As the entertainment industry has pushed for new and more draconian laws to protect their old business model, groups like the EFF and the Consumer Electronics Association have pointed out that many of the laws the industry wants would have outlawed innovations like TiVo or the iPod. In response, the entertainment industry swore up and down that they'd never try to stop such innovative devices. So what's happened since? Well, the entertainment industry has basically tried to sue every such new innovative device. Earlier today we wrote about the lawsuits against XM's music recording device and now a judge has ruled in favor of Hollywood studios banning a digital video recorder offering. Announced almost exactly a year ago, Cablevision wanted to basically offer a service similar to what you get from a TiVo, but where they would host the infrastructure, and you would just get the functionality at your home (rather than needing to install the box locally). It's not a bad idea, but Time Warner Cable had already tried it and the project got neutered when content providers freaked out (again, even though it's really no different than a TiVo). Cablevision, however, is a bit of a maverick on these things, so when it didn't give in to the studios' demands, the studios sued. It's difficult to understand the judge's position here. Effectively, the service is no different than TiVo -- which is allowed under copyright law. Cablevision will likely appeal the decision, so this is far from over. However, in the meantime, this is yet another example of the entertainment industry killing off new devices and services -- something they insisted would never happen -- in order to protect obsolete business models.
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