Jul 242009
 
 July 24, 2009  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Online

Public Knowledge has released a study, ‘Forcing the Net Through a Sieve: Why Copyright Filtering is Not a Viable Solution for U.S. ISPs‘ [pdf]. The Executive Summary:

Copyright filtering, the latest proposed “magic bullet” solution from the major music and movie studios and industry trade groups, poses a number of dangers to Internet users, legitimate businesses and U.S. federal government initiatives to increase the speed, affordability and utilization of broadband Internet services. The following whitepaper presents a number of reasons why the use of copyright filters should not be allowed, encouraged or mandated on U.S. Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks. Among them:

1. Copyright filters are both underinclusive and overinclusive. A copyright filter will fail to identify all unlawful or unwanted content while harming lawful uses of content.
2. Copyright filter processing will add latency. Copyright filters will slow ISP networks, discouraging use, innovation and investment and harming users, businesses and technology policy initiatives.
3. The implementation of copyright filters will result in a technological arms race. Users will act to circumvent the filters and the architects of the filters will find themselves caught in a costly, unwinnable arms race.
4. Copyright filters do not make economic sense. The monetary costs associated with copyright filtering far outweigh any perceived benefits.
5. Copyright filters will discourage investment in the Internet economy.
Copyright filters will disrupt the Internet ecosystem, severely undermining our most promising engine for economic growth.
6. Copyright filters will harm free speech. Due to technological limitations, copyright filters will harm lawful, protected forms of speech such as parody and satire.
7. Copyright filters could undermine the safe harbor provisions that shield ISPs from liability. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ISPs are shielded from liability for their users’ actions. Copyright filters could undermine these safe harbors, which have allowed the Internet to become the most important communications medium of the modern era.
8. Copyright filtering could violate the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act. Copyright filtering could constitute unlawful interception under the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act (ECPA).

Full Report (PDF; 398 KB)
Public Knowledge’s reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (PDF; 271 KB)

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