But there’s a huge, obvious risk to piling up the obligations on intermediaries, who begin taking action against people without court orders and in areas in which they may have no technical expertise. (While appeal mechanisms are available, the new infringement agreement is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach.) ISPs dealing with spam and viruses and DDoS attacks is one thing; ISPs dealing with copyright, speech, and fair use issues is another entirely. Today’s focus on “education” is therefore an encouraging one, but the “mitigation” measures ISPs will start taking raise key questions. How far we want ISPs to go in private enforcement actions that might target speech, communications, and even Internet access itself is a debate well worth revisiting in light of today’s news—and the White House support for such approaches.
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