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TiVo Has to Fund Your Local Stadium

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the thats-just-plain-wierd dept.

Television 437

Strudelkugel writes "The Washington Post has a truly Kafka-esque article regarding TiVo, the broadcast flag, the NFL and limited file sharing. "TiVo, the company that makes the digital-video-recorder boxes that inspire such strange idolatry among their users, is in a weird spot. It's asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to add a new feature -- the option for a TiVo user to send recorded digital TV programs via the Internet to nine other people." Just wait until your read the rest of the story..." This one is actually really worth a read to see just how bizarrely corrupt this all is. Enjoy.

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437 comments

Is this any less Kafkaesque... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858074)

...than taxpayers having to fund a local stadium?

how about taxpayers.... (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858188)

...funding their local "education" establishment and huge amounts of those monies going to subsidise the NFL and NBA "farm teams" in the schools? since when is getting children addicted to professional sports part of an "education"? Aren't there other athletic and fun pursuits that might cost less available? Why not make those businesses fund them instead? Why should people on pensions-more or less pretty fixed incomes, be asked to support professional sports leagues to perpetuate the societal addiction to team sports? If these profitable businesses have enough to pay salaries in the millions per year to "sports stars",it seems like they can fund local schools "teams" then, don't ask the tax payers to do it.

Re:how about taxpayers.... (2, Interesting)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858316)

It's probably not a popular opinion here, but people go to college to get the skills to attempt to get a job in their chosen field (vet-med, engineering, modern dance,...). Why should it be any different for football and basketball players? Only a small percentage of those who play the sports in college go on to be professionals - and the fact that scholarships are given to many who don't go on give a lifetime of opportunity to them that an education affords.

I personally like college football and basketball more than the NBA or NFL and I do attend games when I can.

Re:how about taxpayers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858471)

"Only a small percentage of those who play the sports in college go on to be professionals"

Not a very successful policy then...

GAY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858076)

NIGGER

Account (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858080)

Free registration required (THEY READ YOUR THOUGHTS).

a/c: slashdot42@slashdot.org
password: slashdot

Enjoy.

Re:Account (5, Informative)

hawley Griffin (796320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858116)

BugMeNot.com was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times). http://extensions.roachfiend.com/index.html#bugmen ot [roachfiend.com]

Re:Account (2, Funny)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858137)

Does it really matter if the NYT "knows" that I'm a black woman born in 1938 and live at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Re:Account (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858268)

No, it doesn't. But I at least have difficulties in remembering what userid/password I've registered with - NYT is certainly not the only site that requires registration. The BugMeNot plugin is IMHO (along with Web Developer) the most useful FireFox plugin out there.

Re:Account (1)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858360)

But I at least have difficulties in remembering what userid/password I've registered with
So you pick a userid which is unusual enough that it's unlikely to be used by anyone else, and use it everywhere. BugMeNot is a good idea but doesn't help you when you're using a computer (like the one at work) that you can't install FireFox on.

Re:Account (2, Informative)

Aero Leviathan (698882) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858451)

Yes it does.

1. Open Internet Explorer (or whatever your workplace mandates that y... nevermind.)
2. Go to http://www.bugmenot.com
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:Account (1)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858466)

How is going to bugmenot.com faster or easier than using a single unique name and password everywhere you need it? Bugmenot works great as a plug in, but using it manually is drasticly more cumbersome than the alternative.

Re:Account (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858134)

And some jackass has already managed to change the password.

Nicely done, asshole.

all of it, fuck registration (1, Redundant)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858174)

Someone changed or deactivated all the bugmenot logins, so here it is. I registered for that asshat site just to read this, and I'm disappointed, so suckit@down.com/suckit or just keep reading:

TiVo, the company that makes the digital-video-recorder boxes that inspire such strange idolatry among their users, is in a weird spot. It's asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to add a new feature -- the option for a TiVo user to send recorded digital TV programs via the Internet to nine other people.

Huh? Permission? Doesn't the government's involvement in consumer electronics stop with making sure that a gadget doesn't jam your neighbor's reception or electrocute you? Since when do the feds get to vote on product designs?

The answer is, since last November, when the FCC voted to require manufacturers to support the "broadcast flag" system by July 1 of next year. This convoluted mechanism aims to stop full-quality copies of digital broadcasts from circulating on the Internet.

The FCC didn't mandate any one anti-file-sharing scheme and instead invited companies to submit their own proposals, which brings us to TiVo's vaguely Soviet predicament. Among the schemes a handful of firms have proposed, only TiVo's would allow tightly controlled online transfers of recorded programs.

For this, the company has drawn the ire of the National Football League and the Motion Picture Association of America, which have asked the FCC to deny TiVo's proposal.

The NFL says that TiVo's Internet-sharing feature will allow people to send game broadcasts to blacked-out viewers in real time (a team's home game can be aired locally only if it sells out beforehand).

"It's a question of pure ability to sell tickets," said Frank Hawkins, the NFL's senior vice president for business affairs. "Buffalo typically sells out September and October, but they've got an open-air stadium. They'll never sell out those December games if they are unable to enforce the blackout rule."

This is an important point: The NFL is not asking the FCC to protect its television business -- never mind that the flag exists only to stop indiscriminate file sharing, not cure every copyright-infringement issue.

No, the NFL is asking for help with a stadium business, one that already benefits from massive government welfare. (A December 2002 Buffalo News story calculated that the taxpayers of Erie County, N.Y., had anted up about $148 million for the Bills and their stadium over the previous decade.)

In other words, the league is asking manufacturers and viewers to further subsidize team owners who are already gorging themselves at the public trough.

There's also the slight problem that the NFL's nightmare -- blacked-out viewers watching a game live on the Internet -- is all but impossible. With almost every broadband connection available today, it would take hours to upload a game. A recipient would be lucky to finish watching a Sunday afternoon game before Monday, and sending a high-definition copy would take most of the week.

Jim Burger, a lawyer for TiVo, fumed about the NFL's complaint: "Maybe their engineers understand how to inflate a football, but I don't think they understand encoded, encrypted MPEG-2," TiVo's tightly secured format.

Whenever full-quality, real-time video on the Internet does become commonplace, I expect to see the NFL capitalizing on it instead of complaining, just as it has profited from such earlier advances as satellite TV.

The MPAA, meanwhile, says that the way TiVo would allow customers to share recordings online with people who may not be friends or family members amounts to indiscriminate redistribution.

The Washington-based group wants TiVo to impose an "affinity requirement," said Fritz Attaway, its executive vice president for government relations.

But how can TiVo tell if the people to whom you've sent a program are really friends and family without launching its own Total Information Awareness program? Attaway called that "a good question." Until that can be answered, his lobby contends that the safest course is to block Internet sharing -- after all, he noted, you can just pop a DVD in the mail.

What the MPAA and the NFL overlook is that every TiVo box includes analog video outputs that can't enforce copy controls. These allow these devices to work with the millions of TV sets lacking digital inputs, but they also let anybody plug a TiVo into a computer to upload video at will.

The FCC has already ruled out proposals to eliminate or deactivate analog outputs. ("We'll probably have to go to Congress to enact legislation to deal with that," Attaway said.) If the problem the MPAA and the NFL describe is real, the remedy they seek won't solve it.

Understand that TiVo itself is no hero. Its proposed system is thoroughly hobbled. The people to whom you'd send recordings online would need you to add them to a "secure viewing group" by ordering special security keys for their Windows computers, associated with your TiVo bill. Each viewer would need to plug one such key into a PC to receive, watch or edit your recordings.

Left on its own, the market could give TiVo's system its appropriate reward. Except we don't have a free market in digital television -- the FCC guaranteed that by approving the broadcast flag.

The MPAA and the NFL phrase their objections as reasonable attempts to err on the side of caution. "We're asking them to just wait awhile, let's think it out more thoroughly," Attaway said.

But if a programmer or an engineer with a bright idea has to go to Washington, hat in hand and lawyers in tow, to request permission to sell a better product -- and is then told "just wait awhile" -- we are on our way to suffocating innovation in this country.

Living with technology, or trying to? E-mail Rob Pegoraro at rob@twp.com [mailto] .

bugmenot.com (0, Redundant)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858155)

Just to spread the word, there is a site calledBug Me Not [bugmenot.com] that is designed for the specific purpose of supplying usernames/passwords for these types of free registration sites.

They have Mozilla and IE extensions for easy access, and anyone can add to their database. Tell everyone you know (their motto).

Re:Account (0, Redundant)

RedX (71326) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858162)

Looks like some tool has changed the password already

Broadcast flag out of control (5, Interesting)

crazyray (776321) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858082)

This article really highlights just how out-of-control the broadcast flag has become. As an owner of the HR10-250, the high definition Directivo, I wonder if this $1000 box will become worthless next July?

Re:Broadcast flag out of control (5, Insightful)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858313)

The entire SYSTEM is out of control. The article covers everything from the abuse of the broadcast flag to benefit rich folks at the top of effectively monopolized industries to the fleecing of taxpayers to fund "public" stadiums that they have to then pay exhorbitant prices to get into, and pay exhorbitant prices to eat in. Just think, you could be funding your local superstar's overblown salary so that he can snag 14 million dollars a year to support his coke habit. You ARE funding the FCC to tell you what you can and (more often than not) can't do with the video signal broadcast from that stadium your tax dollars built. If you live in California, you're paying tax dollars to enforce "protection" measures in movie theaters by funding police that now have to respond to copyright violations.

People amaze me. They just do. It just never crosses that thick bone barrier in the majority of this country's moronic populace that every which way they turn, whether it be shopping at Wal-Mart, buying movie tickets, buying CDs, or buying sporting even tickets, that they're actually paying people to make them poorer. The sheer ignorance that the regular public has proven itself capable of is overshadowed only by the fact that the situation just keeps getting worse. Not only are they not smart enough to stop it, they're too dumb to see that they're being fed their nieghbor's body parts in the trough.

Re:Broadcast flag out of control (1)

payndz (589033) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858391)

I wonder if this $1000 box will become worthless next July?

Quite the contrary - when the only boxes you can buy are hobbled with the broadcast flag and other DRM, it'll probably become a lot more valuable!

What.. (1, Offtopic)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858088)

If I don't have a stadium near me?

Re:What.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858104)

Put down the chips and leave the house, you'll be amazed at how 'near' something can be.

Re: What.. (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858230)


> If I don't have a stadium near me?

Write your congressman, and maybe the taxpayers will buy you one.

Registration Required (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858092)

It'd be great if stories on sites that require some sort of registration were simply never linked to. Registration-required sites would get less traffic than sites that simply work, and they might either cease to exist or make their sites easier to use. Either outcome would be preferable to the big registration form that comes up every friggin' time for those of us who aren't into cookies and doubleclick tracking and yadda yadda yadda.

Re:Registration Required (2, Funny)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858173)

Is there a person on earth who doesn't have a registration to the New York Times and the Washington Post?

They're two of the most important papers in America. There's no excuse not to be reading them every damned day.

Re:Registration Required (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858208)

Is there a person on earth who doesn't have a registration to the New York Times and the Washington Post?

They're two of the most important papers in America.


The vast majority of the people on earth are not in America.

Re:Registration Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858236)

The vast majority of the people on earth are not in America.

Yeah, and may be if those baby-making foreigners picked up a newspaper instead of fornicating every chance they got, their country's problems of starvation and overpopulation wouldn't be so serious.

Re:Registration Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858298)

And there we have it! You've just won the coveted "IDIOT OF THE DAY" award.

Open your mind you fucking idiot.

Re:Registration Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858308)

Sounds to me like you're just jealous that you can't get laid.

I'll also point out that the vast majority of the rest of the world does not suffer from starvation or overpopulation.

Re:Registration Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858340)

unlike yo momma

ziiiiiing!

Analog outputs (5, Interesting)

Kithraya (34530) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858096)

My favorite part of the article is the bit about going to Congress to get ligislation enacted to get rid of or disable analog outputs. That single line pretty much sums up (in my view) just how out of control this broadcast flag has gotten.

Re:Analog outputs (4, Insightful)

slughead (592713) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858192)

And yet you guys still don't vote Libertarian [lp.org] . We've been saying for years that the FCC just continues to get more and more powerful, in addition to being an evil censoring draconian cesspool to begin with. We told you that no republicrat would ever take power away from them, and that it would continue to get worse.

But nooo, you wouldn't listen to me, "oh it's just a little bunny rabbit" you said...

Re:Analog outputs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858239)

Libertarians have a lot of good points, but the party as a whole can go to some extremes that turn people off. Its not all about a dislike for the FCC.

Re:Analog outputs (4, Insightful)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858265)

This year is not the year to vote libertarian. I saw it said no better the other night on Real Time with Bill Mahr. Voting anything other than the current two parties on the presidential election means absolutely nothing, because if you loose, you've wasted your vote.

However, voting libertarian for a Senate or House seat, or even more local government building up the third party from the ground up is the only way to go in the United States political system.

So if you want to vote libertarian, do so to fill seats in the house/senate not the presidential race. That'll never fix anything but let Bush back in office because the people more likely to vote libertarian would vote against Bush (not necessarily FOR his opponent either, but just to get him out of office)

Re:Analog outputs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858431)

Oh, please. You know very well that John Kerry isn't going to do a god damn thing about Iraq. What the hell else is there as a reason to vote Democrat this year?

It's important to show your support for third party candidates because THEY can put the Democrats and Republicans in check in future elections. People like you are small-minded in thinking that one major party is all that much different than the next. They're both corrupt, and will put corporate interest before anything else.

You don't "waste" your vote by voting for an independent or third party. You show your support for something MUCH GREATER in America's future, when you find out that YOU'VE wasted your vote on the latest Republicrat robot.

Watch... Even when Kerry is elected, you'll find that nothing has changed. The Democrats insist that "the Bush Administration mismanaged the war", but are not likely to do anything to improve it... Let alone pull out of Iraq.

Re:Analog outputs (2, Insightful)

StillAnonymous (595680) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858478)

Thank you for posting that. People complain about the way things currently are, and others pipe in with the "well don't just bitch about it, go vote and fix the system!" And yet it's these same people who then tell you that you are wasting your vote when you don't vote for one of the major parties.

That attitude just really bugs me. I refuse to vote for someone I don't want in power just to tip the scales for someone else. If everyone keeps doing this, then a 3rd party will NEVER win. I'll vote for the party I want, and if they don't win, then they don't win. But at least I'll sleep well at night knowing I did the right thing.

Privacy and marketing (5, Informative)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858097)

Understand that TiVo itself is no hero. Its proposed system is thoroughly hobbled. The people to whom you'd send recordings online would need you to add them to a "secure viewing group" by ordering special security keys for their Windows computers, associated with your TiVo bill. Each viewer would need to plug one such key into a PC to receive, watch or edit your recordings.

Makes me wonder if they will ask for the contact info of the receiver/viewer friend also?

Re:Privacy and marketing (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858380)

Makes me wonder if they will ask for the contact info of the receiver/viewer friend also?

Makes me wonder if they will ask for proof if the receiver is a real friend or have other affiliation

DOOM III is OUT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858098)

woohoo!

ARGGH (5, Insightful)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858100)

Why do we keep subsidizing broken businesses? The NFL isn't like the airlines or Amtrak, our country could still function normally if some of the less profitable teams folded.

How did the cat get so fat?!?!

Re:ARGGH (0)

odano (735445) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858121)

Well the NFL is far from a broken business. One of the reasons that cities pay so much to help build stadiums is because the stadium brings so many people to the area it creates a somewhat massive economic boom in the area, which over time can be worth more money than the cost to build the stadium.

Re:ARGGH (5, Informative)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858217)

One of the reasons that cities pay so much to help build stadiums is because the stadium brings so many people to the area it creates a somewhat massive economic boom in the area, which over time can be worth more money than the cost to build the stadium.
Not according to the research I have seen... e.g., here [jhu.edu] and here [heartland.org] .

Re:ARGGH (5, Informative)

rekoil (168689) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858225)

There are a lot of people who would argue otherwise [berkeley.edu] .

The truth is, mayors and governors win and lose elections based on whether they're able to bring in and/or retain a NFL/MLB/NBA franchise. The economic argument is nothing but a smokescreen of legitimacy over the whole stinking process.

Re: ARGGH (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858242)


> it creates a somewhat massive economic boom in the area

So how come they aren't funded by selling shares to the people who expect to benefit from it?

Re:ARGGH (1)

peeping_Thomist (66678) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858273)

One of the reasons that cities pay so much to help build stadiums is because the stadium brings so many people to the area it creates a somewhat massive economic boom in the area, which over time can be worth more money than the cost to build the stadium.

That's a pretty controversial claim. Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist have written an influential book on the topic, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Quoting from the Amazon book description, their primary conclusions are:

first, sports teams and facilities are not a source of local economic growth and employment; second, the magnitude of the net subsidy exceeds the financial benefit of a new stadium to a team; and, third, the most plausible reasons that cities are willing to subsidize sports teams are the intense popularity of sports among a substantial proportion of voters and businesses and the leverage that teams enjoy from the monopoly position of professional sports leagues.


Those conclusions may be wrong, but they are shaping the thinking of more and more cities. What evidence do you have that your claims are right?

Re:ARGGH (1)

gerardrj (207690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858390)

You know... people always say that and it has no justification in fact.

I've been forcibly taxed for quite a number of years to pay for the Diamondback's stadium ($238M out of $354M or 2/3 of the cost). Bank One then supplied the project with something like$2.2M, about .5% of the cost of the building cost and got their names on the stadium for 30 years. The government then essentially gave the stadium to the team for free.

Since the stadium was opened, my tax bill had risen each year at the same rate as the years previous to the stadium. I don't see any more police, fire, or school personnel in my city. I don't see our unemployment rate being lower than metro areas without a stadium. I don't see the county or state debt decreasing any faster.

Why? Because the team owner gets the profits, not the government. The government only gets the sales tax from tickets and concessions. I guess some of the player's incomes also comes back to the state in the form of income taxes... but with the accountants they have who knows.

Re:ARGGH (5, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858229)

Can you say "bread and circuses"?

I knew you could!

Re:ARGGH (0, Troll)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858290)

Okay, I'll give up government sponsored stadiums if we cut out all of the Great Society and New Deal welfare programs (short list: Social Security, AFDC/Welfare, WIC, Medicare, Medicaid, NCLB, Medicare Prescription Drug benefit, FMLA, and government unemployment insurace). Want to take a guess at to Bread or Circuses costing more?

The NFL Helps Keep the Masses Under Control (5, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858284)

Why do we keep subsidizing broken businesses? The NFL isn't like the airlines or Amtrak, our country could still function normally if some of the less profitable teams folded.

Sports is the mechanism by which the powers that be keep the American people dumbed down, sedate, and easily controlled. More so than religion (although that is certainly also a potent tool in undermining a person's ability to think critically), more so than a shoddy educational system.

Sports is the true opiate of the poeple. Baseball fans who can't balance their checkbook routinely excersize college level statistical analysis on their favorite player's batting averages and team's performance. Clearly these people aren't stupid per se, or necessarilly ignorant, but their creative and intellectual capacity has been stupified and hijacked toward ends that present no competition or threat to those who rule. The message is quite clear and effective: "think as much as you like, as long as it isn't about something important."

The last thing they are ever going to do is allow a key component of the Bread and Circuses America is spoonfed to fall, regardless of how much of the rest of the economy subsidizing their existence will harm. Just as the Romans would routinely choose to ship expensive sand for the Colesium, rather than much needed food for the people, so to will our government choose to prop up Hollywood and the NFL, at any expense.

To do otherwise risks the very real possibility that the sleeping, fooled and distracted masses of America might actually arise from the couch and get involved politically, and that is something none of the current politicans want ... particularly the current administration.

Re:The NFL Helps Keep the Masses Under Control (0, Troll)

Sirch (82595) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858337)

Sounds like you're just pissed off that your batting average is lower than your IQ...

Re:The NFL Helps Keep the Masses Under Control (-1, Troll)

Pave Low (566880) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858346)

Let me guess.. you were the fat, disgusting nerd who got roughed up by the jocks in school, right? That would explain why you have such anger towards sports and physical activity.

It's funny to see some of the slashdorks praising things like Anime, Dungeons & Dragons, and Linux to the high heavens, but see no value in sports. I guess if you don't enjoy competition, teamwork, physicial exertion, or the outdoors, that would explain it.

The arrogance and anger of your post shows why it may be better that you stay in your parents basement instead of getting out.

Re:The NFL Helps Keep the Masses Under Control (-1, Flamebait)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858352)

Fuck you. Who the hell marks this shit as insightful? It's arrogant fuckwits that are the problem. You thin you're so much better than everyone else because you watch PBS or you read fifty books a year. Big fucking deal. I have a Masters Degree, I'm a very creative individual, and I do very well in most commonly accecpted "intelligence tests". I also happen to be an avid baseball fan with season tickets to the Red Sox. There went your theory right out the fucking window. Just because I refuse to think like you does not mean I am not capable of thinking at all or about important things. I think you're a fucking idiot for not understanding baseball, how about that for a theory?

Re:The NFL Helps Keep the Masses Under Control (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858454)

I am guessing you were never picked for pickup baseball games when you were a kid, eh?

Re:ARGGH (1, Interesting)

ghack (454608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858310)

Why do we keep subsidizing broken businesses? The NFL isn't like the airlines or Amtrak, our country could still function normally if some of the less profitable teams folded.

This is, for several reasons, a relatively ignorant statement. The first problem with the statement involves categorizing the NFL a "broken business." The NFL has a nice profit sharing system that is damn near communistic. In fact, because of the sharing scheme, even the worst teams make alot of money, and cities, essentially, have to pay for the privledge of having a team, even a terrible one.

The NFL is far from broken business, in fact, it is the most popular professional sport in the U.S. today. I agree that stadiums should not be funded by taxpayer dollars; they should be funded by the businesses that sponsor them. Heinz field, for example, should not have been funded by the people of pittsburgh, but by the ultra-rich heinz corporation.

On another note, many of the stadiums which team executives complain are "obsolete" are perfectly acceptable. Case in point: the Herbert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. Red "Greedy" McCombs insists that Minnesota build him a new stadium so that they may continue to experience the priviledge of watching his crappy, go 15-1 and choke in the playoffs type of football. The Metrodome is consistently the loudest stadium in the league, and it has some of the best fans, yet "Red" is threatening to move the team.

In any event, I agree that the NFL should not be subsidized, since it is one of the most profitable business in the U.S. today. However, on that same token, neither should Amtrak or the airlines. Only through a lack of funds will those corporations ever be able to slim down enough so that they become profitable. If the government continues to pour money that they coerced from private individuals into their coffers, the airlines and Amtrak will continue to operate less and less efficiently, effectively becoming yet another extension of bloated government bureaucracy. Southwest airlines, crappy as it may be, manages to avoid operating in the red.

Re:ARGGH (4, Interesting)

vaguelyamused (535377) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858468)

You forget the car companies. People always rail against Amtrak and the airlines for being subsidized by the government. They complain these businesses shouldn't receive subisdies and should stay afloat on there own. However they ignore by FAR the biggest transportation subsidies go towards the automotive transport systems. Rail companies are expected to build and maintain track yet how many roads have Ford and GM built? If the government spent even a small percentage of what it spends on roads on rail and transit systems that would be much more efficient, less polluting and far less dangerous

Too Many Complications (3, Interesting)

gid13 (620803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858107)

I'm tired of this. Stop restricting information flow with legal means. Stop having copyrights and patents. If people want to keep secrets, let them encrypt their data. If people want to hack that encryption, let them try.

It's a ridiculously tiny jump from freedom of speech to freedom of information. The only reason it seems like a big jump to having no copyrights is that, although we're far better off than some parts of the world, we don't REALLY have free speech.

Bottom line: if they want the TV revenue, let them take the risks associated with having it out there. As the article says, at this point an online viewer would be lucky to watch the game by the next day anyway, and who knows? Maybe this kind of exposure would draw in MORE fans and let them sell out MORE games. Maybe.

Re:Too Many Complications (0, Troll)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858164)

It's a ridiculously tiny jump from freedom of speech to freedom of information.

You have just retroactively earned an F in high school civics. You're going to have to go back and take the class over again or risk getting your high school and college diplomas revoked.

Re:Too Many Complications (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858205)

First of all, where I come from (Canada), there's no such thing as high school civics. Incidentally, I just finished a degree in engineering physics. Engineers tend to view things in terms of how they can be made to work the desired way. Lawyers (presumably the type of person most interested in civics), on the other hand, tend to be at best a necessary evil.

Anyway... Are you saying that the jump to freedom of information should not be made? Or are you merely disputing the size of the jump? Can you perhaps provide any kind of reason or evidence to change my view rather than simply disputing it?

Re:Too Many Complications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858327)

To spoil twirlip's fun a bit, but save you some bother: Twirlip of the Mists is a Troll, named for a fictional troll found in some rather good Sci-Fi novels featuring galaxy-spanning USENET-like networks.

AFAIK the fictional character is one of those "in-jokes" - I could be wrong, but I think he's in both Iain Bank's "Culture" novels and Vernor Vinge's "A Fire upon the Deep" novel.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, the jump isn't tiny, it's non existent. Copyright and free speech are incompatible. I'd rather have starving artists and a free society than well-fed artists and a fascist one. Remember, artists do tend to do quite well under fascist regimes so long as they're promoting the fascist ideology...

Re:Too Many Complications (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858182)

It's a ridiculously tiny jump from freedom of speech to freedom of information. The only reason it seems like a big jump to having no copyrights is that, although we're far better off than some parts of the world, we don't REALLY have free speech.

The US constitution, while protecting speech, explicitly authorized (even mandates) the protection of innovation by granting monopolies on copying.

In the case of literature and the like this is intended to keep publishers from printing copies without paying the authors, for a limited time.

In the case of inventions to encourage invention by protecting against reverse-engineered copies for a limited time in return for publication of complete descriptions of how to "practice the invention" after the time expires.

Over two centuries of legal hacking have worked around the original intent of the provision. But the provision is still there. And the Constitution is the SOLE authorizing document for the government - the "kernel code", so to speak.

If you want to make such a change, you need to amend the consititution. That's a really tough road to hoe.

Re:Too Many Complications (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858264)

Agreed completely. If I had the ability to mod up a reply to me, I'd do so here.

Escrowed Release (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858408)

n the case of literature and the like this is intended to keep publishers from printing copies without paying the authors, for a limited time. ...

If you want to make such a change, you need to amend the consititution.
That's a really tough road to hoe.


Especially if it is paved with asphalt. Really, that's "tough row to hoe" as in "row of corn."

I think it was Valenti who was quoted as saying that he wants to define "limited time" as "forever" but since his lawyers told him that's not possible, he'll settle for "forever minus a day."

But, just as the copyright industry is "legally hacking" the provision, we could do the same thing (if we had the power to get an amendment in place, we certainly would have the enough power to do the following) -- define "limited time" to the first 10 seconds after publication.

The difference between Valenti's absurdity and my apparent absurdity is that his position is akin to eating his own feedcorn -- by destroying the public domain, eventually there will be no raw material to draw on as a basis for new creations, everything will require licensing and royalties and you can be certain that as soon as there is no longer any "free" competition for raw material, the cost of the not-free stuff will skyrocket.

Meanwhile, my proposal still leaves open plenty of room for artists to make money. Not distributors and the other types of middlemen who make up the copyright induistry and only serve as bottlenecks today, there is no room for them to make much money, certainly not the gazillions that they do today. But the artists, the actual creators of the work can still get paid and even paid well if they are successful by implementing the idea of escrowed release to the public domain. Essentially, they set a total price for their work, interested buyers pay into an escrowed account. Once the total meets the price (or the seller lower his asking price), the work is released to the public domain. Artists who create popular work will be able to fetch successively higher prices for each new release.

One might argue that under such a scheme it is impossible to get started in the first place since no one will know the quality of your work. My response is that under today's system so many artists work for next to nothing all of their lives that simply releasing a few pieces of work for free as advertising is effectively no different than the way things work today and provides a much higher probability of achieving some level of success in the long run.

Perhaps a simpler, more catchy way to say "escrowed release to the public domain" would be - "work once, paid once (just like everybody else)."

PS, googling for "streetperformer protocol" will turn up a white paper or two describing one form of escrowed release to the public domain.

Frostbite (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858108)

Ok as long as the NFL will handle all the frostbite injury lawsuits in Buffalo. This is the same as horse racetracks (in NJ, for example) saying that they MUST have slot machines to keep interest in horse racing alive....doesn't make any sense at all.

Silly bastards (4, Insightful)

fname (199759) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858111)

Wow, the NFL sure is spending a lot of effort to prevent people from watching their in-market game-- which any sensible DirecTV customer can do today. Sick of the Raiders game being blacked out in Oakland? Well, just "move" to Los Angeles, and you'll be able to see every game on Sunday Ticket. And there are more ways than that.

Do you think the NFL will come after me for a DMCA violation-- is this considered a workaround of an effective security method?

Re:Silly bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858256)

You mean as opposed to making CDs you can't copy without holding down the "shift" key to keep malware from autoinstalling off the disc and calling anyone who holds down the shift key a "hacker"?
By that standard, pretending to move to another city to fool your satellite service makes you freaking Thomas Crown.

Secured? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858114)

"Maybe their engineers understand how to inflate a football, but I don't think they understand encoded, encrypted MPEG-2," TiVo's tightly secured format. MPEG-2 isn't TiVo's...

If you don't want to register... (-1, Redundant)

chachob (746500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858118)

TiVo vs. the Broadcast Flag Wavers

By Rob Pegoraro The Washington Post Sunday, August 1, 2004; Page F06

TiVo, the company that makes the digital-video-recorder boxes that inspire such strange idolatry among their users, is in a weird spot. It's asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to add a new feature -- the option for a TiVo user to send recorded digital TV programs via the Internet to nine other people.

Huh? Permission? Doesn't the government's involvement in consumer electronics stop with making sure that a gadget doesn't jam your neighbor's reception or electrocute you? Since when do the feds get to vote on product designs?

The answer is, since last November, when the FCC voted to require manufacturers to support the "broadcast flag" system by July 1 of next year. This convoluted mechanism aims to stop full-quality copies of digital broadcasts from circulating on the Internet.

The FCC didn't mandate any one anti-file-sharing scheme and instead invited companies to submit their own proposals, which brings us to TiVo's vaguely Soviet predicament. Among the schemes a handful of firms have proposed, only TiVo's would allow tightly controlled online transfers of recorded programs.

For this, the company has drawn the ire of the National Football League and the Motion Picture Association of America, which have asked the FCC to deny TiVo's proposal.

The NFL says that TiVo's Internet-sharing feature will allow people to send game broadcasts to blacked-out viewers in real time (a team's home game can be aired locally only if it sells out beforehand).

"It's a question of pure ability to sell tickets," said Frank Hawkins, the NFL's senior vice president for business affairs. "Buffalo typically sells out September and October, but they've got an open-air stadium. They'll never sell out those December games if they are unable to enforce the blackout rule."

This is an important point: The NFL is not asking the FCC to protect its television business -- never mind that the flag exists only to stop indiscriminate file sharing, not cure every copyright-infringement issue.

No, the NFL is asking for help with a stadium business, one that already benefits from massive government welfare. (A December 2002 Buffalo News story calculated that the taxpayers of Erie County, N.Y., had anted up about $148 million for the Bills and their stadium over the previous decade.)

In other words, the league is asking manufacturers and viewers to further subsidize team owners who are already gorging themselves at the public trough.

There's also the slight problem that the NFL's nightmare -- blacked-out viewers watching a game live on the Internet -- is all but impossible. With almost every broadband connection available today, it would take hours to upload a game. A recipient would be lucky to finish watching a Sunday afternoon game before Monday, and sending a high-definition copy would take most of the week.

Jim Burger, a lawyer for TiVo, fumed about the NFL's complaint: "Maybe their engineers understand how to inflate a football, but I don't think they understand encoded, encrypted MPEG-2," TiVo's tightly secured format.

Whenever full-quality, real-time video on the Internet does become commonplace, I expect to see the NFL capitalizing on it instead of complaining, just as it has profited from such earlier advances as satellite TV.

The MPAA, meanwhile, says that the way TiVo would allow customers to share recordings online with people who may not be friends or family members amounts to indiscriminate redistribution.

The Washington-based group wants TiVo to impose an "affinity requirement," said Fritz Attaway, its executive vice president for government relations.

But how can TiVo tell if the people to whom you've sent a program are really friends and family without launching its own Total Information Awareness program? Attaway called that "a good question." Until that can be answered, his lobby contends that the safest course is to block Internet sharing -- after all, he noted, you can just pop a DVD in the mail.

What the MPAA and the NFL overlook is that every TiVo box includes analog video outputs that can't enforce copy controls. These allow these devices to work with the millions of TV sets lacking digital inputs, but they also let anybody plug a TiVo into a computer to upload video at will.

The FCC has already ruled out proposals to eliminate or deactivate analog outputs. ("We'll probably have to go to Congress to enact legislation to deal with that," Attaway said.) If the problem the MPAA and the NFL describe is real, the remedy they seek won't solve it.

Understand that TiVo itself is no hero. Its proposed system is thoroughly hobbled. The people to whom you'd send recordings online would need you to add them to a "secure viewing group" by ordering special security keys for their Windows computers, associated with your TiVo bill. Each viewer would need to plug one such key into a PC to receive, watch or edit your recordings.

Left on its own, the market could give TiVo's system its appropriate reward. Except we don't have a free market in digital television -- the FCC guaranteed that by approving the broadcast flag.

The MPAA and the NFL phrase their objections as reasonable attempts to err on the side of caution. "We're asking them to just wait awhile, let's think it out more thoroughly," Attaway said.

But if a programmer or an engineer with a bright idea has to go to Washington, hat in hand and lawyers in tow, to request permission to sell a better product -- and is then told "just wait awhile" -- we are on our way to suffocating innovation in this country.

Living with technology, or trying to? E-mail Rob Pegoraro at rob@twp.com.

Re: If you don't want to register... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858219)


> TiVo vs. the Broadcast Flag Wavers

> By Rob Pegoraro The Washington Post Sunday, August 1, 2004; Page F06

Thanks. You can still let eight other people read it, too.

Misleading headline... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858123)

TiVo Has to Fund Your Local Stadium

I don't see where the article says that TiVo has to fund the local stadium. Here's the relevant excerpt:

This is an important point: The NFL is not asking the FCC to protect its television business -- never mind that the flag exists only to stop indiscriminate file sharing, not cure every copyright-infringement issue.

No, the NFL is asking for help with a stadium business, one that already benefits from massive government welfare. (A December 2002 Buffalo News story calculated that the taxpayers of Erie County, N.Y., had anted up about $148 million for the Bills and their stadium over the previous decade.)

I agree, the development is definitely "kafka-esque", but that is because this sets a precedent for new product designs/launches to be approved by the big G.

Another problem is that the very *taxpayers* whose money is currently funding the local stadium and other organizations are getting so greedy that they're trying to mandate laws/legislations against the very public that funds them.

The real funny thing is... (3, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858132)

Jim Burger, a lawyer for TiVo, fumed about the NFL's complaint: "Maybe their engineers understand how to inflate a football, but I don't think they understand encoded, encrypted MPEG-2," TiVo's tightly secured format.

Perhaps it is Mr. Burger that doesn't understand. The ability to rip unencumbered video streams from a hacked TiVi has existed for sometime now. If you want to know the future, Mr. Burger, study the past...

Re:The real funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858324)

Yes, but the ability to do that without TiVo at all has existed for even longer. If nerds wanted to do that they would have before TiVo. The fact nerds can now use TiVo to do it means nothing. The games won't be shared any more now that nerds can rip unencumbered video from their TiVos than the games were shared before when nerds could do it without TiVo.

TiVo TiVo TiVo TiVo TiVo TiVo TiVo.

Huh? (4, Funny)

XryanX (775412) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858133)

From the article:
"Until that can be answered, his lobby contends that the safest course is to block Internet sharing -- after all, he noted, you can just pop a DVD in the mail."

Don't they also dislike the idea of people using DVD-Rs to distribute their material?

Re:Huh? (1)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858235)

Shouldn't they be more worried about the latter option? It's much easier (and faster) for me to send or receive a DVD in the mail as opposed to sending / receiving the same amount of data over my internet connection...

Blunt-edge technology (5, Insightful)

rde (17364) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858143)

In many ways, we're seeing examples of how people want dumber technology. Hands up the number of people who hang on to outdated CD-ROM drives because they ignore the corrupted crap that infests so many of today's alleged CDs? (recently, I didn't realise I'd bought an unrippable CD until after I'd ripped it). When the pernicious broadcast flag becomes endemic, people are once again going to look for older tech to overcome it. Tivo will find itself out-featured by older models, ones that ignore such crap.

To my mind, this is a sure sign that things are going wrong (as if more signs were needed); the broadcast flag and other silliness are anti-technology (and anti-business) because they'll discourage people from upgrading. Of course, they'll be banking on the fact that relatively few people will stick to such technologies, but it only takes one person with a linux-based PVR and a copy of gtk-gnutella to totally screw the pooch.

One thing about the article, though; it implies that the NFL are wasting their time because bandwidth limitations mean it'll never be practical. This assumes that super-duper ultra-high-speed connections will never be available (or at least commonplace); this is a specious argument, I reckon. Not that I'm arguing for it; I just dislike arguments that can be easily overcome.

Re:Blunt-edge technology (4, Interesting)

babyrat (314371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858339)

Of course, they'll be banking on the fact that relatively few people will stick to such technologies, but it only takes one person with a linux-based PVR and a copy of gtk-gnutella to totally screw the pooch.

And what happens when your capture card in that PC dies? Any new one you buy will have to honour the broadcast flag. The Broadcast flag isn't an over-night fix, but 20 years from now when all the hardware that doesn't support the broadcast flag has died, it will reign supreme - except of course for the foreign hardware that illegally trickles in from places that are not the land of the 'free' thus are not mandated to provide broadcast flag censorship.

Re:Blunt-edge technology (1)

Saeger (456549) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858422)

When the pernicious broadcast flag becomes endemic, people are once again going to look for older tech to overcome it.

Subsisting on old open tech won't be enough to remain free.

If the fascist "Trusted Computing" plan [fourmilab.ch] actually becomes reality, then there'll no doubt emerge the demand for large black market for non-DRM'd (or "untrusted" in newspeak) hardware. I, for one, would asume the risk of a "drug dealer" in importing it (from freer countries) and selling it.

--

How half-arsed. Glad I bought ReplayTVs instead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858172)

This is exactly why I bought ReplayTV 5040's instead of a Tivo. I can extract, burn, or move my recordings around any way I see fit, including internet sharing with other folks, whether I "know" them or not (see poopli.com).

Blow me, MPAA, and ditto for you, Tivo. It's my recording and my house. You don't want me to use the recording, KEEP THE PROGRAMMING OUT OF MY HOUSE. And as for the No Fun League, as if I'd ever be bored enough to watch, much less record a pro game...

Re:How half-arsed. Glad I bought ReplayTVs instead (1)

comwiz56 (447651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858255)

But can you record HD?

How many people actually consider (3, Insightful)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858184)

watching a game on television/their computer a replacement for going to the game? If possible, I would much prefer to go to a game rather than watch it on TV. Being able to watch a game on TV has no bearing on whether or not I will buy a ticket. The atmosphere is just so much different. Plus, you can decide what you want to watch, you aren't forced to watch what the camera is pointing at. This is just another one fo those "enablers", it enables them to do all sorts of stupid shit to cover up the fact that they just can't sell tickets.
There is a reason people don't go to Buffalo games in November and December, it's fucking freezing! Do they seriously expect someone to say, "Well, it's so cold out that really don't want to go to the game, but since I can't watch it on TV, I will go anyhow"? My best guess is that they will just not watch the game, or go to a bar or something to watch it, where people pay even less attention to the commercials....

Re:How many people actually consider (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858263)

How many people actually consider that the die-hard football fans are usually a bunch of drunk-ass rednecks who go to games when its 20 below zero, snowing, and they're sitting there with no shirt on and have their chest painted with the number of their favorite overpaid whinyass player?

Why do Slashdot eds allow Washington Post articles (-1, Offtopic)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858185)

Why are articles from the registration-only Washington Post allowed?

because occasionally... (1)

Corf (145778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858231)

...the Post has some stuff that's worth reading about, and hang the registration?

I moved from ten miles northeast of DC to Columbia, SC. I still have my browser's home set to washingtonpost.com, simply because the local paper down here sucks even worse, and I miss living in a real urban area; the Post gives me a taste of life back home.

Luckily it's irrelevant... or is it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858186)

Just another example of how out of touch governmental bodies (FCC included) are with reality.

All these things do is legitimize 'illegal' copying and sharing. As rules and regulations become more and more absurd, more people feels no need to obey them.

Once most everybody ignores the law it becomes largely irrelevant except as a means to create a new revenue source (i.e. direct fines, indirect contributions by the beneficiaries of the that law) for the government and/or a tool instill fear in the hearts of the government subjects (that's you and I.)

After a second thought maybe the FCC is not in touch with reality after all.

Ignorance is just as deadly as patents (5, Insightful)

Bruha (412869) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858193)

When it comes to technology our own government leaders are out of touch. GB does not even use email and if that's a example of how smart our USPTO,Congress, and others are then were in big trouble.

I dont believe that what Tivo is doing is such a bad thing. What I do believe that the cable companies who are trying to knock Tivo off it's seat are probably the cause of the problems in the first place. All they had to do is put a bug in the ears of the RIAA,MPAA, and the NFL the latter which probably knows the least about the device. Then those groups go arguing to the FCC where they might have a slight idea of what MPEG2 consists of but I'm sure the group arguing against Tivo conviently forgot to mention the slow speeds of our current broadband services.

Now 3 years down the road this will be a changed world in the US as the FTTP rollouts will be in full steam and will have probably crossed the 2million mark or even more and it would be a standard thing to have a 10/10 connection to the internet. It's even faster between neigborhoods with testing in Keller TX, on multi gig transferrs taking a few seconds. So I would expect that people could then easily send videos to others. Hell with a little work Tivo could turn your box into a Napster for tv shows, and other recordings using the combined networked Tivo's as local servers.

Back to my point. These groups want to shut Tivo down so they can profit on their own distribution methods and limit choices to the consumer so they can inflate prices as they please. And it's true that NFL teams tend to milk whatever city they reside in through taxes. Now they want to milk the consumer even more through limited choice and high prices. If they wanted to do otherwise they would work with Tivo to come up with a acceptable solution and restrictions. However since they're not I have to stick with my original theory.

Re:Ignorance is just as deadly as patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858413)

George Bush doesn't use email because he is FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE. That's why he didn't know about the August 6th Presidential Daily Breifing that he missed because of his oh-so-important vacation. He needs someone to read that stuff to him.

-I am not a Clinton apologist, and I know he didn't use email either, but hey, he didn't preside over the biggest defecit either.

Clinton - A better Republican than any Bush
Clinton - Balanced Budgets while republicans borrowed and spent
Clinton - Kept American Jobs in America, while repulicans give tax credits to outsourcers, who they claim are actually benefitting the American worker, who can now go back to the manufacturing job at McDonalds
Clinton - Lied about a blowjob
Bush - Lied about a war, and over 1,000 dead Americans later, still no Weapons of Mass Desctruction, but that didn't stop Bush from making jokes about it!

Imagine if LBJ had accepted investments from Lee Harvey Oswald's family?

Imagine if Clinton let McVeigh's family leave the country a few days after Oklahoma City?

Imagine if FDR made jokes to the press corps about "hidden jap sneak attack fleets"

Imagine if FDR responded to a Japanese attack by quickly invading the Alutien Islands, not finding Hirohito, and decided to bomb China instead, because they're Asian too.

Imagine if Gore won the election (oh yeah, that's right, he did!)

Youthful Indiscretions (5, Funny)

aethera (248722) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858461)

1992 US Presidential Election: Yes, I smoked pot, but I didn't inhale.
2024 US Presidential Election: Yes, I downloaded on Napster, but I didn't share.

I'm no friend of this kind of thing, but (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858214)

I'm not gonna get an ulcer worrying about it. If this is the world we're doomed to live in, then I guess I'll live in it with everyone else, the alternative being what it is. The fact is that this *would* hurt some NFL teams, and they could, if they wanted to, not broadcast it at all. It is completely their right to do what they want with the content that they provide to broadcasters.

mplayer is fine by me (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858249)

What's this "broadcast flag" shit? I guess anything is possible over there these days. If you can run a compiler, seriously, use mplayer and forget about copy protection/DRM stuff for good.

Would it be tough to? (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858258)

Link to the unregistered article or just paste the text?

Seriously.

Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? (0, Troll)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858280)

Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? I cannot think of a more useless waste of time than sitting down and watching an NFL game.

But I guess the joe sixpacks have to be kept distracted while their government ass-rapes them.

Re:Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858306)

I concur.

Re:Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858401)

Since when did geeks care about sports. Anyway, we always have an opinion on something even if it doesn't matter to us...

Re:Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? (0, Redundant)

ghack (454608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858430)

Who gives a shit about pro sports anyways? I cannot think of a more useless waste of time than sitting down and watching an NFL game.

I care. Pro sports invokes a number of base emotions, and hence its popularity. To the geek who does not care I would suggest this: why not try following a team, such as the Packers, the Steelers, or the Raiders for awhile. In other words, follow a team with a real identity. One might be surprised at how interesting and fun it is, and even if this is not the case, one might gain an appreciation for the NFL and its devoted following.

The reality of the matter is this: the average person, football fan or not, is ambivalent about their government. Football fans run the gamut: from distinguished intellectuals to the practically uneducated.

It is sad to see this elitist view about the NFL still rampant among some "nerds" today: the same foolish individuals who claim to reason and think critically display an utter lack of understanding or open mindedness when it comes to sports. In a way, maybe a "joe six pack" football fan displays more wisdom than you do.

Anyone here a Jasper Fforde fan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858288)

Beware the thrice-watched rule. :-D

Corporate welfare (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9858296)

It's refreshing to see the NFL has been rather open about the whole purpose of FCC-recognized corporate welfare. When asked why the NFL was demanding governmental heavy-handedness and intervention in the free market, the NFL suit answered:

"It's a question of pure ability to sell tickets," said Frank Hawkins, the NFL's senior vice president for business affairs.

Exactly. Hawkins goes on to explain that "they'll never sell out those December games if they are unable to enforce the blackout rule" (meaning manipulate, coerce and destroy consumer choice). The honest answer, however, is that the value of a northern market outdoor stadium seat significantly diminishes as it gets damn cold in December. And this is the consumer's problem how?

Has the NFL ever studied popsicle sales, especially looking at them in, say, January in Detroit? (Clue: The local Good Humor man doesn't drive down neighborhood streets when the outside temperature is lower than that of his product!) What about the hot soup sales at Disney World in July? If you've hit Disney's parks at different times of the year, you'll learn that they're well in tune to the weather and consumer behavior (ever notice the umbrellas that amazingly pop up all over at the stands just as the drops are starting to fall?)

If these businesses were run like the NFL, we'd have the government shutting down grocery stores in Orlando and limiting the only food choice to Campbell's Cream of Brocalli in order to protect the Disney soup racket.

Just as the RIAA doesn't understand (nor care about) the consumers of its industry's products, the NFL has lost it on fans. A Cleveland Browns seat may be worth $125 in September, but certainly not in December. Their inability to understand this is not grounds for absurd government intervention, and any bureaucrat that supports this nonsense is probably on someone's payola (hey Junior Powell - get your Redskins season tickets yet?).

Re:Corporate welfare (1)

ghack (454608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858362)

Exactly. Hawkins goes on to explain that "they'll never sell out those December games if they are unable to enforce the blackout rule" (meaning manipulate, coerce and destroy consumer choice). The honest answer, however, is that the value of a northern market outdoor stadium seat significantly diminishes as it gets damn cold in December. And this is the consumer's problem how?

This may be true in some markets, however, the steelers have not had a game that did not sell out since the early 1970s. Part of it is about the quality of the product on the field. If the bengals are 3-10 in december, then, shit, why would anyone want to go see that fucking bullshit. Contrast that to the steelers, who have consistently won over the last thirty years, and we see the real root of the problem: winning, or lack thereof, and NOT television coverage.
The NFL needs to pull their heads out of there asses about this: there is a reason that Pittsburgh and Green Bay sell out and yet are bitterly cold in the winter: they win.

Diable Analog (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858322)

Even if this were to fly ( much to the glee of the RIAA and MPAA ) how do they propse we listen/watch things?

Ive not seen too many digital earbuds.. or digital portable TVs...

Espically audio, it has to be analog at some point.. but then again, if they ban A/D converters, then i guess they have won.. and hopefully noone will listen to music again, until the laws are repealed and the morons that are passing them are put in jail.

Value Added and the future of broadcasting (2, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858335)

I guess we're coming to a point where the consumer protests about the lack of "added value" in broadcast media. When you go to a football match, or a baseball game, or a rock concert you're getting to see people performing live for your entertainment. That shows talent and professionalism, and it's the sort of thing for which people should expect to pay a reasonable price.

Broadcast media,however, is a service for which we already pay once in channel access charges, and now technologu is being deployed to prevent us sharing the pre-packaged, re-transmitted coverage of old events for which we've already paid if not once then several times.

Contrary to the apparent beliefs of the broadcast industry, subscribers are sophisticated enough to know when they're being ripped off, and when a service provider loses the trust of its customer base no amount of law or technology can save them.

can't be helped (5, Funny)

vehn23 (684035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858414)

Peter: Ooooh, tape this for me

Brian: Oooooooooh sorry, the VCR hasn't worked since you tried to tape Monday Night Football

(flashback, Peter puts tape in VCR and presses record, then security guards bust in)

Security Guard: Do you have the expressed written cocent of ABC and the National Football League?

Peter: (holding up contract) Just ABC

(Peter jumps out of the way just as they begin shooting at the VCR)

I ain't falling for it. (3, Funny)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858428)

This one is actually really worth a read to see just how bizarrely corrupt this all is. Enjoy.

Heh. Yeah, nice try.

Gave up tv by accident (4, Insightful)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 9 years ago | (#9858465)

This really does relate to the topic at hand. I'm not trying to be morally superior or anything. Just want to give you some advice about reducing your tv habits before the DRM kicks in.

I gave up television a year ago tomorrow when I moved and decided that I couldn't afford the price of cable at least for a month or so during the transition to the new location.

I've always been a television junky though and really expected that I'd get something: satellite, cable, or even go back to antenna broadcasts. I'd come in from work and HAVE to have the tv playing something in the background. I remember even driving around for several weekends evaluating different recording technologies (Tivo looked the most promising) and I probably would have even bought one in anticipation if I'd already decided whether I was getting satelite or cable service.

For housewarming, christmas, and my birthday I received some fantastic DVD series (Six Feet Under, Babylon 5, some britcoms and music documentaries) that I'd put into my computer or dvd player when I just wanted something on. Six Feet Under was so good that I actually thought of getting HBO to see the show (but I'd have missed two seasons which weren't out yet on DVD).

I was talking to an old friend who knew of my pop-culture, tv-addicted habits. He wanted me to watch the new Battlestar Galactica but I told him that I didn't have cable. Not to worry he said, it'd be rebroadcast that night and later in the week if I thought my cable would be back on then. He was in shock when I told them that I didn't have a subscription and didn't really intend to get one. They said that such a declaration from a television addict like me was akin to Bill Gates switching to Mac OS X.

With some efforts above and beyond the call of my friend, I did wind up watching the Battlestar remake and quite enjoyed it. I probably would have liked it better without the incessant commercials (on a DVD release or something). I'd forgotten just how annoying those things can be.

Now with stories like this, it appears that the DRM is only going to get worse. The advertising is only going to get longer and bolder. I wish I could say that my decision was one of moral rectitude, but it was really one of evolved practicality. I can say that giving up tv is a whole lot easier than you probably imagine (I certainly couldn't imagine it).

Give it up now while your friends can still videotape those one or two shows that you "must see". It'll only get more expensive and more difficult when DRM comes on the scene.
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