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TiVo Patent Victory Over Dish Network Upheld 186

Thomas Hawk writes "An appeals court today shot down Dish Network's last chance to avoid a multi-million lawsuit verdict won by TiVo over their time shifting DVR technology. In addition to having to pay TiVo a minimum of $92 million, Dish Network will also now have to honor a court injunction to turn off DVR software to most of their customers. I hope Dish Network customers like commercials with their daily dose of Dr. Phil."
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TiVo Patent Victory Over Dish Network Upheld

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  • by JonTurner ( 178845 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:37AM (#23046252) Journal
    Americans are a complacent lot. They'll tolerate taxes and fee increases, regulation, government snooping, abridgement of century-old (and God given) rights, etc. with maybe one in ten thousand even bothering to pick up a telephone or a pen and contact their congressman or senator.

    But if you fuck with their television, you'll see angry roving mobs take to the streets that make "21 days later" look like a tea party. I suspect this will not end well.
    • I tried (Score:3, Funny)

      I was trying to think of something really witty to say, something that would totally make the parent rethink their post and question their whole thought structure on Americans... but all I could come up with was this Family Guy quote:

      "Who touched the thermostat?" ...how sad is that?
    • We already accept DRM. And in the very near future we'll be blocked from recording or timeshifting some programs and we'll just shrug our shoulders and accept it. This is how IPTV will "revolutionize" television.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) *

        You accept DRM. Acting on the presumption that the consumer is a criminal before the fact is ample evidence that the system - not the consumer - is broken.

        • by Cheesey ( 70139 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:56AM (#23046686)
          If he does, then he's not in the minority. I bet 99% of the people who read this post are XBox, PS3 or Wii owners: I think the DRM on those systems is tolerated so widely because it just works. Even nerds who understand the implications are willing to buy into it.

          Some people object to DRM on ideological grounds, but not many. It's like free software versus commercial software. You can decide to use only free software because it fits your personal ideology, but most people use a mixture of free and non-free software. If good free software doesn't exist for a task, then they pay up. Equally, we would all prefer to have no DRM, but we can tolerate it if it means we get to do something that we wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:11AM (#23046780) Homepage Journal

            Use is not synonymous with acceptance. Toleration or passivity in the face of it is; personally, I'm active in a number of ways, from not allowing DRM of any kind on the commercial executables we produce, to creating PD software that demonstrates the fallacy of the GPL type of approach, to pestering my representatives to stop creating legislation that presumes citizens are criminals absent probable cause, oath or affirmation, and warrant. I donate to causes that support this view, and speak against causes that criminalize legitimate action.

            • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @01:04PM (#23047544) Homepage Journal
              As long as you continue to replace DVD players with Blu-Ray players. And continue to upgrade your equipment to DRM-enabled versions, you are accepting DRM. As long as there demand for DRM there will be supply. And providing demand is acceptance when alternatives exist and are actually cheaper.

              Alternative to HDMI - component video, dvi
              Alternative to Blu-Ray - DVD (which has laughable DRM)
              Alternative to iTunes - DRM-free MP3 download(amazon, etc), CDs that are not protected(harder to tell)

              ps - try as we might, we will not be able to defeat the GPL empire. I do MIT license and PD software. But it just gets bundle with a bunch of GPL stuff anyways. GPL's model always wins even if it's the wrong model.
              • by Jonner ( 189691 )
                So, what's the "right model?" I like FLOSS because it's about freedom and choice for both author and user. When I choose to use a FLOSS package, I don't prefer one licensing model over another, but if I were creating one from scratch, I'd choose the license that was most appropriate for the intended use, which might be GPL, LGPL, or a BSD-like one.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by multisync ( 218450 )

                Alternative to Blu-Ray - DVD (which has laughable DRM)

                It's DRM none the less, and it is (if I'm not mistaken) a felony to circumvent that DRM in the US. Also, how many VHS tapes are available for rent or sale at your local video store? Watch as studios slowly squeeze out the DVD and force those pesky "consumers" to "upgrade" to Blue-Ray.

                Alternative to iTunes - DRM-free MP3 download(amazon, etc), CDs that are not protected(harder to tell)

                Sure, if you live in the US. Amazon does not sell MP3 downloads to fore

              • Alternative to HDMI - component video, dvi

                The alternatives are not as good and not as cheap as the geek makes them out to be.

                HDMI is one cable for digital audio and video. HDMI 1.3 has a bandwidth of 340 MHz. High-Definition Multimedia Interface [wikipedia.org]

                Costs are $1 a foot to lengths of 100 ft.HDMI Cable [monoprice.com]

                Alternative to Blu-Ray - DVD (which has laughable DRM)

                The computer Geek thinks PC quality video.

                The guy who puts $5-$25K into HT is thinking theatrical quality projection and sound.

                Netflix isn't charging h

                • The guy who puts $5-$25K into HT is thinking theatrical quality projection and sound.
                  And this is what acceptance of DRM means. And I believe we're sliding down a slipper slope.

                  Everything I mentioned is an alternative, but it is definitely not equivalent. Going to live shows instead of watching TV is also an alternative, so is reading a book.
          • Some people object to DRM on ideological grounds, but not many

            And I object to many of those objectors on ideological grounds.

            * They say things like DRM is slavery, and if I were to dare to buy, say, a Kindle, I am helping promote slavery. That's an insult to all the people who have been victims of actual slavery.

            * I'm an adult. I can look at the terms of, say, Amazon's DRM (to continue using the Kindle for my examples), and weigh the conveniences the device offers, vs. the risk of being screwed if Amazon pulls a Google and cancels the service with no refunds, a

          • Anyone who thinks "DRM is always bad" is an idiot, a zealot, or both. There is nothing inherently wrong with DRM itself.

            The problem is POOR IMPLEMENTATIONS of DRM.

            People are willing to accept DRM on their game systems because when people buy a game for their game system, they expect that the game will work on their game system, or any other game system of the same model. And it does. Nobody expects to take their Nintendo CD and pop it into their PC or Mac or to rip the bits off the CD and run it on their
    • I have to disagree. I think you're thinking of alcohol.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )
        What's the point of the beer if you aren't watching the big game? Trust me, you screw with TV and you'll even have the alcohol companies marching in the streets....
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )
      I know you joke, but it's the truth. Why else do you think the government organized a huge coupon program to help people get the converter boxes? And kept pushing back the changeover date as well...
    • As the "Dead Kennedys" so aptly put it: Give me convenience or give me death!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by deblau ( 68023 )

      But if you fuck with their television, you'll see angry roving mobs take to the streets that make "21 days later" look like a tea party.
      I live in Boston. We can get pretty angry at our tea parties.
  • Dish DVR (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:44AM (#23046284)
    FYI this has no effect on anyone with a newer model Dish DVR, i.e. they aren't going to take it away from you. New software was pushed out 6 months ago to replace the infringing software. If you have a real old one, now is a good time to upgrade.
    • "New software was pushed out 6 months ago to replace the infringing software"

      Like where does it say that, do you have any citations. If as you say new software was pushed out then why did they lose the ruling and why are they appealing.

      "Dish is now saying that they actually will appeal this verdict all the way to the Supreme Court"
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Teran9 ( 1163643 )
        You can look up the press releases from Dish that say that they have updated their software. They are appealing because they don't want to have to shell out the bucks for past transgressions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually, 'next-generation' software was pushed out for all models. Nothing is going to stop working. The article description is highly incorrect.

    • Looking around, Tivos patent covers pretty much any digital recording features. Dual tuners, fast forward, pause, rewind, etc. There really isn't a way to even skirt around these concepts and still be able to call a DVR a DVR anymore unless you're paying Tivo.

      Articles mention this win will allow Tivo to pretty much go after anyone and everyone, and I'm going to guess Echostars "next generation" DVR software will also fall be next up on the chopping block. Unless of course their new DVR software doesn't allo

  • Responses (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArkiMage ( 578981 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:45AM (#23046288) Homepage
    http://investor.tivo.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=304285 [tivo.com]

    http://dish.client.shareholder.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=304293 [shareholder.com]

    The latter includes these tidbits:

    The decision, however, will have no effect on our current or future customers because EchoStar's engineers have developed and deployed 'next-generation' DVR software to our customers' DVRs. This improved software is fully operational, has been automatically downloaded to current customers, and does not infringe the Tivo patent at issue in the Federal Circuit's ruling.

    "All DISH Network customers can continue to use their DVRs without any interruption or changes to the award-winning DVR features and services provided by DISH Network.

    "We intend to appeal the Federal Circuit's ruling to the United States Supreme Court."
    • Re:Responses (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BACPro ( 206388 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:24AM (#23046478)
      If DISH network has corrected the problem with a new software download, why do they need to pursue this to the US Supreme Court?

      It would seem that it is SOP for a manufacturer to EOL a piece of equipment. Tell the users they need to upgrade. There will be some gnashing of teeth, some users will flee, but if the new product is better... Some people need a shove to move on.

      Having said that, I would be pissed off if someone told me I had to abandon a perfectly functional piece of kit and upgrade. I sure a community of terrorists that have hacked their own distro of Linux onto it to maintain functionality could be found. Someone would do it because they could.

      Any idea how this affects Bell Express Vue in Canada? I notice about 3 months ago we received new software that did more things that were TIVO like. Record all eps, record all new eps, priorities and so on...
      • Re:Responses (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1729 ( 581437 ) <slashdot1729.gmail@com> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:33AM (#23046542)

        If DISH network has corrected the problem with a new software download, why do they need to pursue this to the US Supreme Court?
        It might have something to do with the $92M judgement.
      • If DISH network has corrected the problem with a new software download, why do they need to pursue this to the US Supreme Court? Because the courts have valued the use of TiVos patents for the time that Dish was using them without permission at $92 Million. The appeals process is all they've got to avoid, or maybe just delay making that payment. Just because you've stopped doing the illegal act, doesn't mean you get away with what you did in the past.
      • If DISH network has corrected the problem with a new software download, why do they need to pursue this to the US Supreme Court?

        The appeal to the Supreme Court is routine. The denial of cert is also routine. The Supremes take on only the 150 or so cases each year that they think are genuinely worth their time.

      • If DISH network has corrected the problem with a new software download, why do they need to pursue this to the US Supreme Court?

        Because it's a lot cheaper than paying TiVo $92 million

    • by symbolic ( 11752 )
      I wonder if this would affect other content delivery services like Comcast.
  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:49AM (#23046314) Homepage
    No, Dish can (and if you RTFAed, they will) appeal to the Supremes.

    But, true, Dish has a tough hill to climb. The Supremes only accept a small percentage of all appeals. Dish's goose is mostly cooked.
    • I found the original article somewhat interesting as it stated that the rulling was absolutely final with no chance of appeal. Which as anyone would know is not the case as there is always the option of an appeal to the Supreme court.

      In ordinary cases this would not be very likely to succeed, but the SCOTUS has already accepted an appeal on a similar patent issue. And it is very likely that this will be decided in a maner that would affect this case.

      But any journalist who was familiar with patent law is

      • The 'article' was written by the submitter for his blog, and contained glaring errors of fact, so I'd take it with quite the grain of salt.
    • And the Supremes answer would be something like "love don't come easy."

      Sigh. I guess we'll "just have to wait."

  • I'm out of the loop these days. I used to have a DirecTivo (series 1) which I'd upgraded the HDD, put a NIC in and could download any shows I wanted to put on CD/DVD. Been a good 4 years since I sold it off.

    Since then, I moved to MyhtDora [g-ding.tv] (Fedora + MythTV, with install almost 99% automated). I love it, but I'm out of the loop on what Tivo and Dish have to offer.

    Just what is Tivo suing Dish over?

    If anyone knows both MythTV and Tivo, what features does Tivo have that I can't do on my MythTV box (for virtua
    • Doing a google of the patents and lawsuit, it seems they sued them over any manipulation (Or, "Warp" in their terms) of the feeds. Ie. Pausing live tv, fast forwarding, rewinding, pretty much any DVR function. Other articles mention many other companies will be sued next.
      • Which makes me wonder how MythTV and others will do. I suppose so long as it is for personal use and not commercial it should be safe.

        I still don't get how Tivo got a patent on that sort of thing. One has been able to do the same with VCRs and even PCs with tuner cards well before Tivo existed. Hmph, more examples of why the patent system is broken.
  • Bell Expressvu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GrBear ( 63712 )
    Anyone know how this is going to play out insofar as Bell ExpressVu receivers in Canada?

    They (Bell) use the identical "Echostar" PVR boxes as our neighbours to the south. Sounds to me like Bell is going to have a huff of angry customers too here shortly.
  • Directv and DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ciscoguy01 ( 635963 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @01:23AM (#23051938)
    This is related, in some way.
    I have a crappy, buggy Directv HR20 HD DVR. I received a message a couple days ago.

    Effective April 15, 2008, DVR recordings of PPV movies will be available for 24 hours of unlimited viewing after purchase. Major movie studios have required that satellite and cable providers alike may no longer allow their customers to view these recordings for longer than 24 hours. During the 24 hour viewing period, you will continue to enjoy all of your DVR features such as pause and rewind.
    It seems if I were to record a PPV movie (I don't, I don't like their PPV prices) I now have only one day to watch it before they are going to remotely erase it from my DVR.
    Now there's DRM for ya!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      At the risk of getting flamed into oblivion by the "DRM BAAAAD" crowd... surely if you PPV a movie, you're paying for the right to watch it once. Like going to the cinema - if you want to see it again, you buy another ticket. This is pretty much how Sky advertised their 'Box Office' PPV service - "it's like a cinema in your living room" (IIRC).

      Except in this case you can live-pause the movie while you refill your tub of popcorn, grab another beer, or whatever. Then if you missed a few seconds you can kick

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27