The one-liner says that the FCC approved certain TiVo features that permit TiVo subscribers to send copies of recorded shows over the Internet. The very idea has the Cartel (and major-league sports; more on that below) in a tizzy.
However, the deeper notion is more interesting. The FCC ruled that TiVo's proposed "Digital Output Protection Technology" was sufficiently well-designed to prevent the content from being generally propagated.
The DOPT appears to be somewhat similar to Apple's iTunes scheme, in that users are restricted to sending content among (up to 10) TiVo units sharing an account. It's not immediately clear to me why one account would have more than one TiVo registered (perhaps a dormitory or a family with kids at college?) nor how much hassle it is to move content around.
Still, this is the first time the FCC has approved a copy technology that doesn't include the broadcast flag, and the decision suggests that the FCC might be open to more such schemes. This is a significant departure from previous situations.
One of the tipping issues in this case is apparently that TiVo's system doesn't include so-called "proximity" restrictions. The registered devices don't have to be anywhere near each other in meatspace. This is mostly what has the sports leagues wringing their hands because they're afraid of people sharing sports games with areas that are "blacked out" - typically a home city for games that don't sell out. Hey guys, how about you do less suing and more working with the stadiums and teams to make the live experience more attractive, eh? Attendance at live sporting events is generally plummeting around the country and a few dozen TiVo viewers isn't going to make a whit of difference.Posted by dr. wex at August 6, 2004 01:18 PM