OCAP- Who is capping whom?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Justin Thyme, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    but to play iTunes music on say a Zen mp3 player you do first have to burn it to CD so you cna rip back as MP3 or WAV, correct ?

    and remember that TiVo desktop was blocked from allowing HMO to work with ACC files due to Apple not licensing fairPlay to anyone.

    also some media execs were pretty upset when TiVo anounced desktop conversion for shows to the iPod unilaterally after Apple would not talk with TiVo on a way to work with iTunes to do that.


    so yes, Apple does indeed protect its revenue stream from iTunes and the iPod lineup very fiercly and wants consumers to just buy the iPod and use iTunes so that they make easy and make it harder for others to the etxent they can.

    not saying this is a monopoly as I have never thought about the finer points of defining one, but the reality is that Apple works to keep its products easier to use than others and a big part of that strategy for iTunes is to use fairplay.
    More power to them, don't like it don't use them and no need to so it is definitely not a market monopoly.


    now cable and sat providers do the same thing by default with their digital cable box. For cable there are franchise agrements that give me no choice on cable provider. I could never use Comcast where I live but at least I can still use a TiVo and later this year I can use a better TiVo and get HD if desired.

    I could go to a sat provider and indeed choose from two where I am so that eases the monopoly position somewhat but it does indeed minimize competition through no action of my own, like using iTunes.

    so the FCC needs to keep on these few choices of mine and make sure things stay fair among them and fair for me.
     
  2. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Ok. You are entitled to live in your reality.
    Why don't you just come out and say the method you are discussing- Competitors to iTunes can just encourage their users to break their DRM so that they can copy the resulting MP3's to their iPod?

    Really now. Is that a legitimate "substitute"?

    Similarly victims of Kodak's monopolisation of the aftermarket service business had illegitimate substitutes. Notice that the US Supreme court did not tell the independent service operators that they had an avenue to get the parts and service manuals. They could bribe Kodak employees to sell them.

    So your "Fact" is once again, a falsehood. There is only one legitimate source for commercial online music for the iPod. Apple has a monopoly on that separate market just as Kodak did.
     
  3. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    What were you needing clarification on? Seems to me you have it right. Apple has market power for commercial online music.

    Courts could rule that buying a CD online and ripping it to mp3 is a substitute. They could also rule that buying online product from Napster, RealNetworks, Musicmatch, any of a dozen European or Asian online music sites, then similarly breaking the DRM to get it into MP3 is a substitute.

    That doesn't seem very likely to me- the RIAA amicus on that issue would probably be very difficult to overcome especially since Apple very likely is not going to provide counter arguments advocating breaking DRM schemes or copying of commercial music.

    The owner of the technology is fully entitled to be compensated fairly for their technology. Apple is contractually obligated to place DRM on its Commercial music as are all the other online vendors. Apple chose its own DRM. But by not placing support for any other DRM schemes on the iPod (and there are many others besides Microsoft's), Apple created a separate market in which they exercise Market power as in the case of Kodak. Nothing required them to adding a licensable DRM, it's just that when they did, they created a separate market.

    Where they cross the Kodak line is where they refuse to license their DRM to other online vendors. Some might point out that Monopolies are not illegal- you have to show abuse. That is the Grinnel point that ITV brought up. But Apple meets the Grinnel test as well. When Realnetworks implemented some Harmony code that made Rhapsody downloads DRM protected but would run on the iPod, Apple deliberately broke their workaround. Secondly, they use their Market power for price control. They can and have kept their prices higher regardless whether competitors offer more attractive bargains.

    TivoPhish likes Apple. I like Apple too and like my iPod. I did some of the work I am most proud of on Apple computers. Apple is to be congratulated on their important innovations and richly deserve rewards for those innovations. Similarly, the Railroad tycoons participated in a tremendous revolution in goods transport that was essential for the industrial revolution. But there were excesses then.

    As an observer of the DVR trend, I just wanted to point the existence and dangers of those excesses.
     
  4. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    Prior to v6 of iTunes, JHymm would remove enough encryption/meta data to allow music to play freely on other devices:
    http://hymn-project.org/jhymndoc/

    As to the discussion at hand, I dig iTunes as a music store and organizer/aggregator of my content but I'd prefer to use my purchases on my Samsung MP3 player (with builtin FM). It's a closed system - what can I do?
     
  5. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Ok, I thought TiVoPhish was wrong, but it wasn't pointed out clearly enough by someone other than you, leaving it to look uncertain, so I thought I'd highlight it.
     
  6. TiVoPhish

    TiVoPhish New Member

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    No one was talking about breaking the Law Justin. I wasn't referring to anything other than ripping CDs out of iTunes and back into another player. Perfectly legal under iTune usage rules.

    "You shall be entitled to export, burn (if applicable) or copy Products solely for personal, noncommercial use."
    That's from the iTunes EULA

    So yeah, it's legal. And a legitimate way to get music I purchase from iTunes to a Creative Zen player.

    Making the rest of your argument pointless. What I was stating did not include breaking the law. My husband has been a producer & recording engineer, is a musician and VP of Sales for a CD replication company. Violating other musicians and record labels copyrights is not something that interests either of us.
     
  7. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    You are quite mistaken.

    Again.

    You are stripping the Fairplay DRM to create an MP3 file. Stripping a DRM is illegal under section 1201a of the DMCA:
    The circumvention technique you are advocating is prohibitted by Federal Law. I along with many others in this community feel that this law is unfair but as a matter of fact, it is the law of the land. Perhaps you feel you are protected from this Federal law by an Apple agreement that supercedes Federal law. Take a look at section 8B of the EULA.

    You aren't.
     
  8. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Well, one thing I will say is that you can create audio CDs and MP3 CDs with iTunes. That means you can burn to CD WAV files or MP3 files of your iTMS music. So its a quick step from there to transfering the MP3s (or even the WAVs) to another type player.

    Since it is a permitted activity to strip the DRM away, the DMCA no longer applies at that point, and the MP3s and WAVs can be used on other devices.

    Not withstanding, nowhere does it seem you are given the right to use the music for other than personal, non-commercial use.

    This makes it alot like the .tivo way of allowing a DVD burn; From there the video is open to any DVD/video conversion software you want...
     
  9. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Sure. Technically it is simple. Like jaywalking lots and lots of people do it. Doesn't mean the courts currently believes it is legal.

    Also simply because action A is legal, and action B is legal, doesn't mean the totality of process A+B is legal. When A+B= circumvention of a DRM mechanism, you are in violation of the DMCA.

    I didn't say I liked it, and I personally believe the law infringes on fair use rights, and ought to be legal, but so far the law sits on the books as is, and the courts disagree with us. The law is the law.

    As such, I seriously doubt Apple would raise it as a defence if they ever sued on this. (And I think that is only a matter of time before Realnetworks comes after them.)
     
  10. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    look at my edited post.
     
  11. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    One thing accomplished with the phone breakup was that the entire functionality of the telephone system could be accessed and used through an extremely thin client. Regardless of what features a CE phone manufacturer layered onto its product, the core was very simple and cheap.

    This is an important lesson for consumer cable STBs. The question of just how thick these things will have to be at their core - which JT is raising - is an essential one. The thicker, likely the better for cable, the worse for CE and you and me.
     
  12. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Let's distinguish here between what we think would eventually be ruled legal after certain laws were thrown out as unconstitutional, versus the laws that are actually on the books as of this date.

    Maybe you don't buy my A+B point. DMCA prohibition against circumventing DRM in this respect is no different than money laundering laws against circumventing controls. For example, if it is illegal to move money to Cuba, simply by moving the money to Mexico first doesn't mean that you can say the law against moving money to Cuba "no longer applies at that point" If the sum of legal actions A and B is the circumvention of DRM, then you are in violation of the DMCA. The sum of the actions TivoPhish described strips the DRM and creates a plain vanilla MP3 file. But according to the DMCA, this activity of stripping the DRM is illegal.

    It's that simple.

    If you had an electronic book protected by DRM, and stripped the DRM by printing out the pages of the book then rescanning them= well sorry, but you are in violation of the DMCA. It doesn't matter how low tech your Krak is. It is still a Krak.

    And I agree it is exactly the situation with .Tivo files. I have said many times that this ought to be legal, and that I think it is our right to do it, and if it went to court I think the DMCA would be overturned by the Supreme court.

    But as of this date, according to the laws of the land, this activity is against the DMCA law. A bill submitted to congress, the DMCRA is designed to undo this DMCA nonsense. "For example, under the bill a user may circumvent an access control on an electronic book he purchased for the purpose of reading it on a different electronic reader." source

    If the activity you are describing were permitted under DMCA, there would be no need for this bill.

    If the DMCRA were made law, it would not be illegal for Creative Zen to have a software function that cracked Fairplay so that you could simply download the fairplay file and it would play on the Zen.

    Steve isn't going to like that. Nor will Cablecompanies, if S3 machines download OCAP files protected with DRM, strip the DRM and play just the MPeg2 show minus the FF lockout and Advert Popup code.
     
  13. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    The Telecom Act does not guarauntee third parties access to the 'whole enchilada'. Neither does it prevent it. The Telecom Act does not force third parties to accept only selling 'stripped down' hardware. Neither does it promise anything else. Nothing is ever that simple. 629 is extremely broad ... OTOH, regulatory agencies are always limited to only exercise the authority explicitly granted to them.

    The relevant section of The Telecom Act says:
    The FCC must adopt (any permissable) regulations to (reasonably) assure commercial availability of equipment.
    OTOH
    The FCC must (only) adopt regulations (required) to (reasonably) assure commercial availability of equipment.

    Nice eh?

    Hmmm ... some examples.
    No, it doesn't. That law would have read:

    The Commission shall (...) adopt regulations to assure the commercial availability, to consumers of all programming and services (...) of equipment used (...) to access (...) programming and services

    But, it doesn't. It just reads "programming and services". Some programming and services meets the definition of "programming and services" just as well as all programming and services. Third party mechanisms must have access to (some) programming and (some) services. They only need access to (all) programming and (all) services if that will assure commercial availability of equipment.

    That is correct. It doesn't. That law would have read:

    The Commission shall (...) adopt regulations to assure the commercial availability, to consumers of programming and services (...) of equipment used (...) to access (...) all programming and services

    But, it doesn't. It just reads "programming and services". Some programming and services meets the definition of "programming and services" just as well as all programming and services. Third parties must offer (some) programming and (some) services. They only need offer (all) programming and (all) services if that will assure commercial availability of equipment.

    The Telecom Act doesn't even require the FCC to prevent cable from leasing certain types of navigation devices that can't possibly be made by a third party. Then again, it doesn't prevent the FCC from doing so if deemed neccessary to assure commercial availability of some equipment.

    Section 629 is about jump-starting the free market process. It basically instructs the FCC to expidite the process (note, cable and CE manufacturers were already in discussion when the bill passed). Once there is a viable market for some competitive navigation devices ... some programming ... some services ... it's assumed the free market will take care of the rest (or not, as desired by the consumer).

    It is not about creating the end-all-be-all-most-ultimate-ideal-solution for competitive navigation devices. Then again ... it doesn't preclude it if neccessary.

    FCC even noted guide services as an 'open issue' (still unresolved) at one point:
    http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/Orders/1998/fcc98116.pdf
     
  14. TiVoPhish

    TiVoPhish New Member

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    Nope, I'm not. I have the right to burn CDs from the music I purchase from ANY online store, so doing so through iTMS is no different than doing so through Musicmatch. It is being used for my own personal use, and is quite legal as stated so in the iTunes EULA. What you are stating is WRONG and is stated right in the usage rules, clearly.

    - - - - -

    From iTunes Usage Rules: "Any burning (if applicable) or exporting capabilities are solely an accommodation to you and shall not constitute a grant or waiver (or other limitation or implication) of any rights of the copyright owners in any audio or video content, sound recording, underlying musical composition, or artwork embodied in any Product.

    "You agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the Usage Rules." source

    - - - - -

    Burning a CD, which they have given me the right to do (and so does any WMA app) is not me attempting to circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the service. It is doing what the software was DESIGNED TO DO. Further up in the document (if you read it) I'm allowed tp store my music (the product) on certain devices (specifics are not mentioned, but "such as an iPod" is given as an example).

    Still think I'm wrong?

    Here's a quote from the RIAA's website:

    - - - - -

    "If you choose to take your own CDs and make copies for yourself on your computer or portable music player, that's great. It's your music and we want you to enjoy it at home, at work, in the car and on the jogging trail. But the fact that technology exists to enable unlimited Internet distribution of music copies doesn't make it right." source

    - - - - -

    Still don't believe me?

    - - - - -

    "But first, it should be clarified that it is legal to make copies of music you own for your personal use, under the Fair Use doctrine." source

    - - - - -

    Here's another one for ya...

    - - - - -

    "Under U.S. copyright law, it's generally regarded as fair use for you to record broadcast music or to make copies of music you own, provided that the recordings are for personal use only. However, recording may violate the license agreements of subscription services such as RealNetworks' Rhapsody, which allow you to play music only as long as you maintain your subscription." source

    - - - - -

    And if you still don't believe me...

    - - - - -

    "Do I have the right to make a copy of my CD for my own personal use?
    Yes. The fair use doctrine allows an individual to make a copy of their lawfully obtained copyrighted work for their own personal use. Allowing people to make a copy of copyrighted music for their personal use provides for enhanced consumer convenience through legitimate and lawful copying. It can also enlarge the exploitable market for the rights holders. The fair use privilege's personal use right is what allows an individual to make a backup copy of their computer software as an essential defense against future media failure.

    "Personal use also permits music fans to make 'mix tapes' or compilations of their favorite songs from their own personal music collection or the radio for their own personal enjoyment in a more convenient format, or "format shifting." Another example of acceptable personal use copying of a copyrighted work is "time-shifting," or the recording of a copyrighted program to enjoy at a later and more convenient time.

    "As new media present new ways for people to enjoy music, the public's fair use rights accompany them into the electronic frontier. Now, music fans have the right and ability to copy their own music collection onto their own computer storage device and create customized play lists for their own personal use and enjoyment of their music.

    "It is important to note that while consumers have the right to listen to their own music collection for their own personal use, they do not have the right, however, to make their music collections available to others by uploading them onto the Internet for public downloading."
    source

    - - - - -


    By the way, it's interesting to note (and I did learn something new):

    Musicmatch actually specifies MORE restrictions than iTMS does by stating "You may burn tracks and albums to CDs for your personal use, though you may only burn the same playlist seven times. You may play tracks on digital music players that support secure Windows Media" so if you really want to make an argument, make it against Musicmatch because iTMS doesn't state I can only use "Fairplay / protected AAC equipped devices" (source)

    Napster also includes further restrictions than Apple -- "Once you have burned a Purchased Track to a CD, you agree not to copy, distribute, or transfer the track from that CD to any other media or device." (source)

    Isn't that interesting??? So WHO exactly is preventing me from transferring legally purchased music to my iPod??? According to Napster and Musicmatch, THEY are actually inhibiting my ability, under the Fair Use Doctrine, to make LEGAL copies of the music I BOUGHT.

    Maybe I should sue them, eh?


    Finally, if you're still unsure...
    Under Section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the DMCA: "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title." That means "no hacking allowed." It doesn't mean you CANNOT use software as intended (like iTunes for burning CDs) to make your own personal, non-commercial copies under the Fair Use doctrine.

    Still have doubts? The RIAA isn't sueing Apple or Musicmatch or Napster or RealNetworks for providing software that "circumvents DRM" by burning a CD. The software allows it (with CONTRACTUAL restrictions from some, not law-breaking restrictions), so that is not causing the music purchaser to circumvent anything... it's how the software works. And right from the RIAA's website... go ahead and make copies for personal use - just don't go distributing it on the internet.

    Let me restate it for you. It's illegal to circumvent copy protection or to create software that does so -- I am NOT circumventing copy protection by having the provided software I got from a legal party fuction as it's supposed to. Apple isn't circumventing the copy controls (the DRM) because they are Apple's OWN DRM scheme, and right in their Usage Rules they are giving your permission to burn CDs and export songs. Apple's EULA imposes no restrictions on what I can do with that burned CD (unlike Musicmatch and Naptser)

    So why then do Musicmatch and Napster impose those restrictions? They are crying because my iPod won't play their songs, but they are imposing restrictions so that the music I buy can't be dumped into my iPod from the legal CD I burned from them??? They can be mad at Apple for not licensing Fairplay, but they can't be mad at anyone but themselves for imposing their own restrictions to state WMA-only players, and no copies of that CD you burn.

    Let's be even clearer:

    Circumvention, according to Section 1201(a)(3)(A), means "to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner." Guess what? The DRM is imposed by Apple and owned by Apple, so they are giving me the permission to burn a CD (for personal, non-commercial use) and play it on any equipment I'd like. It's a safe assumption that the record companies and musicians who own the copyrights have granted this persmission to Apple, or agreed to do it Apple's way.

    And finally, if you still don't believe...

    right from the DMCA "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title." source


    :eek:
     
  15. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    I think the main part I wanted to get to I didn't hear you touch on. It is the bit about the cableco's essentially doing a shell game and defeat the effort to provide real alternatives for STB equipment by simply reproducing the equipment's functionality in software and making that software mandatory.
    Really? The act states commercial availability of equipment- yeah, but from unaffiliated manufacturers. So for it to be manufactured equipment it would have to be entirely third party for it to be third party. No? If it is unaffiliated equipment, it is unaffiliated. You are not partly a widow. You either are or aren't separate.
    Are there other problems with on the meanings of words? If it is "equipment", then in 1996, it was very clearly equipment containing software even if it is very low level functions. So the equipment discussed does mean, including software.

    The notion of a removable mechanism containing Cableco provided mechanism for security is acceptable.

    But the notion of software mechanisms created by the MSO? That navigational mechanism is no longer entirely third party is it. In fact without the necessary software for VOD, it can't even navigate the VOD space of offerings. So what kind of commercial availability of third party navigational equipment is that?

    Ultimately, you can make a point about any law that they can be interpreted many different ways, and in particular you have made some points that the 1996 law was vague and didn't give the fcc necessary authority to carry out its directives.

    However, do the regulators not themselves share responsibility in the interpretation of the meaning of the directive, and their power to carry it out? It seems to me that if an agency is predisposed to take a passive regulatory role, it can read the 629 passage as narrowly as it wishes. Then you might things like 10 year delays resulting in devices that can't even navigate to all the channels without version 2.0 of the spec. You might see the scope of application reduced to just cablecos when the law applies to all carriers.
     
  16. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    TivoPhish. I happen to agree the DMCA sucks, but we are discussing what it is, not how unfair we think it is.

    Your argument is really rather simple and the component parts are agreed. It is legal to copy to your CD. It is legal to copy from your CD. The entirety of your note is in discussing points thos supporting facts we are in 100% agreement on. . See A is legal. And then B. But if A+B amounts to stripping the DRM, guess what. It's still against the DMCA. Really.

    Please consider the Money laundering example. It is immaterial that moving the money to mexico is legal and moving the money from mexico to cuba is itself in isolation also legal. The totality of what you have accomplished is to circumvent the law against moving money to Cuba.

    Agree 100%. Moving the money to mexico is legal.
    no really, I understand- moving the money to mexico is legal
    Okay already. Moving the money to Mexico is legal.
    Uh your point is that moving the money to Mexico is legal?
    Okey dokey. Moving money to Mexico is legal.
    No really, I do I do. Get on with it.
    Finally. Yeah you bet. Complete agreement there. It is legal to move the money from Mexico to Cuba. Gotcha. More repetitions of mexico to cuba but then to the crucial point where you get to the DMCA
    In the terms of your agreement, Apple gave you the authority to make a CD copy. They did not give you the authority to make an MP3. In fact Apple's page discussing support for non iPod players tells you that you cannot make an MP3 from a Fairplay protected file: "Songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store are encoded using the AAC Protected format and cannot be converted to MP3 format." source

    If all this junk you spouted were as legitimate as you make it out to be, could you please direct me to a place where Apple officiially describes to users that this is how people may legally circumvent their DRM?

    NO? Gee. Maybe you should give a thought to why not.

    Its the same reason that the DMCRA is needed to correct the DMCA.

    It's because what you are describing is stripping Fairplay and making an MP3. Circumventing DRM, no matter if you take steps which in isolation are legal, are still illegal under the DMCA.

    Sorry- it's still sending money to cuba no matter how many hops you made.
     
  17. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Obviously, I agree. the kicker to me is that if Caterphone is the principle in force here- it means that cable companies cannot require third parties to accept a necessary module which only the phone company provides.

    It this were acceptable, it wouldn't be a third part device- it would merely be a surrogate outer shell for a Ma Bell mechanism.

    I personally don't think the regulators have the will to stand up to these fiefdoms.
     
  18. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Its sending Money w/o DRM to Cuba. It is legal to sending Money w/o DRM to Cuba.

    As far as Napster/Musicmatch, you are really renting music, so I understand why it makes sense to be more restrictive contractually regarding what you are permitted to do with it.

    -------

    The process of getting from Fairplay to open format (MP3/WAV) involves some loss of quality - analogous to, but probably less than, dubbing a record or tape to tape. Indeed, iTunes software dictates the quality of the conversion. Similarly, in the .tivo case, the sanctioned MyDVD degrades the original quality in the process (which degradation I suspect is far greater than could be achieved.)

    I surmise that in the iTMS case, the IP owners made the agreement knowing that the copies were not exact digital copies, that it would be necessary to have parallels of use from the analog world to have the digital method succeed commercially (Apple would wisely have negotiated this point,) and that they were still protected by other laws related to copyright - including restrictions to personal, non-commercial use.

    Similarly, I suspect TiVo made a decision that its method would not get it into litigation with IP owners - although obviously TiVo did not make contractual agreements with IP owners as did Apple.
     
  19. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    But say TivoPhish's proposal for interoperability IS indeed ruled to be not only legal, but a substitute by the courts.

    Now say the third party vendor of a telephone wants to dial long distance on a non Ma Bell phone.

    Can they say "please enter your 12 digit security code.... Now as an additional security measure please enter your child's social security number. Thank you. The estimated wait time for the next available long distance line is 7 minutes 18 seconds. Please enjoy this Barry Manilow song while you wait...."

    Ok HD- you are an old guy maybe you enjoy Manilow... ;)

    Similarly for people who elect not to use OCAP, is it ok to degrade the connectivity to levels similar to what TivoPhish proposes for interoperability?

    Maybe DT_DC is right and the law is written so generally that monopolist wannabe's can pretty much jack up rates however they want with the knowlege that the switching costs are so high due to the requirement for trully interoperable hardware, that few people will leave.

    They can point to the availability of non OCAP hardware to say- "look! it interoperates too. Ok quit your whining- we know not everyone likes Manilow..."

    Nice racket.
     
  20. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    Yes, the cableco's doing a shell game. So's the CEA. So's everyone else involved in the proceeding. All of them are doing the exact same thing ...

    "When the majority of people press GUIDE ... I want them to see my guide. If someone is going to get paid to put an add in that guide, or add additional services, programming, and functionality to that guide ... it's most likely going to be me. If someone is going to get paid for a pop-up / telescoping add ... it's most likely going to be me. Etc. And, I'm going to propose regs and standards that make it easier for me to do this ... and more difficult for others to do likewise."

    That's what everyone (with a stake in this ... read $$$ to be made or lost) is doing.

    I don't know if I'd go as far as "defeat the effort to provide real alternatives". More like "tipping the scales towards my alternative". And that goes for the cablecos AND the CE companies (and everyone else).

    But ... this gets to my "OCAP in and of itself is not the problem" point. Some specifics proposed by CableLabs are the problem ...

    Let me ask you this:

    Cable and the CEA and (almost) everyone else agreed in 2002 that a version of OCAP, with both mandatory support by cable (must provide certain apps via OCAP) and client (required for "interactive digital cable ready" product labeling) could serve as the basis for providing interactive services.
    http://www.ncta.com/pdf_files/CE-NCTAagreement.pdf (CEA/NCTA Memorandum of understanding)
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518185152 (CEA report to FCC)

    And even now ... both Cable and the CEA and (almost) everyone else is still saying the same thing.
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518185152 (CEA report to FCC)

    Read cable's and the CEA's proposed regulations. Honestly ... they are not that dramatically different (on the surface ... yes, when you start tracing down the end results of those differences it can be revealing).
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518185152 (CEA)
    http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6518185072 (cable)

    Ok ... so if you're the FCC ... what do you do now?

    1) Look at the specific differences in the two reg proposals and two OCAP implementations ... and get input from everyone involved (CEA, cable, others) on how exactly these differences impact retail availability of navigation devices ... try to get CEA, cable, and others to agree / settle / compromise (because if they don't you're going to have to start deciding things for them which one, many, or all parties may find less than ideal) ... and then start making specific determinations of remaining differences / disagreements based on CEA, cable, others input on how each of these differences would impact impact retail availability of navigation devices.

    OR

    2) Toss the whole thing out because it doesn't suit your 'ideal' solution. Unreasonably tell the parties involved to work on something 'better' ... or arbitrarily turn to someone else to propose something ... or capriciously put your own set of regs / standards on the table ...

    And yes, I intentionally used "unreasonable", "arbitrary and capricious" in option 2 ... because those are exactly the terms you'd see in a court challange of any resulting regulations.

    Personally ... I'd go with 1.

    Everyone's playing the shell game ... how do you see the forrest through the trees and resolve it?

    If you look at the players ...
    - Everyone has financial incentives
    - Everyone wants something from the other parties

    I would suggest that makes for a pretty good environment for throwing all the children in a room and only resolving disputes when someone yells mommy (realizing that mommy might give the toy to you ... might give it to your brother ... or might take it away all together).
     

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