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Thousands Sign Petition Protesting Net Neutrality Loopholes for Copyright Enforcement

Lawful Speech Should Not Be Collateral Damage in Copyright Battles
PRESS RELEASE
March 4, 2010
Lawful Speech Should Not Be Collateral Damage in Copyright Battles

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) submitted a petition signed by more than 7000 people to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today demanding that the agency close a loophole for copyright enforcement in its proposed regulations for network neutrality.

The petition is part of EFF's reply comments in the FCC's net neutrality rulemaking. The FCC's proposed rules generally prohibit ISPs from discriminating or blocking lawful content, but include a loophole for 'reasonable network management' by ISPs. The proposed rules then define 'reasonable network management" to include measures taken by ISPs to block unlawful content or transmissions. This exception would effectively permit ISPs to violate net neutrality rules and block lawful activities in the name of copyright enforcement.

"We can't afford to let lawful speech become collateral damage in Hollywood's war on copyright infringement," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Net neutrality regulations should not excuse ISPs that interfere with lawful content just because they claim they were acting as copyright cops."

EFF's original comments to the FCC, submitted in January, also question whether the FCC has the legal authority or political independence necessary to properly regulate the Internet. Additionally, EFF has called on the FCC to protect the interests of individuals who offer open WiFi Internet access to their neighbors or local communities.

"Before the ink is dry on net neutrality regulations, we already see corporate lobbyists and 'public decency' advocates pushing for loopholes," said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. "A loophole like this could swallow network neutrality, with ISPs claiming copyright enforcement as a pretext for all sorts of discriminatory behavior."

For EFF's full reply comments to the FCC:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/nn/EFF%20NN%20reply%20comments2b.pdf

For more on net neutrality:
http://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality

Contacts:

Jennifer Stisa Granick
Civil Liberties Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jennifer@eff.org

Fred von Lohmann
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
fred@eff.org

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