CDT is sending a letter
to the Department of Justice today objecting to precisely three words -- indeed, the last three words -- of DoJ's press release earlier this month announcing its Task Force of Intellectual Property Enforcement
. Those words are "Federal Communications Commission." Specifically, the end of the press release names the FCC as an agency that DoJ intends to work with in combatting I.P. crime.
What's wrong with that? It's an invitation to major mission creep. The FCC's job is to execute and enforce federal communications law. It has no authority and no role in enforcing other laws. Lots of unlawful activity -- from intellectual property infringement to racketeering to securities fraud to deceptive advertising -- may occur over or using communications networks. But that doesn't make it the FCC's job to police such activity. The FCC's focus is, and should remain, promoting the availability of high quality communications capabilities in the United States -- not policing what users do with those capabilities.
In addition, the only reason to involve the FCC would be to force the entities the FCC regulates -- communications providers, and in particular ISPs -- to start actively policing I.P. infringement. Having government force ISPs to take on this new role should raise serious red flags.
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