Friday, March 31, 2006

Cablevision and RS DVRs

A recent article in IP Law 360 describes a new service Cablevision is offering that should provide yet another test case for third party liability over services that facilitate the copying of movies. The article precedes articles in today's news services that motion picture studios, through Movielink, will be releasing movies for certain types of downloading on the same time that they are released on DVD.

The IP Law 360 article is both a bit overwrought in its description of the issues and skimpy on the details of how the service will work, but from other material I have seen, Cablevision will offer a remote-storage video recorder service (RS-DVR) later this year. Remote storage refers to the fact that the storage of the movies will be on the company's own servers, rather than as with TiVo or other devices, on the consumers' own appliance. That initially sounds like what did, but there is this very significant difference: consumers, in their homes, are the ones who initiate the recording by scrolling through Cablevision's channel guide, and will control the copies, that is, the ability to view or delete the programming. Moreover, there will be storage limits. That sounds like fair use to me.

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