“Here is an alternative view of the Replay TV issue, that I haven’t heard presented so far. Please feel free to post this to politech if you find it interesting.
Using Replay TV to skip commercials is not theft. Actually it should be completely legal, as the people of the united states have already paid for programming on the public airwaves.
First, the people of the US gave the broadcast companies access to the public airwaves. This access wasn’t granted so that the broadcasters could then “sell” us programming. This access was granted so that the broadcasters could present us with content. We also granted the broadcasters the right to present us with advertising to help them meet the costs of producing the content they are presenting over the public airwaves.
If you accept this premise, then using a Replay TV to skip advertising is not theft in any way. The people have already paid for the content of a TV broadcast with a very valuable public resource, the RF spectrum it is broadcast on. So there really is no contract between the TV viewer and the broadcaster when it comes to advertising. In effect we have already paid our share….” [Allen Hutchison on Declan McCullagh’s Politech, via Corante Copyfight]