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Roger asked: “I have DirecTV and I wanted to copy some TV shows onto a regular recorder that I can take with me. How would I be able to do that?”
Roger, you wouldn’t. Not legally, anyway.
Under the DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, fair use copies are permitted under certain circumstances, but courts have ruled that time-shifting is fair use, whereas library building is not.
That means that recording something today to watch on your DVR tomorrow is fine, but recording and then keeping forever a whole library of recorded movies or TV shows is piracy and not allowed. It’s also expected that the recording will come from you, so you can’t download a show from a shady website as a way to time shift.
The whole thing is complicated, but their thinking is that you’re not buying the content like you would if you bought a DVD, you’re just paying a flat fee to rent whatever you happen to want to watch on TV, so it does not belong on your private library, since it’s not yours.
So, if you want to copy your DirecTV shows to another DVR so you can keep them, that’s not allowed.
If you’re not planning to leave DirecTV, you can use their app to watch shows and access your DVR when you’re away from home, but if your concern is how to keep your content after you break the contract, the answer is that you cannot do it legally.