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Five PVR Users Allowed To Join Replay Court Fight

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the but-your-honor-those-people-are-criminals dept.

The Courts 151

hachete writes with this snippet from the Mercury News: " 'A federal judge in Los Angeles agreed to allow consumers to join the legal battle between Hollywood and the makers of the ReplayTV 4000 digital video recorder to defend their uses of the device.'" The five customers chosen to add some insight include craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

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Excellent (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090345)

Finally, some GOOD news.

Signs of Intelligence? (4, Insightful)

Teknogeek (542311) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090346)

Finally, a judge wakes up and realizes 'hey, maybe the people who will be affected by this decision should have a voice in it'.

Every time I consider fleeing this country in terror, something like this happens that makes me reconsider.

Plus, it probably has the *AA foaming at the mouth, which is always a good thing. :)

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090361)

I think it is a lot more fun to have consumers sitting in the jury instead...

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090385)

I sometimes consider felling the country, too, but then I realize it's completely worse everywhere else.

That's why we have to stay here and fight fight fight.

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090850)

I sometimes consider felling the country, too, but then I realize it's completely worse everywhere else.

Well, you're no Paul Bunyan.

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (3, Funny)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090404)

What has the AA foaming at the mouth, bribing the judge with large quantities of beer?

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (1)

XO (250276) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090416)

Duh... :) *AA = (MP|RI)+AA

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090466)

That's all well and good, but it's a bit obfuse. I use "**aa", as in "The damn-blasted **aas' actions" and "That fragging **aa's such-and-such" and "Sumbitch, nuke the **aa".

- Arnold Crenshaw

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090607)

wrong, that would make strings like MPMPMPMPAA valid, it' just (MP|RI)AA

Re:Signs of Intelligence? (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090793)

why not just type mpaa/riaa? It has just as many characters and is less confusing. Typing *AA, or ??AA saves us some typing, that's it's appeal.

poop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090348)

u have my poop there

i think it still belongs to me. Do not confuse taking a poop with leaving a poop. take it or leave it.
thank you

Face to Face Meetings (2)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090351)

This is how to get your point across in these matters. Good for the judge.

You (yes you) can try to meet with your lawmakers (or their advisors) and discuss issues. Not everyone can meet with someone, but it's worth a try. If every /.er tried to have a meeting with his or her senator about the DMCA, DRM or any other topic, we could really change things.

Write a letter. Now.

Re:Face to Face Meetings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090363)

when was the last time you (Yes you, lostchicken) went and made an appointment to talk to a senator or some other official and sat down over lunch to discuss the evil's of restricted use? i'm willing to bet never. do i particularly care? not really, I dont' even vote since the people I support have no real chance of winning; indifference does far more harm than anything else... corporations have money to pay people to lobby for them... maybe we should to because no one goes out on their own time to do it... right or wrong it's the truth.

Re:Face to Face Meetings (1)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090413)

The people you support have no chance of winning. But if you (and their supporters who
think like you) vote this time, this will get them, and their issue, more exposure the next time. Why not give it a try - this is a real possibility.

Re:Face to Face Meetings (5, Funny)

tve (95573) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090397)

If every /.er tried to have a meeting with his or her senator about the DMCA, DRM or any other topic, we could really change things.

Yeah, we would slashdot the senators.

Re:Face to Face Meetings (2)

lunenburg (37393) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090755)

If your senators are anything like mine, you MAY get a meeting with some low-level staffer, who will listen to your arguments and then blankly reply that "The Senators supports the rights of artists to protect their work. Thank you for coming by."

You won't, of course, even get to see the Senator unless you're a big campaign donor.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090366)

It is good that some consumers are in court ... when they lose they can go to gaol as well. Bloody thieves!

Call It A Night, Cowboy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090367)

Slashdot only allows a user with your karma to post 2 times per day. You've already shared your thoughts with us that many times. Take a breather, and come back and see us in 24 hours or so.

If you think this is unfair, please email jamie@slashdot.org with your username "SweetAndSourJesus". Let us know how many comments you think you've posted in the last 24 hours.


Guess it's time to get high, then.

Wow! (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090368)

Finally, a few viewers of Replay TV have the opportunity to tell Hollywood where to put their commercials!

Re:Wow! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090370)

Hollywood can put its commercials here [goatse.cx] .

Re:Wow! (1)

professortomoe (540098) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090402)

A modded up goatse.cx post. That's gotta be one of the signs of the apocalypse, right?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090601)

Yeah, one of them. I believe another is Microsoft releasing the complete Windows XP source code under the GPL.

Re:Wow! (1, Redundant)

glenebob (414078) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090380)

And how would you propose the networks pay for the content you enjoy watching, if they were unable to use commercials to do so?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090401)

maybe some of the $80 dollars i pay for STANDARD BASIC NON DIGITAL CRAPPY LINEUP cable service could go to the broadcasters.. Dont tell me it costs 80 fucking dollars to give me a few channels, maybe if I had all the HBOs and stuff but fuck i have basic cable!!

My friend in another state only pays $23 for basic cable, that i can understand, and my other friend pays $80 but has A FUCKING SATALLITE WITH MOVIE CHANNELS, SPORTS CHANNELS (not that id want those heh), and music channels... fuck i hate my cable provider.

Re:Wow! (2)

glenebob (414078) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090411)

Yeah, I feel your pain. I especially like the way the cable people come up with digital cable, which allows them to fit a whole buttload more content on the same bandwidth, effectively lowering their cost of operation, and then proceed to charge a higher price for it.

Re:Wow! (2)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090492)

Where ya think that content comes from? Does it grow on trees perhaps? Besides, it's not like they phased out analog cable, they provided digital as an alternative. Pay more, get more. It's called 'service'.

If you want to hate digital cable, here's a better reason: Your VCR won't work with it unless it has a digital tuner. I've yet to see one of those at Best Buy. It's for this reason I may go with Satellite, since DirectTV has a Tivo that works with it.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090410)

Pay per view.

Re:Wow! (2)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090414)

It isn't my business model. AOL caught on to the fact that even stupid AOLers hate the pop ups. Their response was to cut down on them. Networks are now faced with the fact that even the Survivor crowd doesn't like commercials. Their response, taking a cue from MS/(RI/MP)AA, is to call their customers thieves and refuse to let them chose how to view content.

I thought it was a low point when MTV viewers chose their own VJ. I hadn't heard they they're choosing network execs from the same talent pool.

Re:Wow! (0)

Maudib (223520) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090459)

And how would you propose the networks pay for the content you enjoy watching, if they were unable to use commercials to do so?

Im not sure, but I am pretty certain most Americans pay for TV, either cable or satelite. At least that is the case in the North East. Why should I pay twice for any given program? The $50 a month for cable is enough. Its not my problem if the cable companies are bilking them.

We (the country) need to accept that over time business models and services become obsolete, at which point industries and businesses go bankrupt.

Creative destruction is a necesary part of capitalism, to interven through congress or the legal system is reactionary and can only lead to decay. Someday Marxists and Republicans will come to realize that they are one and the same.

Re:Wow! (1)

PastorOfMuppets (590944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090580)

Two Words: product placement.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090704)

Yeah! Didn't you ever watch The Truman Show?

Call me ignorant, but.. (-1, Flamebait)

EggplantMan (549708) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090378)

How else are television broadcasters supposed to cover their costs?

If as a result of pvrs, nobody watches commercials anymore and the bottom falls out of the broadcasting industry, what do you propose to do with the countless people who were employed by said industry and now are jobless with mouths to feed? Do you really want to see the broadcasting industry go into the shitter? Having your freedoms is one thing, but destroying somebody's livelihood is another.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (4, Funny)

Flakeloaf (321975) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090388)

Do you really want to see the broadcasting industry go into the shitter

Hmm... Friends, Big Brother, celebrity boxing, "when someting normal does something dangerous to someone stupid" (FOX only), the Anna Nicole Smith show and the last six years of Saturday Night Live... and you're worried about broadcasting getting worse?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

EggplantMan (549708) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090403)

The biz operates on numbers; if something is popular, you get more of it. Explain to me how tv can cater to your precise needs without having a tv station for each person in the US. This doesn't seem very feasible to me.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090621)

>>Explain to me how tv can cater to your precise needs without having a tv station for each person in the US. This doesn't seem very feasible to me.

Hmmmm.... the internet seems to do it pretty well. Even the cable company does; you think they have a separate network for people who get basic cable, extended cable, and digital cable, not to mention the various combinations of channels you can get when you combine that choice with the option to get the subscription channels and cable modems and pay-per-view. Of course not. Access to content you don't pay for is essentially prohibited.

It shouldn't be too hard to provide indivudial channels which the end user can choose. Perhaps charge per channel per month, with an option to pay per program on channels that you don't subscribe to, etc.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090757)

Fuck that--why do people feel like they're obligated to get all of their fucking entertainment from TV? If people would just turn the goddamned thing off and, I don't know, read a book, teach themselves C++, build model airplanes, play a musical instrument, spend time with their families, go fishing, whatever, don't you think this nation would be a lot better off?

Fearing the demise of television reminds me a lot of the Futurama scene where Bender throws Fry's beer into the TV, smashing it. Fry exlaims indignantly, "Hey! Now what am I supposed to drink and watch all day?" TV is a lifestyle for a lot of people, not just a gadget that can be used to watch certain, specific things. I think it's disgusting, and it's contributing to the ignorance that causes most of the problems we see today in the US.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090896)

Well said!

For a lot of people, TV is their life. They work, eat, watch TV and sleep. They have nothing to look forward to. How do we as a society motivate those people? And when they say 'fuck you, I want my TV and beer!'??

I love the PVR technology and want to play with it under Linux rather badly.. But I don't have cable and don't watch TV other than Formula 1 races and CART races. So spending a bunch of time so I could watch garbage TV would be a waste (and you can waste your life away watching just good educational programming...).

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090969)

"Students in Japan beat the heck out of American kids in important areas like science and math, and not acting like an idiot in public. That's because American kids, instead of studying, would rather spend their time in front of television sets that are made in, er... Japan."
-Drew Carey, as quoted in Joke Soup

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

MrP- (45616) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090393)

Skipping commercials on a PVR is an option, not everyone has to use it. Just like its my option to get up and piss during a commercial, or channel surf while the commercials are on (which I ALWAYS do, I cannot stand commercials, especially after you see it more than once, whats the point?)

If they want to force people to watch commercials, they better send someone over with a whip to hit me whenever I change the channel during a commercial.

Oh and what about people who record shows during work for example to watch when they get home? They can't ffwd through the commercials? Oh wait, pretty soon they wont even be able to record shows with their VCRs anymore, so nevermind.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0, Troll)

EggplantMan (549708) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090418)

Well said.

I think the issue is one of convenience. With commercial skipping, yes it is an option, but it is also automated. This is different from what a person would do, because they can't 'skip' commercials. Every time a commercial comes on, you have to make some effort to avoid it, whether it be hitting mute or walking out of the room. Hence nothing is being skipped, but instead dealt with by you, the consumer.

Isn't it true that you can set commercial skipping once on your pvr and never have to think about it again? To me this seems to be the difference - the effort involved and the lack of a human element.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090456)

I'm not sure, since I don't own a PVR, I know one of them had a button that would ffwd 1 minute, so you click it a few times and you've skipped commercials, but you have to do it everytime. I'm not sure which PVR has that, TiVo or ReplayTV.

I think the broadcasters should put special tags with commercials, identifying them, so your PVR will show you only commercials it hasn't shown before. I wouldnt mind commercials if I only had to see them once.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090395)

... another probable results of broadcasters' death:
- we have only special channels on TV (the only ones what we want) for which we have to pay and they are without ads. (pipe dream?!)
- people finally go outside to socialize and meet - revival of social clubs etc...
- as a result of more people going outside and money withdrawn from TV ads market - we'll have more outside ads - as in sweet sixties...

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

NortWind (575520) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090405)

Ok, you're an ignorant butt.

Do you really want to see the broadcasting industry go into the shitter?

So you are saying that if I go there during a commercial, they go too?

I can hardly wait for the DMCA ruling declaring that owning a mute button is grounds for imprisonment. I'm pretty sure I never signed any contract promising to watch commercials, although they are often better than the programming.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090406)

I don't know about everyone else, but while some of the times I can't stand commercials, other times when I have nothing better to do I'll just sit through the commercials. Some of them are actually quite entertaining and innovative (hell, almost works of art).

And on a slightly related note, while on-demand TV is alright for some (that is, viewing the shows you want to watch when you want to watch them), the experience of just turning on the TV and watching whatever happens to be on is far better in my opinion. You get a lot more exposure to shows you otherwise wouldn't think to watch.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (4, Insightful)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090408)

Seems to me like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, et al are all making money.

I imagine that, should the bottom fall out of the advertising model, it will all move to a subscription model, which frankly, suits me fine, since it will (hopefully) allow me to pick and choose which channels I want (Discovery, TLC, History, HGTV, Noggn, Cartoon Channel, etc) instead of having to pay for a bunch of crap I'll NEVER EVER EVER watch (QVC, HSN, TNN, BET, etc)

-9mm-

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (5, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090417)

Blockquoth the poster:

How else are television broadcasters supposed to cover their costs?

Hear, hear! But wait... the invention of TV ended the glory days of radio entertainers! We should ban that, too. Those poor radio stars... And look what the "talkies" did to all those silent movie stars -- they hardly ever land a good part now! Let's ban the movies, at least, the ones with sound...


As has been said before, and will be said again,


"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because
a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit." -- Robert A. Heinlein

Or, more succinctly,

Nobody weeps for the buggy-whip makers!

It's time for them to adapt or die.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090480)

He does have a point. What are you going to record on that shiny new PVR when no one is broadcasting any more?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Insightful)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090527)

Whatever comes after things begin to change.

Seriously, not everyone is going to skip the ads, so their will be transitional revenue to allow the current model to change. Also, not everyone will have a PVR for a while --same effect.

As the numbers grow, other sources of funding for programming will evolve. Look at HBO now. They charge for their programming and have come quite a ways from their old movie only no commercial formats. Some of the programming produced with these models has enough value that it gets resold on DVD.

So there will be stuff to record for sure, just not the material we have today and that is a good thing.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090622)

Blockquoth the poster:

He does have a point. What are you going to record on that shiny new PVR when no one is broadcasting any more?

I don't know. Maybe nothing -- but I doubt that, as there is an awful lot of money to be made, if you can figure out how. Maybe the same old crap that's on now -- not everyone will use these things and perhaps the transitional revenue will be sufficient to keep "network TV" in play. And maybe something decent, as TV producers are freed from the limitations imposed by the standard 5-act commercial-driven format.


I don't know. It doesn't matter. I wouldn't want innovation stifled and fair use rights trampled just to preserve the things I watch on TV. There are a few shows I like, but they're just not worth the boot on my neck that Hollywood seems to think they require.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090504)

Where are the mod points when you need 'em!

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2, Interesting)

kimgh (600604) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090785)

This brought to my mind another SF author, Carl Sagan. In his 1985 novel, _Contact_, one of the characters, Hadden, had invented a device called Adnix, which automatically muted TV ads. There ensued both a legal battle and an arms race, and Hadden won both, but was branded un-American by the Ad Counsel.

It appears Sagan was remarkably prescient, and I hope that he's right about the outcomes of both the legal fight and the arms race!

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090427)

Not everybody wants to pay for television.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090431)

Advertising will not die.

Yes, the 30-second ad's days are numbered. So? There's many other ways of advertising. Product placement is promising (for instance, Survivor integrates products into the show itself), though it could hurt genres where product placement is difficult. Networks will also start selling animated "banner ads" in the corner of the screen.

What will happen is that Madison Ave. and the TV industry will adapt to PVRs.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (5, Insightful)

tc (93768) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090432)

To paraphrase Bruce Schneier, are you suggesting that we make 'interference with a business model' illegal?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (5, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090433)

How else are television broadcasters supposed to cover their costs?

Let me be blunt: that's really not my problem.

If the networks can no longer afford their existing business model, they'll just have to adapt. I have no patience or sympathy for industries who, because they can't adapt, try to stop all progress.

Besides, if you were to examine my list of list of shows to be recorded, you'd notice they're almost all on HBO...

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

deranged unix nut (20524) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090473)

And all of the shows that I record are on the scifi channel (which is the only reason why I subscribe to cable) and even though I have the option to skip commercials, I still end up watching about 50% of the commercials in the programs that I record.

Cost recovery (3, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090617)

How else are television broadcasters supposed to cover their costs?

The other night my housemate and I were wondering, "Is there anything we see advertised on the shows we watch that we actually buy?" At first we couldn't think of anything. Eventually an ad came on for a brand of gasoline I sometimes pump. There are certainly some brands of stuff I don't buy because I'd never want to be associated with the advertising. Has there been any research on the negatives of showing commercials to the sorts of folks who are greatly annoyed by most of them?

But if you really want me to watch commercials as a condition of receiving television - which I don't consider totally a bum deal since I don't watch much television and have never subscribed to cable - then use technology to allow me to see commercials that are about stuff I might have an actual interest in buying. This should be done in a way that can't trace back to me as an individual. I would gladly watch commercials for, say, portable mp3 players - but showing me commercials for cars is just dumb, since I won't be buying a new car in the next 5 years, and you can't tell or show me enough about a car in a minute to interest me anyway.

And please don't show me ads for prescription drugs. The last thing I want to do is justify the further inflation of medical costs to pay for these ads; and I really don't want to think about other people's diseases when I'm trying to relax into some escapist TV - or even focus on the nightly news, for that matter. I mean, old people are depressed, need diapers, and the males can't get it up without help ... but do I need to meditate on my still-years-off future decay every time I want to luxuriate in the fires and floods besetting distant parts of our greenhoused world?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Interesting)

alsta (9424) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090662)

I was of the (obviously incorrect) illusion that paying for cable TV was actually a way to pay the broadcasters so that there didn't have to be commercials..?

I too have very little sympathy for the content industry for similar reasons.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090445)

Please expplain how this is different than the millions of people who have been fast-forwarding through commercials with their VCRs for the last 15-20 years. So the PVR can skip 30 seconds at a time to save you the 10-15 seconds of pressing a button on the remote and watching the blur of garbage on the screen. Why is that a big deal?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (1)

EggplantMan (549708) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090452)

To follow up on my own comment, would you prefer that television shows had commercials grafted directly into the programming? That's the next step. Have you ever heard of choosing your battles? I certainly don't want to use my freedoms to restrict myself in the end; this seems somewhat self defeating to me.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090457)

They already are (e.g. World Cup Soccer).

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090463)

To follow up on my own comment, would you prefer that television shows had commercials grafted directly into the programming?

Are you being sarcastic, or have you just not caught any of the TV shows produced in the last twenty years?

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090762)

>shows produced in the last twenty years?
>
>
Last twenty?!? Try from the early 50's. Just watch some of the *Really* old quiz and varity shows from that time. They litterly hit you over the head with those ads.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090544)

Ever heard of product placement? Movies (and to a lesser extent, TV shows) do this all the time. I prefer it to the 2-3 minutes of ads (or channel surfing) for every 8 minutes of content.

If you're talking about ads superimposed onto the programming (like those annoying logos some stations put in the corner of your screen), I don't think the public would stand for it. Losing 10-20% of the already small screen space to an ad (most likely a bright, flashing, annoying, and distracting ad) would piss off too many people.

I think a better solution would be to be able to pay for the few shows or channels I like individually, WITHOUT commercials. Better than the current options of either downloading DivXes off the net (a pain to find and watch, and helps contribute to show cancelling) or paying for the whole 300 channel package rather than the cheap 20-channel one that doesn't include, for example, the SciFi channel.

I thought they were already testing that (0)

DinZy (513280) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090650)

I thought they were testing the TV version of popup ads. Its gonna end up like Headline News where 1/3 of the screen is news and the rest is info. the info her being ads of coirse

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Insightful)

Glorat (414139) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090499)

Two things came to mind in response.

1) BBC in the UK have two channels (BBC1 and BBC2). IMHO, they are the best channels in the world in terms of content *and* they don't sport any commercials whatever. They make their money through television licenses. Whether this system is good for all or not is highly debatable (state run televsion) but is nevertheless a half option

2) What upsets many people is that people *pay* cable/satellite to view their television *and* be forced to watch ads. If ads disappear, the corollary is that subscription prices will increase in conformance with market forces to make up the revenue and cover costs. Some would say that's not a bad thing to pay just for the tele. Me, I don't mind watching television ads, there aren't so many in the UK (ads appear only every 15 minutes here for 3 minutes typically) and sometimes it is entertaining or I learn something. Of course, this latter point is highly subjective!

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (5, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090508)

"If as a result of pvrs, nobody watches commercials anymore and the bottom falls out of the broadcasting industry..."

When a TV show or Movie is made, extra steps are taken to make sure that the stage hands and cameras aren't visible in the shot. Unfortunately, they don't always do enough. Sometimes cameras are visible in the reflections of metallic objects. Mirrors are turned to avoid revealing the crew. Heck, the planet that Knight Rider was filmed on has 6 suns in the shape of a rectangle!

The reason they go through all this extra baloney to keep camera equipment invisible (even though we ALL know cameras were used...) is because it's distracting to the audience. When they can see the boom mic come down above the camera they get snapped out of the immersiveness of the show it breaks up the flow. Out of comfort, they keep these distractions to a minimum.

Unfortunately, they are aware of this, but they don't understand how commercials really deaden the dramatic impact of a scene. When shows like Quantum Leap really get somebody interested in what's happening, it is a pain in the ass when 2-3 minutes of commercials suddenly break it up.

They shouldn't be surprised that people would actually spend time to find a way to remove these commercials. It's not just about watching content, it's about enjoying it! You can't enjoy it if you have to hop in and out of it like Sam Beckett.

I'll tell you all something, it's startling to watch a TV show with the commercials out. It's a big ehough difference that I spent $15-20 on DVD's that contain a couple of episodes. Too bad DVD's haven't caught up with all the content out there.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4091150)

Unfortunately, they are aware of this, but they don't understand how commercials really deaden the dramatic impact of a scene. When shows like Quantum Leap really get somebody interested in what's happening, it is a pain in the ass when 2-3 minutes of commercials suddenly break it up


They shouldn't be surprised that people would actually spend time to find a way to remove these commercials. It's not just about watching content, it's about enjoying it! You can't enjoy it if you have to hop in and out of it like Sam Beckett.

You just broke the first rule of persuasive writing: don't ever, and I mean ever, use "Quantum Leap" as a key point in your argument. If this show really puts you on the edge of your seat, I'd say you have been the victim of too many dramtic impacts--to the head.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

asv108 (141455) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090511)

How else are television broadcasters supposed to cover their costs?

Its really quite simple, CHARGE!

The best TV is and always will be the TV you pay for either by cable and sat subscription or through public funding.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (3, Interesting)

LadyJessica (583659) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090539)

Call me ignorant, but..

You're ignorant.

Nobody owes the broadcasting industry anything. If they go under the world would probably be better off. Do you really need to see Friends every week? That bitch Kudrow could use some hard reality that me and my friends who would ordinarily work for a living, but currently are out of work, are feeling right now.

What about Baseball? Oops, they're on strike because millions-per-year ain't enough? Are you that much of a slave? Do you make millions per year? Can you even sit through a whole, boring baseball game? Tell the truth!

-- Jessica
The mutant geek grrl from Hell.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090554)

Do you really want to see the broadcasting industry go into the shitter?

Frankly, yes. They already OWE us, the people, literally billions and billions of dollars from the FREE bands that the FCC handed over to them. If you think that we somehow owe them something, you are dead wrong.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090586)

This article in the National Post, Canada a few weeks ago made very interesting points regarding the economic interests involved. To quote ""Don't think for a moment there's a free lunch involved in this," Kellner said in his speech, pointing out that DVRs might make free TV broadcasts a thing of the past in fewer than 10 years and force consumers to pay $250 more a year for cable TV." Sonicblue's Andrew Wolfe sees the comment another way: "Basically, Kellner was saying that people were going to have to pay $20 a month more to get television without commercials. Is that really such a bad thing?"

$20 per month for commercial free tv? Where do I sign up?

Derek

HBO (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090592)

HBO has as good programming as anybody else, and no disruptive commercials. We're already paying for $40-$50 or more per month, so it's not like advertising is the only income stream. I'd rather have a few good channels than hundreds of crappy ones anyways.

Re:Call me ignorant, but.. (2, Insightful)

kimgh (600604) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090723)

"If as a result of pvrs, nobody watches commercials anymore and the bottom falls out of the broadcasting industry, what do you propose to do with the countless people who were employed by said industry and now are jobless with mouths to feed? Do you really want to see the broadcasting industry go into the shitter? Having your freedoms is one thing, but destroying somebody's livelihood is another."

I dunno, but (content-wise), it seems they are already there!

what's better? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090390)


(a) a legal batter

OR


(b) sex with a mare?

Scary. (4, Interesting)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090394)

...whether specific uses -- such as transferring a TV show to a laptop to watch while traveling or using the commercial skip features to avoid exposing children to commercials -- constitutes a legally permissible ``fair use.''

Apparently only consumers on the suit will answer those questions. Transferring a show to your laptop is fair use. How is skipping commercials fair use?

Calling that fair use grants the point that not watching commercials is a theft that is only "legally permissible" if there's a kid in the room. Going to get more chips during an ad is obviously now theft. If it's only okay if you've got a kid handy, but then you should send the kid to the kitchen and watch the damn ads yourself. That satisfies everyone, according to the judge: the sponsors are seen, you get your food and the innocent little child is protected from the commercials in a legally permissible way.

Re:Scary. (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090437)

your alleged arguement is completely wrong. you're implying that only children should be permitted to be protected from this crap. Any user should be able to be protected from this crap. Calling it "theft" is like calling unauthorized software copying "piracy". Either way it's wrong. the term "demonizing" comes to mind.

Also, since I don't feel like making two seperate posts, I would like to state at this time that if people are concerned with the bottom dropping out of TV if people don't watch commercials, then these same people need to find jobs that really help society, rather than just delivering alleged entertainment of dubious quality to millions of users with no sense of what their time is worth nor that the entertainment industry's actors, actresses, etc. are so outlandishly overpaid that they (and the politicians and judges) really need to understand that obviously if an industry is going to get greedy over something, they need to understand that obviously this industry needs to modify its payroll and business practices in general rather than clutching to their pipe dreams of insane amounts of money so disproportionate to everyone else's.

Re:Scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090510)

Read his post again. You two agree.

Re:Scary. (2)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090814)

you're implying that only children should be permitted to be protected from this crap.

No, I said Calling that fair use grants the point that not watching commercials is a theft that is only "legally permissible" if there's a kid in the room.

The judge called that legally permissible "fair use." It has nothing to do with fair use, and calling it that grants a point that only the **AAs in their crack-induced stupor think is valid. It's kind of like when Col. Scheisskoph issued statements that there would be no parade on Sunday- its very implication is far more of an encroachment than the statement itself.

You're entirely right; demonizing is exactly what they're trying to do. Remember: when you download MP3s, you're downloading communism.

Re:Scary. (1)

biggerboy (512438) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090467)

"How is skipping commercials fair use? "

What's next? Ripping ads out of magazines so you don't have to see them while reading going to be the next thing that's illegal?

Same analogy. I'm just wondering what's different.

great analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090641)

--great analogy here -->What's next? Ripping ads out of magazines so you don't have to see them
while reading going to be the next thing that's illegal?

--I was thinking that meself. Their lawyer in this suit should do exactly that. Walk up in front of the court and judge, show them a magazine that he bought, it's now his property. Tear out an ad, crumple it up, throw it away. fold open to a page of an article he likes, make 3 copies, hand them to his friends to read. Let his kid cut out some pictures to paste into a school report. Show the jury how it's "the same thing".

This is all stuff most everyone has done, no one has any problems with it, and there's NO DIFFERENCE with doing the same with digitzed media of any sort. Any jury would find for the plaintiffs in this case, if a similar plan was followed-maybe anyway.

Fair Use (5, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 12 years ago | (#4091085)

"Fair Use" is a specific legal concept that we're probably hurting ourselves by misusing all the time like this. It is unlikely that skipping commercials is "Fair Use". Wrong problem, wrong concept, wrong argument.

The real question is, since when are we obligated? I'll leave the sentence fragment like that, because it makes more sense then specifying the obligations. Exactly at which point did we become obligated to watch commercials? Where are these obligations stated? How did we agree to these obligations? Who the hell seriously believes in these obligations? What legal basis do these obligations have?

Are we equally obligated to watch every single commercial that comes into our home? Are we obligated to watch the same damn Burger King commercial all 4000 times it is on a day? (One could interpret it that way.) What if we only watch part of a show? What if we only watch two minutes of the show, then leave? Are we obligated to watch some commercials later?

Are we all going to be in deep legal poo-poo for retroactive penalties for not watching commercials? Can the judge rule in favor of the obligation theory when he or she has almost certainly not behaved that way themselves? Do the executives making these insane claims themselves watch commercials? ... or TV at all? (Are they specially immune because they are executives?) As a democratic republic, can we seriously believe this argument has the slighest basis in law when every television watcher and voter does not agree with it? Isn't that where the law ultimately derives from, not the means-are-ends fantasy-land interpretations of the law promulgated by Big Copyright?

Fair use is a phrase best left unused by Slashdotters, as most of them get it wrong. The real questions in this case are trivialized by using the fair use concept. (Look it up.)

Do it for the children!!! (4, Funny)

glenebob (414078) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090400)

Cars allow people to run over and kill innocent children. Kitchen knives can be used to cut, torture, and kill innocent children. Rocks can be used to bash in the skulls of innocent children.

Video recorders can be used to make (shitty) copies of movies which can then be distributed on the Internet and viewed by innocent children.

Box knives can be used to hijack airliners, which can in turn be used to kill innocent children.

And of course a ReplayTV unit can be used to record porno flics from TV which can then be sent to innocent children for viewing.

We should outlaw anything that can be used for any sort of illegal purpose. It's simple, really.

Re:Do it for the children!!! (2)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090422)

I always liked the MPAA's argument for DeCSS: it's a digital crowbar. If only the judge had granted the prosecution's argument and regulated it as such.

Re:Do it for the children!!! (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090465)

Actually video recorders will be used to transfer shows onto Laptops. The terrorists will proceed to watch the program on said laptop while on a 747 which will interfer with the internal electronics and cause the Airliner to crash. So they are only doing this to protect the airline industry from foreign terrorists who insist on watching Friends.

Re:Do it for the children!!! (1)

Spleener12 (587422) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090552)

Think about that for a second. That would mean that you would essentially haveto outlaw any and all physical objects, including people. Think about it- you can use ANY solid object to beat a person to death with. From a hammer to a dog treat, anything can do serious damage if you use enough force with it. Of course, things like cloth and paper would be hard to beat someone to death with, but you could smother or choke someone with those. You can drown someone with liquid, and gas... well, you can freeze gas and then it's a solid, which means you can beat someone to death with it. Plasma... well, I'm not enough of a chemistry/physics person to know what you can do with that.

So, in conclusion, if anything that could be used for an illegal purpose was illegal, then EVERYONE would be a criminal. We may as well build a gigantic cage around the whole damn planet.

Or just get rid of the RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, and anyone else who wants to legislate such stupid things. Like the people who bitch about video game violence.

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090421)

The ratio of men to women in the personals in craigslist was 10:1. Now, it's going to be 100:1 with the slashdot effect. I might have to meet women in person now.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090446)

That's ok... most of the men there are not competing with you, based on the objective you indicated in your post.

Switching Channels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090436)

How is skipping commercials any different than switching to another channel and watching a TV show there? You are still not watching the commercial.

How about a law saying you can't change channels during a show. Or am I the only one who switches channels during commercials

Her Honour, Deanna Troy (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090438)

"The ruling was a reversal from last week's tentative order, in which Cooper wrote that the case would likely resolve ``many, if not all'' of the issues consumers raise -- without their direct output."
She must have realised her Betazoid powers were waning and needed "Output" from actual humaniods.

Dammit, when will these judges realise that we don't have time to tell them what we think.

That's why we elect/appoint them, so we don't have to think for ourselves.

Did the US help Iraq use chemical weapons in 1988? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090439)

Secretary of State Powell, through a spokesman, said the officers' description of the program was "dead wrong," but declined to discuss it. His deputy, Richard L. Armitage, a senior defense official at the time, used an expletive relayed through a spokesman to indicate his denial that the United States acquiesced in the use of chemical weapons.

How to suck your own cock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090449)

Hello. I am going to explain how to suck your own cock.

First, get a sharp knife or razor blade.

Next, slice your cock off at the base.

Finally, place your cock in your mouth and suck it.

Enjoy!

Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (5, Insightful)

eggboard (315140) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090635)

I'm one of the defendants -- why doesn't anyone ever say the suit includes regular Slashdot reader Glenn Fleishman? cuz Craig is arguably much cooler than I. One large part of my involvement in the suit is that I don't believe that any company nor the government should be allowed to outlaw devices or uses or media formats before or after the fact because there simply might be some ways in which that technology could infringe on copyright.

Copyright is held in the public interest -- it's part of the public good as a means to ensure the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Fair use is a tool to allow individuals to have reasonable access and use of materials they license or buy from copyright holders. With the expansion of copyright law, there's no connection any more between the notion of copyright as a limited grant by the people of the United States (and other countries, too, of course) and the utility to which that copyright can be put to use.

I'm an author as well as a defendent in this case, and I support copyright as a method by which words, images, and motion can be protected for a limited time to allow the artists, writers, and other creators to make a living. If other modalities arise in which I would copyright nothing but still be able to pay the bills, I would certainly be interested in that as would most authors I know.

The point is this: I don't ask Xerox and Canon to stop selling copy machines because they might photocopy articles that appear in magazines. I don't ask ISPs to filter all content because my words might pass through without payment. I don't require my readers to peruse advertisements and read my articles in one sitting. (You can make the case that one useful item built into new color copiers is their ability to recognize when currency is being photocopied and prevent it -- that has compelling public and private interest all over it, even though it prevents certain kinds of art.)

Re:Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090839)

Holy shit! A slashdotter who put their money where their mouth is.

How about starting a journal to keep us updated?

Re:Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (4, Interesting)

eggboard (315140) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090891)

Weirdly, none of us have thought about a blog or journal on the case. I wonder what our lawyers will think? EFF has a truly terrific, hip bunch of people behind this (not just saying that because they read Slashdot), and I wouldn't be surprised if we could pull something off like that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Yeah, when Larry Lessig said at OSCon, what are you doing? I thought -- Hey, I'm actually doing something! I hope to attend the actual trial.

Re:Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4091066)

I can certainly see where they might not want you to say too much. But even if you could say "I was deposed today.... Attorney submitted brief yesterday.... etc." Or even just post a blurb saying "eff page on trial updated today". Certainly these very factual things couldn't cause a problem.

Re:Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 12 years ago | (#4090961)

Kick ass. No, I have nothing more than that to add. :)

Re:Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090987)

Here is your other modality [counterpane.com] besides copyright.

Product placements/need new biz model (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4090801)

Some advertisers already have caught onto the fact they need to change their advertising strategy by adding product placements to shows. Take a look at that wacky American Idol on FOX TV - they have product placement with Coke and Ford. Luckily I can TiVO through the Ford things. Can't quite FF through the show with coke overlays logos and judging with Coke cups on the table. Funny thing I only tuned in after I read an article about type of product advertising they were doing.The phone in thing seemed a little suspect.

It is about the advertising (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 12 years ago | (#4091125)

Although many have whined about how television can't support itself without ads, and what will happen to all those unemployed people if there was no television, and the predictable response that the purpose of legislation is not to prop up failed business models, all these miss the point.

The purpose of television is the advertising. If there was no advertising, there would be no commercial need for TV in the US, not even PBS.

American Corporations depends upon broadcast television to market their product and brand their trade and service marks. TV has been very kind to the U.S. corporation, allowing mega corporations such as McDonalds, WalMart, and Coca Cola to create a unified vision of their corporation in the public mind, one that often has little to do with reality. Broadcast television has, in effect, given the corporation a means to brainwash entire generations.

To the U.S. Corporation an end of television commercials means an end of a powerful marketing technique. If McDonalds is not allowed to brainwash the kids to annoy their parent for a Kids' Meal, what is to stop the consumer from just going to the restaurant next door, or, god forbid, actually cook a nutritious meal? If WalMart is not allowed to push the fallacy that they provide the best value, what is to stop the consumer from going to a store where the workers are actually paid for the hours worked? If Coca-Cola did not constantly equate itself with the American Way, would there be any reason for us not buy Shasta?

Some may think I am exaggerating, but I am not. TV has been critical in the evolution of the American Corporation and the mass adoption of new products. For instance, when instant coffee first came out, it was not widely accepted. Most women at the time were homemakers, and making real coffee for their husbands was considered part of their duty. Instant Coffee producers launched a large scale campaign to equate instant coffee to loving one's husband, by way of having more time to be with him. We see the same thing in recent paper plate commercial aimed at the single mom. By using paper plates, the single mom has more time to spend with her kids, and therefore only a mom who did not love her kids would not use paper plates. Every few minutes on kids' shows, McDonalds equates going to their restaurants with loving your kids.

So, now perhaps we can stop all this silly talk about the quality of TV, or that maybe we can just start paying for TV. The sole purpose of a television program is to deliver a large number of a certain demographic to an advertiser. Nothing less, nothing more. Advertisers know how important this is, and will often pay inflated prices to insure their influences. This is particularly true for certain groups such as young men. This, by the way, explains why male professional sports do so well.. Such sports are also a vehicle to deliver a demographic to the advertiser. The value of such entertainment to us as consumers is far less than the value to the advertiser. We would unlikely to be willing to directly pay that kind of money.

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