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The following is from the ECONOMIC REPORTING REVIEW of May 13, 2002. ([email protected])

By DEAN BAKER


Privacy Fight Centers on AD-Zappers

Christopher Stern

Washington Post, May 4,2002, page A-1


This article reports on the efforts of the broadcast industry to outlaw digital video recorders, which will facilitate watching replays of television shows without seeing the commercials. The article notes the concern of the entertainment industry over similar devices which enable

consumers to quickly duplicate copyrighted material.


It would have been appropriate to include views of economists on this topic. The information presented in the

article indicates the tremendous costs to consumers and to the economy that result from efforts to protect copyrights.

It is is difficult, if not impossible to have a complete policy discussion of these topics without taking into acccount these costs. In this case, the industry groups want to make certain types of technology illegal, not only denying comsumers their benefits, but threatening to imprison people solely for developing and distributing better recording equipment. As technology makes copyright protection more difficult to enforce, it is likely to lead to demands for greater government represssion by the

entertainment industry.
 

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From what I can see, the broadcasters want to further limit 'fair use' to the point where is does not exist at all.


Someone sent me an article about copyright law as it stands now from "The Toastmaster", May 2002, p.10


"There are four factors the courts use in determining Fair Use:

1. The purpose and character of your intended use, including whether such use is commercial in nature or is for non-profit educational purposes.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work.

3. The amount and central importance of the portion taken in relation to the original work as a whole.

4. The effect of your use on the market for the copyrighted work."


Maybe I am dense, but I don't see how ad zapping violates any of those four factors.


What ad zapping does do, is attack the current marketing scheme for the copyrighted work, not affect the copyrighted work itself. There is no reason that a program, such as 'ER' could not be marketed in another way.


Furthermore, all an ad zapper does is exclude one copyrighted work (the advertisement) without affecting the other copyrighted work (the program). It would be unreasonable to require that any copyrighted work be accepted, much less viewed by anyone.


But that is exactly what the broadcasters want; to require viewing of a copyrighted work.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by e vey
From what I can see, the broadcasters want to further limit 'fair use' to the point where is does not exist at all.


Someone sent me an article about copyright law as it stands now from "The Toastmaster", May 2002, p.10


"There are four factors the courts use in determining Fair Use:

1. The purpose and character of your intended use, including whether such use is commercial in nature or is for non-profit educational purposes.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work.

3. The amount and central importance of the portion taken in relation to the original work as a whole.

4. The effect of your use on the market for the copyrighted work."


Maybe I am dense, but I don't see how ad zapping violates any of those four factors.


What ad zapping does do, is attack the current marketing scheme for the copyrighted work, not affect the copyrighted work itself. There is no reason that a program, such as 'ER' could not be marketed in another way.


Furthermore, all an ad zapper does is exclude one copyrighted work (the advertisement) without affecting the other copyrighted work (the program). It would be unreasonable to require that any copyrighted work be accepted, much less viewed by anyone.


But that is exactly what the broadcasters want; to require viewing of a copyrighted work.
I think the key is the wording of number 4. One could claim that it affects the "market" for the copyrighted work. Clearly it doesn't from the normal definition of "market", meaning number of people who want it...but one could claim that the word "market" in that context could really mean "market viability".


Anyway, I think the factor in our favor is the precedent of VHS, and the fact that the fast forward button has not hurt the market viability of TV so far, even though they claimed it would.
 

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My emotional response would be ...


Just ban all display and listening devices and get over with it. We can all go back to live monkey shows at our nearest park and forget about buying televisions and projectors, recorders and player, receivers ....


And, the no-so-emotional response is I'm surprised there is not a credit card swipe on my components so that I can 'pay the man' everytime I want to watch or listen to something.
 

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When was the last time any of you purchased a product from seeing a television add?


For me, rare to never.


The best a television add ever did for me was to make me aware of the product.


When I want to buy something, I hit the net forst for reviews, then I'll go to the place that sells the product and there I'll certainly get all the marketing I can handle there.


What is it that these advertising (read as dog and pony show) are holding on to?


Certainly it's not my attention.


The "change channel" button works just as good as the "30 sec commercial advance" of my ReplayTV.
 

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I just did a little more reflection of my viewing habits and realized that lately when I'm watching a broadcast television show like "24" or "CSI" during the commercials I switch over to my PS2 or the Internet during those commercials.


So I guess it is safe to say that they are not only wasting time and money in implementing things like HDCP or eliminating PVR's, they're wasting money in creating the commercial in the first place since I just refuse to watch.
 

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Well it's simply up to the advertisers themselves isnt it? Once they realize nobody is watching their ads they'll stop paying enormous amounts of money to have them shown right? Wouldnt you?


Then once the Networks go bankrupt from no ad revenue then you can just hope that pay tv channels like HBO and whatever decide to start carrying some of the programming that the Networks used to carry, like Pro Football and other sports, etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by e vey

[BWell, that's it, then.

The end of civilization as we know it.


[/b]
Nah, just the end of free OTA television. But thats ok, nobody minds paying or would mind paying a few bucks a month for programming they might not currently be paying for, right? All the guys on here trying to scam DirecTv out of having to pay for HBO HD, HDNet, or Showtime HD without subbing to one of thier base packages is no real indication of hesitancy.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DP1



Nah, just the end of free OTA television. But thats ok, nobody minds paying or would mind paying a few bucks a month for programming they might not currently be paying for, right? All the guys on here trying to scam DirecTv out of having to pay for HBO HD, HDNet, or Showtime HD without subbing to one of thier base packages is no real indication of hesitancy.
Actually DirecTV is trying to scam me into paying for 50 channels I already have if I want Showtime HD.
 

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DP1,


Actually, the argument that "time sold = lasting impressions which then translates into sales" that the media hangs it's hat on is fairly weak. Advertisers are looking for results, not assumptions, particularly at the prices networks charge these days.


This cite may explain the slow Tivo sales:


"Consumers also realize that commercials are a fair price to pay for "free TV", ongoing studies conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide reveal that roughly three quarters of respondents agree with that statement (16% disagree), a figure very similar to the early 1960’s. Similarly an Arbitron/ Edison Media Research study found that more than 80% of respondents thought commercials were a fair price to pay for free radio."


Spending $500 to zap ads would show a high intolerance to TV advertising. Because of that, I would think that advertisers might assume someone who spend big money to zap ads would be a lost cause anyway. So while broadcasters would naturally complain about ad zappers, advertisers probably would not.


Here is a link to roundup of many different studies about advertising.

http://216.239.39.100/search?q=cache...ews/feb02.html
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by aviators99



Actually DirecTV is trying to scam me into paying for 50 channels I already have if I want Showtime HD.
I know they are. Same for me. Thats the "beauty" of pay television, if you dont want it, you dont have to pay. Maybe they'd do the same thing with the NFL in my hypothetical scenario above. You and I might not mind paying the 150.00 to see all the games but I wonder how well it would fly if everybody had to pay at least something to watch even the token home team game every Sunday. Much less have to buy a football package to even be able to see one or 2 games a week.


And e vey, interesting study you cite. Thankfully, thats the case (and we kind of already knew that because while it seems like everyone hates and absolutely avoids commercials, not everyone truly does) which is why my scenario about advertisers completely pulling the plug wont happen.


Course, I've never understood advertising to begin with. I've always wonderd why Budweiser for example feels compelled to drop 10 million or whatever on the Super Bowl ad's (not to mention the rest of their ad budget for the year) when I've never been able to figure out who they're aiming at. Guys that already drink Bud always will, and guys that dont, wont. Is it for the guys that just turned 21 and when going to buy their first 6 pack think.. "Hey, those frog commercials are pretty cool, I think I'll buy Bud!" Personally, I think they should take those millions and millions and just drop the price of a sixer by .50 across the board, then they might have a chance at selling more product like to the guys who can otherwise only afford Milwaukees Best! ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by e vey
BTW, have you noticed that you almost never see beer ads outside of sports shows anymore? What would Pro Sports do without the beer companies?
They would only be able to pay their players $5 million a year, as opposed to $25 million a year.
 

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Actually, the industry has always tried to outlaw ALL recorders at each step.


This allows them to stall the technology and in some cases (like DAT) even manage to cripple it.


- Tom
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DP1



Nah, just the end of free OTA television. But thats ok, nobody minds paying or would mind paying a few bucks a month for programming they might not currently be paying for, right? All the guys on here trying to scam DirecTv out of having to pay for HBO HD, HDNet, or Showtime HD without subbing to one of thier base packages is no real indication of hesitancy.
Watching Survivor last night got me thinking about this thread (actually, this particular post). One way to counter commercial skipping is by increasing the use of product placement instead of commercials. When Survivor part one was over, Mark Burnett said that the real revolutionary thing about it was the product placement. The production is almost paid for by product placement, and the commercials are just gravy. This is one thing that overlooked about Survivor, and seems to be missing from other reality shows.


So by getting more creative with product placement, you could still have free OTA television, possible without commercials to skip!
 

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Thats right. They might as well. Actually I think I'd prefer it when they're showing some guy drinking a can of beer. It looks more realistic when it's a known brand on the label than just a generic "BEER" label. Or when the guy belly's up to the bar and always just asks for a "beer". I've always found that fakey. Dont people always specify brand or otherwise inquire about whats available?


Kind of reminds me of watching the NFL on Canadian channels. When they come back from a commercial they'll show a wideshot of the stands and upper deck. Where normally you'd see whatever ad banner is truly located along the railing or whatever, they instead superimpose an ad over the top of it for like Canadian Tire or something like that to make it look as though thats what the banner really says.
 
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