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Businesses

AT&T's Plan to Play Internet Cop 272

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Tim Wu has an interesting (and funny) article on Slate that says that AT&T's recent proposal to examine all the traffic it carries for potential violations of US intellectual property laws is not just bad but corporate seppuku bad. At present AT&T is shielded by a federal law they wrote themselves that provides they have no liability for 'Transitory Digital Network Communications' — content AT&T carries over the Internet. To maintain that immunity, AT&T must transmit data 'without selection of the material by the service provider' and 'without modification of its content' but if AT&T gets into the business of choosing what content travels over its network, it runs the serious risk of losing its all-important immunity. 'As the world's largest gatekeeper,' Wu writes, 'AT&T would immediately become the world's largest target for copyright infringement lawsuits.' ATT's new strategy 'exposes it to so much potential liability that adopting it would arguably violate AT&T's fiduciary duty to its shareholders,' concludes Wu."

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