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"Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:31 am
by Dachannien
I don't mean to seem like I'm just coming by to troll, because I really appreciate the efforts that the SD team has made to bring us uninterrupted lineup service.

However, this whole "approved" applications thing seems kind of onerous. On the surface, it gives the impression that any project using the data is, by default, using it with the intention of violating the service agreement. It also gives the implication that additional claims are being made under the guise of copyright that are not granted by law.

My point is, as long as the law isn't being violated by redistributing the lineup data, what makes SD or TMS the arbiter of how the legally purchased data can be used?

If the SD folks would like to address this, I'd much appreciate it. It may be as simple as "approved" being said where "supported" was intended.

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:06 am
by Se7enLC
Unless I misunderstood the discussions on the mailing list, the "approved application" list really does refer to a list of applications that are allowed to use the listings data. Tribune only gave Schedules Direct a license to re-sell the data for particular uses (ie, individual users of non-commercial applications). That's the reason the price is so low. Otherwise what's to stop you from downloading the data for $5/month and printing your own TV Guide, while TV Guide pays who-even-knows how much money to buy the same data for commercial redistribution. Another example would be if I were to make a version of MythWeb that just creates a searchable listings page and puts advertisements on it. That would be an unapproved application, since it's effectively re-selling the data for payment in advertising. Even putting them up for free is not allowed, since it would be allowing others to break the licensing terms. Basically, these reasons are why labs.zap2it had to go away, so if Schedules Direct wants to keep their license to sell the data to us for Myth+etc, they had better play by the rules Tribune sets for them.

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:50 am
by danielk
The "Approved Applications" really are the approved applications and definitely are not supported by or in any way endorsed by Schedules Direct. Claims in addition to copy rights are being claimed under contract law, trademark law and other forms of law under the Subscription Agreement. Please read the Subscription Agreement, there are no forms of digital restrictions management in these applications so we are treating you as an adult and trusting in you to obey the terms of the contract and the law in general. We went through great pains to make the S.A. readable for non-lawyers and are applying the same diligence to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

But really, the "Approved Applications" list is not terribly difficult to get on if you have an Open Source or non-commercial Freeware application whose users can use the data within the bounds of the Subscription Agreement. Just send a note to Schedules Direct telling us that your application is non-commercial and pointing to your website and forums via the contact link at Most applications are accepted in within a few days. If you would like access to the data for non-commercial R&D purposes, say because you are writing a new OSS application which has not been released yet, arrangements can be made for this as well.

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:32 am
by Dachannien
Thanks for the response.

I do think this issue is more complicated than you have indicated. For example, is MySQL considered to be part of MythTV, or a separate application? If I use "mysql" to browse my MythTV database and happen to view the tables containing program listings, does that constitute MySQL (which, by itself, is not on the "approved applications" list) being used in a separate capacity to view the data? What about if I use MyPhpAdmin to manage my database (MyPhpAdmin is definitely not part of MythTV, to moot that question) and happen to view those listings? Or what happens if i just bring up the database file in my favorite text editor (why I would do that is beyond me, but it's still a way to view the file)?

To go a step further, what happens if I have some non-free database management software on my machine, and I use it to access the lineup data? There's no way I could possibly get such a program onto the list, but that doesn't mean I plan to make a use of the data that infringes upon whatever part of that data TMS holds the copyright on.

Those would all seem to be ways to breach the agreement, perhaps even inadvertently. Sure, SD would only hear about those if we told them, but they nevertheless are part of the service agreement. Wouldn't it make more sense to stick with what's important, namely, banning commercial use of the data, instead of trying to keep up with every publicly-available application that could conceivably be used to view or otherwise "access" the data?

As long as we're on the topic, I should also note that most applications must "make or archive copies of Licensed Data" (from as part of their normal operations, yet this is prohibited by the service agreement.

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:43 am
by rmeden
I would consider Oracle a tool, not the final application. Your SQL query would be the application. (or something it was integrated in).

In addition, some open source tools can't be used to send the data to a commercial applications. For example using an open source tool like XMLTV to provide Canadian listings to a ReplayTV box. Tribune (and by trickle down us) would prefer that company purchase those listings directly from them.

I agree this is very hard to put into words, especially contract language. We're open to suggestions but remember changing the legal stuff can take a while.


Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:52 am
by Dachannien
The ReplayTV example is another good way of looking at the issue. Considering that XMLTV is on the approved apps list, yet there are ways of using XMLTV that are undesirable to SD and TMS, that seems like another reason that uses and distribution, rather than software, should be what's permitted or forbidden.

How much of this is related to people building MythTV boxen and then selling them to people? I still don't get why that should be a problem as long as the end user manages their own subscription with SD (or with TMS previously), but I got the feeling that TMS frowned on that.

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:02 pm
by Holmgren
I use a standalone program called Digiguide to view tv listings. I had tried My Telly and Freeguide (and others) several years ago and found them lacking, so I pay to use Digiguide. They found a way to convert Datadirect for use in their program. From what I read, Digiguide can not be an "approved application" because it definitely isn't free?

I'll try the others again but I don't have high hopes. Freeguide isn't even up to version 1.x yet and the My Telly homepage hasn't been updated since 2005.

Could you tell me, definitively, that I will not be able to use Digiguide to view Schedules Direct info?


Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:18 pm
by danielk
Sorry, you can not use Schedules Direct data with DigiGuide.

There are fortunately several OSS and freeware applications similar to DigiGuide out there that you can use. Maybe "My Telly" has improved since you last tried it?

You might also want to visit the DigiGuide forums, DigiGuide has licensed data for the US before and may due so again if there is sufficient interest. If you're in Canada make sure to let them know!

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:06 pm
by balthisar
Okay, I have a real-world version of this question (not hypothetical).

I used XBMCMythTV for all of my MythTV viewing, unless I'm physically at a computer at my desk. XBMCMythTV doesn't download Zap2It data, but uses the data downloaded by XMLTV (approved program) purportedly for MythTV (approved program) use. XMBCMythTV communicates directly with the database on my backend (direct SQL queries, not using any type of MythTV protocol). Bear in mind that XBMCMythTV isn't just allowing me to view my recordings, but to view the program guide, schedule recordings, view descriptions, and so on.

Once I update XMLTV on my Knoppymyth Box to work with schedules direct, am I legally using the service? Do I need to have the XBMCMythTV developers be added to the approved applications list? Hell, by extension, do we need to get the XBMC team proper involved?

I understand what the license is trying to say, but what it tries to say and what could be enforceable are still a little vague. Perhaps something along the lines "and associated uses" or "reasonable associated uses" might be added?

Re: "Approved" applications?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:49 pm
by danielk
XBMCMythTV needs to be added to the list. Five minutes to write an e-mail from a person involved with the project is all it takes. We've contacted some of the larger projects ourselves, but even as a MythTV developer I have no idea what XBMCMythTV is and I'm sure there are many such small projects out there.

I originally thought we would be able to allow all projects using an OSI approved license and simply screen the "freeware". But some commercial entities appear to rely on open source application to load data into their commercial application, and so these specific open source applications can only be used in contravention of the license. We wanted to be as clear as possible to our members about what is allowed and hence the "Approved Applications" list includes OSI and "freeware" applications. There are many fewer projects out there than people using them, 5 minutes of a project leader's time and a few more of our time will get an application on the list.