Public Knowledge: NBC Web filtering idea 'completely unconstitutional'

Public Knowledge said NBC's call for web filtering to crack down on copyright violations is "completely unconstitutional and anti-consumer."

NBC general counsel Rick Cotton today said internet service providers should have the ability to filter out illegal content flowing through their networks. He also said it would be no more invasive than anti-virus software and filters.

Cotton said more protections need to be put in place to prevent the "tidal wave" of pirated and illegally downloaded material flying around the web.

"The ISP community is coming to that recognition," he said. "We need them to be authorized to take those measures. The specific techniques they use are the second part."

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said, "The current law provides that if illegal content is found, the ISP can take it down. We don’t need to violate the privacy and free speech rights of every Internet user to satisfy the demands of Big Media. There is no technology that exists, and one is not likely to exist, that can determine which uses of copyrighted material are fair use, and which are not, so the filtering would be useless."

Cotton was speaking at a round-table with reporters at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss intellectual property enforcement priorities. The Chamber is pushing the Obama administration to present a National IP Strategy to Congress by the summer, and urging Congress to allocate resources to beef up piracy and counterfeit enforcement measures.