[mythtv-users] Re: Congress to Make Commercial Skipping Illegal

Jesse Adelman someone at boldandbusted.com
Wed Nov 17 00:41:56 UTC 2004

OK, I got this from the Public Knowledge article on HR 2931 (of which
HR 4586 is now part of, I believe):
H.R. 4586 The Family Movie Act

The entertainment community has hijacked the provision affirming the
right of consumers to skip over objectionable material and turned it
against consumers and the tech community. Now, the affirmative right to
watch and skip parts of the content that a consumer has legally
obtained only exists if certain conditions are met: no commercial or
promotional ads may be skipped. Additionally, technology manufacturers
must provide a notice at the beginning each showing stating that “the
motion picture is altered from the performance intended by the director
or copyright holder of the motion picture.” This sets the functionality
of the everyday VCR and TiVo on its head.


Now, IANAL, but this would seem to contradict what Wendy of the EFF
stated a bit ago in this thread, as it seems to *ignore* the concept of
Fair Use - and possibly undermine it. Also, Sen. John McCain came out
in opposition to this bill (and the PIRATE bill) back on October 11 -
here's the Congressional Record article with his (short) speech:


I'll post the text here (it's short):


[Page: S11291]  

    Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I wish to briefly remark on H.R. 2391
and H.R. 4077, a package of bills referred to as the Intellectual
Property Protection Act of 2004. I have objected to the further
consideration or passage of these bills by unanimous consent.

   From the text of the bills that have been available to date for
Senators to review, I believe that one part of this broad legislation,
the Family Movie Act, may actually harm consumers while appearing to
help them. To be clear, I support the stated goal of the act's authors:
immunizing from legal challenges a technology that enables parents to
skip offensive material from prerecorded copies of films and
television. While I applaud the merits of their stated intent, I fear
that the very exemption designed to achieve this laudable goal
simultaneously creates an implication that certain basic practices that
consumers have enjoyed for years--like fast-forwarding through
advertisements--would constitute criminal copyright infringement. I
note that Consumers Union and Public Knowledge, as well as a host of
others parties interested in protecting consumers, share my concerns.

   Americans have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through
commercials for more than 30 years. Do we really expect to throw people
in jail in 2004 for behavior they've been engaged in for more than a
quarter century?

   I look forward to working with my colleagues in this Chamber to
address not only these concerns, but also the uncertain liability
created for manufacturers that bring other innovative and pro-family
products to market in the face of continual threats of extinction from
powerful interests who seek to thwart their entry.

   For these reasons, I do not intend to remove my hold on these bills
until I am satisfied that consumer interests have been protected in
this legislation.


Did McCain, Public Knowledge and Wired get it wrong?

-- Jesse

Jesse Adelman
http://resume.boldandbusted.com/ (just resume now)

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