CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Commentary: ISPs tread a fine line

Between protecting themselves from liability and restricting free expression of subscribers, Internet service providers tread a fine line in the United States.

By Arabella Hallawell, Gartner Analyst

Between protecting themselves from liability and restricting free expression of subscribers, Internet service providers tread a fine line in the United States.

See news story:
AOL not liable for unauthorized e-books

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) legislation was pushed by content owners and has been widely used to stamp out online sharing of music and other files. It even led to the arrest of Russian computer programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, who was charged with distributing the Advanced eBook Processor, a product designed to circumvent copyright protection measures.

DMCA is considered by some as catering to the interests of content owners, allowing them to define rights that are not necessarily granted under U.S. copyright laws and precedents and that do not take into account consumer rights to fair use of content.

ISPs have pushed for a "safe harbor" from liability to prevent them from contributory copyright infringement if they do not knowingly act as a facilitator of copyright-infringing use of content, and if they take action to remove infringing content (section 202 of DMCA). They aggressively negotiated during the drafting of the DMCA, and their efforts will likely pay dividends as long as they continue to offer substantial noninfringing services.

ISPs will still bear significant cost in policing networks and responding to notices and takedowns. Those that operate in the international sector do not have rules as clear as those operating under the DMCA rules in the United States. For example, in the European Union, ISPs must ensure that the notices they receive to take down content due to alleged infringement have some validity. Otherwise, they might violate terms of use and, particularly, data protection laws.

(For a related commentary on copyright protection, see gartner.com.)

Entire contents, Copyright © 2002 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.

Close
Drag
Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF