It was widely reported that the Copyright Alert System was "turned on" yesterday. The CAS, or more widely known as six strikes, detects the illegal sharing of copyrighted materials over P2P networks and alerts users via their ISP. There are a few glaring problems with it, but inaction on the part of government suggests lawmakers are fine with it. One politician, however, has recently spoken up against it.
Carl Bergmanson, the Gubernatorial Candidate in New Jersey, recently said that the six strikes policy was no good for the Internet or consumers:
"The internet has become an essential part of living in the 21st century, it uses public infrastructure and it is time we treat it as a public utility. The electric company has no say over what you power with their service, the ISPs have no right to decide what you can and can not download".
Bergmanson says that he doesn't condone piracy, and added that he finds it unethical. That being said, he says that piracy is a result of bad laws.
"...it is not surprising that as the law evolves to disrespect the public domain, that the public would grow to disrespect copyrights."
I think we can add fair use to the number of things that laws continue to "disrespect" that lead people to piracy. The Internet has changed the consumer/provider dynamic, yet the content provider refuses to update their business model to reflect this new reality.
Aside from the argument against more restrictive copyright laws, it's far more interesting to see Bergmanson address the idea of the Internet being a public utility. Some of the Internet's most outspoken proponents have suggested such a reclassification in order to ensure that more people get access to affordable Internet. It's not going to happen anytime soon, however, as major telecommunications companies have powerful lobbying arms.
All that being said, Bergmanson and his ideas will probably not see the light of day in New Jersey. Current governor Chris Christie is a local favorite, and he has the support of some powerful people in the Internet business if his recent fundraiser hosted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is any indication.[h/t: TechDirt]