Sky Anytime, for 'Any PC!'

Posted 5 Feb 2007 at 20:31 UTC by lkcl Share This

A recent advert campaign on Sky in the UK, running on the weekend of the 27th and 28th of January, 2007, offered the "Sky Anytime service" for "Any PC!". I distinctly heard it. I immediately latched on to this, because it violates the UK Advertising Standards Agency guidelines on advertising. Why? because if you check the Sky Anytime requirements you must have a modern machine with Windows, and Flash Plugin installed, amongst other things, and that is in direct conflict with the message put out by the Sky advertisment that went out, last weekend.

Additionally, you may be aware that both the Amstrad-manufactured Sky boxes (the Digibox and the Sky Plus PVR) run Linux, and not only that, but the new Sky Broadband service must be provided on a specially modified and pre-configured Netgear DG834GT - running Linux. I think it's time to issue requests to Sky for the GPL software running on those machines, don't you?

Here's the thing: I actually _want_ Sky Anytime for Linux: I genuinely do. And we have an opportunity to get it, because a Linux-installed machine qualifies under the Sky advert as 'Any PC'.

Personally, I want Sky Anytime for Linux because it is the best way for me to be able to pay for (and support) Stargate SG-1 episodes and Stargate Atlantis episodes. Quantity 200of and increasing for the SG1 episodes and quantity 60of and increasing for Atlantis.

I want to be able to do my research on gateworld.net and then run Sky Anytime for Linux and download the episode that I choose. Over my Sky Broadband connection. That is costing me nearly 60 GBP per month for the next two years because I paid for the Sky 'Max' service contract in order to be able to get onto the Sky Broadband service, immediately. (A few months ago, Sky Broadband was so oversubscribed that they could only offer it to existing customers - so.... I became an existing customer!)

The Sky Digiboxes - the recording ones - it is quite blatantly obvious that it's a VDR (Video Disk Recorder) project. Pace set-top boxes, which were provided to customers like NTL and Cambridge Cable, were VDR-based linux systems, some years ago. So it shouldn't be difficult for Sky to provide the source code.

Here's the thing - you stupid idiots who decided that the GPL v2, with it's anti-DRM stance, was a Bad Thing - you stupid idiots may have shot the opportunity in advance to be able to get a free software distribution onto the Sky Digiboxes, because I bet you that Sky have some sort of anti-copying and copyright-protection in the Sky Digiboxes. But - time will tell.

Getting the source code for the Netgear shouldn't pose any great difficulties. The only configuration option that's missing is to set the broadband username and password. Everything else is exactly the same, except of course that the backup configuration files are missing the broadband username and password.

The requests need to be made, and then followed up - with teeth. Because Sky is a big company, and, realistically, only a GPL violation take-down order is going to get the attention of the right people.

I've already initiated the complaint against Sky, through the 'ASA' web site, and anyone else who has seen, or has a copy of, the Sky Anytime advert that was on TV of the weekend of 27th Jan 2007, PLEASE CONTACT ME. we need to make it available publicly, and to encourage more people to initiate proceedings against Sky, to get their attention, and some source code and specification documents out of them.

Ironically, Sky Anytime for Linux means that more third party companies can offer services, such as better sky PVR boxes etc. Perhaps Sky doesn't want that to happen, because it cuts their profits. So, they're using GPL code for profit, and not returning anything to the Free Software Community.

I don't like that sort of thing.

Through Sky Advertising's slip-up, we have an opportunity to increase the types of applications that are available for Linux: let's make the most of it.


contract law, posted 11 Feb 2007 at 22:40 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

i spoke with someone who is a lawyer, today, and they reminded me of the UK's 'default' contract law, which of course would apply here because you it's not a legal requirement to enter into and sign a legally-binding agreement prior to watching television... yet (god i hate the way things are going in the uk, and the uk population, with their blind trust in democracy, entirely deserve everything they are getting)

anyway.

contract law.

states that the first step is an "invitation to treat" on the part of the seller. it means that you can "hawk your warez" as loudly as you like - but nobody need actually listen to you. just shouting "Aaaaaapples. Get your AAAAAPPPlles here" doesn't actually enter anybody into a legally-binding contract.

here's the thing: advertising on television is an "invitation to treat".

and that's where the ASA (advertising standards agency) comes into play, because "hawking your warez" may turn out indeed to be "warez", and a lot of people are too stupid to know the difference between a bargain and a rip-off merchant.

now, the interesting thing that this lawyer-friend _did_ say was that an individual offer _does_ constitute a little more than just an "invitation to treat".

so, what i am wondering is: is there an advertising-email sitting in my sky.com email box which i promised myself that i would never bother with?

hmmm....

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