home > archives > Fair Use Equipment
October 18, 2004
RE: The Electoral College - Just A Little Confusion On My Part Guys

For those of you who were wondering, (I assume the rest of you just knew I was confused and would figure it out), I did realize that the electorate votes do go with the popular vote on a state-by-state basis -- except for 1 or maybe 2 states where it's proportional.

So that means I just have to wait and see what happens in two weeks. Whew.

I've got the TIVO working, and I also just bought a Panasonic DMR-E858 DVD recorder that will allow me two burn DVDs, and, if necessary, when combined with my TIVO and a cable splitter, record two channels simultaneously. Hee haw!

Many of you are sending me clips now to archive, and I'll be getting those up as fast as I can. Weekends are better for that stuff now, as I am Wide Hiving and schooling during the week most of the time.

peace,

lisa

Posted by Lisa at 07:54 AM
January 23, 2003
Robert Kaye On Endless Community Jukebox In The Sky
Wireless == great jukebox in the sky?
While aggregated wireless music collections won't provide everything to everyone everywhere, they do have some interesting qualities that are worth exploring.

If the community around you has the music, do you need to download all of the music to your machine? Better get another bigger harddrive, because the community will have more music than you have harddrive space. So, I hope that people will truely start sharing their collections instead of actually copying them as the current file sharing networks do. And if we're just sharing and not copying does that fall under fair use? (Never mind that fair use has been erradicated in the last few years).

Here's the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://openp2p.com/pub/wlg/2639

Its been over 5 years since the first MP3 Summit where the concept of the jukebox in the sky was hotly debated. The promise of the jukebox in the sky was to make all music available to users everywhere. Users could tap into the jukebox at home, at work, in their car or hiking up a mountain.

Five years later and the iPod is the closest thing to this jukebox we have -- not exactly what people talked about back then. With the current legal climate I'm not expecting the RIAA and its cronies to deliver this jukebox anytime soon.

Community wireless networks have a much better chance of delivering on this promise. Assume for a moment that wireless networks have come of age and in urban areas dense wireless networks blanket the neighborhoods.

Now lets assume that computer users make their music collections available via tools like iCommune. If you can aggregate the music collections of dozens/hundreds of people around you, you'll get a virtual music collection that approaches the jukebox in the sky.

This jukebox won't have everything under the sun (which physical jukebox does?), but it will have large amounts of music ready to be played, right now without waiting for it to download, which is not a bad start.

While aggregated wireless music collections won't provide everything to everyone everywhere, they do have some interesting qualities that are worth exploring.

If the community around you has the music, do you need to download all of the music to your machine? Better get another bigger harddrive, because the community will have more music than you have harddrive space. So, I hope that people will truely start sharing their collections instead of actually copying them as the current file sharing networks do. And if we're just sharing and not copying does that fall under fair use? (Never mind that fair use has been erradicated in the last few years).

And finally, if wireless networks don't rely on traditional ISPs, it conceivable to put firewalls/packet filters at locations where the wireless net connects to a traditional ISPs, so that the RIAA cannot even see these wireless jukeboxes?

Traditional ISPs unwittingly act as DMCA chokepoints, and if firewalls hide the activity of wireless networks, then how will the RIAA combat these jukeboxes in the sky?

Robert Kaye

Posted by Lisa at 03:48 PM
January 11, 2003
Michael Powell Digs His New Tivo

Holy cow! Michael Powell got a TIVO and he loves it!

Now he can understand the true joy the modern Consumer can achieve while exercising their fair use and first sale rights.

FCC's Powell declares TiVo 'God's machine'
By Jim Krane for the Las Vegas Associate Press.


The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a new convert -- to the personal digital video recorder faithful.

"My favorite product that I got for Christmas is TiVo," FCC chairman Michael Powell said during a question and answer session at the International Consumer Electronics Show. "TiVo is God's machine."

If Powell's enthusiasm for digital recordings of TV broadcasts are reflected in FCC rulings, the entertainment industry could find it difficult to push in Washington its agenda for technical restrictions on making and sharing such recordings.

Powell said he intended to use the TiVo machine to record TV shows to play on other television sets in his home, and even suggested that he might share recordings with his sister if she were to miss a favorite show.

"I'd like to move it to other TVs," he said of his digitally recorded programming. A number of products already allow that...

Powell said the FCC was examining the broadcast flag issue to determine whether the agency has a regulatory role. He suggested that Congress might "assign us a role so we have clear jurisdiction and resources to do it."

Powell said he understood the needs to balance consumers' fair use rights to make personal copies of television shows with Hollywood's fears that TiVo-like technology allows exact copies to be made and easily sent over the Internet.

Here's the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/01/10/financial1802EST0373.DTL


FCC's Powell declares TiVo 'God's machine'

JIM KRANE, AP Technology Writer Friday, January 10, 2003

(01-10) 15:02 PST LAS VEGAS (AP) --

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a new convert -- to the personal digital video recorder faithful.

"My favorite product that I got for Christmas is TiVo," FCC chairman Michael Powell said during a question and answer session at the International Consumer Electronics Show. "TiVo is God's machine."

If Powell's enthusiasm for digital recordings of TV broadcasts are reflected in FCC rulings, the entertainment industry could find it difficult to push in Washington its agenda for technical restrictions on making and sharing such recordings.

Powell said he intended to use the TiVo machine to record TV shows to play on other television sets in his home, and even suggested that he might share recordings with his sister if she were to miss a favorite show.

"I'd like to move it to other TVs," he said of his digitally recorded programming. A number of products already allow that.

A TiVo competitor, SONICblue, has been sued by top motion picture studios and some television networks over a ReplayTV device that enables users to share digitally recorded shows over the Internet with a limited group of fellow ReplayTV owners.

Powell made the statements during a brief exchange with Gary Shapiro, who heads the Consumer Electronics Association, a lobbying group opposed to government-imposed restrictions on TiVo-like digital recording technology.

Shapiro was clearly delighted, calling Powell's statement "good news" and suggesting to Powell that his regulatory authority might allow him to rule in favor of sharing recorded TV broadcasts.

"That's up to you, actually," Shapiro said. "We're glad. We hope some of your colleagues in Congress buy a TiVo as well."

Many in Hollywood have railed against the machines, saying they could cut into TV advertising revenues if fewer people watch the commercials that underwrite broadcasters' business.

The entertainment industry has proposed "broadcast flag" technology that could thwart or limit copying or distribution of pirated broadcasts over the Internet, where, it fears, they could be sold.

Powell said the FCC was examining the broadcast flag issue to determine whether the agency has a regulatory role. He suggested that Congress might "assign us a role so we have clear jurisdiction and resources to do it."

Powell said he understood the needs to balance consumers' fair use rights to make personal copies of television shows with Hollywood's fears that TiVo-like technology allows exact copies to be made and easily sent over the Internet.

Already, one upcoming TV series intends to fight back against commercial skipping technology by blending advertising into its programming, offering a seamless hour of entertainment mixed with salesmanship.

The series will air for six weeks on the WB network with Michael Davies, best-known for ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," as its producer, according to a story in Friday's New York Times. Its working title is "Live from Tomorrow."

PVR technology has now found its way into DVD recorders and personal computers. Several new standalone and PC-based models were announced here at the CES trade show this week.

Posted by Lisa at 09:37 AM
October 03, 2002
Apple Stands Firm Against DRM?

Help us Apple. Your our only hope.

Dan Gillmor: Apple stands firm against entertainment cartel


Meanwhile, Apple is holding fairly fast to the real compromise position. It's encouraging honor, but not locking us down in ways that prevent innovative uses of the gear it sells.

Maybe Apple will cave, too. If it does, it will betray customers and principle. So far, however, so good.

I really hope Dan's right about Apple.

I just made the decision a few weeks ago to buy a Mac instead of a PC for my video editing system because I did not want to commit to the Windows DRM in XP that would then own all of my video files from now until eternity.

For me, choosing a Mac was like choosing freedom. (Don't think I don't know how silly that sounds.)

This was sure the first time I've ever felt that way about buying a PC or a Mac before. And it's a pretty crummy feeling actually, realizing that we live in a world where we have to make privacy and security decisions like that while in the process of buying a video editing system.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4193833.htm

Posted on Tue, Oct. 01, 2002 story:PUB_DESC
Dan Gillmor: Apple stands firm against entertainment cartel
By Dan Gillmor
Mercury News Technology Columnist

Intel's doing it. Advanced Micro Devices is doing it. Microsoft is doing it.

Apple Computer isn't.

What's Apple not doing? It's not -- at least so far -- moving toward an anti-customer embrace with Hollywood's movie studios and the other members of the powerful entertainment cartel.

Unlike Intel and AMD, the big chip makers for Windows-based computers, Apple hasn't announced plans to put technology into hardware that could end up restricting what customers do with the products they buy. Unlike Microsoft, Apple hasn't asserted the right to remote control over users' operating systems.

The era of Digital Rights Management, commonly called DRM, is swiftly moving closer, thanks to the Intels and AMDs and Microsofts. They're busy selling and creating the tools that give copyright holders the ability to tell users of copyrighted material -- customers, scholars, libraries, etc. -- precisely how they may use it. DRM, in the most typical use of the expression, is about owners' rights. It would be more accurate to call DRM, in that context, ``Digital Restrictions Management.''

But Apple has taken a different tack in its rhetoric and its technology. As I said in an introduction to a panel I moderated Tuesday at a conference in Santa Clara, Mac OS X, Apple's modern operating system, is becoming, whether by design or by accident, a Digital Rights Management operating system where the rights in question are the user's rights -- and they are expansive.

Now, the music and movie industries have been attacking Silicon Valley and the technology companies for some time. But they've reserved particular venom for Apple among the major computing-platform organizations, and have been witheringly contemptuous of Apple's ``Rip, Mix, Burn'' advertising that describes the process of converting music CDs to MP3 files, which can be loaded on CD-ROM disks and, of course, Apple's own iPod MP3 player.

The company's ``Digital Hub'' concept has been one of its major selling points. The Mac is becoming the hub of a digital lifestyle, in which you move data between a Mac and various devices around the home, such as digital cameras, MP3 players and the like.

Apple does admonish users not to infringe the copyrights of others, as it should. And the company built a small speed bump into the iPod, which basically lets users share MP3s between one computer and the handheld player. But it took little time for a third-party programmer to come up with software that let users move MP3s to other machines, too, and as far as I can tell Apple hasn't said a word.

I recently discovered that Apple's DVD Player software, which came with my Powerbook G4 laptop, gives me flexibility in a way I hadn't expected. Sometimes I like to watch a movie while I'm on a plane, but the DVD drive in my machine drains my battery too quickly. So before I leave home, I copy a movie -- note to Hollywood: I do not do this with rental DVDs, only ones I own -- to my hard disk. The DVD Player software reads it from the disk, which uses less power than the DVD drive.

I wonder, now that I've published this, whether an upcoming version of the DVD Player will remove this user-friendly feature. Which leads me into some other questions:

Can Apple's distinctly pro-customer approach continue in the face of Hollywood's ire and the entertainment industry's clout in Congress?

Will the manufacturers of the chips that Apple uses for the central brains of its computers build in what Intel and AMD are now promising? They've embraced an idea known as ``trusted computing,'' which sounds better than it may turn out to be. Trusted computing could give us more faith that an e-mail we send to someone else will get there intact and in privacy, but it's also the perfect tool for the copyright cartel, not to mention future governments that care even less for liberty than the current one, to lock down PCs from officially unauthorized uses.

An Intel senior executive vehemently disputes my characterization of his company as a toolmaker for the control freaks. He wants me to see trusted computing as an innovation.

Sure, it's an innovation -- and could have some positive uses. But it inevitably will be used against us by the people who crave control.

Meanwhile, Apple is holding fairly fast to the real compromise position. It's encouraging honor, but not locking us down in ways that prevent innovative uses of the gear it sells.

Maybe Apple will cave, too. If it does, it will betray customers and principle. So far, however, so good.
Dan Gillmor's column appears each Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. Visit Dan's online column, eJournal (www.dangillmor.com). E-mail dgillmor@sjmercury.com; phone (408) 920-5016; fax (408) 920-5917.
email this | print this

Posted by Lisa at 08:19 AM
September 06, 2002
NY Times On Fair Use Equipment

Is it me? Or does the NY Times gets more and more annoying everytime I go there with the popups and the animated ads and the flashing lights and the (insert noise from the science freak guy on the simpsons here)....

Right now, DVD recorders convert an analog signal to digital data, but the day will soon arrive when broadcasters send that digital information straight to your home. At that point, the television shows you record may look as beautiful as the movies you buy. On the other hand, if broadcasters move to protect that digital signal from copying, you may not be able to record the shows at all.

Here's the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/05/technology/circuits/05BASI.html?ex=1032319314&ei=1&en=b39a032ef4f8d1f2


Burning Your Own DVD's
By WILSON ROTHMAN

WHEN buyers began snapping up DVD players a few years ago, the allure of better sound and picture in the home theater was enough. But until recently, DVD systems in living rooms (and in PC's) lacked the feature that would send the VCR to the eight-track graveyard: they couldn't record.

Now, recordable DVD is a reasonably affordable reality. With a recordable DVD system, you can record television shows, either as permanent keepsakes or temporary files. You can also convert your old home movies into digital video and then store them for centuries. If you have a digital camcorder, you can send the video straight to DVD for editing and archiving, and even stream it back out to digital video.
Advertisement


There is a catch, though: an industrywide format war. Just like CD burners, DVD recorders generally support write-once discs ("R") and rewritable discs ("RW"), but you can't just go to the store and buy one or the other. About half of the manufacturers build recorders for DVD-R and DVD-RW discs (and occasionally the largely incompatible DVD-RAM), while the other half build them for DVD+R and DVD+RW media. Each camp makes claims about the compatibility and functionality of its chosen format, and although there are technical differences, the most obvious one is still the choice of punctuation in the format's name.

So what do you really need to know? First, a DVD-R/RW recorder can't use DVD+R/RW media and vice versa. Second, appropriately prepared DVD-R and DVD+R discs will almost always work in third-party DVD players, while their rewritable counterparts may not be as successful.

"The biggest issue for consumers is to not buy the wrong kind of blank media," said Wolfgang Schlichting, a research manager at the technology research firm IDC.

Before you can buy any media, however, you need a recorder, and there are more out there than you might think. Formats aside, the two basic types are the PC drive and the home-theater component. Most desktop-system offers now include an optional DVD recorder, and I tested three such systems: Apple's new 17-inch G4 iMac with a Pioneer-built DVD-R SuperDrive ($1,999); Gateway's Pentium 4-powered 700XL with a Panasonic DVD-R/DVD-RAM drive ($2,999); and a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 772n, which also has Pentium 4 plus HP's own DVD200i DVD+R/RW drive ($1,349, with the monitor sold separately).

With a recordable drive comes DVD-authoring software, which makes a title page and prepares video files so that the disc you create will play in a standard DVD player. SuperDrive-equipped Apples ship with the company's own iDVD; Gateway offers Pinnacle Express, while HP features MyDVD by Sonic Solutions. I also tested Roxio's new VideoWave Movie Creator ($80).

The test was simple: record video with a digital camcorder (in this case, a Samsung SCD86), dump it onto each computer, then turn the final product into a DVD that could be viewed on a standard DVD player. As far as title pages go, Apple's iDVD was the only program that allowed me to place text and icons exactly where I wanted them, and the only one with animated backgrounds. Sonic's MyDVD titles were funky and easy to customize but, alas, static. Roxio's program had mostly themed templates (births, birthdays, sporting events and weddings), but at least they were attractive. I thought Pinnacle Express had the ugliest selections, and the title page I made with it didn't even display appropriately on the TV screen.

Once video content was selected and a title page was made, it was time to record. The process is similar to burning a CD: throw in the blank disc, click the Record button and wait. Creating a five-minute DVD took 15 to 20 minutes on each system; two-thirds of that was spent preparing the material, and the other third recording data. The experience was not only quick and painless but fairly entertaining, too.

Creating DVD's of home movies is nice, but who really spends a lot of time watching home movies? What I really want is television on DVD. To start my video library, I borrowed three of the most popular home-theater recorders: the Philips DVDR985, the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 and the Panasonic DMR-HS2. Each combines a high-end progressive-scan DVD player with DVD recording capability and a converter to digitize incoming television signals. In addition, all of these recorders use the VCR Plus+ system (the codes printed in local listings) for automatic recording, and all connect directly to digital camcorders.

The Philips DVDR985 ($1,000) works exactly as it should. When your show comes on, you throw in a blank disc and press record. Once it is finished, push Stop, then take a look at the title page. You can enter the name of the program you recorded; otherwise it will show the channel and a time stamp. If you use a rewriteable disc in Philips's case, a DVD+RW you can choose a thumbnail image from each show and add and delete recordings as you go. If you use DVD+R, you may use titles for your programs, but you can't choose a thumbnail, and once you have deleted something, the space cannot be reclaimed.

A DVD+R disc (as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW) must be finalized closed to further recording for it to behave like a store-bought read-only DVD. DVD+RW discs don't require a finalizing process, but they are not as compatible as DVD+R's. That the Philips model offers no video-editing perks is a blessing in disguise; it was the easiest to use of the players I tested.

With more features, the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 ($2,000) can be tricky, although recording to and finalizing DVD-R couldn't be simpler. Complications arise with DVD-RW discs, which can be designated for one of two separate recording modes: video mode, essentially an erasable version of the DVD-R; and VR mode, which gives the disc more flexibility with recording quality and video editing. It is useful, yes, but once a DVD-RW is initialized for VR mode, it can only be played in the DVR-7000. If you wanted to send an edited summer-vacation video to Grandma, you would probably have to bounce it out to the camcorder, then transfer it back onto a DVD-R.

That aside, what irks me about the Pioneer model is the short recording time. The Philips lets you record up to four hours per disc, and the Panasonic gives you six. Although the Pioneer allows up to six hours in VR mode, you only get two in the more compatible video mode.

The Panasonic DMR-HS2 ($1,000) has the most to prove. Not only does it record DVD-R and DVD-RAM discs, but it also has a hard drive inside for temporary recording of shows and home videos, which can then be edited and "dubbed" to DVD. The exterior is sleek by Panasonic standards; the setup was easy, and the remote control is remarkably simple. But once you're plugged in, you're at the mercy of a user-unfriendly and occasionally misleading interface. This product will make good on its many promises you can record a show, then edit out the commercials before sending it to DVD-R; cut an hour of home video into a snappy five-minute show; and combine still images and video on the same disc but it will require trial and error.

If you get both a DVD-recording computer and an entertainment unit, it is best to stick with the same media format for example, pair HP with Philips for DVD+R and DVD+RW, or Gateway with Panasonic for DVD-R. (Blank DVD-R's are as inexpensive as $3 apiece, and you can get any of the others for $8 or less if you look around.)

As for picture quality, with home videos it largely depends on your digital camcorder, although it is hard to find one that can't keep up with a typical TV set. When you record from cable or a VCR, there are other variables. A disc set for two hours should look better than a disc set for six, but if the signal is poor, recording it to DVD won't make it better.

Right now, DVD recorders convert an analog signal to digital data, but the day will soon arrive when broadcasters send that digital information straight to your home. At that point, the television shows you record may look as beautiful as the movies you buy. On the other hand, if broadcasters move to protect that digital signal from copying, you may not be able to record the shows at all.

Posted by Lisa at 07:35 AM
August 16, 2002
LinuxTV Could Provide A Much Brighter Future for Digital Television

LinuxTV has the right idea:


Only the access to the source code of our future television sets will guarantee the independence of content and technology. This website is a platform for the development of open source software for digital television (DVB, DTV) receivers, Linux DVD players and tools to stream audio and video to the net.

Posted by Lisa at 09:16 PM
August 03, 2002
Web-ify your Tivo

Here's where to get the TurboNet card and some Newbie Hacking Instructions from TiVo sTeVe-o.

Posted by Lisa at 07:04 PM
July 21, 2002
IPODs for Mixing

Here's a pair of Wired News articles about DJs using IPODs in their sets: They Walk Alike, They DJ Alike and With IPod, Who Needs a Turntable?.

Posted by Lisa at 08:53 PM
July 15, 2002
Sony's New Alienated Bookshelf Stereo CD Ripper System (sans Internet Connectivity or Digital Output)

Sony has announced a CMT-L7HD bookshelf stereo system that automatically copies the CDs you play on to a hard drive for future plays (you can also RIP them faster than playing speed in a handy "silent mode".) You can also program ahead of time to record your favorite radio programs on to the device's hard drive (not your computer's hard drive) -- just like a Tivo for broadcast radio (not webcasts).

Great idea, great product: once it has a digital output jack and wireless connection.

I certainly hope that this device's lack of a digital output bus and Internet connectivity don't count as copy protection mechanisms. Seems like there could be a big market for third parties to develop peripherals for these puppies. (Or perhaps that's what Sony plans to do itself?)

See the NY Times article by David Pogue:
A Stereo That's Small and Digital.

Posted by Lisa at 05:08 PM
July 11, 2002
Homer Explains the Benefits of Multi-regional DVDs

<tangent>Wow. There's a whole generation that is going to be more familar with Homer Simpson than Homer the Bard.</tangent>

See the story by Andrew Orlowski for the London Register:
Fox recommends hacked DVD players for The Simpsons.

Here's the Simpsons UK FAQ excerpt in question:

Q: What does Regional Coding mean? Do I need a Multi-regional player? Homer: "I have no idea whatsoever what regional coding means. But it is essential that you buy a multi-regional player. Do it now. Don't worry, we'll still be waiting here when you get back."

Posted by Lisa at 09:50 AM
July 01, 2002
Tivo + CSPAN = Heaven

I just discovered an excellent new use for my Tivo - recording CSPAN clips! (No running around to stick in a video tape - hoping I'm not taping over anything else, etc.)

Posted by Lisa at 08:57 AM
June 06, 2002
The Buck Stops With Craig Newmark: "Hollywood, Enough Is Enough"

Check out:
http://www.craigslist.org/craig.vs.hollywood.html.

Craig Newmark, a ReplayTV user (aided by the EFF) is suing Turner Broadcasting (among others) and seeking a declarative judgement asserting his right to space- and time-shift TV programming -- and to skip commercials while doing it -- using a PVR.

Right on dude! You big sweetie! Stand up for our right to watch shows later and go to the bathroom during commercials! (Has it really come to this?)

Craig vs Hollywood
Thursday, June 6, 2002

Hey, folks, you know that craigslist has a strong commitment to political issues that affect the online community, like privacy and free speech. We figure we should focus on what we know something about, and otherwise, provide you a platform for whatever you want to discuss.

The major Hollywood companies could be embracing new technologies, serving their customers better and making more money, for themselves, and for artists. A lot of people in Hollywood know this.

However, a lot of folks in entertainment seem to be panicking, taking bad advice and trying to get anti-consumer laws passed, to restrict personal freedoms, like what you do when you buy something like a CD or DVD, or record a TV program.

To help everyone out, Craig is suing Hollywood, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is a major pioneer in the fight for online rights.

To oversimplify, the Hollywood lawyers are telling us that when we view TV, skipping commercials is a copyright violation... and it gets worse from there.

Craig and others are telling them that this ain't okay.

Craig is not representing craigslist in this regard, but we figure you should know about this.

(For that matter, he can even help people figure out good ways to prevent actual piracy, which could help out artists and the named companies.)

The idea is that Hollywood and also the tech industry are really well-represented, but no one stands up for ordinary citizens and consumers. (No one really stands up for the artists, and the industry is encouraging piracy by its current actions, but that's another fight.)

Hey, whenever you can, please help us out: support our legal challenge in whatever way you can, stay informed, and tell people in your company and even Congress that you're concerned about this. I'd appreciate it if you were to join EFF or any group concerned with your online rights.

More info is available on the EFF site here.

thanks!

Craig

Posted by Lisa at 01:27 PM
May 16, 2002
Sonic Blue Won't Be Forced to Spy On Customers After All

"A judge on Wednesday granted digital video recorder company Sonicblue a stay in its request to reverse an order that would force it to monitor the viewing habits of its customers."

See the CNET story by Richard Shim:
Sonicblue granted stay in "spying" order .

Posted by Lisa at 02:33 PM