MPAA and RIAA Seek Net Neutrality Copyright Loophole

Electronic Frontier FoundationLast week the MPAA and RIAA submitted their comments in the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding. As anticipated in EFF’s comments, the big media companies are pushing for a copyright loophole to net neutrality. They want to be able to pressure ISPs to block, interfere with, or otherwise discriminate against your perfectly lawful activities in the course of implementing online copyright enforcement measures.

Of course, the MPAA and RIAA couch this in language intended to sound inoffensive. The RIAA says “the perfect should not be the enemy of the good” and “justice often takes too long.” The MPAA chimes in that “it is essential that government policies explicitly permit—and encourage—ISPs to work with content creators to utilize the best available tools and technologies to combat online content theft.”

But here’s how it would work in practice. The proposed FCC net neutrality principles include a loophole for “reasonable network management,” which is defined to include “reasonable practices employed by a provider of broadband Internet access service to…(iii) prevent the transfer of unlawful content; or (iv) prevent the unlawful transfer of content.” That means that so long as your ISP claims that it’s trying to prevent copyright infringement, it’s exempted from the net neutrality principles and can interfere with your ability to access lawful content, use lawful devices, run lawful applications, or access lawful services. Continue reading

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