Saturday, May 26, 2012

Old DMCA questions about suppressing ads in playback return

Is it copyright infringement for consumers to skip commercials, or for companies selling any playback media devices to help consumers do that?

On a superficial level, I had thought that the DMCA of 1998 forbade that, but there is a new perspective at Electronic Frontier Foundation by Mitch Stolz here, “TV Networks say you’re breaking the law when you skip commercials”, link here.  

In fact, on YouTube and some other playback sites, advertisers regularly let you skip most of the commercials. 
On the other hand, when you watch an episode “free” of a popular network series (like ABC’s “Revenge”), you typically have to let all the commercials play, adding 20 minutes to 43 minutes of actual content.  ABC and NBC seem to have gotten better at this, but on CWTV I’ve had trouble with playback hanging coming out of commercials.  The same is true on the gay-oriented Logo.

Keep in mind, advertisers really need you to see their messages when you get to watch anything you want “free” at any time.  Somehow, it has to be paid for.  So fantasize about buying your first hybrid, please.
Update: June 2:

Check Brian Stelter, NYT, "The Myth of Fast-Forwarding Past the Ads", Dec. 20, 2010, here.

And on p. 59 of the June 4, 2012 Time Magazine, check James Poniewozik, look at "Stealing the Shows: Ad-skipping viewers aren't thieves. They're the future", link here

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