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Time Shift Transforms into Place Shift

According to a Dow Jones News story, a new software tool from TiVo Inc. could cause the maker of digital video recorders to run afoul of Hollywood. Unveiled last month, the software allows TiVo Series2 subscribers to transfer television shows from their TiVo units to Apple Computer Inc. new video iPod music player.

To a large extent, much of the recording issue was settled 20 years ago in the Sony versus Universal case, in which studios complained people were using Betamax videotape players to record television shows. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that recording shows constituted "fair use" under copyright laws.

Now, the broadcasters will have to establish that 'place-shift' is somehow different than 'time-shifting' -- or that taking a recording from one device to another falls outside the Betamax decision, and that's a tough sell.

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