November 13, 2004
Another TiVo matter
Via Mark Evanier (of course), some more TiVo news of interest.
Sometime in the next few months, your machine will quietly download a patch that makes it respond to a new copy protection scheme from software maker Macrovision. The app puts restrictions on how long your DVR can save certain kinds of shows - so far, just pay-per-view and video-on-demand programs. It's the first time your TiVo won't let you watch whatever you want, whenever you want.
I don't do pay-per-view or video-on-demand, so this doesn't affect me (yet). Still, I'm a bit uncomfortable with this, though the Q&A with TiVo's general counsel makes it all sound reasonable. Wave of the future or bad idea that will get rejected by the marketplace? I dunno.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 13, 2004 to TV and movies
A bad idea, but also the wave of the future, I'm afraid. The last decade has seen copy restrictions - both legal and technological - grow ever tighter. Neither political party is particularly consumer-friendly on this issue; both mostly buy the industry nonsense that nobody makes digital copies of copyrighted material for fair use; we're all pirates instead.
I'm sure there are ways around this (older DVD-R's?); your local hacker community will undoubtedly know the details, including legality, of any workarounds. (Patching TiVo is probably illegal under the 1998 DMCA, but if other recording devices aren't designed to react to the signals, those are probably OK.) Those of us who rely on mass-marketed technology, however, can expect more and more of this crap.
On a related note: despite the dismal results of this month's Senate elections, at least Sen. Hollings, who was such a slave to the "content" industries he twice filed bills which would have mandated such restrictions in every device capable of audio or video recordings sold in the United States, including computers, retired and won't be around to push this issue any longer.