The makers of TiVo and ReplayTV digital video recorders have agreed to limit how long consumers can keep pay-for-view movies stored on future versions of the VCR-like devices.
The new technology also will allow Hollywood movie studios and broadcasters to regulate how often movies purchased through pay-for-view services can be watched. Digital video recorders that recognize these new copy restrictions will begin appearing in the spring of 2005.
Fred von Lohmann, senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, described the technology as anti-consumer. "Consumers are not the ones who are asking for this so-called feature. And I hope that the marketplace will respond by punishing TiVo and Replay and others that do this."
One control would limit recording to 90 minutes -- essentially enough time for a viewer to watch an on-demand movie. Another would allow a movie to be stored for up to seven days but once the film was started it must be viewed within 24 hours. Another would allow unlimited viewing within a seven-day period.
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