Alternate Sources for TiVo Programming Data

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Ratboy, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. dtreese

    dtreese New Member

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    Of course it's legally doable. You own the hardware, and you can cut the box into slices and attempt to use it as toilet paper if you wish (SCRATCHY!). I just have no idea why anyone would want to waste a TiVo.
     
  2. hastypete

    hastypete Member

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    I guess this is a matter of opinion.
    If I own the hardware, I can do what I want with it. Period.
    Now, if I'm trying to get guide data from TiVo without paying. That IS theft.
    Of course there may be some clause in the TOS that says otherwise, but have you actually read a ToS. Everyone is breaking the law at some point. It is impossible not to the way those things are written. It is legallese meant to confound the wisest person.
    Just because someone puts something in a TOS doesn't mean it will hold up in a court of law.

    BTW, this in no way implies I'm in favor of doing this. For me, I like the service just fine. But I do defend the rights of people to do what they will with what they own.
     
  3. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    The TOS clearly states you do not own the software. It is not stealing the guide data from TiVo that is being diuscussed - it is using the full functionality of the software in the DVR from TiVo without entering into a subscription plan.
     
  4. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    It would require more than software modification as you would need to replace the eprom. After doing all that you end up with a highly optimized piece of low end hardware that you will probably never be able to find any software to run on because of the hardware limitations.
     
  5. qz3fwd

    qz3fwd Member

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    Jul 6, 2007

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    Technically I think Tivo only owns part of the software, not including the kernel.
    Hopefully tivo will be forced to adopt the gpl3 and stop preveting others from loading custom software on the box, as they have currently tivoized the OS they took from others.
     
  6. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    TiVo can never be forced to adopt the GPL v3 because of the version of the GPL of the kernel they currently use allows them to continue to use it under the current license.
     
  7. kb7oeb

    kb7oeb Member

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    Theft of service is the wrong term, you would have to be getting guide data from tivo without paying them. I'm sure its a violation of the tivo software license to use it without subscribing though.

    I can't think of a legal reason you couldn't run your own software on the tivo hardware though.

    It's mostly philosophical though , there is a lot of great free software out there that runs on commodity pc hardware. I don't think its worth the effort to try and use tivo hardware without tivo service.
     
  8. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    TiVos are highly optimized pieces of hardware that do not even meet the minimum requirements of most operating systems including many linux distributions.
     
  9. RobertJ

    RobertJ New Member

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    There is no such thing as "theft of services." This is a made-up term. The term "theft of services" only applies to criminal actions for actually stealing another person's services. It has no applicability whatsoever for using a computer device for its intended purpose.

    I have paid for my Tivo. It is a piece of hardware that came with installed software. It is not illegal to use hardware and software that I have purchased as I see fit. This is fair use.

    I would be more than happy to do without Tivo "updates." These have lately become nothing more than an opportunity for Tivo to find additional ways to "monetize" the Tivo experience and push more advertisements on you.

    (By the way, I happen to be an intellectual property attorney with many years of litigation experience. If you disagree with me, please cite a specific law that says that it is "theft of services" to program a hardware device to receive different program information. Otherwise, please stop acting like Tivo's lapdog.)
     
  10. fred22

    fred22 New Member

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    Nov 11, 2007
    RobertJ and others:

    I was just talking with a friend who is somewhat interested in Tivo but wants to know what the monthly fee supposedly covers? I suspected that it was the Guide but this conversation leads me to believe that it may be continued use of the "operating software."

    We discussed the fact that you buy the box and it comes with software. I own something but what? I wanted to understand why features that are enabled would stop working if a monthly fee was not tendered. Why shouldn't I be able to still be able to view MY photos and listen to my MP3's by sharing from my computer to my purchased Tivo. Why would a monthly subscription be required to continue those services that no longer require dealing with Tivo. Then again, maybe I did enter some agreement that would terminate.

    Of course, I don't recall signing any contract but then I don't sign any contract for most of the software I have purchased (or is that leased) for my computer. Breaking the seal seems to "sign" the contract.

    Stuff to ponder but my friend is not currently going to join the Tivo family.
     
  11. RobertJ

    RobertJ New Member

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    Fred22,

    Tivo is free to charge monthly fees for services, such as program guide information. Tivo is also free to do its best to block you from using another source for program guide information.

    However, this does not mean that I am required to pay Tivo at least if I am (or your friend is) getting this information from another source.

    The problem is that Tivo is attempting to subsidize the cost of the hardware by making the hardware really cheap, but then tacking on monthly fees. This is like GM selling you a new car for only $3,000, but then saying it is "theft of services" to use the car unless you buy a new oil change every month from an authorized GM Goodwrench dealer. GM is free to sell me a car for only $3,000, but it is illegal for GM to attempt to tie that car purchase to a monthly oil change.

    The short answer is that the enforceability of these EULA-type agreements is complicated. The long answer is that it is not a crime, much less "theft of services," to purchase hardware and then use that hardware for different purposes. It is very difficult for companies to enforce these EULAs in court, and even if they can do so successfully, it is only a civil offense (i.e., they can only sue you for damages, not throw you in jail.)

    I used to be more sympathetic to Tivo. I have a Series 1 with a lifetime subscription (since 2000), plus a newer Series 3 with a lifetime subscription (since last year). Now that Tivo has decided that I am just another set of eyeballs for viewing their advertisements, however, they can bite my shiny metal ass.

    Note: this is not legal advice, particularly the "bite my shiny metal ass" part.
     
  12. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    North...
    Yes, I think we can tell you might be a lawyer. You changed the claims here to suit your purposes, rather than what was actually said. Can you cite anyone in this thread (a much easier search) who "says that it is "theft of services" to program a hardware device to receive different program information."

    The issue is changing TiVo's software. You do not own that software.

    The service agreement that you agreed to states, among other things:
     
  13. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    except that you did not purcahse the software. there are many software use business models. TiVo has made some proprietary software under the work of their own employees. The only open source software they have truly modified is the kernel itself and that was really just to take out anything not needed specifically for DVR application. So even the open source cries of Tivoization is a big red herring since TiVo has a lot of PATENTED software on the box.

    So there are terms of SERVICE that say you lease the software from TiVo and must have an agreement in place (read subscription) to use it legally. If you use any part of the PATENTED, proprietary software without following the terms of service then that is theft of service . Specifically the software service on the TiVo DVR.

    I am appalled an IP lawyer would not understand the various software use and licensing models.
     
  14. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Ontario Canada.
    Theft of service is the correct term, for the purposes and policies of this board (at least was under Mr. Bott's ownership). The service in question is enabling the recording features of the TiVo software.

    Directly in a strictly legal sense, no laws are being broken, just implicit contracts, and most.
     
  15. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Ontario Canada.
    It is not law itself, but contractual law which permits TiVo Inc to obligate you subscribe to the service to enable software features.

    TiVo has simply decided that certain features are available to paying customers, as is there right, and this board honors that by considering those features the service, and enabling such features without subscription "theft" of that service, since you are depriving TiVo of just earned revenue for those features.

    If you don't like that model, you are free to take that up with TiVo Inc, seek support form another forum that does support essentially stealing TiVos "service" (which there aren't many), or seek another hardware/software product with terms that do suit your needs.
     
  16. Ratboy

    Ratboy New Member

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    Reading the TiVo Service Agreement, I section 12 caught my eye:
    That would seem to imply to me that one can do whatever one wants with the box as long as one's not accessing the TiVo Service.

    For the record, I own a Series 3 with a lifetime subscription.
     
  17. Atomike

    Atomike New Member

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    Jun 12, 2005
    In your response, you are assuming your conclusion (i.e. that recording shows without using Tivo's guide data is stealing). This is the crux of the debate. You can't just assume that. Then you try to say he can't even debate that here. Hello -this is not your forum. He's perfectly welcome here.
    This topic is certainly open for debate. To say he must go somewhere else even to discuss it, is wildly opposed to the purpose of forums.

    Personally, I think I come down closest to ZeoTivo's opinion. The hardware is yours to use however you wish without limit, but the software may be a little different. But I welcome all opinions, and think they should be able to speak here.
     
  18. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    Hello - Have you actually read the forum's rules (right there in a sticky post you can see every time you come to this forum)?
     
  19. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    I'd kinda like to do it myself, just to clean up the junk -- like ten+ channels of "Local Origination", when actual schedules or, at a minimum, channel names are readily available, just not from Tribune.

    But only kinda. I'm not about to do the necessary work.
     
  20. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

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    It is an interesting legal question about you owning the hardware and the software that comes on it, does TiVo have the right to shut down a TiVo that has no sub ? If you are paying for the guide data you would expect that you can't get that data without paying but I don't know if locking down the TiVo itself after 30 days would hold up in court (if anybody has the money to take them to court for such a small gain). If you rented the TiVo as you do a cable box the question is easy, stop paying your rent the cable co can lock up your cable box, but when you own your own hardware (TiVo box) how far can TiVo or any co go with locking up hardware you own without a sub ? In the extreme TiVo could set up the TiVo so after some time (of no sub) the box would break itself never to be used again.
     

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