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new cool best high technology gadgets gift Sling Media SlingboxMajor League Baseball is crying foul when it comes to place-shifting baseball games via devices like Sling Media’s Slingbox. 

According to News.com, George Kliavkoff, executive vice president of business for MLB Advanced Media, said “[Sling Media’s] interpretation of the (cable and satellite user agreement) is wrong.” Kliavkoff went on to say that people using a Slingbox to place-shift MLB games “are violating the scope of their user agreements.”  Cable networks pay large sums of money to broadcast MLB games in a specific geographic location.  If a Slingbox user records a game in New York then watches it in San Francisco (as business travellers commonly do), then that’s a violation of the rights of the broadcaster in San Francisco, even if the user paid for the broadcast (via a cable bill) in New York. 

This appears to be a mounting problem for Sling Media.  CED Magazine reported that HBO CTO Bob Zitter, during a panel at the Summit on Intellectual Property and Digital Media in late May, refered to place-shifting devices as taking advantage of an “analog hole,” which could infringe upon network copyrights.

This is completely absurd.  If I pay to receive a broadcast of a particular show and record it, I should be able to view my recording anywhere I want.  The MLB and HBO need to wake up and realize what decade we’re living in.  With this kind of attitude, shouldn’t they have been pursuing rogues carrying VHS copies of Baseball games on airline flights back in the ’80s? 

All I know is HBO’s Bob Zitter has nothing to worry about when it comes to the season finale of the Sopranos.  It was so bad, no one would want to watch it, no matter what city they live in.


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