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Rooted Devices Will Not Have Access to New Google Movies Android Feature, That Includes Your XOOM

This story on how rooted Android devices are being blocked from watching Google Movies seemed to pick up a lot of steam over the weekend, but it’s funny because @p3droid and I talked for a couple of hours about this on Twitter just after Google I/O got done almost 2 weeks ago (another reason to follow us!).  We both run rooted XOOMs and manually upgraded to 3.1, but were greeted with the nasty “Failed to fetch license” error that you are seeing above from the Android Market support pages.  We even thought we had found a fix which involved upgrading and then deleting su and Superuser.apk, but that ended up not working for everyone.  In fact, I installed 100% stock images from Motorola on my device, accepted the OTA update and still cannot access movies.

So my thoughts on this are, “this sucks, but is not unexpected.”  We all know how long it has taken Netflix to get past their security fears with Android, so I can only imagine how those negotiations went down when Google asked movie companies directly for permission to sell their titles.  And I would hope Android’s security reputation isn’t also the reason that they have been unable to secure contracts to sell music, but wouldn’t be surprised.

This new wave of anti-root on Android is a little unsettling, especially since many of us joined this army because we loved the idea of having total control.  But in the end, it’s all a business and rooted users seem to be looked at as evil hackers and thieves these days, so I’m afraid this is only the beginning.

Cheers to everyone who sent this!

  • If they would just give us a secure way to have total control of our devices, then this would not be an option. Why is it that every mobile company wants to lock us out of our OWN DEVICES that we have purchased. When I buy a laptop or desktop, I can change anything I want, because it is MINE. Get with it Google. I am sure there is someone at Google that could come up with a solution that would give the users what they want but still keep everything secure.

  • What happens when the Jedi Order becomes the Dark Empire? {{v_v}}

  • THIS is why they unlocked the Xoom’s bootloader. Because the rape was coming in another arena. SMH. {{v_v}}

  • Anonymous

    Corporate greed is sending this country to the toilet.

  • Anonymous

    Corporate greed is sending this country to the toilet.

    •  Corporate greed is the only reason you have that shiny android phone in your pocket right now

      • Anonymous

        No sir I have this shiny android device in my pocket for the same reason these corporations exists.

        • Anonymous

          Because I work and buy things.

        • Anonymous

          Because I work and buy things.

  •  Lame. If I wanted to steal movies, I wouldn’t do it by grabbing the stream off my phone. I’d do it by ripping the original disc on my inherently rooted computer. What problems do they think they are solving by adding this restriction on phones?

  • omarcastz

    This is what I wrote in another well known Android site.

    ——————————————————
    Guess what? I have demonstrated the Movie rental functionality to people
    on my Motorola Xoom and I have influenced people to actually purchase
    the device based on this (amongst other things that make Android great).

    These are people who would probably otherwise have gone with one of
    Apple’s devices. These are also NOT people who even know what the words
    “root”, “ROM”, and “bootloader” mean.

    The Android platform is going through a growth period. As they continue
    to grow they have to cater to the needs of the general population (not
    just the technically inclined). thankfully, the Android ecosystem is not
    based around a limited number of devices (unlike Apple’s econsystem)
    and can accomodate different needs/wants.

    I think people are really making a huge deal out of this. We have to be
    pragmatic and think that in order to get content for our devices, the
    content providers needed some safeguards in place to ensure that no
    copyright/intellectual property violations happen.

    It is unfortunate that this has to be done but I understand why they
    chose to do it. It is also unfortunate but it is almost a sure given
    that someone will find a way to abuse the movie rental system on their
    rooted device (this is not unlike people who have openly posted on
    forums that they consume gigs and gigs of wireless data because they
    have their computers tethered to their phones all the time, a big reason
    why unlimited data plans are going away: the very few spoil it for the
    majority).

    The Android ecosystem needs the content (music, movies, applications) in
    order to thrive. Android users already get a bad rap as being users who
    want everything for free and are not willing to pay for apps. We, as
    part of the community need to prove otherwise. I have made sure that I
    pay for the applications that I use on my phones and tablet in order to
    support the developers, the android community and the ecosystem. I have
    also rented a few movies on my Xoom and will continue to do so in order
    to support the Android ecosystem in the eyes to the movie industry and
    let them know that there is a definite demand for their content on my
    devices.

    I understand that the rooting/modding community is upset at this, but we
    have to be pragmatic about it. Besides, I am sure that there will be
    other services available for movies for those technically savy enough to
    root/mod their devices. No, it does not mean that Google is targeting
    you who root for valid reasons. They are targeting those who would root
    for the purposes to game the system and proceed to violate
    copyright/intellectual property. Unfortunately, there is no
    technological way to provide legitimate rooted users the service while
    blocking out the bad people, which leads the movie industry, and Google
    to this solution (again, the few bad apples spoil it for the rest of
    us).

    Don’t take it so personal, voice your concern with Google and they can
    hopefully work out a solution. But it is a mistake for people to turn
    back just when we are starting to gain some traction with the mainstream
    media companies (which we need for the long term health of the Android
    ecosystem).

    Google is trying to grow the ecosystem with their Google @home
    initiative, this will be a dream for us engineering and technically
    inclined (what other ecosystem is championing this???). They are still
    incredibly friendly to developers in comparison and will still get my
    support. My 2 cents

    • omarcastz

       Yikes, sorry for all the extra space everyone. It was a copy and paste job from my post on another site.

    • omarcastz

       Yikes, sorry for all the extra space everyone. It was a copy and paste job from my post on another site.

  • I am not shocked at all about this. This does lead more people to pirating though. Prices for movies have gone up, which lead me to pirate movies. But if the movie is good and I like it I will go out and buy it to support it. Same goes with Apps. I use that one (not sure if its appropriate to name it) app now because Market is no longer 24 hours. If I like the app of course I will pay for it and support the dev. Like stated from someone else, the same hackers they are trying to stop will work around this. I’ll take root and control of my phone over being able to buy movies any day though. It’s a shame root is automatically labeled as evil.

  • BigRed4X15

     So is there ever going to be an app for the other tablets including my Acer Iconia? Lame that the XOOM is the only table getting supported!

  • BigRed4X15

     So is there ever going to be an app for the other tablets including my Acer Iconia? Lame that the XOOM is the only table getting supported!

  • Jake

    Movie studios aren’t the only ones who worry about piracy. How long will it be before Google takes a similar approach to music and apps?  

  • Jake

    Movie studios aren’t the only ones who worry about piracy. How long will it be before Google takes a similar approach to music and apps?  

  • This is not surprising.  The studios seem to be afraid of Linux.  They won’t even let Netflix create a Linux client, even though the Roku media player is essentially that.

  • This is not surprising.  The studios seem to be afraid of Linux.  They won’t even let Netflix create a Linux client, even though the Roku media player is essentially that.

  • Don’t count on Netflix or any other streaming content provider to be the savior on this issue:

    “Netflix released an Android app for renting and playing movies on devices but with a huge caveat. The company only released the app for a handful of Android devices, citing the excuse that it had to verify the playback (read: DRM) handling of each and every device on the market before allowing the app on them. Yes, that’s right, Netflix must prove that each device running Android respects its DRM system before it allows the app to be installed. Given this level of DRM paranoia, how long will it be before Netflix follows Google’s own lead and denies the app and service for rooted Android devices?”

    While some rooted devices are able to install the app, not all could, and it may not be long before they allow the app, but simply block the streaming for rooted devices.

    source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/forget-the-tethering-police-the-rooting-police-are-here-led-by-google/2573?tag=nl.e539

  • Don’t count on Netflix or any other streaming content provider to be the savior on this issue:

    “Netflix released an Android app for renting and playing movies on devices but with a huge caveat. The company only released the app for a handful of Android devices, citing the excuse that it had to verify the playback (read: DRM) handling of each and every device on the market before allowing the app on them. Yes, that’s right, Netflix must prove that each device running Android respects its DRM system before it allows the app to be installed. Given this level of DRM paranoia, how long will it be before Netflix follows Google’s own lead and denies the app and service for rooted Android devices?”

    While some rooted devices are able to install the app, not all could, and it may not be long before they allow the app, but simply block the streaming for rooted devices.

    source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/forget-the-tethering-police-the-rooting-police-are-here-led-by-google/2573?tag=nl.e539

  • Surfkru

    if Google is doing this, why are they gushing over the fact that there new CR-48 laptop will
    be ready for rooting.  

  • FortitudineVincimus

    so wait.. they don’t think some dev will beat this? bwaa haa ha haaa – it is just a matter of days I bet

  • Anonymous

    This is really quite silly.  While it may be technically more feasible to some how copy the movie if you have root access, it would still be far more complex and inconvenient compared to just grabbing a torrent.  No one is going to try and pirate a movie this way and it only makes the service less desirable to people who are actually willing to pay.

  • Goatweed

    Are many people chomping at the bit to pay crazy prices to watch a movie once on your tablet or screen where you can just load up Netflix or download an xvid or mkv rip and watch it anytime? I’ll stick with root and not lose sleep over not being able to watch the Twilight Saga lol

    • Anonymous

      I dont think there are, but the big news is that this could start a trend. If google’s doing it, what if the movie studios then pressure netflix to do it the next time they try to negotiate for additional media rights? 

  • if you root it is very likely you can also figure out torrents.  Who needs this movie service again?

  • if you root it is very likely you can also figure out torrents.  Who needs this movie service again?

  •  The more the RIAA and movie industry try to squeeze people for money the more they are creating piracy.  Just make the stuff competitively priced and easily accessible and we’ll pay.  Overprice and try to lock us out of everything and guess what?  The new 3D IMAX at Northpark Mall in Dallas is charging $17 a person to go to the movies.  SEVENTEEN!!!  I was actually going to go see Pirates there, but NOT for 17.  Comes to like 40 bucks if you are paying for the date.  As a result, I rarely see movies anymore where I used to love to go ALOT.  And now this routine with Android?  I would rather pay 100 bucks for a 1.5Terabyte HDD and download stuff from piratebay.  Why?  Because the industry has raised prices so high it’s not even worth it to drive your car (at 4 bucks a gallon) to the theater and hand over your arm and your leg to some zit faced highschooler.  Did my wages go up?  No.  Price of living goes up and up and up and they want to keep bleeding us for more.  Sorry, but I’m not paying for some chronic smoking Hollywood exec to ride around in his Bentley while I’m staring at empty cupboards wondering what I’ll eat next.  Might as well make it a thousand dollars!  Might as well make it a million!  Why not!?  Is there a ceiling?  

    • Screw that. In this economy, I tell the lady to buy her own damn ticket. {{-_-}}

    • Madfatter

      whine whine whine. shut up and get a better job. of stop spending your money on high tech devices if you have nothing in your cupboard to eat.

  • Anonymous

     Do they actually think people will stop rooting because of this?

    Lets see:
    Rooting gives me ways to increase speed of my phones, and basically control it how I want.

    Like I would give that up just to use some Google Movies crap when I have Netflix for like 8$ a month.

  • Anonymous

     Do they actually think people will stop rooting because of this?

    Lets see:
    Rooting gives me ways to increase speed of my phones, and basically control it how I want.

    Like I would give that up just to use some Google Movies crap when I have Netflix for like 8$ a month.

  • Greg ✓

    In Other Movie News: COUNTDOWN FOR THE WOLFPACK! T-Minus Four Day’s until HANGOVER 2! Is this hotel 4g LTE Friendly?

  • Greg ✓

    In Other Movie News: COUNTDOWN FOR THE WOLFPACK! T-Minus Four Day’s until HANGOVER 2! Is this hotel 4g LTE Friendly?

  •  Seems like a lame excuse to discourage rooting “your” device.

  • Binglut9

    If I was google I would do the same..apple has a lot of media and android is not there yet google needed this for the average consumer not the 1% of people that root. Google needs to be a media powerhouse with movies music etc….this is the first step and I love being able to rent a movie whenever I want without doing much work or any thinking.

  •  Totally understandable, but wish they could find another way to adhere to security and licenses to allow rooted users to enjoy these added features of movies and music too.

  • Mr.Joe

    If you want total control of your device just go to a platform that doesn’t have a lot of users.  Like Symbian.  No one here uses Symbian and it’s just as “hackable” as Android.

    You’ll never need to worry about this crap again!  Android is just TOO popular.  

  • Anonymous

    relax.. rooted users will find a way to hack this too. no biggie!

  • Anonymous

    man Droid Life is always first for breaking news like this…. Kellex must be busy with his TB :p

    Netflix will destroy this lmao. Not to mention that I am willing to bet their will be some sort of workaround for this, there’s always is…

  • Eric

    So much for Openess. 

  • Eric

    So much for Openess. 

  • Dear movie idustry, suck it!!!! 

  • Dear movie idustry, suck it!!!! 

  • Anonymous

    Well Megavideo works great on my rooted Droid X’s browser…

    • Greg ✓

       Bingo!

    • Greg ✓

       Bingo!

  • Ron

     So Google is going the Xbox Live route….

    • Greg ✓

       I guess they saw PSN go down and said “no, we wont go too”

    • Greg ✓

       I guess they saw PSN go down and said “no, we wont go too”

  • Greg ✓

    Regardless of all of the circumstances… Rooted, or unrooted.. theres plenty of “wallet friendly” ways to rent a movie. With Netflix, Redbox, Movie Stream, Tethering, Web Browsing, Megavideo, Zshare and beyond…$4.99 for a movie you can’t keep.. is a wallet waste. Sure.. to some, thats a trip for fast food, but there are frugal individuals who are rooted..or unrooted, that see their money better invested in a developer who needs it than a movie that they can watch on a bigger screen and keep for longer.

    Tenfol, the convienence is greatly appreciated Google, however, I like the full factor of my HTC Thunderbolt, the way I want it done, without being bullied into what I can and cannot get. Even after all that being said.. I’m a supported in our Google/Andoird/Skynet World. And it’s in the better interest of us all! 

  •  There are some many other easier ways to get a hold of this content… Being afraid of people trying to rip things streaming from there damn phones are tablets is just plain stupid.

  • Anonymous

    1.) $1.99 to rent a movie I can watch only once sucks anyways. I’d rather get a Netflix subscription (which I can now use on my android device =D.)

    2.) I’m half expecting someone to post a modified .apk that gets around this in a few days.

    3.) The moves by Verizon and now Google to being anti-root are going to make me be very particular about the next phone I buy. I’d rather not, but I guess I’m going to have to send Google a message with my wallet.

    …I think we’re done here

    • Mr.Joe

      CHILD PLEASE!

      It’s not Verizon being anti root.  It’s them all!

      Stop being an arrogant SEF.  

      • Anonymous

         With carriers being anti-root*

        • Mr.Joe

           You’re on my plus list!  If I had a bunch of android tablets.  Well son you’d be getting one now!

        • Mr.Joe

           You’re on my plus list!  If I had a bunch of android tablets.  Well son you’d be getting one now!

    • Mr.Joe

      CHILD PLEASE!

      It’s not Verizon being anti root.  It’s them all!

      Stop being an arrogant SEF.  

  •  I have my phone rooted, but I only do so for a few specific reasons. Would I be able to root/unroot as needed? I know like Z4Root and a few others allow for temp root. Couldn’t I just set it as a toggle for when I needed root access and when I wanted to watch movies?

  • Rizzidy

     Well, if they don’t want to allow us to get movies legally, we’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way.  

    It still amazes me how these companies are so stupid that they don’t realize that by NOT making their content available through legitimate channels, they are creating the market for the illegal channels.  Idiots.

    • Greg ✓

      Rizz.. I agree whole heartidely.  

    • Anonymous

       Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      •  Thats a dumb idea.  Its like saying “Hey they wont let me murder anymore, so to protest it, I’m going to murder more.”

        • Rizzidy

          Actually, it’s nothing like saying that. 

        • Goats

          Yeah Murdering and Movies… Someone is a little melodramatic…

      •  Thats a dumb idea.  Its like saying “Hey they wont let me murder anymore, so to protest it, I’m going to murder more.”

    • Anonymous

       Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    •  How about you actually practice some morals.  Go buy the movies if you cant rent them.

      • Wyveryx

        sure, because i enjoy paying 20 to 30 dollars to own a piece of crap that i’ll have forever… 
        This isn’t about morals, because these restrictions aren’t based on them, it’s about $…

        Ever heard the phrase “The harder you squeeze your hand, the more water escapes”

        Well that’s the general premise here, we’re getting restrictions compounded with more restrictions, eventually carriers and manufactures and developers will have only a few left to them and the rest will go to a more accepting and compromising company.

        • Mr.Joe

          When I squeeze my hand it just hurts.  Though if I squeeze harder blood starts coming out. 

          • Wyveryx

            lol, well we can always thin of ourselves as the life blood of these cranial-rectal inverted companies lol 

        • john

          Seriously? You had to use a water in hand analogy? You couldn’t say something about star systems? No geek card for you.

          • Wyveryx

            Well I could’ve used the Vader analogy, but I thought that might be over the top lol

      • Rizzidy

        That’s not how the market works, bub. 

    • Xeno43

      Who in their right mind would rather steal a movie from android than simply downloading it online? Maybe if they plan to give us early releases it would make sense, but this would just be too much effort to steal what is probably just a standard definition movie.

    • Hep

      Agreed… why do they care what we do with what we paid for?  They’re all OCD control freaks for no reason.

  • tjhrulz

     Just saying it says “currently does not support rooted devices”, if anybody could make this work for root users google could. So here is to hoping one day we will.

  • Wyveryx

    Expected but still shitty…
    What would Android be without the ones who push boundaries?
    Probably… Apple

    • Rocktoonz

      Probably more like Symbian…all but dead

  • By doing this its only going to cause people to find other potentially illegal means of watching movies. Most people that root their phones aren’t thieves (such as myself) Why do they think that just because we like to tinker with technology that we’re trying to do something illegal?

  • By doing this its only going to cause people to find other potentially illegal means of watching movies. Most people that root their phones aren’t thieves (such as myself) Why do they think that just because we like to tinker with technology that we’re trying to do something illegal?

    • MK17

      They don’t think that, but its much easier for someone who has root access to pull of watching movies illegally.

      Also, it also only takes one intelligent guy to break the code to allow illegal watching to happen and there are plenty of people who wouldn’t think twice about using the program.

      Its pretty obvious to me why Google did it. It sucks but you can’t trust people to be honest so you have to lock down or restrict everybody. 

      • Anonymous

        Oh, please. This isn’t about consumers being dishonest so much as media and communications conglomerates (quickly becoming one and the same) being needlessly greedy.

    • Greg ✓

       they feel like we root because we want “free” or “anti pay” remedies.

      But you can’t stop the “download and theft” movement regardless. This is why your favorite artist can be downloaded a week before their album comes out

  • Greg ✓

    I rather it this way….

    Movies Stream = $5.99 one time fee.
    or
    Megavideo Premium account. $9.99 for 90 days.

    I think I’m good with that.  

  • Greg ✓

    I rather it this way….

    Movies Stream = $5.99 one time fee.
    or
    Megavideo Premium account. $9.99 for 90 days.

    I think I’m good with that.  

  • EC8CH

    “this is only the beginning”…

    so true…

    xda to delivery a work around for this in 3… 2… 1…

  • EC8CH

    “this is only the beginning”…

    so true…

    xda to delivery a work around for this in 3… 2… 1…

  • Rocktoonz

    I completely agree that this isn’t completely unexpected, but in some ways, I fear that this type of “policing” might be bad for Android.  While people’s reasons for rooting vary greatly, it may come down to a trade-off..either stay stock for full access, or root and give up some of these  services such as Netflix streaming and Google movies.

    For me personally, I’m fine with that tradeoff.  I like having the control, and don’t stream much other than the occasional YouTube video, so to me, that’s no great loss.

    My biggest concern is this: Might carriers be the next to jump on the Rooting Police bandwagon and deny voice and data services entirely to rooted devices?

  • Rocktoonz

    I completely agree that this isn’t completely unexpected, but in some ways, I fear that this type of “policing” might be bad for Android.  While people’s reasons for rooting vary greatly, it may come down to a trade-off..either stay stock for full access, or root and give up some of these  services such as Netflix streaming and Google movies.

    For me personally, I’m fine with that tradeoff.  I like having the control, and don’t stream much other than the occasional YouTube video, so to me, that’s no great loss.

    My biggest concern is this: Might carriers be the next to jump on the Rooting Police bandwagon and deny voice and data services entirely to rooted devices?

    • Anonymous

       Your last point seems extreme, but nothing would surprise me at this point.  And that’s scary.

    • Anonymous

       Your last point seems extreme, but nothing would surprise me at this point.  And that’s scary.

  • Adam Metzner

    Funny thing is, the evil hackers will most likley find away around this.

  • Adam Metzner

    Funny thing is, the evil hackers will most likley find away around this.

  • Kaufkin

    looks like as much as I love moto and the Droid name, may have to look elsewhere for my next Android phone. Hurmph. but then again, they told us to do exactly that many months ago, eh? 

    • This has absolutely nothing to do with Motorola.

    • Binglut9

      Your an idiot eh?

  • Kaufkin

    looks like as much as I love moto and the Droid name, may have to look elsewhere for my next Android phone. Hurmph. but then again, they told us to do exactly that many months ago, eh? 

  • Isaacstaco

    I could care less… Netflix FTW!!! 

  • Isaacstaco

    I could care less… Netflix FTW!!! 

  •  whats funny is they complain about people doing all this on your android but its even easier to steal movies and stuff on your computer. hypothetically of course i could just download it from a torrent and put it on my android device. i dont get what all the fuss is pirating is gonna happen either way and those corporations make mad doe.  they just need to chill out and smoke some blunts.

    • EC8CH

       exactly… all this fuss over preventing piracy from android just because it’s new, when desktops running good old windows is where majority of piracy takes place…

      media company’s are just trying to bleed google for them to get access, but they can’t do the same for windows because it is already too well established… lame

  •  whats funny is they complain about people doing all this on your android but its even easier to steal movies and stuff on your computer. hypothetically of course i could just download it from a torrent and put it on my android device. i dont get what all the fuss is pirating is gonna happen either way and those corporations make mad doe.  they just need to chill out and smoke some blunts.

  • Anonymous

     Didnt want to pay the ridiculous prices they were offering for rental anyways. 

    But i dont like this if it becomes a trend. PCs have been ‘rooted’ since the very beginning. Imagine if netflix said your OS had to be one of the official, locked down versions from HP or Dell, and you couldnt unlock them to remove their crapware or else you couldnt run netflix. 

    Its time phones stopped being treated like the property of the manufacturers and instead the property of the customers. 

  • Anonymous

     Didnt want to pay the ridiculous prices they were offering for rental anyways. 

    But i dont like this if it becomes a trend. PCs have been ‘rooted’ since the very beginning. Imagine if netflix said your OS had to be one of the official, locked down versions from HP or Dell, and you couldnt unlock them to remove their crapware or else you couldnt run netflix. 

    Its time phones stopped being treated like the property of the manufacturers and instead the property of the customers. 

    • EC8CH

      I wish more people would understand the implication of you comparison.

      Where would we be now if desktops in the 90’s were treated like smartphones are being treated today?

      • Mr.Joe

        We would be a lot happier.  

        • EC8CH

          yes… everyone would love their encrypted bios with a desktop loaded with unistallable crapware shortcuts

          • Mr.Joe

            It would be a wonderful time!   

          • Mr.Joe

            It would be a wonderful time!   

          • Anonymous

             ignorance is bliss 😉

    • Mr.Joe

      I can’t watch Netlix on Linux.

      I’m guessing it’s because I’m on root user =*( 

    • The restrictions on Android aren’t much different than what’s on PC really. Amazon has Windows DRM so they can offer rentals and buy options. Netflix can stream but don’t expect a buy option any time soon.  Vudu can’t even offer HD on Windows. Linux can’t do much of anything because they’re in the same boat as Android.  The content companies dictate terms and compliance is slow and expensive. 

      The other thing to realize is that if Google decides to play ball then they are going to go all out to prevent root users from being able to access the market. There’s too much competition to expect a second chance if they get compromised early on and this particular DRM arena they have tough track records to compete against.

  • Anonymous

    Kellex +1 for understanding the big picture. I can already see the flood of complaints coming in any second, but good work.

  •  I agree, totally expected.