July 06, 2002

The Ten Copyright Crimes of Tomorrow

Ernest Miller of lawmeme reacts to Turner CEO Jamie Keller's declaration that, among other things, your right to go to the bathroom while watching TV is not unlimited: "I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom..."

LawMeme: Legal Bricolage for a Technological Age - Top Ten New Copyright Crimes

Jamie Kellner, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting... said some very interesting things, including characterizing those who skip television commercials as thieves: "[Ad skips are] theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."

To help develop Mr. Kellner's unfortunately common (at least in Hollywood) view of copyright, LawMeme offers the top ten new copyright crimes:

10. Watching PBS without making a donation. You know who you are, you cheap ...

9. Changing radio stations in the car when a commercial comes on. Future radios will prevent listeners from changing channels when a commercial comes on. The RIAA has not yet taken a position on whether it is permissible to switch channels when the listener doesn't like the song.

8. Channel Surfing during commercials, especially with Picture-in-Picture capability. Similar to radio, skipping through channels, particularly when combined with picture-in-picture (which permits viewers to know precisely when an ad block ends), will be prohibited.

7. Getting into a movie after the previews, but just in time for the main feature. Theaters will be required to close their doors once the advertising and previews have begun. The MPAA has not yet taken a position on time-in-seat requirements for advertising in the pre-preview slide show or whether audiences should be compelled to watch the credits at the end of the movie.

6. PBS How can commercially sponsored broadcast networks compete with a government sponsored network?

5. Inviting friends over to watch pay-per-view. When you call to authorize viewing, you will be required to indicate the number of people present to watch. Compliance will be monitored and viewers must identify themselves.

4. Blocking pop-up ads on the Internet.Yeah, Mozilla and Opera users, this means you!

3. Not buying things from the advertisers on television shows. Part of your contract is that not only do you watch the advertisements, but that you subsequently buy from the advertisers. If you don't buy from the advertisers, the whole system breaks down.

2. Watching MTV if you are older than 35 or Matlock reruns if you are younger than 40. Advertisers buy ads to reach a particular demographic. If you aren't part of that demographic you are, effectively, a thief.

1. Libraries and librarians. This is why we have the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

Posted by DeLong at July 6, 2002 08:53 AM | TrackBack

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