This Is Why We Worry About Net Neutrality Regs: Loopholes For RIAA/MPAA

from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept

We've mentioned a bunch of times that while we support the concept of net neutrality (and think any ISP that goes away from it is making a big, big mistake) we're quite worried about the unintended consequences of having it put into law. As a perfect example of why we should be worried, the EFF is putting together a petition to protest the "copyright loophole" that's already in the proposed FCC rules:
Buried in the FCC's rules is a deeply problematic loophole. Open Internet principles, the FCC writes, "do not... apply to activities such as the unlawful distribution of copyrighted works."

For years, the entertainment industry has used that innocent-sounding phrase -- "unlawful distribution of copyrighted works" -- to pressure Internet service providers around the world to act as copyright cops -- to surveil the Internet for supposed copyright violations, and then censor or punish the accused users.

From the beginning, a central goal of the Net Neutrality movement has been to prevent corporations from interfering with the Internet in this way -- so why does the FCC's version of Net Neutrality specifically allow them to do so?
This is what we worry about. It's great that the EFF is catching this particular loophole, but as more lobbyists get their hands on net neutrality regulations, they're going to slip in more and more loopholes like this that will turn what may have great intentions into something else entirely.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Is there an alternative?

    Without legislation in one way or another there will be no changes.

    The market is firmly locked in the hands of a few and they have the law to back them up.

    So unless people start paying attention to congress and be more pro-active nothing will change.

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    ISPs should be neutral. Except when it comes to government granted monopolies. And child porn. And fake child porn. And offensive porn. And gambling. And promoting drugs. And terrorists activities. And activities the government might happen to think might lead to terrorism, such as paint balling.

    But other than those, and maybe a few other things, the ISPs should treat the net as being complete neutral. We live in a free country and the government should not impede free speech. Except in those areas discussed above, and maybe in a few more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Sam I Am, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Net Neutrality regs without qualification for unlawful behavior online (of any kind) would be like codifying seamless inalienable privacy rights regardless of what you may use that privacy for.

    True Net Neutrality = anarchy and unstoppable, harmful chaos.
    Dream on.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    apparently they don't realize what neutrality means.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    So basically it will be business as usual? What happens if they block something that applys "to activities such as the unlawful distribution of copyrighted works" and end up blocking / slowing down legitimate services? Will this just end up being their catch all excuse?

     

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  6.  
    icon
    dwind (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Suspected works?

    At least it didn't contain the word 'suspected' like in suspected copyrighted works

     

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  7.  
    icon
    CStrube (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    Right, just like device and content neutrality with respect to landline phones have lead to utter chaos. Providers should be dumb pipes except for signals that will physically harm the network infrastructure.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    You seem to be concerned that the legislation is written badly, and I guess we can all understand that.

    But your conclusion that it's better not to have legislation doesn't follow at all; since the ISPs are already getting pressured due to this particular loop hole, the legislation doesn't obviously make that any worse - it would be much better to have legislation and get it right since that would end the current abuse, and that is what you want isn't it ?!!!.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    But your conclusion that it's better not to have legislation doesn't follow at all; since the ISPs are already getting pressured due to this particular loop hole, the legislation doesn't obviously make that any worse - it would be much better to have legislation and get it right since that would end the current abuse, and that is what you want isn't it ?!!!.

    How can you know that the legislation will "get it right"? That's my concern.

    And what "current abuse" are you talking about?

     

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  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    I sincerely hope you forgot a sarcasm tag on the end of that mess....

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm just filling in for the Anti-Mike while he's down helping out in Haiti.

     

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  12.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    "True Net Neutrality = anarchy and unstoppable, harmful chaos."

    You do realize that our phone system is neutral? You can use it to sell pot. You can use it to phone in a kidnapping demand. You can use it to sell child porn. But yet the phone company is under no obligation to search its lines for such activities and stop such activities. And yet, somehow, we've managed not to decay into a world of unstoppable chaos.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Boost, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Is there an alternative?

    Well, this is only true if there are artificial barriers to market that exist, such as the number of ISP's that can operate in a certain area. If there aren't artificial barriers to market, then the consumer will be more free to choose service providers that operate under the principles of net neutraility. If the government steps in and creates a monopoly or duopoly in a market then the consumer's choice is limited and the service provider can operate with impunity.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Is there an alternative?

    Well, as far as I know this isn't really a big problem right now. ISPs that have experimented with DPI have generally been called on it so far, and in the vast majority of places, the Internet is still a dumb pipe. So it seems rather inciteful to start on about how "nothing will change" before we get to the point where we really need change, should it even occur.

    But assuming it does, you're somewhat right in the sense that the more Congress interferes, the more we need Congress to adapt before any change can occur. Which is only more reason why we definitely don't want Congress to get any more involved with legislation/regulation. Just look at the financial system - the more regulation Congress has passed, the worse we end up systematically until we got to where we are now, which is a giant clusterfuck. I don't want that to be the Internet in 10 years.

    We're better off opening up the market to the players and allowing it to react and adapt with competition and innovation. This is one of those issues where it gets tricky based on its susceptability to natural monopolies, but all the incumbent providers still require public property to get their service to the masses. Thus, requiring line sharing or the like in return for fair market compensation is one possible solution, and there are surely others that have already been tested elsewhere. With the way technology is going, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole issue was moot in 15 years as Wifi range expands logarithmically or something similar to open it up. Just think where computer technology was in 1995.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Jon B., Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Is there an alternative?

    No changes? Great! The net is already neutral. "Net neutrality" legislation is designed to fix something that doesn't yet exist.

    The way to fix these problems and problems that exist today are to make the ISP market more competitive because they're localized monopolies. Telling these localized monopolies how you want them to behave duct tapes over the problem but it doesn't actually solve the problem.

    When you say you want "things to change", you need to be more specific, or you'll end up with something worse than what you had before.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Is there an alternative?

    * - I think I meant exponentially...

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Boost, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    Your logic follows that "Bad legislation is better than no legislation." Is that really how you think?

    Oh my god, the sky is falling. Hurry, pass a law to stop it!!! You know, I bet the United States wouldn't get worse if congress threw their hands in the air and said, we're not passing any new legislation for the next 12 months.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm sure that could only help, but as we've seen lately that doesn't stop the President, the Fed, or anybody else from spending as much of the country's money(mostly borrowed from China now) on anything they damn well please.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem we have right now is the voter paradigm that equates any type of action with progress.

    "Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating."
    -- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Rather think we would be better off... save a Fuck ton of money anyway :)

     

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  20.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    "Unintended Consequences" Occurs on Both Sides

    Whenever legislation is proposed there is an immediate howl of anguish claiming that the proposed laws are bad due to "unintended consequences". Literally this is a half truth as the lack of regulation also has "unintended consequences". Just because we don't have regulation does not mean that we will have net neutrality.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, well in that case, fantastic job.

    Though if he were really helping out in Haiti, I'd have to commend him. So much better than giving money to the Red Cross, that really REALLY odd agency that has Big Bill promoting them, something that brings instant distrust from me....

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mario, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    "True Net Neutrality = anarchy and unstoppable, harmful chaos."

    I beg to differ. True Net Neutrality is true freedom... but I guess many have been starting to forget what that is in the US. Your fallacy stems from the hypothesis that chaos/anarchy is the ultimate evil and that perfect order is something to strive for. As a matter of fact, all attempts of attaining perfect order on a societal level end up in totalitarianism (see present day China for a quick example of that). I agree that utter anarchy/chaos is not the most efficient form of society, but any society would be better off a bit closer to chaos than closer to perfect order. Capitalism, after all, is a mildly ordered but mostly chaotic system, and you have to admit that it fared quite well until it got derailed by the special interest groups that hijacked the government.

     

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  23.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    True Net Neutrality is true freedom

    While true, many people unfortunately view "freedom" as a license to steal. I don't want to see regulation either. But I have a serious problem with those that claim that the invisible hand of the "free-market" will somehow magically enforce the net neutrality compliance. While companies may imply that they would abide by the concept of a neutral internet, how many have actually come out with a legitimate promise to that effect??????????????

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 3:34pm

    Re: True Net Neutrality is true freedom

    See, that's why the free market is awesome - it doesn't rely on companies' bullshit promises to abide by some ethical standard proposed by politicians. If consumers don't feel that an ISP is being neutral, they will switch to a competitor. The key is ensuring available competition, which is most evident in the absence of government regulation. Nobody is advocating that we don't outlaw actual theft of private property or don't enforce contractual obliglations - those are actually extremely important in a free market.

    But if you want a guaranteed way to ensure that the richest and most politically favored businesses will take priority over consumers, by all means choose regulatory capture.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Is there an alternative?

    - The financial system was deregulated your are mistaken about regulation on that part.

    - WiFi needs fiber to be functional in the future in populated areas it won't be one or another probably a hybrid system.

    - Unbundling already was dicarded by the FCC and there is no hint of such talks coming back even with studies saying that is the solution for the creation of a competitive market in the short term.

    Other solutions would be the government building their own network that would be public or communities start building their own.

    The incumbents don't want competition and passed a lot of laws to make sure it is difficult to do so. The price of infra-structure alone is high, then you have the rights of the incumbents that also protect individuals inside society so it is not going to be easy to make them share anything.

    The internet is deregulated in the U.S. but it may not stay that way for long if it is not net neutrality it will be lobbying from the incumbents that will change things just as they did with copyright and a lot of other laws and because the climate inside congress is that companies are good they are more likely to get those changes in their favor.

    It will be regulated there is no question about it, just look at history and you will see the pattern.

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I do agree Castor. Only since the invention of the lobbyist have we quintupled our national dept. The top 10% pay 90% of taxes & have killed the Indian, the farmer, the steelworker.

    It doesn't surprise me the biggest innovation in our modern times has those in power all up in arms to get as much a peace of it as they can by any means possible. Net Neutrality is just another form of power for those that want to litigate there way into power.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Is there an alternative?

    The net is neutral in terms and to continue to be that way we need a direction.

    Your solution to the problem can't happen now because there is no way to do it.

    Have the U.S. a network infra-structure that any new player can use without being forced out by prices or being discriminated?

    No.

    Is there any law that protect individuals from government to take property from anyone?

    Yes.

    It could take decades in litigation if the ISP's get to court and most ISP's are cable companies that put infra-structure on their own and as much as I hate what they do they do have rights too and could enforce them and those same rights protect individuals inside society so again how is the government going to make unbundling possible in the U.S. if they have no leverage at all?

    There maybe a law and if you know about it I would very much like to hear about it.

    Until then my view is that legislation will be required either way and that even if Net Neutrality is not the absolute solution is part of it, then we start asking for another piece of legislation is like putting together a puzzle you go after pieces one at the time just like companies did all these years since the 80's.

    It is a process, a long, exhausting process. If you are expecting a solution right now it won't happen, society have no leverage and it gave all control to companies and now you get what you didn't work for.

    About change, someone said I need to be more specific well my end game is to see something like free.fr that have rock bottom prices with rich features bundled all in one with one price(VoIP, TV, Music, Movies, virus and malware protection at the ISP level and prices that Americans can only dream off) and a market place full with competitors like they have in Japan, when you sign for internet you got a list of hundreds of available ISP's don't matter where you are, how much choices of ISP's americans have? can Americans get rich content under a really low fee?

    No Americans cannot today do none of that and the principal factor is there is no competition on the market.

    The reason there is no competition is because the actual rules don't permit it or the bar for entry is to high, there is even states that out right forbid any one else from building a network and the majority have extreme legislation in place. Now how is competition going to spring from such a sterile ground?

    I really want to know how will people change things without legislation?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    Chaos and order, rightfully balanced. Wait, you're talking about the internet?

    Just leave it as it is. Seems to be working for the majority of Earth's people. Why fuck it up?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 5:03pm

    Confident Incumbents do nothing.

    http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2010/01/fiber-fail-hong-kong-booms-as-verizon-retrenches.ars

    News like this one are not uncommon in the U.S..

    Throttling is invisible to the majority, caps are rolling out, services are being discriminated against because they compete with the desires of the companies that sell you bandwidth, price barriers are being imposed, suggested and implemented, "exclusive" contracts with private parties are being done that stifle even more competition, free speech is being assaulted by copyright laws that make part of IP laws that are showing signs of misuse and abuse everyday, companies are making phantom charges to costumers and nobody notice, costumer service is no where to be found as if they lost the fear from costumers there is no fear in getting caught lying through the teeth and then changing the story to fit the situation and people say it is fine?

    If no one think that is bad and people want to end up like farmers in the hands of Monsanto I think that is fine too.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Big Brother.

    Forgot about the big brother initiative being lauded by the U.S. government to others.

    NZ have implemented some spyware in their vital nodes and so did others, maybe even the U.S. government is doing so in secret, how else would they be able to assist other countries?. In the U.K. I know they are trying really hard and every time someone finds out about it they change the name of the project and continue to do it this would be comical if it was not tragic.

    Now how people track all those changes in laws and can keep and eye on things?

    There is no tools to do that is there?

    Can we crowdsource this thing and make one take one piece of legislation and make it easy for people to keep track of what happens?

    The EFF is good because they do track part of those things and have lots of people working on the problems but I feel they are to small for the task we need better tools.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    What it looks like in a competitive market

    B FLET's (would be equivalent to FIOS in the U.S. but it is 100Mb connection)
    http://flets.com/english/opt/isp.html

    Hikari Next
    http://flets.com/english/next/isp.html

    "Provider Pack is a service that allows you to select the ISP as a set along with the FLET'S HIKARI NEXT line when you sign up for a contract. FLET'S offers a lineup of 11 reliable ISPs from which to choose from.
    Each ISP has its own service content and membership benefits. So you can select the provider most suitable to your needs."


    "In addition to its existing lineup of best-effort IP communication services, NTT East will utilize the next-generation network ("NGN") to launch new optical broadband services, including FLET'S Hikari Next, which offers bandwidth guaranteed application services."


    http://www.ntt-east.co.jp/release_e/0803/080328a.html

    Both networks have the same price range with the new "hikari(light) next) guaranteed bandwidth for VoIP and Video no price hikes there.

    Fee structure.

    If you live in a house and want one line and not share that with anyone you will pay around $60 for it according to the website.

    Now if you choose to share a line and you live in a condo you can end up paying $25 as each line have 1Gb capacity for traffic and will be shared with a minimum of 6 people which can use only 100Mb because of limitations on the ONU unit.

    Optional Services:

    - FLET'S VIRUS CLEARv6 and FLET'S VIRUS CLEAR
    - Hikari Denwa (VoIP). Static fee per month is $5 dollars.
    http://flets.com/english/hikaridenwa/index.html
    - U-Next and Hikari TV.(price range $5~$40) with options for unlimited viewing or PPV(rental) costing $1~$3. You choose your channels and have 25.000 videos to choose from.
    http://flets.com/english/bb/hikaritv/index.html
    - REMOTE SUPPORT SERVICE

    So if you get everything you will be paying $110 in Japan with guaranteed bandwidth for TV and VoIP and a 100Mb bandwidth not caped at 450GB upload with unlimited download. Subject to the whims of your ISP that you can choose from 11 recommended ones or go outside and shop for another one.

    In France:

    In France you get Internet + VoIP + TV for 29.99 euros or $50 bucks
    http://www.free.fr/adsl/index.html

    In those countries there is no need for net neutrality regulation but both had something the U.S. does not have a public infra-structure that the government used to force competition on the market.

     

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  32.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 15th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    Net Neutrality regs without qualification for unlawful behavior online (of any kind) would be like codifying seamless inalienable privacy rights regardless of what you may use that privacy for.

    If someone is watching to make sure you're using your privacy appropriately, then it isn't privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    bshock, Jan 15th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    baby and bathwater?

    Hi Mike:

    I certainly agree that net neutrality is a complex issue, but to me, your argument against codification of net neutrality has always seemed to be saying something like, "Regulations about net neutrality can be corrupt and/or counterproductive, and so we should have no regulations about it."

    Is it impossible, then, to have effective, useful regulations? Should we just surrender to the inevitability that powerful organizations will manage to twist regulations to their benefit?

    Does it really put us in a better situation if we have no framework of regulation? At least if net neutrality regulations existed, there might be a legal way to challenge their problems en masse, rather than fighting every net neutrality encroachment on a per case basis.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    anymouse (profile), Jan 15th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Are 'Unintended Consequences' really unintended?

    How many of the 'unintended consequences' in legislation over the last 10 years or so do people think are really 'unintended'? I'm sure some of them are, but a large part are more likely the 'lobbiests intended changes' designed to appear unintended.

    Oops, did I do that?????

    It's much easier to brush off 'unintended consequences' and never change the legislation that caused them than it is to accept the fact that someone somewhere probably intended that exact result and is making a rather large profit off of it. These are the same individuals that were probably parties to drafting/crafting the legislation/regulation in such a way as to bring about the desired result, without appearing to do so before they handed it off to their purchased congress critter to get it put into law.

    /Tinfoil hat off

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Qawra hotels, Dec 19th, 2010 @ 12:05am

    Re: Re:

    You are saying they are directly proportional? How come?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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