Friday, November 19, 2004



I heard something the other day that I couldn't believe, but according to, it's true, too true: Congress wants to make it illegal for you to fast-forward through commercials.

From the Wired story:

"... under the proposed language, viewers would not be allowed to use software or devices to skip commericals or promotional announcements "that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture," like the previews on a DVD.

It's all part of a greater bill that will make it easier for producers of recorded entertainment to put you in jail for copying stuff.

Basically, it's like your parents and teachers used to tell you: If you keep this up, you're going to spoil it for everybody.

In general, I'm in favor of not stealing creative works. I want to one day be in a position where I will be financially hurt if someone steals my work and can sue that person or organization into oblivion. But the RIAA and MPAA are approaching the problem with all the subtlety of swatting a flea with an AK-47. (Yes, that's a TV show reference, by the way.) And perhaps the whole point of putting the fast-forwarding prohibition in the bill is to negotiate it out and keep the other Stalinistic sections in. And yes, advertisers are very, very worried that they'll be buying advertising that consumers don't see, especially after you buy your TiVo.

But this is just insane. Especially since -- and get this -- you will be allowed to alter your videotape to skip past sexual or violent content you don't want to see.

I wonder if anybody in the advertising, entertainment industry or the Capitol has ever read or seen A Clockwork Orange? Surely not.

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