ReplayTV Owners Win Partial Victory Over Entertainment Industry

from the just-a-little-bit dept

Yet another "partial" victory for users of new technologies against the entertainment industry. A year and a half ago, a group of ReplayTV owners, include Craigslist's Craig Newmark, sued the entertainment industry, asking that they be given legal permission to use the features on their ReplayTV that the industry was suing to block. Specifically, they wanted it declared legal to use "commercial skip" and the "share this show" feature. On Friday, they received a partial victory in that the entertainment industry promised not to sue them for using these features. While the EFF is spinning this as a victory, it really isn't. The judge basically tossed out the case, because the industry said they wouldn't sue these individuals. That doesn't mean they won't sue others, and it also doesn't put in place any legal precedent on allowing consumers to make use of their fair use rights. It's yet another case (like we've seen with Ed Felten) where the industry makes a threat, and then when backed into a corner, promises not to sue, and gets off completely. The problem is that they can keep threatening people at will, and many won't fight back for their rights. Any time someone does, the industry just says "oh, no, we won't sue", and they get off completely free.
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