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MLB Says Slingbox Illegal, CEA Thinks Otherwise

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the media-ing-on-the-fly dept.

Television 234

The Tie Guy writes "Sling Media's Slingbox allows consumers to watch and control their home television programs from a remote PC or smartphone — a process called 'placeshifting'. Content owners are typically edgy when it comes to the placeshifting topic. However, most don't view Slingbox as an imminent threat that will destroy the commercial broadcast model. Major League Baseball is going against the grain by saying that Slingbox owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals. This has sparked a huge debate that has the MLB, baseball fans, and the CEA up in arms. CEA President Gary Shapiro doesn't agree, and is coming to the defense of Sling Media and place-shifting in general."

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the solution (4, Funny)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344213)

I guess I'll just have to quit watching baseball games. Oh wait I find the sport boring and asinine and don't watch it anyways.

Re:the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344227)

!define CEA

The MLB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344335)

Aren't they the ones who put up that idiotic disclaimer saying that we can't even tell our friends the score? The ones the Simpsons spoofed when they went into international waters saying, "They're re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent--or so the legend goes." Yeah, I know, they have agreements to black out local games unless they're sold out so as to improve ticket sales, but I don't really care, and I never agreed to any of this, nor do I nor should I have to to watch my TV.

I can pretty well reduce what I'd say to them to two words:
SCREW YOU!

Re:The MLB? (3, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344889)

NFL does that dumb message too. Bloody NASCAR has started doing it. (Are NASCAR fans even capable of speech? OH NO HE DIN'T... OH YES HE DID!!!)

I'm a baseball fan, but MLB have broken me now. First there's the MLB.TV thing. Blue Jays are blacked out for me. I am over 2000 miles away from Toronto! Somehow I'm claimed as a local market though... Strike 1.

MLB.TV, despite costing $20 a month, now includes commercials from what I've heard. Also, if you get MLB.TV and want to cancel, they make it deliberately difficult to do so... Strike 2.

Now this. If you're paying for the channel, you can watch it wherever you damn well please IMO. And surely, if Slingbox violates the broadcast deals, that's the TV networks problem, not MLB... Strike 3.

You're outta there Mister Selig... Now call the ump a cocksucker and get thrown from the game.

Re:the solution (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344387)

Am I making this up, or was/is it illegal to tape-record baseball games in the first place? Or is that football or something?

Re:the solution (3, Interesting)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344503)

A youtube post of this copyright warning will gets The Angry Letter from NFL with the DMCA:

This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent, is prohibited.

That's from Wendy's Blog. [seltzer.org] It took 5 days for that to be DMCA'd off youtube.

The MLB warning is:

This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball [or Sterling Mets]. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated, without the express written consent [of Sterling Mets].

Also from Wendy Seltzer's Blog. [seltzer.org] That one has been on youtube since April 25 without a DMCA.

Re:the solution (2, Interesting)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344745)

This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball [or Sterling Mets]. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated, without the express written consent [of Sterling Mets].
Has this restriction ever been tested in court? IIRC, you can't copyright facts.
Or is it just their accounts and descriptions that you cannot disseminate?

MLB, CEA, ABC, BLM, CIA, NSA: +1 Who Cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344583)

Circuses for the proletariat.

Report some news, NOT trivia.

One of my sources just forwarded me a copy of a rather intriguing document about John McCain. In the remainder of this letter, I plan to summarize the contents of that document in an effort to search for solutions that are more creative and constructive than the typically lazy ones championed by high-handed pamphleteers. I assume you already know that McCain enjoys the sense of control that comes from forcing someone else to do things the way he wants them done, but I have something more important to tell you. The real question here is not, "Why can't he live among us in peace?". The real question is rather, "What exactly is he trying to hide?" If I'm not mistaken, there's a painfully simple answer. It regards the way that I don't see how he can build a workable policy around wishful thinking draped over a morass of confusion (and also, as we'll see below, historical illiteracy), then impose it willy-nilly on a population by force. I'm not saying that it can't possibly be done but rather that you don't have to say anything specifically about McCain for him to start attacking you. All you have to do is dare to imply that we should turn his belligerent, superficial politics to our advantage.

The only weapons McCain has in his intellectual arsenal are book burning, brainwashing, and intimidation. That's all he has, and he knows it. Not to be rude or anything, but his method (or school, or ideology -- it is hard to know exactly what to call it) goes by the name of "McCain-ism". It is an ignominious and avowedly yawping philosophy that aims to extirpate the very things that I really cherish. His sentiments are rife with contradictions and difficulties; they're completely virulent, meet no objective criteria, and are unsuited for a supposedly educated population. And as if that weren't enough, I have never been in favor of being gratuitously flippant. I have also never been in favor of sticking my head in the sand or of refusing to shoo him away like the annoying bug that he is.

For those of you who don't know, McCain and his apostles are, by nature, wicked televangelists. Not only can that nature not be changed by window-dressing or persiflage, but I want to overcome the obstacles that people like McCain establish. But first, let me pose an abstract question. How can someone who claims to be so educated and so open-minded dare to blitz media outlets with faxes and newsletters that highlight the good points of McCain's mean-spirited, wily put-downs? While I don't know the answer to that particular question, I do know that it is hardly surprising that McCain wants to advocate incontinent jokes. After all, this is the same perverted con artist whose irascible prattle informed us that aberrant, overbearing scalawags should be fêted at wine-and-cheese fund-raisers. I do not wish to evaluate nonrepresentationalism here, though I contend that McCain intends to create a new social class. Passive-aggressive scoundrels, repressive mountebanks, and unpatriotic skinflints will be given aristocratic status. The rest of us will be forced into serving as their trucklers. He has no discernible talents. The only things McCain has indubitably mastered are biological functions. Well, I suppose he's also good at convincing people that everyone who doesn't share his beliefs is a moonstruck, disagreeable loon deserving of death and damnation, but my point is that whenever McCain is blamed for conspiring to withhold information and disseminate half truths and whole lies, he blames his factotums. Doing so reinforces their passivity and obedience and increases their guilt, shame, terror, and conformity, thereby making them far more willing to help McCain cast ordinary consumption and investment decisions in the light of high religious purpose.

McCain's traducements cannot stand on their own merit. That's why they're dependent on elaborate artifices and explanatory stories to convince us that neurotic troglodytes are easily housebroken. Stinking, inconsiderate academicism is a disgrace to humanity, but it cannot be eliminated by moral lectures or by pious intentions. No, it can be eradicated only if we expose McCain's projects for what they really are. McCain has been known to "prove" statistically that he is the ultimate authority on what's right and what's wrong. As you might have suspected, his proof is flawed. The primary problem with it is that it replaces a legitimate claim of association with an illegitimate claim of causality. Consequently, McCain's "proof" demonstrates only that he is a man of questionable moral character. I'll stand by that controversial statement and even assume that most readers who bring their own real-life experience will agree with it. At a bare minimum, if McCain would abandon his name-calling and false dichotomies it would be much easier for me to rally good-hearted people to the side of our cause.

Although the dialectics of supercilious praxis will gag free speech sooner than you think, if history follows its course, it should be evident that McCain's legatees assert that the ancient Egyptians used psychic powers to build the pyramids. I say to them, "Prove it" -- not that they'll be able to, of course, but because McCain wants all of us to believe that Man's eternal search for Truth is a challenge to be avoided at all costs. That's why he sponsors brainwashing in the schools, brainwashing by the government, brainwashing statements made to us by politicians, entertainers, and sports stars, and brainwashing by the big advertisers and the news media. In a recent essay, McCain stated that we have no reason to be fearful about the criminally violent trends in our society today and over the past ten to fifteen years. Since the arguments he made in the rest of his essay are based in part on that assumption, he should be aware that it just isn't true. Not only that, but if I want to become clinically depressed, that should be my prerogative. I unmistakably don't need him forcing me to. Ask him about any of his confreres who precipitate riots, and the pretentious profligate-type will say, "I never meant they should go that far." Yeah, right. The truth is that whenever anyone states the obvious -- that McCain's sense of humor runs the gamut from rude and crude to insensitive and cruel -- discussion naturally progresses towards the question, "What exactly is McCain's point?" The answer may surprise you, especially when you consider that McCain has recently been going around claiming that the sun rises just for him. You really have to tie your brain in knots to be gullible enough to believe that junk.

To quote someone far wittier than I'll ever be, "McCain got into a snit the last time I pointed out that I, speaking as someone who is not a nettlesome, materialistic degenerate, certainly suspect that basic principles, painfully and gradually drawn from the wisdom, the suffering, the aspirations, and the prophetic religious teachings of countless centuries before us are far more trustworthy than his unholy cock-and-bull stories." I sure wish I had said that because that's exactly what I feel. Nevertheless, he does not tolerate any view that differs from his own. Rather, McCain discredits and discards those people who contradict him along with the ideas that they represent. If anything, most people are loath to admit that I must surely reach out even to my most ostrich-like readers and show them how he confuses demagoguery with leadership and undocumented conspiracism with serious research. It is no more complicated than that. I am not embarrassed to admit that I have neither the training, the experience, the license, nor the clinical setting necessary to properly take steps toward creating an inclusive society free of attitudinal barriers. Nevertheless, I doubtlessly do have the will to raise filthy vagabonds out of their cultural misery and lead them to the national community as a valuable, united factor. That's why I insist that McCain has compiled an impressive list of grievances against me. Not only are all of these grievances completely fictitious, but McCain's favorite tactic is known as "deceiving with the truth". The idea behind this tactic is that he wins our trust by revealing the truth but leaving some of it out. This makes us less likely to follow through on the critical work that has already begun.

If one dares to criticize even a single tenet of McCain's orations, one is promptly condemned as rebarbative, hate-filled, poxy, or whatever epithet McCain deems most appropriate, usually without much explanation. The next time he decides to harm others, or even instill the fear of harm, he should think to himself, cui bono? -- who benefits?

It would be nice to say that witless despotism doesn't exist anymore, but we all know that it does. All kidding aside, McCain's stooges don't represent an ideology. They don't represent a legitimate political group of people. They're just flat vicious. The struggle against vindictive buffoons of one sort or another must be a struggle against mandarinism, authoritarianism, and elitism, or it is doomed to failure. I'll let you in on a little secret: it's a pity that two thousand years after Christ, the voices of abominable schmoes like McCain can still be heard, worse still that they're listened to, and worst of all that anyone believes them. I, not being one of the many neo-combative whiners of this world, find that some of his choices of words in his catch-phrases would not have been mine. For example, I would have substituted "puerile" for "thymolsulphonephthalein" and "shabby" for "proconstitutionalism."

When I was little, my father would sometimes pick me up, put me on his knee, and say "McCain writes really long and boring letters." He has never inscribed his name on the Parthenon of human excellence, either mental or moral. Whatever weight we accord to that fact, we may be confident that the impact of his illiterate plaints is exactly that predicted by the Book of Revelation. Evil will preside over the land. Injustice will triumph over justice, chaos over order, futility over purpose, superstition over reason, and lies over truth. Only when humanity experiences this Hell on Earth will it fully appreciate that McCain must have some sort of problem with reading comprehension. That's the only explanation I can come up with as to why McCain accuses me of admitting that there should be publicly financed centers of boosterism. What I actually said is that McCain's methods are much subtler now than ever before. McCain is more adept at hidden mind control and his techniques of social brainwash are much more appealingly streamlined and homogenized. The pragmatist position is that as soon as McCain's mercenaries make us dependent on what I call incompetent scapegraces for political representation, economic support, social position, and psychological approval, they will have destroyed the basis for their own existence. To top that off, my dream is for tired eyes to open and see clearly, broken spirits to find new energy, and weary arms to find the strength to help others to see through the empty and meaningless statements uttered by McCain and his operatives.

McCain's a pretty good liar most of the time. However, he tells so many lies, he's bound to trip himself up someday. If I may be so bold, McCain never tires of trying to extinguish fires with gasoline. He presumably hopes that the magic formula will work some day. In the meantime, he seems to have resolved to learn nothing from experience, which tells us that my cause is to deal with the relevant facts. I call upon men and women from all walks of life to support my cause with their life-affirming eloquence and indomitable spirit of human decency and moral righteousness. Only then will the whole world realize that I should note that McCain bites the hand that feeds him. At the risk of sounding a tad redundant, let me add that when I say that McCain consistently falls short of telling the whole story or of making a solid point, this does not, I repeat, does not mean that clever one-liners are a valid substitute for actual thinking. This is a common fallacy held by impertinent egotists. Once McCain accepts responsibility for the problems he's caused, the focus shifts from who is responsible to what each of us can do about it, but what makes matters utterly intolerable is knowing that every so often, you'll see McCain lament, flog himself, cry mea culpa for seeking to coordinate a revolution, and vow never again to be so statism-oriented. Sadly, he always reverts to his old behavior immediately afterwards, making me think that he pompously claims that public opinion is a reliable indicator of what's true and what isn't. That sort of nonsense impresses many people, unfortunately. The most sobering aspect of his memoirs is that his intent is to prevent us from asking questions. McCain doesn't want the details checked. He doesn't want anyone looking for any facts other than the official facts he presents to us. I wonder if this is because most of his "facts" are false. As one commentator put it, if you think about it you'll see that his self-serving sophistries are merely a distraction. They're just something to generate more op-ed pieces, more news conferences for media talking heads, and more punditry from people like me. Meanwhile, McCain's sycophants are continuing their quiet work of advancing McCain's real goal, which is to bring this battle to a fever pitch. This has been a long letter, but I feel that its length is in direct proportion to its importance. Why? Because only the assembled and concentrated might of a national passion rearing up in its strength can build a new understanding that can transport us to tomorrow.

Re:MLB, CEA, ABC, BLM, CIA, NSA: +1 Who Cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344907)

Damn, at least troll creatively, not this stupid copy and paste bullshit.

Re:the solution (2, Interesting)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344585)

I wonder how many geeks actually care about baseball to begin with, especially to worry about watching every game when they are traveling. But I suppose the geeks will be the ones sitting in their hotel room alone watching baseball on their laptop while most other peope will be sitting in a sports bar wathching it.

Re:the solution (1)

MrBlockHaus (829351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344949)

Slingbox is not just for geeks tho, I have to say. It makes video on the go pretty accessible to the common man (so to speak).

Re:the solution (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344599)

Will Slingbox the new Betamax and CEA the new Sony? Have we learnt nothing from the past? (Second one is rhetorical, of course...)

Re:the solution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345009)

but, but, but what happens if I have a Tivo connected to a Slingbox? Then I can placeshift...AND timeshift!

*head explodes with copyright violation possibilities*

On TV, sure... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345085)

I guess I'll just have to quit watching baseball games. Oh wait I find the sport boring and asinine and don't watch it anyways.
Baseball is something to experience in person, or not at all. Being out at the park on a fine day is good times. If the sport itself is slow at times, that's mitigated by the fact that you're there enjoying nice weather and the company of friends, plus the social activity of cheering for your team.

'Course, I'd love to add "good food and drink" to the list, but frankly the stuff they serve at the park is overpriced garbage - "sex in a canoe"-type beer and dried-up cold sausage - and under the pretense of security they prevent people from bringing in any outside food that would compete with what they sell. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Obvious question (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344229)

Major League Baseball is going against the grain by saying that Slingbox owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals.

Why should consumers abide by or even care about an agreement between the MLB and the broadcaster? The consumer didn't sign any contracts to "only watch baseball in approved geographical regions." And in any case, the user obviously has a presence in the necessary region in order to use SlingBox in the first place.

Re:Obvious question (4, Insightful)

garbletext (669861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344275)

Exactly. In that quote, they're showing their motives; It's not about what they're entitled to enforce legally, it's what they wish they could, and what they're going to claim they can until a court says otherwise.

Re:Obvious question (4, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344307)

"Why should consumers abide by or even care about an agreement between the MLB and the broadcaster?"

Because after the MLB and broadcaster come to an agreement, they go arm-in-arm to the Federal Government with stories about the "theft" of their "intellectual property". Lather, rinse, repeat for a decade or two and you get a situation where you can no longer use your own devices to pick up the signals shooting all around (and through) you. You will be *presumed *forbidden from doing anything with radio waves until you jump through a few hoops, i.e. discovering whether anyone claims to "own" those waves and what they'll allow you to do with them.

This is the logical conclusion of the argument "it's their content, they can dictate what you do with it"

Re:Obvious question (4, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344371)

That's why you need to go to the real customers: the advertisers.

Make the case that their MLB friends are screwing up their add campaign. If you can't fight Goliath, pit him against the cyclops.

Re:Obvious question (2, Insightful)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344439)

Major League Baseball can kiss my ass.

I've given up on them because of the efforts they go to in order to keep consumers from watching their games on television.

Before, we had the package on Dish Network to watch the out of market games. But this year, MLB granted exclusive rights for the package to DirectTV. At the last minute, or after the last minute, they did allow some big cable conglomerate access as well.

But the Dish Network subscribers were left on their own. The choices are either to not watch the games or switch to DirectTV. I've chosen to not watch their games at all.

There is some package on Dish Network to get a large variety of regional sports networks. Many of those carry their local major league teams. But I no longer care enough to bother to get it. In any event, I'd be surprised if the major league baseball games on those channels weren't blacked out.

I think that what we need is a new non-MLB baseball league on tv. Until that happens, or they get some new management who cares about their fans, Major League Baseball can kiss my ass.

Re:Obvious question (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344659)

I'd like to see college baseball ride football's coattails into some expanded TV time on ESPN, ABC, Fox Sports, etc., beyond the coverage that the College World Series will get. It's a struggle for me to find college baseball on tv for schools in my area (Nebraska-Lincoln, Creighton, Nebraska-Omaha) let alone conference or national games. I'd watch that any day over MLB if the option was available.

Re:Obvious question (4, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344671)

Why should consumers abide by or even care about an agreement between the MLB and the broadcaster?


Legally, they don't have to. They can receive the broadcast anywhere they can legally receive it.

And they can legally timeshift it by recording it to, say, a videotape. And they can legally take that physical video tape anywhere they want and watch it.

Placeshifting probably ought to be equally legal, but there is a lot less clear case law on it that I am aware of, and in the absence of clear case law, MLB probably has a colorable (though, IMO, wrong) claim that placeshifting is a violation of copyright. The fact that it enables violation of the distribution agreement isn't the basis of the claim of illegality, but it is part of the basis for the claim of damages stemming from the illegality.

Re:Obvious question (1)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344701)

Doesn't really matter if the consumer didn't sign any contracts, because they are forced to deal with whatever agreement exists between the MLB and the broadcaster. If you live in Boston and want to watch a Red Sox game, then you are forced to watch it on a TV that has a cable connection with NESN, since they have exclusive broadcasting rights for Red Sox games (once in a while if they're playing the Yankees or something you can see the games on ESPN).

If you don't have NESN, or if your cable is out, or if you want to watch it on MLB.tv, you are out of luck, because all non-NESN broadcasts are blacked out forcing you to watch the game (and the associated ads) with whatever provider the MLB has a deal with. Basically, if you have a subscription to MLB.tv or don't have NESN, don't ever return home because the MLB doesn't want you there.

Re:Obvious question (1)

HaMMeReD3 (891549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345425)

Exactly, it's not like the broadcasters are breaking there agreement, and the people who own slingboxes have no agreement.

This is no different then recording it to vhs and watching it in another country afterwards. In all fairness there is at least 15-20 seconds lag in streaming so it's not really a live broadcast.

More IP Control? Who needs it? (0)

psema4 (966801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344231)

"Sling Media's Slingbox allows consumers to watch and control their home television programs from a remote PC or smartphone -- a process called 'placeshifting'. Content owners are typically edgy when it comes to the placeshifting topic. However, most don't view Slingbox as an imminent threat that will destroy the commercial broadcast model. Major League Baseball is going against the grain by saying that Slingbox owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals. This has sparked a huge debate that has the MLB, baseball fans, and the CEA up in arms. CEA President Gary Shapiro doesn't agree, and is coming to the defense of Sling Media and place-shifting in general." No offence, but F**k MLB. And same with any organization that says "because you might not be in the same spot you were 15 minutes ago, you can't watch it!" I'm not a big Baseball fan, but I'd say the same for any "Media Distribution Outlet."

Re:More IP Control? Who needs it? (1)

psema4 (966801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344269)

Ag. Please(!) forgive. Finally figured out how to set posting preferences to Plaintext.

Previous post should've read:

No offence, but F**k MLB. And same with any organization that says "because you might not be in the same spot you were 15 minutes ago, you can't watch it!" I'm not a big Baseball fan, but I'd say the same for any "Media Distribution Outlet."

Guh.

Who cares? (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344233)

Who fucking cares about baseball anyways? lol.

Oops (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344237)

It allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals.
Sounds like MLB forgot to get someone's signature on the contract.

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345373)

Don't mean to be a party pooper; but doesn't that copyright screen that the consumer sees at the beginning state that you agree not to re-broadcast? Does this really constitute a re-broadcast?

For the record; I don't see an issue with slingbox and (a potential) re-broadcasting for personal use. This also blurs the line with "Fair Use" (in the US). A DVD recorder could potentially be considered a re-broadcast device. Who knows.

No loss; I don't need MLB. They need fans and people willing to pay for the tickets; they need commercial sponsors to pay for commercials so they stay on the air and paying for the players salaries. If this market grows; they will be kissing more and more revenue good bye.

Re:Oops (4, Insightful)

SuperMog2002 (702837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345437)

I'm pretty sure the broadcaster putting text on your screen does not constitute a legal contract between you and them. Otherwise, I can say "By reading any of my other posts ever, you agree to wire me $3000 per word read" and you would be obligated to do so. They can put whatever the heck they want, I'm not obligated to obey anything beyond the letter of the law, and using the Slingbox to unicast (read: not broadcast) something from yourself to yourself does not constitute copyright infringement.

Re:Oops (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345539)

Don't mean to be a party pooper; but doesn't that copyright screen that the consumer sees at the beginning state that you agree not to re-broadcast?

Don't know, haven't read it. For all I know, it might state that the moon is made of cheese and that I agree to not take a bite. WTF does one party's statement of opinion have to do with what another party has agreed to?

By reading this post, you agree to give me a pint of Bridgeport IPA.

DON'T MESS WITH BASEB... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344249)

No, that's not right. Nevermind.

This is the same thing as DVD region coding (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344251)

MLB is using copyright laws to enforce their marketing agreements. Whether it's legally sound or not, I guess we'll find out if this gets as far as a court case, but it's certainly not very customer-centric.

Re:This is the same thing as DVD region coding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344365)

The difference is that the TV signal isn't copy-protected (at least, not the analog signal supported by slingbox) and therefore does not enjoy DMCA protection, as DVD's CSS does. So it's not at all like DVD.

Re:This is the same thing as DVD region coding (2, Funny)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345043)

MLB is using copyright laws to enforce their marketing agreements.

Well then, I am going to use sodomy laws to complain about Microsoft's deceptive marketing practices in regards to security. In both cases, it sounds good, but it's worthless legally. Copyright laws prevent me from making additional copies of the content and distributing them to others. My own copy is only subject to property laws - as MY property that is illegal for MLB or anyone else to muck with.

Okay. I'l l be the first to ask... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344255)

Why is it any business of Sling Media, or their customers what deal a broadcaster made with a third party? The customers were not involved in the negotiations, neither were Sling Media. The fact that they no longer have absolute control of the technology to offer the same service as they did last year means that they need to negotiate a new contract that is acceptable to both parties in the current climate.

Consumer Electronics Association (5, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344261)

Would it have been so hard to actually type (or cut-n-paste) what CEA stands for into the blurb? I couldn't guess WTF it was, an NGO like the BBB, CCC, NAA, or ANA, or more like the FBI, FTC, or GAO.

Re:Consumer Electronics Association (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344475)

Wikipedia to the rescue! [wikipedia.org]

The abbreviation CEA may refer to:
 
    * California Earthquake Authority
    * California Environmental Associates
    * Cambridge Electron Accelerator
    * Canadian Education Association
    * Carcinoembryonic antigen, a tumor marker for colorectal cancer.
    * Carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure involving the carotid artery
 
    * Central Electricity Authority of India
    * Centro de Educación Artística, an arts institute in Mexico City owned by Televisa
    * China Eastern Airlines
    * Christian Evangelistic Assemblies, a Christian organization supporting non-denominational churches
    * Cincinnati Entertainment Awards
    * Collective employment agreement (in collective bargaining)
    * College of Engineering Adoor, An engineering college at Adoor, Kerala affiliated to CUSAT
    * Collie eye anomaly
    * Comité Européen des Assurances, the European insurance and reinsurance federation
    * Consumer Electronics Association
    * Controlled Environment Agriculture
 
    * Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique, French national establishment for nuclear matters
    * Council of Economic Advisors
    * Commodities Exchange Act, one of several pieces of legistation regulating the sale of commodities in the United States under the oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
    * Cultural Experiences Abroad, Study Abroad Programs
I'm partial to "Collie eye anomaly" myself.

Re:Consumer Electronics Association (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344881)

I'm partial to "Collie eye anomaly" myself.
Ditto. That darn collie eye anomoly is always contradicting major league sporting organisations!

 

Would it have been so hard to actually type (or cut-n-paste) what CEA stands for into the blurb?
But then the submitter and editors would not appear nearly as intelligent to themselves. It is pretty obvious that the average slashdot submitter or editor has never written a formal essay in an institution of higher learning.

Re:Consumer Electronics Association (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344621)

FYYFF

J/K.

LOL.

PKM (Please kill me)

dang cap filter is harshing my "joke"

Re:Consumer Electronics Association (1)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344725)

Agreed. I went straight to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CEA [wikipedia.org] . Apparently CEA is a very popular TLA. "Consumer Electronics Association" is a good pick, but how about "Council of Economic Advisors," "Christian Evangelistic Assemblies," or "China Eastern Airlines"? China is all about copyright infringement, so it wouldn't surprise me them getting behind those Slingbox pirates. A bunch of rabble, the lot of them.

Re:Consumer Electronics Association (4, Funny)

i_like_spam (874080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344869)

CEA actually stands for 'Can't Explain Acronyms', which is a common occurrence on Slashdot.

PSP + PS3 does the same thing (4, Interesting)

BoboB-69 (1034912) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344267)

The PSP with its new firmware plus the PS3 with its firmware from last week does the same thing for music, pictures, and video. Wonder how MLB will treat it? http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/31/psp-3-50-firmwa re-available-remote-play-over-the-internet/ [engadget.com]

Re:PSP + PS3 does the same thing (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344347)

I don't believe it allows you to send live TV over the internet.

Re:PSP + PS3 does the same thing (1)

BoboB-69 (1034912) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344627)

I don't believe it allows you to send live TV over the internet.

The PS3 is a DLNA client. If you have any DLNA server on your network (there are many and more are coming from the consumer electronics and PC industries), you will be able to see live TV over the internet.

Sony is Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345379)

It's a Sony product, MLB doesn't have to do anything. It will impose enough restrictions to keep even the most authoritarian copyright owner happy.

Version 1.0 will probably only stream public-domain silent films at 320x240 resolution to a single client in the same subnet; future forced firmware updates will impose further restrictions...

MLB is probably just trying to get some attention (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344283)

Plus, there's no guarantee that Slingbox will be around next year. It's a start-up.

Thats bull. Even if the company goes under, my hardware is still gonna work. MLB can eat it.

Fair Use (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344325)

I say that Fair Use lets me both time and place-shift. No industry in America deserves the right, or the power, to not only tell you what (show the program in another country, but not yours for a year) and when (Do Not Record flag that idiots who forget who their customers really are, like TiVo, slavishly obey) you can watch their show, but where as well. If I pay for it, I should be able to watch it anywhere I am! It's not like Sling Media hasn't taken effective steps to limit the viewing or distribution of the program to the purchaser alone.

It's also no wonder that the more the content industry tightens the screws (no fast forwarding now through commercials, let alone 30-second skip, on new programming) that the more people turn to alternative methods (e.g. BitTorrent) for getting their content, and the ability to watch it, as they desire.

Timeshifting is almost as bad as steroids! (0, Troll)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344343)

Wow, letting someone watch something brodcast over the airwaves anywhere they want is almost as bad as someone breaking a hallowed major league record because they were using illegal, performance-enhancing drugs! But we know MLB would never let that happen...

(Given the plethora of entertainment choices available today, plus the numerous scandals that have rocked the sport just this decade, you would think that MLB would be happy that anyone still watches baseball, never mind when and where...)

Crow T. Trollbot

Re:Timeshifting is almost as bad as steroids! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344645)

(Given the plethora of entertainment choices available today, plus the numerous scandals that have rocked the sport just this decade, you would think that MLB would be happy that anyone still watches baseball, never mind when and where...)

A slightly paranoid individual might suggest that the scandals were invented out of whole cloth in order to drum up some interest in their boring-ass sport.

The decline of baseball explains the rise of popularity in NASCAR, though. Baseball is fucking boring. So is watching a bunch of cars turn left. But almost no one ever dies in baseball, whereas NASCAR occasionally involves explosions and cars doing cartwheels.

As a side note, anyone who hasn't yet seen the film Idiocracy might think about giving it a glance. It's pretty amusing, once.

Its funny (4, Informative)

Altus (1034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344403)


But somehow I don't remember signing a broadcast agreement with Major League Baseball. Either place shifting is legal or not. MLB's agreements with its broadcasters should have absolutely no bearing on this at all.

Boo hoo (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344405)

"...if a league can't protect the rights they (sell), that doesn't bode well for future contracts when they want to resell the rights at higher margins," says George Kliavkoff, who was vp business development at MLBAM before becoming chief digital officer at NBC."


Uhh.. so, change your business model to reflect the changes in your customers' needs. Trying to penalise your customer for changing seems doomed to failure; although I may be mistaken =)

When will people learn that information doesn't respect boundaries? One would think it would be a simple lesson, particularly in today's climate of ?IAA attacks on their own customers over the same issue.

Hint: The world is changing. Either lobby to make change illegal or stop whining, please....

You play in our parks.. (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344409)

You play in our parks, rely on our infrastructure (including roads, police and fire protection), I will do whatever the hell I want with your content. Thanks.

When Did I Sign That? (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344421)

. . . Slingbox owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals.

Did I sign a broadcaster agreement? No? Then shut up.

History Repeating (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344431)

It doesn't get old reading about big media and how they get very worried when power comes to the people. We all now have the opportunity to copy, place shift, time shift and archive our tv shows on our schedules, even go as far as re-broadcast mash ups (a la The Daily show - he said what then he said what?), edits (no adverts anyone?) or just plain rips with our home PC's and an Internet connection.

Reminds me of when (cassette) tape to tape desks became common and people started doing their own compilations to listen to in their order, and started mailing clubs to swap mix tapes. The big media were up in arms then that it would be the end of music sales....

Oh well , another good reason to have your own media PC so you don't end up foul of a firmware update that blocks your certain shows after a court case between your hardware manufacturer and a media company.

Breaking Geographical Boundaries (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344453)

Does it break geographical boundaries if I make a tape of the game and carry it with me to watch on my trip? Can I be sued for doing that?

Slingbox simply automates a process that has been done the old fashioned way since the advent of the home VCR. It's better. It's nicer. It's far more consumer friendly, but it's essentially the same thing!

The unfortunate problem is that the courts tend to be anal about these things. A court ruled recently that while it's legal for the cable company to rent you a DVR and place it next to your television set, it's illegal for them to move the DVR functionality to their own servers and send you the program on demand over the cable in a way that looks the same as though you'd recorded it yourself. It's the same d@mn thing in every regard except in the eyes of some dumb judge.

The courts seem to need to inspect (meddle in) every little piece of technological progress and nitpick reasons why this isn't legal, although the same functionality implemented in an earlier was was completely legal. Just how far away from your TV set will this judge allow your legal DVR to be placed before it becomes illegal. That's what I'd like to know.

Of course, I'll bet that the moment Sling Media is ready to hand over a substantial wad of cash to MLB for providing this functionality to their fans, that MLB will have no problems with it at all.

Re:Breaking Geographical Boundaries (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344719)

Does it break geographical boundaries if I make a tape of the game and carry it with me to watch on my trip?


It certainly enables you to do that, yes.

Can I be sued for doing that?


No. Because making the recording is legal, so the fact that it causes MLB harm doesn't give them a cause of action. Their argument here is that "placeshifting" by retransmitting over the internet is a violation of copyright (I think they are wrong, but I don't think the case law is clear on that so that it is as certain as a matter of law) and therefore the harm done to them by circumventing the regional distribution agreements they have are damages attributable to that legal wrong that they can recover.

Placeshifting vs. Timeshifting seems backwards... (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345083)

No. Because making the recording is legal, so the fact that it causes MLB harm doesn't give them a cause of action. Their argument here is that "placeshifting" by retransmitting over the internet is a violation of copyright (I think they are wrong, but I don't think the case law is clear on that so that it is as certain as a matter of law) and therefore the harm done to them by circumventing the regional distribution agreements they have are damages attributable to that legal wrong that they can recover.

It doesn't make any sense to me that placeshifting would be more questionable than time shifting. With timeshifting, you have a recorded version you can watch whenever you want, wherever you want (if it's stored on removable media like DVD/VHS or stored on an iPod), and as many times as you want without the MLB ever having control over any of it. Commercials can even be edited out. With placeshifting a la Slingbox, you watch it live, once. You can't go back and rewatch things you missed. You have to sit through the commercials. It's normally a personal thing, I doubt many Sling users are publicly displaying the content for lots of people to see. And with the Slingbox, you already paid to have that content delivered to you. It's not the cable company's business that someone found a way to help you watch it when you're more than 50 feet from your cable box. What's next? Outlawing long cable wires?

That, and the fact that isn't something that keeps people watching MLB games good for the MLB? I guess they have deals with iTunes, so they can pretend that this hurts those, but that doesn't hold a lot of water.

Re:Placeshifting vs. Timeshifting seems backwards. (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345277)

It doesn't make any sense to me that placeshifting would be more questionable than time shifting.


I'm not saying it should sense. I'm saying that, AFAIK, there is fairly clear case law on the latter, the case law is not as clear on the former, and while intuitively I think that placeshifting ought to be considered at least as much "fair use" as timeshifting, the courts might well disagree.

That, and the fact that isn't something that keeps people watching MLB games good for the MLB?


Maybe, maybe not. It increases the value of the TV rights, but hurts ticket sales. The reason there are local blackout provisions in the broadcast agreements is specifically because the MLB believes that letting people watch games that aren't sold out hurts ticket sales more than it increases the sale value of the broadcast rights, so presumably it is going to feel the same way about anything that allows evading those restrictions.

The way I see it (2, Informative)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344483)

Their agreement is between MLB and broadcasters. The people watching it aren't even part of the agreement. The broadcasters broadcasted the media in the consumers area, and the consumer watched it. They just choose to watch it some place other than their own home.

Re:The way I see it (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345263)

Their agreement is between MLB and broadcasters. The people watching it aren't even part of the agreement. The broadcasters broadcasted the media in the consumers area, and the consumer watched it. They just choose to watch it some place other than their own home.

If you ever listen to the beginning of a MLB broadcast (or NFL or many other sports) one part of the leagaleze they spew is something like "no rebroadcast or retransmit allowed without written permission of MLB". I wonder if they are considering the slingbox in violation of that, since it is essentially retransmitting the video from your home to wherever you might have gone. Seems weak, and probably would not hold up in court, since the language is obviously aimed at keeping people from recording and reselling the game or any part of it without paying MLB for those rights.

As for the geographical boundaries, this probably has to do with the "blackout" area around any televised pro-sports event. Part of the pro-sport agreements include clauses that require areas near the game to be blacked out from transmitting the game in an effort to get more people to actually go to the stadium and buy a ticket to watch it there, if the game is under a certain percentage of capacity. Its a dumb rule, since most people that want to watch the game at the stadium will go to the stadium either way, and those that could care less wont change their mind if they cant watch it on tv. If they really are into it, they just get a satellite TV service that cant distinguish the boundaries anyway. The MLB has already gone after Satellite TV services for this in the past, now they are adding "On the Internets!!" to it and trying again.

Tm

timeshifting + placeshifting = rampant piracy (1)

perky (106880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344491)

So I am explicitly allowed to timeshift broadcast content - or at least I would be if I was a merkin. And now I might be allowed to "placeshift". So does that mean I am allowed to record any broadcast media and time'n'place (tm) shift it to enjoy anywhere on any device in any location?

Record the entire broadcast stream, and then operate a kind of private Video on Demand service based on all of the content that has been broadcast in the past N years. All you need is some cheapo commodity disk and some software like Promise TV with streaming.

Re:timeshifting + placeshifting = rampant piracy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344609)

Record the entire broadcast stream, and then operate a kind of private Video on Demand service based on all of the content that has been broadcast in the past N years. All you need is some cheapo commodity disk and some software like Promise TV with streaming.

You're entitled to watch the stream, because you recorded it. And you're entitled to show it to other people if you're watching it, so long as they're not paying you money to be there or anything similar. But to send the stream to someone else is to make a copy of the stream, and it's still violation of copyright.

Do you know what is a merkin? (0, Offtopic)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344959)

Me foreign born, not good English understanding. Me no understand your usage of the word merkin [wikipedia.org] . You using merkin as funny speak for American, no?

Re:Do you know what is a merkin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345245)

you are annoying.

MLB is authoritating itself into obscurity (5, Interesting)

tjw (27390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344495)

I've been a baseball fan for a long time, but becoming less of one as it becomes harder to watch video of the games.

I live in MN, but I'm a Brewers fan. This is quite unfortunate since it makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to watch Brewers games. My satellite provider will only let me watch Twins games (something i would have to pay extra for), but MLB has my MN zip code in the "blackout area" for the Brewers and Twins, so I can't watch games online through mlb.tv either.

Last year I paid ~$200 for something called MLB Season Ticket just to watch brewers games on satellite. This year it's not available.

I wrote an email to blackout@mlb.com explaining the situation, but the response was essentially "too bad, you're blacked out".

I think this strategy of milking advertising pennies is only hurting MLB in the long run since I doubt they will maintain younger fans now that its so hard to get their video content. Turning down my money and alienating fans like me probably isn't that wise for the short-run either.

Re:MLB is authoritating itself into obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344905)

As I understand it, blackouts aren't about milking advertising dollars but trying to put people in the seats at the stadiums.

Re:MLB is authoritating itself into obscurity (1)

wiit_rabit (584440) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345239)

I have a similar situation with American football. I'm a Chicago Bears fan living in SW Pennsylvania. Sometimes I don't get any games at all on Sundays!. I now listen to the NFL and NASCAR on SIRIUS radio.

PS: When will the broadcasters learn that we may want to watch other sports too like Rugby, Irish hurling, and Aussie football.

Re:MLB is authoritating itself into obscurity (1)

ELiTeUI (591102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345431)

GO BEARS

Re:MLB is authoritating itself into obscurity (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345381)

I hear your pain man. When I lived in Southern Illinois, I had MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV. I'd watch The Cardinals and the Mariners (Ichiro is fun to watch.) Whenever the Seattle plays in Chicago, which is over 300 miles away, and the game is broadcast on the over the air in Chicago (WCIU?) I WAS BLOCKED OUT. I called DirecTV and complained everytime.

"That game is broadcast on the over the air channel."
"No. It's broadcasted on a channel 300 miles away. It is physically impossible for me to receive it."
"MLB thinks otherwise."
"Could you unloick FSN Seattle, since I get right up until the game showed up."
"It's impossible for us to unblock a single channel."
"Bullshit."

Fuck Bud Selig. Fuck him to hell.

Breaking a contract I didn't sign..... (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344507)

I didn't sign any contract with MLB. So they can find a short pier and take a long walk.

simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344509)

Don't broadcast baseball games. The team owners wouldn't have to worry about controlling the media and they wouldn't preempt shows I want to watch. Everyone is a winner.

Motives are clear (5, Interesting)

Known Nutter (988758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344539)

hardly a surprise MLB is going after Slingbox, since it competes directly with their own service [mlb.tv] which circumvents the exact same "geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals".

Suddenly it makes sense (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344885)

I wondered why they were being so stupid about this- you'd think Slingbox would up their fans and therefore, their advertising dollars. Now I understand that MLB just wants to prevent anyone else from competing with them.

No it doesn't (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345195)

MLB.tv is just as blacked out as regular TV. One thing MLB.tv lets them do is black people out unilaterally.

Re:Motives are clear (1)

danfromsb (965115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345323)

Actually it doesn't. If your billing zip code/ip address is in the specified locations you will be blacked out of local games even on mlb.tv. Only gameday radio allows you to listen to all games live. All of the rules mlb sets up don't make any sense in this day and age.

economics of blackouts (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344553)

Broadcast blackouts only benefit MLB if local broadcasting would detract from attendance at games. Would that really happen? I don't follow baseball, but from what I know, there are lots of people who find it more exciting to go to the stadium than to watch on TV, so unless the stadium prices are so high as to keep the fans away, local broadcasting would not have any impact on their stadium income. Am I wrong about this? Does MLB even have a real economic incentive to block local broadcasting?

RIAA all over again (2, Informative)

denobug (753200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344557)

MLB is behaving like RIAA now. It seems it is very easy for content owners to "convince" someone that new technology is helping people "stealing" their contents and the new technology available is evil and must be banned. We need to call our Congressional representatives and the Senators and ask for a law to be passed that prevent ANY immerging technology should not be liable for ANY copyright infringement. They need to do more to catch people in the act to accuse somone of stealing.

We should not be liable for someone too lazy to find new ways to make their own money. Business need to learn to adapt, that includes whiny executives running out of fresh ideas decades ago.

*ring*ring* (2, Funny)

UP_Minstrel (70371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344565)


Hey man, its Bob.
(Hi Bob)
Hey, you at home?
(yeah)
You got the game on?
(yeah)
Whats the score?
(can't tell you)
What? C'mon man, you watching it or not?
(yeah, I'm watching it)
Well, tell me what the score is.
(OOoo, hold on....) .....
(Wow, great play)
Who's at bat?
(Can't tell you)
.
.
Ad Nauseum

Seriously. Draw a fucking line. Get a grip. Evolve with the times or die, you broadcast based dinosaurs, instead of fighting ridiculous fucking battles to raise your stock price until you can retire and pull the chord on your goddamn golden parachute.

There's nothing anyone can do with your crap that you haven't now labeled as theft. Oh wait, they can watch it ONCE... but they have to buy a house and a license and agree to a 3 yr service agreement with whatever cable-sludge company holds the monopoly in your broadcast "zone" so they can lay there on the couch with an IV drip in while you rifle their wallets and be bombarded with advertisements for stores 200 miles away as you download "reality" TV into the country's frontal lobes and host talking heads complaining about the declining IQ and productivity of the sheep that you yourselves have helped raise.

Property is theft. Intellectual Property doubly so.

Simpsons has the answer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344575)

What about that boat that has implied oral consent to rebroadcast? Just use it.

How to make the MLB shut up: (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344577)

Get a huge antenna and an amplifier. Suddenly you have an advantage over your neighbors and can pick up tv stations that are farther away while your neighbors can't get them. How is that technically different than what they are claiming? You've broken "geographic boundaries." What is the MLB going to do, demand that you take down your antenna?

These broadcast agreements are dumb (1)

iksrazal_br (614172) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344591)

I live in Brazil and I like to watch hockey. There is a package called "center ice" by the NHL, which allows you to stream games over the internet though its primrily a cable package. I'd pay to get some games - except I can't buy it because I live outside the usa and canada! So the only people that can pay to stream games, are people that can get them on TV. Even dumber, the games are blacked out if shown on another network - except you may be out of town which is one reason you'd stream games.

So I got my parents to setup a slingbox. I watched game two of the stanely cup last night - picture not bad really as it doesn't stall. Slingbox almost even runs on wine - it actually does for some people. So I'm happy and since these bigwigs don't care about me, I don't care about them as I didn't sign anything.

Robert

Same old crappy UI metaphor (1)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344605)

FTA:

... recreates the familiar living room remote control on the screen ...

I know it's easy and obvious and portable, but that UI metaphor drives me crazy. Any software with an on-screen "remote control" goes straight in the virtual shitcan, unless every single button on it has a keyboard equivalent.

1's and 0's (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344607)

...owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries

Anybody who tries to control digital content first ought to know that 1s and 0s do not know the meaning of geographical boundaries. If it can be represented by 1s and 0s, then any device instructed to know what said numbers mean will carry them.

what cast? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344641)

"Slingbox owners who stream home games while traveling are breaking the law because it allows consumers to circumvent geographical boundaries written in to broadcast deals"

What about unicast deals? MLB doesn't have those? That's the end of that then, I guess.

Re:what cast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344833)

I know for a fact that if you are {connected|a big shot|high roller|etc} you CAN get just about any damn event direct to your {expensive} hotel suite's TV.

MLB needs to let this one go (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344665)

In order to encourage game stadium attendance, MLB will usually only permit sold out games to be broadcast locally.

Like the 30 second commercial segment, it was a nice idea that has had its day. Chasing after slingboxes in order to protect blackouts is no less foolish than outlawing the 30 second skip button in order to protect viability of commercials.

Because they can't be bothered to change, these people think that entire markets and technologies must be restrained, inhibited, crippled or destroyed. Fuck 'em.

Re:MLB needs to let this one go (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19344973)

You are confusing the NFL with the MLB. MLB doesn't have local blackout rules based on sellout.

Re:MLB needs to let this one go (1)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345291)

If they did, most of the games wouldn't be televised!

Re:MLB needs to let this one go (1)

mtelbert (652685) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345525)

You wrote: "In order to encourage game stadium attendance, MLB will usually only permit sold out games to be broadcast locally."

I think you're thinking of NFL, not MLB. I watch Oakland A's games all the time (in my home in the Bay Area), and they're hardly ever sold out.

Key Word: (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344721)

Broadcast agreement. No parties to those contracts are improperly broadcasting. If I choose to receive those broadcasts from somewhere unexpected, so what? It isn't like consumers are re-broadcasting anything; Slingbox uses unicast TCP/IP connections.

Enforcement by GPS in the receiver (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344969)

Obviously, what MLB would like is a GPS unit in the receiver to enforce their area restrictions.

Like this. [kvh.com]

Yes, the DirecTV receivers for mobile use have an "Integrated GPS ... to automatically enable local channels while in your home designated market area". Cross the area boundary and your TV reception cuts off.

Re:Enforcement by GPS in the receiver (1)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345351)

Yes, the DirecTV receivers for mobile use have an "Integrated GPS ... to automatically enable local channels while in your home designated market area". Cross the area boundary and your TV reception cuts off.
The thing about locals on DirecTV is that for the most part, they are spot-beamed. So once you're outside of the boundary area, the actual signal won't be there for much longer either.

Re:Enforcement by GPS in the receiver (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345439)

You see, that's why slingbox and a portable satellite internet receiver would be a much better solution. If those receivers detected where you were and guaranteed that you would have national network service when you didn't have local service, and guaranteed that you would have local service in any city where local channels were available, it might not be so offensive, but with it cutting off access to your network channels outside your home area, that's just asking to be cracked.

I'd probably start with GPS [sailsoft.nl] simulation [gfz-potsdam.de] software if I were doing it, but if the device doesn't use GPS for a time reference, you might even get away with just using a software radio transceiver to do a simple replay attack of the GPS band and cable it up in place of the device's GPS antenna....

One more nail in the coffin (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19344977)

I stopped really caring after the last player's strike. An average family can't even afford to go to a game anymore while barely in shape steroid ridden slobs scratch themselves on national television (when you can see the game that is) while making fistfulls of cash. I voted with my wallet and viewership.

The MLB has *really* jumped the shark on this one though.

Propoganda Control (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345093)

At the moment, the powers that be enjoy a great deal of control over what information the masses in a given geographic region have access to. Certainly, you can go on the internet and check out whatever third-tier media outlet has to say, but the majority of people in even the most high tech regions get their information from broadcast television or broadcast radio.

In the States, we pull our information primarily from one of four major networks. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to manage propoganda campaigns if our sources shifted to 1000 different media outlets sourced globally. While slingbox place-shifting is really a personal solution the concept has major ramifications if it is taken to the next level.

I imagine the litigation/lobbying will get to a point where we are allowed to place shift away from our home, but rebroadcasting to mass markets will be taken off the table completely with the decision. It gives the citizenry the impression that somebody fought for our own rights, maintains the revenue stream for the existing entertainment companies, and focuses our information gathering capabilities on a small amount of reasonably controllable resources.

I know that I sound like Captain Conspiracy right now, but this road of "copyright protection" that we have been going down for I don't know how long always seems to end up protecting the rights and revenue streams of a small group of very wealthy people while trampling on innovation, education, and communication. It's rare that the big picture ever takes precedence these days. Capitalism is all about rewarding citizens for hard work and innovation, not protecting wealth by preventing changes to the status quo.

This isn't about consumers. (2, Insightful)

juuri (7678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345235)

No matter how much they may claim otherwise. What they are really afraid of is some business setting up that allows bars and the like to purchase service in areas outside of blackout zones and stream content back in. If a bar could pay for a space, tv rental, and cable service in a zone that features more sports blackouts they would do so in a heartbeat. They must appear tough now so when other place-shifting arrises they will seem less so then.

Re:This isn't about consumers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345551)

Any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited. Place stamp here. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. Driver does not carry cash. Some assembly required. All models over 18 years of age. Your mileage may vary. This information is subject to change without notice. All rights reserved.

Chasing away their own customers? (1)

sevans21 (532385) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345301)

I'm a MLB extra innings subscriber for the first time this year. The only reason I subscribed is because I have a slingbox now. At least with the slingbox I can watch games when I travel, at the office or even on the evening train home. I'd almost never see a game otherwise and certainly couldn't justify the expense. I don't have enough faith in the reliability of MLB.tv to buy it. I guess I'm a criminal for actually paying for their service to use for my personal viewing. I bet I don't buy it next year.

Man, if only I hadn't signed that deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19345401)

Oh right. I didn't.

By their logic. . . (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19345541)

By their logic installing a tall antenna tower to receive faraway broadcasts, or using a television receiver connected to a very directional and high gain antenna and taking advantage of storms or other atmospheric conditions to receive extremely faraway broadcasts would also be illegal, right?

Screw MLB. I now have yet another reason to be totally disinterested in professional baseball.
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