03.26TiVo’s take: It’s a Comcast mistake
TiVoStephen posted this comment here on the blog in response to the last update about the lockdown of the HBO John Adams miniseries, and I wanted to draw it to your attention (and thanks so much, Stephen, for responding here!):
“I’m Stephen Mack, Director of Operations at TiVo. It has recently come to our attention that some of our subscribers using Comcast experienced issues recording shows on HBO and Showtime in the Richmond, Virginia area. We wanted to let you know that we are aware of the issue and have worked with Comcast to correct it. The channels were marked for copy protection in error. We believe that this issue has substantially been resolved and will make sure that we take appropriate action for anyone that brings these types of problems to our attention in the future. We appreciate our subscriber’s help in identifying such problems. We take such reports seriously and want to take appropriate actions to get them resolved as appropriate.”
So, to be clear, TiVo says this was, indeed, a mistake. Sadly, it’s the kind of mistake that ends up leveling all the same old accusations against DRM in the first place: inevitably, it interferes with the consumer experience. I’m sure TiVo’s stuck between a rock and a hard place with this Macrovision DRM situation, and I appreciate the difficulty in trying to toe the line. I only wish the rights-holders who insist on this sort of DRM in the first place would take the lesson once and for all.
DRM, in almost all implementations, is flawed technology that punishes legitimate consumers for the sins and imagined sins of a few. And even if it only punishes a few people at a time (a couple of folks in Virginia recording the John Adams miniseries, a few hundred thousand people who occasionally get “not authorized to play this song on this computer” errors from iTunes, the mysterious erasing of 2,000 songs from my Zune last time I synced it, presumably because I store them on a home MP3 server and not locally), the aggregate result is millions of angry users who dislike and resent the entertainment industry, and who become less and less likely to join the fight against piracy and more and more likely to empathize with the wrong side.
Plus, it kills me to see TiVo in the middle because, for the record, I loves me some TiVo.