Jeez. There's so much going on in Washington these days. Elections, bailouts, natural disasters. Let's add Copyright Police to the list.
A new lobbying group, called Arts + Labs, just descended on DC. Their mission, on the surface, appears to be keeping the Internet free of garbage so we can all enjoy unencumbered access without congestion.
What's the deeper issue?
The way they want to break up the congestion is to limit illegal file trafficking, and they want Internet service providers to be given the right to block the illegal transfer of copyrighted material. For the consumers' sake. Yeah, right.
The group is made up of large copyright holders, such as NBC Universal and the Songwriters Guild of America — folks who want Washington's help in protecting their products. Of course, their content should be protected, but should Washington and the ISP's be the ones doing it? Thinly veiling it as an attempt to reduce Internet traffic is ridiculous. No one's complaining about congestion if folks are paying for their content, are they?
Here's what the lobby group's website states: "This unique partnership between
technology companies and creators is dedicated to educating and
informing consumers about the vast array of online entertainment
choices available to them as well as the Internet’s potential to
deliver safe, fast, legal, and affordable entertainment content. At the
same time, Arts+Labs is working to educate consumers about how net pollution — spam,
malware, computer viruses and illegal file trafficking — threatens to
transform the Internet from an essential catalyst to safely deliver
this content to consumers, into a viral distribution mechanism that
will choke off the Internet for consumers and future innovators and
I don't mind protecting copyright. I fiercely defend one's right to protect what is legally yours. However, call it what it is. —Leslie Shapiro
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