Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. - Bill Gates
It is no secret that I am a proponent of protected intellectual property (IP). I have posted about the tantrum that internet giants threw to suppress SOPA/PIPA, the legislation to protect IP owners from international interlopers. I also posted about the potential backlash if this proprietary IP wasn’t protected.[The Enterprise Solution]
The SOPA/PIPA legislation was defeated and its opponents celebrated their success. While the piracy advocates weakly denied their own existence, they claimed violation of rights, intrusion by a tyrannical government and that enforcement would be anywhere from impractical to impossible. These opponents decided that archaic and unwieldy government enforcement techniques and the internet giants themselves should be adequate to resolve the issue. This was all done under cover of protecting internet freedom for the consumer.
Apparently, that was phase 1 of the private enterprise hypocrisy. They are now implementing phase 2 by charging you for bandwidth that they won’t have to deliver. A cartel of internet service providers is putting a plan into action to self-police the internet at the expense of their customers. If a customer is deemed by an intellectual property owner to be violating their copyright ownership, the ISP will issue a series of warnings to the customer and then may throttle their internet bandwidth for a period of time. There is currently no plans to terminate service, but since this is a relatively unregulated utility, that can change that at any time. This will be done without the benefit of redress or any court action whatsoever.
Instead of prosecuting foreign content thieves, the American consumer will be burdened for the infraction whether or not they have done so; intentionally or with any knowledge of unlawful activity. All the same elements that everybody objected to with SOPA/PIPA are still there. A lack of judicial oversight, no opportunity for redress, restriction of internet freedom, no controls in place for erroneous or malicious claims and especially no restriction regarding the business reach of these penalties.
Exchanging a perceived government overlord with an unaccountable free market one is not a satisfactory choice. Things like this are the type of direct consequence that we bring upon ourselves with the imagined evil intentions of an elected government. While we hold the government accountable because we can, allowing ourselves to be manipulated by an unfeeling private industry is self-destructive desperation.