Thoughtful mail from Lenard Stanga:
I’m a member of ACTRA. From what I’ve seen, a lot of your platform statement is quite sane. However, I really have a problem with 2.12 Liability of Internet service providers (ISPs), specifically because you seem to use interchangeably the concept of “Internet Service Provider” and “Web Hosting Provider”.
Most of the section apparently seems to be referring to the responsibility of a hosting provider to be liable if their client hosts copyrighted material. This I understand, and agree with, as far as I understand it.
In the introduction, though, you specifically mention as a solution the “implementation of content-filtering mechanisms”, which really suggests you are indeed advocating that ISPs have liability for the content that is downloaded by their users. I strongly disagree with this.
Have you heard of Net Neutrality? Do you understand what an enormous can of worms will be opened if ISPs have to police the actions of their users? Yes, I understand they must do so in cases of serious crimes and human rights violations, but lets not attempt to paint this with the same brush.
You say “it may prove to be increasingly difficult to distinguish [ISPs] activities as content providers from their activities as Internet service providers”. Yes. And in spite of the difficulty, it is extremely important.
I plead with you, to change you language. Do not subject ISPs to liability for merely providing a network upon which a violation might occur. If a web hosting provider (yes even if they are also an ISP) has a client that is hosting copyrighted material, then the material exists on the web hosting provider’s network, then of course they should be liable. But don’t get into “well, it crossed their fibre-optic network, so they must pay”, or we’ll all be stuck pointing fingers at each other.
Thanks for your time,
– Just to say, Lenard, thanks for your contribution. And to say that your “you” is also “us.” That is, ACTRA representatives have participated actively in developing the CCC platform, and sure, they know the net neutrality discussion well. BTW, ACTRA just drew to our attention the current Globe&Mail online poll. Totally unscientific, but those polls generally have a strong digital-freedom tilt. So far three-quarters of respondents support more ISP responsibility…