While some people still wonder why copyright reform is much sought after by modern intellectuals and entrepreneurs, we are given a clear and simple example of why the movement for free and open information grows stronger by the day. A company called Datavalet which is apparently provides centralized wifi networks to cater to the needs of conventions centers, education, enterprise, government, hospitality, health, government, retail, multi-dwelling units and, in this case, an airport in Toronto.
Well, it is great to see so many places offering access to the internets as it has become so integral to the lives of so many. What is not so great is to come to find out that a popular new site has been censored for no apparent reason other than an assumption that it somehow violates some hypothetical copyright license. Datavalet blatantly classifies the site as a “Torrent Repository,” which if you think about it, is not in itself a violation of any copyright license either.
As Datavalet can technically be considered an ISP, since when are ISPs permitted to implement what they call “content control”? Does your ISP decide which news you are allow to view? Does your ISP censor your news based on a vague implication of copyright infringement? Maybe this is normal if you live in China, but in the western world, this is not acceptable.
We realize that mistakes happen and that as a business, Datavalet must look out for it’s own interest and operate within the confines of the law. This is why we urge Datavalet and other ISPs to demand that safe harbor from the actions of their users be preserved. This is the only way to ensure that mistakes like this which could prove to be detrimental to such businesses can be prevented. The internet must remain true to its open nature.
Datavalet, please reconsider your content restrictions and create an open dialogue with your clients and end users to find a way to overcome this problem. The alternative of course is that this dialogue will take place without your participation, as has begun, which could quite be done without representation of your best interest as well.