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Say NO to the Oregon "Super DMCA," SB 655

The Oregon legislature is considering a new law that would make the most harmless and commonly used Internet access practices illegal. It's called SB 655. Although not explicitly stated by the law, it implies that the following would all be illegal: NAT, firewalling, sharing your Internet connection with your neighbor, or any other technique that could mask the origin of the Internet traffic. The law is based on model legislation from the MPAA and that broadband group (who's name I can't recall) that is made up of AOL Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T Broadband, etc. Write your representative NOW if you live in Oregon.

I've been cooresponding back and forth with Senator Starr's staff, the state Senator "sponsoring" the bill. Here's the last email I wrote:

Internet access is a utility service like water or power, and should be regulated as one. I hope that if Oregon adopts legislation related to consumer Internet access that the legislators treat Internet access as metered service; consumer’s pay for the volume of Internet access that they use, and are not regulated on what they can or can’t do with it.

If you agree that Internet access is a utility like “water and sewer� services you buy from your city:

• You would pay a flat-fee for “Internet connection,� plus an additional charge for the amount of Internet access that you use, measured in gigabits per month. Under SB 655, Internet Service Providers (ISP) would have no reason to sell Internet access in this manner.
• You would not be regulated on what you do with your Internet connection. Like water you buy from the city, where you are free to bottle the water and sell it to your neighbors, you should be able to do the same with your Internet connection. “Dasani� water by the Coca-cola Corporation is nothing more than bottled city water—If water was their Internet connection, under SB 655 what they are doing would be criminal offense.
• The amount of data from the Internet that you can download into your home is fixed, as it is today. Just like water and sewage services the amount of water you can “download� into your house is fixed by the pipe that comes into your house. If you choose to re-sell some of your water to your neighbor you are only hurting yourself by lowering your water pressure—the same goes for an Internet connection. Under SB 655, sharing a water hose with your neighbor would be a criminal offense.

The MPAA and the Broadband Providers Group are trying to make Internet access regulated like cable-TV. This is wrong because unlike cable-TV where you have a “fixed� amount of incoming data and no control over the content, with an Internet connection you have a variable amount of data and full control over the content.

I believe that law that controls what a consumer can or can not do with their Internet connection infringes on basic consumer rights and free speech. The government has no place telling me what I can or can not do with my Internet connection.

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This page contains a single entry by Robert W. Rose published on May 27, 2003 10:49 AM.

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