[mythtv-users] Free US/Canada Listings

R. G. Newbury newbury at mandamus.org
Sun Sep 9 22:48:31 UTC 2007

Rod Roark wrote:
> From: "R. G. Newbury" <newbury at mandamus.org>
>> Scraping is not a core function of mythtv.
> Count me among those who disagree with this, and with what seems to be
> your position that all scrapers are of "dubious legality" and should
> not be discussed here.
> Rod

Well there are no scrapers contained within the mythtv code tree. 
Mythfilldatabase calls, and parses, and existing xml database.
As I understand it, xmltv does the same sort of thing and produces a 
file which mfd understands.
Myth can be run without a scheduler: the use would have to use manual 
scheduling, just like we used to do with a VCR. Damn that was boring!

So although it enhances the usability, the existence of a schedule is 
not a requirement for myth to be able to run.

Screen scraping a website for TV schedule listings data enters a 
decidedly grey area in North America. The actual data may not be 
copyrightable, but the presentation by whoever, is. It may be presented 
in ways which use technological measures to protect the copyright in the 
presentation (yeah, well that would be the argument!). An individual 
user may fit within the fair use exemption, or even the more limited 
Canadian fair dealing limitation. But the DCMA makes the scraper writer 
a criminal. Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act in Canada would 
make a scraper writer a criminal too, even for allowed private copies of 
sound recordings.

I do not take the position that screen scrapers are per se illegal. But 
I do recognize that screen scrapers exist in a shadow in the US and 
Canada. Remember what happened to Felten and Skylarov. (I ignore the 
rest of the world for the moment.) I do not want Myth to be tarred by 
the FUD which the IP 'owners' could throw. And the existence of SD as a 
legal allowed structure for obtaining tv listings data removes the 
'need' for the use of scrapers in North America. So there is no *need* 
for scrapers to be discussed here. There are other lists and forums. (I 
don't mind the 'where can I find...?' sort of comment, or the 'version 
5.048 fixes that' comment.)

Everyone here seems to agree that the 'content providers' are vicious, 
obstinate, arrogant and stupid. Or maybe they are just greedy and its 
their lawyers who are vicious, obstinate, arrogant and stupid! But 
either way, we really really really do not need to have them taking a 
run at mythtv on some trumped up FUD filled basis, in order (as they 
might see it) to consolidate their control of the product in combination 
with the cablecos and broadcasters who they can blackmail into 
compliance. The only reason they could affect myth is because Isaac and 
many others are US based as are the arrogant and stupid.

So lets not give them an opening. If they take a run at xmltv, it might 
force xmltv off sourceforge (US based) but not off the web.



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