[mythtv-users] tv guide line-up free

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Mon Sep 3 20:28:51 UTC 2007

On 09/03/2007 03:26 PM, Rod Roark wrote:
>> From: "Michael T. Dean"
> ...
>> For only $15, I'm getting 3 months of my TV listings free:
>>   - free of concern about the legality of the automated use of the
>> listings service
>>   - free of concern about the legality of copying potentially
>> copyrighted data into my database (definitely copyrighted when talking
>> about SD data)
>>   -- free of concern about breaking terms-of-service agreements by
>> "repurposing" listings paid for by purchasing certain hardware or  other
>> services
> SD is not without its own legal constraints.  See:
>     http://www.schedulesdirect.org/sagreement
> and compare with, for example:
>     http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/global/contentPage.jsp?assetId=P500012
> Which do you think is more restrictive?  (hint: which one lets me use
> whatever the hell software I feel like using?  Which one has an
> indemnification clause creating new liability for the user?)

I never said that SD is free of legal constraints.  I simply said that
it's legal to use SD with MythTV.  Using a web scraper is likely not
legal (or, at minimum, likely a violation of the terms of service of the
source web site).

OK, true, that statement presumes that scraping DirecTV's site is
violating some law or terms of service (which I cannot prove--see
below).  If you can prove that to be incorrect, I'll happily admit your
approach is a good one (at least for DirecTV users).  (BTW, I would
classify express written permission from DirecTV as proof, but would
classify legal opinions as conjecture--that I, personally, am not
willing to back up by potentially needing to front my own court costs at
some date in the future; though others may feel opinions are sufficient
for their peace of mind.)

> I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about SD.  On one hand
> it's a noble effort filling a great need, but on the other hand I see
> some conflict of interest with its evangelists being the same people
> driving the open source applications that use it.  I don't think it's
> right for those people to be discouraging and demonizing the scrapers

For the record, I am neither an SD board member nor a MythTV dev. 
Though I am completely against the use of any scraper-based mechanism
that violates any laws or terms of service.  I also will speak out
vocally against the inclusion of any scraper that is not proven to be in
compliance with laws/terms of service into a project such as XMLTV or

> (one of which I happen to have have just authored), which also share
> the Free Software mindset.  Let each have its own niche, without
> gratuitous disparagement.

Remember, though, that despite what the media may say and despite what
many who don't understand Free Software may think, the Free Software
mindset does not encourage (and actively discourages) illegal uses of
software.  Again, I won't try to (and explicitly admit that I cannot)
argue the legality of scraping DirecTV's site because I am neither a
lawyer nor interested in scraping their site.  So, in the event that
your DirecTV scraper is legal and in compliance with DirecTV's usage
terms, I'll agree that it does not violate the Free Software mindset.

If you've submitted your scraper to the XMLTV project and it was
rejected (perhaps by Robert Eden, one of the SD board members), I'm sure
it was rejected for good reasons (probably legal reasons).  He has
explicitly stated he will accept and include in XMLTV any non-SD
listings solutions that do not violate laws or terms of service (and
meets the project's coding standards).  See
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.tv.xmltv.general/2208 .


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