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TiVo Comes Under Attack

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Sparks fly over copyright at Tech Policy Summit | Lawgarithms | ZDNet.com Denise Howell has an informative write up on a copyright debate held last week at the Tech Policy Summit in Hollywood.

Participants in the debate included TiVo VP and general counsel Matt Zinn, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance Patrick Ross, Fred von Lohman from the EFF and moderator Doug Lichtman of UCLA Law School.

Two things I found interesting in the article.

The first was a challenge to Zinn suggesting that rather than build a box that recorded copyrighted content, that TiVo should have asked "permission" from the studios and worked more collaboratively with them to build a box that both would have been happy with.

And the second was a challenge from the audience by Jay Williams of the MPAA suggesting that TiVo was inconsistent in it’s view on intellectual property because while they made a box capable of recording copyrighted materially, they also have pursued a patent claim against Echostar/Dish Network.

TiVo technology and television time shifting technology have been some of the best things to come out of technology in the past 10 years. They have empowered consumers and have redefined the way that we consume content in a world increasingly driven by marketing.

Everywhere you go today you can’t escape the marketing. Billboards push big bold messages across the sky. Radios blast out loud offers of diet pills and aluminum siding. The web pops up messages at you begging you to download the latest smiley emoticon packages (along with its accompanying spyware).

Not only are we as adults inundated by a daily barrage of commerce, but so our your kids.

To me, the biggest heroes of technology are the ones who empower us. The ones who build the tools that allow us to bypass the litter of commerce.

The villains are the ones who would seek to take your tools away. Who think that you are stealing if you don’t sit through a commercial about Bud Light when you watch that free episode of Cheers.

So This is America.

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