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EFF Press Release Archives

Press Releases: January 2003

January 16, 2003

Planet Replay Retreats, Concerned for User Privacy

PlanetReplay.com, a website popular with digital video recorder (DVR) fans, shut down part of its operations today fearing a lawsuit by Hollywood and violation of users' privacy rights.

After intense questioning by entertainment company lawyers on Tuesday, Planet Replay site operator Chad Little removed a part of the site that helped ReplayTV owners share shows. The lawyers asked about site content and user data, so Little feared for users' privacy and worried that the entertainment companies could sue him claiming the website helps copyright infringement.

In a statement on the PlanetReplay.com site, Little wrote, "Based on the questions they asked me at my deposition, the fact that I do not want my users to be sued or their privacy put at risk, and that I myself do not want to be sued, the portions of PlanetReplay.com relating to sharing shows have been taken down until further notice."

The questioning occurred during a deposition for the entertainment industry lawsuit against ReplayTV and SONICblue.

Many ReplayTV owners found Planet Replay helpful for a variety of activities. For example, since ReplayTV permits users to record only one show at a time, ReplayTV owners sought a way to obtain a show that aired simultaneously with another show they had recorded.

"This is yet another example of Hollywood continuing their campaign to chill new and emerging technologies to the detriment of consumers," said Ira Rothken, co-counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for Craig Newmark and four other ReplayTV owners suing the entertainment companies to clarify their rights to record television programs and to skip commercials using DVRs.

"ReplayTV owners are some of Hollywood's best customers," added EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze. "ReplayTV owners are caught in the crossfire of Hollywood litigation seeking to stifle innovators of new consumer-friendly technologies."

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