Broadband Advocates Tell FCC To Stay Out Of Copyright Enforcement
Specifically, a coalition of six advocacy organizations -- including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge -- is concerned that the FCC has gone astray by considering what role ISPs should play in stopping copyright infringement.
The FCC's proposed neutrality rules would require ISPs to allow consumers to access all lawful content. But the FCC proposals contain an exception for "reasonable network management" -- which it said included the prevention of illegal transfers of copyrighted material.
The advocacy groups argue in comments filed late last week that there's no reason for such an exception because the proposed regulations themselves apply only to legal material.
What's more, they say, any FCC stamp of approval of techniques aimed at combating piracy could result in blocking of legal material. "ISPs are poorly placed to determine whether or not transfers of content are infringing or otherwise unlawful, a task generally reserved to attorneys, courts, and law enforcement," the groups argue. "An exception permitting overbroad mechanisms would encourage ISPs to use systems that would encourage more false positives -- and thus more blocking of lawful transfers of content -- than otherwise."
Not surprisingly, Hollywood and the record labels argue the opposite. In separate filings made late last week, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America ask the FCC to prod ISPs to develop anti-infringement policies.
"In the absence of clear guidance from the Commission, ISPs -- fearful of government reproach -- may be reluctant to take advantage of the best available tools and techniques to prevent and combat online content theft," the MPAA asserts.
The RIAA, meanwhile, appears to downplay the dangers that lawful content will be blocked, arguing that "perfection is not required" when ISPs attempt to prevent infringement.