Legal? PlayLater Lets You Record All of Netflix for $20

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If you're going to go through the trouble of recording things to play later to pay less, might as well pirate the stuff from the start.

Play later seems like a wannabe gangster. Except the rare scenario (subway, airplane, and ...) where you don't have internet, it has no use-case.
 

hausjam

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The content providers could make this whole point irrelevant by allowing in-app caching for offline use. But that won't happen because I am certain AT&T, Verizon, etc are keeping behind-the-scenes pressure on the providers to not all this so they can continue to collect their overage fees.

Look at music; MixRadio and Amazon both allow you to cache music for offline listening. I am betting the carriers let this go because music uses only a fraction of the data that video does.
 

Marshall Honorof

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Play later seems like a wannabe gangster. Except the rare scenario (subway, airplane, and ...) where you don't have internet, it has no use-case.
You make a fair point, but I don't think the rare scenario is quite as rare as you make it out to be. I ride the subway for about forty minutes every day, and travel on long flights about six or seven times a year. I initially subscribed to PlayLater because I wanted to access streaming content without being tethered to a Wi-Fi connection.

I could have pirated it, but the creators don't get any money that way. I figure that with PlayLater, at least I'm still making use of a subscription that I pay for, just shifting the content in a way that's more convenient to consume. Is it legal? Maybe. That's one of the reasons I was interested in writing the piece.
 

pahbi

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I just don't see how you can make a time shift argument for content that is available on demand anytime you are online.

- P

 

bigpinkdragon286

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There doesn't appear to be a time-shifting argument being made for places that have adequate online connectivity.

There also doesn't seem to be an argument for the ISPs not wanting time shifting, as you have to transfer the bits through their infrastructure, whether you watch it via a live stream or buffered.

It's really an issue that could be solved, if those with the capacity would simply wrap their heads around it enough to do so.
 

firefoxx04

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I would rather pirate high quality bluray rips than crappy compressed netflix video. Netflix is good for on demand movie and tv show watching, not for building a movie collection.

This service is certainly not legal and will get destroyed by Netflix and all its TV and Movie partners.
 

bollwerk

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If you're going to go through the trouble of recording things to play later to pay less, might as well pirate the stuff from the start.

Play later seems like a wannabe gangster. Except the rare scenario (subway, airplane, and ...) where you don't have internet, it has no use-case.
In the case of Netflix, I disagree. Netflix will have shows or movies for a limited time, then their "lease" expires, so the show or movie is no longer available. I don't know if it's like that with other services, but I can see the potential for using this with Netflix, even if you keep a subscription with them.
 

Josh Argh

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You're comparing PlayLater to recording a show with a VCR, but your Netflix content is ALREADY a recording, and the internet is your VCR.

The product you describe sounds more like duping your rentals from Blockbuster before returning them. In other words, clearly not fair use. You are not entitled to watch any content you want, anywhere, forever, on any device, because you rented it one time 20 years ago!

But, if you went to the trouble to buy two VCRs and didn't resell your copies, who cares? I think the same applies here. If you really want to be a cheapskate and screw the people who make that content, I guess you could leave a second computer running all month just to download Netflix streams, as long as it's just for you. Don't forget to give raisins to kids on Halloween!
 

f-14

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this was already covered in the 70's and 80's with radio air play, the supreme court made it's ruling then, and that ruling will stand as the premiere precedent in america.
nothing in this argument has changed from the cassette era.
 

JonnyDough

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So these corporations want me to pay to view every time. They want to own the show and never let me keep it. If it was up to them they'd be clearing our memory too so we could pay them to watch something over and over and give away money each time.
 

JonnyDough

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You're comparing PlayLater to recording a show with a VCR, but your Netflix content is ALREADY a recording, and the internet is your VCR.

The product you describe sounds more like duping your rentals from Blockbuster before returning them. In other words, clearly not fair use. You are not entitled to watch any content you want, anywhere, forever, on any device, because you rented it one time 20 years ago!

But, if you went to the trouble to buy two VCRs and didn't resell your copies, who cares? I think the same applies here. If you really want to be a cheapskate and screw the people who make that content, I guess you could leave a second computer running all month just to download Netflix streams, as long as it's just for you. Don't forget to give raisins to kids on Halloween!
You're comparing PlayLater to recording a show with a VCR, but your Netflix content is ALREADY a recording, and the internet is your VCR.

The product you describe sounds more like duping your rentals from Blockbuster before returning them. In other words, clearly not fair use. You are not entitled to watch any content you want, anywhere, forever, on any device, because you rented it one time 20 years ago!

But, if you went to the trouble to buy two VCRs and didn't resell your copies, who cares? I think the same applies here. If you really want to be a cheapskate and screw the people who make that content, I guess you could leave a second computer running all month just to download Netflix streams, as long as it's just for you. Don't forget to give raisins to kids on Halloween!
You're comparing PlayLater to recording a show with a VCR, but your Netflix content is ALREADY a recording, and the internet is your VCR.

The product you describe sounds more like duping your rentals from Blockbuster before returning them. In other words, clearly not fair use. You are not entitled to watch any content you want, anywhere, forever, on any device, because you rented it one time 20 years ago!

But, if you went to the trouble to buy two VCRs and didn't resell your copies, who cares? I think the same applies here. If you really want to be a cheapskate and screw the people who make that content, I guess you could leave a second computer running all month just to download Netflix streams, as long as it's just for you. Don't forget to give raisins to kids on Halloween!
Nobody cared then because it was well known that VCR tapes didn't last forever and it was kind of expensive and a hassle to be making copies. Plus, VCR tapes just got cheaper and cheaper. These movies today cost a fortune - and while I would say that is the fault of pirating I would argue that the 1% and actors are making as much now as ever.
 

cats_Paw

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SO as always, the ones with the big pockets to pay for the lawyers will win.
No wonder supreme courts are getting confused. They created such an obscure legal system that they are loosing control over it.
 

mosc

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I think the law is pretty clear, though I'm not a copywrite lawyer. Time shifting is fair use. Recording locally is fair use. However duplication is not fair use. This is crystal clear in use case but not crystal clear from a technical perspective. Think of the reason and the means justifies the ends.

If you are recording a stream for purposes of archival or to play the content when you no longer have access to the stream then you are not just time shifting you are duplicating. Illegal.

If you are recording a stream for purposes of playback later, you are time shifting. As long as the same people have access to it (you are not distributing or playing for people not normally covered on your stream license) you are fine. You can re-play with the same restrictions as long as the stream is legal. If you got it from netflix and they stop carrying that content (or you stop your subscription) then it's on the user to delete the content.

So telling someone they can make a copy and put it on another device is true, but only in context of use. What they do with that technology is legal or illegal, not the technology itself.

Play later COULD be use legally or illegally mattering on what the user does. Whither their product itself is legal or not depends on the justification for the legal use. Netflix and other streamers could go a long way towards eliminating that legal case by giving options to locally cache shows inside the netflix app. Since they don't, I find there is sufficient legal justification for the Play Later application despite it's potential for abuse though that may change if there were equally viable options that didn't present the same opportunities for abuse.

The cassette was legal because it had many legal uses. It had illegal uses too. It could be abused but there was no equally capable option that didn't present the potential for abuse. Double cassette decks which you could use to duplicate a cassette were also fought but people often made their own recordings and needed a reasonable means of copying that content. In this example the computer cannot be an illegal technology despite the clear potential for illegal activity since it has so many legal ones.

I think Netflix could kill Play On and sue it's users only in examples where they provide an equally capable alternative to their users for time shifting content (in this case, "offline shifting" content). Play On doesn't just interface with netflix though so failing an industry push for caching streams locally on all these services they're not going anywhere anytime soon. To me, a user would have to distribute their cached stream or use it after their license to the material has been cut off (subscription or content pulled) to be liable.
 

mosc

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Napster had legal and illegal uses too. It was shut down because the legal use was pretty small. Few people needed such a service to distribute marterial that wasn't protected. It was primarily and almost exclusively a tool for duplication of copywrited material.

Bit torrent has many legal and illegal uses as well. I think it is a legal technology because it has a clear legal purpose of facilitating file distribution without the cost of hosting that content. It is a legal means of socializing the distribution cost of data and there are enough legal reasons why someone would need to more cheaply distribute large volumes of data to justify the technologies potential for abuse.
 

alidan

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I just don't see how you can make a time shift argument for content that is available on demand anytime you are online.

- P
im shifting my viewing time from when i have an internet connection to when i don't.

I would rather pirate high quality bluray rips than crappy compressed netflix video. Netflix is good for on demand movie and tv show watching, not for building a movie collection.

This service is certainly not legal and will get destroyed by Netflix and all its TV and Movie partners.
in all honesty this is a question i asked my self a number of years ago with anime, and more recently with some that i can't get stateside without paying the ridiculous japanese price (2 episodes a disc, around 100$ a disc) and thats before import comes into play. do i get the stupidly high quality 1080p version, the high quality 720p version, or the 720p 10bit version that that tries to compress it down as far as possible while making it still look good. 2-4gb per episode, 700mb-1.2gb an episode 170-300mb per episode...

that is where i stood... and i decided on a simple solution... in motion i don't notice pixels, so 1080p was unnecessary (most anime is 720p with upscaled 1080p but this was a rare one made at 1080) if i add a gpu filter over it i don't see the jarring compression artifacts in stills that i would normally get, so it came down to if in motion, there is any ghosting... which there was none of in the 10bit version so i went with that.

what im trying to say here is that quality is vastly over rated when it comes to streaming or even storing media... it all comes down to is a 50gb movie worth it quality wise over a 1.2gb stream... the answer to that is usually no. you have to understand that at least visually, you can compress the hell out of something and never notice a difference between the compressed and uncompressed... its something i learned with recording gameplay. i do a lagarith pass while recording to save cpu power, and if needed handbreak it after to save space, and there is VERY little difference in quality but MASSIVE gains in space.

 

Goodspike

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I think the author's legal analysis is too complex. The 1984 Sony case dealt with copyright. There were no licensing issues because people are generally thought to be allowed to view broadcast content without licensing. (The NFL might disagree.)
 

Goodspike

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SO as always, the ones with the big pockets to pay for the lawyers will win.
No wonder supreme courts are getting confused. They created such an obscure legal system that they are loosing control over it.
The 1984 case was two big corporations fighting each other--Disney and Sony.

There is only one Supreme Court (it's not plural) and they did not create the confusion. Congress expressly and purposefully used the term "Fair Use" to allow courts to adapt to difference fact patterns, and when the law was passed they clearly didn't even dream about things like streaming or even recording video content that was otherwise just designed to be watched. Depending on how old the statute is, they might not have even contemplated broadcast TV.
 

bigpinkdragon286

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There is no time-shifting argument to be made for streaming services as the stream starts when you tell it to, not when the license holder requires it. Sounds like you are confusing what you're doing with space shifting. Having a lack of access to your internet connection at home does not change whether you have a connection, or grant you a compulsory right to space shift someone else's content.
 
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