NBC Universal Explains Why ISPs Should Filter Copyrighted Works

from the because-they're-BIG dept

The NY Times “debate” between law professor Tim Wu and NBC Universal General Counsel Rick Cotton that began Monday now continues. It’s actually not much of a “debate” because each are simply answering the questions posed by the moderator, Saul Hansell. However, the latest concerns whether it makes sense to require third party companies, such as ISPs or consumer electronics firms to filter or block content in an effort to protect copyright holders from unauthorized use of their content. Wu’s answer focuses on a slightly different question: whether it makes sense for the government to step in and mandate such solutions, and provides a reasonable answer questioning why the government should be protecting one industry’s business model at the expense of others’. Cotton’s response is quite similar to the one he gave last week at CES. Effectively, it’s “there’s so much piracy going on, that we need to have others step in and protect our business model.”

I’m curious if Cotton believes that automobiles should have been forced to go 3 mph with people walking in front of them waving red flags, for the sake of protecting the market for horse-drawn carriage makers? Or, should consumer electronics companies been forced not to allow VCRs to record TV? Both examples involved “big” problems that were seen as “threats” to an existing business model. Yet, rather than being actual threats (after some bogus lobbying/court cases), companies realized that these were actually huge opportunities to expand markets and make even more money. So why is it this time it’s suddenly a big threat and not an opportunity? And even if it is a threat, why should it be seen as something that a third party needs to handle? What happens when the required filtering in the US means that foreign consumer electronics makers come up with the next great innovation that isn’t possible in the US and we fall behind in terms of the next important innovation? None of that seems to be of concern to Cotton, whose sole focus is on preserving a business model that is certainly not the most efficient nor effective for the industry. I recognize that it is Cotton’s job at NBC Universal to make these kinds of statements, but it should be his fiduciary responsibility to the company to suggest that there are better paths to adapting to the changing market place, rather than clinging to an obsolete business model and dragging down other industries with it.

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Companies: nbc universal

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Comments on “NBC Universal Explains Why ISPs Should Filter Copyrighted Works”

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KD says:

The only solution ...

The utter ridiculousness of proposal after proposal convinces me that the only solution is to eliminate copyrights altogether, and possibly outlaw DRM. Drastic? Radical, even? Yes, but I think nothing less will serve to force the content companies to join the 21st century.

I think we would find the world wouldn’t end, and, in fact, things would go on without very much disruption, despite whatever dire predictions the copyright apologists would make.

Crazy Loon says:

Oh Noes.....

Why do big corporations even care about the small niblets that people chew on? I mean, theyre the ones making all the money from our hard working souls.

I will be the first that thinks our Internet Providers should give us free access to downloads and crap. Damnit why the hell am I paying so much money for this BS. Im seriously considering breaking my computer very soon.

Just a passerby says:

just to let you all know

this Tim Wu also a few years ago said it was ok for the government to torture little children by using pliers on their privates. And before you say thats a bunch of bs, I have heard the audio clip of him saying it.
If we can’t trust this man to know this is unacceptable than how can we trust any pronouncments of his?

Liquid says:


You know you this all you hear about here in the states is how ISP’s are throttleing network traffic of completely legal network protocols just so they can get in good with the RIAA/MPAA. You never seem to read articles on how recording companies over seas are getting mad about people “stealing” their music as the RIAA likes to spin it. I would like to say thank you Europe for giving me hope that some where out there, there are people who believe in a socialized network structure that opens bandwidth to their customers. Instead of slowing connections down for those few people who they feel are legit network bandwidth users, and slow everything else down for everyone else. They feel that they might be stealing something. GO CAPITOLISM! ! ! Isn’t America awsome. No other country in the world is as capitolistic as we are. MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY MOOOOOOOOONEY… You don’t hear the people at Vergin Records crying about this. You don’t even hear the record labels here in the states makeing pressconfrenses about people pirating their music. Nope, all you get to hear is the RIAA/MPAA make the big stink all the time.

(scratches chin) “I wonder how much they make in legal fees from these record companies. Especially when they decide to sue joe blow for haveing 50+ music files on his computer even though he LEGALY BOUGHT the CD which happens to be a COPY of the orginal created work.” I could see someone getting pissed off if someone took something like ohhh the ORIGINAL Bible setting in the vatican and start change passages in that… NOW I can see someone getting REALLY pissed off about that. When I spend 20$+ for a F****** CD that costs .10 cents to make you damn well better believe I’m going to do what ever I damn well please with it…

Ok I’m done ranting…

Obama says:

Re: Netnutrality

What the hell are you doing up so early? Don’t you belong in school? It’s pretty clear school hasn’t done much for you dope.

Did you ever hear of a SPELL CHECKER? Like the one built in to the comment field on here? Do you think all those nice red lines are just decoration?

Gawd – is this a sample of what keeps file sharing alive? God help us all.

Now get back to the convenience store. It’s your shift.

Jericho (profile) says:

My Copyright

When they talk about the need to filter copyrighted material of course their only talking about their own copyright. What about mine? Yours? All that content on YouTube is just becoming larger every day. For their hopes to be truly inclusive (which I actually doubt they want) then every piece of content on the ‘net would have to have a license attached to it just so the filters would know what they could and could not do. I know that all of *my* content would have a “may not be distributed on a network that employs content filtering” clause.

Anonymous Coward says:

pull your head out of your ass

Filtering the internet is an invasion of privacy, end of discussion. This is America, not a dictatorship, as much as it seems like one these days. NBC, you’re a business, adapt or die.

The day is near where you’ll be able to subscribe to the channels you want to stream their shows. Then we won’t be forced into the Comcraptastic channel bundles that are forced down our throats.

Focus on making quality entertainment and improving the user experience. Trying to chip away at our rights and freedoms will drive people away in the end.

Boost says:

What wouldn't be filtered?

Not much…because everything on the internet is copyrighted. Everything!

If you record a thought in anyway, it is your intelectual property. You don’t even need to apply for a copyright in the way that you do Patents. The moment you record it, it belongs to you unless you have previously asigned posession to someone else. Regardless, everything on the internet is in some way copyrighted.

Jim says:

Stupidity run amuck

Rick Cotton is simply wrong. If your business model is failing, you need to change your business model. And even if ISPs begin to filter, the software used to transfer this material will simply incorporate the ability to initiate a secure VPN tunnel between the source and destionation, which the ISPs (nor anyone else) will be able to see into, and therefore not filter. Changing the business model to one that works is a solution, everything else is just a waste of time because there will always be a way for one technology to counter another.

Anonymous Coward says:

Isn’t Cotton a lawyer? Of course this is his line. You don’t hire lawyers to run your business, you hire lawyers to talk about the law. It is illegal to share copyright material, so of course he talks about how to stop that.

Lawyers are not typically corporate strategists, so of course he shouldn’t be expected to tell the corporation what strategic direction they should be going.

4-80-sicks says:

Re: Re:

so of course he shouldn’t be expected to tell the corporation what strategic direction they should be going.

That may be true, but when he says things tantamount to “technology people are lying when they say it can’t be done” and “youtube can do it, why can’t everybody else,” it’s clear that he is straight-up ignorant. He doesn’t know and he doesn’t care that he doesn’t.

I could sit him down to a cup of coffee and say “a computer doesn’t know anything, especially the difference between my_home_movie.mpeg and hollywood_blockbuster.mpeg,” and his response would be something like “well they should!” And if I told him why they can’t, and how youtube works, I bet he’d insist that everybody do what youtube does. Port this to apply to the entire internet, and it says every bit and byte that travels through the internet should be inspected by a human to ensure that it does not infringe one someone’s precious right to copy. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

another mike says:

ISP business model not threatened

the ISPs’ business model is not threatened by copyright piracy, in fact they are helped by it. the ISP charges you for your internet access, which you need to pirate content on the internet. and if you exceed their secret usage cap on your unlimited subscription, the ISP charges you more. it’s win-win for them, they should fight tooth and nail against any law to impose copyright filtering on them.
piracy only threatens obsolete business models.

gumpman155 says:

well lets see

this country is about money the love of money is the root of all evil. This country is no longer a democracy or a republic. We have 2 miny librals running america thats why NBC and all of the big corperations gets away with bloody murder. Big corperations and Big Government don’t blong to geather. The Corperations and Governmet do not mix. Thanks to Librals and demacrats we are going more to a communist state. So thats why NBC wants to do what ever they can to hinder our freedoms.

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