[mythtv-users] tv_grab_au (rex): some channels missing
mythtv at maxbarry.com
Wed Aug 30 23:42:15 UTC 2006
Paul Wayper wrote:
> Max Barry wrote:
>> YourTV has indeed just fscked with the data, which makes this an even
>> better idea. However, can we stop perpetuating the myth that web
>> scrapers are illegal? Just because a web page says "You must stand on
>> one foot and touch your nose if you wish to use this data" does not mean
>> you can be arrested for failing to do so.
> Arrested, no. Sued, yes.
I'm pretty sure that nobody in Australia has ever been threatened with a
lawsuit -- let alone actually sued -- let alone *successfully* sued --
for employing a TV grabber in their home PVR.
This is what I'm talking about by "perpetuating the myth:" you have just
unequivocally stated that we can all be sued for using a TV grabber. But
that's never happened, there's no obvious law against it, and by my
reading the facts on balance suggest it's perfectly legal.
> You should read the reader comments on
> - - it's a good summary of the story so far.
I'm not sure why you think that; that doesn't go into the legality of
using a home grabber at all. You seem confused on two points:
(a) The difference between what TV networks would like us to do and what
we are legally permitted to do; and
(b) The difference between using copyright-protected material yourself
and distributing it.
> It's written by Alan Isherwood, who's been with the OzTivo project a long
> time. I won't reiterate the points, but in a separate talk at Linux
> Conference Australia 2005, Warren Toomey (the man behind OzTivo and the
> tvguide.org.au database and other things) mentioned that they had been
> threatened with lawsuits if they continued to scrape the data. Because,
> according to the Telstra case, they do actually own the copyright on it
> (according to the current laws in Australia). Their cease-and-desist letter
> is at http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/oztivo/2004-June/014567.html
I can send you a cease-and-desist letter instructing you to stop
disagreeing with me; it doesn't mean you're legally compelled to do so.
The TV networks have sent letters asking people in this community do all
kinds of things, at least some of which they clearly have no legal basis
to enforce. Note that these are not lawsuits. They're not independent
legal advice. They're not precedents or case law. They are just letters,
expressing a request.
OzTivo is in a different position to home users because they are
distributing data. The distribution of copyrighted material is
prohibited by Australian law, which may cover TV guide data -- although
that has NOT been established, as we can only guess how applicable the
(controversial) ruling in Telstra vs Desktop Marketing Systems is. But
if it's the case, people are legally prohibited from copying &
distributing it wholesale. That has nothing to do with home use, where
we don't copy or distribute anything but merely read the guide via a PVR
In that letter and on their site, HWW uses the language of contract law.
If you have a contract, you can indeed be legally bound by whatever
conditions both parties agree to. But we home users do not have a
contract with HWW, or the TV networks, or anyone else. They cannot
invent arbitrary conditions that we must comply to; they are restricted
to the specific rights granted by copyright law.
Personally, I think it's quite mischievous of HWW to imply that they're
providing valid legal advice about how/where their guide data can be
used. They appear to be trying to fool people into thinking that doing
anything they don't like with their data is against the law.
> So maybe you need to get your criminal and your civil law sorted out. Copying
> copyrighted stuff is illegal, although it's not a felony. Yet. The way the
> 'Free' Trade Agreement is shaping up with respect to intellectual property
> laws, if they pass in their current form you would be arrested for
> circumventing a technological protection measure on copyrighted data and you
> may very well go to prison.
In the future it might be illegal to lick stamps. Today, it's not. I
agree with you that there are some alarming laws being proposed for the
future, but I think it's unhelpful to raise the spectre of prison time
for viewing a TV guide when that has no relevance to our situation today.
The networks have been very aggressive in fighting PVRs, and using legal
threats do it:
But we don't need to buy into the fear campaign.
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