Rooted Devices Left Out of Android Market Video Rentals

The Android Market now has movie rentals. One problem for those who take the popular step of rooting their devices: those devices can stay home, as they won't be able to view any of the movies.

End users attempting to rent a movie from the Android Market even get a clue as to why, based on the specific error message they receive: "Failed to fetch license for [movie title] (error 49)." That's right: it's about licensing and the threat of piracy.

Google's support site gives the following details into the error:
You'll receive this "Error 49" message if you attempt to play a movie on a rooted device. Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.
This includes, of course, those who install custom ROMs, since that requires rooting, as well.

The reason for the restriction is obvious. Users of rooted phones can delve into areas of the file system that are not generally allowed. Thus, there's a possibility that the end users of rooted devices can get access to the video files and pirate them.

While we can see the possibility exists that this might happen, most people root their Android devices so that they can use custom ROMs and apps that require root, not so they can pirate videos. Of course, now that Google has given folks this idea ...

Naturally, it's only a matter of time before the bright folks at XDA Developers figure out a way around this. After all, they figured out a way to allow users to put the Netflix app onto unsupported devices (without root).