The Reluctant Sheriff Gets His Badge

July 8th, 2011 by · 2 Comments

So it has finally happened.  The media industry has finally managed to get US ISPs to agree to help it police copyright infringement.  Under the terms of the deal, a group including Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and TW Cable will now be sending out copyright alerts when its subscribers are determined to have infringed on copyrights.  When ignored for long enough, the ISPs then have the right to limit that subscriber’s connection speed or even block them altogether.  ISPs have fought this for a long time.  And you can’t blame them, consumers already hate when these companies tell them what they can and can’t do, they don’t want to do it even more often.  However, I’m not actually fully convinced by the reluctant act.  

Think about who the industry is now grudgingly agreeing to limit traffic for.  Those who partake in file sharing do so for music and videos.  They generate vast quantities of bits, far more than the average.  Yep, we’re talking about a disproportionate percentage of bandwidth hogs.  Now that ISPs aren’t being tasked with actual law enforcement and financial penalties and such, let’s take a step back.

Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and TW Cable have now agreed to throttle a group they probably already want to throttle, except now it’s not their fault but rather something they’ve been strongarmed into by the media industry.  All they have to do before they throttle them is auto-generate a few emails.   It’s no longer about network neutrality where they bear the burden of regulation to keep things open, but rather about passing on external regulations they had nothing to do with that nevertheless let them de-incentivize certain types of traffic that tend to clog their networks anyway.  But they did go to bat for the customer beforehand!  Is that a secret grin I see the ISPs suppressing?

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Categories: Internet Traffic

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2 Comments So Far

  • Papa says:

    Let’s be honest. If the ISP’s would just be open and deliver what they advertise, fewer people would resent them. My complaint is that they advertise x for $y. Then they choke it where you really receive 1/2x for $y plus fees plus this plus that. Then they raise $y for every stupid excuse there is. I don’t have an issue with them enforcing regulations, but they need to be honest about the rest as well.
    What is really needed is competition in the local marketplace. Look to the electricity supplier model for ideas. That competitiveness would drive what consumers really look for. People understand that you get what you pay for, but need to be delivered what they are paying for. The rest we can tolerate. Integrity is a principle long dead with the ISP.

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