Tivo & Transitional (Un)Fair Use

September 15, 2005

Well, that didn’t take long — last December, when the whole “Transitional Fair Use” thing started rearing it’s ugly head, I said “Tivo seems to be going out of their way to knuckle under to this kind of crap from the content producers, so we can probably assume that our equipment will be “enabled” (more like “disabled”) to enforce this at some point.

Now of course, it’s happened — Tivo users are catching flags indicating “the copyright holder prohibited saving the episode past date XX/XX”. Not on premium content, but on reruns of the Simpsons of all things.

Tivo is busy backing and filling, claiming that a “noise” glitch caused the Macrovision protection flag to be “accidently” set.

Which is, of course, beside the point — whether the flag was set by accident or not, it’s obvious that Tivo is now ready, willing and able to obey the Macrovision flag set by the broadcaster.

So what? This means that if you bought a Tivo last year (for example), they’ve now introduced “updates” to your software that TAKE AWAY FEATURES from the system you bought. If you’d purchased the system with the intenion of storing up a few weeks or months of a program before you watched it, you are now in a position where the broadcaster can arbitrarily keep you from doing it. Regardless of any lack of warning when you purchased it.

This is like buying a brand new car, and discovering six months from now that there are streets that it will now refuse to drive down…

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