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Friday, August 01, 2008

RIAA, Comcast Face Privacy Fights

In the decade I've been writing about individual rights and privacy, I've never held out much hope that ordinary citizens would have much luck when it came to Internet regulations. Intellectual property, after all, is one of our biggest exports and media companies have a lot of money to throw at politicians.

Not, you know, that such matters influence legislation.

There are hints, though, that our rights online may be a bit more complicated that the recording and cable industries want you to believe.

The Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group filing scores of lawsuits on behalf of the music labels, is facing a very serious legal challenge right now. A Minnesota woman was found guilty of sharing music files illegally after -- and read this carefully -- a judge instructed a jury that actual proof that the files were shared wasn't necessary.

Now, the judge says that may have been an error (uh, yeah) and the case has gone to the appeals court.

The courts have been relatively clear that sharing copyright files is illegal; however, this case expanded that to say that simply having peer-to-peer software implied you were sharing files immediately and you should be punished.

Not so very American of you, RIAA.

At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission found that Comcast was illegally muzzling service for those who were taking up too much bandwidth by using peer-to-peer services.

The commission, by a 3-2 vote, said that's a big no-no. Corporations can't arbitrarily decide what kind of traffic they want to allow. If you provide access to the Internet, you have to apply that equally.

Because as we know, separate does not mean equal.

By Brad at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

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