If God Watched TV, Would He Zap Commercials?

Right on the heels of my post about Michael Davies' new variety show which promises to do away with commercials and instead blend sponsor messages into the programming content, FCC Chairman Michael Powell glowing from the pleasure of his favorite holiday gift, a TiVO personal video recorder, calls this digital device “God's Machine”.

[…]Powell said he intended to use the TiVo machine to record TV shows to play on other television sets in his home, and even suggested that he might share recordings with his sister if she were to miss a favorite show […] I'd like to move it to other TVs,'' he said of his digitally recorded programming. A number of products already allow that […]

Of course if Hollywood and its headstrong digital copyright dictators were to go after Powell for redistributing copyrighted material would they accept “gods will” or “the devil made him do it” as a reasonable defense?

[…]Many in Hollywood have railed against the machines, saying they could cut into TV advertising revenue if fewer people watch the commercials that underwrite broadcasters' business […] The entertainment industry has proposed “broadcast flag” technology that could thwart or limit copying or distribution of pirated broadcasts over the Internet, where, it fears, they could be sold […]

One thing's for sure, TiVo and other digital technologies (read iPod, MP3, DVD etc) are changing the face of distributed entertainment. And judging from the amount of comment in the news and blogs, it's going to be a fierce and exciting battle. I just hope that in the end, no matter the winner, that the creative and the content isn't compromised. If it is, everyone loses.

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