Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA, is calling on Internet service providers to implement filtering to protect movies from piracy. AT&T has already announced plans to develop such a system, but there are few details. It's also not clear if Glickman has any rationale for placing the onus on ISPs, considering the law's not on his side. And yet, the prospect of holding them legally responsible for piracy on their networks is implied in his statements.
Glickman says, "The ISP community is going to be at the forefront of this in the future because they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by not seeing that the content is being properly protected." And here I was thinking it was that Hollywood studios, the ones Glickman represents, with everything to lose and nothing to gain by forcing ineffective protections on its products.
ISPs stand on the frontline of the content industry's war on piracy, true. But they'd seem to have little to gain by taking up Glickman's fight — until you consider this: Cable Internet providers like Comcast are already in the TV business. AT&T and Verizon are starting to sell TV subscriptions as fast as they can. Blocking file sharing may generate some ill will among Internet customers — but more than ever, ISPs need friends in Hollywood so they'll have programming to fill their new channels.