Just days after the U.S Government acknowledged that the entertainment industries have misled the authorities with bogus piracy reports, the RIAA and MPAA are using those same statistics to convince the copyright czar to transform the Internet into a copyright police state.
The PRO-IP Act is a United States law that aims to toughen current anti-piracy measures.
As part of the Act, President Obama appointed Victoria Espinel as the new copyright czar last year. Espinel announced a public consultation a few months ago, looking for comments and suggestions from the U.S. public on how to deal with piracy.
For this consultation the RIAA and MPAA have now jointly submitted (pdf) their suggestions, calling for a future without piracy.
As expected, the submission starts with bitter complaints about the massive losses the entertainment industries have to endure because of online piracy. The same old bogus studies and reports are cited, publications that were heavily criticized and labeled as inaccurate by the U.S. Government earlier this week.
What follows are a set of recommendations that, if they become law, would turn the Internet into a copyright police state. The EFF has cherry picked some of the most draconian recommendations in a recent blog post, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. We highlight some of the suggestions below.
If the RIAA and MPAA had their way…
- The public would be encouraged to install anti-piracy software on their computers which would monitor their network for copyright-infringing materials. They are most likely referring to the Digital File Check application that they’ve been plugging for a while.
- Internet service providers would have to allow third parties to spy on the files that are transferred by their customers and check them against a reference database of “fingerprints” to check whether the files are infringing copyright or not.
- Torrent sites and file-hosters would have to preemptively filter content that is uploaded to or indexed by their sites. The reasoning behind this suggestion is that the regular notice and takedown procedures are time consuming and ineffective because content quickly reappears.
- Search engines, hosting companies, payment processors, advertising agencies, social networking sites and domain registrars would be encouraged to team up with copyright holders in order to prevent online piracy. The purpose of this collaboration would be to cut off sites that ‘facilitate’ copyright infringement.
- Consumers and websites that repeatedly infringe on the rights of copyright holders would lose their Internet access.
These are just a few of the recommendations that are listed in the submission. It is quite clear that the copyright industries want full control over the Internet by building a copyright police state. Let’s hope that the politicians responsible for drafting the legislation will use their brains, instead of blindly accepting such proposals.