Monday, December 19, 2011

Is copyright worth breaking the Internet over?

The truth is that for some time now, the Internet can no longer be relied on to fulfil its simple infrastructural purpose of delivering bytes from A to B unhindered when requested to do so. The appetite of the powers that be for intruding on their citizens' privacy on the one hand and for succumbing to capitalist pressures on the other make any Internet connection an increasingly noisy channel.

Lemley, Levine and Post now outline and give an enlightening critique of some recent and alarming steps being taken in their essay Don't Break the Internet. As an author, I completely sympathise with concerns about copyright, and I would possibly agree that the current process of having infringing material removed is insufficient-- whilst also suspecting that the impact of the "copyright problem" is massively overexaggerated. But as with traffic shaping measures (among others), it is particularly concerning to see proposals to allow fundamental pieces of infrastructure to be undermined almost on a whim. Is this really the most intelligent counter-measure to copyright infringement that we can think of?

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