There are lots of stories around this morning about NBC making some shows available for download through iTunes, which is lovely and all, but most of the articles are missing the story behind the story. Think back to two weeks ago when some TV networks were talking about suing Tivo after it expanded the capability of its TiVo2Go so users could put shows they'd recorded onto devices like video iPods and PSPs. It wasn't the lack of copy protection they were upset about -- it was because they expect people that are going to watch their shows on the devices will have to pay for it, regardless of whether or not they've got it on their DVR. Does all this sound familiar? It should, because it's the same mentality record labels took (and some continue to take) to music -- that's great that you own a CD, but if you want it on your MP3 player, you should pay for another copy. What's the problem here, apart from stupidity? A complete disdain for and lack of acknowledgement of fair use. In response to the TiVo2Go announcement, and NBC Universal spokesman accused TiVo of "disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content". That's absolutely ridiculous when the company's position has even more disregard for the well-established right of the consumer to fair use. It's hard to be optimistic that these companies will ever learn they've got far more to gain by embracing technology and figuring out how to use it to their advantage, rather than just trying to use it to wring as much money as possible out of people, repercussions be damned.
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