

Hilarious anecdote regarding the ease of breaking DRM: Extremely expensive video editing suite AVID comes with a physical dongle that you need plugged into the system to operate the software. Even this hard-assed approach to licensing was easily defeated by pirates who simply wrote a program that would emulate the dongle.

Almost all new DRM schemes require connectivity for authentication and require that media be licensed and not purchased. Very few are transferable.

Case in point: The record, book and film collection that could have been passed down to you is a thing of the past and is strictly disallowed by services like itunes. You’re buying a lifetime licence, not a copy.


Is that actually true? I think that when I looked into it, to make my MacBook region free I’d have to flash the firmware, even running VLC. Which was a pisser, given that I had lots of region 2, 3 and 4 DVDs and my Mac is from the US.

Fucking region locks. I just stopped buying DVDs entirely.



I would not watch it on a plane.
I would not watch it on a train.

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Yeah man… stoopid huh. I don’t think I’ve ever put a DVD video in this mac so I’ve not encountered it. These two pages seem to show two workarounds.

One is permanent (involves flashing firmware for the drive):

The other is temporary:

and the VLC forum has this to say on the subject:
Many people try to use VLC to play DVDs from regions their drive is not set to. However, the DVD drives on most new Macs have region lockout on the hardware level, so VLC will not necessarily be able to play discs from multiple regions. You may be able to play the disc by opening it as a Video_TS folder instead of a DVD, or by changing the method used by libdvdccss to decrypt DVDs (go to Preferences->All->Input/Codecs->Access Modules->DVD without menus->Method used by libdvdcss for decryption). If you play a lot of DVDs from different regions your best option is to buy a USB or Firewire external drive that you can set to the region you require.


the most outrageous thing going on here is the popularity of the xvid format. who are these miserable persons?!

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I’ve never seen a DVD without any form of DRM. And yes, ripping tools are the technological hurdle that these people do not cross. iTunes doesn’t rip DVDs. In order to rip video you need to download specialized software designed to defeat DRM. This isn’t like pressing the “record” button on a tape deck.

I know that. But the fact remains that there isn’t a significant market for these DVDs in the US, which would seem to mean that the DRM (which makes them difficult to actually play in the US) is doing its job.

You said that DRM is the “[w]orst form of price discrimination ever,” and that’s what my statement was directed to.

Feel free to point me to a study you think is particularly good. As I’ve said, I have not been convinced by what I’ve seen so far.

I see. So piracy is actually falling despite the absolutely horrible nature of DRM? It must be really bad if people have stopped pirating in favour of it.

And correlations only exist on the scale you want them to exist? OK.

Tell me about these monopolies. Does Sony have a monopoly on movies? Paramount? Fox? Disney? Universal? Warner Brothers? Can any of them reject DRM?

Because it’s more profitable to use DRM than to not use DRM?

Don’t know about that. I have over 300 CDs and even more DVDs but I haven’t bought a single CD or DVD since about 2006.

If DRM-free is the only approach that will work long term, then you have little to worry about. On the other hand, we’ve seen DRM-esque copy-protection exist and persist for a long time, which suggests you may be wrong.

And I don’t know why you refuse to even acknowledge that the additional profits that DRM-protected media may bring in is actually good for consumers in that it allows for increased profits and the production of future media.

You need to read up on what a market failure actually is. The main market failure involved in media is actually a positive externality market failure: it becomes a [public good][2]. DRM is an attempt to address this positive externality, and bring media back within the market economy, because with public goods it’s difficult for the creator to be compensated for her creation. Copyright law is the main defence of this type of market failure, with DRM being a supplemental mechanism.

Please list some.

[2]:[quote=“redesigned, post:65, topic:25822”]
For the sake of disclosure I have to ask: Do you work for a company that makes or sells DRM? I’ve never in my life heard a consumer argue for DRM since it is against their own interests, so this conservation has me wondering why you are weighing in on the other side of the argument.
As someone who doesn’t actually pay for media, DRM is nothing but helpful for me. It allows those who are unwilling to pirate (or to learn how to) to subsidize my media consumption. If there was an effective way to compel me to pay for media consumption then my habits and media expenditures would be very different. I am a good example of someone whom DRM would have an effect on, and I understand it does work as a form of price discrimination. Back when the NYT paywall could be defeated by simply turning javascript off, I would read lots of content there. But now that this method doesn’t work and you have to keep launching private browsing sessions every 10 articles (and lose your tabs & history each time you do), I’m much more likely to purchase a subscription: the effectiveness of the DRM has surmounted the cost of avoiding it.

If you think DRM is so terrible and creates so much unfair profits for these media companies, why not buy stock in them?

You’re still confusing DRM with licenses. Licensing schemes may be supported by DRM, but there’s nothing about DRM that requires licenses, and there are licenses that don’t involve DRM.[quote=“teapot, post:68, topic:25822”]
Case in point: The record, book and film collection that could have been passed down to you is a thing of the past and is strictly disallowed by services like itunes. You’re buying a lifetime licence, not a copy.
On the other hand, I expect digital media will have a longer effective shelf life than super-8, Vinyl, Beta, HD-DVD, VHS, 8-track, cassette tapes, etc.

A percentage of them don’t, even a number of commercial releases. I’m quite familiar with this.

Unprotected dvd’s don’t need to be ripped first. You are confusing re-encoding the video with ripping, they aren’t the same things. Often tools offer both, but the ripping is done automatically and requires no action on the users part. Like i said the technical hurdle for these people is encoding video, not ripping the content, so DRM plays absolutely no role in their lack of ability to reencode the video.

There is, or their would be if it were legal. Right now anyone who wants discs from another region usually has to purchase them directly from that region. There is quite a large group of people doing this, the anime community is just one of many groups that import other region dvd.

fair enough. I was really only meaning to point out the ridiculousness of your previous point, and that any price discrimination that gives paying customers the worst version is horrible.

That is incorrect. Using DRM costs money, and every digital music retailer that has dropped DRM has seen a significant jump is sales.

No, not that long really. DRM was invented in 1983 but wasn’t used in a commercial product until quite a bit later. Might i suggest learning about what you are defending so that you don’t make mistaken arguments:

Because this is wrong. It is your personal incorrect assumption with little knowledge of the subject. The opposite has been shown to be true.

fair enough, i will. you need to educate yourself about [DRM][1].
by market failure i meant the complete failure of a capitalist markets ability to self regulate due to a monopolistic stranglehold, heavy handed anti-consumer practices that only hurt and alienate paying customers who don’t have any alternate, and the general failure to meet any of the initial goals of implementation, call it what you will, that was what i was meaning.

Every company that has used DRM and dropped it. Every single one.

This would be true if your assumptions about DRM were correct, but they are not.

Because we aren’t those kind of a**holes. We stand for what we believe in, we don’t sell out out morals for quick profit. I know i’m not and i’m pretty sure from @teapot 's posts that they are not either.

No I’m not. That is incorrect. Modern DRM schemes require that media be licensed and the license can be revoked at any point. It is built into how modern DRM schemes work as I clearly explain. Can you name one modern DRM scheme that is not bound to licensed media?

Your fundamental assumptions and arguments about DRM are incorrect.


Such as?

So far as I know, even Criterion DVDs include DRM, despite them being some of the least intrusive DVDs available. The only films I can imagine the wouldn’t have DRM would be poor transfers of old, out of copyright films.

Ripping is the process of copying the content to hard drive; I think you’re the one who is confused. Tools that do this and this alone, such as Mac the Ripper, are designed to defeat DRM since virtually all commercial DVDs have DRM. Ripping without defeating DRM would result in unplayable encrypted VOBs, since the key encoded on the DVD’s lead-in track would not be included in the rip. Mainstream software from major publishers, like iTunes, does not allow DVDs to be ripped. All DVDs, regardless of DRM protection, need to be ripped unless you’re playing them from the DVD itself.

1:[quote=“redesigned, post:74, topic:25822”]
There is, or their would be if it were legal.
There’s nothing illegal about selling non-R1 DVDs in the US. Grey imports are legal.

Really? Since all major labels dropped DRM by 2009 does that mean there has been a significant jump in sales since 2009?

Please read what I said. I didn’t say DRM, I said “DRM-esque copy-protection.” Macrovision, for example, is not digital, and thus not DRM, but is instead an analog copy-control mechanism in commercial use as early as 1985. This may be what you are referring to above, but I don’t know. Pay-TV and satellite scrambling predates this. The use of proprietary formats is another example (and this appears to be the approach the Keurig is taking with its K2.0 format, which has been widely described as being DRM, even though it’s not clear there’s anything digital or copyrightable about it). There are also copy protection measures available to show when a document has been photocopied, and which are effective on analog photocopiers.

Even if you think that the mid-80s marks the rise of “DRM,” 30 years is still a pretty long time for the market to have not reached a conclusion on it. I mean, in the mid 80s the medium of choice for music was cassette tapes and for video it was VHS. Multiple generations of technological advancement and innovation have occurred, yet DRM is more prevalent than ever.

The only part of what you describe that would actually be a market failure would be the monopolistic aspect, and you’ve failed to say what the monopoly is despite being asked several times. Any of the other “failures” are simply the market at work, and if the anti-DRM case is as compelling as you believe then the market will fill the void for DRM-free products. Indeed, according to the links you provide below, this is exactly what happened in the music sector, where an initial DRM-free competitor led to all major labels dropping DRM.

Sure. CSS is still in use, and the BluRay DRM of AACS, BR+, ROM Mark, and HDCP have no bearing on whether you own your BluRay copy and can sell it or not. The same holds true for XBox One and PS4 games on discs, which can be sold freely (even if they are licenses, as the license terms allow for resale). DRM ≠ licensed content, and licenses can allow resale.

Licenses are licenses. They may be backed and enforced by DRM or not, just as copyright can be backed by DRM or not. There is nothing inherent about DRM that requires it to be manifest in the form of licenses.

It’s difficult to know if this means anything. The year before the dropped DRM, they saw a 50% growth in ebook sales. Without knowing how much ebook sales in general rose that year (and the year before), as well as whether they had more ebook titles available, etc., it’s impossible to draw any conclusions. I mean, read the comments to that thread, such as this one:

Cory’s statistical methodology quite clearly demonstrates that ditching DRM was a disaster for the music business: global music sales plummeted by 8% in 2008, thanks to Amazon ditching music DRM, and in 2009 sales crashed a further 12% after Apple followed suit.

The other four links you share all reference the same paper. So you’re really only given two examples, one of which is horrible.

I’ll admit that the paper is much more compelling than most everything I’ve seen on the subject. I haven’t sifted through the actual paper yet, but lets assume that in the music context the paper’s findings are unassailable, as well they might be. Even so, the paper notes that dropping DRM doesn’t increase sales of the most popular music, and that less-pirated genres like Classical are most likely to benefit. Back catologues are also prime beneficiaries. But perhaps more importantly, we should note that after EMI—acting in a most non-monopolistic way—was the first to drop DRM in 2007 all major labels followed suit and dropped music DRM by 2009. This seems curious given your past statements about how these are monopolies that don’t have to bow to consumer demand, and that there is a market failure occurring. That EMI was the first to drop DRM and all labels dropped DRM at different times, I’m not seeing how there is any lack of competition or any lack of responsiveness in the music market.

Indeed, taking these factors together could give a good explanation of why DRM persists in the movie industry. Movie studios are much more reliant on tentpole releases and blockbusters, which according to the paper are unlikely to be affected by the removal of DRM. While it might make sense to remove the DRM on less popular niche films and back-catologues, the paper doesn’t provide a compelling reason to remove them on big releases. In this context it’s possible that the studios are functioning as a proper market even if you believe removing DRM has boosted music sales.

Xvid isn’t really used much anymore - some groups will still release stuff in xvid, because there are people out there with players that can only play that format, but most releases are in x264 nowadays. The big piracy groups all got together and unanimously decided to dump xvid back in 2012.

Hey guys,

some random info by a guy who backed the Projekt.

To the point of greedy Hollywood guys.

Rob Thomas (the creator of VM) issent exactly a success magnet, he did great Shows (Party Down comes to mind) but in the end his stuff only kept on the air because of the cult following before it ultimately bit the dust. - The assumption that this would have been made anyway is very strange, if you look around you can find tons of evidence how he was trying to make this movie happen for years and years but it´s not that easy to find investors for a show that more or less only stayed on the air because of ok dvd sales and it´s cult following makeing positive noise for it. - This issent X-Files the Movie.

As much shit as Warner gets for the Flixter debacle (more on that later) in my eyes they did good stuff for this. They said Thomas he could make the movie if he gets the money to make it, after he got it kickstarted they said he could use all the money for the movie and they would take care of the fulfillment - in my case that means they send me the wrong (and very low qualety) T-Shirt to germany via DHL express, send me a second T-Shirt so i could get the actual design i ordered also useing DHL express and in the end i will still get the DVD send very likely also via DHL express. If you ever send something via express (let alone world wide express) you will be able to realise that by now WB invested more in getting stuff to me than the sum i backed for. - Thats very very unusual, usually kickstarter stuff arrives in Germany several month after everyone in the US already got it. I even had a project were they asked me to pay extra for my replacement of a poster that never arived… So it´s not all „evil movie company with to much money being feed more“, they tried to be great asides from the very thin t-shirt.

On the other hand, i don´t need a T-Shirt i don´t even like as fast as possible. So i do not consider this a debt payed with something else - i want my movie and i want it now because in the end thats the reason i put cash in this.

So on to the DRM crap.

I had two movies registered to flixter already, but never used them because the service rarely ever let me play a movie (and if it did it was terrible stream quality, download never worked) and constantly asked me to connect my flixter account to UltraViolet even though i already did it a million times (wich the side actually knew, since it constantly started telling me i already connected this account…) with the result of me not being able to access my library at all or just being able to see half or non of my movies on the inside.

I actually owned three further UV/Flixter codes that came with a BluRay box i ordered from the UK. Never was allowed to use them since the codes geoblocked me since i am in Germany. Yes, flixter codes actualy geoblock harder than the normal dvd/bluray region locking.

So with that shit in mind i already knew this would be trouble long before they made it „more public“ that they would use flixter (it actualy was on their faq from the beginning of the campaign wich they rightfully pointed out now).

I got my code close after midnight german time, awesome! - I used it, it said i was about to redeem the movie i wanted to redeem but it never arrived in my library… so i tried again and the code was invalide/already used now. - Took flixter a cupple of days to fix that. (i downloaded the movie illegally within ten minutes after it dident work legaly because f them right?) So now it´s in my library! Yay!

But as noted earlier flixter always worked terrible for me, i can´t download anything and if a stream a movie it´s pixelated as hell and buffering all over the place. Let alone that it´s only a SD Version for some reason (even if it´s been upgraded to HD by now!)

Now ultra violet has this great idea of connecting your library to different services, i even read about a few people useing other services to watch it in great qualety so YAY great… i check out what UV suports in germany…. ONLY FLIXTER! Yay!…

So i send an e-mail to the Kickstarter VM Suport. They tell me to just buy the movie and refund me as you stated in your post. Guess what… THE MOVIE IS NOT FOR SALE IN GERMANY. Yes. Thats right. I can only preorder the digital copy. There is no download.

By now i got the movie to download on my PS3 useing VUDO wich connects with my UV library which only worked because i use Unblock-Us to view Hulu and Netflix… so thats only semi legal aswell.

I wonder why there is the need for DRM. As i noted, the second my legal code did not work out i had the movie DRM free on my HDD in about 10 Minutes… so there absolutely is no need to not just put up a DRM free download for the backers in the first place since the DRM gets bypassed within minutes anyway…


Really man? … I’ll just echo what redesigned said. I take their stuff because I disagree with how they do things - DRM is clearly part of it but, like you, I am not affected by it. My primary problem with their business is how they try to bankrupt people for copying a few songs or a movie. This is because the people who are encoding and upping this stuff are not the low-hanging fruit of people who don’t know what they’re doing and just leave it in their seed list for months. That’s fucking evil and if I refuse to give them my money to fill their coffers for such legal action I sure as hell am not going buy stock in their company.

I expect digital media will have a longer effective shelf life than super-8, Vinyl, Beta, HD-DVD, VHS, 8-track, cassette tapes

That’s got nothing to do with what I said. Also very debatable with vinyl which lasts based on numbers of plays. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking a rip then properly storing the original media to then give to someone when you’re done with it. It’s also arguably legal to torrent a copy of a record you own and save having to rip it at all.

In order to rip video you need to download specialized software designed to defeat DRM. This isn’t like pressing the “record” button on a tape deck.

No man, there are push-button solutions that require absolutely no technical knowledge of what is going on. You just follow the prompts and end up with a copy of your original disc (DRM stripped of course) or a file of any sort for any type of player that you just select from a drop-down. The one I’ve used that works a charm is DVDFab. It copies bluray discs as well.

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Sure, you can get these things if you know where to look and what to search for. But it’s not like it’s on iTunes or comes bundled with Windows, and it’s not like the copying a cassette tape or telling your VHS to record something. It’s for people who are intentionally looking for products that operate in a pretty grey area.[quote=“teapot, post:78, topic:25822”]
That’s got nothing to do with what I said. Also very debatable with vinyl which lasts based on numbers of plays. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking a rip then properly storing the original media to then give to someone when you’re done with it. It’s also arguably legal to torrent a copy of a record you own and save having to rip it at all.
For one, it would be illegal to make a “backup” copy of a a CD or record and then sell or give away the CD or record without destroying the digital copy (and that’s assuming the digital backup itself is legal).

And for two, I’m not so sure that the impermanence of physical formats really is “nothing to do” with what you said. I mean, if the real objection is that digital media is a limit on your ability to own something forever, just like you could own physical media forever, then the practical limitations of the physical media aren’t irrelevant. Sure, the limitations on digital media are artificial, but it’s also true that the impermanence of physical formats were artificial. Corporations push new media formats in order to resell the same work over and over again. Vinyl, cassette, 8-track, minidisc, CD, SACD, and mp3 are all just different ways to get you to buy the same product over and over again, even though most people can’t hear much of a difference between most of the formats.

For the most part the major studios have stopped doing this sort of thing, and mainly for market-related/efficiency reasons.

The real point I was making, however, is that it’s not like studios are super profitable. You may think they’re taking advantage of everyone from artists to consumers, but they’re not making as much money as you think, and certainly not enough to make movie studios or record a great investment (even if Sony as a whole is doing so badly that investors want them to spin off their studios).

Would you, could you, on a boat?
Or does Hollywood’s output get your goat?

Do you yearn for something more?
Miserable cop shows from BBC4?

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