updated 03:45 pm EDT, Thu April 15, 2010
MPAA and RIAA hope users turn in themselves
The MPAA and RIAA have sent a response to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator that would call for software to spy on users for potential piracy. Answering a request for comments, the music and movie studios would like antivirus software to include tools for "managing copyright infringement" and block or report copyrighted material it finds.
The submission would also call for familiar but equally aggressive tactics, such as encouraging Internet providers to automatically filter connections, the US government to randomly inspect electronics going over the border, and to put pressure on companies that don't follow US copyright laws by threatening to make piracy a central issue of talks. Studios would even want police agencies to work on their behalf by timing their plans around major movie releases.
All the comments aren't binding and won't necessarily result in action by the IPEC. However, they combined show the MPAA and RIAA calling for an approach that potentially violates privacy by searching a user's specific computer or portable device, in some cases without consent. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and other critics are also concerned that the studios want the government to give them special treatment and have already been attempting to skirt around public opposition, such as by keeping Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations secret despite Europe-wide resistance.