A man slides a CD into his truckis stereo. Music fills the cabin. The camera pulls back, revealing Gateway CEO Ted Waitt sitting next to a cow. As Elwoodis cover of "Sundown" starts, Waitt and the cow begin lip-synching the song.
Black-screen messages pop up.
"Like this song?"
"Download it from Gateway.com."
"Burn it to a CD...."
"Or load it on an MP3 Player."
The one-minute television spot, which begins airing Wednesday night, ends with this message: "Gateway supports your right to enjoy digital music legally."
This ad doesnit just coincide with the release of Gatewayis new 500 X Digital Music PC - itis a calculated jab at the bill before Congress that would put copy-protection technology into any device that works with digital media, a move that threatens the Fair Use right to make copies of media for personal use.
Like Michael Eisneris attack on Appleis "Rip. Mix. Burn." campaign, this advertisement has taken abuse from the entertainment industry - this time from the RIAAis CEO, Hilary Rosen. Rosenis snippy comment, according to the Wired article: "If only they would devote a little bit of the millions of dollars theyire spending on this ad campaign to help stop illegal downloading ... but that wouldnit help them sell more CD burners, would it." Gatewayis motives, according to this Reuters article, are more altruistic:
A Gateway spokesman said the company is worried that the Hollings bill and other solutions advocated by the music industry would infringe on consumersi "fair use" rights, for example by limiting their ability to use MP3 players. "We feel like thereis a lack of awareness about this pending legislation," said Brad Williams, director of communications at Gateway.
Gatewayis Digital Music Zone currently offers information on how to burn music CDs and information on consumersi rights, as well as a free download of the iSundowni cover featured on the TV commercial.
You can read both articles in full at Wired News and Yahoo!, and view the Gateway commercial at Filmcore.net. If youire not familiar with the recent hubbub surrounding copyright and Fair Use, catch up with our our earlier discussions on copy-protected CDs and the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act.