What Was It The Entertainment Industry Said About Not Killing Off New Consumer Devices?

from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept

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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Comments on “What Was It The Entertainment Industry Said About Not Killing Off New Consumer Devices?”

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Nick Burns (user link) says:


Apparently, patent law isn’t the only thing stifling innovation. Judges need to stop listening to to the **AA’s crazy ideas about the extent of their copyrights. I have a right to hook up a VCR and record a movie on TV. Why is my right to use a modern equivalent abridged?

Simple answer: Content providers want me to pay for content more than once. Twice isn’t enough either. It’s not enough that I buy a DVD. I need to buy another copy online to put it on my iPod. If technology is allowed to advance fast enough, they will lose the ability to fleece me for more money.

Questioner says:

Allow opting out, but also allow opting in

Cable should be allowed to evolve to become more internet-like in its content and distribution methods where appropriate. Content owners should be able to opt out of content redistribution while others should be able to opt in to the redistribution offering.

Stifling cable’s advance in technology stifles advances in innovation of content. The internet did not have the same hurdles as cable which allowed popular YouTube to thrive in one, but not exist in the other.

rstr5105 says:

Here’s the main problem I see. (Which is of course patently obvious)

Internet allows users to choose their content, when they get it, how they get it, where they get it, and why. Cable, does not offer the same tools. Questioner hit the nail on the head when he said that cable SHOULD be more internet like. We won’t see that happen thought until content providers realize that consumers want & need choice.

Why products and services like TiVO work is because they allow the user to choose when they watch a show. AFAIK (Don’t own one myself 🙁 ) you have to watch the commercials whilst watching your show for the first time, the commercials are still there. There are shows on tv that I would watch if I were home while they were airing, but, alas like almost all half civilized people, I do have a job that I am required to be at in order to get the cash to pay for the show. If I pay for the service, I should be able to use said service how I see fit. If that means I want to hold a superbowl party on my nice (read:Non-existant{SP?}) 64 inch plasma panel television then so be it.
The real problem is that the govt listens to money and money only. Consumer protection is secondary to corporate. Don’t complain about the companies, they’ll never change. Complain to & about the Govt.

My $.02

ConceptJunkie (profile) says:

Heinlein said it almost 70 years ago...

There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither
statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
– Robert Heinlein, “Life Line”, 1939

Brad Eleven (profile) says:

yep, it's the government

Notice how this ever-growing stream of bull$#!+ is the result of Federal judges’ rulings. Take a moment to consider how these judges got there. I’m thinking that they’ve been installed since, oh, January 2001, e.g., appointed by an administration which is known for its ties to Big Money.

I do appreciate TechDirt as a place to log these egregious and idiotic moves by foolish and disconnected ultra-wealthy people who insist on hewing to a model that has clearly been superseded. We’re coming to the same conclusion, though, over and over. The RIAA and the MPAA are–to us, anyway–very clearly engaged in pouring money on the problem. It eclipses Prohibition in its scope. Violations are rampant; it used to be only once a week that I’d overhear someone at work talking about content that they’d gotten illegally. Now it’s at least daily.

Where’s the tipping point, I wonder? When will someone realized that 200 million Elvis fans with pirated content can’t be wrong?

Questioner says:

Judge Chin to get credit

As quoted from a Reuters article:

“The RS-DVR is not a stand-alone machine that sits on top of a television,” said Chin. “Rather, it is a complex system that involves an ongoing relationship between Cablevision and its customers.”

I think I get it. My neighbor (Cablevision) offers to record from my cable subscription for a fee, but there are additional strings attached. I will only have access to the built-up library while I am paying my neighbor two fees:
a) The recording service fee, and
b) the cable subscription (which my neighbor sells to me).
My neighbor is acting exactly as though he is taking ownership of the library and renting it out for profit.

The judge saw through the ownership scam, but I hope the technology was left open for content providers who might choose to opt in to the recordings.

James Stevens says:

Consumer Devices....

The problem here is judges…….and lawyers: A lawyer who is now a judge and scratches his ass and balls just like us now dictates what we do with what we buy.That is why there are wars after anarchy.With a nice war after you have killed enoughof the enemy using any means necessary they finally get the drift that you do not agree with what they attempt to push down our throats.I do not agree that the judge should be the final arbitrator the consumer should be.It is not a matter of Republican or Democrat philosophy..Conservatives want the money for themselves and the Democracts want it for themselves first and if any left give it to the refuse to work five generation welfare crowd and illegal aliens to buy votes for the next election.

Nobody Special says:

not quite the same though

There is a fundamental difference in where the recording happens. And that is why Tivo was able to defend itself and Cablevision was not. The Tivo is recorded in my home on my equipment for myself. Cablevision records it for you, on their equipment for a profit.

It may be argued that this is small, but it is fundamental and a line that does make a difference.

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