Dennis asked: “I have recorded some really great football games a couple years ago. When I left my satellite provider, I had it on a terabyte drive and I was unable to view that. So, I know I can’t use that. If I get a Home DVR and I record programs, am I still gonna have that problem. I’m tired of moving to another provider and not being able to view my recordings.”
Dennis, cable companies probably love having the excuse of having to lock your recordings to make it more painful for you to switch providers, but Congress is to blame on this one.
The reason your recording have to be encrypted is the DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It’s an attempt at making piracy more difficult by making it harder to just click a button and have countless copies made automatically.
You could argue that it hasn’t worked very well, considering that you can probably still find copies of just about any movie, song, or TV show online if you try, but it is a legal requirement.
We’re not lawyers, but our understanding is that it’s illegal to decrypt those files and even to openly discuss how to get around the encryption.
You could argue that if you’re making copies just for yourself, what difference does it make what cable provider you happen to be giving your money to at the end of the month? But they’re required to encrypt the recordings, and nothing is forcing them to share what was recorded with a competitor’s platform.