Digital get-around to watch Dodgers will put you afoul of the law

Times' Chris Erskine adds key point on digital get-around to watch Dodgers's against the law

In pouring a little tea in Boston Harbor the other day, I might have led you right into the digital drink. Desperate times call for desperate measures, sure. Just don't get yourself in hot water. Especially over a little tea.

Swinging for the fences, I wrote on Thursday about a digital get-around for blacked-out MLB.TV telecasts that can be more dicey and dangerous than I let on. Two days later, I'm still a free man, within the constraints of a modern marriage anyway, and the authorities haven't caught up with me yet.

Don't think I'm not looking over my shoulder.

MLB lawyers are out there protecting their intellectual property, which I think perfectly describes a baseball game. There is nothing more intellectual than watching grown men spit.

Anyway, dear Dodgers fan, I'm happy that some of you were able to get Vin Scully back on the tube. Many of you sent love notes after seeing your team in action in San Francisco the other day. Many later retracted those love letters, after seeing the way the Dodgers hit.

In any case, I wanted to be sure you were aware of the fine print in the MLB.TV terms-of-use agreement, which threatens to curtail your subscription and charge a $100 early-termination fee if you skirt blackout laws with what are known as proxy service alternatives.

I mentioned that in my Thursday column. What wasn'tincluded was this additional language from the MLB boilerplate:


In other words, they might sue you. Or refer you to the G-men.

MLBAM stands for Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the techie sector of an increasingly technical sport. Will they come after you for outwitting their blackout? Probably not. Just know that they can.


This silly TV stalemate is now in its second season, with fewer signs of hope than ever, and the idea that this could be Scully's last season haunts me as it haunts you, as does a frustrating lack of civic leadership on the issue. Even Magic Johnson seems to have consumed the blue Kool-Aid.

Rest assured, if you ever rest, that we have not abandoned the resistance movement. There's always the chance someone might own up to this bloated deal and try to solve the fiasco. A year ago, I recommended arbitration — Bill Clinton? Colin Powell? — but nobody bit on that, particularly DirecTV, the alpha provider that has rejected Time Warner Cable's price.

Are they grandstanding or looking out for their customers?

These days, no one seems to be looking out for the customer.

So watch yourself. Civil disobedience in the name of watching the old pastime is not risk-free.

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