Last month YouTube beefed up their on demand movie service with over 3,000 new movie rentals, but if you want to watch pay-per-view content on YouTube from your jailbroken Android you’ll be sorely disappointed. According to Cory Doctorow of The Guardian, “Android users who have jailbroken their phones will be denied access to the new commercial YouTube pay-per-view service.”
It should be noted that YouTube pay-per-view isn’t the only service being barred from jailbroken Android devices. Earlier this month Todd Ogasawara reported on Social Times that rooted Xoom tablets would be blocked from renting movies via the Android Market’s movie rental service as well.
The reasoning behind the move to block content on jailbroken devices is pretty straightforward. Basically, when you rent a movie to stream through on-demand services like YouTube’s Movie Rentals and the Android Market you receive an actual copy of the movie to stream. When you finish watching, the stream is discarded as per the OS on your device. If you are using a jailbroken device with your own OS installed then there is a possibility that you could be overriding the feature that discards the film and keeping the content.
YouTube owes it to the distributors they are working with to do whatever they can to prevent people from pirating the movies that they are offering. Therefore they have put these limits in place, only allowing users to stream from non-jailbroken devices that are guaranteed to discard of pay-per-view streams after they have been watched.
But The Guardian’s Doctorow brings up an interesting point. He says, “This novel theory of copyright is the antithesis of the ‘openness’ that Google advertises as the unique selling proposition for Android. What’s more, it has a predictable trajectory: users will discover that an ever-expanding list of requirements must be met in order to continue to ‘rent’ copyrighted works on their Android devices. Third-party apps that defeat the anti-copying measures will be banned, and apps whose characteristics can’t be verified will be locked out just to be safe.”
Do you agree with Doctorow? Is YouTube’s barring of jailbroken Android devices “as neat an example of copyright extremism as you could hope for,” or you do you understand where YouTube is coming from? I see where Doctorow is coming from, but at the same time I don’t really know what else YouTube can do. Without these limitations in place they may not be able to offer all their new pay-per-view content at all. Jailbroken Android users—what’s your take on the issue?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.