MLB Calls Slingbox Placeshifting Illegal
Major League Baseball is joining the growing ranks of companies who are less than enthusiastic about the "placeshifting" feature. Here's a tidbit from Ars Technica:
"Like other professional sports leagues, Major League Baseball is jealous of its content. The latest company to come under its scrutiny is Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox television place-shifting device. According to The Hollywood Reporter Esq. (subscription), MLB is upset that fans can watch out-of-market games via the Slingbox, calling the device illegal."
So what's the big deal? Well it seems that MLB and other media organizations want to have some control over what various markets watch, and of course what they pay to watch it. It is all quite complicated, so let's use Joe Snuffy, avid Sun Devil fan, as an example. If Joe gets sent to Boston for a few weeks on work, he can either make sure his choice of hotel and/or sports bars has an out-of-market sports package, or use placeshifting. The bar/hotel are both paying for the service so, at some point the MLB sees some benefit, but placeshifting doesn't really put any money into their pockets.
Of course Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox, argue that it's not much different than if you had someone tape the game for you, it's simply progress that you can watch it much sooner.
Perhaps the future will hold the answer as to whether the concept of placeshifting becomes part of every day life or if it is relegated to being a term associated with media piracy.