June 26, 2006 9:40 PM PDT

Warner Bros. strikes deal with video-sharing site

Warner Bros. Entertainment on Monday began selling full-length feature films and TV shows over the Internet via Guba, one of a legion of companies presenting amateur-videos on the Web.

Guba customers can rent a film for $1.79 per day or pay $9.99 to own an older title. Newer movies cost $19.99. All the content is protected by Microsoft-developed digital rights management software, the companies said.

The agreement is the latest sign that at least some in Hollywood may be ready to deal with Internet sites that some in the movie business consider a threat. Warner Bros. last month announced that it had chosen file-sharing technology from BitTorrent to distribute films. For Guba, the partnership is a coup. Like most other competitors in the video-sharing space, Guba has seen its public profile eclipsed by the juggernaut, YouTube. Thomas McInerney, the Guba's CEO, said he hopes the Warner Bros. partnership will help the company stand apart from rivals.

McInerney has pounded the pavement in Hollywood in hopes of striking such a deal. One of the hurdles to forging relationships with the studios is protection of copyrighted material. At some of the top user-generated video sites, including Guba, users often upload clips from their favorite TV shows or movies.

While these videos can draw a lot of viewers, the content is often protected by copyright law. TV networks and studios have warned YouTube, Guba and many of their competitors to remove such materials. In one of the most famous cases, YouTube complied with a request by NBC last February to remove a "Saturday Night Live" clip called "Lazy Sunday: The Chronicles of Narnia," which had become a mini Internet sensation.

"There is clearly demand for professionally made content online but there's too few legal ways to get it," McInerney said. "I think right now is the beginning of a trend where you'll see studios making content available so people can access it."

Besides offering films and TV shows, Guba plans to stand out by being one of the few video-sharing sites that is profitable. McInerney said his company, which began as a subscription service and now also generates revenue through ad sales, never had enough money to operate on a deficit. When Guba launched in 1998--online video's prehistoric period--McInerney remembers spreading the parts from his company's first computer server on his kitchen floor and building it himself. Back then, the viewing quality of Internet video was poor; streams often froze and were grainy.

McInerney bided his time. His company stayed small, kept costs down and waited for bandwidth and video-player technology to improve.

"My first 100 users were all from Jordan," McInerney recalls. "I thought 'Boy, if I people in Jordan are interested in this, there's no telling how big things can become.'"

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28 comments

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Add your comment
What resolution
And what resolution are we getting movies at if we download them?
DVD quality? HD? Smaller? If not at least DVD quality, they're out of
their minds to charge that much.

Bottom line, I won't buy movies unless I can get them from the
ITMS. Why would I want another, inferior software package
dowloading media? I don't.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bit Torrent is for large files
I suspect they will be DVD quality. If they are using DRM, that makes me suspect they may be using the WMV (microsoft asf) format. That will mean that although the movies will be of equal or near quality to DVD, they will be about 1/3 the size of a DVD movie. That's my guess.
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
Bit Torrent works well for large single files
So I suspect they will be DVD quality. If they are using DRM, that makes me suspect they may be using the WMV (microsoft asf) format. That will mean that although the movies will be of equal or near quality to DVD, they will be about 1/3 the size of a DVD movie. That's my guess.
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
What resolution
And what resolution are we getting movies at if we download them?
DVD quality? HD? Smaller? If not at least DVD quality, they're out of
their minds to charge that much.

Bottom line, I won't buy movies unless I can get them from the
ITMS. Why would I want another, inferior software package
dowloading media? I don't.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bit Torrent is for large files
I suspect they will be DVD quality. If they are using DRM, that makes me suspect they may be using the WMV (microsoft asf) format. That will mean that although the movies will be of equal or near quality to DVD, they will be about 1/3 the size of a DVD movie. That's my guess.
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
Bit Torrent works well for large single files
So I suspect they will be DVD quality. If they are using DRM, that makes me suspect they may be using the WMV (microsoft asf) format. That will mean that although the movies will be of equal or near quality to DVD, they will be about 1/3 the size of a DVD movie. That's my guess.
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
WT Heck? WB and PORN!
OK , now im very confused, GUBA has been the epicenter of amateur hardcore pornography , in both video and photo swapping , I have personally lobbied to get them to stop distributing this trash, im very upset that WB WOULD EVEN HAVE TO DO ANYTHING WITH A COMPANY WITH SUCH A SHADY PAST!... now I hope everyone will realize that even WB doesn't care about our children!.. and this deal with GUBA , proves it hers a link for proof or their past doing ..

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://web.archive.org/web/20050207000230/www.guba.com/image/Erotica/Age/" target="_newWindow">http://web.archive.org/web/20050207000230/www.guba.com/image/Erotica/Age/</a>

you cant hide from your past guys!! great work WB expose my children to this crap!!

Irate DAD
Posted by joemill1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's UseNet you're seeing
Usenet NewsGroups that is. Perhaps you could blame the military or the internet in general. Guba provides access to Usenet archives, the same as your very own internet provider does to you. Besides E-mail and web access, you also pay for access to a news server. Many people don't know they have access to this. You may have noticed in Outlook there are options to subscribe to "news accounts"; also in eudora and netscape and other mail clients. Phone your ISP and ask. Usenet predates the WWW by many years and is made up of about 120,000 news interest groups. The sex one's being among the most popular and weird too. However the topics also cover everything else you can think of...
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
WT Heck? WB and PORN!
OK , now im very confused, GUBA has been the epicenter of amateur hardcore pornography , in both video and photo swapping , I have personally lobbied to get them to stop distributing this trash, im very upset that WB WOULD EVEN HAVE TO DO ANYTHING WITH A COMPANY WITH SUCH A SHADY PAST!... now I hope everyone will realize that even WB doesn't care about our children!.. and this deal with GUBA , proves it hers a link for proof or their past doing ..

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://web.archive.org/web/20050207000230/www.guba.com/image/Erotica/Age/" target="_newWindow">http://web.archive.org/web/20050207000230/www.guba.com/image/Erotica/Age/</a>

you cant hide from your past guys!! great work WB expose my children to this crap!!

Irate DAD
Posted by joemill1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's UseNet you're seeing
Usenet NewsGroups that is. Perhaps you could blame the military or the internet in general. Guba provides access to Usenet archives, the same as your very own internet provider does to you. Besides E-mail and web access, you also pay for access to a news server. Many people don't know they have access to this. You may have noticed in Outlook there are options to subscribe to "news accounts"; also in eudora and netscape and other mail clients. Phone your ISP and ask. Usenet predates the WWW by many years and is made up of about 120,000 news interest groups. The sex one's being among the most popular and weird too. However the topics also cover everything else you can think of...
Posted by MrMailing (12 comments )
Link Flag
US only
It appears that this service is for the United States only and if you
happen to run Microsoft software. So obviously Warner Bros don't
want my money!
Posted by davidporter007 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
US only
It appears that this service is for the United States only and if you
happen to run Microsoft software. So obviously Warner Bros don't
want my money!
Posted by davidporter007 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DRM is a no-no.
The problem with this is "Digital Rights Management". The exact day studios start selling movies in plain DivX format, with all official subtitles in plain SRT or SUB files, and all available dub tracks in plain 5.1 AAC format, without any restriction AT ALL on the region of the world I'm at, is the day I'll begin paying them.

If the deal involves I being unable to use my hardware the way I want, I being forbidden access to this or that title due to where I live, I being unable to pay for it because my credit card was issued by a bank located in this or that country etc., then no, thanks, but no.

Pirates understand the saying "The customer is king". They day movie studios recognize this plain, simple truth, is the day they'll deserve my money.
Posted by alexgieg (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DRM is a no-no.
The problem with this is "Digital Rights Management". The exact day studios start selling movies in plain DivX format, with all official subtitles in plain SRT or SUB files, and all available dub tracks in plain 5.1 AAC format, without any restriction AT ALL on the region of the world I'm at, is the day I'll begin paying them.

If the deal involves I being unable to use my hardware the way I want, I being forbidden access to this or that title due to where I live, I being unable to pay for it because my credit card was issued by a bank located in this or that country etc., then no, thanks, but no.

Pirates understand the saying "The customer is king". They day movie studios recognize this plain, simple truth, is the day they'll deserve my money.
Posted by alexgieg (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You can keep your DRM.
Meanwhile, I'll just continue using a combination of MythTV (a TiVO-like clone for Linux) and my local cable provider to legally gather and keep all the movies I want --in the formats I want-- without having to take a performance hit on the computer just to do so, thx much.

Then years later, when I want to watch them again on a different (as yet unbought) computer, I can, without worrying if the OS and it's separate version of DRM will 'let' me.

If Guba cannot bring themselves to trust me to not rip off your copyrights, then why should I bother paying them money?
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
its not Guba's fault
The studios would not be releasing this content if they couldn't infest it with DRM so as to protect themselves form people watching/sharing/using something that was previously broadcast over the 'air waves' to everyone for free already!

While I will not support DRM infested material it's not really the site's fault all they can do is what the copyright holders allow them to.

Tell WB about how you feel... I doubt they'll care or listen but at least it will be focused upon the right people!

AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW NOT TO SUPPORT DRM LADEN SERVICES, AND TELL THEM WHY THEY SHOULDN'T....THIS EVEN MEANS iTUNES (sorry fanboys!) but Apple's DRM is still DRM regardless of whether the God-Man Jobs says it's good for you.
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
You can keep your DRM.
Meanwhile, I'll just continue using a combination of MythTV (a TiVO-like clone for Linux) and my local cable provider to legally gather and keep all the movies I want --in the formats I want-- without having to take a performance hit on the computer just to do so, thx much.

Then years later, when I want to watch them again on a different (as yet unbought) computer, I can, without worrying if the OS and it's separate version of DRM will 'let' me.

If Guba cannot bring themselves to trust me to not rip off your copyrights, then why should I bother paying them money?
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
its not Guba's fault
The studios would not be releasing this content if they couldn't infest it with DRM so as to protect themselves form people watching/sharing/using something that was previously broadcast over the 'air waves' to everyone for free already!

While I will not support DRM infested material it's not really the site's fault all they can do is what the copyright holders allow them to.

Tell WB about how you feel... I doubt they'll care or listen but at least it will be focused upon the right people!

AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW NOT TO SUPPORT DRM LADEN SERVICES, AND TELL THEM WHY THEY SHOULDN'T....THIS EVEN MEANS iTUNES (sorry fanboys!) but Apple's DRM is still DRM regardless of whether the God-Man Jobs says it's good for you.
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
This is a joke.. right..???
Who do these "digital sales people" think they are kidding..??? At
those prices why would I want to buy something I can't touch, hold,
put away for later use, it's just a bunch of 0's and 1's..! One comp
crash and it's bye bye video...!! and for this they want nearly the
same price as a DVD...?!?! Now they wonder why people continue to
file share.. because what they offer to the public is pure rip off..!!!
The can put one copy of a file on a server, do absolutly NOTHING
more and sell it over and over and over and over but they still want
the price of a real DVD..!!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is a joke.. right..???
Who do these "digital sales people" think they are kidding..??? At
those prices why would I want to buy something I can't touch, hold,
put away for later use, it's just a bunch of 0's and 1's..! One comp
crash and it's bye bye video...!! and for this they want nearly the
same price as a DVD...?!?! Now they wonder why people continue to
file share.. because what they offer to the public is pure rip off..!!!
The can put one copy of a file on a server, do absolutly NOTHING
more and sell it over and over and over and over but they still want
the price of a real DVD..!!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wake up McInerney, you're dreaming..!!!!
"There is clearly demand for professionally made content online but
there's too few legal ways to get it," McInerney said.
McInerney can put SNL on every web site in the World and the only
demand it will create is more free downloads via sites like YouTube
or with file sharing. Of every 10,000 free downloads that happened
on YouTube for a free SNL show I seriously doubt 1 person would
be even interested in paying for it..! For free..? SURE, even I'd
download a copy to watch but to PAY for a free TV program...???
GET REAL McInerney...!!!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wake up McInerney, you're dreaming..!!!!
"There is clearly demand for professionally made content online but
there's too few legal ways to get it," McInerney said.
McInerney can put SNL on every web site in the World and the only
demand it will create is more free downloads via sites like YouTube
or with file sharing. Of every 10,000 free downloads that happened
on YouTube for a free SNL show I seriously doubt 1 person would
be even interested in paying for it..! For free..? SURE, even I'd
download a copy to watch but to PAY for a free TV program...???
GET REAL McInerney...!!!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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