So here it is a Sunday morning going through my RSS feeds and what do I see on Derek Slater’s Copyfighter’s Musings but just one more sign that the entertainment industry must be thinking pretty strongly that they can control congress in regard to the broadcast flag fiasco.
In Derek’s article entitled “Philips Patents DRM To Stop Commercial Skipping, Changing Channels,” he reports that according to DesignTechnica, Philips has patented a “technology … [that] would prevent users from changing channels to avoid watching television commercials as well as prevent viewers from fast-forwarding through recorded advertisements.”
Derek asks a very legitimate question. Why would Philips do this? Especially since consumers will not want this kind of technology that would disallow consumers from switching channels during commercials to see what else is on that they might want to see more than the current show or skipping the commercials if they so desire.
It would seem that Philips may be hedging a bet that the entertainment industry will eventually wear down the congress into passing a government inflicted mandate for anti-skipping technology. And how will they do that? The only way would be to give the entertainment industry their stupid broadcast flag on various levels. So the entertainment industry can control what you see and hear, when you see or hear it, and whether you get to see or hear it and where you can see or hear it.
The logic? According to the DesignTechnica article,
“Philips’ rational for the technology is that the ability to change channels and fast-forward through recorded commercials diminishes the advertising revenue networks and broadcasters derive from programming. As such, Philips also envisions a system whereby viewers could pay a fee to broadcasters or providers to re-enable channel-switching or ad-skipping technologies during commercials. That way, the broadcasters wouldn’t losing any revenue from those channel-hoppers and ad-skippers; instead, they’d become a revenue stream.”
And that’s a bunch of bunk! Sorry but it is. Advertisers have been paying for advertising on analog television with no ‘tactile’ feedback since the beginning and they wouldn’t have continued if it the cost of advertising wasn’t justified by the sales generated by that advertising.
This is about control and wiping out fair use! Plain and simple.
So Philips – likely in what they would probably perceive to be ‘forward thinking’ – has put through a patent to disallow skipping of commercials and disallowing channel changing during commercials — with a ‘consumer oriented’ caveat. Read on to see how far the rabbit hole goes…
Apparently, Philips — not wanting to anger consumers enough to actually stop buying their products for building such undesirable ‘technology’ into the equipment which prevents consumers from skipping commercials or channel surfing during commercials — will ‘graciously’ provide a consumer override. Presumably because they know that there will undoubtably be a consumer backlash about such a technology being in the equipment they just bought!
And not wanting consumers to think there is something wrong with Philips’ equipment, of course. Oh, yes, they will want everyone to know it’s the broadcaster’s fault — not poor Philips who is only a pawn. Yes, of course, we buy that — Philips only made this abomination possible.
The kicker is that if you choose to make use of this ‘graciously provided consumer override,’ you may not even be able to view the show at all!
Yes, you heard that right, if you can’t find something better to watch on other channels by surfing around or skipping ahead to bypass the commercials — the broadcaster could simply disallow you from watching the show entirely!
You know how this story ends of course. We’ve seen it since we were kids, right? If you don’t play by our rules, we’ll take our marbles and go home.
Oh, isn’t it so nice of Philips to be so kind to consumers?
So the next time the broadcast flag issue comes up, remember this little tidbit of information and let your congressmen and senators know you are mad as hell and you aren’t going to take it anymore. 😉
See what you can do about this Broadcast Flag nonsense, at EFF.org’s Action Center where you will actually see THREE different items just on various ways they are trying to force the government’s hand on broadcast flags alone!
What’s even worse than the MPAA’s TV broadcast flag? The RIAA’s proposed flag for radio. A new bill introduced into Congress would saddle new digital radios with government-enforced restrictions, including prohibiting legal home recording that wasn’t “authorized” by the RIAA, saddling all receivers with DRM, and limiting any future innovation in radio to existing “customary” uses. Tell your representative to keep the entertainment industry’s hands off new technology and to oppose the audio flag!
The RIAA and MPAA want their copy controls on your digital TV and your satellite or digital radio, and they plan submit a bill requiring these controls to the Senate Commerce Committe. If your Senator is on the Committee, let him or her know how radical and user-hostile this government-ordered DRM will be.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) wants to give broadcasters a brace of undeserved rights in the content that they transmit. That’s right, another new layer of people who get to control what you do with your television or computer. If they get their way, these middlemen will seize 50 years of copyright-like control over the material they broadcast, including public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works. If that wasn’t bad enough, the US is pushing to extend this new layer of rights to “webcasters.” EFF believes that there should be a demonstrated need for such rights, and a clear understanding of how they will impact the public, educators, existing copyright holders, and new Internet technologies. Write to Congress now and ask them to take a close look at this new WIPO treaty!