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Supreme Court decsion may effect Tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by eboydog, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Apr 23, 2014 #41 of 323
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    But by that logic, it would be NFL vs. Aereo or DirecTV vs. Aereo, not broadcasters vs. Aereo. I don't think that's the use case that they are concerned about, even if some people have family "back home" register an Aereo account for them to watch football...

    On what grounds? VCRs were deemed legal a long, long time ago...

    That makes no sense. The entire point of TiVo is that it's a DVR, not an internet streaming box.

    Exactly. It makes no sense that I could pay the station through Comcast, or put an antenna up and get it for free...

    The government shouldn't be protecting old business models. If they don't work, let them not work on their own.
     
  2. Apr 23, 2014 #42 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    Weird wording. MVPDs pay retrans fees (Satellite, telco, and cable all have to pay retrans fees) because the law says the broadcast stations can charge those fees.

    There's a few rules in the law related to broadcast stations with regard to cable/satellite/telco TV:

    • If a Multichannel Video Programming Distributor wishes to carry a station, that station has the right to demand payment from the MVPD
    • Local stations are obviously within their rights to offer their programming to MVPDs for free
    • If a MVPD carries ANY stations in a given local market, then they must carry, for free, any full power station that requests it (IE: a local independent or religious channel can demand carriage, given that they don't charge for it, and the MVPD will have no choice but to carry the channel)
     
  3. Apr 23, 2014 #43 of 323
    aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    Only for cable/satellite users. Tivo users can still use OTA on many boxes and even a current model. There are no fees being paid. The signal is captured in one location and streamed to a different location. From a technology standpoint, it's the same thing as what Aereo is doing. The only difference is the location of the antenna.

    I could get even closer to Aereo's scenario if I was to rent the roof next to my building and mount an antenna there. It would be ridiculous to call that illegal.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2014 #44 of 323
    aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    I'm not sure that Tivo would want to buy them but it certainly makes sense to add an Aereo app to Tivo. Many cord cutters would like to buy a Roamio Plus or Pro but can't because there is no OTA on those boxes. Even cable users could benefit since the OTA signal is often MUCH better than the cable signal.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2014 #45 of 323
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    But the leagues are threatening to pull the games from OTA networks and move them to cable instead. Those games are VERY lucrative to the networks so they have a ton of incentive to want to fight to keep them.

    But that's just a secondary reason. The main reason they're fighting is to protect their retransmission fees.
     
  6. Apr 23, 2014 #46 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Can you supply details about this or a link? The link you provided doesn't talk about the court decision and Googling or searching the PlayOn forum didn't yield anything either.
     
  7. Apr 23, 2014 #47 of 323
    dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

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    Except it isn't! and I can't understand why people keep thinking it is.
    The Tivo model is all based around what you do with the signal AFTER it has come in to your home in a legal manner, either OTA or cable. The Aereo model never has you getting the signal. when you tie in the fact that the hundreds of little antennas are a total kludge JUST to get around the existing laws, yeah, I vote they're breaking it.

    It's very easy IMO to see where Aereo is skirting laws by design to make a profit.
     
  8. Apr 24, 2014 #48 of 323
    unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    "Aereo is retransmitting the content thousands of times to thousands of different people."

    But they are doing so one antenna and one customer at a time, and that makes all the difference in the world.

    If you and I live side by side in a city served by Aereo, the cable company can pull in the local CBS affiliate on a single antenna and send that to splitters and distribution amps and send it both our houses (and a whole lot of others), and that's considered "re-transmission".

    If each of us puts up an antenna to bring that CBS affiliate's signal into our respective houses, that's not considered re-transmission, it's just reception.

    If we both subscribe to Aereo, Aereo has to dedicate an antenna to each of us, so that's two antennas where the cable company only uses one.

    You don't see the signal that comes in via my Aereo antenna, and vice versa, any more than either of us sees the signal from the other's house mounted antenna.

    So what we get from Aereo is not, legally, a re-transmission, so re-transmission fees don't have to be paid to that local broadcaster.


    The reason the networks are involved is that Aereo is currently mostly if not exclusively in big cities, where the network affiliated broadcast stations tend to be owned and operated by the networks with which they are affiliated.

    The broadcasters don't really care if we use cable or Aereo, as long as they get paid whichever one it is, and they'd probably prefer it was Aereo, because that means you're not on cable so you're not watching cable only channels instead of them.

    If you had the CBS franchise in your area, would you prefer to compete for eyeballs with only ABC, NBC, PBS, and FOX, or would you like HBO, TNT, TBS, USA, FX, AMC, TCM, A&E, SyFy, and a dozen or two more added in as well?

    But they've gotten used to getting money from the cable companies whether the cable customers watch them or not.
     
  9. Apr 24, 2014 #49 of 323
    unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    The original law the NAB was trying to get passed back in the analog days of the early 80's was called "Must Carry-Must Pay" where even a crappy local TV station that nobody watched could force their NTSC signal onto the local cable system (which would rather have used the bandwith for pay channels) AND get paid by the cable system.

    So that tells you where the broadcasters are coming from, unless you think they've become less about the bottom line and more about serving "in the public interest" since then.
     
  10. Apr 24, 2014 #50 of 323
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Active Member

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    Well that is what capitalism is all about - maximizing the bottom line. Without rules (Government regulation) capitalism devolves into pure evil as those willing to be the most evil will win (destroying all competitors while fleecing their customers to the max). Basically the Mafia is a good example of pure unregulated capitalism.
     
  11. Apr 24, 2014 #51 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    If you started to charge your neighbors to use that antenna, then setup many other antennas and started charging more people for the right to use them, and connected the antennas to your customers by tuning their selected channel, encoding the received data into IP packets and transmitting it over the internet, then you would likely get notification from the broadcasters challenging your business model, just like Aereo.

    The key issues that MAY cause Aereo to fall on the wrong side of the law are:

    1) Unlike a community antenna, Aereo is receiving (i.e. tuning) the channel and then sending it to the viewer as a data stream.

    2) They are charging a subscription fee.

    Ultimately, if you read through the verbal questioning and arguments from both sides, I think point 2 will be the issue. If Aereo can convince the court that they have created an innovative use of technology that in and of itself warrants the subscription fee, then they will prevail. If not, then they are just making money by distributing someone else's property without a license. It would be no different than someone taking a DVD, making hundreds of copies and then streaming each one to viewers for a fee. They may have obtained the DVD legally, just as Aereo is receiving the OTA broadcasts legally, but the distribution to multiple viewers is not legal.
     
  12. Apr 24, 2014 #52 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Yes it does, IF the court is convinced that this is a unique and innovative use of technology and not just a gimmick to try and justify the copyright infringement.

    This is an interesting question. It seems that the decision any given person makes in this regard is driven by the perspective they bring to the question. As the copyright owners, the broadcasters see a gimmick. As consumers, potential customers of Aereo see it is a clever innovation.

    Personally, I am of two minds. As a person that makes her living selling intellectual property (enterprise computer software) any legal decision that erodes copyright protection makes me nervous. But as a television viewer and user of DVRs and many different video streaming technologies, I'd love to see Aereo succeed.

    It will be interesting to see the decision and read the opinions of the Justices.

    I'm not aware of any "legal" defintion of what constitutes retransmission. The broadcasters are arguing that the use of a "private" antenna is meaningless. Since Aereo is using an ATSC tuner to receive the broadcast, decoding the 8VSB signal and extracting the raw MPEG, then re-encoding that for transmission (I don't know which streaming protocol Aereo uses) on the Internet in IP packets, the broadcasters are arguing that this IS retransmission.
     
  13. Apr 24, 2014 #53 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Yes, sorry...badly phrased. It should have been "MSOs pay retransmission fees because the law says the broadcasters can demand payment."

    Sure, you can skip commercials even if you record OTA content. But in that case there was no commercial enterprise involved in getting that OTA signal from the transmitter to your house. If there were (i.e. a cable or satellite company) then THEY would have to pay a retransmission fee.

    I'm not going to defend the broadcasters' desire to maximize revenue. But Congress made retransmissuion consent, and the associated fees, part of the law. The court is required to rule on the case in front of them, not on the fairness of the law. Nowhere has anyone in this case argued that retransmissions fees are unconstitutional, only that the law, as written, does not apply to Aereo. That is the only question the Justices must answer. The issues of subscription fees, individual antennas, and all the other technology that Aereo makes use of, are simply the details that will determine whether or not what Aereo is doing is a retransmission. If it is, they must pay. If not, they don't. It is as "simple" as that.
     
  14. Apr 24, 2014 #54 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    More than anything else, I think something that is telling about the Aereo situation that might bite them (if it was even brought up in the arguments, I haven't listened to the proceedings) is that you can only "rent" an Aereo antenna/tuner in the market in which you live, and you can only use it while you are geographically in that DMA. Seems a weird restriction since they are essentially arguing that they're renting you a Slingbox, and I can watch my Slingbox anywhere in the world.
     
  15. Apr 24, 2014 #55 of 323
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

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    First of all, as an RF engineer, I can guarantee you that Aereo uses two or three giant antennas. The tiny objects are elements to the antenna. We're all receiving the same signal. Justices don't have an advanced degree in engineering, and you can find an engineer who'll say anything if you give him enough money to be an expert, but that's one giant antenna.

    Second, copyright law says that the equipment that receives the signal must be typically found in a home. That giant antenna array is NOT found in a home, and neither is the tiny element that Aereo is trying to pass off as an antenna.

    Third, copyright law is focused on the performance, not the signal. Some of the exceptions do depend on how the signal is received, where it is received, how it is used, etc. And they're written in such a way that some of the exceptions can have an unintended meaning as applied to Aereo.

    Here's a link to an article on that, along with my favorite quote:
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nat...g-consumers/Kl7yn8bx35O8ju2rNMWZDN/story.html

     
  16. Apr 24, 2014 #56 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    Just because a loophole is unintended doesn't mean it doesn't exist or it's illegal for someone to take advantage of it.
     
  17. Apr 24, 2014 #57 of 323
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Sure sounds like Comcast to me.
     
  18. Apr 24, 2014 #58 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Hmm... Let's see --- what entities will come after me with a gun (i.e., use violence) to enforce a mob's will? Well there is the mafia (criminals to be more general) and there's the government. Capitalists are not on that list. Paraphrasing someone famous (Mark Twain? Will Rogers?) there are only two criminal classes in the USA: Organized crime and the Congress.

    I agree that some minimal amount of government regulation is necessary, and certainly effective law enforcement is a valid government function. But if we keep layering on regulations and the associated government bureaucracy we are going to kill overall productivity in this country. We'll have a small fraction of our workers actually producing goods and services, while the rest are either working in the government or working in law firms, lobbying firms, or political action committees trying to rig the laws and regs to benefit the special interests they represent. Sad to say, we are already well down that path.

    We can't afford enough government to ensure that a stupid apathetic careless person can bumble through life with complete protection from bad deals. What works, and is efficient, is caveat emptor, and informed consumers who take the consequences if they make a stupid choice.
     
  19. Apr 24, 2014 #59 of 323
    zalusky

    zalusky Active Member TCF Club

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    Seriously you are trolling hard here. The government is at a smaller size than its been in decades. We have cut like crazy lately and pretty much prevented anything from passing in the current administration. You should be happy.
     
  20. Apr 24, 2014 #60 of 323
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    And by extension, if you rent an apartment and have a shared antenna with everyone else in the building...

    The entire point of TiVo is that it receives an RF signal (either OTA ATSC-8VSB or cable ATSC-QAM) and can play that RF signal back live, time shift/trick play it, or record it for later use. Without that RF signal, TiVo is completely pointless. You may as well buy a $99 Roku at that point.

    They don't have any reason to care about Aereo per se, even if people can watch something in one DMA, and not in another. What they are worried about is cable companies somehow replicating this functionality (U-Verse would the the only one capable of doing it technically for now) and not paying retrans. However, what I don't understand is why they can't just force-bundle their affiliate with the parent company's cable programming like they do now with little-watched cable channels, in which case, it's a non-issue entirely.

    What really will get weird is if they decided to broadcast all of the Detroit channels, some of which are in Canada, and had to deal with Canadian law in addition to US law. They have sidestepped that for now by doing a partial (US-only) offering for Detroit. If they did a complete offering, I might considering signing up with a friend or family member's address to get CBC...

    We know there are thousands of separate antennas. Are you arguing that somehow those antennas only work if they are in a specific formation, and that a single antenna alone wouldn't work?
     

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