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A consortium of networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, Turner Entertainment and Disney have banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the Flying J truck stop chain.

Apparently, the chain of 178 travel plazas and fuel stops has taken to substituting outside commercials for their own spots in every location that has a trucker's lounge playing a service called Plaza TV. Basically, this is made possible by a little box called the segOne 2000 LS, which detects commercials in normal broadcasts, them replaces them with new ones. In this case, trucker-specific ads for Flying J, which itself turns around and charges other companies $31,250 per month for a 30-second spot on Plaza TV.

The suit alleges copyright infringement and "unfair competition."

[Sources: eTrucker.com; Flying-J]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Though I am no fan of cabals like ASCAP and the like, I tend to agree with Brian on this one. The law would appear to be on the side of the networks. If it was not happening in a business, and if Flying J was not getting a revenue cut out of it, the case would play differently, but...

      I do wonder if this program was started after O. Jay died (early 2003, IIRC) or after.

      Sounds like the usual "more profits, no matter what" shift that happens when the old man goes. Reminds me a bit of WalMart...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I disagree. What Flying J seems to be doing is exactly the same thing as if they were to change inputs on the television to a running tape of their commercials every time the tv went to commercial. They aren't stealing anything, they're simply altering the feed to the television when ever they feel like it, simliar to changing a channel at a commercial break. If they pay for the television service or use OTA, then they *should* own what is being displayed on their television, after all they paid for the televisions as well (keep in mind i didn't say they should own the copyright, just the right to display what they please). Why should they run advertisements for other corporations in their own commercial establishment without compensation? Go Flying J, way to stick it to the man.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The nets sued when VCRs came out, didn't the electronics companies and/or the videocassette companies wind up having to pay a "tribute"? Since the nets can't sue me for changing the channel, it would SEEM they don't have a leg to stand on here. However, the legal wrangling that went on when the nets sued satellite companies for freely broadcasting the nets programs will probably set the precedent here.
      THAT, and the corporate clout the nets have in Washington will assure them that at the least Flying J winds up having to pay a tribute...ooops, royalty to the nets.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Next thing we know, Fox Sports is going to sue a bar for playing ESPN and not Fox. They're stealing an audience from Fox by playing ESPN. Not exactly the same thing, but similar. It's up to the owner of the establishment what they want to show on their TV.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not an expert but "copyright infrigment" sounds hard to prove. Now damage and loss of revenue, that would be a little easier.

      J's practices appear unethical at best.

      Then again, when it's about shoving commercials down my throat, I tend to be a little less sympathetic.

      Hopefully they don't sue me because I mute the TV during commercials or skip them when I record programs.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Cable companies do this all the time, they put their own local ads in over the network ads all the time! So why is it that the networks don't go after them?

      Fact is.. they want to tell YOU when you're going to watch tv.. they think they own the televisions.. and they don't.. Just another attempt at greedy people..
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can see both sides on this one, however I'm going to side with Flying J. Why? They aren't controlling a massive market like say...Microsoft, and they are pre-empting commercials only. Sure it for personal gain, but it's an in-house broadcast and they aren't disseminating the actual programs, just the ads. It's a classic case of "Hey, I should be making money off of this, why are you?". Look for a settlement and possible licensing fees (flying j licensing network access) or a rev share.