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Broadcasters vs Producers on Content Integrity

Roblimo posted about 12 years ago | from the annoying-commercials-breaking-into-movies dept.

Television 173

mpawlo writes "I just did a quick write-up for Greplaw on an interesting pending law suit in Sweden. Two Swedish directors, Vilgot Sjoman and Anders Eriksson, are about to file a suit against Swedish broadcaster Tv 4. According to the author's rights or droit moral doctrine, the work may not be displayed or changed in a way degrading to the author or the author's work. Tv 4 has just changed its policy for commercial breaks. Breaks are now introduced during movies. The commercial breaks used to be placed between the end and start of a program. The directors argue the breaks are degrading from an artistical point of view. They want to try the commercial breaks in court from a copyright perspective."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4489890)

Hazah! FP

hmm (3, Interesting)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | about 12 years ago | (#4489891)

Films tend to be worse affected by breaks in the middle than TV progs, which are designed with it in mind.

graspee

Re:hmm (4, Informative)

Zeinfeld (263942) | about 12 years ago | (#4489906)

My wife remembers watching the 'Blues Brothers' on network TV. The network had cut out all but three bars of each of the musical numbers to make room for ads.

Continental copyright law is not like US law. There is the doctrine of the moral rights of the author. The widow of Peter Sellers used this right to sue the producers of 'on the trial of the Pink P{anther' which used footage from the previous panther movies which Sellers had rejected.

There are also a bunch of cases where the directors of movies have prevented studios from agreeing to cuts to comply with censorship boards.

Re:hmm (3, Interesting)

infornogr (603568) | about 12 years ago | (#4489907)

The sad thing is that the length of these breaks has increased over time, so a lot of classic TV shows have parts cut out by the television station to allow more commercials to be shown. It's even more annoying since half of these commercials are just self-promotional things made by the station.

Re:hmm (2)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 12 years ago | (#4489980)

yes! They also have "optional segments" which are sub plots that don't alter the story significantly and thus can be edited out. Star Trek TNG had them, some episode guides even go over them.

I'm an Andy Griffith show fan, and Vie seen each of them 10x at least on the local fox affiliate in my area... Later an affiliate picked up the episodes and low and behold, they left the optional segments in! (Usually a joke at the end of the show that wrapped everything up -- its important to note I don't know if they were actually optional segments or fox was just being bastardly). I was *uber* pissed to learn that in 10 years of watching the show I had missed 60 seconds of each of them.

Re:hmm (1)

The J Kid (266953) | about 12 years ago | (#4489911)

Has it ever accured to you that when the TV progs are on a channel that doesn't have breaks in the middle, the TV progs aren't designed with this in mind?

But to be more on topic, these breaks in the middle of a film really piss me off, with the exeption of when I have to go to the bathroom.

Re:hmm (1)

ramzak2k (596734) | about 12 years ago | (#4490088)

have you seen dinner and movie on TBS ?
Although i am not a big fan of it and agree that their talk about the movie can sometimes be downright boring, their objective could very much be what you just mentioned:
to break down movies into chunks, conflate it with a TV program and present it with the commercials for which it seems more suitable. Good thinking by someone at TBS.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490674)

Not really related but I was watching some movie on USA and exactly halfway into the movie they cut out to show some tennis match and never went back to the rest of the movie. That really pissed me off.

or for a more holistic view... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4489895)

... commercialism is degrading to art full-stop

Re:or for a more holistic view... (4, Interesting)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | about 12 years ago | (#4489900)

Nice sweeping generalization there. How many films are pure art and were not made to bring a profit ? Not too many, though I have seen a few Swedish films and they were a cut above Hollywood in the "bread and circuses" dept.

graspee

Interesting.. (3, Interesting)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | about 12 years ago | (#4489899)

Its nice to see people standing up for their content, and fighting advertisements.
This story made me think, could our producers sue Digital Cable for degrading the quality? (ask any time warner digital cable subscriber what 'digital picture' means, anyone with a clue will tell you it means 'lossy compression used to squeeeze in a bunch of extra channels)

Re:Interesting.. (2, Insightful)

infornogr (603568) | about 12 years ago | (#4489963)

Sue for degrading the quality? Right, and I suppose it's the cable company's responsibility to provide me with a private movie theater and DVD-quality film. Believe it or not, some stations actually used to broadcast television over the airwaves and the quality would fluctuate with weather conditions and the positioning of metal objects on top of the TV set. I don't think sueing for a bad picture would hold up well in court. Nobody's forcing you to buy digital cable, anyways. If the cable company is actually promoting that the picture quality is superior, that's something different, but they're just claiming it has more channels and a "digital picture". Buyer beware.

Re:Interesting.. (2, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 12 years ago | (#4489976)

The local cable monopoly, Videotron, does exactly that; they sell Digital cable on having a higher picture quality, and more choice over what channels you get. They also compete directly with sattelite TV, and further make the claim that while sattelite signals degrade or fail in poor weather, digital cable is always strong.

Anybody living here, however, knows that with the huge strikes going on at Videotron, their service is less reliable than sattelite.

Re:Interesting.. (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 12 years ago | (#4490570)

Nevermind the strike, their problem is pricing.. they're so 1989 with their TV and Internet prices it's absurd.

"6 gigs should be enough for everyone"
ri-ight.

"20$/mo gets you eighteen standard channels, for another 29.99$ you can get 15 more"
su-ure.

"Digital cable starting at 59.99$/mo"
and then ?

I hate monopolies.

So in conclusion... (2, Funny)

edunbar93 (141167) | about 12 years ago | (#4489903)

Anyone producing a TV show that is intended to have commercial breaks is either a) not an artist, or b) a corporate whore, degrading themselves for money.

Hmm. I think they may be onto something here.

Re:So in conclusion... (3, Interesting)

infornogr (603568) | about 12 years ago | (#4489924)

c) A person who realizes that if there are no commercials, there is no program, and that the program should be designed to minimize the negative effect of the commercials on the program. Designing the program so that the commercials don't come in at annoying times is fighting the damage that commercials do, not helping it.

Re:So in conclusion... (3, Insightful)

rmohr02 (208447) | about 12 years ago | (#4489927)

Well, that includes just about all TV producers in the US. But generally, sitcoms (if not dramas as well) switch between scenes frequently, and nearly all of those switches are good spots for commercial breaks.

How would it change... (5, Insightful)

Flamesplash (469287) | about 12 years ago | (#4489946)

Note it's talking about a movie, which are usually not intended to have commercials in it, and not a regular tv show.

If the US did commercials like England I think our shows would be much different. At least half of all commercials in US TV merely act to delay a moment of suspense. The show leaves off and picks up at the exact same moment in this case. The commercials are not merely in between scenes, but there to entrap you to watch at least part of the commercials so that you don't miss the pick up.

How much different would our TV be without this? better? worse? the same?

Better... (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 12 years ago | (#4490366)

How much different would our TV be without this? better? worse? the same?

You know, without the possibility of breaking to commercials for suspense, they might actually have to make some suspense *in* the show. Outside the US (few have as many commerical breaks as they do) you see the (extra) fade-out/fade-ins designed for commercials, only without the commercials, and you realize just how artifical that suspense really is.

And personally, my feeling is that it *breaks* the suspense more than holds or builds it, particularly those dark and gloomy series/movies, only to get 5 mins of shampoo commericals.

Not to mention the "umm-we-have-no-real-suspense-here-but-time-is-up- and-we-need-to-break-for-another-commercial-now-so -we'll-make-something-up" breaks.

Kjella

Re:How would it change... (2)

FattMattP (86246) | about 12 years ago | (#4490407)

If the US did commercials like England I think our shows would be much different.
For those of us that don't live in England, do you care to explain how they handle commercials? You didn't explain in your post.

Re:How would it change... (2)

cyberformer (257332) | about 12 years ago | (#4490529)

The main difference is that they're less frequent. A half-hour show will just have one commercial break within the program, and another between it and the next program. An hour-long show might only have two breaks, and a movie may have them even less frequently.


This only applies to commercial UHF TV. The BBC doesn't have advertising at all (except for itself, between shows), and satellite/cable can be just as bad (or good) as American stations.

Dukes of Hazzard (1)

malarkey (514857) | about 12 years ago | (#4490735)

Could you imagine the Dukes of Hazzard without commercial breaks??

I remember almost peeing my pants, holding it during the commercial break, hoping Bo and Luke would get away from Rosco and Boss.

I think if I wouldn't have waited, the General Lee probably would crashed by the time I got back.

That was _quality, artistic_ television.

TV shows on DVD (2)

Jerf (17166) | about 12 years ago | (#4490852)

One of the ways of doing a direct controlled comparision is to pick up the DVD of a television show and compare the experience to watching it on television without commercials.

So far, I've purchased all the Stargate SG-1 available in the US, and my wife has purchased the two seasons of Friends. Bearing in mind that neither of us is particularly fond of the other show, we both agree that both are significantly more enjoyable on DVD, with no commercials to interfere.

Even after 60+ (?) years of adapting to commercials, they still do nothing but get in the way of the program. I even kinda like Friends on DVD, even though I don't care much for it on TV. Even with the TiVo, it's not the same; the interruption is serious.

A simple, controlled experiment you can do on your own. I won't conclude that television would be better without commercials, but I do think we'd all enjoy it more, and that the best theature in that world would exceed the best in the advertising world we live in now.

Re:So in conclusion... (2, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about 12 years ago | (#4489973)

It's very annoying watching made-for-advert shows on a non-advertising TV channel.

Something dramatic would happen, then before it's concluded the screen fades to black... Then the exact same scene happens over again!

Perhaps I'm easily annoyed ...

I'd love to be able to sue Sky TV in the UK for using such a low-bitrate on there digital channels. It ruins the program almost as much as adverts and those stupid brain-dead logos they put in the corner.

"It's helps identify the channel"

What do I look stupid? You think I don't know what channel I'm watching?!

*clams down*

Carry on!

Re:So in conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490565)

When tuning an ordinary analogue television, it is often useful to know what channel you are watching, especially if the television doesn't tune itself in automatically (or gets it wrong...). If you do this during the daytime (and cannot tell what channel it is supposed to be from the programme), and the television does not support teletext, this logo does have its uses.

Re:So in conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490841)

Comparing what you're seeing to a program schedule should take care of the 1% of the time you actually care which channel you've tuned to.

Re:So in conclusion... (2)

rosewood (99925) | about 12 years ago | (#4490053)

"Showbusiness - Show - Business - SHOW --- BUSINESS.

With out the business, there is no show, and there is no show for you" -- Man on the Moon

Re:So in conclusion... (2)

thales (32660) | about 12 years ago | (#4490664)

Allmost all TV shows, movies and songs are commerical products whos primary intent is to make money for the "artists" who produce it and have as much "artistic" content as other commerical products like automobles, or toaster ovens. The list of "whores" also includes the avant garde "artists" who crank out pseduo-art aimed at the critics who control the grant money instead of the general public. Frankly I'm tired of the number of hacks who want to cash in on the title of artist without having a shread of talent to back the claim up. Art has become a dying phenomia, largely because the talentless whiners recieve the support that true artists used to recieve.

I'd love to see that as a precedent... (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 12 years ago | (#4489920)

Here in Norway, they sometimes put news&weather in the middle of movies, because they aren't allowed to put commercial breaks in movies. Also this would stop the network's self-promotion in the middle of movies (basicly a commercial for the later shows of the evening), equally annoying but usually shorter though.

But I suppose if this goes through as a general precendent in copyright law, the movie producers will simply get a lower prices for movies that they can't break up. Nothing like sacrificing "artistic integrity" for a bit more money...

Kjella

Re:I'd love to see that as a precedent... (2)

Amanset (18568) | about 12 years ago | (#4490019)

This is exactly what TV4 used to do. They also used to show "dagensnamn", a pointless piece of rubbish explaining what the day's "Name Day" was.

I hope they win (5, Funny)

Subcarrier (262294) | about 12 years ago | (#4489933)

The directors argue the breaks are degrading from an artistical point of view. They want to try the commercial breaks in court from a copyright perspective.

Over here they insert bits of movies between the commercials.

This I don't get (5, Interesting)

Scarblac (122480) | about 12 years ago | (#4489936)

The article states:

  • They sue 'Tv4', which is in Sweden.
  • Other channels that target Sweden broadcast from London, thus they aren't affected by Swedish law.
  • Author's rights are protected strongly in European Law.

If the protection the authors claim is grounded in European law, why are the London-based stations safe from it? Why aren't they bringing the case before the EU courts at once?

Apparently they think the EU courts wouldn't outlaw commercial breaks during movies, which are pretty normal. One Dutch station (SBS6) actually goes so far as to have an entire 30-minute program in between the first and second halves of a film... I *hate* that.

So it seems that Swedish courts are being stricter on interpretation of EU law than the rest of the EU. I doubt that's a good thing.

Re:This I don't get (2, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | about 12 years ago | (#4490049)

I am _not_ any kind of lawyer, but: I believe you can not bring a case directly to the europeans court. Instead, you either make your national court ask for an interpretation of european law from the court; or you have a judgement from the national court that you ask to be overturned by the european court. First stop is always your local court in any case.

Re:This I don't get (2)

Scarblac (122480) | about 12 years ago | (#4490128)

I believe you can not bring a case directly to the europeans court.

I thought of that later, I think you're right.

But still, they could have sued the other channels (broadcasting from London) ever since they've been doing this, just sue them in the UK. I see no special reason to sue this station now that it choses to do it as well, if this is based on EU law.

So I still think they think the Swedish court is more likely to grant them the protection than, say, UK courts.

Re:This I don't get (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490135)

It makes no difference where the broadcast is uplinked from, whether it is London or Sweden - broadcasts to Europe have to abide by the laws of all countries in Europe, unless they are encrypted, and subscriptions are not available in all countries.

The ITC, (Independent Television Commission in the U.K.), recently fined a Swedish broadcaster for screening an unsuitable trailer - details here [dtg.org.uk] .

Re:This I don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490149)

Incidently, TV4 is theoretically receivable in the U.K. but the signal would be pretty weak by the time it reaches here, especially in the south.

I can't be bothered to spin my dish round and check :-).

Re:This I don't get (1)

Mystic Smeg (585019) | about 12 years ago | (#4490934)

Wrong. Kanal 5 is broadcast from the UK.

Broadcasters have to abide by the laws just in the country they broadcast from, which have to be compliant with the usually less restrictive European Directives, if the channel is receivable in more than one country.

Re:This I don't get (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 12 years ago | (#4490330)

It might just hinge on the fact that the rules have changed. Presumably, the rest of the world has already bought the rights, and since they were advertising sponsored networks, the producers had the right to refuse at the time of purchase.

Re:This I don't get (1)

thorongil (175846) | about 12 years ago | (#4490677)

IANAL. However, I am currently taking an intellectual property law class, and this has come up more than once.

The article is a bit misleading. Unlike the rest of Europe, England has never supported moral rights theory. This is why it is not part of the American legal tradition (except for works of visual arts produced only in limited numbers).

Anglo-America copyright law is based on the notion of a public bargain. In exchange for temporary protection, the creator lets the public have all rights to the work after the copyright expires. The rest of Europe (especially France) views a work as "the sacred child of its creator." This view grants creators far more control over their creations.

However, I have no idea how all this is affected by EU law.

Commercials before and after a program? (4, Funny)

Poilobo (535231) | about 12 years ago | (#4489937)

That's funny, oh those crazy Swedes. I can't even fathom a two hour movie that hasn't been 'compressed for time, content, commercials.' I mean, after all the reductions, my god man, how would you fill the other 80 mins.

Not just any commercials... (1)

pacc (163090) | about 12 years ago | (#4489942)

... with a wicked habit from the time commercials was banned during shows TV4 has continued to place other programs like the news in the middle of the breaks (claiming the news had to be aired that specific time).

I can usually watch TV despite commercials, but when they show 5 minutes commercials + 10 minutes news + 5 more minutes commercials you have either forgot the plot in most movies or decided that it's good enough to see some other time.

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating - but it's definitely out of control and the debate has until now stopped at "commercials or not" which is not the issue. If they cared about the viewers they would probably get closer to the state on danish TV where feature films are broadcast non-stop...

This is about the director's control (i.e. money) (5, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about 12 years ago | (#4489951)

Basically, this would mean that the TV execs would have to pay the director to wave his right for his movie to not be interupted by commercials. Otherwise, the movies would not be shown at all, and neither side wants that- particularly the director.

But... (0)

jez9999 (618189) | about 12 years ago | (#4489955)

This is all very well, but no one seems to consider that TV4 could just not show their film *at all*. They'd rather have it not shown, than have some a breaks and make a shitload of money out of it? Sounds mad to me.

TV Shows on DVD? (3, Interesting)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#4489960)

Would this mean that a commercial broadcast television show would have the artist's rights violated if the commercials are removed for distribution on DVD? It would seem that a broadcast commercial television program would have a producer creating an artistic product with commercial breaks in mind. Removing the commercials could interfere with that artistic vision. I watched many shows that have used the commercial break for dramatic pause.

Sssssh. Don't give them any bright ideas... (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 12 years ago | (#4489990)

or MPAA will require commercials on all TV-series DVDs to preserve the huge profi^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H artistic vision...

Kjella

Ok, so make short movies then! (4, Funny)

BierGuzzl (92635) | about 12 years ago | (#4489995)

Artists don't control the money, producers and the networks hold more sway. If you can't put a commercial break into a movie, you've got to make a shorter movie!

They do ... (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 12 years ago | (#4490548)

... they're called commericals

Re:Ok, so make short movies then! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490856)

I thought we were getting movie breaks in the commercials...

The US Balance (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490000)

The directors argue the breaks are degrading from an artistical point of view.

This concept is so foreign in the United States I'm not sure if anyone will get it.

Re:The US Balance (5, Insightful)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 12 years ago | (#4490157)

"The directors argue the breaks are degrading from an artistical point of view."

This concept is so foreign in the United States I'm not sure if anyone will get it.


Other than when we pay (in theater, premium channels on cable, renting movies) we Americans are rarely exposed to commercial free anything. And not just on television. There's advertising everywhere.

A few years ago I taught in Finland and was impresssed by the fact that the "Government office of whatever..." mandated that movies broadcast over (the peoples!!!) airwaves could only have one (two?) commercial break, had to be uncut, and with the exception of children's titles, had to be subtitled (the 'no cheesy dubbing' law). The subtitling provision even applies to theaters.

It was wonderful.

To any Europeans reading this post - can you imagine watching the mini-series version of Das Boot (running time over five hours) on American television - 20 minutes of commercials per hour would bring the running time to eight hours. Our (Americans') collective attention span is currently about eight seconds - I suspect that American television networks have played a large part in this. In addition, imagine watching a deep movie that is interrupted with a commercial that's narrative starts out with, "Painful, burning vaginal itch...." I'm not making this up - this is an actual commercial here that runs during prime time on national networks.

I feel a rant coming on, so I'll end with this - Europeans might not know the value of a law like this because they have not been exposed to the unrelenting onslaught of advertising that is American Television.
Americans might not know the value of a law like this because we have not been exposed to the bliss that is commercial free movies and sporting events. Well, except for the eight or ten of us who watched the World Cup.

microrant And God Dammit!!!! I had to stop watching the World Series last night (kept the sound on though) because of the fscking inserted ads right in the pitch trajectory - you MUST read the ad on every goddamn pitch, and it changes every half inning. FUCK I HATE THOSE THINGS.
/microrant

Sorry.

Re:The US Balance (2)

FattMattP (86246) | about 12 years ago | (#4490445)

Other than when we pay (in theater, premium channels on cable, renting movies) we Americans are rarely exposed to commercial free anything.
I don't know what movie theaters you go to but the ones I have been to recently all have ads before the movies. It's the main reason I've stopped going to the movie theater. I'm not going to pay for a movie if you're going to show me ads for vacuum cleaners and cars before the movie.

Re:The US Balance (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 12 years ago | (#4490573)

Heh - I went to see 'Welcome to Collinwood' (I grew up in Euclid, about a mile from Collinwood) this past Friday evening. A 10:15 showing, the final showing of the evening. I walked in at 10:19 and the movie was already playing. I'm not sure if it was because it's an independent film, the theater ('The Esquire' in Chicago) is an artsy theater, or because the theater will save more by closing a few minutes earlier than they otherwise would if the movie had a commercial prefix.

Contrast this to seeing movies at Universal City (in Los Angeles). Between movie ads, Pepsi ads, and other crap, it's rare that a movie starts within 17 minutes of its listed time.

By the way, unless you can see 'Welcome to Collinwood' in a packed theater, wait for the DVD - it's that kind of comedy.

Re:The US Balance (1)

CvD (94050) | about 12 years ago | (#4490669)

here in the Netherlands we have quite a bit of advertising on the commercial (non-public) stations. Not as much as in the US, but the thing is that advertising time on the commercial stations is very expensive, so you tend to see good quality commercials. Not like the crap I saw in the US (been there couple times). For some reason the ad companies really do their best and most of the commercials are actually quite entertaining (except of course the washing powder commercials... there's absolutely nothing funny to be done with washing powder).

In conclusion, I feel sorry for you American types. I'm glad the commercials are better here. :-) Oh, and back OT, I hope those directors win...Nice precedent. It'd be cool if there were less breaks.

Cheers,

Costyn.

Re:The US Balance (2)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 12 years ago | (#4490843)

here in the Netherlands we have quite a bit of advertising on the commercial (non-public) stations. Not as much as in the US, but the thing is that advertising time on the commercial stations is very expensive, so you tend to see good quality commercials

Yeah, especially this one:

http://mjfrazer.org/~mjfrazer/movies/dutch.qt [mjfrazer.org]

After thinking, "What kind of sick...." I spewed milk through my nose when I saw the end of the commercial.

TV programming exists only to sell advertising (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490004)

The whole entire point of TV programming is to sell advertisements...period. It hasn't changed in 40+ years.

Anyone who licenses content to a TV station thinking they won't run ads during it is just plain stupid. The TV station doesn't give a crap- they'll run a film from a director who isn't a space case instead.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (5, Interesting)

Amanset (18568) | about 12 years ago | (#4490044)

Maybe in some countries, but take the likes of the BBC who were broadcasting before the second world war (1939-1945, a bit more than 40 years ago) and with no adverts, thus saying that " The whole entire point of TV programming is to sell advertisements...period" is incorrect and very US-centric.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490182)

Well, at least in the US, we don't have a TV tax.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (1, Flamebait)

El Camino SS (264212) | about 12 years ago | (#4490241)


Yes. And the UK has to pay for the television tax (is it each set, or each household?) and then they get such *wonderful* channels out of it... chock full of government sponsored rhetoric.

Explains why The Simpsons is one of the most popular UK programs.

Yes, you do get Black Adder, Monty Python, and Faulty Towers every few years, but I would resent the fact that some of the programming would come down from the mountain and tell us that tonight was "Ballet Night."

Don't get me wrong, but if I had to see Weathering Heights one more time, I would just shoot myself or buy a sattelite.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 12 years ago | (#4490418)

You just don't have a clue do you?

Firstly, the purpose of the BBC is not to sell advertisements. Your arguments seem to fail to refute the point you were responding to.

It is not a TV tax. It's a TV licence (and per houshold btw). The key point being that the licence fee goes directly towards funding the BBC, and not into the treasury.

There is no government sponsored rhetoric. The BBC has a respnsibility to be neutral. The government gets no more say in the matter than the opposition.

The Simpsons typically draws an audience of less than 5 million. A popular soap will get three times that.

We get more than Blackadder, Monty Python, and Fawlty Towers. In fact, the newest of these - Blackadder hasn't had a new series for over a decade. You seem to have totally ignored all the high quality programming the BBC have produced. Why is that?

It's called Wuthering heights. Not Weathering Heights. How often does the BBC show it anyway?

Did you know that the majority of BBC TV is new television. Most of this is factual and drama. Maybe I'm missing the goverment rhetoric in the latest series of Silent Witness.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490563)

but take the likes of the BBC who were broadcasting before the second world war (1939-1945, a bit more than 40 years ago) and with no adverts

I originally said "40+ years" because I couldn't remember exactly when TV really took off, and I didn't feel like looking it up. Leave it to nitpickers on slashdot- damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Maybe this is "US-Centric", but after all, we did invent the fucking thing(Sept. 7, 1927, but popularized by Radio Corporation of America, aka a little company called RCA), and remember that little brew-ha-ha over a tea tax about 200 years ago?

I don't have to pay a TV "LICENSE TAX", and I get get my choice of about 6-7 different stations(two are PBS and have only sponsorship 'messages' at the start of programs) here in Boston(including 4 different evening local AND national news programs.) WGBH, famous nationally if not worldwide, continuously produces some of the best television programs around(Frontline, Nova, Sesame Street, Mystery!, etc.)

A friend studying abroad at Sussix was shocked one day when everyone started running around like chickens with their heads cut off- she thought the cops were doing a drug bust or something. She said she burst out laughing when she heard it was an "unlicensed TV bust", until she saw the truck with antennas coming down the street and cops going door-to-door searching people's apartments.

Nah, that's not Orwellian, not at all; at least they're only one-way. Then again, maybe you should put a painting in front of your TV when your girlfriend is over, just in case :-)

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490192)

No, the whole point of TV programming is to serve the public. It's part of the network's promise of performance when granted a license to make use of publicly owned broadcast spectrum. Adverts are a necessary evil. Period. See dictonary.com for 'cart' and 'horse'.

Re:TV programming exists only to sell advertising (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 12 years ago | (#4490307)

There's public TV-- no commercials-- except during "Pledge Season". Of course, during those periods, the quality of the content goes way down.

PBS used to be a lot less prudish than the broadcast networks, too.

ya (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490005)

I give a fuck.

Not.

Fuck you slashdot fags.

hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490017)

this begs the question - who the hell cares what
they're doing in sweden?

in other news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490020)

This just in: Eskimo pussy is mighty cold.

Who gives a flying fuck what some frozen ass vikings do with their shitty ass movies.

Re:in other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490034)

amen brother

they were awfully good amiga hackers, tho

woo

what fucking bullshit (0, Flamebait)

dh003i (203189) | about 12 years ago | (#4490025)

Artists rights to not have their work displayed in a way degrading to them or their work? What bullshit.

Re:what fucking bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490032)

So if a britany spears song goes on the radio and you say "this song fucking sucks, shut that shit off" you are now a swedish criminal...

That's fucking swell.

Re:what fucking bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490099)

Jesus Christ you're stupid. I'm amazed that you even have the mental capacity to use a keyboard.

Go back to your WWE wrestling.

Re:what fucking bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490143)

I agree, the parent poster is a retard.

Re:what fucking bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490078)

Why is it bullshit? Next time, why don't you back up what you say or post nothing at all you assfuck.

Re:what fucking bullshit (1)

geekster (87252) | about 12 years ago | (#4490390)

Hey, could you please post the rest of that? Like the part containing the point.

Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490416)

You have a mullet, don't you.

Commercials in Theaters (3, Funny)

shatfield (199969) | about 12 years ago | (#4490035)

We are already seeing commercials at the beginning of a movie at the theater. We've paying a premium price to watch a movie, and they are forcing us to sit through three commercials as well?

Next thing we know, we'll be watching a movie that we paid $10 a peice to go see, and having to sit through advertisements for "refreshing Coca Cola and Popcorn at the snackbar"

This is absurd!

Re:Commercials in Theaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490130)

<Mr Burns>Let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby, and get oursevles some snacks</Mr Burns>

Re:Commercials in Theaters (1)

Danta (2241) | about 12 years ago | (#4490286)

Did you know that if you buy a DVD from Disney, you will be forced to watch several minutes of commercials before you can watch the actual movie? It is rigged in a way that you cannot skip the commercials (usually for other Disney movies) and go directly to the movie with normal DVD players.

I wish this could be done for DOGs (3, Interesting)

Sebby (238625) | about 12 years ago | (#4490040)

I always thought that those damn logos in the corner of the screen networks put in should be treated as unauthorized modification of the work being displayed, and hence be considered a copyright enfringment.

Might finally get rid of those stupid things once and for all...

Re:I wish this could be done for DOGs (1)

ramzak2k (596734) | about 12 years ago | (#4490150)

they would have bought the rights to using logos on the screen just as they would have the bought the rights to have commercial inserted inbetween. I really dont know, am guessing.

Re:I wish this could be done for DOGs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490175)

Ok..

Did the TV network pay the film company to play their movie, or did the film company pay the TV network to show their movie?

Answer that before making stupid statements such as your own.

European v. US copyright laws (5, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 12 years ago | (#4490042)

IIRC, when Bergman's The Lie (abridged, but edited by Bergman from the Swedish version) played on US commercial TV some thirty years ago, it was broadcast without commercial breaks -- because it was in Bergman's contract.

As a former player/writer in TV/movies, I can assure you that for the last twenty years in the US, the writers/artists have had no rights about `artistical' matters; the producers now expect the TV/Cable/International revenues to cover their production costs, and they have the paperwork drawn up to give them the greatest prof-- um, er, flexibility to package and sell the project after initial theatrical runs.

I know nothing about European artistic license/law -- and from reading this article, I want nothing to do with it. It sounds completely absurd to me. As I understand the article with regards to the use of a religious song in the tree-f*cking scene in I am Curious (Yellow), Kubric would have needed the song writer's permission to use Singin' in the Rain as compellingly as he did in A Clockwork Orange.

If you want artistic control over your project, get it in writing like Bergman or form your own production company like Fritjof Capra did for Mind Walk.

BTW, there is a so-called `director's cut' on some DVDs because the director usually does not even decide what is in the final version of the film in most cases. Sometimes the director of a film is not even invited in for the editing -- and the writer almost never is.

Perhaps this story illustrates the difficulty Europen cinema has competing with the US variety as much as it does a real trend in European artistic rights.

Ah, Swedish films... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490055)

In one scene in 'I am curious (Yellow)', a religious song ('This God is Our Father') was used to illustrate sexual intercourse in a tree.

Well, obviously.

I must disagree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490067)

1.Get idea
2.Grow beard
3.Leave your work at AI labs
4.Forget personal hygiene
5.Make sure you have smelly feet
6.Create WM and make a logo of your smelly feet
7.Rant about the name of software that somebody else has created and named
8.Profit

Well when the directors start sueing for (2, Interesting)

Crasoum (618885) | about 12 years ago | (#4490082)

thrashing of artistic vision, would the broadcasters start sueing for breach of contract, or perhaps limiting corporate expression? The Sweedish constitution [llrx.com] Does have the The Freedom of the Press Act and the The Freedom of Expression Act.

It -is- afterall an expression of the company of which comercials to air, and when.... Like perhaps overall the comercials, are funny, or political, or downright serious

Re:Well when the directors start sueing for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490363)

Well, unlike in the US, swedish corporations don't have the same rights as actual persons. And rightly so.

No problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490091)

I'm sure TV4 would be more than happy to stop showing commercials altogether, if the movie companies start demanding less for the television rights to their programmes!

Other attacks on content (5, Interesting)

rosewood (99925) | about 12 years ago | (#4490096)

One thing slashdot has covered before and I am starting to see a lot of in movies is digital editing. For example, I was watching Tin Cup on TBS yesterday. Towards the end of the movie, at the majors, on the last hole, there is a big banner for CBS sports. You *can't* miss it. It is big black letters on a yellow banner. Well, TBS edited it out. All it is now is a big yellow hole. In a few shots where you only see a corner of it, you still see the text, but in the wide shots - NOTHING. How long until that says "Watch Atlanta Braves Baseball" ??

Then I was watching a hockey game and I noticed how all the adds on the walls were changing. I thought that was kinda strange since Ive only seen them painted on. But then I saw the adds ON the ice change. Turns out none of the in stadium adds are broadcast, just ones from the networks. What the HELL is that? I would be pissed if I bought that advertisement spot!

Re:Other attacks on content (2)

FattMattP (86246) | about 12 years ago | (#4490396)

Towards the end of the movie, at the majors, on the last hole, there is a big banner for CBS sports. You *can't* miss it. It is big black letters on a yellow banner. Well, TBS edited it out. All it is now is a big yellow hole.
Actually, I'm all for this. I'm tired of all the blatant product promotion in movies. I'd actaully find it rather amusing if all the people trading movies on filesharing networks edited out all the product promotion from the movies they trade. Granted, it's illegal to trade copyrighted works without permission, but if you're going to do it, at least clean it up from ads.

Re:Other attacks on content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490911)

> Well, TBS edited it out. All it is now is a big yellow hole. In a few shots where you only see a corner of it, you still see the text, but in the wide shots - NOTHING. How long until that says "Watch Atlanta Braves Baseball" ??

Happens all the time. The airlines edit movies shows on airplanes. Every network that buys a movie for broadcast pays for the right. If directors and producers don't want to take the money, that's their own business. I find this whole discussion simply absurd: if the directors and producers want to keep editorial control, they don't need to sell the rights to their movies. Period. Or negotiate the terms of a showing. Or do like Francis Ford Coppola and reedit three movies to create the Godfather miniseries (which, thank God, Bravo seems to have stopped showing in favor of the original movies) and in the process make some additional money.

This is truly much ado about nothing and shows why tech geeks aren't qualified to discuss things outside their areas of expertise -- and the sale of movies rights ain't among their areas of expertise.

where can i get a document (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490141)

on jacking cars? toyota sentras, hondas, fords..

Moral Rights (droit moral) FAQ (3, Informative)

dreamword (197858) | about 12 years ago | (#4490152)

For the curious, a FAQ on moral rights and their place in U.S. law is here [harvard.edu] .

In short, U.S. law provides very little moral rights protection, except for visual fine art.

Another shitty website (0, Offtopic)

certsoft (442059) | about 12 years ago | (#4490177)

That makes you do a horizontal scroll to read the text rather than word wrapping based on the width of your browser window.

So if Jack Valenti travels to Swiden... (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 12 years ago | (#4490193)

Will he be arested in the middle of a movie conference and tried for copyright infrigement?

Integrity (3, Insightful)

yar (170650) | about 12 years ago | (#4490200)

I have a question.

How does European law define "integrity?"
The term can be used to refer to the wholeness or completeness of a work, unaltered from its original state, or the term can be used to refer to moral (in this case, artistic) values. So EU copyright law applies to the author's artistic intent?

This brings up some of the same vagueness the term "authenticity" possesses.

Not used to it ... (1)

ramzak2k (596734) | about 12 years ago | (#4490217)

I disagree with the argument that commercials during movies are different from TV shows because the latter is designed for commercials.

Do you think the screenplay writer(s) of say - friends or survivors designed their scripts with commercials in mind ? The problem has more to do with the audience "not being used to something". With TV shows, we are used to seeing them with commercials when there are options to watch movies without breaks on DVDs and tapes.

Spaniards are having the same problem, the concept with commercials between movies is new to them - they are complaining.

Re:Not used to it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490431)

Uh, the entire structure of a TV show is designed around the commercial breaks. As is the content (can't offend the sponsors). Get a DVD set of some show and you'll see how obvious it is. If you still can't see it, then consider yourself successfully brainwashed.

It could be a lot worse (3, Interesting)

kaphka (50736) | about 12 years ago | (#4490238)

Breaking up a movie to insert commercial breaks is mildly irritating. On-screen "bugs" are somewhat more intrusive. On-screen "bugs" that pop up to advertise another program are worse. On-screen ads that include a bell or other sound effect are worse still. However, on-screen ads that take up the entire screen and deliberately try to distract you from the film have got to be over the line.

That's what TNT started doing a few years ago. In particular, I remember one ad for an awards show of some sort, in which a "spotlights" would suddenly wave across the screen, then converge on the ad at the bottom. My interest in TNT had been declining ever since they fired Joe Bob [joebobbriggs.com] , but those new ads were the last straw -- I changed the channel, and I haven't look back since.

Anyway, although I was surprised that TNT would make such a concerted effort to drive away viewers, I was even more suprised that the filmmakers would let them. A movie with those graphics superimposed clearly constitutes a derivative work, not just a performance of the original. Even a relatively flexible director wouldn't stand for that.

Of course, it's up to the copyright holder, which, in TNT's case, is almost always AOL. (In fact, AOL seems to hold most copyrights, period.) The more TV stations are able to run content that they own, the more freedom they have to do this sort of thing. It's just another consequence of the media oligopoly.

What the hell is "artistical"? (2, Informative)

Sax Maniac (88550) | about 12 years ago | (#4490401)

Yes, a pointless grammar flame, but this one always annoyed me. Let's review:

A noun: art.

Noun turned into an adjective: if something has the quality of art, it is artistic.

Adjective turned into a redundant adjective to add more syllables so the author sounds smarter: artistical.

Hey, let's turn it back into a noun by adding more syllables! How about artisticalness?

Same thing with symmetrical. If something has symmetry (noun) it is symmetric (adjective). WTF does "symmetrical" mean that "symmetric" doesn't?

Re:What the hell is "artistical"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490935)

Who the hell cares? And why is it that the lower your user number is, the dumber the posts are, and yet still get modded up, agh.

Wanna stop that crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4490524)

Then just don't buy anything that's advertised too much or in some annoying way.
While I find appropriate and sometimes useful one or two short breaks during a movie, something must be done to decrease the actual number. IMO, a working solution might be to buy only less (or fairly) advertised products.

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