Public Interest Groups File Brief With FCC over Pirated Content Over Broadband
Serving as lead for several other public interest groups, Public Knowledge has filed a brief with the U.S. FCC objecting to NBC Universal's request that Internet Service Providers do more to stifle the distribution of pirated and infringing content distributed over their networks.
Here's the Summary of the brief:
NBC Universal (“NBC”) has asked the Commission to require that broadband providers use readily available means to prevent the use of their broadband networks to transfer pirated content.”
Any attempt to use this technology to control what may be done on the Internet will have serious unintended consequences. Particularly, these technologies limit First Amendment freedoms, stifle innovation, threaten personal privacy, and do little to address the underlying problem.
Additionally, NBC’s proposal invites the FCC to exceed its jurisdiction.While we agree that there are appropriate ways to discourage copyright infringement on the Internet, NBC’s call to require that broadband providers use “bandwidth management tools” to effect this end is misguided.
The Internet has been successful in large part because it is a non-discriminatory network that allows many different kinds of applications to operate over it. Attempts to filter the Internet to remove certain kinds of applications threaten this openness and would make it difficult for new kinds of innovative applications to be adopted.
Technological network filters are impermissibly overbroad in that they limit lawful expression and fair use. They are also ineffective because determined infringers and new technologies will always be able to evade the filters.
Furthermore, the FCC has no jurisdiction to mandate systems that would interfere with copyright law and contravene Supreme Court decisions.
NBC’s call to filter the Internet is particularly misguided in that superior means exist by which content providers can protect their interests.
Existing legal tools, consumer education, alternative licensing regimes, and improved offerings by content providers are all means by which creators can be paid without changing the nature of the Internet.
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