Stretching The FCC's Mandate: FCC Should Not Be Involved In Copyright Enforcement

from the beyond-the-mandate dept

We were a bit concerned last year when the FCC held hearings which were technically about the national broadband policy, but instead focused on copyright, something that is clearly well outside the FCC's mandate -- something the FCC already got in trouble for a few years back with its attempt to mandate a "broadcast flag." However, there are now some additional concerns that this administration is ignoring the limits of the FCC's mandate. As you may recall, a few weeks back, the Justice Department -- at the urging of the entertainment industry -- set up a special IP task force to deal with "the rise of intellectual property crime." However, some are quite worried about how this task force intends to go about this.

Copycense points us to a letter sent to the Justice Department by the Center for Democracy and Technology, which noticed that, in the announcement of this new task force, the Justice Department said it intends to work with the FCC on intellectual property enforcement. That's a problem:
What's wrong with that? It's an invitation to major mission creep. The FCC's job is to execute and enforce federal communications law. It has no authority and no role in enforcing other laws. Lots of unlawful activity -- from intellectual property infringement to racketeering to securities fraud to deceptive advertising -- may occur over or using communications networks. But that doesn't make it the FCC's job to police such activity. The FCC's focus is, and should remain, promoting the availability of high quality communications capabilities in the United States -- not policing what users do with those capabilities.

In addition, the only reason to involve the FCC would be to force the entities the FCC regulates -- communications providers, and in particular ISPs -- to start actively policing I.P. infringement. Having government force ISPs to take on this new role should raise serious red flags. The idea that ISPs don't serve as gatekeepers or content censors, and aren't themselves responsible for what users do on the network, has been a bedrock principle that underpins the Internet's open and innovative nature. Casting it aside would be a serious mistake and a radical departure from U.S. communications policy.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Grammah Correction Specialist, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    1.) Use a more accurate adjective than "quite."
    2.) Also, avoid contractions in formal righting. "that's, "what's", "don't" should be "That is", "What is", "do not" and such.
    3.) Is that the correct use of "It's"? Why not use "its" in "It's an invitation"

    For moar grammah tips, tricks, help, and training, please visit this Facebook group-

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:33pm


    "Also, avoid contractions in formal righting."

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

  3. icon
    Esahc (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:37pm


    I don't think internet slang like "moar" would be considered good grammar:

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

  4. identicon
    Nick Mc, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:56pm

    Grammah Correction Specialist

    And the specialist can't even spell "grammar" properly.

    BTW, where the heck has TAM been lately? Haven't heard a peep from him for a few days.

    It's seems to be up to the "little Michial" (is that a real spelling?) to irritate everyone right now.

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

  5. icon
    btrussell (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re:

    I agree!

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    Net Neuter-Reality

    How many times do We The People have to fight off the corporate powers before our elected officials will stand up for us? Banks, Pharma, Cable, Healthcare, Telcom, Insurance, Entertainment, etc. are all out of control and Teddy Roosevelt’s doppelganger needs to emerge and kick some big time ass.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    What a waste of taxpayer money and prison space, to put people in prison for something as minor as infringement just to enforce malicious laws designed to unfairly benefit the top one percent at public expense.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    if the fcc were to somehow get isp's to police thier networks wouldnt that effectively allow them to not be "dumb pipes" anymore, and as such allow them to skirt around net neutrallity, ie "we only slowed down our competiters VOD service because we wernt 100% sure it wasnt infringing" and "our customers can only use bittorrent software that we provide so we can effectivley police it without them having to give up an effective way to download and distribute files, and anyway our software only requires an additional $20 to the subsciption to use" and so on and so forth....

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 7:31pm



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

  10. identicon
    Any Mouse, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 10:16pm


    1) Your spelling is simply atrocious. Please, use a spellchecker.

    2) The blog seems to be more informal than formal. Regardless, such things aren't weighed as heavily as they were 30 years ago.

    3) 'Its' is a possessive form. 'It's' means 'it is', so 'It is an invitation' is correct and proper.

    Self-promotion is much better if you're not being an ass about what you're promoting.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 10:40pm


    at least these links have rel="nofollow" on them... seems a waste of time to blog spam and not even get any page rank out of it

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

  12. identicon
    Chris Brand, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    "the rise of intellectual property crime"

    This one always amuses me. You pass a law (say the DMCA) making more things illegal, and then decry the corresponding "rise in crime". There's no actual change in behaviour, you just moved the bar so that more things fall into the "illegal" side of it...

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 6:58am


    Language, spelling and grammar are simply methods or tools used to convey meaning. When you become more concerned about the tool itself than the meaning you intend to convery then you become a pedantic jobsworth and an idiot. I doubt anyone is impressed with your knowledge of grammer, because just about everyone recognises the general unimportance of such.

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

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