Just how clueless is Hollywood? Very. It’s bad enough that they try to jam crap down our throats all the time, but they also demand that you sit and watch that commercial for “Tide” detergent — all 26 times it runs tonight. Why, it’s in your contract! Didn’t you read the fine print before you signed? From True‘s 19 May 2002 issue:
Don’t Touch That Dial
You have a moral obligation to watch TV commercials, argues Jamie Kellner, Chairman and CEO of AOL/Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division. “Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots,” he says. “Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis.” He says that people who use VCRs or Personal Video Recorders to record shows and then skip through the commercials during playback are particularly irresponsible. By not watching the commercials “you’re actually stealing the programming,” he says. But what about going to the bathroom during commercials? Is that allowed in the “contract”? Only if you really have to go, he answers: there’s only “a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom.” (San Jose Mercury News) …Good, because so much of their programming makes us want to throw up.
What, you don’t remember signing a contract that requires you to watch TV commercials? You’re not alone. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued the Hollywood establishment (what they call the “Entertainment Oligopolies”) to fight this trend. And make no mistake about it: Hollywood really does want to force you to watch the commercials! Read more about it on the EFF site and on the site of the lead plaintiff, Craig Newmark of CraigsList. It just happens that I know Craig. 🙂
The Motion Picture Association of America issued a statement calling the lawsuit “nothing more than a publicity stunt.” They say their dispute is with the companies making digital video recorders, “not individual users.” If that’s the case, why are network execs out there calling individual users thieves? This case isn’t a “publicity stunt,” it’s real people fighting for their rights against — yes — the entertainment oligopolies.
The entertainment industry just doesn’t get it. What happened when TV was introduced? The movie industry said it would destroy the movie business. Did that happen? No: it got stronger because of TV. The record industry said the cassette tape would ruin the music business. Did that happen? No: it got stronger because of cassettes. The movie industry said the introduction of the VCR would ruin the movie business. Rather, it created record profits for them. DVDs, same thing. CDs, ditto. But the sky’s falling again — the poor whiners now say that DVRs like ReplayTV and Tivo will destroy them. Can you cry “Wolf!”? The entertainment oligopolies sure are.