Did The Beginning of the End of DVR Occur This Week?

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Did The Beginning of the End of DVR Occur This Week?

Fri May 16, 2008 @ 01:26PM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Tv_labor_20061027 Here's a reminder that a legal brawl may break out if the television networks decide to pull the plug on digital recording.

On Monday, NBC may have triggered a broadcast flag that prevented Windows Vista Media Center users from recording "American Gladiators" and "Medium." Spokespeople from NBC and Microsoft said the flag may have been triggered as an accident.

Still, the incident demonstrates the power of broadcast networks to potentially kill the DVR phenomenon at the press of a button. Who knows whether that would spark a reaction similar to Sony BMG's snafu with overreaching DRM, but we imagine that there would be a ton of class action lawyers and an army of copyfighters waiting in the wings to pounce.

Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says it is investigating the incident and believe entertainment rightsholders to be lobbying hardware and software manufacturers behind the scenes to plant the flag.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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