MPIAA, RIAA call for draconian new anti-piracy measures

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Movie companies and recording companies are calling for spyware to be installed on all computers to detect and delete pirated material.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have submitted a series of requests to the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement.

"There are several technologies and methods that can be used by network administrators and providers, including many that are already used for spam and virus protection," they say in their submission.

These include technologies to detect, monitor and filter traffic or specific files based on analysis of information such as protocols, file types, text description, metadata, file size and so on, as well as content recognition technologies such as digital hashes, watermark detection and fingerprinting technologies.

They want current regulations allowing the blocking of offending sites to be extended to allow permanent bans for repeat offenders.

And they want network administrators and providers to be 'encouraged' to implement spyware systems to detect copyright infringement, based on current anti-virus software.

"In other words, the entertainment industry thinks consumers should voluntarily install software that constantly scans our computers and identifies - and perhaps deletes - files found to be 'infringing'," says Richard Esguerra of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

He says the filtering plans are unworkable.
 
"Even the 'best' automated copyright blocking systems fail  to protect fair use. Worse, these techniques are unlikely to make any lasting dent on infringing behavior, but will instead just invite the use of more encryption and private 'darknets' (or even just more hand-to-hand sharing of hard drives and burned DVDs)," he says.

"But perhaps the most pernicious effect may be that copyright protection measures can be trojan horses for consumer surveillance. In an age of warrantless wiretapping and national censorship, building more surveillance and inspection technologies into the heart of the Internet is an obviously bad idea. In the words of the Hollywood movie, 'If you build it, they will come'."