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The Challenges and Rewards of 'Place-Shifting' 125

Posted by Zonk
from the nobody-home dept.
Grooves writes "Ars Technica has an insightful look at the challenges facing place-shifting. The article talks about new European legislation that could require broadcast licensing for all place-shifting devices, and they review some of the fair use problems in the US and how they could hurt innovation." From the article: "A few cables here, a few networking adjustments there, and you can use a product like the Slingbox or the software-based Orb to watch your TV (or TiVo, or DVD player) from just about anywhere you can get a network connection, be it your office, your hotel room, or the other side of the planet. Yet what makes place-shifting devices so powerful also makes them appear very dangerous to established entertainment and media companies."
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The Challenges and Rewards of 'Place-Shifting'

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  • Has anyone seen a law review article on this?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Only one law review article mentions SlingBox and it's:

      2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 6
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:09PM (#15794115)
    "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

    If I pay royalties, can I see it here?

  • I hope... (Score:5, Funny)

    by silicon-pyro (217988) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:10PM (#15794121)
    ...place shifting survives the storm.

    In my opinion, my slingbox is the easiest way to watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica because my Mom has the only cable connection in the house, and its up there on the main floor.

    Never mind that. I'm moving out soon. I just hope my sweet new invention isn't outlawed. A self-loading and self-ejecting VCR that prints mailing labels then calls a courier to get all new episodes to me anywhere in the world. Now just where am I going to find a huge cache of blank betamax tapes.
    • There's plenty of blank betamax tapes out there
      Popcorn, peanuts, betamax tapes [tapeonline.com]
    • Build your own DVR using an almost-foolproof Knoppix-based installation of MythTV, called KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv]. With the assist from Knoppix, it just works. And with MythTV, you can schedule recordings over the Web, as well as stream recorded content over the Web or across your LAN.

      I started with a 1.33GHz Athlon, and:

      • bought a $110 Hauppauge PVR-350 card from Amazon,
      • threw in 512Mb ram, and an 80Gb hdd I had laying around,
      • downloaded and burnt the open-source software to CD,
      • set up a free schedule-downloading accou
    • Never mind that. I'm moving out soon. I just hope my sweet new invention isn't outlawed. A self-loading and self-ejecting VCR that prints mailing labels then calls a courier to get all new episodes to me anywhere in the world.

      You know what they say about your Mom's basement: You can't take it with you.

  • Solution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Simple solution.

    Stop watching television. It works fine for me. I have no stake, whatsoever, in the outcome of issues like this. If you don't like the way something is, stop supporting it, directly or indirectly. (ala Walmart, McDonalds, Cable companies that still pipe advertising after you already pay, etc.)

    Why care?
    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:19PM (#15794219)
      Because some people enjoy watching TV. What if they started regulating and taxing self-righteousness? You'd be up in arms over that one, I bet.
      • Re:Solution (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What if they started regulating and taxing self-righteousness?

        With the amount of it here at slashdot, taxing self-righteousness would pay off the national debt in months.

    • When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy. When they came for the jews,I did not speak, because I wasn't a Jew. When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak.

      Sure, I don't watch TV either -- I watch DVDs of TV shows I want to see. None the less, letting the media companies rape and pillage the TV watching public sets a bad precedent for preserving the other fair use provisions that you mig

      • When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy. When they came for the jews,I did not speak, because I wasn't a Jew. When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak.
        Dude, you're comparing technology licensing issues to genocide?
    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:31PM (#15794343)
      Why care?

      Do you, perhaps, live in the same legal climate as your TV watching neighors?

      KFG
    • Re:Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      Cable companies that still pipe advertising after you already pay, etc.)

      Yeah, sure. Most revenue for any given channel comes from advertising, they barely get anything from your cable fee. I think the portion they get from the cableco only pays for the uplink costs.
    • Re:Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      RMS covered this one a LONG time ago.

      Once they successfully enforce such regimes for Films and Music, they will move on to EVERYTHING else.

      They've already got numbnut consumers buying into the idea that DVD's and CD's all come with an implied licence. They can easily extend that to books.

    • Simple solution.

      Stop watching television. It works fine for me.


      Heh. What a stupid idea. It's like saying that if you don't like the way your government works or the choice of candidates then stop voting. RIDICULOUS. That is letting the inmates run the asylum.

      I rarely watch TV myself...I HAVE a TV but I tend to watch either rented DVDs or the news channels. As such I have little stake in the debate either. Thing is, there is a larger issue at stake here. By taking your apathetic stance you are giving
    • "I have no stake, whatsoever"

      Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. The legal issues surrounding these things do not merely affect the specific thing you can stop supporting; their prevalence in society means they exact a heavy toll on the economy and development as a whole. The loss of economic efficiency might not be immediately apparent, but compare heavily protected versus competetive economies over a longer time; the resource loss permeats the economy, eventually affecting every sector, including s
  • Challenges indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:13PM (#15794147)
    From TFA:
    "When companies who don't exactly charge "minor fees" for high-speed mobile bandwidth start locking out high-bandwidth applications just so they can sell their own limited video entertainment options, something is seriously wrong."

    Amen to that. These same clowns want a tiered Internet, too. Is it any wonder?

    Video online is already proving to be the next big thing (think about the sitcom that was reborn via YouTube). I shudder at what idiocy the MPAA has in mind for the future.
  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:13PM (#15794153)
    I love how their obvious solution is to buy monopoly protection through legislation, instead of altering their business models to adapt to changing markets.
    • by the darn (624240) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:21PM (#15794230) Homepage
      It's a business decision. Which do you suppose is cheaper and easier: changing the minds of those used to thinking what they're paid to think (that's legislators, for the inference-impaired) or changing the way a whole company is run?
      • by Svartalf (2997)
        In reality, it might be cheaper, depending on the the changes in question.

        In the case of online distribution, etc. it ends up being cheaper for them to go with the flow than all this stupid fighting.
        It was the same way with cassette.
        It was the same way with VHS.

        Why is THIS any different- it was cheaper for them to capitulate and go with the new tech that torched off
        old business models (because those two items above changed everything for the players just like the stuff
        is doing now...). Of course, they foug
    • Re:Old Media is dead (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CornfedPig (181199)
      Unfortunately, legislating anti-competitive moats is something incumbents often do because they have the resources and political clout to do so (something small companies rarely have) and because it is, once large-company ossification sets in, easier than innovating. It is a rare company that will continue to innovate, even at the expense of its own current business, rather than deploying lawyers and lobbyists to string up razor wire around their market positions. Of course, Maginot Lines are no more succ
    • I love how their obvious solution is to buy monopoly protection through legislation, instead of altering their business models to adapt to changing markets.

      I couldn't have said it better myself. Consumers can be pretty dense about the effects of some of the idiotic wet-kisses-to-big-industry laws that get pushed through various nations' legislatures. Eventually the monopolies go away as consumers get mad enough to actually attract the attention of their elected officials.
    • How the fuck do you alter your business model to compete against free-loaders? Could you please explain that to me? Cable companies are already service companies who pay for the rights to broadcast (distribute) intellectual property so they can't shift from a product to a service (like software companies are slowly, and sadly, starting to do). How are they supposed to compete against one person taking the content and passing it onto others for free? If you can't provide a reasonable business model shut
      • All a cable company does is pass content along. If the customers can pass along the content for free, why does the customer need the cable company again? If cable companies add no value, it's time for them to die.

        Personally, I feel that they don't in fact add any value, which is why I don't subscribe to cable. Netflix sends me all the movies and TV I have time to watch, and I can time-shift and place-shift the content without penalty.
        • They add value, you fucking moron, by paying the production companies. Television shows are NOT free to make and someone has to pay for the production and developmetn of these shows. Free-loading from someone already paying for the distribution rights which cover the cost of making the shows is not a "business model", period, end of story. Cable companies have to make up for their costs as well. Many people willfully overlook the right of distribution in this "war against copyright" and that's why the m
          • Re:Old Media is dead (Score:2, Informative)

            by Comen (321331)
            I don't know where you get "Free-loading" from, maybe you are just not informed.
            A Slingbox captures what my cable box is watching at home, from my TV outputs of my cable box.
            My digital cable box is encrypted to the box and the signal coming out of it is what I pay for.
            I stream that signal across the Internet to work or vacation etc... and watch what that box has on it. If the Slingbox changes the channel, then the home TV on the box changes the channel.
            I have friends that have a sling box that are thinking
          • Well, then what if we cut them out as middlemen. People could pay production companies directly (e.g. you'd have an HBO bill, and a Showtime bill, etc., rather than a single cable bill), and cable companies would simply sell bandwidth.

            Of course, do bear in mind that one entirely reasonable and acceptable answer is to allow people to freeload, and to have fewer shows get created. Copyright is meant to serve the overall public interest, and both freeloading and having more shows are equally in the public inte
          • Transfering funds from the viewer to the producer is not adding value. It's the canonical middleman. The cable company does nothing to make the programs better - and often they do a substantial amount to make them worse, by compressing digital content, adding commercials, etc.
      • A) Die.
        B) Start selling high speed internet. (100Mbit+)
        C) Start their own vertion of Netflix.
        D) Follow IBM and get into the consulting Biz.
        E) Follow Sony and get into content creation.

        Cable is in the same situation as radio companies they are a distribution company with outdated teck. They can adapt or die.
  • by LaNMaN2000 (173615) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:17PM (#15794190) Homepage
    The cable and satellite companies will almost certainly throw a fit about products like the Slingbox. Now, they are able to ensure not only that each house can its own paid-for cable connection, but also levy per-TV fees for cable/satellite box rentals. The slingbox and its ilk attach to the cable box outputs so you could use a single cable box to broadcast video to all computers in your house. Furthermore, if you disable your router's firewall and use port forwarding, you (and your friends) could get cable stations outside your home. Unlike the PVRs, which only pissed off networks that were losing ad revenue, the space-shifting devices will anger all providers of video delivery services, from Comcast to Verizon to DishTV. The service will simply have too many enemies to exist without regulation in the long term.
  • by AugustZephyr (989775) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:21PM (#15794229)
    This problem has been around for years and is now just taking higher profile forms. Since cable TV has been around all you need is a splitter and a friendly neighbor willing to split the bill with you to get cheaper service. Now that the technology is available to do essentially the same thing over network connections it has grabbed the attention of all the copyright organizations that have been fighting file sharing issues for years.
    It seems to me that the concern here should be with the potential for people to store the data streams that are being broadcast (like a tivo located on your LAN) rather than the "place-shifting". Seriously, what is the difference between me watching a show in my bedroom v. living room and between my house and my laptop when working from a hotel with a broadband connection. If I am paying for the service I should be able to enjoy it where it is convenient and comfortable for me to do so.
    • by uab21 (951482) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:38PM (#15794405)
      Since cable TV has been around all you need is a splitter and a friendly neighbor willing to split the bill with you to get cheaper service

      Of course, that has also been illegal since cable TV has been around (one of the reasons that there are limited anti-tamper devices on cable pedestals). The cable co. provides service to an address, and displaying that signal at an additional address was stealing cable (which is what they are concerned about here). They also wanted you to pay for each TV, which mostly went away as TVs became 'cable-ready', but now that they have migrated most of their base to digital cable, you need a box for every TV again, and they can bump up the revenue stream (which is why you'll never see them really thrilled about CableCard).

      We can talk until we're blue in the face about should be this or that, but until the political and legal clout of the content /distribution industry is broken, we are going to be stuck with what is.

      • [but now that they have migrated most of their base to digital cable, you need a box for every TV again, and they can bump up the revenue stream]

        See, the thing is, I only get cable TV becuase I want cable internet and they wont sell me a net connection unless I pay for basic cable. (The claimed reason is that they could not stop me watching the cable so I have to pay. At least that is what I hear.)

        If they go all digital, there goes my need to buy TV to get internet and my bill should be dropping. And..... I
        • They can filter them now, I had TWRR and recieved the lowest tier of channels "free" on a cable ready TV (they didnt require TV service). I signed up for a free trial of digital cable w/HD when they first started pushing it. I cancelled it thinking I could just go back to the limited "free" lineup because the HD offerings sucked. After they disconnected the digital cable my free basic channels were gone and I noticed a new set of splitter/filers on the line after they left.
  • by drDugan (219551) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:25PM (#15794272) Homepage
    thank god we have a bunch of different governments still that can't agree how to keep tabs everything

    the idea that when *I* chose to privately send information to myself in a different place requires the PERMISSION of the state is completely absurd, to me. This is not what the state should be doing at all. I don't harm anyone, I pay for the service myself, and it's no one else's business what I do with information I already have (at least in my own idealistic view of the world). It seems clear actions like licensing these activities is a transparent attempt to prevent new methods of information exchange to maintain profits with outdated models.

    the battle over information [access/ownership/control] will continue to get worse and worse and undermine "traditional" models of business and governments - and all of society. thinking about these issues far enough brings directly into focus questions of what 'property' and 'ownership' really mean and if humans are going to maintain the current conventions of property for very long. but that is a much longer discussion - but I'll seed with this...

    we're already in a world where information is much more valuable than physical goods. the really amazing thing about information is that when we share it, we don't lose it - if fact the only way to maintain information over really long periods of time (eons) is to KEEP using it. So if all the most valuable things in the world can be copied and distributed nearly free, why do we need to own things? The answers are completely incompatible with capitalism and the current health level of most people -- but it's where we will eventually come to realize long-term stability and peace in the human race.

    • we're already in a world where information is much more valuable than physical goods. the really amazing thing about information is that when we share it, we don't lose it - if fact the only way to maintain information over really long periods of time (eons) is to KEEP using it. So if all the most valuable things in the world can be copied and distributed nearly free, why do we need to own things? The answers are completely incompatible with capitalism and the current health level of most people -- but it's
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Its simple when the problem is just you sending *you* your own stuff... but in this case, you could be sending out a signal for *others* using the same equipment, which cuts profits and gets peoples panties in a bundle. And if the security on your network is lax like most of the wireless routers in the US, *you* could be giving *me* free TV and not even know it.

      That is all Big Brother is worried about... that and screwing the common citizen out of a few more bucks, but that's another rant altogether.
      • you imply that losing profits is a resulting problem that must be adressed.

        this mentality is somthing that must be addressed loudly and clearly - as it drives significant stupidity in legislation and mob thinking.

        repeat ten times: "it is not the job of the state to maintain profits for any company or industry"
        repeat ten times: "the state exists to protect our welfare and ALLOW lawful commerce"

        the market will decide which companies fail. when the state steps in and trys to jig with the market, corruption an
        • It is, however, the role of government to enforce that nation's laws. In the U.S. and most countries who are members of the Berne Convention, people do not have the right to distribute intellectual property without consent of the copyright holder. Your straw man about governments securing profits for corporations purposefully overlooks what government is really doing. You incorrectly frame the argument so people will be less likely to argue against it even though you are clearly wrong. The state is mere
          • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@hotmai l . c om> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:38PM (#15794868) Homepage Journal
            Stubear

            You are overlooking what is going on. In fact, copyright law ALLOWS me to make a copy, if making that copy is necessary to the process of making use of the information.

            Consider if that is not the case in a digital world. A copy of the information is made when reading from a CD or DVD, that, in turn has to be converted to be display. An Analog signal is not present on the CD or DVD.

            If there was no dispensation to copy the material to make use of it, copyright would be violated by simply playing the CD or DVD.

            That is a "ludicrous" result (and yet some people have been prosecuted for making such an illicit copy -- of licensed material. There is precedent here.)

            So, you are allowed to copy, if that copying is in the ordinary use of the material. I will now attest that my TV tuner is a digitizer attached to a computer; and further that my normal use of cable tv is to record the shows temporarily, and then to play them back on a playback device when I choose to.

            Again, this was upheld, and precedent is set. This would be "distributing to myself". The fact that this can also be used to "distribute to others" has no bearing on the argument.

            Of course, the cable provider could attempt to "license" material -- but, remember, boys and girls, the backhoe solution!

            YMMV
            Ratboy.
            • In fact, copyright law ALLOWS me to make a copy, if making that copy is necessary to the process of making use of the information.

              No it doesn't, except in very limited circumstances, which almost never apply.

              If there was no dispensation to copy the material to make use of it, copyright would be violated by simply playing the CD or DVD.

              Correct. And the dispensation is not in the law. It may be in an implied license, but of course, depending on circumstances, it might not be.

              This would be "distributing to mys
              • Unfortunately, I am not that up on US law (being Canadian). In Canada, C-42 allows that explicitly.

                Sorry for the misunderstanding -- its been a few years since I've looked at US Copyright.

                Ratboy.
            • If there was no dispensation to copy the material to make use of it, copyright would be violated by simply playing the CD or DVD.

              That is a "ludicrous" result (and yet some people have been prosecuted for making such an illicit copy -- of licensed material. There is precedent here.)

              Rulings mean a lot more than prosecutions. Perhaps you should refer to, for example, this [hmcourts-service.gov.uk], where part of the reason mod chips are ruled illegal in the UK is because to play imported games, an unauthorised and illegal copy of some

          • Well, I'm not sure murder is the best analogy, and in fact I believe using it is the definition of the "straw man" term you were throwing around in the first half of your rant, but nonetheless: Laws are about the balance of interests; mainly society's interests vs. the individual's. In considering society's interest, one must also factor in the expense and feasibility of enforcement versus the benefit of lowering the undesired behavior, including expected effectiveness and the cost of having otherwise pro
          • Of course, there's nothing sacrosanct -- or even tolerable -- about the Berne Convention. Getting the US out of it, and other international copyright treaties, is on my agenda.

            In any event, your argument is wrong. It is not the government's job to enforce the law, so much as it is the government's job to create and enforce laws for the benefit of the people. If the people are better served by different laws, then it is the government's duty to change the laws accordingly, not to enforce the bad laws.
            • But what people? Aren't artists people served by the same government? Or are they second class citizens, slaves to the whims of the online masses simply because you have decided they make too much money and you don't make enough? Why are they not equally protected?
              • by drDugan (219551) *
                Are you about to start a debate on the rationality of the current copyright laws? I'd love to hear that!

                Do you know what they are or how we got them? Ever hear of Disney?
              • Aren't artists people served by the same government?

                They absolutely are, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The government owes a duty to artists just the same as it does anyone else. I would never tolerate discriminating against artists.

                Why are they not equally protected?

                You don't understand. Equal protection means that artists would have the same rights as non-artists. Since copyright is a special monopoly -- a privilege, not a right -- then equal treatment would mean not giving artists special treatm
          • No. I don't see the primary "role" of governemnt to enforce laws. Law enforcement is an effect. The are to enforce laws only to the extent they fulfil the "protect us" and the "let us have peaceable interactions" roles.

            People use "clearly" to assert statements that are anything but clear. Mostly, your post doesn't make much sense to me.

            "Merely clarifyiing existing laws" is laughable. Copyright laws are completely absurd now. This is why the market is finding other solutions.

            "What the government is rea
    • we're already in a world where information is much more valuable than physical goods.

      Until you run out of food.

      KFG
  • No way to stop it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimbogun (869443) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:27PM (#15794299)
    They can legislate all they want, but enforcing is a different issue. Just as there is no evil bit to stop terrorists, there is no bit that can be easily detected to see if someone is broadcasting media. True something could be created to detect if mpg files or other standard video files are being played, but that takes a lot of work and can be easily encrypted.

    The devices they legislate could easily be identified if it comes as a box (Slingbox). The software versions will be impossible to legislate without the software creators cooperation, and without it they will have to turn to computer hardware vendors. They will need to legislate computers with capture devices and a network interface. This could be simplified by legistaling all capture devices, like how HD tv capture cards have to have the broadcast bit. The capture cards would have to encrypt it to something only a licensed software product could read (and of course the encryption would eventually be broken). This encrypting could be worked around with a video/audio capture program because you have to play it somewhere for a capture device to be useful, but this would be a huge deterrent.

    My two cents: Accept the reality that it is. Crack down on pirates (unlicensed distributers of copyrighted materials), but let people who just want to watch something they've legally recorded anywhere they want.
    • Your argument is naive.

      Consider the analogous case of DVD pirating. Sure, it is not possible to prevent all DVD pirating but there is a big different to the level of DVD piracy that occurs in the U.S. compared with what happens in the 3rd world (e.g. Russian, China).

      The point of legislating slingbox out of existence is that many fewer people will be doing space shifting than would if the slingbox appliance was available to the purchasing public at large.

      If outlawing activity X reduces the occurence of acti
      • Re:naive argument. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by plasmacutter (901737) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:13PM (#15794707)
        No.. they dont work, prohibition didnt work, drug laws (enacted by nixon because everyone protesting him used them), and now filesharing laws dont work, but selective enforcement of laws against X provide the state with options for legitimizing campaigns of terror against dissidents--- i mean "criminals".

      • Re:naive argument. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jimbogun (869443)
        Considering the analogous case of DVDs, true you bring up a brilliant point that legislation can reduce the occurence of something by outlawing it, but I was merely stating that you can't eliminate it. BTW, I think you'd be amazed at how many people do pirate movies in the U.S., or at least the movie industry thinks it's a possible huge problem, if it isn't currently. Why else would I see a huge add before every movie that states that pirating hurts movies?

        They tried to make reading DVDs impossible without
    • by FirstTimeCaller (521493) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:45PM (#15794486)

      I'm from the government and I'd like to hear more about this evil bit of which you speak.

      • I'm from the government and I'd like to hear more about this evil bit of which you speak.
        RFC3514 http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc3514.html [faqs.org]
      • How do you weed out the good from the bad?

        Wouldn't it be nice if they just came out and said it? Wouldn't it be nice if criminals wore signs that said they were criminals before they even did anything wrong, but they intended to commit a crime? If terrorists coordinated there attacks in emails with an evil bit turned on so that we knew we should monitor them. Yeah, it would be nice, but is it possible? No.

        You cannot force an evil person to reveal their intentions without coercion and if you try to coerce, w
      • I'm from the government and I'd like to hear more about this evil bit of which you speak.

        I just sent you one, with an Internet attached. Wait five days, then go sit by your tube.

        Bemopolis
  • by ChoppedBroccoli (988942) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:33PM (#15794362)
    Seriously, with a fast LAN or WAN, I can remote desktop to my main computer and watch TV channels using its onboard TV tuner (it works decently with a reasonably sized window, i.e. not TOO big, on my LAN). This is a slippery slope, do they want to legislate remote desktop or VNC as well as 'place-shifters'?
  • Problem Solved (Score:4, Informative)

    by rickett81 (987309) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:36PM (#15794386) Homepage
    Make the slingbox only allow 1 connection at a time. Then, only one person can view the content at a time. You would have to assume that the one person is the owner.

    Under fair use, you cannot tell me that I can not view something that I have paid for. In the same way it is not illegal to back up your CDs and store them on your computer in MP3 format. (Even if sony tries to make it difficult) The problem is the sharing.

    Only one connection allowed solves this problem.

  • It is funny how corporations which are in bed with state prance about singing free trade, hang out at the WTO, so long as it is free trade for their supplies and inputs.

    When it comes down to consumers getting rid of articficial territories, eg region coding dvd - these were only done so they could price discriminate, place shifting etc they run back from free trade into the arms of the state for regulations.

    You will never get consistency when the state is concerned.
  • Anyone else read that as "Place Sniffing"? I need a vacation.
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:07PM (#15794667)

    Just like I can invite my neighbor upstairs to mosey on down and watch my cable TV, I can also invite him to SSH in and stream whatever I can capture live with my devices. There's no way to prevent that unless you allow the government to come in and regulate what I can and cannot do on my own LAN in my own home. I can thwart this easily with encryption. The only thing that will stop me from sharing my data is if I cannot buy hardware that will let me do what I want. At that point, I quit buying altogether. The media and distribution cartels would love to control the hardware, but guess what? If you make it so I can't keep a copy of what I watch on TV, I'lll quit subscribing to your service. Anyone who wants to control how culture and media spread between individuals can go fuck themselves. I don't need their content and I won't pay for it. And I won't buy hardware that constrains my fair use.

    The media cartels can have the sheeple and their money. There will always be a significant chunk of people who don't mind missing out on the garbage they distribute. Bring it on, the broadcast flag, the HDMI ports, the DRM, all of it. There's nothing really compelling on TV anymore anyway.

    • Oh, finally someone I can fully agree with with such short words! You got my modpoint for sure; although its destroyed when answering to it ...

      I need to add to this; I've quitted my cable subscription as Belgian more than 5years ago. My Internet connection is through the company which means I don't need the artificial limited cablemodem subscription either. This saves me a lot of money; but; the reason I did this is because:
      • At night there is not really "anything good" going on; unless you like to watch Dis
  • vlc does it cheaper (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:08PM (#15794675)
    Time for some fun kids....

    use vlc (www.videolan.org) to watch AND at the same time stream a TV channel from your TV card equipped computer (winderz or linux) to your IP address. Then tell your best friends to also download vlc and have them "Open Network Stream" pointing to your IP address where they can then watch the TV channel stream AND at the same time stream it out to their IP address where THEIR best friends download vlc to watch the stream and forward....

    keep going until everyone in the world downloads vlc, watches and "forwards" the TV stream.

    vlc kicks ass!!!

    slingbox sucks cuz you need a special proprietary program/codecs to view the stream. vlc uses industry standards. And it's Open Source. Runs on a lot of platforms.
    • by Comen (321331)
      I love VLC and use it alot at work for multicast video network tests.
      But I own a sling box, mostly cause it allows me to control my cable box and watch what is on any channel at any time, and get to the DVR functions of my cable box also, so I can watch anything on DVR also.
      (my digital cable box is a DVR also)
  • its just data (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gsn (989808) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:39PM (#15794880)
    "...a cable subscriber in San Francisco who watches a Giants baseball game from his or her laptop during a visit to Chicago is stealing from the Chicago cable operator who paid to transmit MLB games in that city."

    I really don't get the MLB guy's argument that I'm stealing from the guy in Chicago. Does he expect me to pay some cable operator in Chicago to watch one game while I'm visiting? If the game is playing in a bar I could just watch it free, and my watching it doesn't add to their revenues.

    The only way this makes sense is if they can sell me the rights to watch the game while I'm travelling over the web or PPV. But I've already bought the right to watch the game in SF... I paid for access to the *content*. THats where the difference in thinking is - Buisness wants me to pay for the content on a particular delivery system or a different media. Wouldn't it be just wonderful if they could charge you $5 for content on your iPod and $10 if you want your game streamed over the web to your laptop in your Chicago hotel room, $15 if you want a DVD of it.

    But the whole point is irrespective of what the content I paid for is its still just data and if you put data and a computer and a network together then you are simply not going to be able to keep control over it...unless you can control what users can do with their computers and what what networks can do. Out of curiostiy whats happening with network neutrality and does anyone remember that Trusted computing/TCPA/Palladium thing...
    • Re:its just data (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@hotmai l . c om> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:51PM (#15794968) Homepage Journal
      Thank you.

      And, I'll go just a bit further (being a "tech layoff" survivor). Companies can outsource; why can't we?

      If the cable operator in San Francisco offers, say, $5 per month less than Chicago, why can't we subscribe to SF, and place-shift? Isn't that pretty much the same as "outsourcing"?

      Ratboy
    • I really don't get the MLB guy's argument that I'm stealing from the guy in Chicago. Does he expect me to pay some cable operator in Chicago to watch one game while I'm visiting?

      He wants you to pay a fee to watch that one game in Chicago. Now if you're watching it on Chicago cable, you're not watching it on SF cable. In aggergate, services provided cancel out the services forgone and it's a wash.

      Perhaps the SF cable company should provide a discount, or forward part of your cable payment to the Chic

  • I, for one, am in favour of place-shifting. I learned that trick a couple of years ago - it was tough, and the classes at the teleportation [wikipedia.org] school cost me a pretty penny, but it sure beats the morning commute!
  • by kimvette (919543)

    "Content owners don't like it [Sling] because they think it violates their copyrights," HBO CTO Bob Zitter said during a panel here Tuesday. Zitter's comment came in response to a question from the audience.

    Think of the slingbox as a coax extension. If I run coax to my kitchen and leave the cable receiver where it is, is that a "copyright violation?" (you mean infringement, you boob! a network exec ought to know better. Copy protection and DMCA are copyright violations because a copyright is a temporary mon

  • Yet what makes place-shifting devices so powerful also makes them appear very dangerous to established entertainment and media companies.

    So who cares. I wouldn't shed a tear if the whole corrupt entertainment "industry" vanished from the face of the Earth. Sure, they have some value, but that value is not worth the sacrifices they wish us to accept in order to guarantee their cash flow. The truth of the matter is that all incumbent industries, large and small, face threats from change, from the new. They
  • To enforce their well paid for rights and privileges, without upsetting folks, I suggest they send a young actress, say Scarlett Johansenn, to stick around like glue and make sure I don't copy anything.

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

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