I think you should go back and read your customer service 'agreement' very carefully. It may surprise you.
Also, try checking out that FAQ question I posted.
At any rate, even if you continue to insist that they don't claim ownership of the receiver you have, they *clearly* and *separately* claim ownership of the DVR software, and they also reserve the right to change the software at any time (again, read your customer service agreement).
So DirectTV setup the legal framework to be ordered to disable their customer's DVRs, in an effort to retain far more centralized control than they'd have in a clear-cut transfer of ownership situation.