Items tagged "Filtering"

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Content and Its Discontents

November 3, 2009 Broadband , Fair Use , FCC , Filtering , Internet Protocol

Public Knowledge recently celebrated its 8th birthday of defending citizens' rights in the digital culture. Unlike any other public interest group in Washington or elsewhere, we are dedicated to ensuring openness at every layer of our communication system, and that includes the content layer. That's why our work to ensure balanced copyright is so important – we cannot have an open Internet if large corporate copyright holders can exploit overly burdensome copyright laws to sacrifice legitimate speech at the altar of trying to stop piracy.

I discussed the clash of copyright and an open Internet at a talk that I gave to the Yale Law School Information and Society Project last week. Some in Hollywood, like Disney, were in favor of net neutrality in the late 90's because they knew well the powers that the network owner has.

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Forcing the Net Through a Sieve: Why Copyright Filtering is Not a Viable Solution for U.S. ISPs

July 22, 2009 Fair Use , Filtering , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Piracy

Yesterday, as part of our reply comments in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan proceeding, we released our latest whitepaper, “Forcing the Net Through a Sieve: Why Copyright Filtering is not a Viable Solution for U.S. ISPs” (PDF link). Recently, the content industry has been ramping up its efforts to promote ISP-level copyright filtering as a practical solution to the problem of unlawful online filesharing. Given the imperfect, controversial nature of filtering technology, we thought it was time to take a close look at copyright filtering and the effects that it might have on the Internet ecosystem. What did we discover? As our report states, not only will copyright filtering be ineffective–it will cause a great deal of harm to users, creators, innovators, businesses and the economy and will undermine the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

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DRM is Dead, Long Live DRM

July 20, 2009 DMCA , DRM , Filtering , Music Licensing , Piracy

DRM is dead, or so they say. With the “big four” major labels having completely abandoned DRM protection schemes for CDs and with online music juggernaut iTunes now offering all of its music DRM-free, you might think that the era of restricted music files and rootkit fiascoes is now behind us. But you would be wrong. While DRM may be dead as far as mainstream music distribution is concerned, many labels–both major and independent–continue to utilize various forms of DRM and watermarking when distributing music in specific contexts and for certain purposes. Perhaps the most visible category among these is the pre-release promo, generally a CD or digital file sent to journalists in advance of the street date for review purposes. In an article for the Washington City Paper, music journalist Mike Riggs sheds some light on the practice of sending DRM and watermark-laden music to critics:

I had been looking forward to reviewing Depart From Me, the new album by Definitive Jux rapper Cage, since I discovered 2005’s damn-near brilliant Hell’s Winter. When the package arrived one month in advance of the street date, I set aside everything I was doing and with trembling fingers popped the promo CD of Depart From Me into the computer. And after listening to the first minute and a half of every track, I tossed the CD in the trash. Why? Because Definitive Jux, in order to keep me from leaking the album, made the review copy nearly unlistenable by inserting promo drops–breaks in the music during which a voice says, “This is a promotional copy”–on every single track.

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Video: “Censordyne” Ad Mocks Australian Copyright Filtering Proposal

July 9, 2009 Broadband , Filtering , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Three Strikes


You’ve got to hand it to the folks Down Under: they’ve got a real knack for producing, incisive, hilarious videos that warn the general public about invasive technology mandates. First, there was the Kiwi-produced, “Kangaroo Court” short, which shed light on the (thankfully defeated) New Zealand three strikes mandate. Now, there’s this brilliant parody of a Sensodyne toothpaste commercial (embedded above), which was designed to spread the word about a copyright filtering mandate that’s been proposed by members of the Australian parliament. The ad was created by the folks at Get Up! Action for Australia and they’re currently accepting donations in the hopes of raising enough money to run the ad on a Qantas flight that many members of Parliament are likely to be on.

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French Three Strikes Law Struck Down, Internet Access Declared a Human Right

June 10, 2009 Broadband , Filtering , Internet Protocol , MPAA , Network Neutrality


Word came through the grapevine today that France’s “three strikes” HADOPI law has been struck down by the French Constitutional Council. While this is fantastic news, it’s not exactly surprising–until this point, the constitutionality of the law had remained an open question. What’s more, even if the law had survived the French Constitutional Council’s scrutiny, it most certainly would have attracted the attention of the European Union, who in October of last year, passed an amendment prohibiting member states from implementing three strikes regimes. Luckily, the French Constitutional Council sided with the EU Parliament, going so far as to cite the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, a founding document of the French Revolution. “…[W]hereas under section nine of the Declaration of 1789, every man is presumed innocent until he has been proven guilty, it follows that in principle the legislature does not establish a presumption of guilt in criminal matters,” the Council wrote in its ruling.

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Movie Studios Compete with Free, Even in the Hardest of Times

March 2, 2009 Filtering , Piracy

The New York Times reports today that despite the hard times we're all experiencing, box office ticket sales are up 17.5% this year. That's great, it's clear that people need some entertainment right now and there's a lot of engaging and escapist films out right now. But how does this jive with the lobbying efforts by the MPAA to combat online file trading, like the recent push for copyright filtering as part of the stimulus package or last years PRO-IP enforcement bill? The studios' arguments just don't add up, while studio revenues clearly do.

Maybe we don't say it enough: "There's nothing wrong with making money from creativity!" That's arguably what at least part of copyright is about. But the studios keep arguing to law and policy makers that their lost control over their content equals lost revenue. Thus, they need

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UPDATE II: Copyright Filtering in Stimulus Bill

February 11, 2009 Fair Use , Filtering

As Alex discussed yesterday, the battle over a Hollywood-backed amendment to the stimulus bill that would allow Internet Service Providers to filter their networks for copyright violations is not yet over. The conference committee for the bill is meeting as I write this, and for that reason, we have launched a new action alert to ensure that the House and Senate conferees understand why this amendment is bad as both a substantive and a procedural matter, and should not be included in the final stimulus package.

Again, the conference is happening now and is expected to conclude by day's end. So please, act NOW. We'll keep you updated. And thank you!

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George Ou: Protocol Agnostic doesn’t mean Protocol Agnostic

July 17, 2008 Broadband , FCC , Filtering , Network Neutrality , P2P

George Ou, the former Technical Director of ZDNet, has found a new job where he continues to lead the technology sector by publishing innovative thoughts and ideas – sometimes not necessarily his own.

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Myth of the Bandwidth Hog

July 14, 2008 Broadband , Filtering , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been quick to blame problems with service quality on so-called “bandwidth hogs.” According to AT&T, the top 5% of their Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscribers use 46% of the consumed bandwidth, and the top 1% of subscribers use 21%. But it is unclear what these figures mean, and if congestion problems could even be caused by those who use the network the most. These figures would seem to be describing the bandwidth consumption totals at the end of some designated time period (day, week, month). If this is the case, then 5% of subscribers using 46% of bandwidth consumed is not necessarily cause for alarm.

Excessive bandwidth usage is only a problem when it degrades the quality of service for other users of the network.

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G8 Endorses ACTA: Great, so what’s in it?

July 9, 2008 DRM , Filtering , Piracy

In its "Declaration on the World Economy", the G-8 included an endorsement of ACTA and ongoing efforts to "standardize" IP enforcement through customs organizations. "We encourage the acceleration of negotiations to establish a new international legal framework, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and seek to complete the negotiation by the end of this year," the statement says.

So we have a major endorsement of ACTA from the leadership of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And pressure to have this international legal agreement ready to roll at the end of the year. So what's going to be in this critically important, possibly binding international agreement, to be completed in less than six months?

We have no idea.

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