No Movie Renting for Rooted Android Devices
Article by George Norman
On 26 May 2011
Earlier this month we were reporting that if you want to rent movies and watch them at home, you can rent movies from the Google-owned video sharing site YouTube or you could rent movies from Google’s Android Market. YouTube made thousands of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios available to rent in the US. You can check out the offering at

Google announced at Google I/O that it also made movies available for rent on the Android Market. Android users can visit the Android Market and choose between thousands of movies available for rent (prices start at $1.99). Users can and rent movies from their desktop machines by visiting Android Market on the web. The movies they rent will be available across all their Android-powered devices – but not if the Android-powered device is rooted.

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Renting movies is not an issue for regular Android-powered devices. If the device is rooted, then it is a problem. Rooting, and I’m saying this to make sure everyone is on board, is the practice that gives users full administrative privileges. Rooting lets users install applications that wouldn’t otherwise work on an Android device and the practice that lets users remove applications that came preinstalled with the device, apps that some users do not want.

Getting back to the topic at hand, if the user tries to play a rented movie on a rooted device, he will get an “Failed to fetch license Error 49” message. Google explained it is blocking the movie rental service for rooted Android devices “due to requirements related to copyright protection.”

Word on the web has it that the movie studios are behind this. As rumor has it, the studios are afraid that users of rooted Android devices could circumvent the movie’s DRM (Digital Rights Management) and make a copy of the rented movie, copy that would then likely be spread over the web.

Tags: Google, Android, Android Market, YouTube, Movies
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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