-Copyright Protected- error from live TV with DVDR

NOTE: This is not an attempt to discover a way around copyright laws. It’s my understanding that it’s perfectly legal to record one copy of a program off of live TV, like most of us have been doing with our VCRs for, what, 20 years now, give or take.

I have a Toshiba DVD recorder. More and more, when I record off of the TV–usually via TiFaux–the recorder automatically halts the recording with a “copyright protected” alert. Shouldn’t this not happen?

Some facts that might be relevant:
[ul][li]At first it only happened on the Encore channels, including their “__plex” subsidiaries. [/li][li]For a long time since it started happening, I was able to record freely off of IFC, Sundance, and TCM. Now, it happens more and more frequently on IFC. Occasionally I get it on TCM, but when I start the recording again, it works OK.[/li][li]I tracked down phone numbers for customer service humans from both Toshiba, Comcast (my provider), and Encore. Each denies responsibility and blames the other. No one I could get on the phone has any idea why this is happening.[/li][li]When I recorded Night of the Living Dead, off of one of the Encore channels, it recorded just fine. *Night of the Living Dead *is in the public domain.[/li][li]I believe this began happening right about the time I installed an update disc sent to my by Toshiba when my machine would not properly finalize the discs I recorded. The finalizing problem resolved with the update, but at about the same time this copyright error began occurring. Toshiba refuses to send me a copy of an older version to reinstall.[/li][/ul]

Has anyone had similar experiences? Can anyone suggest any insight? And though I’m not asking for legal advice, is my understanding correct that making a single personal copy off of a television channel is perfectly legal?

Thanks in advance for the learned replies I have grown to expect from this board.

Looks like your DVD recorder is now subject to the broadcast flag. See http://www.eff.org/IP/broadcastflag/ for more information.

Thanks, Ducks! That’s way more information than I was able to find. However, unless I’m reading wrong, don’t your links talk about *proposed *broadcast flags? Are these actually in use now?

And do I understand that it would be the channel that would broadcast such flags? or would they be embedded in specific programs? My difficulty has been with programs, not channels. Programs on specific channels, to be sure, but the ‘copyright protected’ alert doesn’t pop up until after the movie begins; it doesn’t happen during commercial/promo materials leading up to the program. Also, as I mentioned, Encore allowed me to record Night of the Living Dead, which suggests to me that it’s per-program, not per-channel. (Although some channels, like the encore cluster, have allowed such flags to be broadcast, while others, like TCM, have not. Apparently.)

What am I not understanding?

It’s not the broadcast flag (which isn’t in use), it’s Macrovision. Most likely, your cable box is producing Macrovision signals at the request of those channels, and your DVD recorder is picking them up and giving you the finger.

Here’s an example of Macrovision signals causing trouble for TiVo users. IIRC, they eventually tracked down the cause, and it wasn’t noise (as TiVo claimed) but some engineer accidentally :dubious: turning on copy protection for certain shows.

Certain devices known as video stabilizers will strip out the signal. This manufacturer’s FAQ claims the devices are legal and cites the US Copyright Office’s summary of the DMCA.

Yes, that was the subject of the Betamax decision.

While the broadcast flag may not yet be law, that does not stop the copyright owners from pressuring the techy folks to invoke it. From this wikipedia article, it appears to be the case. In addition, there is this tidbit as well:

So while the Betamax case says you can time-shift using videotapes things become murky with DVDs and the DMCA.

Hmm. Well, my TiFaux records just fine; it’s my DVD-R that halts the DVD recording *from *TiFaux to DVD-R. So it’s the Toshiba that’s picking up the Macrovision, I assume? But it’s the channels that are broadcasting the Macrovision, right?

So: are these my options?

  1. Get the channels to “unflip the switch” that is allowing the Macrovision signal to be broadcast


  1. Find a way to get the Toshiba DVD-R to ignore it

Again, am I understanding correctly, that those are my only two options (insofar as I even have options)?

If that’s the case, my first step is STILL to get the broadcast channels to acknowledge that they ARE broadcasting Macrovision signals; the customer service people I talk to deny any knowledge, and won’t put me in touch with any engineer types. Or, to get Toshiba to acknowledge that I’m within my legal rights to find a workaround. I mean, aren’t I? Isn’t the Macrovision detection built into the Toshiba for the purpose of preventing my copying discs or tapes, which I am *not *doing? It’s preventing my fair use, isn’t it?

Alternatively, does anyone out there think there’s a way I can reinstall the previous Toshiba system? As I said before, this all seems to have begun happening only after I installed an update disc from Toshiba.

Or am I just screwed?

Do any of the rest of you record to DVD off of television, specifically the Encore channels, or IFC, without such problems? If so, what’s your setup? Do I need to junk the Toshiba for a different machine if I want to continue to make fair-use copies of individual programs for my own personal use?

Well, the fact that he’s recording to a DVD isn’t relevant here.

As for the reference to 1201(a), it seems to me that if anything, it’s 1201(b) that would cover a Macrovision stripper (since Macrovision doesn’t “effectively control access to a work”, it only prevents copying), but that’s a nitpick.

So . . . no options?


Anyone else record from those channels to DVD? With or without similar problems? If without, what equipment do you use? If with, how similar are your problems to mine?

If #2 includes stripping out the Macrovision signal before it reaches the DVD-R, yes.

Copy protection measures like this always prevent fair use, because they’re implemented by machines, and fair use is a situational judgment call that depends on factors the machine can’t possibly take into consideration. The machine doesn’t know if you’re just going to copy 30 seconds of the movie for use in a review, or if you’re making a personal backup, or if you have the copyright holder’s permission, etc. It knows that the incoming video has a flag that says it shouldn’t be recorded, but it doesn’t know whether you’d actually be breaking the law if you were allowed to record.

And fair use isn’t a defense to DMCA violations, even if you’re only doing it in order to make a copy that would be legal under the fair use doctrine. There’s a reason people have been protesting (and/or blatantly violating) the DMCA for eight years now. Expect problems like the one you’re having to get more and more common: you’re lucky now because there’s an analog connection between your cable box and DVD-R where you can easily strip the Macrovision signal, but think about five years from now when that might be an encrypted digital connection.

You’re using a Toshiba? There’s yer problem, Toshiba sucks. :smiley: I own a Panasonic DMR-ES30VS VHS/DVD Recorder combo and it works like a dream, despite being over a year old. It does have Macrovision protection (which means I can’t back up VHS tapes I LEGALLY OWN…grr!) but I’ve never had any problem recording from HBO, IFC, or any other channel.

It’s a travesty that while consumers do have rights regarding “fair use”, there is no law against the media manufacturers preventing you from enjoying your civil rights. Indeed, the DMCA and grey area regarding “time-shifting” of DVD-Rs actually makes it illegal for consumers to workaround any copy-protection scheme that prevents them from enjoying their constitutionally protected civil rights, and this is unlikely to change as long as corporate lobbyists (e.g. Sony) dominate Congress.

Frankly, I would just download everything. Within legal parameters, naturally. :wink:

Hee hee. I had the *exact *same problem, and have the answer you seek. I won’t be giving it to you however because you have been such a complete dick in several threads lately to others and to me.

Enjoy not being able to burn DVD-Rs and I hope you’ll remember this next time you call everyone in a thread who disagrees with you names.



Let’s halt this. Right now. Lissener, I realize you said you didn’t want to violate the law in your OP. And the first part of this thread kept to that.

But it’s crossed the line. When Duckster posted:

then that should have stopped it right there, since this is obviously what you are attempting to do.

Rum Munkey, WARNING! Your comments were totally inappropriate for GQ. Next time, open a Pit thread.

I’m going to close this.