September 29, 2005
RentMyDVR. Buy my lawsuit?

PVRblog found a service that sounds like something out of a law school copyright exam: Rent My DVR.

Never miss your Favorite TV Show again!

Now you don't have to remember to program your DVR or VHS to record you favorite TV show. With the Rent My DVR site you can simple hire someone that will do the recording for you.

Simply file a request on our site to have someone record for you and as soon as a new episode of your favorite show has been broadcasted, it is downloaded automatically to your computer and you can watch it whenever you want.

The site appears to be a "matchmaker," facilitating digital transfer of shows from someone who has recorded them to another who wants to watch it. (It also says it's based in Sweden, but since I know U.S. copyright law better, I'll stick to that.)

The site analogizes its users' activity to the time-honored practice of giving or lending a videotape to a friend -- without the videotape. So would judges extend fair use protection to this transposition of an offline use, or would they trip over the fact that multiple "copies" are being made? If there's infringement, is RentMyDVR a contributor, vicarious assister, inducer?

Answer guideline: 2000 words or less.

Posted by Wendy at September 29, 2005 12:08 PM | TrackBack

As a spin on the proposition, what if a different DVR was used for each "copy" requested by a different customer? Thus there are no "multiple copies". There is one copy for each individual customer. Does that change the legal question? Further posit that the local copy is destroyed when provided to the remote individual customer. Basically, a true "space and time shifting" operation. Does that change the legal question?

Posted by: Fuzzy on October 4, 2005 01:27 PM

If you have access to a certain TV Show you should be able to choose what technique you want to use to record that show.

I can't see why this technique should be more illegal that any other, i.e VHS, DVR, Tivo....

Posted by: Danny Crane on October 22, 2005 03:31 PM
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