MPAA's Beloved "Network Monitoring" To Be Included In Broadband Stimulus Bill

As Clay Shirky tweeted, "MPAA to Public: All your intermets are belong to us!" The short version: music/movie lobbyists want "network monitoring" provisions in the broadband stimulus bill, to track what you're doing in the name of anti-filesharing. Snip from Public Knowledge post:
Hollywood’s lobbyists are running all over the Hill to sneak in a copyright filtering provision into the stimulus package. The amendment allow ISPs to “deter” child pornography and copyright infringement through network management techniques. The amendment is very, very controversial for a couple of reasons:

1. First, infringement can’t be found through “network management” techniques. There are legal uses for copyrighted works even without permission of the owner.

2. Second, it would require Internet companies to examine every bit of information everyone puts on the Web in order to find those allegedly infringing works, without a hint of probable cause. That would be a massive invasion of privacy, done at the request of one industry, violating the rights of everyone who is online.

Right now, we need you to contact a few key Senators: Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Daniel Inouye, and Chairman of the Commerce Committee Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Finance Committee Max Baucus, and senior member of the Appropriations Committee Senator Barbara Mikulski, and tell them to leave out this controversial provision.

Petition link.


  1. it’s like fighting the undead… they just keep on trying to slip these provisions in all over the place…

    we have to be vigilant & lucky all the time, they only have to be lucky once…

    bit like the ever present battle to make sure software patents don’t get slipped though in Europe. Microsoft were trying to slip it through in meetings of the Fisheries Committee of all places…

  2. Way to go Free Market! If you can’t manage yourself, the government will have to do it for you, but you may not like the conditions!

  3. This is bad I hope it does not get added.

    Your link labeled “petition link” mislead me a bit. It provides links to send a written (by fax) or oral petition but is not a premade petition you can add your name too.

  4. If the internet was a pure sim environment, something like this would have to be invented by programmers so as to help evolve the system. Without environmental challenges the info-sphere can’t become leaner and meaner and far hardier and beyond corruption. We need every obstacle imaginable thrown at the net so we can learn how to beat it. In the end it will give the AIs that run the joint all the power. All Hale Our AI Overlords!

  5. I stopped buying songs and music when the money grubbers started taking action against downloaders. The best response is to boycott the music industry. Let them buy their own trash!

  6. Zuzu, don’t forget Freenet a decentralized, censorship-resistant distributed data store.

    Copyright is incompatible with privacy and free speech for precisely this reason. And freedom is more important.

  7. How can they be adding amendments? The bill already passed the senate today.

    I don’t know what the reconciliation process between house & senate looks like but we should probably keep an eye on it.

  8. Here is the relevant text of the bill:
    (Sorry for the shitty format – copied from PDF of the bill:

    22 For an amount for ‘‘Broadband Technology Opportu23
    nities Program’’, $7,000,000,000, to remain available
    24 until September 30, 2010: Provided, That of the funds
    25 provided under this heading, $6,650,000,000 shall be ex-
    1 pended pursuant to section 201 of this Act, of which: not
    2 less than $200,000,000 shall be available for competitive
    3 grants for expanding public computer center capacity, in4
    cluding at community colleges and public libraries; not less
    5 than $250,000,000 shall be available for competitive
    6 grants for innovative programs to encourage sustainable
    7 adoption of broadband service; and $10,000,000 shall be
    8 transferred to ‘‘Department of Commerce, Office of In9
    spector General’’ for the purposes of audits and oversight
    10 of funds provided under this heading and such funds shall
    11 remain available until expended: Provided further, That 50
    12 percent of the funds provided in the previous proviso shall
    13 be used to support projects in rural communities, which
    14 in part may be transferred to the Department of Agri15
    culture for administration through the Rural Utilities
    16 Service if deemed necessary and appropriate by the Sec17
    retary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of
    18 Agriculture, and only if the Committees on Appropriations
    19 of the House and the Senate are notified not less than
    20 15 days in advance of the transfer of such funds: Provided
    21 further, That of the funds provided under this heading,
    22 up to $350,000,000 may be expended pursuant to Public
    23 Law 110–385 (47 U.S.C. 1301 note) and for the purposes
    24 of developing and maintaining a broadband inventory map
    25 pursuant to section 201 of this Act: Provided further, That
    1 of the funds provided under this heading, amounts deemed
    2 necessary and appropriate by the Secretary of Commerce,
    3 in consultation with the Federal Communications Com4
    mission (FCC), may be transferred to the FCC for the
    5 purposes of developing a national broadband plan or for
    6 carrying out any other FCC responsibilities pursuant to
    7 section 201 of this Act, and only if the Committees on
    8 Appropriations of the House and the Senate are notified
    9 not less than 15 days in advance of the transfer of such
    10 funds: Provided further, That not more than 3 percent of
    11 funds provided under this heading may be used for admin12
    istrative costs, and this limitation shall apply to funds
    13 which may be transferred to the Department of Agri14
    culture and the FCC.


    13 For an additional amount for direct loans and grants
    14 for distance learning and telemedicine services in rural
    15 areas, as authorized by 7 U.S.C. 950aaa, et seq.,
    16 $100,000,000, to remain available until September 30,
    17 2010.

    No searches returned any results for “pornography” or “network monitoring.”

  9. “Right now, we need you to contact a few key Senators…”

    Right now? I’m sorry, Xeni, but I won’t be contacting any senators because it’s *pointless* to do so. I have lost all hope. They do not represent me as I am neither rich nor powerful enough to own or control any lobbyists or PACs.

    I’ve contacted plenty of elected officials time and time again. Here’s how it always goes:

    Me: Hello, Honorable XXXXX. I am not just a citizen of great this country, I am a registered voter. I am contacting you to express my dismay at your support of YYYYY. You should not supoort YYYYY for the following rational, clearly illustrated, lucid, apropos reasons:

    1. ZZZZZ
    2. AAAAA
    3. BBBBB
    4. CCCCC

    Here are several citations and other resources exploring my points in greater detail:

    1. DDDDD
    2. EEEEE
    3. FFFFF
    4. GGGGG

    I welcome the opportunity to provide you with any feedback on the matter and appreciate your undying devotion to the will of the people you represent.

    Thank you,

    Elected Official (to my face): Thank you for your interest in the YYYYY issue. Rest assured I am always considering the needs of my constituency in my legislative activities. I appreciate your feedback and will review this information and take it under advisement.

    Elected Official (behind my back): Get Bent.

  10. perhaps past a certain point,Hollywood and the RIAA will find the battle actively carried to their doorstep. I think they make a major misjudgment in the tenor of just how they are really viewed by the citizens of the web, and just how big a backlash they will elicit if they persist in these acts of aggression. There are worse things than “copyright violation”. Call me a prophet.

  11. @11

    First off, it’s ARCHANOID not ARACHNOID.

    Second, I have by no means “lay down to die” and I do not advocate such. The system is broken beyond repair. I wish only for people to wake up to this fact.

    When something is broken beyond repair, you do not seek to repair it. You seek to *replace* it. Until you can replace it, you seek to circumvent it. See posts #3 and #7. They offer more to help you in this fight than a fax or phone call to your Senator.

  12. There’s another issue here, outside the ethics/privacy questions: the cost of the infrastructure capacity required to do this monitoring.

    Is the MPAA (and I’m sure, the RIAA which will want to piggy-back on this) willing to foot the bill for that? Because I have to say, if I were an ISP, I would want all the bandwidth and all the server capacity I pay for to go for customer use because I’d get paid for that. If I am going to be using some of that capacity and bandwidth for MPAA monitoring, I want to get paid for that, too. They can have their data when the invoice is paid!

  13. @1 “…it’s like fighting the undead…”

    except there’s not a single braaaaiiiinnnn to be found in the mess

  14. In response to myself (bad form, yada yada)…

    You shouldn’t do or not do something because some anonymous dude on the Internet says it’s worthwhile or pointless.

    If you feel so inclined, please do contact those key Senators as well as any other elected official who represents you. More power to you.

  15. Frankly, the people building these filtering systems are responsible for most of the blame. They promise the world free of copyright infringement to naive intellectual property holders. Can you blame them for not jumping at it?

    Unfortunately there is no such thing as a perfect system. I was the Chief Architect for Napster back in the day and I had to write the court-mandated filtering systems (which had to be 100% accurate which of course wasn’t possible). There are so many ways to circumvent these systems it isn’t funny.

    It requires no more than a few hours of changes to modify Azureus/Vuze to make content essentially invisible to any network monitoring tool. Of course that would require distributing it and what not, but after a few weeks the copyright filtering systems would essentially have to start filtering services. Then it becomes a war. P2P software makers will adopt a protocol that looks just like something more common on the Internet such as gaming traffic or VOIP.

    Never mind that is cost prohibitive to implement this sort of technology on a wide scale, but the cost to essentially battle thousands of software developers across the planet? That’s a losing proposition.

  16. They should just mandate disemvoweling all packets at the hardware level in any new routers. That’ll fix them internets.

  17. There are a lot of legal p2p applications:

    1. Skype
    2. CNN used p2p to stream Obama’s inauguration
    3. P2P Next, an IP TV project funded by the European commission
    4. Faroo, a p2p web search engine
    and many more.

    Interesting to see who will indemnify for the damages caused by network management techniques.

  18. I’m guessing it will take about 15 minutes to build public-key encryption into P2P apps. Monitor that!

  19. BetaNews’ review is much more detailed.

    “Though the full list of approved amendments has not yet been reported (there were 438 already entered into the Library of Congress database as of Tuesday afternoon, and that’s not all), one that may have passed this afternoon was submitted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – Calif.). That amendment would authorize the Assistant Sec. of Commerce to prohibit grant recipients from allowing their network to be used for certain illegal purposes.

    “In establishing obligations under paragraph (8),” an early draft of the Feinstein amendment reads, “the Assistant Secretary shall allow for reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement.”

    The text of that amendment does not currently appear in the record for the bill itself, though bills like H.R. 1 with hundreds of amendments often take time to process. Though he mis-quoted a very critical term used in the bill (confusing “practices” with “techniques,” for which the distinctions have been debated in the past), Public Knowledge member attorney Alex Curtis this afternoon warned that the Feinstein amendment could lead to grant recipients using all kinds of filtration techniques to comply with this directive, and notes that such techniques rarely turn up copyright infringers.

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