Walmart sent over an announcement on Wednesday reporting that its VUDU video service now has an option for sharing your digital library with up to five people for free. The news is significant because it's a sign that Hollywood may be relaxing its grip on copyrighted content. Perhaps content owners realize that not everyone is out to pirate video, and that sharing that content in a safe way may be ideal in reducing the overall amount of piracy.
For the uninitiated, VUDU is UltraViolet certified. When you visit VUDU and purchase TV shows and movies, they're your digital property to some degree; you're not stuck streaming to a specific device or a specific service. Buy The Avengers on VUDU, and it can be streamed or downloaded through the VUDU app, the Flixster app, and others that are UltraViolet compliant.
So it's somewhat of a surprise reading that VUDU will allow customers to share their library with up to five other people. This lending scheme is called Share My Movies, and all that customers need is an email address to lend a movie or TV show; there's no need to share VUDU or UltraViolet passwords.
"With Share My Movies by VUDU, we are removing the friction you face when you use other services or lend physical discs," reads Walmart's blog. "No more worrying about managing passwords and permissions across people and devices or getting discs returned with scratches. More good news: Share My Movies by VUDU applies to all DVDs or Blu-ray movies available at Walmart stores that come with an UltraViolet digital copy."
Setting up this service is easy. Just head over to VUDU.com and enter up to five email addresses. Each of these borrowers will receive an email with a link to create a VUDU account and a link to your shared UltraViolet library. Even more, there doesn't seem to be any catches (no hidden fees, etc.).
"We know you've spent a significant amount of money and time building your collection and have plenty more films to add to it," states the blog. "Share My Movies by VUDU is another way we're helping you get the most out of your collection."
VUDU has an FAQ here that explains the new service and general UltraViolet questions.
I know the 'protecting content creators' part, but, this is a new age. At least they are trying... they are far behind youtube in foresight, but are trying (or forced to try).