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« Musical Socialism 2.0 | Main | Manny will lose his job! Go see a movie! »

September 11, 2004


I don't think TiVo and ReplayTV is using Macrovision's copyright protection technology to cripple their DVR units for no reason; I think they are doing it because that is the only way they will have a chance to convince the movie companies to make more movies and broadcasts available to TiVo and ReplayTV units. TiVo and Netflix will be announcing a partnership to deliver movies on demand through TiVo units, and the major obstacles are licensing issues. They need to allay the piracy concerns the movie companies have, and incorporating Macrovision copy protection is a step in that direction.

As far as copynorms go, I think many people still treat their TiVo like a VCR, which has zero copy protection and you can pretty much copy any video you want. So when TiVo and ReplayTV made this announcement, users lashed out at the DVR companies (i.e., Slashdot and TiVo Community members). As much as I hate the movie companies for doing this, and I think they are going about it the wrong way (much the same way the music industry is trying to shut down all P2P networks), but as one Slashdot user put it:

We're not losing any rights at all! It's the right of the studios to release their movies how and when they want by whatever means they want. It's the right of Tivo to, within the confines of the law, put whatever bloody restriction enforcement they want inside their products. The right we have here is to buy or not buy, that's about it.

So from TiVo's perspective, it's a necessary evil. They would be able to sell more TiVo units if there weren't any crippling technology to piss off users. But then the movie companies would not increase their movie and broadcast offerings. So, the end user really isn't losing anything; they are actually get more choices because of the added copy protection. And if this pisses you off, don't buy a TiVo or ReplayTV unit. I have a feeling every DVR unit from other manufacturers would have similar copy protection to get the latest movie and broadcast offerings.

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