As the internet becomes more ubiquitous and users get more savvy about the ways they can access content, some providers are making it easier for users to block access to a website or content without a court order.
A few weeks ago, for example, Comcast announced it would allow users to opt out of Comcast’s “Content ID” policy for a month, in response to the company’s decision to allow its customers to watch videos from content that had been censored.
In a blog post published on Monday, Comcast wrote that the policy was designed to make it easier to block content that Comcast does not approve of.
“Comcast’s Content ID policy has been in place since early 2017,” Comcast said in the post.
“While it has been widely acknowledged by ISPs as a way to identify potentially harmful content, the policy has never been specifically authorized by Comcast and, as such, does not have a mechanism for users or content providers to remove content without consent.”
It is a common practice among ISPs to block websites that they do not like, and Comcast’s Content IDs are meant to block certain websites, not all websites.
As a result, Comcast can block websites it considers “not suitable for our customers,” while it also has a way for users with legitimate reasons to get around this policy.
However, Comcast’s stance in this case is not without precedent.
As of April 2018, the FCC had ruled that ISPs were not required to block specific websites that had become widely popular due to content-related copyright violations.
For example, it was not clear that Comcast would have to block YouTube in the future.
Comcast’s policy, however, could become a problem if it were to be used to block sites that it believes are not safe for its customers.
The company could be violating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prohibits online content providers from blocking users’ access to content.
“Section 230 of Title II of the Copyright Act prohibits broadband providers from interfering with lawful content, and this policy could lead to a situation where content providers are able to block lawful content on their network while the ISP can’t block lawful sites,” a coalition of internet companies including Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others wrote in a letter to the FCC in April.
As the FCC considers whether to change its policy, there has been some pressure to take a stronger stance against ISPs.
In December, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others sued the FCC, seeking to block Comcast from blocking content.
The lawsuit, which the FCC is currently reviewing, argues that Comcast has “no statutory authority to enforce Section 230, because its policies do not allow it to do so.”
Comcast has been accused of blocking content that the companies say violates copyright.
Comcast is currently fighting this lawsuit, arguing that it does not own the copyright.
If the FCC finds that Comcast is violating Section 23 of the copyright law, it could potentially force the company to pay damages to the companies, or could simply ask the companies to end their fight.
Comcast has also been sued for blocking YouTube and Twitter, which have both been accused by other internet companies of violating Section 4 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The EFF also has filed a complaint against Comcast, claiming that the company was blocking videos from YouTube and blocking users from Twitter.
Comcast says that blocking the videos from Twitter was not a blocking tactic, but instead was meant to make the videos more appealing to users, as well as more easily accessible to others.
It also argued that blocking YouTube was not an illegal practice, since it did not violate Section 230.