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
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.
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)
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?