Unlimited Playback: The Cloud Takeover of DVR

Friday, October 19, 2012, by Virginia Wooten

Over the past few years, missing a favorite show or event on television has become a minor ordeal thanks to the invention of DVR.  Viewers can set the DVR to record their favorite show, movie or television event.  Although DVR often saves the day for avid television viewers, crises can arise when too many shows fill up DVR storage space and prevent the recording of new material.  Just imagine coming home to find that your latest recording of “Honey Boo Boo Child” wasn’t actually recorded because the 24-hour marathon of “Jersey Shore” used up the entire DVR storage space.  Boxee TV recently took a step towards solving this problem for good by introducing the “No Limits DVR.”  

Instead of storing the video content on a local hard-drive like most DVRs, the No Limits DVR utilizes cloud storage to offer customers unlimited space to store any television content they desire.  This use of cloud storage technology reflects the trend of companies to use the cloud to store everything from entertainment to private data and information.  Companies like Rackspace and Google were some of the first to utilize the cloud, but now more companies want a piece of the cloud pie.

However, customers must still remain aware of some of the legal concerns of storing their data in the cloud

However, customers must still remain aware of some of the legal concerns of storing their data in the cloud.  Cloud storage requires the use of a physical space location, and this location could play a key role if a dispute arises over the stored material.  For example, if there is a security breach at a cloud storage provider located in the U.S. then it is assumed that legal jurisdiction would be in the U.S.  However, what if this customer is Canadian?  Would the physical location be considered the scene of the incident and allow jurisdiction in the U.S. even though the information might have been accessed from Canada?  Because the nature of cloud computing allows files to be accessed from almost anywhere in the world, finding the right place of jurisdiction could become tricky.

Furthermore, many customers who use cloud storage will place their own data into these sites.  If someone stores a video in the cloud, do the owners of the cloud now have any rights over this data?  Does the data remain in the customer’s complete ownership or does the owner relinquish some rights when using the cloud?  Governments around the world are considering these types of issues with the cloud, including Australia, which released a publication on “Copyright and the Digital Economy.”  Regarding the storage of data like medical records, these issues become even more complicated with statutes like HIPAA, where protection of this data is federally mandated.

Right now, customers can look to what is contained in the contracts they sign with the cloud providers to see what rights are retained or relinquished within the cloud.  Considering this technology is still new and somewhat limited in availability, customers may not have the upper hand in bargaining with companies like Google or Microsoft to demand more favorable contract clauses.  Nevertheless, as cloud storage becomes more common, customers will hopefully have more rights and options when it comes to unlimited storage.  With any luck, the cloud won’t be raining on many parades.