AT&T Wants to Filter Traffic for Copyright Infringement

The New York Times is reporting that during a panel discussion Tusday at the Consumer Electronics Show, internet service provider AT&T revealed that it has plans to begin filtering customer's internet traffic in a search and destroy mission against copyright infringement.

The discussion — which included Microsoft and NBC, among others — centered around plans to use network-level filters to discover and eliminate content that could potentially be copyright violations. AT&T revealed that it has been in talks with the RIAA and MPAA — the anti-P2P arch-fiends — for over six months to establish digital fingerprinting to prevent file sharing. According to NBC's representative "The volume of peer-to-peer traffic online, dominated by copyrighted materials, is overwhelming. That clearly should not be an acceptable, continuing status."

Free speech groups were quick to point out the negative effects of network-level filtering, especially the potential for materials created under the Fair Use doctrine, including parodies, to be blocked. According to the Times, the participants — none of which are particularly noted for their free speech advocacy — were unmoved.

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