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Subject: [IP] Skipping Commercials Soon To Be a Crime?

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip <>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 14:17:27 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: November 17, 2004 10:58:03 AM EST
To:, 'Ip' <>
Subject: RE: [IP] Skipping Commercials Soon To Be a Crime?

"By Electronic means" -- once again we're reminded that the Ptolemaists are
in charge. Even if Copernicus moved us away from the center of the universe
they still assume that meaning and transport are intrinsically linked and
that only speech carried using 18th century technology is protected.

No wonder we have a Federal Speech Commission.

Will we soon have thought police that require we not only not skip the
commercials but not do something else during the commercial? I presume you
can interpret the act of tuning into a broadcast F-word (the new F word is
frequency) as accepting an implicit contract to pay attention to the
commercial and buy the products at a rate consistent with the promises made
by the broadcasters?

With CableCos having their VOD channel and the Telcos going to 30mbps per
subscriber, we can consider broadcasting as an optimization for the
limitations of 19th F-technology (AKA Tuning-Fork-Physics or TFP)

As the Bush regime continues to view dissent as unnecessary and dangerous
the reality feedback loop will get longer and the disruption caused by
change will go from being an adjustment to being a seismic.

Of course science is, in its essence, a form of dissent. One must test ones
models against reality. You learn the most when you find that you are wrong.

These issues are all linked -- it's bad enough that we have the FSC but I
get very afraid if too many people agree with me and no one challenges my
ideas. It may mean that I am "right" but more likely that I've left reality.
I am even more afraid of those who don't accept the notion of fallibility.

The good news is that without a steering wheel one eventually is unable to
navigate a twisting road -- I hope the rest of use aren't aboard when
reality hits the fan.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
David Farber
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 10:53
To: Ip
Subject: [IP] Skipping Commercials Soon To Be a Crime?

Begin forwarded message:

Date: November 16, 2004 9:56:08 AM EST
Subject: Skipping Commercials Soon To Be a Crime?

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill

02:00 AM Nov. 16, 2004 PT

WASHINGTON -- Several lobbying camps from different industries and
ideologies are joining forces to fight an overhaul of copyright law,
which they say would radically shift in favor of Hollywood and the
record companies and which Congress might try to push through during a
lame-duck session that begins this week.

The Senate might vote on HR2391, the Intellectual Property Protection
Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge could make many users
of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products
criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill would also undo
centuries of "fair use" -- the principle that gives Americans the right
to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask
permission or pay.

  Today's the Day. The bill lumps together several pending copyright
bills including HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, which
would criminally punish a person who "infringes a copyright by ...
offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with
reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement." Critics charge
the vague language could apply to a person who uses the popular Apple
iTunes music-sharing application.

The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip
objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in
films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed
law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be
prohibited. The proposed law also includes language from the Pirate Act
(S2237), which would permit the Justice Department to file civil
lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers.

Also under the proposed law, people who bring a video camera into a
movie theater to make a copy of the film for distribution would be
imprisoned for three years, fined or both.

The groups that lined up against the bill include the Consumer
Electronics Association, the Computer and Communications Industry
Association, the American Conservative Union and public-interest
advocacy group Public Knowledge, which hosted a press briefing on
Friday as the opening salvo of its campaign to stop passage.

The groups are calling for the Senate to postpone consideration of the
bill until at least next year, when there would be more time for
hearings and debate.

In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship of Sen. Orrin
Hatch (R-Utah) will expire next year, with Sen. Arlen Specter
(R-Pennsylvania) in line to take over the committee. Bill opponents
hope Specter would take a different approach to copyright law than
Hatch, who has been an advocate of several bills that have rankled
public-interest, technology and consumer-electronics camps.

The entertainment industry has been lobbying hard for quick Senate
passage during the lame-duck session, with opponents gearing up for a
tough fight.

Hollywood's involvement has even irked the American Conservative Union,
which holds considerable sway with conservative Republicans in
Congress. The ACU plans a major print ad campaign this week to oppose
the bill, mainly because some provisions would require the Justice
Department to file civil copyright lawsuits on behalf of the
entertainment industry.

"It's just plain wrong to make the Department of Justice Hollywood's
law firm," said Stacie Rumenap, ACU's deputy director.

The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry
Association of America weren't immediately available for comment.

Katie Dean contributed to this story.,1283,65704,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

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