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RIAA Wants Limits On Net Neutrality So ISPs Can Police File Sharing 173

Presto Vivace writes "Reporting for Computer World, Grant Gross writes that the RIAA is asking the FCC not to make the net neutrality rules so strict that they 'would limit broadband providers' [flexibility] to "address" illegal online file sharing.' It seems the RIAA is unclear on the concept of the Fourth Amendment. 'The FCC should not only avoid rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking illegal file trading, but it should actively encourage ISPs to do so, the RIAA said. ... Other groups called on the FCC to stay out of the copyright enforcement business. If ISPs are required to check for copyright infringement, they could interfere with legal online activities, said six digital rights and business groups, including Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.'"
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RIAA Wants Limits On Net Neutrality So ISPs Can Police File Sharing

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  • So basically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:11PM (#30791266)

    We're all for net neutrality, except that we hate the concept and it should be changed to reflect this.

  • pfft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:20PM (#30791348)
    RIAA just won't quit will they. Their idea would require ISP's to spend money, they don't even want to spend money to upgrade their networks to deal with increased load.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:34PM (#30791462)

    The RIAA is correct that the ISPs are in a unique position in that they easily (relatively speaking, of course) could implement safeguards to stop the trafficking of any files they want. There are some hiccups in a potential implementation, and it wouldn't come cheap, but the RIAA is at least correct that the easiest--nay, only--way to stop file trading is to cut it off at the source.

    What they don't get, however, is that the ISPs have no obligation to them to do this. It doesn't sound like the RIAA is willing to pony up the cost for this (at least, they aren't volunteering), or otherwise contribute to making it work. It sounds more like they've decided that the FCC and the ISPs should help them, since they've proven to the world at large that they're not capable of helping themselves. I don't see what makes them feel they've earned the right to be "saved." It's ludicrous.

    How about newspapers? Those are fundamentally far more important to society than entertainment music. Yet, advertisers have increased their dollars spent online, leaving less to be spent in papers; further, the wider reach of the internet is more attractive than a page in a newspaper that reaches, in major markets, a few million (and that's only a handful of places). Further, of those million, only a fraction will actually see the ad, since few people read every section of the paper. So, newpapers are going under all over the country, yet no one seems to be crying to save them. How about we help them out first?

  • by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:38PM (#30791502)

    I'm not a lawyer, but I did study constitutional law. I don't mean to be critical, but people should drop the concept that the Bill of Rights applies to private and/or corporate entities. They are applicable to the FEDERAL government. There is still debate on which amendments should apply to the states - e.g. the recent 2nd amendment lawsuits against state governments and D.C.

    So you're ok with letting a private organization tell your ISP that they think you infringed on a copyright and that you should be booted off of the internet? The rights of others end where mine begin, and judging from the track record of the RIAA with their lawsuits against people who don't even own a computer I doubt that this will be used appropriately.

  • by Kijori ( 897770 ) <ward,jake&gmail,com> on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:54PM (#30791648)

    I serously doubt that ISPs would want to take on the role of online copyright police, though some might welcome it as an excuse to block or throttle bandwidth-heavy, potentially infringing traffic (anything P2P, for instance, or perhaps -- even more nefariously -- anything not explicitly added to an ISPs whitelist of official content). Otherwise, it seems to me the added burden of filtering illegal downloads specifically is something ISPs would rather avoid (but which the RIAA would love to impose).

    Absolutely - there's a similar bill over here in Britain that has been estimated to cost £500m [digitalwrong.org] ($800m), or approximately £25 ($40) per user, a cost that the ISP would pass straight on to the customer. I would assume that the cost per subscriber would be about the same in the US - I wonder if the RIAA is offering to pay...

    The British provisions are being debated over here at the moment - the ideas sound pretty similar; among other provisions, they would force ISPs to disconnect people accused of copyright infringement, which over here has lead to the brilliant question in the House of Lords: If someone's child downloads a film while waiting around in Parliament, does Parliament get its internet access shut off? [digitalwrong.org]

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:57PM (#30791670)

    Not only that, but why should ISPs care? Because of the increased bandwidth use? They have simpler tools to counter this (like metering the use and having their user pay for it). Independent of what's sent through the cable.

    It would not only cost the ISPs money, that's actually a minor concern. The liability is. From "they should have the authority" it's a tiny step to "they have to". And then they'd be liable for any filesharing going on through their networks.

    I could not see anything any ISP would fight harder against than that. Because it is nearly impossible to policy that without pretty much banning all traffic except traffic relying on public, well used protocols. And ponder how many of their users this would piss off and make them quit. All online gamers (because games, especially MMOs, pretty much have to use nonstandard data packets to avoid cheating and use of unauthorized clients) and all VPN users (and those are usually the ones with the fat contracts, think companies and the like) first of all.

    If the RIAA wants a fight with the major ISPs, this is the way to do it.

  • Re:Meteor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 16, 2010 @01:58PM (#30791682)
    Yeah you know if Terrorists stop trying to kill us and started killing people we hate...we might actually give them what they want...which is to leave their "homeland"..I think? So it's a win-win!
  • by myspace-cn ( 1094627 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @02:11PM (#30791796)

    The FCC wasn't created to do TCPIP.


    They have no business on the web, and the only thing that will happen is they will fuck it up. just like they have with their own original mission statement.

    You only hear about the FCC and the web, each time this propaganda tries to give the FCC the power to regulate more shit, in this case TCPIP.

    They will gain control of the WEB if the public allows the fascist corporations to control the engineers. THINK DAMN IT! It's only been the last couple years the FCC has been associated with the web.


    Do not give them the authority to regulate the fucking web!

    Unless you desire NO PUBLIC outlet for information at all. Is that what you want?

    Keep getting side-tracked with stupid ass stories and don't protest.

    This is predictable as clockwork!

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @02:30PM (#30791970)

    you should be booted off of the internet?

    The ISP is in the business of serving subscribers who pay monthly fees. As long as your billing identity affords you plausible deniability [wikipedia.org], particularly for mobile broadband accounts, the ISP would be happy to continue selling you service under a new alias. It is an unfortunate truth that ordinary citizens, due to corrupt bargains between special interests and the government, are increasingly compelled by necessity to master the techniques of intelligence operatives simply to maintain privacy and duck silly restrictions, but that is the world that we live in today. For those who are interested, I recommend the following book [amazon.com]. After all, the lobbyists, corporations and politicians don't play be the rules; so why should we?

  • Re:analogy with mail (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:25PM (#30792366)

    It is a federal offense to riffle through someone else's mail. This nonsense by the RIAA and friends is like saying "yeah we agree that FEDEX etc. shouldn't be going through other peoples' mail... except to make sure that people aren't pirating things..."

    I'm not saying it's right, but are carriers such as FedEx and UPS bound by those same restrictions. I understand that it's illegal to snoop through USPS mail, but what about private, commercial carriers?

  • by Skarecrow77 ( 1714214 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:37PM (#30792466)

    Oh absolutely a huge mistake, yes. I haven't looked recently, but I think the 2nd is the last major amendment from the BoR that hasn't been incorporated.

    Even a cursory beginner's intro to the history of the United States would show that the 2nd amendment was never about hunting ducks or deer, and was always about protecting the people from tyrannical government using firearms as their last resort.

    Why that should only extend to federal government, and not state or local government has always been a mystery to me.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:38PM (#30792478)

    There's hardly ever such a thing as a request 'broadcast' onto the internet. Requests are generally unicast, there is a difference.

    When a unicast message is transmitted, only the peer whose IP address is the destination IP receives the packet.

    Actually, the internet is not a broadcast medium or the transmission medium. There is no public space called "the internet" that a request passes through.

    You buy a connection from an ISP.

    That ISP sends your packet to the destination who also has a connection with the ISP.

    OR: Your ISP forwards your packet to their transit provider (the ISP's ISP), who ultimately has a contractual relationship with your ISP and the recipient's ISP, to forward your packet to the destination ISP.

    OR: Your ISP forwards your packet to a peer, who has a contractual relationship with them, and your destination has purchased an internet connection from the peer (or IS the peer).

    The result is, that the internet is not owned by the government.

    Anymore than the government would own the path, or be able to control what you were allowed to transport, if all your neighbors got together, and built underground tunnels between the basements of houses in your subdivision that did not cross public land, and were large enough for people to bring things through.

    The government could not forbid you from using the private tunnels to share playboy magazines with your neighbors; as long as you all obeyed the contracts with each other, there would not be a legal issue.

    The FCC demanding some participants filter what can be carried through the tunnels, would essentially be an abridgement of private property rights.

    Because just about every part of the internet is private property, including the easements on which private fiber is laid (rights that have to be purchased, when any company or person needs to buy certain rights land that is otherwise public or belongs to someone else).

  • by jthill ( 303417 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @04:06PM (#30792672)

    That is correct. And also the various assertions that the 4th doesn't restrict private entities.

    But shutting off an entire household's internet access, let alone taking their computers, is seizure, not talk, and requires either consent or legal authority. So the 4th applies.

    The police may not search your car without explicitly-stated consent. If they can see it through the windows that's fine, but that's looking, not searching. The police also may not revoke your license just because someone made accusations - the police themselves can't do it even if someone provides evidence.

    The *AA's want to turn ISPs into police who _do_ have the authority to search, not merely to look, and to revoke not just your license but the licenses of everyone in your entire household just because somebody leveled an accusation.

    Maybe you don't use the net much in your work. I don't much, now, but permanent team IRC or skype or AIM chats are widespread professional practice. Net access is very definitely as important to many people as a driver's license, and more so to quite a few.

  • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:52PM (#30794512) Journal

    An individual has a right to self defense. Firearms give the physically weak a strong defense against an initiation of violence from others. Can you find a good reason why someone shouldn't be able to defend themselves and their families from people who threaten their lives with lethal force if necessary? That alone is a reason to defend the 2nd amendment even if all other reasons dissolve.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.