Tales of a wandering lesbian

The grey area

As I’ve mentioned, I tend toward binary thinking. The black-or-white thought process was helpful in law school – if not in practice. Following rules and constructing rules has long appealed to me. Just tell me what the parameters are and I’ll figure out how to do what I want within them.

I laughed when Clinton said “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” He was totally right. And totally horrible.

When someone asks to copy a CD, I flinch. And usually only say yes if I haven’t let anyone else do it, and make them agree that they are holding my “backup” copy, in case mine should disappear in a ball of flame (I’m pretty sure that’s legal).

Yesterday brought a conversation about DVD burning and its legality. “I paid for my license. I just want to be able to view it on my ipod!” Sounded fair to me, but (as one law professor used to tell me) I didn’t go to fair school. “You can probably find an illegal copy on youtube,” came the suggestion. True story.

Yesterday, when I climbed on the elliptical for the first time in about a month, it was with high hopes of watching SURVIVOR on Hulu or CBS.com. SURVIVOR is really the motivating factor behind my workouts. I love the show with the kind of fervor usually reserved for religious zealotry. I’ve applied 4 times, attended an open-casting call and brought a replica Buff to Italy with me. I watch recorded SURVIVOR episodes while I work out. During the season, it’s great. I record on Thursday and watch every morning for the next week, rehashing, analyzing, plotting my own takeover of the game.

But I left for Italy in the middle of the season, and haven’t had occasion to catch up on episodes. Until yesterday.

So, I plugged my computer in, set it in front of the elliptical and logged on. And got this message “this program is not authorized for your geographic region.” What? You’re kidding me, right? This is some elaborate scheme cooked up by the same people at CBS who keep denying my application. Must be. Not authorized for my geographic region…

Okay, okay. Not to fear. Next stop: youtube. I was able to find part 1 of episode 7 relatively quickly (AND WITHOUT SPOILERS). Soon I was in workout heaven, cursing Russell and working the puzzles with everyone else. Part 2 was easy to find as well. Part 3, however gave me some troubles.

This is the part of watching bootlegged copies of shows on youtube that isn’t so glamorous. First, you’re watching what someone recorded off their tv, and in some circumstances, what they recorded using a video camera pointed at their tv screen. Insane. Second, the programs are posted in 10ish minute chunks, requiring you to find and load multiple parts of the program. Third, people don’t always post the entire show, or don’t post the parts with any type of naming-convention. So you have to scout around to find the whole program. Yesterday I used at least three different people’s posts to piece together most of the show.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I would have HAPPILY watched the 20 minutes of commercials that usually infiltrate the broadcast program. I find commercials fascinating. I TRIED to watch them on the CBS site, but “this program is unavailable for your geographic region.”

This morning, I was able to find a complete set of the episode, as well as the next episode. I think I’m only one behind now. It’s a beautiful thing. (Did I mention I haven’t spoiled anything? I still don’t know who was voted off in the last two weeks. For the love of all that is holy, don’t spoil it for me by posting in the comments. I’m a forgiving person, but I’m not sure how I would react to this, and I don’t want to find out.)

People have long said to me that I’d eventually move out of my black-or-white thinking in to an understanding that there are grey areas; that there need to be grey areas. Okay you people who said that, listen up. I’ve always said that grey is just black and white when you get close enough to it.

I don’t know copyright law as it applies to SURVIVOR episodes on youtube. No idea. I’m okay with that. What I do know is how to find the complete set of Season 19, Episode 7. Took me two days, but I figured it out. It was in the grey area, just between “willful suspension of disbelief” and “ignorance of the law is no defense”.

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November 19, 2009   4 Comments