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December 12, 2004
In the Future, Everyone Will Have Fair Use for 2-4 Weeks
I missed this piece when it first made the rounds, but Copyfight readers should check it out. It coins an awful new term: "transitional fair use."
When HBO's "Six Feet Under" returns in 2005, it won't just be the end of a long-running hit series. It may also be a turning point for TV viewers who are in the habit of recording shows to watch weeks or even months later.
A middle-level executive at Time Warner has approached several cable companies and broached the idea of restricting the ability of customers who use those company's Digital Video Recorders to record several popular Time Warner TV programs.
The term being used by the executive is "transitional fair use," and the scenario laid out goes roughly along these lines:
Viewers would be able to record an episode with their DVR, but there would be a time limit on how long it would be available for viewing. The executive was pushing for an expiration date that coincided with the premiere of the next episode. The consensus of the cable executives was that it needed to be between 2-4 weeks.
You might argue that copyright law, not cable company executives, is what grants or denies fair use. HBO would disagree
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