Net Neutrality–A Content Take

by on July 18, 2007 · 4 comments

The MPAA comments in the FCC’s Net Neutrality proceeding cautions against taking steps that would interfere with the deployment of watermarking, filtering, deep packet inspection, and so on. What’s the connection exactly? Part of it is unknown–since the technologies are new, and are just being deployed. Part of it is known… much of the dispute about technologies being deployed to protect content (not just in the sense of protecting copyrighted content, but in the sense of security generally) is about who will pay for it. The content creator? The network infrastructure engineers? The developers of software used in distribution? The retailer? The CPE manufacturer? Insofar as net neutrality principles end up constraining who may charge whom for what, they may preclude otherwise desirable arrangements of who bears the costs. And insofar as net neutrality constrains one player on the net from blocking or interfering with another, it may hamper efforts to control piracy like spam, by impeding traffic carried by or through disreputable ports of call.

  • Doug Lay

    Well, I see James DeLong has kept himself busy. At least now he doesn’t have to pretend he represents anything other than the naked desires of Big Content.

    It’s pretty clear that Big Content wants to push their program of reclaiming control over content beyond what the legal system will support, partly by cutting side deals with cooperative network providers (c.f. AT&T). In general, I tend to side with free-market solutions over government regulations, but here we have an incumbent cartel looking to cut deals with incumbent monopolists. This should be looked at with a very skeptical eye by those who believe the Internet’s end-to-end architecture inherently promotes freedom and choice. And yes, I’m afraid network neutrality regulations may be needed.

  • Doug Lay

    Well, I see James DeLong has kept himself busy. At least now he doesn’t have to pretend he represents anything other than the naked desires of Big Content.

    It’s pretty clear that Big Content wants to push their program of reclaiming control over content beyond what the legal system will support, partly by cutting side deals with cooperative network providers (c.f. AT&T;). In general, I tend to side with free-market solutions over government regulations, but here we have an incumbent cartel looking to cut deals with incumbent monopolists. This should be looked at with a very skeptical eye by those who believe the Internet’s end-to-end architecture inherently promotes freedom and choice. And yes, I’m afraid network neutrality regulations may be needed.

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Control piracy like spam?

    Network-level spam controls are (1) the ISP’s mail server disallows incoming connections from known spam sources and (2) the ISP’s routers disallow outgoing connections from the ISP’s customers to the SMTP port.

    ISP spam-fighting measures, though, depend on the user’s cooperation. If a user really wants the spam, he or she can get it in lots of ways. Open up the SMTP port, or if incoming is blocked too, get a tunnel in; pay someone other than your ISP for an account on a mail server with a different spam-filtering scheme or none; use a webmail provider that archives all the spam.

    If users agreed with the spammers, and wanted to read the spam, and the ISPs and the non-spamming competitors of the spammers were the only thing standing in the way, the spam would get through.

    You would need to take much harsher measures to have an effect on content that the users want.

  • http://linuxworld.com/community/ Don Marti

    Control piracy like spam?

    Network-level spam controls are (1) the ISP’s mail server disallows incoming connections from known spam sources and (2) the ISP’s routers disallow outgoing connections from the ISP’s customers to the SMTP port.

    ISP spam-fighting measures, though, depend on the user’s cooperation. If a user really wants the spam, he or she can get it in lots of ways. Open up the SMTP port, or if incoming is blocked too, get a tunnel in; pay someone other than your ISP for an account on a mail server with a different spam-filtering scheme or none; use a webmail provider that archives all the spam.

    If users agreed with the spammers, and wanted to read the spam, and the ISPs and the non-spamming competitors of the spammers were the only thing standing in the way, the spam would get through.

    You would need to take much harsher measures to have an effect on content that the users want.

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