NBC Universal Explains Why ISPs Should Filter Copyrighted Works

from the because-they're-BIG dept

The NY Times "debate" between law professor Tim Wu and NBC Universal General Counsel Rick Cotton that began Monday now continues. It's actually not much of a "debate" because each are simply answering the questions posed by the moderator, Saul Hansell. However, the latest concerns whether it makes sense to require third party companies, such as ISPs or consumer electronics firms to filter or block content in an effort to protect copyright holders from unauthorized use of their content. Wu's answer focuses on a slightly different question: whether it makes sense for the government to step in and mandate such solutions, and provides a reasonable answer questioning why the government should be protecting one industry's business model at the expense of others'. Cotton's response is quite similar to the one he gave last week at CES. Effectively, it's "there's so much piracy going on, that we need to have others step in and protect our business model."

I'm curious if Cotton believes that automobiles should have been forced to go 3 mph with people walking in front of them waving red flags, for the sake of protecting the market for horse-drawn carriage makers? Or, should consumer electronics companies been forced not to allow VCRs to record TV? Both examples involved "big" problems that were seen as "threats" to an existing business model. Yet, rather than being actual threats (after some bogus lobbying/court cases), companies realized that these were actually huge opportunities to expand markets and make even more money. So why is it this time it's suddenly a big threat and not an opportunity? And even if it is a threat, why should it be seen as something that a third party needs to handle? What happens when the required filtering in the US means that foreign consumer electronics makers come up with the next great innovation that isn't possible in the US and we fall behind in terms of the next important innovation? None of that seems to be of concern to Cotton, whose sole focus is on preserving a business model that is certainly not the most efficient nor effective for the industry. I recognize that it is Cotton's job at NBC Universal to make these kinds of statements, but it should be his fiduciary responsibility to the company to suggest that there are better paths to adapting to the changing market place, rather than clinging to an obsolete business model and dragging down other industries with it.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: copyright, rick cotton, tim wu
Companies: nbc universal

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. identicon
    Jim, 16 Jan 2008 @ 9:55am

    Stupidity run amuck

    Rick Cotton is simply wrong. If your business model is failing, you need to change your business model. And even if ISPs begin to filter, the software used to transfer this material will simply incorporate the ability to initiate a secure VPN tunnel between the source and destionation, which the ISPs (nor anyone else) will be able to see into, and therefore not filter. Changing the business model to one that works is a solution, everything else is just a waste of time because there will always be a way for one technology to counter another.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.