Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lobbyists try to get copyright into Obama's stimulus package

You really do have to hand it to the entertainment industry's lobbyists - they are very good at their job. The latest efforts consist of an attempt to get a copyright protection provision inserted in President Obama's stimulus package. Public Knowledge says:
"Hollywood’s lobbyists are running all over the Hill to sneak in a copyright filtering provision into the stimulus package. The amendment allow ISPs to “deter” child pornography and copyright infringement through network management techniques. The amendment is very, very controversial for a couple of reasons:
  1. First, infringement can’t be found through “network management” techniques. There are legal uses for copyrighted works even without permission of the owner.

  2. Second, it would require Internet companies to examine every bit of information everyone puts on the Web in order to find those allegedly infringing works, without a hint of probable cause. That would be a massive invasion of privacy, done at the request of one industry, violating the rights of everyone who is online."

Public Knowledge is suggesting people start calling their senators but I can't see abstract intellectual property or privacy debates getting in the way of the need to do something... it's highly unlikely to be a deal breaker in these recessionary times.

Update: the letter PK is suggesting citizens send to their representatives:
"It is my understanding that your office has been asked to amend the part of the stimulus package that deals with public grants to spur broadband deployment. Senator Feinstein has proposed a "noncontroversial" amendment that would allow Internet Service Providers to inspect its subscribers' Internet connections to filter out copyright infringement, under the guise of "network management." Copyright filtering is outside of the capabilities of network management, would be a massive invasion of privacy and would prohibit my lawful use of copyrighted works -- for purposes of education, criticism, and commentary.

This amendment is very controversial. I urge you to oppose this copyright filtering amendment to the broadband stimulus."
Update 2: the copyright amendment hasn't passed (yet at least).

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