AT&T Attacks Content

Copyright is not just for Internet radio anymore:
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.

As AT&T has begun selling pay-television services, the company has realized that its interests are more closely aligned with Hollywood, Cicconi said in an interview Tuesday. The company’s top leaders recently decided to help Hollywood protect the digital copyrights to that content.

“We do recognize that a lot of our future business depends on exciting and interesting content,” he said.

AT&T to target pirated content, It joins Hollywood in trying to keep bootleg material off its network. By James S. Granelli, L.A. Times, June 13, 2007

Now it’s for Internet video. Which is what “James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president,” meant by “exciting and interesting content.” Nevermind participatory customer-generated content, or that customers might not want AT&T monitoring their content.

Maybe AT&T could interpret their customers sharing movies over the Internet as market demand:

But critics say the company is going to be fighting a losing battle and angering its own customers, and it should focus instead on developing incentives for users to pay for all the content they want.
It doesn’t seem they’re doing that latter. Meanwhile, they do seem to have angered one prominent customer of Internet services:
LA Times: AT&T to target pirated content: It joins Hollywood in trying to keep bootleg material off its network. Its network, the headline says. Not “the Internet”, but its network.

If you had any illusions that what you get from the likes of AT&T is “the Internet”, you’ve just been corrected.

Remember Ma Bell? Sheee’s back! And now she’s got the TV and “the Internet” as well as the phone.

Kinda gives ya the warm scuzzies, huh?

If I were an AT&T customer today, and I had any other choice of service provider, I’d drop AT&T like a bad transmission. In fact, if you’re an AT&T customer, I suggest you do exactly that. If you can.

Then I’d work every way I could to build out the Net from the edge in, instead from the center out. That’s the only way to keep it from becoming a one-way sluice for “exciting content” from Hollywood.

Hat tip to Dave for the heads-up. Money quote: If there were a death penalty for corporations, AT&T may have just earned it.

Dear AT&T: Please go to hell, Doc Searls, Doc Searls weblog, 13 June 2007

This is why what we need is not net neutrality, because companies like AT&T interpret the net as their broadband network. What we need is Internet neutrality.