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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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May 29, 2005

Darknet Interviews Andy Wolfe, Fomer CTO of ReplayTV

Posted by Ernest Miller

Over on Darknet, JD Lasica interviews Andy Wolfe, formerly CTO of ReplayTV (Interview: Andy Wolfe, former CTO, ReplayTV). The interview is incredibly good. Highly recommended: Read the whole thing. A small sample:

That’s why we were amazed there was such rigamarole around this. We sold 60,000 of these things. ATI sells a million cards a year that lets you record shows and attach it to your email. They still do. Sony sued us, but they let you record stuff on your Vaio and burn it to DVD and email it to anyone. AOL lets you attach a show to Instant Messaging. It’s amazingly hypocritical, with these companies and their software that are out there and can do all this stuff on the PC, they took it for granted, but when we came up with this device that ordinary people could use, they panicked. [emphasis in original]
Alright, I can't resist, another sample:
We did a marketing study and found that two things were in high demand: porn, and Bollywood, because Indian films are not widely distributed in the U.S.

That’s part of why this whole thing got a little threatening. We think that if there was a real service, that independent content would become an important part of that service. We didn’t think people would sign up for a service if it only had independent content. They’ll sign up for Harry Potter or Terminator 3. It’s the blockbusters that get people’s attention.

We got a call from churches who wanted to distribute their sermons on Sunday mornings by sending videos around. There are also surveillance applications. We found lots of people who were interested in building new things on top of this. We felt these other things would follow, but the entertainment had to drive it. [emphasis in original]

For all you atheists and non-church-goers out there, if you're not familiar with how churches are using this technology, I suggest you go check it out. Many of them are really quite savvy.

Did I mention you should read the whole thing?

PS: The interview was conducted in June, 2003.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Broadcatching/Podcasting | File Sharing | Tools


1. JD Lasica on May 29, 2005 08:21 PM writes...

Thanks, Ernest. It's been quite hard to resist blogging about this since I conducted the interview. But now that "Darknet" is out, you'll see a gusher of these interviews that I was lucky enough to arrange.

What's surprising is how little the landscape on these issues has changed over the past couple of years. Yes, BitTorrent now rules, the MPAA is now suing folks and a court has thrown out the broadcast flag, but the basic contours of the debate haven't evolved very much. "Piracy" and "stealing" are still the catch phrases on Capitol Hill.

I have two TiVos and no ReplayTVs, but I think the culture loses whenever an innovative company like Sonicblue goes under.

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2. Ernest Miller on May 29, 2005 08:34 PM writes...

Precisely. That is why I did a bit of a double-take when I saw when the interview was conducted.

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