RIAA president proposes spyware-like solution to piracy

In comments to the State of the Net conference held in Washington, DC this past week, RIAA president Cary Sherman essentially said he'd support filters and spyware-like applications to prevent piracy.

While the panel went on for over an hour, the juiciest tidbits came in Cary's responses to filtering and encryption, which are sure to ignite criticism from the RIAA's detractors over their methods to fight piracy.

"We think we need some help with the solution," he said. "Filtering is one of them. It isn't perfect but it works and has lots of advantages." He said it could be targeted to include only copyrighted works claimed by content owners, and could operate anonymously and automatically.

However, there are ways around filters, and that includes encryption. Here's were it gets interesting: Sherman says that the filters could be put into the applications, or even the end user's computer to prevent copyrighted encrypted files in the first place.

"If you want to hear it, you'd need to decrypt it, then the filter would work," he said. Filters could be placed into the modems, even at the ISP level -- where so far most have been resistant to divulging the online habits of their customers anyways.

Sherman argues that these measures will have an educational benefit, letting the user know what they are doing is against the law. While RIAA acknowledges fair use concerns with filters, he said that shouldn't hinder development of these technologies.

Interest group Public Knowledge has posted bits of Sherman's statements to the conference on YouTube, which can be viewed here.

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