Boing Boing: TiVo won’t save certain shows or allow moving them

Me and Cory aren’t known for our ability to agree over much to do with copyright, but he’s bang on the mark with his post over at Boing Boing about how TiVo won’t save certain shows or allow moving them:

TiVo has added several anti-features to its PVR. Now, some shows can’t be saved forever, or moved using TiVo2Go.

It used to be that it was hard to explain the TiVo. I’d tell people, "It’s like a VCR, but it’s smart enough to program itself."

Now I’ve got a new description: "It’s like a VCR, but it it’s evil enough to screw you over if some rightsholder demands it."

Hey, TiVo: since 1984′s Betamax decision, Americans have had the right to record TV shows even if the rightsholder doesn’t like the idea. That’s straight from the Supreme Court’s mouth. I don’t know what kind of special privilege the enteraintment industry has offered you in exchange for this spectacular display of wanton shark-jumping, but it wasn’t enough. I sold my TiVo when I left California. You can be goddamned sure I won’t be buying another one. Ever.

Note to potential TiVo competitors: MythTV is like TiVo except it includes all the features that the entertainment industry has intimidated TiVo into leaving out. And it’s free. Go make a product out of it, put it in stores, and you will sell a squillion of them. Now that TiVo’s blown its brains out, the field is wide open.

The abilty of people to record and keep shows as long as they want has not only been a great benefit to consumers, it’s benefitted the content industries by preserving interest in shows that would otherwise be forgotten – making it much easier for the content companies to later re-show or release the programmes. Adding a self-destruct on the shows is stupid – it’s like saying that the show has a shelf life, and after that forget about it.

  • http://mildlydiverting.blogspot.com/ k

    And, of course, in some cases *actually saved the shows for the nation* by preserving them on home recordings…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/treasurehunt/finds/index.shtml

  • http://www.livejournal.com/community/tivolovers/ MegaZone

    Cory missed the mark on this one though. This isn’t just TiVo, this is MacroVision. And TiVo is hardly the only vendor with a MacroVision license – in fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a VCR, DVR, DVD Recorder, etc, that doesn’t have one. ReplayTV, TiVo, the cable company DVRs, etc – they all honor the MacroVision license, and therefore these flags. They’re just not being used, so people don’t know – the only reason this case showed up was a glitch of some kind.

    Cory’s suggestion for someone to commercialize MythTV isn’t so great. If a commercial product supported the same features – transferring recordings, etc – they’d be gang tackled by entertainment industry lawyers. And to sell a product that legally plays DVDs, you need a DVD Forum license, which requires supporting CSS, which requires a MacroVision license. And like gates liked to say about the GPL, it is Pac-Man like. You have the license, and you have to implement all the requirements – which would spread to the DVR side of the product too.

    I wouldn’t want to dip myself in chum and dive into waters full of sharks.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge