Theft by skipping

From 2600 magazine : :


Posted 1 May 2002 11:05:57 UTC
It was inevitable. The broadcast industry is now describing people who skip over commercials as thieves! And with new technology like HDTV and insane laws such as the DMCA, they may very well make it stick in the future.

Jamie Kellner is the chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, which encompasses everything from CNN to TNT and is a part of AOL Time Warner. On Monday, an interview with Kellner appeared in CableWorld.

In response to a question on why personal video recorders (PVR’s) were bad for the industry, Kellner responded: “Because of the ad skips… It’s theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you’re actually stealing the programming.”

While most programming on American TV is so insultingly bad that nobody would ever need to steal it in the first place, there is great danger in permitting this line of reasoning to become accepted. If this is seen as a “problem,” expect legislation forbidding any device that allows consumers to skip the sacred commercial. Kellner, however, is not completely unreasonable. When asked if he considers people who go to the bathroom during a commercial to be thieves, he responded: “I guess there’s a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom. But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, you’ve got that only for one reason, unless you go to the bathroom for 30 seconds. They’ve done that just to make it easy for someone to skip a commercial.” Heaven forbid.


Is it really some form of theft ?

Personally i don’t think it is. People (in this case the tv stations) offer you a service which you choose to use it or not.

With all the tv channels we have it’s undoable to check every one of them.

There is one reason the vcr kicks in. And yes . there are methods of skipping the commercials.

Hell , even if you tape a movie and replay it at some other time , don’t you skip the commercials as well by using fast forward ?

And if for one wacky reason i switch to another channel ( say from channel 1 to channel 2) when the commercials are on , am i not ripping of that channel (2) when i switch back to the original (1).

Weird… those tv guys …

this is exactly why they want hardware decoders on monitors/hdtvs etc…so that you cant grab the video before it gets there, and edit out the commercials. they may have a point, but then again, i dont see a little disclaimer before tv shows warning me that the FBI imposes severe penalties for editing the commercials out and sharing it on kazaa. the more laws they put in place, the more money pirates will make…vicious cycle, really

Eh… I don’t get it.
Are they against people to leave their couch whenever it comes a commercial…?

Crazy americans…

they are against the fact that they cant sell the replay rights for as much, since people already have it on their computers, robbing them of the opportunity for many replays with commercials in them too, etc…

Damn Ted Turner. I knew somebody eventually was going to say something like this. If you think about it, that is a little inane.
Why does he think we steal television???

for Crying out loud, People pay money for televisions. We choose to watch different television shows because we want to. Whether or not we watch bad commercials is up to us. I absolutely abhor carsale commercials, because the guy or girl who is talking at about 145 mph and the act like you are some kind of idiot. Every time one comes I flip the channel. Why does he give a crap about what commercials we watch any damn way.

because commercials pay the stars…they pay the bills…to make a half ass comparison, its taking shareware, removing the ads, and re-releasing the hacked version. you start with a good product that has ads to pay for it, you take the ads out shafting the people making money off of them and then put it back on the internet kazaa, screwing over the guy that wrote it in the first place.

it seems very simple to me: You want to watch television for free, so somebody has to pay the costs of the broadcast. If not you, who else
The ad’s do, but when nobody is watching the ad’s the big companies are not willing to pay for the ad’s so there is no money more for the broadcast.
(or U have to pay for a scrambled pay per view channel)


Posted 8 Jun 2002 on


Last month, we reported that Jamie Kellner, CEO of AOL Time Warner subsidiary Turner Broadcasting, had publicly likened the skipping of commercials to stealing. On Thursday, the EFF and concerned consumers sued the entertainment industry to ensure that Kellner’s claims will remain no more than meaningless hyperbole.

The lawsuit (Newmark v. Turner) was brought by five users of the ReplayTV set-top box, including founder Craig Newmark. These customers are suing Turner Broadcasting and nearly thirty other entertainment companies, which their lawsuit terms the “Entertainment Oligopoly.” The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that use of ReplayTV (including its commercial-skipping feature) is legal and is not a form of theft.

The plaintiffs are disturbed not only by Kellner’s recent public comments but also by a lawsuit (Paramount v. ReplayTV) which the “Entertainment Oligopoly” brought against ReplayTV last November. That lawsuit alleges that the ReplayTV boxes’ commercial-skipping and “share program” features violate the copyright laws, and asks that these features be removed from ReplayTV boxes. The Newmark suit is asking the court to consider the rights not only of the various companies involved but also of consumers while adjudicating the Paramount case.

It is disturbing indeed when consumers have to sue the entertainment industry in order to assert that they have no obligation to watch commercials. The industry seems to have invented a “contract” under which viewers are required to watch the commercials which interrupt the programs they want to watch; the only problem is that no one told the viewers about this contract or asked for their consent.


and then all tv programs will have an EULA that appears before the beginning, and our not changing the title will signify a binding contract…

Um sorry but this is bullshit.

I think this most likely only applies to America as usual…“only in America” hey?

I am from the UK and I pay for a TV License. I also have Sky and as such I pay a monthly subscription. Now I pay 2 fees each month just to watch TV and as such I will skip ANY and ALL adverts I choose.

The only channels that I do not possibly pay anything for are:

  1. ITV1 a.ka. Channel 3
  2. Channel 4 and finally
  3. Channel 5.

And I can honestly say in an average week I probably spend <1 hour between all 3 of these channels. Why 1 hour, well that is probably the time spent flicking through them to get to other channels :stuck_out_tongue:

About ad-free TV, over here we have a TV-licens which you have to pay if you own a TV. The money goes to SVT (Swedish Televsion) and SR (Swedish Radio), and in the channels broadcasted by either if them there are no ads.
Then we have lots of ad-funded TV and radio…

How is it in other countries, does the BBC have any commercial for instance?

/me is :confused: about this… :slight_smile:

I wonder what Ted Turner would have to say about downloading commercials on P2P. I see plenty of them, is that “antipirating”? If I promise to download some commercials can I then download my favorite tv show? And what about the adware in the P2P programs, doesn’t it count?.. oh yeah some people have bypassed those commercials too.
How many times do I have to pay to watch tv anyway?