Who foots the bill for file-sharing police? Maybe part of your cable bundle?


The entertainment industry seems ready to admit defeat in its attempt to bludgeon the music and video-consuming public into giving up their file sharing habits. Despite thousands of lawsuits against students who download "free" content via sites such as Pirate Bay, the industry is still carping about lost revenue.

The alternative the industry proposes sounds draconian to me. According to the New York Times, NBC, Microsoft and others support putting the responsibility for screening for and stopping the sharing of copyrighted content on the back of internet networks. For example, this would require Time Warner Cable to peek into your internet traffic and block any content that falls within this category.

An analogy might be made to the postal process. In this analogy, the post office would be tasked with opening up each piece of your mail to make sure it doesn't contain illegal materials.

The analogy is apt in other ways, I think. It adds a layer of complication, i.e. cost and time, to communications, and it forces us to pay to have ourselves policed for the benefit of the entertainment industry.

Why can't they deal with this by the tried and true method? Since the NSA reads all of our mail, let them carry out the electronic strip searches. They many not be able to find Bin Laden with their billions of dollars of equipment, but I bet they could find an Arcade Fire download in a haystack.