Japanese Court Says That Place Shifting TV Overseas Is Infringing

from the ah,-modern-technology dept

As you follow the copyright world, you quickly learn how quickly modern technology obsoletes copyright law. For example, when VCRs first came out, the industry thought it was infringing, but courts finally realized that the benefits to such things outweighed the potential costs, and declared that such time shifting was not, in fact, infringement. A similar debate was had when DVRs hit the market. Similar to the debate over time shifting, was the debate over place shifting, with things like Sling box, that allow you to transfer your TV programming away from your TV to a computer or some other device.

Over in Japan they're dealing with this same issue, where Japan's Supreme Court has decided that place shifting Japanese TV shows overseas is infringing (via Public Knowledge). It doesn't sound like this service was sending "pirated" copies -- but instead, had just set up a remote Slingbox-like operation, that would allow someone from overseas to tap into a legit television account. I can understand why a literal reading of copyright law might suggest this is infringement, but it seems like a common sense reading would make you question how that makes sense.

And that's kind of the point in all of these discussions. Copyright law was designed for a different world, and these days, most of what it seems to do is hold back what the technology enables -- especially when that technology is more efficient and useful. Letting people overseas pay to access content that is legally being broadcast simply shouldn't be infringing, but copyright law doesn't deal well with such situations, unless you finally get judges (such as in the Sony Betamax case in the US) who realize that such an end-result is nonsensical. So, in the end, it's left up to the whims of judges to determine whether or not useful technology is even allowed to exist, and that's not exactly a good recipe for innovation.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2011 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cable length?

    All I can say Paul is that you started in the wrong place. You are assuming that the Nagano Shoten service needs to exist. There is no such proof.

    There are legal options (everyone can cringe as we say "to the cloud!").

    Japanese suppliers and artists lose international exposure and another precedent is set that appears to halt technological development in the entertainment arena due to outdated business methods.

    Not in the slightest. The mistake commonly made here is the "who should decide". The business methods you point out as out of date work just fine. If the suppliers and the artists (as a collective) want exposure, they can work deals to make it happen. They can run their own websites, their own download service, sell their shows out of market on DVDs, whatever it is that they choose. That is up to them, not up to you. You don't get to make the business decision for them.

    Your entire post smacks of a sense of entitlement that makes you look like a spoiled child, who feels they can tell everyone else what to do, regardless of what it costs them to do it, or their lack of desire to do it.

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