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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!

  • http://twitter.com/dimitri407 Rob Gora

    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.

  • http://thisisjohncoffey.com GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

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

  • http://thisisjohncoffey.com GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    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.

    • http://www.nclf.net/ Goldman60

       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.

  • https://profiles.google.com/pdenson Paul

     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.

  • http://twitter.com/timberwolfkw Kyle Wilkins

    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?  

  • http://profiles.google.com/msrobi Mike Robinson

    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.

  • http://profiles.google.com/msrobi Mike Robinson

    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.

  • http://iamandroid.co/profile/rocktoonz Rocktoonz

    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

  • http://iamandroid.co/profile/rocktoonz Rocktoonz

    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