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Old Yesterday, 06:56 PM   #1
jman23
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Legality of 3rd Party Tivo transferring (pyTivo, kmtttg, VideoReDo)

So I currently have Tivo Desktop Plus, but am not overly happy with the conversion options and am interested in the third party software frequently discussed in this forum like pyTivo, kmtttg, VideoReDo. My concern is that I don't want to be doing anything illegal or violating Tivo terms and conditions. I tried searching for VideoReDo and saw something that they exploit a portion of Tivo Desktop which made me a little uneasy, but then a saw a message that they were in negotiations with Tivo over something so it sounded more on the up and up.

Is anyone able to directly answer the question on whether using that software to do things like pull shows off my tivo, change the format, edit them, etc. is legal and in accordinace with Tivo terms and conditions?
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Old Yesterday, 10:24 PM   #2
telemark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jman23 View Post
Is anyone able to directly answer the question on whether using that software to do things like pull shows off my tivo, change the format, edit them, etc. is legal and in accordinace with Tivo terms and conditions?
Only lawyers can give legal advice, so I'm not sure what kind of answer you're expecting.

You might try a legal Question/Answer site:
http://www.avvo.com/
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Old Yesterday, 11:39 PM   #3
dlfl
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Sure I can answer your question, although my answer is just my opinion, and I am not a lawyer.

Making and/or editing copies only for your personal use is usually legal. Couple of sticky points are:
1. What defines "personal use"? If you distribute copies to several friends is that still personal use? I suspect not because it can be argued this reduces sales.
2. What if the videos on your TiVo are copy protected, like most cable network videos on Time Warner Cable are? Hacked TiVos will allow you to transfer these videos to your computer.

I don't know the legal answers to these questions but as a practical matter, as long as you don't allow copies to be widely distributed, or sell them, no one will ever care, (or even know) regardless of the legalities.
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Old Today, 12:38 AM   #4
wmcbrine
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It's worth noting that the TiVo itself provides a plain HTML interface from which you can download recordings in the same format as TiVo Desktop does, using any browser. So, there can be no assertion that TiVo Desktop is the only allowed client. Second point: On current TiVos, the only recordings that can be extracted are those which are already flagged as "copy freely" (the situation is arguably a bit different with analog recordings). Although of course still protected by copyright, "copy freely" recordings are supposed to be unrestricted for private use, per FCC regulations. In this context, even the TiVo's weak encryption of .TiVo files is redundant. And the fact that the encryption is applied blindly by the device, and not at the specific behest of the copyright holder, undermines the idea that it's a copyright protection mechanism under the DMCA.
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Old Today, 11:50 AM   #5
lrhorer
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Absolutely. Note also that no document created by non-governmental entity has any force of law whatsoever unless the document is signed by all involved parties, and even then its only force of authority is in civil court, not in criminal court. TiVo themselves are not bound by their T&Cs, nor are you. The existence - or lack thereof - of a T&C document and any compliance on your part does not inherently prevent TiVo from suing you. They can sue you because they don't like the color of your hair. They are not, however, likely to have much luck winning, and neither would they for anything you do with one of their devices unless they can show they suffered damages as a result.

As far as what TiVo can do to you when you use something you have bought and purchased in a way they don't like, you are free to use or modify anything you own and the manufacturer has nothing to say about it, whether the modifications are done with a soldering iron or a sledge hammer.
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Old Today, 11:57 AM   #6
lrhorer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
1. What defines "personal use"? If you distribute copies to several friends is that still personal use? I suspect not because it can be argued this reduces sales.
Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is illegal. That has nothing to do with TiVo, however. You can be sued for doing so by the copyright owner, but not by TiVo. (Well, TiVo could sue you, if they like, but they couldn't win.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
I don't know the legal answers to these questions but as a practical matter, as long as you don't allow copies to be widely distributed, or sell them, no one will ever care, (or even know) regardless of the legalities.
You also cannot broadcast them (either over the air or on the internet), display them publicly, or charge admission for viewing without permission from the copyright owner. Note you can do any or all of the above if you have written permission from the copyright owner.
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Old Today, 12:02 PM   #7
lrhorer
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Originally Posted by telemark View Post
Only lawyers can give legal advice, so I'm not sure what kind of answer you're expecting.
That's not quite true, but it is true only a lawyer can charge for legal advice. Anyone can quote the law.
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