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SonicBlue ordered by a federal magistrate to track ReplayTV users' viewing choices
May 3, 2002 6:24 AM   Subscribe

SonicBlue ordered by a federal magistrate to track ReplayTV users' viewing choices and that seems to sux to me.
posted by elpapacito (12 comments total)

 
I don't know much about US Juridical system so please some lawgeek tell me if I'm right or wrong:

a) is that decision binding for other judges who may have to rule on a similar subject ?

b) if so, is it binding in the whole USA or just in the state or region in which the magistrate operates ?

That seems to sux because , apparently, the judge ordered them to act like investigators, effectively by-passing the law enforcement agents who are supposed , I guess, to investigate on such matters. Who guarantees the data collected from SonicBlue from tampering or accidental wrong recording ?

And as far as I know knowing who clicked what and at what time is just an evidence that somebody did something, not that the video was effectively and succesfully recorded or, most important thing, sold or exchanged with somebody else.
posted by elpapacito at 6:32 AM on May 3, 2002


Isn't the job of the goverment to hassle citizens to please corporations?

(Pukes)

Disney talks about copyright? What about Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh? When do they become public domain? Never? Is never good?

(Pukes again)
posted by magullo at 6:33 AM on May 3, 2002


Well, apparently the subtext of the court order is that SonicBlue should just file for bankruptcy since their impending sale of hardware to me has now tanked. All I really want is reliable time shifting of content. I don't take premium channels at all so HBO can get stuffed since I don't even WANT the Soprano's or Six Feet Under or whatever shock-value-controvertial garbage they might be spewing out today. OTOH, I should have the right to use technology to time shift programming for my viewing pleasure without it being tracked, particularly something that comes via broadcast TV. Nielsons are how these have always been measured before so let them continue to decide ratings and let me view in anonymity.
posted by shagoth at 7:07 AM on May 3, 2002


I'd love it if commercial-skipping technology became commonplace. It would put TV commercials out of business and leave only "pay-for-service" TV. The show quality would be higher and geared toward an older and/or more intelligent (higher income earning) audience. Of course, I'm planning to throw out my TV soon anyway so I guess I don't really care.
posted by plaino at 7:31 AM on May 3, 2002


magullo: "Isn't the job of the goverment to hassle citizens to please corporations?"

That's not what this case is about. It's a civil suit by corporations against corporations, and like all civil suits, it is subject to the rules of discovery. The government is not "hassling," it's merely ruling on the discoverability of certain information that is supposedly relevant to the civil case (of which the government is not a party). I'm not saying the court's ruling is correct or incorrect as a discovery issue -- I'm just saying don't take this issue out of context or blow it out of proportion.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:13 AM on May 3, 2002


I find it interesting that SonicBlue denies the ability to collect information on individual viewer's habits. Yet, every user can program their unit via the web (a great feature-but the data is sure on their webserver). This feature even shows me what my family is recording when I am out of town.

I also wonder if it is a coincidence that the myreplaytv service is down this morning - "internal server error".
posted by Geo at 9:02 AM on May 3, 2002


It doesn't bug me. I hate ReplayTV. I love TiVo.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

(or slightly more obscure:) I am Green. He is Purple. We fight.
posted by kfury at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2002


Note this decree was not a ruling on the case but on the discovery process, the case could have far reaching effects for Tivo as well. It all goes back to this thread From earlier in the week.

It looks like the media industry is seriously trying to make it illegal to skip commercials in shows via PVR technology.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:50 AM on May 3, 2002


Are you Green Leader?

I like Tivo, too. And, I know they monitor keystrokes, because they were able to tell what the most re-watched commercial of the SuperBowl(tm) was. So? I have no problems with them seeing what I watch, because my vote might help eliminate network programming in our lifetime. *har*
posted by dwivian at 10:51 AM on May 3, 2002


Has anyone else noticed that Disney, that family-loving all-American Corporation is always at the forefront of these lawsuits? Starting in at least 1976 when they filed a lawsuit against Sony to prohibit the manufacture and marketing of VCRs! Think about that, if those selfish, protectionist bastards had their way we wouldn't even have VCRs, much less TIVO or Replay TV. It shows not only greed but also lack of vision if you consider the Billions of Dollars they have made from sales of Videos of 50-60-70 year old movies and a lot of newer, really crappy stuff they produce these days."The company's video shipments are now about equally split between DVD and VHS; By the end of the year, Disney expects to have sold between 45 million and 50 million DVDs in the U.S". Today, video sales account for 60 percent or so of some studios' total income. Disney and their cronies are greedy and in the vein of 'biting the hand that feeds you' is constantly trying to deprive the people of the few simple pleasures in life.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2002


a) is that decision binding for other judges who may have to rule on a similar subject ?

It's not a ruling -- it's an order, as noted, in the discovery process of the lawsuit. Judges (and litigants) have great latitude here to gather appropriate information via subpoena or whatever.

b) if so, is it binding in the whole USA or just in the state or region in which the magistrate operates ?

Applies to the lawsuit participants, wherever in the they may be, as long as they are under the court's jurisdiction.

If it were a ruling, it would not necessarily be binding on other judges, until appealed inside that district; and another judge in another federal district could rule differently. This happens frequently, actually, and is a prime reason that the Supreme Court chooses cases.

That seems to sux because , apparently, the judge ordered them to act like investigators

It's discovery -- there's almost nothing they CAN'T do. Business records of any type are practically always fair game, confidentiality be damned. Sometimes this is used as a harassment tactic. Here, the customers are the losers.

effectively by-passing the law enforcement agents who are supposed , I guess, to investigate on such matters

Not in civil matters. The cops can only enforce subpoenas, but that's usually unnecessary. No individual is actually being investigated, for what that's worth.

Who guarantees the data collected from SonicBlue from tampering or accidental wrong recording ?

A good question. It's very hard, sometimes, to keep legal documents sealed

And as far as I know knowing who clicked what and at what time is just an evidence that somebody did something, not that the video was effectively and succesfully recorded or, most important thing, sold or exchanged with somebody else.

The point here is not individual actions, but how the devices are used -- and they've been ordered to write the software appropriately. Maybe it won't answer the questions as you put them, but they're being asked to provide as much data as the devices can.
posted by dhartung at 5:07 PM on May 3, 2002


What a load of crap. Again we're seeing copyright used as a muscle to do just about anything the studios want. The real victims here aren't the imaginary losses the studios keep going on about but real customers who thought they had privacy now have no way to opt-out of this. I'm sure the studios are going to love all this juicy data on how well their shows are doing for free.

I can't see how skipping commercials can be considered illegal in any way. There's no contract between the viewers and the tv/cable/sat companies. In fact, skipping commercial technology has been with us for years. There are VCRs that look for the fade to black before and after commercials come on and skip it. Also, some VCRs have 'quick skip' buttons that FF 30 seconds everytime you press them.

I can see the problems the studios have with sending pay-for channels if it violates fair-use, but then again we're back at the VCR problem of the 80s. The studio visionaries knew the the VCR would bankrupt them so they did everything they could to make it illegal. Now they're benefiting from a world-wide video rental and sales market. Even if everyone is copying and sending off HBO programs doesn't mean that the technology should be controled. Just like the VCR lawsuits I expect the studios to come out with egg on their face with their assumptions that these devices can only be used illegally.
posted by skallas at 9:49 PM on May 3, 2002


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