Baseball Toaster The Griddle
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Griddle

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  10  07 
06  05  04  03 
Suggestions, comments, ring the catcher's interference alarm?

Email me at

The stuff I keep track of
Random Game Callbacks

Select a date:

Personal favorites that I wrote
Some folks call it a Sling Box
2006-06-08 07:32
by Bob Timmermann

Greg Sandoval of reports on the attempts by MLB to keep from using devices made by Sling Media to watch baseball games from outside of their home market.

Sling enables TV viewers to access their set-top or TiVo boxes from anywhere in the world via any device that connects to the Web. MLB says that's fine, but if viewers want to watch on multiple devices, they have to pay multiple times.

The situation is part of a larger fight brewing between broadcasters and the companies that relay video streams to portable devices. Proof of the growing conflict came Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Digital Media Summit here, when George Kliavkoff, executive vice president of business for MLB Advanced Media, debated the issue with Rich Buchanan, Sling Media's vice president of marketing.

Thanks to DXMachina for the tip

2006-06-08 08:44:48
1.   Ali Nagib
I'm no legal expert, but I can't see how MLB can win this fight in light of the 1999 RIAA v. Diamond case, which established that portable MP3 players (in that case the Rio) were not in violation of copyright law and seemed to suggest that "space-shifting" is a perfectly legitimate non-commerical, personal use. From the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision (III.2.c.32):

"In fact, the Rio's operation is entirely consistent with the Act's main purpose - the facilitation of personal use. As the Senate Report explains, "[t]he purpose of [the Act] is to ensure the right of consumers to make analog or digital audio recordings of copyrighted music for their private, noncommercial use." S. Rep. 102-294, at *86 (emphasis added). The Act does so through its home taping exemption, see 17 U.S.C. § 1008, which "protects all noncommercial copying by consumers of digital and analog musical recordings," H.R. Rep. 102-873(I), at *59. The Rio merely makes copies in order to render portable, or "space-shift," those files that already reside on a user's hard drive. Cf. Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417, 455 (1984) (holding that "time-shifting" of copyrighted television shows with VCR's constitutes fair use under the Copyright Act, and thus is not an infringement). Such copying is paradigmatic noncommercial personal use entirely consistent with the purposes of the Act."

The court later put clarified this in the Napster decision (from III.B.5.b.45):

"We conclude that the district court did not err when it refused to apply the "shifting" analyses of Sony and Diamond. Both Diamond and Sony are inapposite because the methods of shifting in these cases did not also simultaneously involve distribution of the copyrighted material to the general public; the time or space-shifting of copyrighted material exposed the material only to the original user. In Diamond, for example, the copyrighted music was transferred from the user's computer hard drive to the user's portable MP3 player. So too Sony, where "the majority of VCR purchasers . . . did not distribute taped television broadcasts, but merely enjoyed them at home." Napster, 114 F. Supp. 2d at 913. Conversely, it is obvious that once a user lists a copy of music he already owns on the Napster system in order to access the music from another location, the song becomes "available to millions of other individuals," not just the original CD owner."

So, putting your entire music (or video collection) on a server accessible to everyone is not legitimate "space-shifting," but copying a recording to a portable device for your exclusive, personal use is.

Of course, the Supreme Court hasn't weighed in on this specific issue yet, and lord knows if there's one court they love to overturn, it's the 9th Circuit. But until then, I think we have to assume that a valid legal precedent for this exists, unless there are some other, highly technical legal reasons that I'm overlooking.

2006-06-08 08:50:35
2.   Bob Timmermann
So if I had one of these at home would I be able to watch the World Cup at work?
2006-06-08 09:12:59
3.   Ali Nagib
I think that's the idea. But actually, I was more interested in the legal argument than the technology. It is pretty cool though (makes me think about wanting one).
2006-06-08 09:14:36
4.   Bob Timmermann
You must have thought about the legal argument a lot if you had such a well-cited comment.
2006-06-08 09:29:28
5.   Kayaker7
Mamma's got a sling box, and Daddy never sleeps at night...

Anyway, the MLB broadcasting gerrymandering is ridiculous. Regardless of what you think of the sport, the NFL does things better in every way.

2006-06-08 09:33:03
6.   Ali Nagib
Well, it just so happened that the two cases at hand were among the most important copyright cases of the last 10 years, particular in terms of the relationship to technology. (I think Eldred v. Ashcroft is probably more generally important to copyright law, but it doesn't have anything to do with technology per se). I do admit to a personal interest in copyright laws, particularly with respect to technology, so this is right up my alley (from a layman's standpoint at any rate).

Anyway, I was reading the Wikipedia entry on the Betamax case and it linked to the one about "space-shifting," which mentions those cases as being the two main sources of precedent on the issue. Not really a coincidence, when you think about it.

2006-06-08 09:41:42
7.   Bob Timmermann
But the NFL lets you watch out of market games ONLY if you have Direct TV. Not through cable.
2006-06-08 09:52:36
8.   Kayaker7
7 But MLB does not even let you watch out of market games, even with Directv, in some cases.
2006-06-08 10:05:04
9.   Bob Timmermann
According to the FAQs on DirecTV's site, the only games you can't watch if you buy the NFL Sunday Ticket are the ones shown on the local CBS or Fox station.
2006-06-08 10:56:48
10.   Bill Crain
In the Bay Area, Raider home games are blacked out all the time, both on Sunday Ticket and local stations. Dodger games are on only when shown on Prime Ticket or the opponent's sports channel. Dave (the hacker's word for DirecTV) is a sneaky little guy, but this is from the leagues and their TV contracts.
2006-06-08 11:17:09
11.   Bob Timmermann
But if the good people of the Bay Area would sell out the Coliseum in time, then you could watch all the Raiders games you wanted!
2006-06-08 16:34:54
12.   Bill Crain
Good people? Raiders? Help me; I'm confused.
2006-06-09 09:00:37
13.   iMac
hey bob

you could indeed watch at work whatever you could be watching at home

i work over at orb networks, which among many other things (like instant enjoyment everywhere through the Web of the music, videos, and photos that you have on your home PC) allows you to get live AND RECORDED TV on a work PC (as Sony's LocationFreeTV and the SlingBox do) as long as you have a tuner card of any sort (Hauppauge, Nvidia, Diamond, ADS, etc.) on your PC, and every time the Sox are on ESPN or ESPN2, i'm watching them at work

when they're not, i'm listening to WEEI via gameday audio from, for which i pay, not Comcast

the MSOs are actually making way MORE money off me now that i Orb my content to myself at work and while travelling than they did before because i watch more TV (i'd never be forking over for RAII or for FSC because i'm just not home enough to watch them)

and now with the World Cup on, i don't have to spend the day in a bar or convince the company to get a cable-feed into the office in order to watch the matches!

MLB is, i think, less concerned in reality with the MSOs than with their own ambitions to own DIRECTLY your Web access to their content; but i've already paid them for it via Comcast and i'm watching it in the same geographical area

ali - outstanding legal background info there! my fave moment about this aspect of it all was robert bartels's saying on a panel at NAB (he's the chief marketer for the sony locationfree TV), "look, this IS fair use. i mean, we own a studio, people! we've done our homework, believe me."

another interesting tidbit: turns out hauppauge ALONE (nevermind even the rest of the tuner card manufacturers out there) sells more tuner cards in one month than there are Slingboxes out there in the world! AND that 8 milllllion (picture a Dr. Evil gesture intonation and gesture here) tuner cards are ALREADY OUT THERE from them in the market!

the tuner-card is the next videocard, and since there's free software out there from Orb to mycast your live and recorded TV to yourself anywhere you have the Web (including mobile phones and now the treo 700p)...

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.