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Quote:
Originally posted by Bertil
Well, they're gonna loose!!!
I don't necessarily agree with you. The 1984 Sony Corp vs. Universal Pictures decision gave people the right to explicitly record television freely transmitted over the airwaves for timeshifting purposes; i.e., for personal use. The ReplayTV 4000 includes features for trading digital recording of anything you can record with it (including cable broadcasts that you had to pay for) over the Internet with friends who have the same device. This is what's being challenged and is clearly not covered by the earlier SC decision, and is also unlikely to be looked favorably upon by the courts.


A few years back, a company which set up business to record television and play it back for their clients over the net was shut down by the courts. This seems closely related.


-- Mike Scott
 

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I think the networks have a good case. I read the issue here being the internet capabilities. That smells of Napaster. I don't think the networks really care about PVR's, in fact they are safer than tape in that they are a dead end. They can't output a digital copy, except for this one.


As for the commercial stripper, I'll venture to bet it's not very reliable. There is only so much the internal CPU can assume. Fade to black sometimes happens within programs. Breaks in captioning happen during programs too. The only reliable units were those old ones that worked only on B&W programs. That's because it was an FCC violation to transmit color burst (a hidden signal that turns on the color processing in a TV as well as syncs it). That FCC rule is now also relaxed.
 

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Thought of something else, a favorable ruling to the Networks could effect the computer hobbiest PVR's that now are sold. Cards such as the WinTV PVR, HiPix, AccessTV, and probably a few others. These cards can easily send files over the internet although they are not sold with that purpose in mind. The files generated are a standard Windows, in fact DOS readable, file format.


Most of those card either are or have HDTV versions available now. It's a joke these days to try and send an HD show over the net because they run at 8GB per hour. But that will change in the future with better compression and faster home connections.


I think the only reason these cards have not been challanged is that they are buggy, require a fairly powerfull PC, and are not user friendly. People that have them are hobbiests. But if a legal precident is made that no open file PVR device can be sold, that would end the sale of those devices.
 

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The networks probably could have gone after HiPix, etc, if they gave a damn. But as you say, there are only a few of them right now, and the transmission of HDTV recordings over home network connections would be difficult--upload speeds are generally kept low even on broadband connections and some ISPs actually limit daily uploads to less than an hour's worth of 1080i. Shutting Telemann and similar HDTV capture-card manufacturers down is probably not worth the court costs, and probably won't be for some time to come.


-- Mike Scott
 

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There are 2 items that you all may want to consider prior to forming opinions as to who may win or lose this court case:


1) The Replay saves and outputs any copy protection information included in the broadcast.


2) The Replay software will only allow 14 copies to be made from any single source recording.


Obviously, Replay has made at least some effort to balance copyright protection and fair use.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SmokeBringer
There are 2 items that you all may want to consider prior to forming opinions as to who may win or lose this court case:
Thanks for the information, but I still think they're gonna lose. They don't get to unilaterally decide that, if they place a certain set of restrictions that seem reasonable to them on it, trading digital copies of television programs on the net is fair. Do they, for instance, encrypt the copies in any way? What provisions have they made that will prevent someone from making a computer program to spoof one of their recorders, capture those copies and render them into ordinary PC MPEG files and then do whatever they want with them?


The current trend of the courts is against this sort of thing. This is, in effect, "Napsterization" of television.
Quote:
1) The Replay saves and outputs any copy protection information included in the broadcast.
So does it pay any attention to it? If, say, a program is transmitted with "Copy One Generation" protection on it, will it record "Copy No More" (the proper procedure) and not do this copy-over-the-net thing with it? If so, maybe there's no problem. The complainants can just transmit all of their programming that way and nullify this feature.
Quote:
2) The Replay software will only allow 14 copies to be made from any single source recording.
Interesting number--I wonder how they arrived at it?
Quote:
Obviously, Replay has made at least some effort to balance copyright protection and fair use.
Copying television over the internet (or giving copies of copyright protected material that you've made of anything to anyone else) has nothing to do with "fair use". The courts have decided that it's "fair use" to make recordings of free, over-the-air television (or cable/DBS rebroadcasts thereof), for purposes of timeshifting it. They've declared that it's "fair use" to transfer audio recordings that you own into other formats for private use by you on other audio devices that you own. As far as I can tell by reading Title 17 , it's not actually legal to lend a copy of something that you bought to someone else (particularly a computer program or sound recording--see section 109 (b)(1)(A)). You can't hope to stop people manually lending things to each other, but seeking an injunction against the sale of a device created with an express secondary purpose of trading copyrighted material through the internet is wholely appropriate, IMHO.


And they don't even have to stop them from selling it. As we say in the software engineering biz, it's a SMOP (Simple Matter Of Programming)--they can keep the broadband adapter for the "program from anywhere' and "connect multiple recorders in your home" features, and excise the internet trading software.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
As far as I can tell by reading Title 17, it's not actually legal to lend a copy of something that you bought to someone else (particularly a computer program or sound recording--see section 109 (b)(1)(A)).
Not so sure. See the Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 104 of the Digital

Millennium Copyright Act


Quote:
Section 109 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 109, permits the owner

of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under title 17 to

sell or otherwise dispose of possession of that copy or phonorecord

without the authority of the copyright owner, notwithstanding the

copyright owner's exclusive right of distribution under 17 U.S.C.

106(3). Commonly referred to as the ``first sale doctrine,'' this

provision permits such activities as the sale of used books. The first

sale doctrine is subject to limitations that permit a copyright owner

to prevent the unauthorized commercial rental of computer programs and

sound recordings.
- Tom
 

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Huh? I saw that. That's selling, not lending, leasing or renting. For any of those things, you ostensibly need the permission of the copyright holder, in particular for computer programs and sound recordings, probably since the person to whom you lent it to is likely to make a copy of it for his or her continued use.


U.S. Code Title 17, section 106 reads:
Quote:
§ 106..Exclusive rights in copyrighted works

Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of copyright under his title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to he public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
I suspect that item (6) is a very recent addition, which they may need to modify to read "in the case of sound recordings or recordings of television..." :).


I withdraw the statement, anyway--it may be legal for you to lend a physical copy of some copyrighted work that you own to someone (though not for him to copy it or for you to give him a copy of it to keep while you keep the original, I don't think). The section of Title 17 I was looking at was explicitly about lending for "direct or indirect commercial gain".


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
So does it pay any attention to it? If, say, a program is transmitted with "Copy One Generation" protection on it, will it record "Copy No More" (the proper procedure) and not do this copy-over-the-net thing with it? If so, maybe there's no problem. The complainants can just transmit all of their programming that way and nullify this feature.
I don't know, since I did not write the software and it has yet to be finalized. However, I would think that Replay (Sonic) has spent a fair amount of time thinking about current (and future) copyright law, and that they have taken the necessary steps to enable them to prevail in a legal proceeding.


I think the networks may have jumped the gun on the legal side. They have filed suit, yet the software has yet to be made final. This "premature" filing is an obvious attempt to get an injunction against shipment, but given that the product is not in it's final form, proving "irreparable harm" will be difficult.
 

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This is just another example of how the old copyright laws don't work anymore. Content providers will change their distribution methods or they will perish. Back when copyright laws were created, it was expensive and troublesome to copy something, and the copy didn't come out as good as the original. Now that practically anything can be digitized (movies, music, books, etc.) and copying digital information has become so easy and cheap, all the middle men are in trouble. The actual content creators, mind you, are not. When you buy a CD, how much of the $15 actually goes to the artist? $3? $1? 50 cents? I'd much rather pay $3 to the artist and download the song, than to buy it from Tower Records for $15. That's what's scaring the middle men, technology has finally cut them out of the loop. So they scream and shout about how their rights are being violated.


BTW, I'm personally against pirating any intellectual property. I've purchased every singe game I play. I even once got a copy of Close Combat 2 from a friend at Microsoft, and after trying it and liking it I went out and bought a legitimate copy. I'm saying this just to let everyone know I don't think people should be using something someone worked hard to create without paying them for it. That's just common sense.


But what all the hoopla is about is not whether or not the actual creators are getting screwed, it's that the entire industry that has grown on top of them is so afraid that someday soon they will be obsolete, thanks to technology. Just like Polaroid.


Regards,

Moaz
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SmokeBringer
I don't know, since I did not write the software and it has yet to be finalized. However, I would think that Replay (Sonic) has spent a fair amount of time thinking about current (and future) copyright law, and that they have taken the necessary steps to enable them to prevail in a legal proceeding.
You think that, do you? Well, Sonic Blue is a miniscule company in comparison to the combined forces arrayed against them (or even one of the individual complainants). I wouldn't be surprised if the networks haven't had their considerable legal departments preparing for just this sort of thing. We'll see, but, I really think that they'll won't have much trouble getting an injunction against shipment of these things with that internet sharing feature intact.


As I pointed out before, with this, you can record something from a subscription channel that your friends and/or family members do not subscribe to, or a pay-per-view program, and just ship it to them over the net, and it'll look just as good as when you saw it, if you watched it through your ReplayTV. To my mind, this is just plain wrong, and if that's not intuitively clear to you, there's no point in our arguing about it. I predict that this would become the most common use of the the feature and if I were those networks, I'd get HBO, Showtime, DIRECTV and Echostar to join in the suit.
Quote:
I think the networks may have jumped the gun on the legal side. They have filed suit, yet the software has yet to be made final. This "premature" filing is an obvious attempt to get an injunction against shipment, but given that the product is not in it's final form, proving "irreparable harm" will be difficult.
The software's not final? Sonic Blue is advertising this feature on their web site. I think that they'll have a hard time arguing any harm to their business caused by taking this questionable online trading feature out, since nobody has it now and PVRs are selling anyway. The broadband connector still has lots of use: the "Room to Room Sharing" and "iChannels" (which sounds a lot like NVOD, delivered over the net) features could still be quite useful.


-- Mike Scott
 

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...I have the ability to record D-VHS and I'm not an engineer or industry guru. This is still a free country and if I want to record a HD program for later replay in my house for personal reasons I should have that right. It is no different than repeating the words someone speaks in my opinion. And, if I want to show that tape or speak those words to a friend that is ok as well.


The difference is simply money. Recordings should not be allowed to be used for profit in any venue. Besides, to show a HD recording you must have the HD recorder-which based on price-will rule out 95% of the general public.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RobertM
...I have the ability to record D-VHS and I'm not an engineer or industry guru. This is still a free country and if I want to record a HD program for later replay in my house for personal reasons I should have that right. It is no different than repeating the words someone speaks in my opinion. And, if I want to show that tape or speak those words to a friend that is ok as well.
Yes--all of that is perfectly OK and is covered by the courts' broad interpretation of Title 17's "Fair Use" clause. However, making a copy of that program for your friend, is not. You may make a recording of free, over the air broadcasts (there has been no ruling on the legality of recording pay television, but you cannot--yet--allow one while prohibiting the other) and have as many friends as you like view it as many times as you like, as long as you don't charge them anything, at any private location. You cannot, however, legally make copies of that tape and hand them out, even without charge. That's more analogous to taking a book that you borrowed from the library, copying it word for word and handing out paper (or worse, electronic) copies of it to whomever you please, than it is to "repeating the words someone speaks".
Quote:
The difference is simply money. Recordings should not be allowed to be used for profit in any venue. Besides, to show a HD recording you must have the HD recorder-which based on price-will rule out 95% of the general public.
The ReplayTV 4000 is not an HD recorder--we're just discussing its record-and-share-through-the-internet feature on general principles. It's quite relevant to HD--this is why the major studios are demanding copy protection: they don't want people freely trading around digital copies of their stuff, for fun or profit. In this case, since ReplayTV at best is making a copy of an S-video connection from a digital cable or DBS STB, the maximum quality of the recording is limited, though it'd still be more than acceptable to most people (I tried ReplayTV once, when my out-of-warrantee Tivo bit the dust, and found the maximum quality setting of its MPEG encoder to be terrible--ran back to the store to exchange it for a new Tivo--but they may have improved that since). If you could hack it out of the ReplayTV as an MPEG file, or spoof it into sending it to a program on a PC pretending to be another ReplayTV, you could do whatever you wanted with it--no further degradataion of the image would occur when copying it.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
Well, Sonic Blue is a miniscule company in comparison to the combined forces arrayed against them (or even one of the individual complainants).
True, but irrelevant to the question of how carefully (or not) the legal issues have been considered. You make it sound like Sonic is run by a bunch of morons who blindly release a product that clearly violates copyright law. I simply can't believe that they would "put the gun to their heads and fire the trigger" without thinking about it a bit.


In any case there is no way to know one way or the other. We'll all just need to wait and see what happens.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
The software's not final? Sonic Blue is advertising this feature on their web site. I think that they'll have a hard time arguing any harm to their business caused by taking this questionable online trading feature out, since nobody has it now and PVRs are selling anyway.
I develop software for a living and I can tell you that it is most likely not final at this stage, particularly any controversial features. I would bet that they have several options that can be selected in the software to turn-on/turn-off selected features.


The specific claim from their website that I assume you are referring to is Video sharing over the Internet. Well, all I can say is that the devil is in the details. The software may only allow material not marked for copy protection and/or may allow limited distribution.


I'm no legal expert but it would seem to me that the defendants (Sonic) do not carry any burden of proof regarding the exclusion of a feature due to market competition. Rather, it will be up to the prosecution (networks) to prove irreparable harm will be done if the product is released as advertised.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SmokeBringer
I develop software for a living and I can tell you that it is most likely not final at this stage, particularly any controversial features. I would bet that they have several options that can be selected in the software to turn-on/turn-off selected features.
I develop software for a living, too, and have for the past twenty-five years. First writing custom research lab automation apps for the biochem department in the university I attended, then custom and turn-key lab and industrial automation apps for a consulting firm, then six years at Digital Equipment Corporation working on disk drive and storage subsystem adapter firmware and OS networking enhancements (in eastern Mass and greater Seattle), followed by work on the networking subsystems embedded in Xerox's current multi-function office devices, then several years of writing distributed network management agents embedded in large-scale networking devices for various companies and now work on user-interface firmware in cellular phone handsets (which is a lot of fun--the first time I've done embedded programming where I can bring prototypes of the product home in my briefcase).


In the work I do currently, the codebase is highly conditionalized to allow turning on and off various features at the behest of the customers who sell our products as accessories to their calling plans. We call the set of macros used for this "feature-guards". I'm sure that Sonic Blue can fairly easily remove the Internet Sharing feature from this product. Heck, they and Tivo download major revisions into their systems overnight through phone modems now. But as I said before, the feature is described in detail on their website, where you can order the product for delivery in time for Christmas. The website doesn't say "we're considering including this set of capabilities"--it says "it will do the following things." Certainly some people are ordering it wholely or in part because of it having this particular feature. This makes removing it not something that they can do without consequence. However, I think that they may have to, anyway--your opinion may differ. In any case, it's not as if they couldn't ship with it turned off and turn it on later, remotely, if they won the court battle, a point in favor of granting the injunction.
Quote:
The specific claim from their website that I assume you are referring to is Video sharing over the Internet.
The only other thing the networks are complaining about is the commercial stripping feature. RCA and Panasonic, I believe, are selling VCRs that can mark a tape recording such that commercials are automatically skipped on playback (though there will be pauses while fast-forwarding), so they might have a hard time arguing against this feature, though I can see their point. Commercial OTA programming is provided to us on the condition that we watch the advertisements; we can skip through them in timeshifted stuff with the fast-forward button, but we have to see the images to know when to stop fast-forwarding, which is often enough to catch our attention.
Quote:
Well, all I can say is that the devil is in the details. The software may only allow material not marked for copy protection and/or may allow limited distribution.
True enough. There's not enough information in that CNN article to determine what it does with copy-protection information. But if it detects CGMS-A and complies with it, the broadcasters could mark all of their broadcasts with "Copy One Generation", which the PVR should record as "Copy No More" and refuse to send copies of it over the net to others. But who's going to pay for the cost of adding this copy protection signal to broadcasts?


It does look as though previous ReplayTVs did pay attention to CGMS-A and Macrovision. I found this in the online manual for Panasonics PV-HS3000 "Showstopper":
Quote:
When Macrovision or CGMS-A (Copy Generation Management System-Analog) copy protected signals are available for TV broadcasting, the show is NOT viewable in LIVE TV mode, nor can it be recorded. To view copy protected material, split the RF signal. The following illustration shows how to split the signal.
But copying is not what bothers the broadcasters--distributing digital copies is. They probably haven't had any reason to use CGMS-A until now. Again, who's going to pay for them adding it?
Quote:
I'm no legal expert but it would seem to me that the defendants (Sonic) do not carry any burden of proof regarding the exclusion of a feature due to market competition. Rather, it will be up to the prosecution (networks) to prove irreparable harm will be done if the product is released as advertised.
I'm not a legal expert either, but I don't think that the complainants have to prove any "irreparable harm" to their businesses, if they can prove that the primary purpose of the feature is to break existing copyright laws against distributing copies of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SmokeBringer
True, but irrelevant to the question of how carefully (or not) the legal issues have been considered. You make it sound like Sonic is run by a bunch of morons who blindly release a product that clearly violates copyright law. I simply can't believe that they would "put the gun to their heads and fire the trigger" without thinking about it a bit.


In any case there is no way to know one way or the other. We'll all just need to wait and see what happens.
I don't think that they're morons, but I do think that the combined legal departments at CBS, NBC and ABC have far more experience with copyright law than whoever they have working for them. If they didn't think that they had good legal standing to shut them down, I don't think they'd be taking them to court. We'll see who's right.


I think that it's quite possible that Sonic Blue is well aware that they're on shakey legal ground with this thing. It's a minor gamble that they're taking--one interesting feature in their box among many, that they may have to withdraw, which is easy enough to do. They may consider it worth a roll of the dice. Since it hasn't even shipped yet, they aren't facing any possible punitive charges--just potential withdrawn orders or returned units.


But they're doing a couple of other interesting things with that broadband adapter and I can think of few more services that they could offer using it without breaking any laws, so they risk only the cost of adding the sharing feature (a couple of man-months, at most, if you subtract the cost of engineering in the broadband adapter and support firmware, which is used by other features) and some court costs.


-- Mike Scott
 
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