TV Execs Threatening To Sue TiVo

from the now-it-makes-sense dept

Yesterday we pointed to the news about TiVo’s latest “ToGo” offering, and pointed out that the announcement seemed to focus a bit too much on the added copy protection to make all this work. Of course, now it’s becoming clear why they did so. They didn’t clear this with the TV execs first. Greg Andrew writes in to point out that the TV execs don’t seem to think the new TiVo offering is “crippled enough.” If you remember a year ago when TiVo first wanted to introduce the ToGo feature, they actually had to go to the FCC and plead their case against the TV execs and ask for “permission” to innovate and add this feature that customers were clamoring for. Think about what that means for innovation — if every new innovation meant you had to go to the government and ask for permission from all industries impacted. The automakers would have had to go before the government and ask them for permission to make cars, as it could impact the buggy makers. Television would have needed to be approved by movie execs because it might impact the movie business. The list could go on and on. However, it looks like TiVo didn’t ask for “permission” first in this case — and now they might get sued. It’s worth noting that some TV execs don’t seem quite that upset by this, which is a good sign. At least a few are seeing the light.


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Comments on “TV Execs Threatening To Sue TiVo”

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18 Comments
Chosen Reject says:

Flawed analogy

Your analogy about car makers having to get permission from buggy makers is flawed. Car makers weren’t using buggy makers IP to create cars. Sure they hurt their business, but Tivo depends on what others make for their business. The same is true with TV and the movie industry. At first, TV created a lot of its own content, so while they may have impacted the Movie industry, they didn’t do so off the IP of the movie industry. If TiVo wanted to create their own IP and content, then they wouldn’t have to get any permission to do so from anyone.
You may disagree with IP, but those are the rules in place right now that everyone has to play by.

Jason (user link) says:

Re: Flawed analogy

Cars use the roads buggies built.

Car wheels where based on buggie wheels. Did the buggie companies get a cut from the car makers for every wheel that was derived from their IP? No, but if it was happening today the’d sue for it.

I’m no buggie/car expert, but I’d bet there was lots of Buggie IP that was used in the first cars without permission.

Mike S. says:

Re: Re: Flawed analogy

Sorry. That’s still stupid. It’s an appropriate analogy if you’re talking about the cable infrastructure, and new companies wanting to ride on that in competition to those companies that actually put them up and service them, but that’s not the case here.

The question is, as it usually is, one of fair use. Despite the idiocy of downloading an hour long show onto a 3 inch screen in order to stare at your palm, we should be free to watch whatever we record in whatever fashion we deem desirable.

P.S. I’m pretty sure that when the buggy manufacturers decided to use wheels instead of say, triangles, there was plenty of prior art. I would bet that goes for just about every component on it.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Flawed analogy

With all due respect, I usually disagree with Mike as to IP issues…as in whether we like it or not, the law allows an organization such as the RIAA to own the rights to IP. Right or wrong, thats reality, so P2P is theft (and still, I do it, though not as often as in the past, and as always, I admit to myself that it is wrong. Sometimes wrong is too much fun to resist, hahaha).
That said, Mike is right here: recording to TiVo is just about as fair use as one can get with electronic media. No different in essence from VHS or cassette tapes.
Now, were you to go about redistributing your TiVo recorded media, well, we’re right back to square one.

Jeremiah (user link) says:

Re: Flawed analogy

I’m with Reject – the analogy is flawed. TD has compared a tangible industry (automobiles) with a non-tangible – “content.”

And Tivo is not asking “permission to innovate” – they’re repackaging/republishing copyright-protected works, and it’s different.

If I were to drive the streets of my city in a truck selling Sears products, I’d probably have to get their permission to do so, and I wouldn’t be able to spin it as “Sears is infringing my right to innovate” either.

Frank J. Mattia (user link) says:

Re: Flawed analogy

i do agree that we need certain ip laws to promote innovation however – the laws that are in place are not the laws that the people want – theyre the laws that big business wants in order to line its pockets.
the fact that they’re in place does NOT mean that everyone has to play – it means that people need to exercise their god given rights to have them changed to integrate better with our times.

rick says:

give me a break!

Everyone is so worried about copyright on broadcast/cable? Was there this much hype when the VCR came out? “Oh god, one person might record this show, and then lend it to someone else to see”…IT WAS ON BROADCAST/CABLE FREAKIN’ TV! Maybe I can see it being a problem on the Pay channels like HBO or Skin-a-max, but even then, VCR’s could do it forever ago, they just want exclusive rights when this is in digital format. I am SO sick of all this copyright law stuff. I don’t steal shows, I don’t listen to stolen music, why then should I have to deal with all this crap!

rick says:

Re: Re: give me a break!

Okay, agreed. I had my head up my butt in those years…teenager.

I am still sick of the hype and assumptions that anyone who “digitally” records a copyright protected…..ANYTHING, that they are going to break the law and or profit from it.

Because I record a show on my DVR, makes it no different than if I recorded it on my VCR. Both COULD be digitized and passed along.

Damn Napster caused it all LOL

Jamie says:

Re: give me a break!

Yes, there was this much hype when the VCR came out. The TV/Movie industry wanted them banned precisely because they could record content off of TV and Videos. That is what the whole Sony/Betamax Supreme court case was about. The Supreme Court sided with the consumer and said that the consumer had the right to record for personal use.

rick says:

One More Thought

I use a dvr to record the shows I would otherwise miss. I am on the road a fair amount so Yes, I will push them over to the laptop to watch, then delete. If these network execs think I would remotely entertain the idea of paying for a digital copy of what I recorded at home so I can watch it away from the home, they are absolutely off their rocker. I would simply not watch them at all.

Haggie says:

Can I sue the MPAA and/or networks

I have the right to record a television show for my own viewing pleasure (Fair Use). I can record and view that show on any technology that I choose.

So, if the RIAA, MPAA, and networks try to force companies to limit technology, aren’t they taking away my RIGHT to fair use of their content? Can I sue them for taking away MY RIGHTS? Aren’t might rights of fair use equal to their right to protection from infringement?

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