Copyright—Yes Virginia, the Idiots are Still With Us

Jamie Kellner, the Chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting was recently interviewed by Inside. Among several truly idiotic and woefully uniformed statements, he uttered the following witless gem about “ad skipping,” fast forwarding through ads on television, or (horrors!) using Tivo or the like. Ad skipping, according to Kellner:

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.

Contract? What contract? There is none, implicit or implied. For someone in the business of selling content, Kellner just doesn’t get it. If you want consumers to watch ads, then make them interesting or useful to consumers, or find another way to generate revenue besides selling ads. It’s pretty simple.

It’s odd the way some large scale publishers and distributors of content are trying to make copyright function like farming subsidies. If my rant his piqued your interest, take a look at Top Ten New Copyright Crimes”, a link spotted by Dave Winer.