Much ado has been made in the news of the prospect of criminalizing using video cameras in movie theatres to make illegal copies of movies, and online most of the attention has been focused on the crackdown on peer-to-peer networks and users. But there are much more alarming things about the Intellectual Property Protection Act on its way to passage in Congress. Nobody is discussing the changes in the decades-old "fair use" doctrine, for example. And it addresses the use of technology to skip things you don't want to watch. Michael Greb writes in Wired:
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.
This seems to be a direct attack on systems like TiVo, which has been very cooprative about such things as employing Macrovision encryption to restrict lifespan of recorded programs.
Could this be a First Amendment violation? Requiring someone to watch commercials seems a rather draconian pander to the broadcast and cable lobbies. What's next? Prohibiting pop-up windows? Banning spam-filtering software? Do advertisers have a right to demand your attention?
Write your Senators and Congressional Representative.