Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Politics Government Your Rights Online

Senate May Rush Copyright Legislation 970

iman1003 writes "According to an article on Wired, the Senate may soon pass a bill labeled HR2391, a bill which lumps many other copyright bills. If passed the bill would "would criminally punish a person who 'infringes a copyright by ... offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement.'" In addition the bill would "permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited." The bill would also punish people "who bring a video camera into a movie theater to make a copy of the film for distribution" with up to three years imprisonment and fines. If any of this worries you please contact your Senators and Representatives and voice your concern."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Senate May Rush Copyright Legislation

Comments Filter:
  • by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:09PM (#10831672) Journal
    The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited.

    Say WHAT???! The article wasn't clear about how this would be accomplished (not allowing us to skip commercials) but I assume the commercials would be flagged, and any new hardware must respect the flag's autho-i-tay.

    And who are these Senators representing, anyway? Planning to FORCE our hardware to play commercials? They sure as hell aren't representing ME. Bunch of streetwalkers, they are.

    ***sigh*** I have a TiVo now, and there is no way in HELL I will EVER watch another commercial again. In a way, I hope these shitheads actually DO get their way, and FORCE my hardware to play all commercials. That would be a sure way to get me to unplug the goddamned thing once and for all.

    I have to post the obligatory Robert Heinlien quote for this:

    "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back, for their private benefit."
  • hello 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:09PM (#10831673) Journal
    George, where are you?
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:09PM (#10831674)
    `(A) no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture is created by such computer program or other technology; and

    `(B) no changes, deletions or additions are made by such computer program or other technology to commercial advertisements, or to network or station promotional announcements, that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture.

    Does motion picture mean TV programs as well? They weren't clear enough for me. If they mean any program (like DVD Shrink) which allows you to edit video of the "original content" and remove what you want I would say that it would have damaging effects on all video editing software.

    Would we have to buy/download video editing software that carried a warning that you couldn't remove unwanted commercials from products you already paid for and shouldn't be required to suffer through anyway?

    Sometimes I want to sit these lawmakers in front of a limited edition, Gold copy, digitally enhanced, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Disney DVD with their eyelids taped open. Maybe then they would think twice about forcing every hard-working, tax paying, voting American from "editing" the content of their PURCHASED media. Then again, Disney and their marketers might pay them more than our taxes are worth ;-)

    Will the end of Hatch mean the end of crap or will the big bucks be able to corrupt a whole new group of lawmakers?
  • Only the best... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wayward_son ( 146338 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:11PM (#10831695)
    It's good to know the best Government money can buy.

    I'm also glad they are protecting me from those dangerous Canadian prescription drugs.

  • by allism ( 457899 ) <alice.harrison@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:11PM (#10831703) Journal
    We should all pool our money and buy every Senator a TiVo, then send someone to their house to show them how to program the 30-second skip. This bill would be killed after about a week of them getting addicted.
  • by Damon C. Richardson ( 913 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:11PM (#10831707) Homepage
    I'll be suing on the fact that the commercials aimed at my children are offensive to adults.
  • by Cougem ( 734635 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:13PM (#10831729)
    What if people start to advertising things with sex? Like using penises like billboards? Do we have to watch?
  • Senate.Gov (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavo ( 70713 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:14PM (#10831734) Homepage
    Come on people. Right to your senators. Let them know this is not acceptable to you. You've only got 2 of them and they've got a webform. Give "fair use" two minutes of your time. Here is what I sent in:

    Dear Senator,

    I write to you today in opposition to H.R.2391 which seeks to lump several controversial copyright bills into one for swift passage through the lame-duck session of congress. Copyright law exists to protect the interests of the citizens, not just those of corporations. This bill harms the "fair use" rights of citizens and puts too much power in the hands of the "entertainment" industry, among others. These bills deserves at least the chance to face fair and open hearings and to be debated carefully. Please vote against this bill.
  • Many commercials could be considered offensive. What if you don't drink? What if you don't want your kids to demand sugar cereals? What if you don't want to know about the benefits of Viagra?
  • by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:16PM (#10831767) Homepage
    They've got people from both parties in their pockets.

    So it is appropriate to blame Republicans then. Just so long as you lump the Democrats in as well. Personally I see so little difference between the two parties anyways.
  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:17PM (#10831780) Journal
    At the risk of being redundant, just what in the flaming, farging heck does that mean, "skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited"?

    If it means what I think it means, then this corporate control of the federal government has gone far enough.

    When it's gotten to the point where the federal government is actually proposing criminalizing the use of technology to ignore a corporation's mind-numbing commercial pabulum, then it's perfectly obvious to me that what needs to be overhauled is not copyright law, but the whole damn government.

    And up to three years in prison for camcordering a movie? THREE YEARS?! Guys spend less time in prison for rape!

    I did RTFA, but I didn't attempt to plow through the language of the bill itself.
  • by igaborf ( 69869 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:18PM (#10831810)
    ...skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene....skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited.

    The philosophy of the Republican Party in a nutshell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:19PM (#10831820)
    I imagine a lot of people find the sexual references in all the ED drug ads to be pretty offensive, would you be able to skip these advertisements?
  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:19PM (#10831829) Journal
    Why is this a problem? If you're not out there ripping people off and distributing copyrighted material, you shouldn't have a problem, yes? I'm sure that the Slashdot crowd will get all huffy about this, but in the end, after all the convoluted chest thumping, the bottom line is: don't steal from people.

    I don't think that is the issue. The issue is the following language:

    under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited

    I think many are unhappy that they can't escape the commericalism that is everywhere. I think many people are overwhelmed by advertising everywhere. It is in the ballpark when you go there, and even worse, when you turn on your tv to watch a ballgame they now have advertising images superimposed behind the batters box. It is on billboards, in rural communities where before there was no intrusive advertising signs.

    I think people like using their VCR or Tivo or whatever to record a show and skip the commercials. According to the story, that would become illegal.

    In the end, I don't think techonolgy can keep people free of advertising. Companies know people don't like/respond to traditional advertising, so they are now using things like product placement on shows. Did anyone watche "Still Standing" last week. It ended with the main character drinking an Amstel light, and holding the bottle in a way like she was showcasing it for the camera.

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnelsonee ( 98732 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:20PM (#10831841)
    In addition the bill would "permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited."

    What if I find the ads objectionable?

    Non-rhetorical stance:
    Really, what if there's an ad for say, Wonderbras, that I find explicit? Can I turn that off? This is insane. Who are they to say what I can and can't watch? Howabout turning off the TV to eat dinner when there's an ad on... is that okay? Do I have their permission for that at least? Ugh.

  • Re:hello 1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twitter ( 104583 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:23PM (#10831872) Homepage Journal
    George, where are you?

    He's laughing at your non free software cellphone with a camera on it.

    He's also predicting convergence of law and technology: the home entertainment center which combines a VoIP video camera and TiVo like DVR. The center will not be able to skip the two minutes hate and, due to a bandwith shortage, the video phone will be reduced to security monitoring by authorized persons only. You will have one free of charge brought to you on behalf of our sponsors. Who needs laws when you have the party? Double plus good, comrade!

  • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:23PM (#10831876)
    The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited.

    But as far as I'm concerned, the commercials and promotional announcements are the content that I'm most likely to find objectionable.

  • Re:Senate.Gov (Score:2, Insightful)

    by An. (Coward) ( 258552 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:25PM (#10831908)
    Better yet, since it's a House bill, write to your representatives, since they'll be the ones actually voting on it. Plus you've only got one of them.
  • Re:Weird (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:25PM (#10831923) Journal
    >> Why did you guys vote Bush in anyway? Oh, that's right, you're stupid.

    Who's more stupid: the stupid people who voted for Bush for President, or the stupid troll who can't tell the difference between a President and the Senate?

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:27PM (#10831960)
    This is legislation by exhaustion. It is clear that there is zero popular support for any of this copyright fascism legislation, and every time a new bill comes around, the various grass roots organizations stir up a frenzy about it, because we all learned our lesson when we let the DMCA get passed.

    I have decided they are just trying to tire us out. If they keep trying to push the same kinds of insane measures through by repackaging them with new insane measures, they hope we will be caught offguard and forget to protest one. Once it's passed, it's going to be damned near impossible to get it revoked, barring years of painful jurisprudence to limit its powers (witness the DMCA which only now is starting to be limited in scope by judicial precendent).

    How can we make it crystal clear that we don't want more copyright restrictions and that we want our fair use rights encoded in law and guaranteed to us? We need more, well funded groups to stand up for our rights against the fascist copyright regime (and I mean that literally, as the government and big media are essentially working in lockstep on this issue, which is the definition of fascism).
  • Why worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian@w y l f i n g . net> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:28PM (#10831972) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's worth worry about. This will pass, and over the next 2 years the U.S. Congress is going to pass a number of extremely harsh IP-protecting bills. Shortly we will be living under the copyright rules that our founders were desperate to get away from.

    However, I believe this will greatly accelerate the movement toward things like the Creative Commons and FOSS. It will be too dangerous to do otherwise. When lending a book carries a jail sentence, the market will quickly shift toward books that explicitly permit sharing. When misplacing your retail Windows XP carton lands you in prison, Linux will be on everyone's computer.

  • by capnjack41 ( 560306 ) <spam_me@crapola.org> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:29PM (#10831983)
    Yeah, this sucks and all, but what we really should be asking is what the hell commercials have to do with copyright infringement. Is it now a violation of the work's author's copyright to skip commercials interpersed with his work? That copyright belongs to someone else. In fact, trying to control rewinding and fast-forwarding through anything doesn't have anything to do with intellectual property, period, or does it?

    Let's say I'm watching Law and Order, and there's a commercial. Let's say before that commercial, there was something important I missed, so I rewind back to it. Does that mean I'll have to watch the commercial again? Yeah I know I'm harping on some pretty dumb points, but I don't think they really thought this one through.

  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:29PM (#10831984) Homepage
    Advertising is going the way of many other industries in some respects.

    Oil companies want to stop true alternative fuels, because it threatens their business. Force people to use your product, instead of adapting yourself to the market.

    We've seen this over and over again since the Industrial Revolution (textile industry was one of the earlier ones).

    Instead of trying to come up with more effective ways to advertise products, they're just going to shove it down our throats as long as they can. If they can get the government to help them do it, all the better for them.

    It seems to me; however, that the more advertising you have, the less effective it all becomes on the whole. Their solution to this seems to be to simply come out with more advertising, and force up to watch it. The more appropriate solution would be to adapt to the market and find a way to tell me about your product without wasting my time or annoying the crap out of me.

    Isn't it great to live in the only place in the United States that is denied voting representation in the government, and yet is subjected to it's laws?
  • Re:Weird (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:29PM (#10831986) Homepage
    Well, I'm smart enough to understand that 53% only equals 100% in really bad rounding algorithms.

    Like Presidential elections.
  • Appalled... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gleenie ( 412916 ) * <simon,c,green&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:29PM (#10831987)
    Having said that, I can Australia & New Zealand following suit pretty soon after. Once these things get passed into US law, the WIPO forces everyone else to "harmonise" with them.

    Funny how it's never the US who needs to harmonise with other countries where the lawmakers are not yet completely coopted by large corporate special interests. But that's because most of said special interests call the USA their home. If it were somewhere else, things would still be heading this way, but with a different nation "leading the way".

    I believe it's been mentioned on /. before, but those who haven't read it should read Joel Bakan's "The Corporation" [amazon.com]. It's a very interesting read, and it will certainly open your eyes as to why this sort of thing is happening more and more. Unfortunately, Prof. Bakan hasn't come up with any suggestions as to how to deal with it that I can see working right now...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:30PM (#10831995)
    The GOP doesn't want smaller, less bothersome goverment. They just want the goverment to regulate the things they do not like and leave alone the things they do. Of course, the Dems feel the exact same way, it's just the list of things they with to control/regulate is different.

  • Re:Weird (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alien Being ( 18488 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:30PM (#10832001)
    "Why did you guys vote Bush in anyway?"

    Christian fanaticism.
  • by slughead ( 592713 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:36PM (#10832090) Homepage Journal
    Yes, let's blame republicans for what is clearly a bipartisan problem.

    Let's ignore the votes on the DMCA and the USA Patriot Act and blame the religious right.

    On a related note, I just wrote an e-mail to my Senator, John McCain, asking him not to vote for this bill.

    If you're complaining about this whole thing and you don't write a letter to your elected officials, you have officially wasted your time.
  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:39PM (#10832136)
    will be illegal :ohnoes:

    But seriously everyone, write your sentators
  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:39PM (#10832137) Journal
    "We should all pool our money and buy every Senator..."

    Don't forget the House of Representatives...
  • by TheOldFart ( 578597 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:45PM (#10832224)


    Using this logic, the channel up, channel down, and power button on your remote control and in the front panel of the TV are going to be illegal. If you use them with the intent of skipping the commercial and watch something else while the commercial is playing, you will be braking the law.


  • No problem except (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:46PM (#10832238) Journal

    I have no problem with Congress protecting copyright holder. If you come up with something original and people like it, why shouldn't you expect that work to be protected from unauthorize distribution- whatever the means. We should protect the creative impulses that make this country great. However, for the love of Lord, why do I have to sit through these lame commercials?! Why do I need Viagra for or douche or panty liners? I don't have genital herpes!!! Why is the superbowl the only time in the year we get commercial that is actually entertaining. I submit we should abandon the whole television medium and break the bond that shackle us to our couch. Live, learn, be merry, and most important be passionate.

    I know sounds easier than it is. But, one day at a time, it all it takes for freedom

  • by DM9290 ( 797337 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:47PM (#10832257) Journal
    And up to three years in prison for camcordering a movie? THREE YEARS?! Guys spend less time in prison for rape!

    It is clear that the public considers bringing a camcorder to the theatre to be a more heinous offence than rape. Rape only has 1 victim. But when you bring a camcorder to a theatre you are raping America.

    Remember, you elected these people. Now sit down and shut up before the commercials start.

  • What's your point? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:49PM (#10832273)
    wasn't it Dems that introduced the bill to reinstate the draft? would it be right to say that Dems were the problem when it was only 2 of their own and not the party?
  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:49PM (#10832289)
    It's funny how making people aware that sex exists and people have it has been decried as obscene, and people say it hurts children.

    But on the other hand, it's perfectly fine to skip the part about saying sex exists, and then, from the assumption that everyone knows it does, anyway, proceed to tell them that they are unattractive, under-endowed, smell bad, and are generally worthless people unless they shell out for xxxx.

    In other words, outright acknowledging the facts of life is an unimaginable sin, but using them to do deliberate harm to a person's psyche is just the way we do business. (So much so, that apparently we don't have the right to avoid such harm.)
  • Pop-ups? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Westech ( 710854 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:50PM (#10832291) Journal
    "...under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited."

    Does this also apply to websites? Could it soon be illegal to block pop-up ads?
  • by trajano ( 220061 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:51PM (#10832314) Homepage Journal
    This is why I vote for a different party other than the popular ones. I voted for the Green party here in Canada, I don't know about the US though, I am not sure if Nader is a good person to have run the country since I haven't done any research on US political parties.

    But how would you get people to change from the norm in US case (Republican vs Democrat) or in Canada (NDP, Liberal, Conservative). In my opinion they are all bad, since they haven't made any move to bring the needs of common people first. I am not talking about the poor people under the proverty line, I am talking about the average joe middle class person.

    Its like most of the highschool teachers we have here. During parent teacher conferences they only a lot to talk about the smartest kids or the most difficult kids, the rest who are average are just "yah they do well blah blah blah"

    I don't vote for those big parties since I know they screwed us before. Why would I vote for them again (if I ever voted for them which I never did).

    Also media has put forth a message saying that voting for the independents is a wasted vote or a vote for the other party. You know what? Its not a wasted vote. And personally, I would have more respect for a person that voted independent rather than the major parties (even if it is the Marjuana party or the communist party) because they actually know what they would want and know how to learn from the past.

    I think I saw it posted somewhere...

    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result"
  • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:57PM (#10832415)
    I wouldn't worry much about the bill. At least, not right now. We're now in a lame duck session of Congress and there are several other bills that both the House and Senate are trying to get through, get sent to committee and get finalized and signed by the President before this session is through. The intelligence reform bill comes to mind.

    Anything that passes the Senate, in order to become law, would also have to be passed by the House. Then it would have to be sent to a conference committee where members from both the House and the Senate try to reconcile the differences between the bills passed in each chamber. Members of that committee would have to agree on a final form of the bill and then send the compromise back to House and Senate for an up or down vote. This in and of itself, is no small feat. There are plenty of bills that pass both the House and the Senate that never make it out of the conference committee.

    If both chambers managed to pass it, the president would then have to sign it. The chances of all of this happening in a lame duck session of Congress are slim to none. Especially when you consider that they are trying to get this mammoth intelligence reform bill done. This copyright bill will then die when this session of Congress ends and the process will have to begin all over again. Don't worry about this bill, at least, not yet. Instead, focus your energy on getting the idiots that sponsored the bill and the idiots that ultimately voted for it out of office the next time they are up for reelection.
  • And up to three years in prison for camcordering a movie? THREE YEARS?! Guys spend less time in prison for rape!

    Government is becoming more and more concerned about making America safe for corporate profiteering, and correspondingly less and less concerned about the safety and security of people. 114 million people voted FOR this sort of government on Nov 2nd. Having once again made this bed, we will all have to lay in it. (Except those of us who are frankly criminal by deed and intent. {wave and smile})
  • by elrick_the_brave ( 160509 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:02PM (#10832516)
    It's simple.. stop buying TV every month.. stop buying *IAA music and movies. Guess what.. without money.. they will not be a factor any more.

    Start supporting public TV and independant artists via their websites.

    One must fight the battle the way which hurts the enemy the most.. in the pocket book!
  • by Tooxs ( 56401 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:03PM (#10832524)
    Senators, most probably don't watch much TV, and you'd be much better off weaning yourselves from the brain drain & wash hypnobox as well.

    Television: One of the most abused weapons of mass instruction.
  • by moby11 ( 537087 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:03PM (#10832533) Homepage
    This is exactly how I feel - and no one else I know seems to get it. Advertising is effective (as evidenced by the billions of $$$ they spend) which means that we are all part of the masses being effectively manipulated. This bothers me, and it should bother all of us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:04PM (#10832552)
    And what totally unrestricted paradise do you hail from? I notice you did not mention it. Please tell us which is the land of complete freedom above and beyond the gulog of the US?
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:07PM (#10832596)
    > "It's an off switch. He'll get years for that."
    > 20 Minutes Into the Future...and getting closer every second.

    20 minutes into the future -- 17 years into the past.

    From the Max Headroom Episode Guide [iastate.edu], we have 14 episodes. Of those 14, I can classify only THREE as "fiction", meaning "requires technology that doesn't exist today."

    Episode 1: Blipverts. Check. (Ad agencies are designing ads to look "good" even if you're fast-forwarding them at 30x on a DVR).

    Episode 2: Rakers. 75% there. ("Ultimate Fighting Championships", "COPS" - it'll be official when we have a reality TV series in which serious bodily harm and/or death is part of the show.)

    Episode 3: Body Banks. Check. (Harvesting of Brazilian street youth, Chinese execution market.)

    Episode 4: Security Systems. Check. ("Credit fraud! That's worse than murder!" - and now 3 years for skipping commercials.)

    Episode 5: War. Check. (Bringing you the opening 72 hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, live and direct!)

    Episode 6: The Blanks. 50% there. (HomeSec, national ID card, Safe Travel programme, MATRIX database, Supreme Court decisions regarding citizens' obligation to reveal or provide identity on demand, all clearly pointing towards the criminalization of anonymity and development of systems and technologies to make the "roundup" option more practical.)

    Episode 7: Academy. Check. ("Captain Midnight" was a real-life "zipper", and was likely the inspiration for this episode. This was the only "current events" episode in the series.)

    Episode 8: Deities. 75% there. (We already have "online churches", it's only a matter of time before some huckster starts charging for diskspace for the soul. All the technology is now in place, all we need is the huckster and some suckers. :)

    Episode 9: Grossberg's Return. Check. ("Watch while you sleep" devices in the episode are basically like auto-clickers for those stupid dotcom pyramid schemes like AllAdvantage, used to artificially boost clickthrough ratings.)

    Episode 10: Dream Thieves. 0% there. (Finally, something that's just science fiction!)

    Episode 11: Whacketts. 0% there. (Finally, another fiction episode :)

    Episode 12: Neurostim. 25% there. ("Neuromarketing" is the buzzword -- advertisers are doing active brain scans to see how effective their campaigns are. Long way from being able to induce brain states to drive product, but it's a start.)

    Episode 13. Lessons. Check. (Any teacher using showing taped from the TV in the classroom without paying a license fee is eligible for the DMCA smackdown. In 1987, the smackdown was dystopian science fiction. Today, the surprising thing would be if they didn't get the smackdown.)

    Episode 14. Baby Growbags. 0% (OK, three episodes out of 14, fiction.)

  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:08PM (#10832607) Homepage

    Personally, I can't wait until all these repressive measures are put in place and the United States can finally implode and leave the rest of the world in peace.

    The problem is, that through the magic of selective enforcement, the government is perfectly capable of keeping the country running even with laws on the books that would cause implosions if actually enforced uniformly. If enforced everywhere, this law would make the entire entertainment industry implode. But rest assured, it will only be enforced when and where the industry wants it to be.

  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:10PM (#10832650)
    >The problem is politicians no longer view people as their electorate, instead they view complex algorithms of where to spend money on advertising as the equation to get elected.

    You're right, dammit. And it's hard to fix; it verges on darwinism: If they can get an advantage using methods like you describe, then they are selected, and it reinforces itself. How can you fix something like that? Any attempts at leveling the field are usually subverted and exploited.

    Americans need REAL leaders, who aren't just in it to get greased by lobbyists or cronies.

    >We have become sheep.

    No, you and many others like you are NOT sheep. You're seeing clearly. But of course the minute you try to ally yourself with others, it'll degenrate into extremism, radicalism, and possibly terrorism. Your mission is NOT to hurt the "sheep", no matter what. And I think any revolutionary leader that feels it is OK to sacrifice innocents to defeat such a system will undoubtedly establish an even greater tyranny.

    What's the answer?

    I think the U.S. has to change ONE law very quickly: It was ruled by the supreme court quite a while ago that corporations may exercise the same rights as individuals. THIS has got to go.

    Without the individual being protected and valued ABOVE corporate interests, lobbies will always have more resources and weild MORE and MORE power.

    That is my humble suggestion.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:15PM (#10832740) Homepage Journal
    Nader's not a green. He's a guy who simply enjoys grabbing just as much camera time as he can get, and the news networks are usually happy to provide it. He has, unfortunately, given a very bad image in the US to true Greens.
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:19PM (#10832818)
    It it both. They made it look like a snatch, to attract attention it is an old advertising trick "Tie things to sex and people will pay more attention to it." On the other hand nobody can blame them, they'll just say "Oh, it's a flame blah blah"
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:22PM (#10832865)
    OK, you're right.
    There ARE other goverments that are oppressing their populations in a much worse way, currently.

    But amerca was born from the struggle of shaking off exactly that kind of oppression. Freedom and it's pursuit is WOVEN into the American psyche.

    THAT'S why it's such a big deal here.

    Try no to forget that.
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:25PM (#10832912)
    Simple; pollution control DOESN'T infringe on personal rights, but copyright legislation DOES.

    You mix those two up, and I'M the nutcase?
  • by Damek ( 515688 ) <adam@nOSpAM.damek.org> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:27PM (#10832945) Homepage
    There are a lot of significant differences, but few of them are actually important. For example, though I supported Kerry, Kerry's presidency would have simply been a kinder, gentler version of the same stuff Bush's administration is doing. Some environmental and labor policy would change, but the two greatest fundamental issues facing America and the world in the 21st century would not have gone away. The spotlight on them would merely have dimmed.

    1) Western imperialism (dare I say American imperialism?), of which terrorism is merely a facet.

    2) The rise of and lack of limits on corporate power - of which terrorism is also a facet.

    If we could honestly deal with these two issues, which are fast becoming one and the same due to corporate power influencing governments (and therefore imperialist policies), many other problems would become more manageable, and some might even disappear.
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:38PM (#10833118)

    OK, you've got it. My country drafted the Kyoto protocol and is the only nation even close to enforcing it, also we DID do something about Kosovo, we sent peace-keepers.

    And by the way, it's NOT the U.S. that needs to be destroyed. It's the tyrannical system in place that is searching for ways to rob its citizens of their basic freedoms that needs to be destroyed.

    In my travels in the U.S. I've met plenty of decent, forthright, honest americans. People who embody the american ideal, and it is treason for the U.S. government to represent these people with anything less than an eternal vigilance for their rights.
  • by doc6502 ( 625580 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:50PM (#10833283)
    Coward, you also ought to mention that Hatch has been buds with a number of the people in the RIAA for some time-- they contributed heavily to his last campaign.

    I guess the Evil Empire (not Microsoft this time, the RIAA) has to ram this legislation through before Arlen Specter becomes head of the House Judiciary committee...
  • by Absolut187 ( 816431 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:50PM (#10833288) Homepage
    Yes, the commercials are most objectionable. I don't mind watching double penetration videos, but that guy in the domino's commercial - the guy that says everything twice - he makes me want to kill someone.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:53PM (#10833328) Homepage Journal
    Actually, we aren't. That's why we find commercials so offensive. The ones whose minds are manipulated are generally the uneducated, unintelligent masses. The effects of advertisement on intelligent people is negligible.

    I can honestly say that, since about the age of 10, I haven't ever chosen one product over another as a result of an advertisement on TV, radio, or in print. The only effect advertisements have on me is in raising my awareness of the existence of a product, and even then, unless it is something that fills a need that I knew existed -prior- to seeing the ad, I don't buy it.

    When I buy something, I always know exactly what type of product I'm looking for (i.e. the purpose for buying a product). If the products do not have distinct features that can be evaluated easily, I buy the cheapest product unless something about the product makes me suspect that it is junk, in which case, I buy the cheapest one that doesn't set off red flags.

    For products with distinct features, I take the prices of products from every manufacturer I can find, take the feature lists of those products, and try to find the best balance of prices/features based on the expected amount of time that I will be using the product, then I add a few percent to the desired features just to be safe, and choose the product that comes closest.

    Nothing pisses off advertisers more than an informed consumer, and intelligent consumers tend to be informed. Ads are almost all content-free, appealing to emotions. That works well for people with limited education and/or intelligence. It doesn't work well for most people reading Slashdot.... That's why we find them so offensive, and thus why we are -less- likely to buy a product after seeing an advertisement, unlike a typical consumer.

    Of course, our politicians fall into that group that are affected by ads, so they will never understand our pain.... *sigh*.

  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:03PM (#10833455) Homepage Journal
    /me points finger

    "LOOK an Enemy Combatant!"

    You forget, mere consumer, that your right to be offended stops at advertising. It is a violation of the tenants of the Church of Consumerism to be offended by any advertisement. You are only permitted to obey the urge to buy, you miserable little cog.

    No go out there and max out your credit cards buying DVDs and CDs!
  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:44PM (#10834028) Homepage Journal
    All politicians are the same. They're all out to screw the public. The only real difference is if they want you to bend over or open wide.
  • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:48PM (#10834091)
    The technology certainly is there to prevent us from skipping commercials, for example, on DVDs, the hardware can be prevented from fast forwarding through content they don't want us to skip. I had to assume this was what they wanted to do for future TiVos.

    But at least its only the manufacturers trying to screw us. I can live with that. I don't like it, but I can live with it. When the government starts telling us that we have to watch commercials I have to wonder exactly who's side the government is on?

    I don't even understand what theory of government would be involved in such a law. Is there a some sort of constitutional mandate to give businesses whatever will make them happy? Is there some sort of law that insinuates consumers must purchase a full price product with every loss leader? When exactly did businesses get the right to have their business models only negative aspects "corrected" via legislation?

    If the age of comercials is waning, then pick another business model. HBO and Showtime do just fine without commercials. So do most DVD releases. Don't foce my government, who I thought was looking out for MY interests, to prop up your failed model with protectionist legislation.


  • by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:27PM (#10834641) Journal
    ...attract attention it is an old advertising trick "Tie things to sex and people will pay more attention to it."

    Exactly. Like this [prodigy.net] plainly looks like a uterus [ucla.edu] to me. But I must be crazy, because no REAL man would have a stylized logo of a uterus on his truck.

  • by Damek ( 515688 ) <adam@nOSpAM.damek.org> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:32PM (#10834717) Homepage
    Didn't say it did. I think you misunderstood me.

    To overly simplify things, Islamic terrorism stems from the struggle in the Islamic world between a tendency towards historical medieval fundamentalist ideologies, and those who are looking for their place in the modernized, more open and sometimes secular world.

    The same thing is going on in the Western world.

    In both cases, imperialism and corporatism are at the very least setting bad examples, and at the very worst encouraging ignorance, superstition and war for feudal-style fun and profit.

    The West does not lie at the center, but it is also not completely separate.
  • There is a company (possibly more than one) which manufactures a specialized DVD player that is designed to skip objectionable content in movies. The people in this company watche each movie and create instructions for skipping audio and video portions of specific DVDs. The DVD player dials up the company whenever someone watches a movie and receives these instructions.

    The movie industry has objected to this practice, claiming that it violates there copyrights by creating a derivative product. There has been much discussion about the legality of these specialized DVD players.

    This bill is designed to remove the existing ambiguity in copyright law and establish that what these bowlderizing companies are doing is legal.

    The bill's language about skipping comercials is designed to prevent other companies from coming along with a similar product that removes commercials.

    This bill in no way diminishes a persons right to skip commercials, only the rights of a movie-bowlderizing company from doing so.

    Ninty-nine percent of the Slashdot comments on this are totally FUD, unrelated to the content of the bill under discussion.

    You may now return to your fear-mongering. Thank you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:18PM (#10836195)
    Son, if you don't recognize the current crap coming out of Evangelical Christians here as another Crusade, you need to take yo head out yo ass and have a look around. You're shovelling a load full of crap right there. The Koran is no more evil or good than the Bible is, though I doubt you'll bother reading either to find out.
  • by goon america ( 536413 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:55PM (#10836562) Homepage Journal
    One party controls every branch of the federal government, and one person is in charge of that party. If the President wants something he can tell Congress to do it, and being that the party of which he is the leader controls both houses he'll damn well get it. This President routinely gets anything he asks for from Congress. He has never vetoed or even talked about vetoing a bill. If he doesn't want something it will never make it to the floor, it's that simple.

    I might also add that most TV news commentary is conservative. and every conservative commentator gets a fax every week from the White House telling them what to say and what words to use to define the issues most favorably to the party. This gives him substantial control over what gets promulgated in the media, and public opinion as a result.

    So while none of these are Constitutionally-denoted powers, that doesn't mean they aren't there. These powers are purely informal, but that doesn't mean they are any less significant.
  • by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @07:03PM (#10836640) Journal
    So you are using TiVo to bypass the commercials, and then getting pissed off because the law might prevent you from doing that. I mean, would you use that feature for anything else?

    You seem to be of the opinion that, because I tap the airwaves, I _must_ watch their commercials. That does not follow. There is no such requirement, either legally or morally.

    Sure, the networks have based their businesses on selling airtime to advertisers, but whose fault is that? They have an archaic business plan, one which is going the way of the buggy whip.

    TV is, in fact, broken. It is absolutly UNUSABLE without using things like VCRs and TiVos. They'll need to start charging for their content, and I look forward to supporting them with my dollars rather than have to be witness, or avoid, their asenine adverts.
  • by B.D.Mills ( 18626 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @07:28PM (#10836865)
    "Under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited."

    Hold on one moment here. This has nothing to do with copyright. The fundamental premise of copyright law is that it gives the owners of the rights an exclusive right to distribute copies of those works. It has nothing to do with how copies of those works that have been legally purchased may be used by those who purchase them, otherwise known as "fair use".

    What comes next in the outlawing of our legitimate fair-use rights? Outlawing the use of newspapers to wrap up fish and chips? Making it illegal to use CDs as coasters?
  • by mgoren ( 73073 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:07PM (#10837264)
    In case no one's noticed, I might point out that the main point of advertisements is not to blatantly make you go out and buy the product. Or they do try to do that, but only on the most superficial level. They don't actually expect that to appeal to most people. Particularly to the type of intelligent consumer that they really want to attract. The main point of advertisement is simply to get the product name in your head so that when you want that type of product, you subconsciously think, "Oh, I've heard of that brand... they're probably reliable."

    So you can say all you want that commercials don't affect you, but it is really quite impossible to know for sure whether or not ads are affecting you.

  • by mOdQuArK! ( 87332 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @08:18PM (#10837357)
    Religion is an expression of morality.

    You've got that backwards. Religion is not an expression of morality - a code of morality might be an expression of a particular religion, but just because a set of beliefs calls itself a religion doesn't mean that its adherents are automatically "moral".

    Although it is hard for _some_ people to comprehend, it _is_ completely possible for someone with a completely-secular viewpoint to have a strong set of morals. The motivation tends to be a little more practical ("how do I get along with the people around me to make my life easier?") though rather than ideological ("behave or go to hell for eternity").

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:49PM (#10838166)
    Commercials and promotional announcements are in the objectionable group in my book, so I can still skip them.
  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @10:24PM (#10838480) Homepage
    An observation - the issues you've picked are not the most pressing, nor the most substantive of our time. The most crucial issues facing our nation are:

    1) Islamists that want to conquer the world (btw: this is real imperialism).
    2) Rampant poverty in a large majority of the world.
    3) The environment
    4) The impending scarcity of natural resources such as oil and fresh water is some regions.

    1) Western imperialism (dare I say American imperialism?), of which terrorism is merely a facet.

    No you may not say "American Imperialism" as we are not in the business of colonizing, conquering and subjugating nations for the sake of increasing our nations sphere of influence. The people of this nation and our leaders are not about making themselves emperors and lording it over the world.

    Iraq and Afghanastan are a lot of things, but conquests they were not intended to be. The objective was to remove two governments, neither of which had a mandate from the people of their nation and allow the people to govern. Democracies generally do not attack other democratic nations - which is the basis of the removal of the previous administrations from Iraq and Afghanastan.

    That said, I wish we had tried a different "strategery" than we did.

    2) The rise of and lack of limits on corporate power - of which terrorism is also a facet.

    The corporation has been very powerful - but today is less powerful than it was in the 1700's and 1800's when entire colonies were run by corporations.
  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n k.net> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:17AM (#10839549)
    The crusades were, indeed, in response to something.

    Too many idle rich barons with large armies of retainers making various kings & religous authorities nervous.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend