Brief opinion: ISPs and the RIAA

Maybe it’s just my uninformed opinion, but Internet service providers should not be held accountable for what sorts of information flows over their networks.

Several analogies have popped up online in comments about this, especially in comments on RIAA lawsuit stories. For example, toll booth operators are not held liable for illegal driving that takes place on the roads they monitor.

The point is this: those who provide access to networks (of whatever kind) aren’t responsible for policing those networks. They are responsible for providing access to the networks.

Another thing: Yes, pirating music and movies is illegal. Yes, the pirates should be sued or otherwise held accountable for their crimes. But while we, a a society, a compelled to live within the bounds of the law, or face punishment, we are not compelled to help enforce that law. ISPs are run by private individuals and are usually private companies. They should not be compelled to enforce the law any more than a single citizen should be.

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