NBC Wants FCC To Force ISPs To Police Their Networks For Copyright Infringement

from the that's-a-stretch dept

NBC Universal has filed a comment with the FCC, saying that ISPs should be forced to police their networks (via Broadband Reports) for copyrighted content that's being illegally shared. The company says that 60-70% of all internet traffic is made up of P2P activity, and copyrighted content constitutes 90% of that (he doesn't, of course, note that all content is copyrighted -- and he doesn't seem to distinguish between authorized or fair use content and unauthorized). The lead name on the comments was that of NBCU's lead counsel, who's no stranger to hyperbole: he's also the head of the "Coaltion Against Counterfeiting and Piracy", and claimed last week that the US' "law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned" because, he claims, intellectual property crime "costs" hundred of billions of dollars per year, more than all other property crimes in the country combined. He tries to make a similarly emotional plea in the FCC filing, saying that if three-fourths of internet traffic was child porn, the government wouldn't sit idly by (again, equating file-sharing with child pornography isn't a new trick either).

It's slightly ridiculous to say that ISPs should have any responsibility to stop copyright infringement on their networks, because they shouldn't be the arbiters of what is and isn't legal. Since they don't have the expertise or the technology to accurately do so, they'll end up blocking all sorts of legal content -- though it's hard to imagine NBCU and other content companies would really care. While some companies, like AT&T, are taking this step willingly in order to buddy up to Hollywood, NBCU faces an uphill battle in convincing regulators and legislators that ISPs should be required to act as copyright police on its behalf. The safe harbor conventions of the DMCA -- which protect ISPs and platform or service providers from the actions of their users serve a valuable function. Imagine if the construction companies that built roads were required to ensure that nobody drove on streets they built during the commission of a crime: it's hard to see too many roads actually getting built. Furthermore, when content companies themselves can't figure out what content is actually infringing upon their copyrights, how can ISPs be expected to?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    OKVol, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 11:19am

    Once again, one bit on the Internet looks like ano

    Maybe we need to fix this problem by pulling fiber to the door and using optical based routers. That way we could color (by different wavelengths of light) the bits so we could tell the naughty ones from the good ones...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Re: Once again, one bit on the Internet looks like

    The only problem there is who decides what bits are bad?

    How would the net know my parody (which is covered by fair use) video of Star Wars that I'm willing to share for free from someone else's parody who does not want to share for free.

    A web surfer in Utah downloads porn from a Georgia based site of people in a position that is illegal in Utah. Don't laugh becuase some sexual positions (namely anal) are illegal in some states.

    And even if some recognition system (and mind you said system would have to be a standard that all ISPs would work with) were set up who would you go back and mark all exising media so that it could be identified?

     

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  3.  
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    The infamous Joe, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 11:55am

    Pay it forward.

    Off topic: Lawrence v. Texas ruled anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional in 2003. Google it.

    On Topic:

    The problem is that they want people who build and maintain the tubes to make sure nothing illegal is sent through them. :P

    It's not the ISPs' job to protect someone else's intellectual property-- in fact, they have no idea what deals have been made with what websites between what copyright holders.

    What really gets me is this:

    NBCU said that what is missing is that an increasing amount of that Internet traffic is in stolen digital goods, and that service providers must actively battle against such theft. [Emphasis Added]

    So, this is why everyone thinks it's stealing. *sigh*



    Does the FCC even have authority over ISPs?

     

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  4.  
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    Greg, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 12:22pm

    Wait a second, where the hell did he get those numbers? "60-70% of all internet traffic is made up of P2P activity, and copyrighted content constitutes 90%"?

    So that's a minimum of 54% of all internet bandwidth, being used for illegal file sharing? More than HALF of all the traffic, at the low end, and almost two-thirds at the high?

    That seems like it doesn't leave enough room for all the Spam, let alone the entire freaking World Wide Web.

     

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  5.  
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    Casper, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Pay it forward.

    Does the FCC even have authority over ISPs?

    Not really... Contrary to what people seem to think, an ISP is not a content provider.

    NBCU said that what is missing is that an increasing amount of that Internet traffic is in stolen digital goods, and that service providers must actively battle against such theft. [Emphasis Added]


    So, this is why everyone thinks it's stealing. *sigh*


    Sadly yes. People are stupid, regardless of what education level they have attained. If they are told something they want to hear or it comes from a source they like, it becomes fact regardless of the realities of the situation. As it stands, there is a serious confusion between distinctions of legal issues. Civil issues, which is what a violation of product rights really is, really isn't the job of the government to police. That is what lawsuits are actually for. If it were actually "theft" it would be another matter.

     

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  6.  
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    Casper, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Wait a second, where the hell did he get those numbers? "60-70% of all internet traffic is made up of P2P activity, and copyrighted content constitutes 90%"?

    So that's a minimum of 54% of all internet bandwidth, being used for illegal file sharing? More than HALF of all the traffic, at the low end, and almost two-thirds at the high?

    That seems like it doesn't leave enough room for all the Spam, let alone the entire freaking World Wide Web.


    Shhh, they don't like it when you question the numbers. If you do it to much, they will blame Canada again.

     

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  7.  
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    Shawn, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    Because 84.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Those numbers are easily obtainable then. :)

     

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  8.  
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    Statistics R Us, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 12:51pm

    93% of all Humans have an intelligent level equal or less then that of a goldfish.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    93% of all Humans have an intelligent level equal or less then that of a goldfish.

    Is it safe to assume the same percent also share the same attention span?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:09pm

    asking ISP to protect Mr X's intellectual property is like holding the post office resposible for any bootleg cd's or dvd i mail to you.

     

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  11.  
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    Vincent Clement, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    They start with the high numbers first. By the end of next week, they will be down to single digits but will have accomplished their goal - some portion of internet activity consists of illegal file sharing. Cue the legislators.

     

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  12.  
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    Larry, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re:

    I used to have goldfish when I was a kid...sorry, what were we talking about??

     

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  13.  
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    Vincent Clement, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:18pm

    Re:

    Don't give the MPAA/RIAA any ideas.

     

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  14.  
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    Bob Sadler, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:20pm

    This is the same idiot...

    This is the same idiot who said that the Police shouldn't put forth as much effort to solve rape cases because the monetary value is too low.

    Truly, this is the start of "The Running Man" era, God help us all!

     

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  15.  
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    Witty Nickname, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

    Block all copyrited content

    Since we are blocking all copyrited content I think NBC should voluntarily pull down its website. They copyrited the whole thing, they are intellectual property photos everywhere - and they even



    STREAM ONLINE VIDEO!

     

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  16.  
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    takeaswag, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:26pm

    Now I see why ATT did it

    Now I understand why ATT made their announcemetn that they would filter IP at the ISP level. It gave anti fair use people cause to say that ISP's CAN do that afterall! Well, in that case, let's just see how well ATT does.

     

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  17.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    From comment #5


    Civil issues, which is what a violation of product rights really is, really isn't the job of the government to police. That is what lawsuits are actually for. If it were actually "theft" it would be another matter.


    The thing is the content owners are trying anything they can to hold on to control. They tried the civil court way in the form of all these frivilous lawsuits targeting college kids, elderly people, and lower class people. Notice how those are some of the main groups of people that would least likely have the knowhow and more importantly the money to fight back against their bullying.

    Well now that people are starting to fight back with knowledge the entertainment industry is now trying to buy the laws that they want which would explain all these "coalitions", "groups", and "associations" that are rising up to put an end to piracy. Essentially they are paying Congress to give them infintie protection from economic change so that they (and their future spoiled grandkids) can continue to make money off of music that was written several decades ago.

     

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  18.  
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    Charles Griswold, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Once again, one bit on the Internet looks like

    Maybe we need to fix this problem by pulling fiber to the door and using optical based routers. That way we could color (by different wavelengths of light) the bits so we could tell the naughty ones from the good ones...
    I don't really want my ISP to be able to see my naughty bits.

     

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  19.  
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    OKVol, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    They outsourced the statistics to the prediction department at "The National Enquirer".

     

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  20.  
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    Norm, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 2:35pm

    What the duece?

    Ahh ... the never ending stupidity of people who truely don't understand what they are talking about. Even if the numbers are anywhere near true (yeah, hell froze over, pigs fly, etc) it wouldn't matter! Does he have any idea the difference between hosting content and content traveling over the network?

    Not to mention the incredible task of an ISP monitering traffic for copyrighted material. Even if that was technically feasable, a workaround would be posted within days in the doom forums!

     

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  21.  
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    Merlin, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 3:30pm

    Don't post downloadable files if you all don't wan

    I personally think if this poses such an issue, then don't post downloadable stuff on the internet simple as that. How is it stealing if it is readily available everywhere you go pretty much. If this is such a big issue then put downloadable files into like a pay server where we have to pay a set amount for files downloaded. The US has spent billions of dollars building this super computer monitoring building to track and record internet activity so if a file is to be uploaded to the net for P2P or whatever then make use of the building by hosting the pay server there. We pay alittle bit for a file, and someone gets some money. Not like these multi millionaires don't have enough money the way it is. When is enough enough come on. There everyone should be somewhat appeased.

     

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  22.  
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    thinlizzy151, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 4:40pm

    Get a new business model already!

    "Not like these multi millionaires don't have enough money the way it is. When is enough enough come on."
    Sensible statements like that just don't fly with these greedheads. I remember Ted Turner once saying with a straight face during an interview that no matter how much money you make it never will be enough. I guess you just have to be that kind of rich to understand that kind of thinking. I sure don't.
    What this really is is another form of corporate welfare. They haven't sufficient creativity to come up with a way to adapt to the new technology that is changing the face of everybody's marketplace, so they don't know what to do except to cry "Foul!" and treat their own customers like criminals. I don't know how these guys got rich, but it sure isn't because their all that smart. No matter what they do, people will always find a way around it, haven't they figured that out yet? Apparently not.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 5:43pm

    Re: What the duece?

    Does he have any idea the difference between hosting content and content traveling over the network?
    Of course he does. I really doubt he's that stupid. He's just being untruthful, which is much worse than being ignorant.

     

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  24.  
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    J, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 7:15pm

    Wait, so should the water and sewer company be responsible for what I flush down the toilet? By this logic, if I flush a bunch of baby alligators down my toilet and they grow up and attack people, well--the utility is responsible!

     

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  25.  
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    Charles Griswold, Jun 18th, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    Re:

    Wait, so should the water and sewer company be responsible for what I flush down the toilet? By this logic, if I flush a bunch of baby alligators down my toilet and they grow up and attack people, well--the utility is responsible!
    Of course. They provided you with the services required to flush alligators. If they had done the responsible thing and installed proper alligator filters in the sewer lines those tragedies never would have happened. Also, if they had proper sewage shaping and prioritizing in place, that would reduce or eliminate backed-up drains.

    The water and sewer companies should be held responsible for the improper usage of their systems. Only then will the real victims, those tempted to wrongdoing by the current sewage neutrality policies, be safe.

     

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  26.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 19th, 2007 @ 6:05am

    What's next??

    The bartender that sold the drink that was used to drug her/his victim(s) is now responsible?

    If a serial killer is on the loose and gets 3 victims does that mean the police are responsible for victim number 4's death?

    I steal a utility truck and use it plant a bomb. Does that mean the utility company I stole it from is responsible?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2007 @ 8:24am

    Re: What's next??

    Yes and no.

    All of the above will be held accountable if and only if there is money to be made by the RIAA/MPAA/Whatever money hungry bastard group. If no money can be made and just some unlucky women gets rape, citizens get blown up.

    Fuck em.

     

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  28.  
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    Felix Unger, Jun 20th, 2007 @ 11:25am

    In regards to NBC's attempt to get the FCC to mess with an ISP to 'protect' IP,


    F U

     

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