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Sets crosshairs on ISP safe harbors, desires a second look at mandatory filtering

Are the protections ensconced in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) strong enough? Apparently not, says “Congressman Hollywood” Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), who feels that certain provisions need reinforcement (PDF) in light of the changes in technology between today and the DMCA’s inception.

One of the most important provisions worth revisiting, says Berman, are the safe harbor provisions that currently shelter ISPs and user-generated content sites like Youtube or MySpaceTV. While many argue that these protections are one of the DMCA’s greatest strengths – allowing ISPs and companies to host user content unburdened of the expensive task of policing it – Berman seems to think that the same hosts are using safe harbor as a legal shield to protect them from the consequences of what Hollywood feels are lax policies.

Critics are understandably concerned, as a loss of safe harbor protections might cause Youtube et al to be “blasted out of existence,” according to Gizmodo Editor Matt Buchanan.

Berman would like the Department of Justice to get involved as well, creating a new IP enforcement division and enacting a voluntary partnership with ISPs that would allow the DOJ to send notices similar to the infamous DMCA “takedown” notices currently used. This would be a sharp turn for the DOJ, which historically has chosen not to participate in cases of individual piracy even though it had the power to do so.

Finally, Berman wants to revisit the current government stance on content filtering; he feels that technology has advanced sufficiently enough to warrant a second look at whether it is viable to enforce mandatory content filtering “in some situations.”

While Berman’s words are merely indicative of his intentions, it seems that he intends for some of his ideas to show up in a future, as-yet-unnamed piece of legislation.

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By bhieb on 12/17/2007 5:26:28 PM , Rating: 5
I am not nearly as strong of a Republican as I once was (thanks W). But I had to scroll up twice to check this guy's status. Democrat really? Seriously every Democrat I know (and there are plenty) would fight this to the death.
he feels that technology has advanced sufficiently enough to warrant a second look at whether it is viable to enforce mandatory content filtering “in some situations.”

Isn't that what China does to "protect" it's people and policies.

RE: Democrat
By Denigrate on 12/17/2007 5:57:21 PM , Rating: 1
I think you've got that backwards bro. Dems are the ones who want total control of your life.

RE: Democrat
By othercents on 12/17/2007 5:59:22 PM , Rating: 1
Yes Dems always favor big government. Making the government take the burden of being police over the internet.

RE: Democrat
By sxr7171 on 12/18/2007 4:15:50 AM , Rating: 5
Ironically the Dems prefer big government and lots and lots of money going through that system, but it is the Republicans that have an obsession about what people do in their bedrooms and with what people do with their own bodies. Can someone just start a party that stays out of personal decisions and is also fiscally conservative for a change?

RE: Democrat
By Proteusza on 12/18/2007 4:29:41 AM , Rating: 3
Politicians only stand for what they think will bring them the most gain.

RE: Democrat
By Spivonious on 12/18/2007 8:38:22 AM , Rating: 4
Sounds like you want to vote for Ron Paul. Check out videos of the debates on YouTube and you'll see he is for the federal government staying out of people's business.

RE: Democrat
By StillPimpin on 12/18/2007 10:16:55 AM , Rating: 3
Can someone just start a party that stays out of personal decisions and is also fiscally conservative for a change?

Someone was already. They're called (l)ibertarians.

RE: Democrat
By StillPimpin on 12/18/2007 10:17:48 AM , Rating: 2
Oops... Should read someone has already.

RE: Democrat
By SiliconAddict on 12/17/2007 6:00:35 PM , Rating: 4
I think someone hasn't been paying attention the last 8 years. Or is outright incompetent.

RE: Democrat
By bhieb on 12/18/2007 9:37:50 AM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately I have, as I said I am no fan of W. However, incompetent is a little harsh.

Generally speaking Dems look out more for the individual so much so that it is often times at the expense of business.

And the Big Government arguement does not fly as the poster below kindly pointed out, the party in control always wants big government. It is just a matter of where funds are placed. Historically government spending increases on social programs when the Dems are in control, and on business when the Reps are there (fyi military spending is business spending, the armed forces don't make anything so increasing military spending benefits business). Clinton for example spent very little, and thanks to a growing economy had a surplus. Bush came in and cut taxes thus lowering income, as he should have due to the surplus. Then the crap hit the fan and he started spendin like a wild banshee. However what most people don't get is that social spending also rose sharply during W's reign (from 307,000,000,000 at the height of Clinton's to 447,000,000,000). I have to admit that one shocked me a little. Turns out he'll just spend it on anything.

RE: Democrat
By onwisconsin on 12/17/2007 6:07:28 PM , Rating: 3
And who wanted the extension of USA PATRIOT with more "big brother" type legislation? Hmm.

RE: Democrat
By UNHchabo on 12/18/2007 1:05:44 PM , Rating: 3
Both parties did. With the Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, the bill still easily passed.

RE: Democrat
By deeznuts on 12/17/2007 6:29:46 PM , Rating: 5
I think you've got that backwards bro. Dems are the ones who want total control of your life.

They want big government, but not total control of your life. These are generalizations of course, but the OP got it right. Repubs are in favor of big businesses, including the RIAA/MPAA member companies.

Dems don't want to control your life, they are very big on preserving and maintaining privacy and individual rights. This is usually evident on supreme court cases regarding such rights. They just want to include and aid everyone.

I tend to lean republican on my views because I'm a capitalist pig, but individual rights and privacy are huge for me.

RE: Democrat
By BMFPitt on 12/17/2007 6:47:34 PM , Rating: 5
They want big government
You know what party wants big government? Whichever one is in power at any given time.

RE: Democrat
By ebakke on 12/17/2007 7:08:18 PM , Rating: 5
If I had a "Worth Reading +20" button, I would've clicked that. Since I only had a "Worth Reading" button, I opted for this post.

RE: Democrat
By rdeegvainl on 12/18/2007 4:34:36 AM , Rating: 2
You do know that as soon as you posted, your vote disappeared.

RE: Democrat
By rdeegvainl on 12/18/2007 4:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
yeah i misread that one.... oops

RE: Democrat
By sxr7171 on 12/18/2007 4:19:27 AM , Rating: 4
Fiscally conservative and socially liberal -> Libertarian. That's what they call people who want capitalism to it's fullest and yet want full individual rights and privacy. It's where I lean also.

RE: Democrat
By Misty Dingos on 12/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Democrat
By cmdrdredd on 12/17/2007 6:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
If there was a party dedicated to establishing some sort of socialist government control over everything media related he would be in that party. Maybe he should move to china, he'll be happy to know that they control every aspect of a person's life including banning certain movies deemed inapproperate by the government.

RE: Democrat
By Suomynona on 12/17/2007 6:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I was expecting to read about Orrin Hatch.

RE: Democrat
By GeorgeOrwell on 12/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Democrat
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2007 9:22:42 PM , Rating: 1
Or we can enforce our laws to make illegal immigrants leave so they can't get work, increase punishments for identity theft, and elect competent officials.

As far as the broken ecosystem, insane levels of pollution, and millions of immoral laws, not really. Yes some laws aren't right, but not all of them. And our pollution and ecosystem aren't any worse off than the rest of the modernized world.

If you hate it that much, leave.

RE: Democrat
By GeorgeOrwell on 12/18/2007 11:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
If you love it so much, don't lie about it.

RE: Democrat
By eye smite on 12/17/2007 10:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you love it when they focus on issues that are so much more important than finding new energy sources so that we as a society aren't slaves to the gas pump? How bout doing something about that stupid law they passed years ago that said individual states aren't allowed to pass mpg standards on auto makers. I have no faith in politicians, reason being, they can't save us from themselves let alone anything else.

Because they are loosing so much moneys!
By Cogman on 12/17/2007 5:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, imagine the millions that Hollywood is loosing because youtube shows people dancing to matrix movies.. Ohh Noos! Tom Cruise might not be able to afford his multi-million dollar house, Whatever Shall we Do?

Please, I know that it would be somewhat of a shame if Hollywood went broke, but they are nowhere near that, so why punish everyone so some guy can earn his ten buck a music video? VHS didn't kill Hollywood and neither will youtube (in fact it will probably only help them, they are just too short sighted to see that, or too greedy to care)

RE: Because they are loosing so much moneys!
By onwisconsin on 12/17/2007 5:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Halo 3!

I mean, Hollywood is producing some great films! It's not like they're releasing half-arsed sequels or producing movies with bland stereotypes and plots! I mean, they're giving us what we want, and we would rather drive and pay $11 for a movie that will go to DVD faster than you can say "failure!" (sarcasm)

RE: Because they are loosing so much moneys!
By Alexstarfire on 12/18/2007 12:03:41 AM , Rating: 2
I know man. I mean, I pay for movies that I REALLY like/love, but for all of the Lord of the Rings, Matrix, and Pirates of the Caribbean quality movies you have to wade through an ocean of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Underworld, The Shaggy Dog, Scary Movie 3 and 4, Fred Claus, This Christmas, and tons more that I simply can't think of because no one watches them.

I know that they can't produce only great movies. That'd be impossible. But there is a lot of crap that gets through the screening process and I'd like to know why. Do they get bought off or something?

DVDs, why the hell are they so expensive? It's $8 at the theater, but $15-$20 to own? Is the DVD that expensive? I bet you more people would buy those average movies if the price were about $10. Course, I'd buy a lot more movies if I could actually afford them. I just don't have the money right now, no job. I end up renting a ton.

It's not like the movie theater doesn't already mark up the price of the ticket. Probably to supplement the low sales of overpriced EVERYTHING that they sell. Only things worth buying are a the refillable popcorn and sodas. And that's only if you actually refill them a couple times. Damn near $4 just for a medium popcorn. I can go make my own popcorn for like $.50. I can even take it into the theater so long as I go to the one that's in the mall. Those stand alone theaters make you throw your outside drinks and food away. It's not like I'd ever buy their stuff to begin with. I'd rather starve and be thirsty than waste my money.

By sxr7171 on 12/18/2007 4:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
They pretty much break even or lose money on the ticket itself. They make money off the overpriced popcorn and soda that people simply cannot do without. Also $15 to own a movie isn't terrible. It's a great price for a movie in either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD since either format on a big HDTV or projector gets you really close to the theater experience without the hassles any time in your own home. You can have your friends over and watch the film anytime you want with whom you want.

Now $8-10 is where regular DVDs should be at.

By AlexWade on 12/18/2007 8:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with everything you said except that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was bad. It was weird, I love weird. It was my second HD DVD purchase, right after Serenity.

Nevertheless, Hollywood has been churning out junk. The last movie I saw was the Simpsons movie and, even though I watch the TV show religiously, I wasn't impressed with that movie. Then Hollywood puts out a bevy of movies along the same idea at the same time. Two or three anti-war idea movies came out recently, all failed.

By theapparition on 12/18/2007 9:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'd much rather watch the Scary Movie francise than either the 3rd Pirates or 3rd Spiderman.

By wallijonn on 12/18/2007 10:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
I pay for movies that I REALLY like/love, but for all of the Lord of the Rings, Matrix, and Pirates of the Caribbean quality movies you have to wade through an ocean of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Underworld, The Shaggy Dog, Scary Movie 3 and 4, Fred Claus, This Christmas, and tons more that I simply can't think of because no one watches them.

You must've meant "Underdog" and not "Underworld," because just about any movie with Kate Beckingsale is usually very good ("Vacancy" might not be everyone's cup of tea, though.)

[Case in point, the only reason why I am thinking of buying a PS3 is to get the 'Underworld' movies (well that and the "Resident Evil" movies.)]

No matter what crap Hollywood comes out with, many people will usually see it in a theatre and then buy it on DVD, HD, or BD.

By sxr7171 on 12/18/2007 4:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
What I don't get is that despite how crappy these movies are, people are still lapping them up. Otherwise how does this industry still make money? I have some friends who consider themselves "movie buffs" which means they'll go and pay $10-11 to watch every piece of garbage they can put on a screen. These are the stupid people reasonable ultimately for a poor quality of "films" released year after year. They keep inviting me and imply that I am a "movie snob" because I refuse to support this crap. I mean I realize that people have stressful lives and need something to entertain themselves, but can you people please just go and rent some of the great older quality films first? I mean just because a movie is older doesn't make it unwatchable. There are dozens of quality films that we all missed when we growing up. Why finance this new crap unless it is good? Maybe we are to blame for being in this situation. The RIAA and MPAA only have power over us that we give them.

RE: Because they are loosing so much moneys!
By Farfignewton on 12/17/2007 7:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
I know that it would be somewhat of a shame if Hollywood went broke

You are entitled to your opinion, but frankly I think Hollywood going broke is less a shame and more of a sham. ;)

By UNHchabo on 12/18/2007 1:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe we'd get more foreign cinema coming to the US if Hollywood went bankrupt. :)

If any of you get the chance, get the Polish movie "With Fire and Sword" ("Ogniem i mieczem"). It's an amazing fantasy/historical fiction movie based off of a book by the same name. If you like Braveheart or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I can almost guarantee you'll love this movie. It's available with English subtitles. Netflix probably won't have it, but I bet you can get it through Inter-Library Loan, if you don't feel like buying it before you see it.

By amanojaku on 12/17/2007 5:15:12 PM , Rating: 4
1) It will be illegal to show your friends a movie if they didn't buy their own copy

2) Parodists will be sent to jail for taking clips of movies and dubbing over them

3) I'll need the MPAA's permission to sell someone an old movie

4) I'll hang for not giving the MPAA my paycheck

RE: Someday...
By Cogman on 12/17/2007 5:43:45 PM , Rating: 3
Meh, ultimatily they will just have to implant a chip into my eyes that will allow me to watch their media (as long as I have paid for it of course). That seems the most sensible thing to do. Maybe they can even apply a mild electric shock if they think I am tampering or contemplating tampering with there technology. Not to mention instant jail time if I look at a website deemed illegal by the MPAA or RIAA, After all, I'm nothing but a low life criminal that would sooner rape your child then pay for a movie...

Hold on to your seats, we are beginning to enter stupid and ludicrous speed! (We've gone Plaid!, Ill be waiting for the lawsuit over this one...)

RE: Someday...
By sxr7171 on 12/18/2007 4:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. They'd consider it an ideal world where a chip in your brain will let your brain process the audio and video only if you are "authorized" to hear or view it - just like HDCP but in your brain. If you look at a screen it will check the RIAA/MPAA authentication servers to see if you paid to listen/watch to their content and if you did then everything will be fine. If you didn't, then you won't hear the audio and your brain will interpret the image on the screen as fuzzy shapes rotating around.

I bet they're working on this as we speak and are paying congressmen right now to get a law written up that makes it mandatory to implant every newborn with this chip.

RE: Someday...
By fic2 on 12/18/2007 7:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
They wouldn't check for authorization - why bother when they know that nobody is authorized for anything. They will just automagically deduct a couple of bucks from your checking account when you wander across copyrighted content whether you wanted to "experience" it or not.

RE: Someday...
By BMFPitt on 12/17/2007 6:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
4) I'll hang for not giving the MPAA my paycheck
They'll just garnish your wages.

RE: Someday...
By Proteusza on 12/18/2007 4:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
If you hang they cant get any more money out of you. Money is more important than your death.

RE: Someday...
By gmw1082 on 12/18/2007 7:35:39 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know...aren't they trying the death approach for internet radio?

By INDVote on 12/17/2007 9:56:51 PM , Rating: 1
A lot of random, unrelated, dumb comments here. Anyone stop for half a second and think that maybe, just maybe, this representative is doing this because he's getting money for it, and it's a billion-dollar local interest? I'm surprised that's escaped everyone.

It's not because he's a Dem or a Rep; it's because it's an easy homegrown issue that will keep him in office.

On him being a socialist, please, stop. The Democratic party hasn't been even remotely socialist on anything in 40 years. All you guys wishing Reagan was still alive and it was the 80s are laughable. Here's the difference between the two parties: Republicans steal from you, and the Democrats let them while holding majorities in both houses. One is active, the other passive. See the difference?

This representative's actions are technically more republican in nature, as it's big business trying to squeeze you and me for every last inch they can take. Unchecked power is unchecked power, be it a C-grade president, a multiple term incumbent politician, or a global corporation worth 10+ figures to the left of the decimal point.

RE: Wow...
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2007 11:41:40 PM , Rating: 2
Republicans want to let me keep more of the money I make. Democrats want to take more of it and give it to those who are lazy and poor. Don't make enough money for health care? We'll give it to you for free. Don't make enough money to buy a convertor so you can't watch TV after the digital switch? Don't worry, we'll give you money for that too. The list goes on.

Many Republicans want to end illegal immigration and make English the official language of the US. Many Democrats want to give them immunity and citizenship which will further tax our overburdened social programs that they're already getting benefits from despite not being citizens and paying taxes.

So which do I like more?

RE: Wow...
By INDVote on 12/18/2007 12:11:56 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly what tax break do you think you got? It all went to people that blow you and I out of the water financially. Lazy and poor huh? I'm sure working 2 and 3 jobs is real lazy. They should give back five of their welfare Cadillacs right? How about people that had the money in the first place give back the Hummer H2 they bought practically for free on the SUV can't-waste-oil-fast-enough tax breaks?

Republicans want to end illegal immigration? Well, they haven't done it yet, and they had a chance to. Oh right, I guess it was the Democrats that messed it up. And I love how lightweights like you complain about Democrats taxing certain things, but love dumping our children's collective future into China's hands by financing a war we lost at the start. Damn the Democrats for funding W's war, but don't talk your anti-tax bullcrap to me and give the republicans a pass after what they've done. You sound like you don't like paying for being a citizen. I wonder what the fighting men and women that defend us off of tax dollars think of that.

Here's the truth: Any tax raising that's done for the foreseeable future has to be done to make up for the hole W and the gang dug for us. How does it feel to know that with every breath of air you take W is costing the entire country several million dollars? If you think taxation is high now, you have no idea what it's like to actually contribute to something, least of all the infrastructure of this country. You get what you pay for, and right now we're getting garbage. You really are a jackass.

RE: Wow...
By rdeegvainl on 12/18/2007 4:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but your appeal to the men and women who defend the country doesn't fly. I agree with Fit's sentiment completely. Guess what, I barely make 24k a year, I make 30k when deployed. I am military and when I get out, I better not be having my money go get somebody a converter so they can watch television, nor do I want people who are only here because they broke our laws, to get granted citizenship.

RE: Wow...
By Spivonious on 12/18/2007 8:45:55 AM , Rating: 3
Ron Paul wants to get rid of most of the government bureaucracies. That would definitely lower taxes. He has a firm "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" anti-handouts policy. He wants to pull our troops out of every foreign country so they can actually do their job and defend ours.

Not to sound too cliche, but "google Ron Paul."

RE: Wow...
By borowki on 12/18/2007 1:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
As though attacking the messenger is an intellectually honest way to win an argument. Really, why don't you take your own advise and consider that, maybe, just maybe, the congressman has a valid point?

The safe-harbor provision in the DMCA was designed to protect ISPs--meaning companies that provide raw Internet access. Congress never intended to protect sites like YouTube. Calling them internet service provider is a complete abuse of the term. For a tiny majority that actually upload contents to YouTube, it is a service. But the 99+% of people who visit the site go there in search of contents. YouTube is not a service. It's a content aggregator and should be judged as such. If Google is placing advertisement alongside the contents, then it has an obligation to ensure they're legit.

What does he want?
By BMFPitt on 12/17/2007 5:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure the MPAA will write a new version for him where accused pirates are sent to Gitmo.

And I'm sure it will pass without debate.

RE: What does he want?
By cmdrdredd on 12/17/2007 5:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
I love how the guys comming up with all these ideas of needing protection probably have never personally used youtube or any of the services they claim need monitoring. It's likely he hasn't the first clue about the internet or computers in general either. The same thing happened when they try to blame video games for violent behavior, they do not play the games so they're just guessing.

RE: What does he want?
By Vinnybcfc on 12/17/2007 5:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ah but the wads of cash in his back pocket feel too good to move, I think he can live without Youtube.

By SiliconAddict on 12/17/2007 5:57:50 PM , Rating: 2

By thartist on 12/17/2007 6:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
maybe it's WMCA they want!

On the plus side
By aalaardb on 12/18/2007 1:22:09 AM , Rating: 2
On the plus side, at least it's no longer a do-nothing Congress.

On the minus side, well...

A Democrat in stormtrooper's clothing!
By pjs on 12/18/2007 1:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
As a Democrat, an unhappy one at that because my Democratic leaders have no spine, I say that this turkey should be voted out of office. What a loser! He certainly seems to be in some big music biz deep pockets.


"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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