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RIAA: Net neutrality shouldn't inhibit antipiracy

As Federal Communications Commission studies proposed Net neutrality regulations, the music industry wants to ensure that nothing prevents ISPs from fighting piracy.

The lobbying group for the top four recording companies wants to make sure that when regulations on Net neutrality are adopted, they don't impede antipiracy efforts.

That's why the Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday asked the Federal Communications Commission to "adopt flexible rules" that free Internet service providers to fight copyright theft.

This week is the deadline for submitting comments to the FCC as it considers proposed regulations for Net neutrality, the term coined by those who want the Web to be open to all forms of content, Web sites, and platforms and also want to prevent ISPs from charging users higher rates to access different sites or content.

According to a copy of comments submitted by the RIAA to the FCC, others, including two U.S. congressmen have already argued that the "Open Internet" principles should not protect unlawful content such as pirated songs.

"In these comments," the RIAA wrote, "we encourage the FCC to stay its course and explicitly support, encourage, and endorse ISP efforts to fight piracy."

The music industry has a plan to convince ISPs to adopt a "graduated response" when dealing with illegal file sharing. They want ISPs to gradually step up pressure on those who infringe copyright works. If the RIAA had its way, chronic offenders could lose Internet access for a period.

But the RIAA has struggled to convince the major ISPs to cooperate. A year ago, the music industry announced that it had reached an agreement in principle with a group of big ISPs. Since then, not one ISP has publicly acknowledged participating.

All of this could be moot. The courts have yet to determine whether the FCC has the authority to set rules for Net neutrality.