aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Matt Haughey at PVRBlog quotes a note from a reader:
I recently got a sample of Tivo DRM, accidentally I suspect. Recently a Simpson’s rerun recorded with a red-flag next to it (an icon I’ve never seen before). When I selected the episode, I got a message to the effect that “the copyright holder prohibited saving the episode past date mm/dd”. I also noted that this episode could not be copied using Tivo Togo (but ironically it could be “saved to tape” - I guess that is the analog hole).
I have two comments for Tivo, and one for any publisher who is foolish enough to activate this flag.
Tivo 1: Just because someone asks for a feature, there is no reason to give it to them.
Tivo 2: Better treat your subscribers well, or you won’t have a business. Even your lifetime subscriptions won’t protect you when I (and many others) decide to switch over to an HDTV DVR.
To the Publisher: Go ahead and prevent me from saving your show past a certain date, I dare you. I can’t think of a single show that I would still watch! I can’t think of a quicker way for you to loose my viewership!
Given that this was an episode from the early 90’s, I suspect the copy protection flag got turned on by accident. None of my likely reactions will be accidental though…
Matt’s tracked it all down, he’s even got screenshots.
This sucks in the following ways (and many more I’m sure others can think of):
1. It treats all TiVo customers like they are criminals with big scary warnings about what you can and can’t do. The TiVo interface normally is a friendly thing, not something throwing red flags everywhere. Surfacing the red flag to the top, then blaming everything on the copyright holder, and then having the TiVo website blame macrovision and even go so far as to say ”Please do not contact TiVo Customer Support regarding copy protection related issues” is a total cop-out.
2. It removes control from your TiVo. For the last 7 years, you’ve been able to record and playback TiVo’d shows and save them as long as you wanted or had space. Now, outsiders are telling your TiVo when to delete themselves whether you like it or not. In some cases we’re talking about programs you could have transfered last week with the 7.1 OS that are now being blocked. If you look closely at the ToDo list screenshot, you can see the previous night’s King of The Hill doesn’t have protection.
3. Previous mentions of this Macrovision “feature” discussed it only in terms of premium and pay-per-view content—in other words, stuff readily available on DVD that movie studios might prefer you went out and bought or rented instead of just watched on HBO. Now I could understand that sort of restriction since a PPV movie is expected to be watched once and not saved or burned to DVD, but these examples are happening on regular TV shows, not premium movies.
update: I just wanted to reiterate that yes, this was the result of a mistake on the part of the station providing syndicated shows. Still, my issue is with the TiVo software itself, for allowing red flags on content that was neither PPV or VOD. TiVo’s head of legal assured Wired Magazine last fall that it would only apply to Pay Per View and Video on Demand, and yet, it appears it can happen to any show if the station adds the flag. This hole should be fixed so that mistakes in the future on the part of networks doesn’t end up blocking normal TiVo activities.
Emphasis is Matt’s, with whom I completely agree.
Note from John
Yes, that John:
HE TAKES RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well sort of:
“Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong."”
Out of action?
[T]he state dept of health has already sent two letters (the first of which the dept did not receive a return receipt for) to John Smid indicating their displeasure with LIA/R operating unlicensed mental health facilities in the Memphis area. The latest letter, dated 8Sep05, gives Smid, et al 7 days to shut down their facilities or apply for a license. If the facilities are still operating when re-evaluated this Thursday, a cease & desist order will be issued.
Right on Elijah!
Time was when Hollywood celebrities feared and fought accusations that they were gay.
The Lord of the Rings star is often caught out by Web sites with far from subtle names, like http://www.veryverygay.com, when he’s surfing the Internet, but he’s rarely offended.
And, unlike many stars, he isn’t planning any legal action to stop the pranksters--he simply marvels at their creativity.
He says, “There’s one that’s called elijahwoodisveryverygay (sic), which is actually a personal favorite of mine, it’s absolutely hilarious.
“It’s this kind of joke Web site that maintains that they have proof that I am very very gay in various photographs--photographic evidence (of me) holding hands with a male.”
Even fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy want the stars of the film to be homosexual. Wood explains, “(They) want to create moments that they didn’t get to see in the film, of these characters in sexual congress.
“I was actually at a film festival once… and this fan came up with a gift… I open the gift in front of all these people that I’m talking to and it happens to be a photo from one of these Web sites of me and Dominic Monaghan making sweet love. If you didn’t know any better, it kinda looks real.
“These people have a lot of time on their hands and my hat’s off (to them) because it’s very good work.”
Ian Ayres and Jennifer Brown, authors of Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights, would be proud. Me too.
Via Gay Orbit.