Steal this eLab
Is it really a crime to block online ads?Now, before I get into the column, I want to make sure that all of you are looking at (and preferably clicking on) the advertisements in this page, because if you arent, then you are practically stealing this column. And if youre using any kind of image- or ad-blocking software, you may be an evil, Al-Capone-like thief. Why, oh why, must you break the sacred implied contract that commands you to dutifully view every ad as a sort of payment for this wonderful content? OK, Im kidding, but there are people out there who arent. Earlier this year, the CEO of Turner Broadcasting equated using a Digital Video Recording device to skip commercials with stealing. Now, given the fact that these types of devices are becoming extremely popular, why would a company basically call its own customers thieves?
And TBS isnt the only one. Recording companies are suing ISPs in order to get the names of people downloading files from P2P networks, in order to sue people who are most likely huge music fans. They are also busily limiting the capabilities of their own products (and trying to limit other products) in order to prevent piracy, although in the process they are also making their products less flexible for all users.