Uncommon Wisdom

Dec 29 2009   12:18AM GMT

FCC eyes content piracy; attention affects P2P brokers

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Another federal judge in another copyright case has ruled that a P2P broker who acted as a clearinghouse for creating torrents to share copyrighted content was deliberately facilitating piracy. Further, the judge ruled that the provider (IsoHunt) was not entitled to the safe-harbor protection of search engines because of this active facilitation and encouragement.

What appears to be happening here is that the content industry is going after the sites that act as portals for file sharing, reasoning that by eliminating these sites (by injunction and by eliminating the profit motive), they can control the level of P2P piracy.

The FCC appears to be serving notice that ISPs will be entitled to discriminate against piracy, which is tantamount to discriminating against P2P since most of that traffic has been determined to be piracy. Since cutting the traffic would benefit the ISP by reducing infrastructure pressure, this also appears likely to be successful.

We believe that piracy will hurt the industry badly by reducing content production and increasing the perception that online content is a risk, so we think this is a good thing.

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