Yet Another Company Rigs Up A Silly Technical Setup To Let You Watch Broadcast TV On Your Mobile Device
from the legality's-a-mess dept
And here we go again. Peter Kafka has the details of a new company, called Bamboom, which will let people stream broadcast TV to their iPads, and which must be waiting for the inevitable lawsuit. The idea appears to be a mix of ivi and Zediva.
If you remember, ivi is the company that wants to stream broadcast television, and is claiming it’s legal based on a questionable interpretation of current copyright laws — an interpretation that (so far) the courts aren’t buying. Zediva, on the other hand, is offering streaming DVDs by literally placing DVDs in DVD players and streaming just that one copy to users, relying on the Second Circuit court’s ruling in the Cablevision case to suggest that if you can do something legally in your living room, it should also be legal to be done at a hosting center. In other words, it’s arguing that the length of the cord shouldn’t matter. If a DVD player is in your home or in a data center a few miles away, does it matter if the process (put DVD in player, watch on screen) is the same? The MPAA has sued and Zediva is currently fighting that lawsuit (with some impressive legal horsepower).
Bamboom basically appears to be using both of these arguments. It’s streaming broadcast TV only, and is also assigning a single antenna to each user who is streaming.
The company is still going to get sued, of course. The TV companies wouldn’t have it any other way. But, really, all it demonstrates is how ridiculous the laws are here. This company has to set up a ridiculously convoluted technical system that is not at all efficient and is downright wasteful, just to provide a simple service that is technically easy to provide if legal complications didn’t get in the way. I don’t think the service is particularly useful (do people still watch broadcast TV?), but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal.