This Week's Report: "Internet Regulation"

Pirating of copyrighted material – movies, music, TV shows and other creative works – continues to cost the entertainment industry, composers, authors and others billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, royalties and jobs. But doing something about the problem isn’t easy, as Staff Writer Marcia Clemmitt explores in this week’s CQ Researcher.

Two bills in Congress that would combat online piracy have run into stiff opposition from the likes of Wikipedia and Google, among many others. Opponents argue that the bills are so harsh that they would force any website carrying user-generated content perceived to violate copyright laws to shut down, possibly immediately.

Meanwhile, Clemmitt writes, another battle is raging over Internet regulation – this one over the murky concept of “net neutrality.” This debate concerns whether big Internet-service providers (ISPs) such as cable and phone companies should be barred from slowing the flow of online content from certain websites, such as sites of companies competing with the cable and phone providers to sell video or Internet phone service.

“Debates on Internet regulation are heating up as cyber companies gain clout in Washington and the Internet penetrates every area of life,” Clemmitt writes.

This important and timely report is ideal for classes and papers in media and communications studies, technology policy, government regulation and entertainment law.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor