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.