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Summary:

When a company like AT&T starts talking with the MPAA and the RIAA, you can bet that won’t translate into more freedom with your media. And sure enough, the telecom giant thinks that it’s a good idea for its ISP business to start filtering content for […]

When a company like AT&T starts talking with the MPAA and the RIAA, you can bet that won’t translate into more freedom with your media. And sure enough, the telecom giant thinks that it’s a good idea for its ISP business to start filtering content for pirated material at the network level, according to The New York Times.

During a panel discussion at CES this week, James Cicconi, senior vice president, external and legal affairs for AT&T, said he believes current measures being used to fight piracy aren’t working. And so AT&T has been talking with other tech companies — and the MPAA and RIAA (ugh) — about implementing digital fingerprinting technology.

Cicconi was quoted in the Times as saying:

“We are very interested in a technology-based solution and we think a network-based solution is the optimal way to approach this,” he said. “We recognize we are not there yet but there are a lot of promising technologies. But we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies, including NBC Universal, to try to explore various technologies that are out there.”

Civil rights groups are rightfully worried about the Big Brother-like effect this could have on free speech. AT&T itself has said that criticizing the company is a violation of its terms of service. Meanwhile, also at CES, FCC Chair Kevin Martin confirmed that his commission will investigate Comcast blocking BitTorrent traffic (Comcast says it just delays the files).

Of course piracy is a legitimate concern, but rather than using a blunt instrument to force consumers into behaving a certain way — just put all the content online in an ad-supported format. If people have access to it, they won’t need to steal it.

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  1. Janko Roettgers Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    And of course the whole idea of fingerprint-based, file-specific blocking is DOA because people tend to use encrypted transfers anyway nowadays …

  2. Zuck on This! Quotes from NBC’s Honcho « NewTeeVee Monday, January 28, 2008

    [...] CES booth this year, NBC hosted a panel discussion on digital piracy in which AT&T talked about monitoring your traffic, a solution which Zucker was all for back in October of 2007, when he called on ISPs, universities [...]

  3. Verizon to Hollywood: I Said, “No, no, no!” « NewTeeVee Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    [...] AT&T, which has openly talked about technological solutions to piracy, and Comcast, which is being investigated for blocking [...]

  4. NBC: P2P Is Evil — Except When We Use It « NewTeeVee Monday, March 3, 2008

    [...] is pointing to AT&T as an example of an ISP’s willingness to install content filters, but the filing doesn’t explain how ISPs are supposed to deal with P2P protocol encryption [...]

  5. Comcast Abandons P2P Bill of Rights « NewTeeVee Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    [...] that the MPAA has been talking to ISPs to get them to filter content, and companies like AT&T have previously expressed a willingness to cooperate with the entertainment [...]

  6. Throttle The Package: Europe’s Fight for Net Neutrality « NewTeeVee Sunday, August 17, 2008

    [...] ISPs like AT&T have said they’re open to engaging in copyright enforcement in the past, and companies like Comcast have spent lots of [...]

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