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Shouldn't copying software be allowed for personal home use?


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#1 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:35 PM

Back in the 1970s, a case went before the US Supreme Court: Networks and movie studios were accusing Sony of violating copyright laws by selling a product that allowed home users to record and play back copyrighted material.

The Supreme Court ruled in Sony's favor. Commonly referred to as "The Betamax Ruling", the court decided the recording and saving of programming for personal home use is legal and does not violate copyright law.

Fast forward to 2010: There are enough threads on this board about "copying" hard drives and setting up RAID "backups" to choke a donkey, not to mention a ton of free advertising for Hippauge's PVR device. (It reminds me of my days in college when stores displayed rolling papers and bongs beside a sign reading "For Tobacco Use Only")

Using the Supreme Court's "Betamax" ruling as a test, how is using a PVR any different from installing a Linux-based ("hackware") program to copy files off a DVR and into a format that's compatible with Windows Media Player? Aside from having the PC perform the decoding, both do exactly the same thing with the same end result: A copy of a movie or TV show for personal use.

I am not condoning the illegal resale of copyrighted materials; just asking what I feel is a legitimate question. I have many hours of content saved on my DVR and would prefer to save it in the event my current DVR bites it or I decide to upgrade to a newer model. Although I have advanced PC knowledge, I prefer a simple approach (my home network and existing PC) versus tearing apart my DVR and/or not being able to watch what I've already paid for and recorded when I eventually go to a newer model.

I know this seems like I'm beating this Board's ultimate "dead horse"; however I feel it's a legit question on the legal difference (if any) between a PVR and "hackware".

Edited by gman863, 06 October 2010 - 07:47 PM.
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#2 OFFLINE   LarryFlowers

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:55 PM

The Betamax FINAL Supreme court decision ruled that "time shifting" constituted fair use. While DVR's fall under the same ruling, the copyright owners and DirecTV have chosen to impose additional restrictions they feel are in their best interests.

You could record anything you want OTA onto a TIVO and then thru various methods transfer it to a hard drive or DVD retained for personal use and not streamed and it would be legal.

However, DirecTV has decided that you won't do that with their equipment, for whatever reason, they have not allowed independent hard drive storage. The drive must remain connected to the DVR that recorded the program. There are methods of transferring programming in SD format and no doubt there will eventually be HD transfers as well, but transferring programming is a "real time" process and personally not worth the time involved.

WIth TV programming readily available from on line sources and streaming movies quickly gaining in popularity, why go to all the trouble.
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#3 OFFLINE   RoyGBiv

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:59 PM

There is a new law which addresses this issue. It has nothing to do with making copies for personal use. Instead, it involves any attempt to defeat copy protection schemes of digital media. So, it is still legal to make one copy for personal use as using a DVR as long as you are not defeating copy protection software. Once you "hack" the software to get around copy protection, it is now illegal, even if it is only one copy for your own use.

This law has not been tested in court, but it is hard to imagine anyone at this point trying to test it.

SMK

#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 08:13 PM

Googling "digital millenium copyright act" should give more info, "but" we've got a new/different law(s) to deal with now and to use the "old law" requires the analog "loophole", which is what the PVR exploits.
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#5 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 10:39 PM

Thanks for everyone's responses.

Googling "digital millenium copyright act" should give more info, "but" we've got a new/different law(s) to deal with now and to use the "old law" requires the analog "loophole", which is what the PVR exploits.


Don't shoot the messenger, but I have a feeling "DVR Copying Software" gets more hits on Google per day than the DMCA. I haven't Googled it myself yet; however I promise I'll keep anything I find in the "don't ask, don't tell" folder on my hard drive.


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#6 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 05:29 AM

As to the difference between a PVR and “hackware”...”hackware” is a prohibited subject at DBSTalk and PRV’s aren’t. :grin:

What about service providers? They have to deal with the movie studios and broadcasters in order to deliver us the content. I wonder how favorable they would view a stance by any service provider that may allow coping programming for unrestricted use. Would that have any effect on our bills?

However, service providers aside, if I can record the video/audio signal from my DVR then I should be allowed to...as long as it’s for my own personal use and I’m not BitTorrenting the thing all over the web (it’s amazing what my daughter seems to get a hold of :rolleyes:).

BTW, if I can record an HD stream to an external PVR...what the heck would I need hackware for? :shrug:

Mike

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#7 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 10:11 PM

What about service providers? They have to deal with the movie studios and broadcasters in order to deliver us the content. I wonder how favorable they would view a stance by any service provider that may allow coping programming for unrestricted use. Would that have any effect on our bills?


I think the question should be How much of an effect has it already had on our bills? I may be showing my age here, but I remember when movies on D* were $1.99 each. Now they're $4.99 and up.

On a side note, I'd rather pay a bit more per channel and be able to keep what I want, so long as I could only subscribe to what I want. I don't give a rat's *** about NBA, NFL, Golf, chick channels (Lifetime, Oprah, etc.), Disney Channel, Sonic Tap or home shopping. In the face of "a la carte" channel and programming offerings becoming more available through online paid streaming, the Big Two satellite providers need to seriously consider the same.

If you subscribe to Time Magizine, does that force you to also subscribe and pay for Newsweek, Us, People, Road & Track, etc.? My guess is that (even factoring in the base cost of the satellite service itself) my bill would drop substantially and, more importantly, it would force greedy pigs like Disney from slamming D* with huge fee increases that are passed on to us on a regular basis. They would have to offer deals to subscribers on their channels just as major magazines offer yearly subscriptions at about 80% off the newsstand price. The number of subscribers is a huge factor on if companies will pay to advertise on the channel and at what price.

BTW, if I can record an HD stream to an external PVR...what the heck would I need hackware for?Mike


Using the PC to do file conversions is a lot faster, not to mention shelling out $189 and adding another piece of clutter to my system. I think I already have as much wiring on my home theater as a typical nuclear power plant. :grin:

Edited by gman863, 07 October 2010 - 10:34 PM.
Additional Info.


#8 OFFLINE   armchair

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 11:05 PM

What about service providers? They have to deal with the movie studios and broadcasters in order to deliver us the content. I wonder how favorable they would view a stance by any service provider that may allow coping programming for unrestricted use. Would that have any effect on our bills?


Mike


I don't know the answer but I wonder what if any impact Dish Network suffered from allowing authorized user DVRs to copy/move recordings to an external USB HDD to view on other authorized receivers? The copy/move is file transfer speed and maintains original format & resolution. Although it's too slow and inconvenient for MRV purposes, I think it's an alternative to lost recordings when swapping DVRs (I think it's only a matter of authorizing a replacement DVR to view the content being that multiple receivers on account can view the same content).

Although in their case, it's not unrestricted use but limited to authorized receivers on same account which is the OP/TS's inquiry. It may be in Directv's corporate interest to not allow this feature for their own benefit but IMO, it's a feature that may interest patrons considering an alternative. (In the balance of likes and dislikes of the two, I'm OK with Directv for now.)

As others have suggested, including one moderator, maybe someday Directv users can do the same between their authorized receivers using eSATA w/o losing recordings when swapping DVRs. I currently have little interest in eSATA myself, but having a true storage capability would immediately peak my interest!

#9 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 12:06 AM

As others have suggested, including one moderator, maybe someday Directv users can do the same between their authorized receivers using eSATA w/o losing recordings when swapping DVRs. I currently have little interest in eSATA myself, but having a true storage capability would immediately peak my interest!


In lieu of using a PVR or (cough, nudge, wink) other measures, I would be OK with this solution if it included the following:

  • The ability to directly copy individual shows (versus cloning the entire drive) from the DVR's internal drive to an external drive without having to use a PC, networking or removing the internal drive from the DVR.
  • The ability to connect the external drive(s) to any authorized receiver on my account (current, upgrade or replacement) with an eSATA connection.
  • A guarantee that any recordings (or at least non pay-per-view recordings) would not expire or be unavailable to view so long as I am a DirecTV subscriber.
  • An added plus would be the ability for the DVR to recognize both the internal drive and external eSATA drive simultaneously - no need to disconnect the eSATA to see what's on the internal drive. If the DVR was especially intelligent, it could even ask which drive (internal or external) you want to record a given program to and/or automatically switch recording to the external drive if the internal drive is full.

I know several people who (through breaking copy protection on Blu-Ray, standard DVDs and/or Bit Torrent P2P downloading) have amassed up to 10TB of content on either a RAID server or individual hot swap drives - content the studios, networks and authors haven't received a cent of royalties on.

This would be a "win, win". I could keep as many favorites as I want and the studio execs could chill out and quit acting like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. ("NO COPY FOR YOU!!!"):mad:

Edited by gman863, 08 October 2010 - 12:31 AM.
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#10 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:36 AM

In lieu of using a PVR or (cough, nudge, wink) other measures, I would be OK with this solution if it included the following:

  • The ability to directly copy individual shows (versus cloning the entire drive) from the DVR's internal drive to an external drive without having to use a PC, networking or removing the internal drive from the DVR.
  • The ability to connect the external drive(s) to any authorized receiver on my account (current, upgrade or replacement) with an eSATA connection.

What exactly would these do that MRV doesn’t already do? :scratchin

IOW, why would I need to move hard drives around when I can already watch anything from anywhere? :shrug:

  • A guarantee that any recordings (or at least non pay-per-view recordings) would not expire or be unavailable to view so long as I am a DirecTV subscriber.

I have recordings on my DVRs that are years old including stuff from premium channels and AFAIK, PPV/Cinema recordings are the only ones that expire. ;)

  • An added plus would be the ability for the DVR to recognize both the internal drive and external eSATA drive simultaneously - no need to disconnect the eSATA to see what's on the internal drive. If the DVR was especially intelligent, it could even ask which drive (internal or external) you want to record a given program to and/or automatically switch recording to the external drive if the internal drive is full.

This I would love to see this. I would even go a step further and make it like my old TiVo. When I added a second drive to my old HDVR2 it automatically added it to the existing drive to create one single volume. It was completely transparent and immediately tripled the recording capacity. I didn’t worry about whether it was internal or external and with MRV, Whole Home DVR Service, it wouldn’t need to worry about which drive it’s on.

I know several people who (through breaking copy protection on Blu-Ray, standard DVDs and/or Bit Torrent P2P downloading) have amassed up to 10TB of content on either a RAID server or individual hot swap drives - content the studios, networks and authors haven't received a cent of royalties on.

This would be a "win, win". I could keep as many favorites as I want and the studio execs could chill out and quit acting like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. ("NO COPY FOR YOU!!!"):mad:

IMHO, we are not likely to see any changes to encryption/HDCP so that is pretty much a non-starter. However, I would love to see combining internal & external drives into a single volume so that I could very easily add capacity. That plus MRV is, IMHO, the best option.

This question is for everyone in this thread. Why would I want to move external hard drives around between my DVRs when I can connect an external drive to increase recording capacity by nearly five fold, and have access to everything on any DVR from any other receiver (including standalond receivers that I can't add a drive to)? What does have the ability to move external drives around do that MRV can't do.

I know some people would love to keep/archive their stuff, unencrypted and without having to separately record the DVR output via component, but I don’t think that will ever happen.

Mike

Edited by Mike Bertelson, 08 October 2010 - 05:47 AM.

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#11 OFFLINE   Getteau

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 01:06 PM

What exactly would these do that MRV doesn’t already do? :scratchin

IOW, why would I need to move hard drives around when I can already watch anything from anywhere? :shrug:


One example I could think of, and it’s one that gets thrown out pretty regularly when this topic comes up, would be if I wanted to upgrade all my HR21/2/3's to HR24's. If I could copy the existing shows to an external drive, I could then replace all my old DVR without having worry about losing my existing recordings. Hopefully the process would be 2-way, so when I got the new receiver, I could put the shows from the external drive back on the new device.

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#12 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

What exactly would these do that MRV doesn’t already do? :scratchin

IOW, why would I need to move hard drives around when I can already watch anything from anywhere? :shrug:


The key is being able to keep your existing recordings in the event the internal HDD crashes or you upgrade to a newer model DVR. I'll concede moving hard drives from one active DVR to another is not an issue.

The other major plus would be the ability to use multiple hard drives through an external hot swap drive bay. If you eventually amass hundreds of HD movies and TV shows, you will be getting into many, many TB of data (Think of the external hot swap bay as a 21st Century digital 8-track deck and you'll get the idea.:) ) For those of us who only have one D* DVR, this is a big issue.

I have recordings on my DVRs that are years old including stuff from premium channels and AFAIK, PPV/Cinema recordings are the only ones that expire. ;)


If the the DVR or internal HDD crashes and you don't have a back up, everything you've saved on it expires.:D

This question is for everyone in this thread. Why would I want to move external hard drives around between my DVRs when I can connect an external drive to increase recording capacity by nearly five fold, and have access to everything on any DVR from any other receiver (including standalond receivers that I can't add a drive to)? What does have the ability to move external drives around do that MRV can't do.


I wasn't aware D* had upgraded to a whole house DVR option similar to AT&T's U-Verse. I stand corrected. :goofygrin

I know some people would love to keep/archive their stuff, unencrypted and without having to separately record the DVR output via component, but I don’t think that will ever happen.


It doesn't hurt to dream.... :soapbox:

An unrelated tip on buying and upgrading hard drives: If your DVR supports it, look for drives labeled "RAID/Enterprise" or at least "AV". Although a few bucks more than standard-grade HDDs, they have better heat resistance. Constant use for hours at a time (play or record) generates a lot more heat - especially if placed in an entertainment center cabinet with limited airflow.

RAID/Enterprise drives are built to withstand 24/7 server use (they do not have to be used as part of a RAID setup). AV drives are a step down but still more heat resistant than standard drives. I worked at a major computer components retailer and saw this first hand.

Edited by gman863, 08 October 2010 - 01:47 PM.
Add HDD Info.


#13 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 01:45 PM

One example I could think of, and it’s one that gets thrown out pretty regularly when this topic comes up, would be if I wanted to upgrade all my HR21/2/3's to HR24's. If I could copy the existing shows to an external drive, I could then replace all my old DVR without having worry about losing my existing recordings. Hopefully the process would be 2-way, so when I got the new receiver, I could put the shows from the external drive back on the new device.

Upgrading or replacing a defective receiver is the only reason I can think of.

You have to question whether there is enough of a call for this to code it into the firmware. IOW, what percentage of subs would make use of this feature?

Mike

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#14 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:23 PM

The key is being able to keep your existing recordings in the event the internal HDD crashes or you upgrade to a newer model DVR. I'll concede moving hard drives from one active DVR to another is not an issue.

The other major plus would be the ability to use multiple hard drives through an external hot swap drive bay. If you eventually amass hundreds of HD movies and TV shows, you will be getting into many, many TB of data (Think of the external hot swap bay as a 21st Century digital 8-track deck and you'll get the idea.:) ) For those of us who only have one D* DVR, this is a big issue.

Back in my I-usta-be-in-IT days, I was hot swapping SCSI hard drives in ProLiant NT Servers 15 years ago (“huge” 500MB drives !rolling) so I completely understand...and yeah, in the ‘70s I had a couple of 8-track players...what of it. :cool: :lol:

Seriously though, I think mass archiving is something that is very rare among subscribers so I doubt you would see the hot swap ability any time soon...or ever for that matter. I think the very few people who would want to do this should be assembling their own HTPC’s and start archiving. The percentage of the 18 million+ subs who would even do this is so small as to be insignificant (in numbers not as people ;))

If the the DVR or internal HDD crashes and you don't have a back up, everything you've saved on it expires.:D

I’ve had a dozen+ hard drives in various machines in my house, not counting DVRs, and it’s actually pretty rare that hard drives fail. Back in my I-usta-be-in-IT days, the hospital I worked at had about 3200 PCs over the various facilities and of the failures I’ve seen, hard drives comprised the smallest percentage. Maybe it’s just my experience but I’ve seen more PC cards, memory, and power supplies fail than hard drives. :shrug:

(of course as I type this, I actually have a drive going in one of my DVRs...Irony :D)

Now if you want to transfer a drive to a new DVR because the old one failed, I’ll go along with that. AAMOF, at a minimum I believe that techs should have the ability to either transfer the data or the whole drive so people don't just lose everything if the a DVR dies or is upgraded...I don't see it happening but I think it's something DirecTV should look into; especially considering how easy it is to amass dozens of hours of programing and the fact that the smallest drives currently shipping with DVRs allow for 100 hours of MPEG-4 HD.

I wasn't aware D* had upgraded to a whole house DVR option similar to AT&T's U-Verse. I stand corrected. :goofygrin

It doesn't hurt to dream....
:soapbox:
<snip>.

The official roll out of the Whole Home DVR Service happened last spring I think and it was probably in testing for a year or more before that.

I like the idea of being able to save my recordings and transferring them to a new DVR but, IMHO, the number of people who would need this is so very small that I can’t see it becoming a priority. Then, you take into account that MRV precludes having to ever move a hard drive between receivers and that just puts the final nail into that coffin. Of course I could be wrong...it wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. :grin:

Mike

Edited by Mike Bertelson, 08 October 2010 - 02:33 PM.

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#15 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:25 PM

Maybe it’s just my experience but I’ve seen more PC cards, memory, and power supplies fail than hard drives. :shrug:

(of course as I type this, I actually have a drive going in one of my DVRs...Irony :D)


Although I haven't had any HDD issues with my current DVR (knock on wood, going on 3 years), my concern is the quality of entry-level HDDs as a whole seems to be dropping.

I'm basing this statement on both personal experience (I moonlight building and repairing PCs) and what I saw working at a large computer parts retailer.

I would wait on two or three people per day with the same issue: The HDD they used for video recording and playback crashed within several months after purchase. The complaints were mainly on budget priced product (currently something like a $59 1TB drive) or cheaper external drives. Many of these customers openly admitted they were video packrats, saving hundreds of movies in a digital library (Can you say "Bit Torrent", boys and girls? Sure you can. :evilgrin:)

Current cheaper HDDs aren't designed to spin at redline for hours at a time; hence the failure rates. As for the customers who I convinced to spend the extra $40 on a RAID drive, I never had a single complaint. :)

#16 OFFLINE   chili555

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 02:25 PM

I am new to the forum, so pardon me if my questions are uninformed. I am asking the questions in order to become informed.

Is it illegal to record DirecTV programming on to a hard drive or DVD? What is your citation? If it is, why do DVD recorders, Moxie, Tivo, et al exist without legal challenge from DirecTV, Dish, Disney, HBO, etc.?

Is Linux considered here, by its nature 'hackware?' Do you consider its use prima facie proof of wrong-doing? Do you believe the availability and use of MythTV is illegal? May I have a citation, please?

I understand that removing a hard drive from a leased DVR is probably violative of DirecTV's Terms of Service.

I also understand that sharing and/or selling DVDs recorded from DirecTV is illegal in many ways.

However, given the Betamax case, isn't recording still recording even if it's a hard drive or a DVD or some future solid-state device?

#17 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 02:29 PM

I am new to the forum, so pardon me if my questions are uninformed. I am asking the questions in order to become informed.

Is it illegal to record DirecTV programming on to a hard drive or DVD? What is your citation? If it is, why do DVD recorders, Moxie, Tivo, et al exist without legal challenge from DirecTV, Dish, Disney, HBO, etc.?

Is Linux considered here, by its nature 'hackware?' Do you consider its use prima facie proof of wrong-doing? Do you believe the availability and use of MythTV is illegal? May I have a citation, please?

I understand that removing a hard drive from a leased DVR is probably violative of DirecTV's Terms of Service.

I also understand that sharing and/or selling DVDs recorded from DirecTV is illegal in many ways.

However, given the Betamax case, isn't recording still recording even if it's a hard drive or a DVD or some future solid-state device?

Recording to a video capture in a PC or a recordable DVD is allowed. Actually I don't see anyway to prevent it...via component/composite anyway.

It's no different the recording TV on our VHS machines in the '80s. Certainly using a recordable DVD machine is not "hackware". Now anything that removes/bypasses/overrides HDCP, that could be considered hacking.

I don't know where the line is but taking the output and simply recording it to something like tape or disk isn’t an issue.

Mike

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Since it costs 2.4¢ to produce a penny, my 2¢ worth is really 4.8¢ worth.  That 4.8¢ is my own and not the 4.8¢ of DIRECTV, Dish, or anyone else for that matter.


#18 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 02:40 PM

I don't know where the line is but taking the output and simply recording it to something like tape or disk isn’t an issue.

Mike

[not the expert here, but...] it's illegal to make a digital copy, where isn't not to make an analog copy [Betamax]. To my knowledge all DVD, video capture cards, etc. have/use an analog connection, unless connected to a Vidicam.
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#19 OFFLINE   gman863

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 08:33 PM

[not the expert here, but...] it's illegal to make a digital copy, where isn't not to make an analog copy [Betamax]. To my knowledge all DVD, video capture cards, etc. have/use an analog connection, unless connected to a Vidicam.


Since my last post (rant?) on this issue a few days ago, I thought of how it (at least in some cases) is legal to make a digital copy.

In their licensing agreements, Microsoft and most other software companies specifically allow the end-user (customer) to make a back-up copy of the CD or DVD containing the software in the event the original disc is damaged or destroyed. This does not allow free-for-all use of the intellectual property rights. Activation of the software is required using a unique code that will be rejected if the activation request exceeds the number of installs (licenses) purchased.

D* and Hollywood should show subscribers the same consideration by allowing us to back up/copy individual programs from the DVR to an external HDD directly using the eSATA connection. Even if we were not allowed to convert the files to a common format (MPEG, AVCHD, etc.), we should be allowed to play them back on a newer DVR licensed to us due to an upgrade or replacement of a defective unit.

Honestly, if D*'s main satellite competitor wasn't dropping channels every time they get into a pi$$ing contest with a network, I would seriously consider switching since they already offer the ability to back up shows and play them on newer replacement DVRs.

#20 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

veryoldschool

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 08:58 PM

Couple of points here:

  • Microsoft doesn't encrypt their CD/DVDs.
  • The DVR does encrypt the files and "brand them" to the hardware.
What "we think" DirecTV should do, doesn't mean anything at the end of the day. We've wanted them to change branding to access cards/accounts, but nothing has changed in 4 years, so....
While I've still got my first HR20s, it would be a PITA to have one fail and not be able to view recordings that were on an eSATA, but that's the way it is.
These can be off loaded to a DVD, but not in HD and the recordings can't be edited in any way.
Using a video capture/ PVR will allow this, but it's time consuming and still exploits "the analog loophole".
"Bit for Bit" HD copying seems to be the holy grail to Hollywood.
A.K.A VOS




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