Today in Connected Consumer

Peter Kafka at AllThingsD raises an interesting question this morning about the anti-piracy legislation currently being debated on Capitol Hill (and elsewhere). Kafka links to a tweet by Union Square Ventures principal Fred Wilson describing his personal workaround for the blackout of MSG Network, which carries New York Knicks and Rangers games, on Time Warner Cable in New York over a dispute over carriage fees. Wilson, a highly successful venture capitalist with over 199,000 Twitter followers, said he found the MSG feed online through the feed aggregator adtheNet and watched the Knicks/Raptors game on his big screen TV, no problem. As Wilson pointed out in a follow up blog post, however, adtheNet is precisely the sort of web site targeted for blacklisting by the Stop Online Piracy Act. Similar sports streaming sites, in fact, have already been knocked off the net by the feds’ Operation In Our Sites initiative. In other words, his workaround was a form of piracy, as defined by the federal government. But as Kafka wonders, is it really an act of piracy for Wilson to access programming he has already paid for but is being denied through no fault of his own? Expect that question to be asked more frequently as disputes between cable networks and cable operators result in more blackouts, particularly with live sports.

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Paul Sweeting

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