Consumer Rights
May 06, 2002
Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public

Here's another gem from Dan Gillmore:
Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public.

Dear Reader:

If you are reading this column in the newspaper, but did not read every article and look at every advertisement in previous sections, stop now. You must go back and look at all of that material before continuing with this column.

If you are reading this column on the Web and did not go to the newspaper's home page first, stop now. Go to the home page and navigate through whatever sequence of links our page designers have created to reach this page, and don't you dare fail to look at the ads.

Ridiculous? Of course.

Tell that to the dinosaurs at some major media and entertainment companies. They insist they have the right to tell you precisely how you may use their products...

The law also is still somewhat unsettled when it comes to hard-disk video recorders, also known as personal video recorders or PVRs. But Hollywood is in attack mode against one of the most innovative home products in years, SonicBlue's Replay machine, and the entertainment industry's anger at these devices is growing.

Jamie Kellner, head of Turner Broadcasting, part of the AOL Time Warner conglomerate, told the newsweekly CableWorld that you are a thief if you use one of a PVR's best features -- skipping commercials.

``Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots,'' he said. ``Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis.''

Whenever you fail to watch a commercial, he added, ``you're actually stealing the programming.''

It gets better. When the interviewer asked whether it's OK to go to the bathroom or get a soft drink out of the refrigerator, Kellner replied, `` I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom.''

What a relief. At least AOL Time Warner doesn't believe we should be chained to the sofa when we watch one of its old movies.

Posted by Lisa at May 06, 2002 09:04 AM | TrackBack
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