Corante

AUTHORS

Donna Wentworth
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile)

Ernest Miller
( Archive | Home )

Elizabeth Rader
( Archive | Home )

Jason Schultz
( Archive | Home )

Wendy Seltzer
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile )

Aaron Swartz
( Archive | Home )

Alan Wexelblat
( Archive | Home )

About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

COPYFIGHTERS
a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Benlog
beSpacific
bIPlog
Blogaritaville
Blogbook IP
BoingBoing
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
CoCo
Commons-blog
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyfutures
Copyright Readings
Copyrighteous
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Detritus
Julian Dibbell
DigitalConsumer
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
DTM:<|
Electrolite
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
GrepLaw
James Grimmelmann
GrokLaw
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
ICANNWatch.org
Illegal-art.org
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
IPTAblog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
LawMeme.org
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
miniLinks
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Napsterization
Nerdlaw
NQB
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Slapnose
Slashdot.org
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Teleread
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
Weblogg-ed
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

LINKABLE + THINKABLE
AKMA
Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
bk
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crawlspace
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Dispositive
Ben Edelman
EEJD
Ernie the Attorney
FedLawyerGuy
Foreword
How Appealing
Industry Standard
IP Democracy
IPnewsblog
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Kuro5hin.org
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
Misbehaving
MIT Tech Review
NewsGrist
OtherMag
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
PHOSITA
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

ORGANIZATIONS
ARL
Berkman @ Harvard
CDT
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
CPSR
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
DigitalConsumer.org
DFC
EFF
EPIC
FIPR
FCC
FEPP
FSF
Global Internet Proj.
ICANN
IETF
ILPF
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
PFF
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office
W3C


In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« Kids: Understand the USPTO's reality distortion field | Main | One IP Right to Rule Them All »

September 15, 2005

The meaning of TiVo's DRM bug

Email This Entry

Posted by Wendy Seltzer

Cory picked up on PVRblog's coverage of what was eventually determined to be a bug: Users found their TiVos unexpectedly expiring recorded shows.

It might well have been a bug in this instance, but bugs like that don't just come from nowhere, with fully formed error messages alerting viewers that "Due to policy set by the copyright holder, 'Keep until I delete' is not permitted." Maybe it wasn't meant to show up here and now, on broadcast TV, but someplace in TiVo's corporate innards, someone decided that unrequested expiration was a feature.

Nothing in copyright law mandates this "feature." To the contrary, once you have a lawful copy of a copyrighted work, the first sale doctrine says you have the choice whether to save, lend, or discard it, while Betamax says timeshifting creates a lawful copy. If not copyright law, then copyright-holder muscle probably sits behind TiVo's design. Copyright holders work with Macrovision to implement extra-copyright controls, then jointly lean on TiVo to respond to them. Together, they restrict user rights beyond copyright.

The bug also illustrates the fallibility of proprietary technologies (particularly those with automatic update). "Update" doesn't always mean "improve" -- an update can take away functions you've come to enjoy, just because someone else objects. This misfeature of any DRM that implements "revocability" gives "planned obsolescence" a whole new meaning.

Like Cory, I've gone the MythTV route instead. With hundreds of people hacking on its open-source code, MythTV updates really are improvements. Its features are truly features, like commercial skip, time-stretch, transcoding and transfer to other media, plus an open-format music server on the side, giving full access to all the rights copyright reserves to the public. Sorry TiVo, you've been out-evolved.

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies


COMMENTS

1. Copyfight Fighter on September 15, 2005 8:29 PM writes...

I smell a rat!

This is the thread from 'TiVo Community' that started it all:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=3233033&&#post3233033

This is a jpeg from that thread that shows the shows 'flagged':
http://polyphony.org/tivo/IMG_2674.jpg

They are both Fox shows (King of the Hill, Malcolm In the Middle), broadcast from Winston-Salem, NC on the 10th (location identified in the same thread, later on the page).

Here's a link to a 'Broadband Reports' post (scroll down, see JP Grimmace) about the same thing happening on a homebrew computer-based PVR, involving Fox shows (The Simpsons, Family Guy) broadcast in Michigan, on the 11th:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/shownews/67465

Certainly, it may be a coincidence, (and is not verified) but the occurrence in 2 geographically separate areas involving the same network's content smells fishy.

Permalink to Comment

2. Chuck on September 15, 2005 8:40 PM writes...

Wendy, you and Cory must live in some magical world where your rights are carved in stone with such perfect clarity that there is no possibility of them being interpreted other than as you see them. But for the rest of us who, like TiVo, operate in the real world, there is no such security. The Betamax ruling was made in a different time with a different court; it was fought by a much richer and more powerful company than TiVo, and the ruling applied to a device that, unlike a DVR, had legitimate uses beyond recording broadcast TV. No one, least of all TiVo, is eager to test that case again.

Maybe you and the other emotional children who are having your little blogspace tantrums over this issue believe it is TiVo's job to fight some endless, financially ruinous, and ultimately quixotic battle with The Man, but I'm sure TiVo's shareholders do not. Replay TV was destroyed. Napster was destroyed. Individuals who steal music are being destroyed. TiVo chooses not to fight the tide. I'm sorry if that disappoints you. But I tell you what: record some copyrighted movies with your MythTV, distribute them widely and flagrantly on the internet, and then maybe you can have the fun of financing a court battle all the way to the Supreme Court. Fight the good fight, Wendy. But do it with something more than silly little entries in your blog.

Permalink to Comment

3. Justin Thyme on September 16, 2005 12:18 AM writes...

Actually it is a little more complicated than fear of lawsuits from the MPAA. CE companies are bound by a set of interlocking agreements that like it or not force them to put in features like this that consumers hate. Many people love the fact that unlike any other DVR from cable or satellite companies, they can save their shows to DVD.

Well, to do that, all DVD player recorders must have a CSS license. But a CSS license requires a macrovision license. When it came time to renew its macrovision license, Tivo was forced to accept the new requirement that all its products had to obey these flags.

Without it's macrovision license, not only it be illegal for them to produce DVD recorder Tivos, but but its TivoToGo features would be in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, MythTv is not yet an option for mainstream users. As for Snapstream and other 3rd party Windows providers- they will have a hard time escaping the requirements of Macrovision since support for it is being written into the operating system. For example, no application will have access to HD content without certified support for macrovision flags as well a number of other DRM certification requirements.

Ultimately, this is not a battle that the studios are going to win, but in the meantime companies that want to offer a real alternative to the cable, satellite and OS companies are simply going to have to bend with the wind or go the way of replayTv.

As a consumer you can participate in the victory of the cablecos or you can think a little more about the realities facing those who want to provide low cost Real alternatives that grandmothers have no trouble using.

Permalink to Comment

4. Justin Thyme on September 16, 2005 12:35 AM writes...

Actually it is a little more complicated than fear of lawsuits from the MPAA. CE companies are bound by a set of interlocking agreements that them to put in features like this. Many people love Tivos because unlike any other DVR from cable or satellite companies, they can save their shows to DVD.

Well, to legally manufacture a a DVD player recorders Tivo was required to have a CSS license. But a CSS license requires a macrovision license. When it came time to renew its macrovision license, Tivo was forced to accept the new requirement that all its products had to obey these flags.

Without it's macrovision license, not only it be illegal for them to produce DVD recorder Tivos, but but its TivoToGo features would be in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, MythTv is not yet an option for mainstream users. As for Snapstream and other 3rd party Windows providers- they will have a hard time escaping the requirements of Macrovision since support for it is being written into the operating system. For example, no application will have access to HD content without certified support for macrovision flags as well a number of other DRM certification requirements.

Ultimately, this is not a battle that the studios are going to win, but in the meantime companies that want to offer a real alternative to the cable, satellite and OS companies are simply going to have to bend with the wind or go the way of replayTv.

As a consumer you can participate in the victory of the cablecos and Microsoft or you can think a little more about the realities facing those companies like Tivo and Snapstream who want to provide low cost alternative DVRs that grandmothers have no trouble using.

How long do you realistically think it will take Myth gets to a place where they can offer something that mainstream users would be able to easily set up and rely on like they rely on other CE appliances?

Permalink to Comment

5. Justin Thyme on September 16, 2005 12:41 AM writes...

Actually it is a little more complicated than have the good points you make about fair use and copyright law.

CE companies are bound by a set of interlocking agreements that them to put in features like this. Many people love Tivos because unlike any other DVR from cable or satellite companies, they can save their shows to DVD.

Well, to legally manufacture a a DVD player recorders Tivo was required to have a CSS license. But a CSS license requires a macrovision license. When it came time to renew its macrovision license, Tivo was forced to accept the new requirement that all its products had to obey these flags.

Without it's macrovision license, not only it be illegal for them to produce DVD recorder Tivos, but but its TivoToGo features would be in jeopardy.

Support for these statements including links to original material may be found in notes I wrote in the Tivo community thread referenced by "copyright fighter".

Unfortunately, MythTv is not yet an option for mainstream users. As for Snapstream and other 3rd party Windows providers- they will have a hard time escaping the requirements of Macrovision since support for it is being written into the operating system. For example, no application will have access to HD content without certified support for macrovision flags as well a number of other DRM certification requirements.

Ultimately, this is not a battle that the studios are going to win, but in the meantime companies that want to offer a real alternative to the cable, satellite and OS companies are simply going to have to bend with the wind or go the way of replayTv.

As a consumer you can participate in the victory of the cablecos and Microsoft or you can think a little more about the realities facing those companies like Tivo and Snapstream who want to provide low cost alternative DVRs that grandmothers have no trouble using.

How long do you realistically think it will take Myth gets to a place where they can offer something that mainstream users would be able to rely on like they rely on other CE appliances?

Permalink to Comment

6. Justin Thyme on September 16, 2005 12:45 AM writes...

Oops.

Permalink to Comment

7. UpChuck on September 17, 2005 2:13 AM writes...

Wow, Chuck.

Where did Wendy say that she was using her MythTV setup to "widely and flagrantly" distribute copyrighted material on the internet???

She said, she wanted "all the rights copyright reserves to the public".

Pull your head out of your backside, Chuck.

There are a lot of us who want fair use, without violating anyone's copyright. Don't be such a sanctimonious prick.

Permalink to Comment

8. CopyrightFAN on September 19, 2005 12:48 AM writes...

I'm quite sure that any of the pvr/dvr mfg'ers would love to be "the iPod of video"... shifting millions of units and racking up profits while the content industry reels under the scourge of digitally enabled piracy.

If Macrovision's technology will prevent the decimation of the movie business that has befallen the music industry, then I'm 100% behind them. Better technology integration with licensees will eliminate these bugs with time.

Without protection from digital enabled piracy, its inevitable that the incentive to invest in expensive entertainment products (movies, music, games) would evaporate. Its already come to pass in music... there are 30 percent *fewer* artists under major label contract today than there were in 1996, resulting in less choice and less diversity to the mainstream consumer, not more. The only rights specifically denoted in the first ratified version of the US Constitution is protection of intellectual property; the amendments known as the Bill of Rights was added years later.

I haven't come across a so-called "fair use advocate" (my term is "copyright hater") who's ever been responsible for exploiting a catalog of creative content to recoup costs or fund, develop and invest in creative works.

Its a pity that the culture of "ripping and trading" music products has been fostered and encouraged by those who wish to achieve disproportionate intermediation in the value chain... building empires on stolen intellectual property.

Permalink to Comment

9. Commons Music on September 19, 2005 3:44 AM writes...

"...there are 30 percent *fewer* artists under major label contract today than there were in 1996, resulting in less choice and less diversity to the mainstream consumer, not more"

Source of that statistic?

Also, assuming it's accurate, I would like to tell you to take a little look at this, which is a fascinating piece on the ills of major labels as written by Courtney Love. Being off a major label doesn't mean bad things. Some of my favorite artists are on indie labels, or no label at all. This doesn't mean I don't like many major label artists, but it also doesn't mean I'm restricted in choice or diversity. Major labels don't create diversity, lots of artists creates diversity.

Permalink to Comment

10. Thomas Jefferson on September 20, 2005 4:12 PM writes...

"The only rights specifically denoted in the first ratified version of the US Constitution is protection of intellectual property; the amendments known as the Bill of Rights was added years later."

Boy, the right to the "protection of intellectual property." That's some text I'd sure like to see cited.

Permalink to Comment

11. YouWillBeAssimilated on July 6, 2007 10:12 PM writes...

This is just the kind of preposterous commercially-driven law-bending that makes companies rich, pirates smarter, and us poor lawful consumers in big trouble.
This whole copyright business is way, WAY out of hand.

Permalink to Comment

POST A COMMENT




Remember Me?



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
Music Business for 21st Century Independent Artists
Net Neutrality? Still Could Be Kept
Hey, Look, E-Books Still Suck
Makers, Fan Art, Making it Pay
IP Analogy to Physical Property (in Architecture)
That Sound You Hear is the Anti-Neutrality Dam Breaking
Having (Mostly) Failed with Authors, Amazon Makes a Pitch for the Readers
And No Kill Switches, Either