One thing NBC Universal is not neutral on is copyright violations.
NBCU used comments in the FCC's network neutrality docket Friday to push for a government crackdown on intellectual piracy, specifically calling for FCC regulations requiring Internet service providers to police their networks for illegal content.
NBCU under Chairman Bob Wright has been a leader in the studio/network fight to protect digital content that is easily copied and redistributed.
In comments on the FCC's inquiry into broadband access, NBCU suggested that the government was "stand[ing] by mutely" while the Internet was being "hijacked" by bandwidth hogs illegally distributing digital content over peer-to-peer networks, saying P2P traffic accounted for 60%-70% of all Internet traffic, with 90% of that P2P traffic in violation of copyright laws.
"Would the government permit Federal Express or UPS to knowlingly operate delivery services in which 60%-70% of the payload consisted of contraband such as illegal drugs or stolen goods," said NBC U, then racheted up the analogy: "Surely, the government would not turn a blind eye if nearly three-quarters of the Internet's traffic consisted of child pornography."
Earlier in the week, NBCU General Counsel Rick Cotton, who was the lead name on the FCC comments, had said the White House and Justice Department needed to get more involved in the anti-piracy effort as well. Cotton chairs teh content industry's Coaltion Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.
Pointing to the polarizing rhetoric in the debate over network neutrality (i.e. mandating it would either eviserate network investment or save the next garage-born Google or YouTube [our examples] ), NBCU said that what is missing is that an increasing amount of that Internet traffic is in stolen digital goods, and that service providers must actively battle against such theft.
"The commission should make unmistakably clear," said the company, "as part of its regulations governing broadband industry practices, that broadband service providers have an obligation to use readily available means to prevent the use of their broadband capacity to transfer pirated content," even if it is just to notify customers who have been "identified as infringers."
Not to do so, says NBCU, is "bad policy. Bad for legitimate businesses, bad for the networks that comprise the Internet, and bad for law-abiding consumers" whose access is slowed by the volume of illegal traffic.