[mythtv-users] Free US/Canada Listings

Richard Freeman r-mythtv at thefreemanclan.net
Tue Sep 11 19:10:30 UTC 2007

Chris Petersen wrote:
> The website owners, copyright owners and copyright licensees have the
> right to restrict the methods by which people access the information
> they're providing.  

Only within the limits of copyright law.  NFL broadcasts include a
"terms of use" statement preventing many activities that mythtv probably
violates.  However, this does not make recording them illegal.

> The same goes for sites like this.  The terms of the websites involved
> usually grant you the right to look at the data, manually interact with
> it for whatever purpose, but almost always (I have yet to find one to
> the contrary) include a clause preventing automated grabbing/downloading
> using tools not specifically licensed/provided by the website itself.

Sure, but that doesn't in itself make this illegal.  Just as disclaimers
and statements of licenses on TV don't make it illegal to time-shift or
record shows on a DVR.

> It's been said time and time again, no dev on this list (to my
> knowledge) has any trouble with people talking about scrapers in
> general, even though it's slightly off topic and probably better for the
> XMLTV list. 

I do agree that xmltv is probably the more ideal forum for this.
However, any info of widespread value to myth users would certainly be
helpful if mentioned here (especially if it is just making people aware
of other tools out there).

>  What we *do* have a problem with is people talking about
> scraping specific sites that expressly forbid people from doing so in
> their ToS.  Arguing about why it's right/wrong to tell people to stop
> talking about them is stupid -- that's just how things are.  Arguing
> about why it should be allowed/fair use/whatever to violate the ToS of
> such websites is also pointless.  

This I disagree with.  If an activity is legal then it is not pointless
to discuss it.  Whether some disagree about the legality of
screen-scraping in violation of ToS does not make it illegal.  And
nobody on this list is really empowered to make a declaration regarding
legality of this practice - ultimately only the courts can rule on this.

> Both the MythTV and XMLTV devs have
> expressly stated that they are against using (and would not add) any
> ToS-violating scrapers while there is a legitimate alternative
> available, even if it's not free.

The devs are of course free to choose whether or not they'll bundle any
particular tool with mythtv.  My DirecTV channel-changing script isn't
bundled with myth, and it is not supported by myth, and I don't think
anybody has an objection to this.

I think the only thing that bugs people is the suggestion that certain
conversation topics are verboten.  While this shouldn't become the
scraper-dejour-dev mailing list, it probably is no less appropriate for
people to discuss other tools out there on this list than discussing
anything else tangentially related to myth.  In any case, most of us are
lazy and will just pay the $5/yr for SD, so there probably won't be much
traffic about alternatives in any case.  However, if somebody does get
something working and wants to advertise it on this list with the
occasional post I don't see the harm in it.  If providing software for
the mass-recording of copyrighted video (DVR), defeat of copy-protection
technologies (DVD-ripping), and copying of video (DVD-burning) isn't
getting the devs into hot water, then the odd post about some TV-guide
html scraper isn't going to cause much of a stir...

In any case, I think the debate over whether this is a legitimate
conversation topic is causing a whole lot more noise than any actual
talk of screen-scrapers will ever cause. :)

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list