For Immediate Release
The Los Angeles Times reported today that AT&T will announce plans to develop technology on its network to screen transmission of copyrighted works. The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We hope AT&T recognizes the difficulty of what it is trying to do. By attempting to act as the copyright police, the company is going to make its customers angry, even in a market in which customers have little choice of providers for high-speed Internet service. The technical challenges to the proper finding and taking down of copyrighted material are substantial.
“AT&T's announced plans fly in the face of the expectations of consumers to use their material more flexibly, and appear to disregard the recent willingness of some in the content industry to oblige them.
“AT&T's greater challenge will be to recognize that simply because there is copyrighted material online does not make use of that material illegal. We hope AT&T takes the time to study the recent history of material being taken down in error. Viacom, the studio quoted in the story as supporting AT&T, had to admit it made a mistake in sending a take-down notice over a parody of the Colbert Report. It will be difficult if not impossible to design a technology to make certain the fair use rights of consumers to use copyrighted material in a lawful manner are protected.”
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.