We’ve written before how MLB has tried to stop fans from forming fantasy leagues under the asinine claim that baseball statistics are intellectual property. Well, now MLB is calling fans who use Slingbox to watch games criminals!

Ars Technica – May 29, 2007:

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., MLB is upset that fans can watch out-of-market games via the Slingbox, calling the device illegal.

MLB is of the opinion that the Slingbox violates contracts it has signed with cable and satellite TV companies and that Slingbox owners are redistributing content without MLB’s express written consent whenever they place shift. The fact that Slingbox owners are watching content—encrypted to hinder piracy—that they paid for (or free, over-the-air transmissions in many cases) is irrelevant to the major leagues.

MLB has been down this road before with Sling Media. At last year’s Digital Media Summit, MLB VP George Kliavkoff said that a San Francisco Giants fan visiting Chicago and watching a Giants game via his Slingbox is “stealing” from whatever Chicago cable operator has the rights to carry the game in the Windy City. In so many words, leaving your TV on while you travel with nobody watching it is fine with MLB. Streaming it to your hotel room while on the road is not.

  1. Angel H. Wong says:

    Baseball is boring. If you’re prefer to watch moustached men in tight white clothes waving a beige wooden penile extension rather than the PPV pr0n chicks at the hotel…

  2. Iamanassholetoo says:

    MLB should be HAPPY to have people watch games and the accompanying ADVERTISING even out of market.

    They lose nothing and might gain some new ‘fans’.

  3. soundwash says:

    everybody is just getting to f’n greedy imo..

    i cant wait to see the fabricated number they come up with claiming lost revenue due to “phase shift ” piracy..
    i think they’re just huffing too much of the steam rising off of RIAA/MPA’s piracy crap…

    /me goes to back to sleep


  4. moss says:

    MLB owners suck about as much as NHL owners – and they’ve sucked since 1951.

  5. TJGeezer says:

    Just another assault on fair use. MLB buys a senator like Diane Feinstein next, and presto! another f’n law accompanied by self-righteous posturing steps on people’s rights to use what they bought.

    I just got an email from Sen. Feinstein, by the way. The uproar over the RIAA’s frontal assault on internet radio must have been loud enough make her nervous. She said she hopes everybody can reach a compromise so congress doesn’t have to take action. Sounded like a veiled threat to stop being such a willing tool of the entertainment mafia. Odd back-pedaling for a senator who cosponsored the law that enabled the RIAA assault in the first place. Maybe she’ll stop supporting Bush’s Iraq war next.

  6. Don says:

    I refuse to follow Hockey because the Chicago Blackhawks do not televise home games. Well, the fact that they have sucked for the last 10 years or so could be a reason too.

    The point is, I only watched them in the past if they made it a couple of rounds into the post season. They are missing out on thousands of viewers because of some asinine policy of the owner based on some silly misconceptions from the 60’s.

    Personally, Sling is pretty safe. They are just like a VCR. They have no control how a user is going to use their product, and they have enough “legitimate use” to tell MLB to go have intercourse with themselves.

    If the freaking Giants game was televised in Chicago, then the traveler would be watching the freaking game in Chicago. But there is usually only a couple of games on in major markets, and maybe one or none televised in minor markets.

    Personally I think that everyone should watch Arena Football instead of Baseball. The whole greedy lot ought to be in the unemployment line.


  7. V says:

    Since when was it possible for me (end user) to violate a contract that I didn’t sing?

  8. V says:

    Excuse me, although I did not in fact sing the contract, what I meant was I didn’t sign it.

  9. Jay says:

    Money Grabin S.O.BS
    M LB Sucks.

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    #8, Peachy.

    That would have made for a long song. I wonder who would have done the score for it?

  11. George says:

    It’s probably all wrapped up in some sort of anti-trust exclusion law for the benefit of MLB that was granted by the all-powerful government. In all likelyhood, that throwaway statement at the beginning of each broadcast prohibiting “retransmission or redistribution without express written consent from MLB” carries the force of law.

    Fine with me. I break laws all the time. (Yup, I coast through stopsigns and sometimes forget my seatbelt.)

    It used to be that the law was something that was to be obeyed. Now it is meaningless the day after it is signed into law. If the executive branch of the government doesn’t care about enforcing its own laws w.r.t. immigration and custom’s enforcement, then why the hell should I care about obeying silly and unenforceable intellectual property laws crafted for the benefit of wealthy ball club owners?

    It’s their rule/law. Let them enforce it.

  12. Chris Swett says:

    I have two Slingboxes, so sue me. Uh, wait… I never watch baseball.

  13. Tom says:

    It is things like this that have made Football the National Pastime; but wait a week I am sure the NFL will do the same.

  14. Lauren the Ghoti says:

    I’ve never watched a baseball game in my life, and I rather doubt that I ever will.

    That said, just because of that fuckin’ attitude, I have this powerful urge to watch a game via Slingbox – no, make that two games – simultaneously…

    Smutbucket poster children for pathological greed, MLB can bite my major league crank.

  15. Andrew says:

    Why does everyone love SlingBox so much; when Orb from Orb.com does the same thing, but better, for free?

  16. BubbaRay says:

    Guess I’m in the total minority here, I happen to love baseball and can even “watch” it on the radio. There is nothing more difficult in sports than hitting a curve ball thrown on the inside corner at 85 mph into the seats. The biggest bummer is the recent steroid scandal, but I’m not even going to comment on that. IMHO, all athletes earn way too much money to play any professional sport. Baseball to me is a chess match and a game of, literally, inches. One of the biggest entertainment bangs for the buck (especially minor league). To heck with NASCAR and all those left turns. Now donning Nomex suit….

  17. cheese says:

    All companies who sponsor MLB games should be screaming at (or suing) MLB for blocking access to advertisements destined to consumers!!!!

    Tell me how a Giants fan can actually watch any one of their games on any given day when visiting in Chicago? or Box Elder in South Dakota?

    I’m saying Slingbox exists because it makes it possible to do something that does not otherwise exist nor is possible. Advertisers should be buying stock in Slingbox — it pushes their wares out to consumers.

  18. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    #13 – You may be right, but I have a worse suspicion. The way the NFL has started playing games with who broadcasts what, I’m worried that their ultimate plan is to try and go PPV. The day that happens is the day I never watch another football game.

  19. Uncle Dave says:

    #15: Because nobody’s heard of it (including me) while SlingBox has done a great job of marketing. I am going to check it out now.

  20. BubbaRay says:

    #18, TheGlobalWarmer, go PPV. The day that happens is the day I never watch another football game.

    Just my guess, but I don’t think that will happen, there are too many advertising $$ on the table. The beer brewers probably wouldn’t go for it. But I agree, if they go PPV, I’ll “watch” games on the radio and the play-by-play on espn.com’s graphic setup.

  21. BubbaRay says:

    #15, Andrew, that orb.com looks great, thanks for the tip.

  22. venom monger says:

    Baseball to me is a chess match and a game of, literally, inches. One of the biggest entertainment bangs for the buck

    No argument from me. But it’s not for everybody, which is fine. I think it’s the APPARENT simplicity of the game that fools a lot of people into thinking it’s boring.

  23. paul says:

    MLB stupidity is exactly why I am now a proud owner of a slingbox (although a friend in my former home town hosts it). I was planning on purchasing the cable tv MLB Extra Innings package, but MLB put the screws to the cable company by signing the (then) exclusive DirectTv contract. At the beginning of the season, the only way I was able to watch “my” team was on the internet (mlb.com). I figured, if I was stuck watching the Indians on my computer, why not buy a slingbox? So I did, and get to watch all the games without giving MLB a dime! They could have had my $$$ just like last year, and the year before for the Extra Innings package if it was available at the start of the year, but now they have blew it, and they can thank themselves. And better yet, now get to annoy all of my West Coast friends by telling them 3 hrs early who won Survivor, Idol, etc!!!!

  24. Pfkad says:

    #17, Bubba: You’re right. The beauty of baseball is that you can sit outside on a balmy summer night listening to a game on radio, drinking a cold beer, watching the stars while contemplating the mysteries of the universe and not miss a thing. * sigh *

  25. CanadianGuy says:

    #15 and #21 Orb.com is a great idea but the video quality sucks and the lag is brutal.

  26. BubbaRay says:

    #24, Pfkad, now remembering Mark Holtz, Harry Carey, Curt Gowdy, Vin Scully, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Buck, et al. Here’s to those balmy summer evenings with a radio and a cold one!

  27. Billabong says:

    I have a great idea.MLB should start legal action against their customers.This has worked so well for the music business.

  28. Nick says:

    I’m a long time baseball fan but these dumbasses are doing all they can to fuck the sport up. They are at the height of income at this point but they are aleinating our youth. The dumb fucks are going to be in big trouble in 10 years!

  29. BubbaRay says:

    #23, paul, thanks for the info on slingbox. Their website isn’t great, but I hope their product is. Is it worth the money? Any help appreciated.

    I’ve only been to the new ballpark in Cleveland twice (Jacobs Field?), but both were very enjoyable experiences, and the traffic management was outstanding.

  30. Max says:

    If you are quoting an idiot like George, then good luck.


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