No network vigilante bill

Hollywood’s man in Washington, ultra-liberal machine boss Howard Berman, has apparently decided to drop the network vigilante bill that got so many web elves upset when it was introduced last year:

This week, however, Berman said he may not revive the measure. For one thing, copyright holders may not need extra protection to combat file-sharing piracy, he said. And though Berman wasn’t deterred by complaints from consumer advocates, the concerns voiced by Hollywood studios — among the biggest beneficiaries of the bill, given their active anti-piracy efforts online — suggested that Berman was climbing out on a limb by himself.

This bill, as you may recall, allowed copyright holders to invade file sharing computers and launch legal denial-of-service attacks in order to protect their intellectual property. Hollywood reached a consensus that the risk of liability from doing these things where they weren’t warranted outweighed the benefits.

The reaction to this bill underscored the confusion that reigns in the minds of many of our good tech-topians about the different business interests of telecom and Hollywood. The tech-topian tendency is to conflate telcos and Hollywood into a monolithic axis of evil, as they do in the World of Ends document that delivers a stern lecture to both on the (largely imaginary) differences between the Internet and the phone net. The organized opposition to the Berman bill (which Dave Winer wrongly attributed to co-sponsor Howard Coble) came from the telcos, especially Verizon, because they don’t want Hollywood messing with their Internet business.

In the real world, telcos and Hollywood have very different interests, of course.