Hollywood studios and the US National Football League have protested to the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to stop digital video recorder maker TiVo extending the reach of its technology, allowing users to watch TV shows and movies outside the home.
The objectors argue that the new technology could compromise copyrights of material broadcast digitally, which offers higher sound and video quality than at present, says the Washington Post. They fear computer buffs would capture programmes and start exchanging them online, just as millions of music files are illegally distributed through file-sharing.
The TiVo battle marks an escalating war in Washington as content owners struggle to keep control of copyright works that can be digitally stored, copied, manipulated and redistributed. Public advocacy groups and some technology firms argue that content owners are seeking to revoke long-standing consumer rights to "fair use" of artistic works.
With 1.6m users, TiVo's technology lets users copy programmes for later viewing, pause live shows, skip commercials and otherwise manipulate their viewing, though they have until been unable to send copied programmes to another device apart from "burned" DVD copies.
Now TiVo plans to make its copies more portable, starting this autumn with a system for transferring programmes from the TiVo box to a computer via a small hardware module, from where they could be sent to other devices within the home and viewed on them.
Lovelacemedia | 22.07.2004