Earlier this year, the SOPA and CISPA bills in Congress raised fears about Internet censorship and the loss of privacy. In a recent meeting of the FCA (Furry Club Alliance), a group of music clubs in Second Life, some DJs and club staff brought up some other Internet news from earlier this year. A number of Internet Service Providers were set to begin policing downloads on July 1st.
An article on Cnet.com in March discussed about an agreement between several ISPs and RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, to adopt policies to discourage illegal music and software downloads last year. The White House was also involved in the deal. "During a panel discussion before a gathering of US publishers here today (March 14)" RIAA's CEO stated most of the ISPs in the program were set to "begin implementing the program by July 1st."
The program has been called "graduated response." Those suspected of illegal downloading will receive one or two notices. If the downloads do not stop, confirmation notices are sent, and "the accused customers will also be informed of the risks they incur if they don't stop pirating material." Further flags for illegal downloads can bring on a list of penalties, or "mitigation measures" as RIAA calls them, such as slowing down the ISP's customer's Internet connection speed, or web access suspended.
The issues with the plan were brought up in a dottech article, such as false accusations, punishing multiple users on a network when only one is downloading questionable material, and privacy concerns, "What gives the entertainment industry of America the right to bypass these basic American rights?" On the plus side, "none of the ISPs have agreed to permanently shutdown subscribers." Plus "there are bound to be services and software that crop up to beat the system, for those that are really bothered by this." Forbes.com listed Apple as having patented a technique to fool trackers.
The people at the FCA meeting talked about the bill, "so basically the government is trying to screw us again, does that sum it up?" Adrianna Aeghin advised calm, "No ISP is going to analyze all the datastreams in use at any one time, EVEN if they're participating, which I think most won't. So they're mostly only going to look at people they have a reason to expect. … I really don't think this is going to be a problem for SL DJs. … Too many people are in a blind panic over this." One DJ at the begining had wondered if she would have to stop playing music in Second Life. But as the discussion went on, she felt more assured.
The group decided to take a wait and see stance, keeping an eye on the news to see if anyone was going after users for downloading music, and not jumping to conclusions over any rumors and whispers.
In other news, two of the men in Washington who helped defeat SOPA, one Democrat, one Republican, spoke out last month, calling for some form of Internet "Bill of Rights."
Sources: cnet.com, dottech.org
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