Big Brother Is Listening Too


According to the Center for Copyright Information fact sheet: “In 2011 the Center for Copyright Information will be formally opened. This newly formed Center will help educate consumers about content theft on the Internet. It will help them to understand the difference between lawful and unlawful online downloading and file sharing.

How does it work? If a filter catches you uploading or downloading a file that you do not have rights to, the system sends you a warning. There are a series of six alerts that start from a simple warning and end up with some arbitrary punishments that are, well … here … read it for yourself.

Before I start ranting about this, let me state my position on the law. I think that enforcing our copyright laws is a very good thing and I believe that people who violate the current copyright statutes are criminals that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Please read the preceding statement carefully. I do not believe that our copyright laws are adequate for our time; I simply believe that until the laws are changed, we have to abide by them.

That said, the new Center for Copyright Information is on a path that will probably lead to its own destruction.

From the ISP’s perspective – it’s great to say you’ll support the initiative. Pay it lip service and wait for all of your competitors to make their customers mad enough to switch to your network.

From the customer perspective – this is really, really creepy. We know that Big Brother is watching, but now he is listening too? If you can tell what I am uploading and downloading, how long will it be until someone tries to regulate it? This is a very slippery slope indeed.

From the technical perspective – what happens when someone spoofs my WiFi router and does all of their illegal filesharing through my unprotected home network?

From a business perspective – Do I really want to wage another war with my customers?

This new Center is supposed to be about education. They probably have it right – the industry is about to get “schooled.”

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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