White House Throws Support Behind New Anti-Piracy Agreement

Says that stopping piracy will help us "win the future"

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White House Throws Support Behind New Anti-Piracy Agreement
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Not long after the news broke that top Internet Service Providers had agreed to a deal with the music and film industries to adopt a new, graduated response to piracy, the White House threw its support behind the deal on their official blog.

Yesterday, the agreement that had been rumored for weeks was finalized. In brief, ISPs have said that they will participate in the efforts against online piracy by implementing a “graduated response,” which basically means a penalty system that increases in severity with each infraction.

Except the first four measures are simply slap-on-the-wrist warnings to “illegal file sharers.” Upon the fifth time that copyright holders flag you as a participant in piracy, the ISPs have the “voluntary” responsibility to implement one of many measures. Those include actions like the slowing of internet speeds and redirecting web traffic to designated pages pending the completion of an educational program on the ills of piracy.

Speaking on behalf of the White House, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel said that the Obama administration is “committed to reducing infringement of American intellectual property.”

Here is some more of her statement

The joining of Internet service providers and entertainment companies in a cooperative effort to combat online infringement can further this goal and we commend them for reaching this agreement. We believe it will have a significant impact on reducing online piracy.

We believe that this agreement is a positive step and consistent with our strategy of encouraging voluntary efforts to strengthen online intellectual property enforcement and with our broader Internet policy principles, emphasizing privacy, free speech, competition and due process.

As such, we will follow the implementation and outcomes of this arrangement with great interest. Our expectation is that the new organization created by it will have ongoing consultations with privacy and freedom of expression advocacy groups to assure that its practices are fully consistent with the democratic values that have helped the Internet to flourish.

Simultaneously, the Administration will continue to pursue comprehensive solutions to the problems associated with Internet piracy, including increased law enforcement and educational awareness. To win the future and succeed in the global economy, it is critical to protect the intellectual property of America’s innovators and creators.

The takeaway: To win the future, we have to prevent John Q. P2P from downloading The Expendables?

Another, more serious takeaway from this statement: With the administration officially behind the agreement, does it really fall into the realm of “voluntary” for the ISPs anymore?

With regard to broader issues like free speech and communication, do we really want ISPs having the final say on our “guilt” when it comes to filesharing? Do we want them to be able to limit our internet access based on accusations by copyright holders? And is it alarming that the White House thinks that they should?

As Nate Anderson at Ars Technica writes

There’s a huge, obvious risk to piling up the obligations on intermediaries, who begin taking action against people without court orders and in areas in which they may have no technical expertise. (While appeal mechanisms are available, the new infringement agreement is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach.) ISPs dealing with spam and viruses and DDoS attacks is one thing; ISPs dealing with copyright, speech, and fair use issues is another entirely.

Today’s focus on “education” is therefore an encouraging one, but the “mitigation” measures ISPs will start taking raise key questions. How far we want ISPs to go in private enforcement actions that might target speech, communications, and even Internet access itself is a debate well worth revisiting in light of today’s news—and the White House support for such approaches.

Folks on Twitter, for the most part, aren’t too happy about the White House involvement –

White House will “win the future” with heavy copyright crackdown. Yeah. And lose my vote. http://arst.ch/q51 6 hours ago via Twittelator · powered by @socialditto

ISP copyright cops. What’s next? Make auto manufacturers control speeding? http://tncr.ws/rGOe 8 hours ago via BlackBird for Playbook · powered by @socialditto

This is embarrassing. White House says it will “win the future” by turning ISPs into copyright guardians. http://1.usa.gov/qPTcVX 11 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac · powered by @socialditto

What do you guys think? Should ISPs become protectors of copyright? Let us know in the comments.

White House Throws Support Behind New Anti-Piracy Agreement
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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7otS79_rBCM Roe

    This is a misrepresentation. It will not be the ISPs policing the copyrights. Copyright owners, e.g. movie studios, record labels, etc., will still be doing what they do to find people illegally sharing their content. When they find an offender, THEY let the ISPs know and moving forward on it is at the ISP’s discretion.

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

      Right….I never said ISPs would be “policing” copyrights, only “protecting” them – which it true.

      “Upon the fifth time that copyright holders flag you as a participant in piracy, the ISPs have the “voluntary” responsibility to implement one of many measures.”

      Copyright holders doing the flagging, ISPs implementing the measure.

      • Mekhong Kurt

        Okay, Josh — point taken. But in complaining to an ISP, an artist is asking it to act — as a police officer would. Aren’t you splitting hairs a bit here?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Richardson

      “This is a misrepresentation.”

      No, that’s not true at all. Might want to reread what Josh wrote…

      • cw

        Chris- You avoided the larger point being made. Stealing is stealing. RIAA or from your neighbor’s yard. Speaking of “only concerned with their bottom line” The ISP’s have turned their eyes away from piracy because an estimated 20% of web traffic is people looking for free music and traffic is BIG dollars to the ISP who are only concerned with THEIR bottom line. And the death of intellectual property you speak of….. I assume as all a part of that ” new tech economic model” that those luddite pro copyright people stand in the way of- go ahead and ask those ISP’s to give up THEIR rights of intellectual property that exist within their systems and ask them why THEY make on
        every single click thru in this age of free tech. The BILLIONAIRES of tech and the new cppyrights have conned you into calling the millionaires of the old copyrights greedy…… Greedy corporations???? man have you read ANY books about how those silicon valley boys do and keep doing business?
        Oh, and the RIAA for years turned a blind eye to people making a friend or two a tape- it was forced to look once technology allowed that person to make a million copies for people they never met.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7otS79_rBCM Roe

    And let’s be very clear about something — “sharing” is stealing, plain and simple. Just because you’re stealing from a huge corporation doesn’t make it OK.

    Of the possible outcomes, I think this one isn’t that bad. I mean, four slaps on the wrist before they even consider legal action? Show me another crime where this sort of leniency is granted.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Richardson

      Did you think you were stealing when you were videotaping movies off of HBO back in the day? Or are you even old enough to remember that? How about taping? Or how about the fact that Intellectual Property needs to go ahead and die? Or did Walt Disney actually, you know, write and create Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or did he copy it from an existing property?

      It’s funny when folks champion the artist in these cases, but yet, entities like the RIAA and MPAA are only concerned with THEIR bottom line and not the artists. Where’s your outrage concerning that?

      As it stands, please keep with disingenuous line of responses, tho. It’s a fun read.

  • http://vb.cruoz.com cruoz

    اغاني رمضان |

  • Tim

    I have serious problem with this one. Why? 1)It is not the responsibility of any ISP to enforce any laws. Whether it is copy right or any other law. It is the responsibility of the Government. 2)We are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is giving to much power to ISP compaines, because they can shut down your access to the internet. Then YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR INNOCENT.

  • http://nikolateslagenerators.com anonymous

    Too bad they dont put as much effort into their own scams like wall street and big oil, when do they get to feel the full force of the white house?

    they are more worried about a movie or mp3 being stolen when there are far bigger theives and their in suits in DC stealing much more then just digital downloads.

  • http://www.beijingdiscoverytours.com Beijing Tours

    This is the reason that we are in the mess that we are in today – Obama and his ilk think that this is one of the major problems in the world that needs fixing? It’s all about corporate greed, and it is destroying the United States of America. No longer the land of the free – just do as corporate America and its puppet, the U.S. government, tell you to do or wind up broke and/or in jail.

  • http://www.ParentsWhoCare.US SRene

    @AP TYx3 Obama administration is “committed to reducing infringement of American intellectual property.” @Whitehouse @Google @Facebook 4=PPC @FamLaw

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Beijing Tours is absolutely right. Glad I don’t live there anymore.

  • kat

    Yes, ISPs should be part of the responsible parties. In the old days, when a crook tried to sell copyright-infringing physical recordings, the distributors were also held responsible in the chain of responsibility. So yes, ISPs should be doing this for the creative community that makes their services worthwhile in the first place.

  • Verge

    It’s better than nothing. It is high time for some kind of proper enforcement against copyright infringement.

    However, fines seems like a more reasonable penalty, with the income generated to be distributed to content owners and creators.

  • Mekhong Kurt

    As someone who used to do a dead-tree newsletter then an online version of it before moving to a now-closed full-blown website where I wrote extensively, of course I want copyrights protected.

    However, I strongly oppose this measure, for the reasons stated in the article: the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach, together with making ISP’s both police and courts.

    A huge thumbs down to this approach.

    (Wonder what role the recording and publishing industries had in getting the White House to take this position? — a whole BUNCH, at a guess.)

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