For Immediate Release
Eleven public-interest and consumer groups, led by Public Knowledge, today asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject calls by NBC that broadband providers be required to filter material on their networks.
In addition to Public Knowledge, other groups signing the reply comments in the proceeding dealing with “broadband industry practices” were: Consumer Federation of America; EDUCAUSE; Electronic Frontier Foundation; Electronic Privacy Information Center; FreeCulture.org; Free Press; Knowledge Ecology International; Media Access Project; New America Foundation and U.S. Public Interest Research Group. A copy of the filing is here:
In the first round of comments in the proceeding, NBC asked the Commission to require that broadband providers “use readily available means to prevent the use of their broadband networks to transfer pirated content.” NBC argued as well that corn growers could be hurt without protections against pirated content.
The groups filing reply comments today said: “While we agree that there are appropriate ways to discourage copyright infringement on the Internet, NBC's call to require that broadband providers use 'bandwidth management tools' to effect this end is misguided.”
The groups argued that the network filters proposed by NBC would “limit First Amendment freedoms, stifle innovation, threaten personal privacy, and do little to address the underlying problem” NBC is trying to solve. In addition, the groups said the FCC does not have jurisdiction to decide a case in which the issue is whether an unauthorized use of content is in fact illegal: “The FCC has no authority to hear or decide this kind of dispute, and cannot require that network operators become 'copyright cops.'” In addition, the groups said the Commission has no authority to declare as illegal Internet applications such as peer-to-peer technologies.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at email@example.com or 405-249-9435.