Verizon Does Something Right: No Hollywood Policing

tauke.190.jpg Verizon talks sense:
We see substantial increases in the volume of traffic. Generally we see that as a good thing. We have more customers paying for more services we provide.

—Tom Tauke, executive vice president for public affairs, Verizon, quoted in Verizon Rejects Hollywood’s Call to Aid Piracy Fight, By Saul Hansell, Bits, New York Times, February 5, 2008, 3:56 pm

He’s specifically responding to requests from Hollywood to police copyright. Tauke lists at least three good reasons not to:
  1. Slippery slope. What else? Pornography? Gambling?
  2. Liability. Especially for a deep-pockets company like Verizon.
  3. Privacy:
    Anything we do has to balance the need of copyright protection with the desire of customers for privacy.
A telco concerned with its customers’ privacy? I’d call that a good thing!

There is, nonetheless, a downside.

The downside is that whatever Verizon does won’t help those who are in areas served by AT&T, not Verizon. In other words, there’s too little competition. And even Verizon’s customers are dependant on Verizon’s continued good will, not on stated public policy or market forces. Plus CNet reports that Tauke favors the badly flawed DMCA. He said that a few weeks ago, and that bit didn’t seem to get into the more recent NYTimes writeup.

Still, Verizon’s position is a good one. And Verizon seems to have realized that stifling and throttling doesn’t pay in the long run, especially compared to just providing enough capacity to make the customers happy:

Mr. Tauke added that Verizon may feel less pressure in this direction than others because it has already invested in its FiOS system that strings high-capacity fiber-optic cables to homes. And in any case, he said, the company won’t mitigate its costs by trying to restrict what can be sent through its system.

“We don’t want to solve any network congestion issues by restricting the flow of certain kinds of traffic,” he said.


PS: Oddly, Verizon Policy Blog doesn’t seem to say anything about this.