Bandwidth Throttling

 Hollywood ask US ISPs to block file sharing



18th January
2008
  

Copyright on Wacky Ideas...

US ISP plans to filter out copyrighted data packets

AT&T logo AT&T have announced that it is seriously considering plans to examine all the traffic it carries for potential violations of U.S. intellectual property laws. The prospect of AT&T, already accused of spying on our telephone calls, now scanning every e-mail and download for outlawed content is way too totalitarian for my tastes. But the bizarre twist is that the proposal is such a bad idea that it would be not just a disservice to the public but probably a disaster for AT&T itself. If I were a shareholder, I'd want to know one thing: Has AT&T, after 122 years in business, simply lost its mind?

No one knows exactly what AT&T is proposing to build. But if the company means what it says, we're looking at the beginnings of a private police state. That may sound like hyperbole, but what else do you call a system designed to monitor millions of people's Internet consumption? That's not just Orwellian; that's Orwell.

The puzzle is how AT&T thinks that its proposal is anything other than corporate seppuku. First, should these proposals be adopted, my heart goes out to AT&T's customer relations staff. Exactly what counts as copyright infringement can be a tough question for a Supreme Court justice, let alone whatever program AT&T writes to detect copyright infringement. Inevitably, AT&T will block legitimate materials (say, home videos it mistakes for Hollywood) and let some piracy through. Its filters will also inescapably degrade network performance. The filter AT&T will really need will be the one that blocks the giant flood of complaints and termination-of-service notices coming its way.

But the most serious problems for AT&T may be legal. Since the beginnings of the phone system, carriers have always wanted to avoid liability for what happens on their lines, be it a bank robbery or someone's divorce. Hence the grand bargain of common carriage: The Bell company carried all conversations equally, and in exchange bore no liability for what people used the phone for. Fair deal.

AT&T's new strategy reverses that position and exposes it to so much potential liability that adopting it would arguably violate AT&T's fiduciary duty to its shareholders. Today, in its daily Internet operations, AT&T is shielded by a federal law that provides a powerful immunity to copyright infringement. The Bells know the law well: They wrote and pushed it through Congress in 1998, collectively spending six years and millions of dollars in lobbying fees to make sure there would be no liability for "Transitory Digital Network Communications"—content AT&T carries over the Internet. And that's why the recording industry sued Napster and Grokster, not AT&T or Verizon, when the great music wars began in the early 2000s.

Here's the kicker: To maintain that immunity, AT&T must transmit data "without selection of the material by the service provider" and "without modification of its content." Once AT&T gets in the business of picking and choosing what content travels over its network, while the law is not entirely clear, it runs a serious risk of losing its all-important immunity. An Internet provider voluntarily giving up copyright immunity is like an astronaut on the moon taking off his space suit. As the world's largest gatekeeper, AT&T would immediately become the world's largest target for copyright infringement lawsuits.

 

13th February
2008
  

Update: Verizon Not Sharing Hollywood's Control Freakery...


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Resisting pressure to block file sharing

Verizon logo When Hollywood asked the two big phone companies to help with its fight against piracy, they responded in opposite ways. AT&T is talking about developing a system that would identify and block illicitly copied material being sent over its broadband network.

Verizon, however, opposes the concept. I spoke to Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president for public affairs, on the subject. He said the company's view combines a concern for the privacy of its customers with self interest. It may be costly for it to get into the business of policing the traffic on its network. Indeed, phone companies have largely spent a century trying not to be liable for what people say over their lines: We generally are reluctant to get into the business of examining content that flows across our networks and taking some action as a result of that content, he said.

Tauke offered at least three objections to the concept:

  1. The slippery slope.

    Once you start going down the path of looking at the information going down the network, there are many that want you to play the role of policeman. Stop illegal gambling offshore. Stop pornography. Stop a whole array of other kinds of activities that some may think inappropriate.
     
  2. It opens up potential liability for failing to block copyrighted work.

    When you look back at the history of copyright legislation, there has been an effort by Hollywood to pin the liability for copyright violations on the network that transmits the material. It is no secret they think we have deeper pockets than others and we are easy-to-find targets.
     
  3. Privacy.

    Anything we do has to balance the need of copyright protection with the desire of customers for privacy.

 

 Offsite Article: Will your Internet provider be spying on you?...


Link Here 10th July 2012  full story: Bandwidth Throttling...Hollywood ask US ISPs to block file sharing
CNN editorial about the possible consequences of actions by US ISPs to combat file sharing

See article from edition.cnn.com

 

 Update: Center for the Lack of Copyright Information...

US anti-file sharing measures kick off from today


Link Here 26th February 2013  full story: Bandwidth Throttling...Hollywood ask US ISPs to block file sharing

center for copyright information logo Today the controversial six-strikes anti-piracy system kicks off in the United States.

Soon the first BitTorrent users will receive so-called copyright alerts from their Internet provider and after multiple warnings subscribers will be punished. But, what these punishments entail remains a bit of a mystery. None of the participating ISPs have officially announced how they will treat repeat infringers and the CCI doesn't have this information either.

copyright alertsToday the MPAA and RIAA, helped by five major Internet providers in the United States, will start to warn BitTorrent pirates. The parties launched the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) and agreed on a system through which copyright infringers are warned that their behavior is unacceptable. After five or six warnings ISPs may then take a variety of repressive measures.

CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser announced:

Over the course of the next several days our participating ISPs will begin rolling out the system. Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers.

TorrentFreak have been seeking further details without much joy. The website reports:

From leaked information we previously learned that AT&T will block users' access to some of the most frequently visited websites on the Internet, until they complete a copyright course. Verizon will slow down the connection speeds of repeated pirates, and Time Warner Cable will temporarily interrupt people's ability to browse the Internet. The two remaining providers, Cablevison and Comcast, are expected to take similar measures. None of the ISPs will permanently disconnect repeat infringers as part of the plan.

More on this, and the other missing details on the six strikes system, will become clear during the coming months.

 

 Offsite Article: Six Strikes struck down...


Link Here 29th January 2017  full story: Bandwidth Throttling...Hollywood ask US ISPs to block file sharing
copyright alert system logo The six-strikes Copyright Alert System is no more. In a brief announcement, MPAA, RIAA, and several major US ISPs said that the effort to educate online pirates has stopped. It's unclear why.

See article from torrentfreak.com

 


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