"Record Blocking Signal Detected" - now I know why my DVR isn't recording

I bought legal technology, to legally record legally purchased cable programs so we can watch them when we aren’t out in the evenings. So tell me, CW, why are you blocking my recording of your signal with my legal device? As far as I know, time-shifting programs for personal viewing is still legal in the US and Canada.

I don’t know who to be madder at - the network that is blocking my legal use of their signal, the company that is selling DVRs without telling people that the $800 piece of equipment they just bought might not do the single thing they bought it for, or me for not just getting another $20 VCR. :mad:

Can’t you get a decoder card from the TV service provider? The cards, afaik, are somewhere between free and really cheap. I think they do it to mitigate cable theft (i.e. someone splitting your line then can’t see/record stuff). In fact, I think TiVo (for example) tells you on the setup guide to contact your provider to see if you need one.

Or maybe they’re just bastards, either works.

That’s only for the US. They’re not required to give out cable cards, and they may not even exist here, as far as I know.

Sure it’s legal. They just don’t have the duty to make it easy for you, or even possible.
I personally think that’s bollocks. Time and place shifting should be a right. Sure, theoretically segregating the market allows for better price differentiation and “more savings”, if I don’t need all the rights, but somehow, I don’t think the publishers are strapped for cash.

Fair enough. Should I send the pickets and torches priority or are you guys willing to wait 7-10 business days?

I don’t really see a problem with it myself - instead of watching tonight at 7, we watch tomorrow at 7 - what’s the big deal? Is it all those idiotic, brain-liquefying commercials we’re fast-forwarding over? I am old enough that I remember when television was free, and you put up with commercials because hey, tv was free. Now we pay through the ass for it, and they create new and inventive ways of forcing us to watch their shitty commercials for shitty products that we don’t buy. Jerks.

Is it legal to make a recording device which simply ignores the “Record Blocking Signal”? If so, why would any company do otherwise?

They use licencing to prevent decoders from ignoring the “Record Blocking Signal” (“the Flag”). You make a machine that ignores the Flag, you lose your licence to use our technology to decode the signal. This is also why region lockouts still exist, and why you have “region free” DVD players from China.

If you reverse engineer the method of decoding the signal, then they can either sue you for patent infringement (if the method of encoding/decoding is patented) or sue you under the DMCA (which makes circumventing “copyright protection schemes” illegal).

Then I’d call it a bit glib to say “it’s legal”.

Sure it’s legal. If you do manage to time shift, they can’t sue you, they can’t sue VCR makers. Time shifting is not copyright infringement.

They can, however, make it impossible to timeshift.
Tell me, Mr. Anderson… what good is a phone call… if you’re unable to speak?

But you just said they could sue under the DMCA for circumvention of the copyright protection scheme?

Yes. Apparently the circumvention is still illegal even if the purpose of the circumvention is legal. I disagree with this.

And meanwhile, all of the evil people who break the law to do things like timeshift and skip commercials are being punished by being able to timeshift and skip commercials.

This seems pretty short-sighted to me. No way would I ever go back to trying to arrange my schedule around broadcast times in order to follow a television series, or being obligated to sit through commercials in real time.

If it becomes too inconvenient to watch cable television, aren’t more consumers likely to just drop the cable and download the programs that they want to see?

Hmmm… Either pay for the privilege of resigning myself to being physically in front of the TV at broadcast time or missing the program, or download a commercial-free copy of the show the next day and watch it at my convenience. Geez, that’s a hard one.

Yes, I am indeed reconsidering our choice to go with a DVR. Hey, guys, don’t buy DVRs! You’re gonna get hosed! There are better options out there.

Excuse me - I need to go make a sign for picketing.

featherlou, keep a sharp eye on the availability of your programs on the Internet, when you want, where you want. It’s happening.

Meanwhile, can I drop off some hot chocolate for your picket line?

Yes, you certainly can.

I just tape them on the VCR, why can’t you?

This makes me feel a little bit better about downloading torrents of all my favorite shows and only using my cable to watch football games.

Note: this is under the DMCA in the States. featherlou is in Canada. I have no frikkin’ idea whether it’s legal here. But I bet Michael Geist would know.