Major League Baseball: watching your TV on your laptop is theft

Major League Baseball, a sports organization that backed the Broadcast Flag, has publicly denounced technologies like Slingbox that let you watch your TV on your laptop over the net. Slingbox lets you retransmit the programs being received on your home set wherever you are in the world. An MLB spokesman called this theft. Industry watchers predict that MLB will start suing the companies that make these soon — but what will they do about open source PVRs like Mythtv that do the same thing without having a formal organization that they can haul into court?

[A] cable subscriber in San Francisco who watches a Giants baseball game from his or her laptop during a visit to Chicago is stealing from the Chicago cable operator who paid to transmit MLB games in that city.

But we're not talking Napster here, argues Buchanan. The cable subscriber in such a scenario already purchased the content from a programmer back home and under the law can watch it wherever he or she chooses, he said.

"Your interpretation of the (cable and satellite user agreement) is wrong," Kliavkoff told Buchanan as the two spoke before some 200 conference attendees. Sling Media users "are violating the scope of their user agreements."