Originally Posted by cablenest
Since we have some lawyers present (I am not one), I want to ask a possibly gauche legal question. Can promissory estoppel be applied to the termination of TVGOS by the action of Rovi and Sony? For about the same price (or a little less at the time?), the consumer could have purchased a Tivo with lifetime subscription. Insofar as the TVGOS service was not provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, nor as a separate purchase, there is an implied promise of duration for the lifetime of the physical unit (the DHG). The reliance on this promise by the consumer (promisee) in making a product selection was foreseeable by the promissors Sony and Rovi (then Goldstar); in particular, the front panel of the unit and the remote control for the unit contain buttons specifically labeled “TV GUIDE”, and the user manual contains several pages of TVGOS instructions. In making a product selection the consumer understandably relied upon the promise of TVGOS service being an implicit and permanent part for the DHG’s functional benefit, that functional benefit now being detrimentally removed. This injustice to the consumer can only be avoided by restoring the TVGOS service. Attempts by consumers to circumnavigate this detrimental removal are laborious and awkward even with regard to the simple matter of approximately setting the time of day clock after a power interruption; no means what-so-ever is found for setting the date, or providing any program listing information to the unit. The partial functionality retained by the unit is only a proof that the normal lifetime of the unit has not expired. The serious detriment to the promised utility of the DHG unit is entirely caused by the intentional removal of the TVGOS service by Sony and Rovi, whose action should therefore be reversed.
Would a state’s consumer complaints office find this any good?
You are getting at the "class action" suit. We've all been wronged-but our damages are what ? The typical unit is 7 years old, and has given mostly good service to most people for that time. (this forum notwithstanding). We need enough folks for a viable "class", and I don't think we hit threshold for this. We've checked how many are out there, and the best guess is 3-5000 made, with every remaining unit owned by someone who posts here. Rounding up these folks is going to be tough. My Cable installer had never seen one, and when I activated both units I had to convince the tech support person the first three numbers weren't the TiVo ID part of the number.....He'd also never heard of this unit. You need a huge class with small/moderate damages to make a big suit. We all bought the units with an implied promise...that TV Guide symbol was at the height of its "commercial credibility" when Sony stuck it on the Box and on the unit. Having grown up with TV Guide in the background, it was a solid promise of real listings. Therein lies the breach of contract. I trusted TV Guide, and Sony. Ah, how the icons of the past have fallen......
What is unforgivable is the doorstop aspect of this. I'm sure there is some infernal CableLabs, HDCP protocol, or other DRM which is why we can't get this fixed....it needed TVGOS to run, so it was always had a kill switch. Today, every single box is switched individually, Cable, TiVo, or Satellite. I don't think the utter reliance on a TVGOS signal for a clockset is an error. I don't expect a company to support a product forever-I wouldn't have the same reaction if Sony told me they had no more parts, or service, but to intentionally and knowingly shut us off is very high handed-for a TV device, no less. I'm sure that Rovi was spending a fortune for a format that never took off. I've no sympathy as they bought the business and patents, probably after some "due diligence"...but they probably had a ten year contract with Sony, and once it was over, it was over for Rovi. Who else uses TVGOS 8 ? No one but us. Sony, however, is still ultimately responsible.
You explained the "damages" part of the case well. Promise, value as set by a competing service, all correct !
We each would have a breach of contract action against Sony, but the filing fees in most States would exceed the value of the units. This is exactly the sort of thing a class action is designed to attack, a small but deliberate breach on the part of the big organization against folks with no real recourse...but we only have a few hundred units we can find-are maybe 2000 left anywhere ?
I'm not a software rights person, and won't expound on DMCA and other primitive attempts to use Government and a big hammer to hold back the waters of technology. If it was me I'd hack away...isn't there an open software license ? I'd think if you aren't reverse engineering the encryption stuff for content you'd be OK (and if you were, you wouldn't be posting this
really, all this for a clockset. thanks sonyEdited by speedlaw - 3/12/13 at 10:35am