Google: "We own your videos"

In yet another Google flop, the company has announced it is closing its video store. Some thing work, some things don't. No problem there. But customers who downloaded videos from the Google store received a letter from Google notifying them that the videos they had "purchased" were going up in smoke. The movies have DRM (Digital Rights Management) attached to them, and once the store is closed, the movies are no longer watchable.

Boing Boing has more on the fiasco. Google has offered the customers Google Checkout credit for the videos they purchased, but the credit is only good for sixty days. And some customers (probably most) may not even have a Checkout account (Checkout is the Google competitor to Paypal). So if you bought Google videos, you get limited store credit and have to find some company that takes Checkout payments (I can't recall ever having seen one).

It is an appalling way to treat customers, and especially so given that Google has billions in the bank, and could easily just write their movie customers a check. Google also breaks new ground by redefining the word "purchase" to mean "you purchase, we own."

Update (8/22/07)
Google has announced that it is giving all the video customers a cash refund, and it is letting them keep the Checkout credit it had already issued. The company has done the right thing; it is just too bad they did not think the refund process through a little more carefully.

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