Sunday, May 04, 2008

Q & A on Net Neutrality from Fordham

Here's an interesting Q & A on net neutrality from Fordham on March 27, 2008. The questioner is Richard Pfohl from CRIA. The question was addressed to Richard Cotton, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NBC Universal. The question suggests that content owners should bring ISPs "to the table to partner with you to try to control the movement of infringing traffic across their networks":

QUESTION: Richard Pfohl with the Canadian Recording Industry.

A question for Rick Cotton. Rick, you talked about building partnerships with ISPs, but you also talked about how a lot of their business model is effectively built on moving infringing traffic across their networks. Given that that’s how they are making money now, how is it that you bring them to the table to partner with you to try to control the movement of infringing traffic across their networks?

MR. COTTON: I actually don’t believe that at this point in time they are making money by transporting pirated content, quite the reverse. There may have been a point in time when, in terms of attracting broadband customers, it was useful from their point of view to have a lot of free video and other pirated material out on the Internet that people needed faster bandwidth to access. But today, with the amount of traffic in, particularly, pirated video ― taking as much bandwidth as it is, number one; and number two, virtually every ISP is also in the business of selling content to their customers – that is no longer the case. So I think, while we may like to think that it is our persuasive powers that bring them to the table, I think their self-interest has changed.

When I said that there are companies and commercial interests that do profit from weakening of intellectual property laws, they are not the ISPs. There are companies whose business model is enhanced by virtue of being able to provide their customers access to any and all content. But it’s not the ISPs.

Could content owner pressure to "partner" be a factor in the practice of ISP "throttling" and the emerging and escalating net neutrality debate?

Note: The above transcript excerpt is subject to editing and correction and is not in final form.



  1. It's totally false when M. Pfohl talks about the bandwidth. It's the streaming actually the most used on Internet.
    It's always the same thing, it's about "cliché".
    I'm very angry but not surprised because M. Pfohl is from CRIA, and they know a lot about "desinformation".

  2. I think it's extremely disingenuous to claim that ISPs are in the business of transmitting pirated content. They are in the business of transmitting packets, whatever they might contain. Someone needs a lesson the 7-layer OSI model. ISPs are not supposed to deal with content at all.