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The apparent conflict between freedom and intellectual property

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The DRM debate ignited by the alarming proposal made by Nicolas Sarkozy is in my opinion one of the most relevant tech issues this year. The attention-catching part of the proposal is about cutting off broadband connections of people who are caught at illegally downloading films or music over the internet. But I do not want to discuss the appropriateness of this measure: the real problem is that, in order to enforce this, they are going down a dangerous slope towards content filtering. I cannot believe that there is no way to protect Intellectual Property without disrupting the whole web as we know it.

The proposal has been regarded as a win-win solution, mostly because of a simultaneous announcement of a new deal with film and music companies, which would see a guaranteed level of interoperability for any music or videos bought online. But I think that a stronger stance on these issues can be expected from a government, taking care of access to the global cultural and artistic wealth, one of the most relevant challenges in contemporary culture.

Can Italy, despite its wobbly reputation for innovation and technology, play a significant role in this debate?

Stefano Rodotà (Former Head of the Council of European Data Protection Agencies)  thinks so, and he promptly signed an appeal made by Leonardo Chiariglione to Francesco Rutelli, Minister of Culture and
Tourism, to reclaim this role and consider the Digital Media in Italia proposal as a starting point for a balanced discussion on DRMs. As for net neutrality, the key point in the proposal is for the transport network to be

"service agnostic" and therefore it may not assign different priorities to the transport of different types of information, unless this is requested by the user

[via Mimmo Cosenza – who has recently started a series of posts
explaining the multifaceted nature of Digital Rights Management systems
– beginning here]

[Photo by Misserion]