Don’t Like UltraViolet Digital Movies? You Can’t Sell the Codes

UltraViolet logo

A lot of customers have been unhappy with the UltraViolet digital copy system set up by a number of movie studios. I’m finding it frustrating that I now have to use two apps to manage my digital films, with plenty easily usable in iTunes, and a handful more restricted in Flixster. (That app keeps losing track of which ones I actually have rights to view. And emailing their support link never got me an answer.)

Some have, since they didn’t plan to use the system, sold their codes to those who are interested. Seems like a win-win — I don’t want that digital copy of the movie, you do, so let’s make a deal. However, it seems that, at least in some cases, eBay is now blocking those sales, claiming it’s copyright infringement.

UltraViolet logo

This is why content providers love more DRM; they are better able to attempt to control user behavior and restrict what people think of as legitimate transactions. That little piece of paper with the string of numbers that comes with your Blu-ray or DVD doesn’t represent anything you own. It’s just a license, and the studios clearly intend it not to be separate from the plastic disc. Unless they’re the ones selling it to you, at much greater prices than the eBay sellers want.

Then again, if someone wants to get into legal hair-splitting, I expect to see offers to see an UltraViolet-decorated piece of paper any day now. Selling scrap paper isn’t illegal, right?

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