[mythtv-users] MS media center

Christopher Meredith chmeredith at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 01:27:51 UTC 2010

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 3:55 PM, Chris Petersen <lists at forevermore.net> wrote:
> On 02/26/2010 06:33 PM, Christopher Meredith wrote:
>> I'm not giving legal advice, I'm providing legal information. There's
>> an important difference. There was some backlash on the Mythbuntu
>> forums regarding mc2xml in which it was claimed that mc2xml is
>> "illegal" because it violates the TOS for MCE. That simply isn't true
>> and that's the point I was making.
> It doesn't violate the TOS for MCE.  It violates the TOS for the MCE
> data download service.  Huge difference from a legal standpoint, same
> effect for the mc2xml user.
> Do you take your neighbor's car out for a joy ride if you find the doors
> unlocked and keys in the ignition?  It's not stealing if you return it
> (even being nice and refilling the gas tank), is it?  Is it wrong?
> MS puts up a TOS that says "you cannot connect to this data service with
> unauthorized software", but doesn't bother to "lock" the service with
> even simple authentication like user agent validation (or maybe they do
> -- remember that mc2xml isn't open source).  You're still violating the TOS.

This conflates contract law with property law. At this time,
"cyber-space" is not governed by the laws of physical space. It is
legally impossible to "trespass" on someone else's server (with the
possible exception of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which does not
apply to this). In short, there are laws that say you can't take your
neighbor's car for a joyride; there are no laws saying you can't
download data from a public server unless the owner wants you to.

Suppose I put a large warning above all my postings to this list
warning that you may not read any further unless you have paid me a
license fee of $2 per month. If I'm morally obligated to not download
data from the MCE server, you're morally obligated not to read my
emails. But clearly, to do such things with an email list is absurd. I
am certainly aware that there are entities that *want* me to pay for
listings that I can get for free numerous ways, but there are no laws
saying I can't (which was my original point) and as for the moral
aspect, the worst I am doing is using data in a manner the providers
prefer I didn't. I will point out again that the most common uses of
DVR technology are contrary to the providers' preferences. There is a
certain irony in being lectured on a DVR software mailing list on the
ethics of unapproved use of intellectual property.

>> Yes, and I never said otherwise. Program titles and times are not
>> copyrightable but show synopses are. My point was that neither Zap2It
>> (remote source) nor Microsoft (immediate source) are the copyright
>> holders and since these are the only entities that would even know who
>> is accessing the data, the chances of it being a problem are slim to
>> zero.
> FWIW, Zap2it.com *is* TMS.  They *are* the copyright holders for
> most/all of that descriptive data, along with the structure of the xml
> format that the data comes in as.
> -Chris
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