By David Worthington | Friday, December 18, 2009 at 9:03 pm
German sci-fi fans who were lucky enough to score tickets to an early 3D preview of Jame Cameron’s Avatar were stymied by a failure in the movie’s DRM system. Some theaters were unable to decrypt the video, and some exasperated projectionists reverted back to the 2D version, according to reports.
The film’s digital masters were ‘protected’ by a DRM system that was comprised of certificates and time-sensitive keys that were necessary to authenticate a theater’s equipment–from hard drives down to the projector. That system, which incidentally sounds like it was designed by Rube Goldberg, failed to perform as required to…play the movie.
I understand the studio’s desire to protect its intellectual property. Scores of people doubtlessly worked very hard to produce the film, and it was a $237 million investment. Bootleggers will be trying to obtain the film, and probably eventually succeed in pirating the movie across FTPs and torrent streams.
Let’s be serious: DRM will not stop a carefully concealed camcorder. With such draconian DRM in place, there should have been failsafes so that it would not affect the moviegoers’ experience.
DRM should be seamless and invisible to the user, but I don’t get why the theater had to use the system anyway given the file size was reported to be 150GB. How many people would actually share that? Screener DVDs are a more likely source of piracy.