I read recently that Time Warner edged out Comcast as the “most hated company in America,” according to the University of Michigan’s annual Consumer Satisfaction Index. Almost as soon as I read that, Time Warner gave me such good reason to hate the company that I instantly canceled nearly 13 years of cable TV and Internet service.

My cable TV was the cheapest I could get, mostly local and regional over-the-air stations. From time to time, I would use a DVD/VCR recorder to record a program for later viewing.

Suddenly, about a month ago, I tried to record a program onto a DVD, but the machine gave me an error message telling me, in essence: “Sorry, you are not allowed to record this.” When I tried to record a program onto a VCR tape instead, the recording produced an unstable picture, with constantly changing color hues.

It dawned on me that Time Warner had just put a “copy protection” signal on its entire cable TV feed. I couldn’t even record my local City Council meeting.

The motive was obvious: Time Warner wanted to force me to pay a monthly fee for its own, overpriced TV recording service. No way. Time Warner will never get another penny from me, unless that outrageous “copy protection” practice goes away, and for good.

I should point out that TV stations wanted to “copy protect” their over-the-air signals, but the Federal Communications Commission wouldn’t let them. However, Time Warner is getting away with doing the same thing. Why? Because it can. After all, it’s an unregulated monopoly.

Why did we let this monopoly happen, and why do we let it continue? I shudder to think what will happen if the proposed Time Warner-Comcast merger goes through.

John Graham