The Trump administration has announced new rules that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all content as if it was a copyrighted work, including the work of others, and could potentially lead to increased fines and criminal charges for copyright infringement.
The new policy was announced on Tuesday.
The announcement was made by the White House’s Communications Policy Advisor, John Donohue.
The rules would require ISPs to block all websites that contain copyrighted material, including those hosted by third parties.
ISPs would also have to provide access to copyright owners’ content in the event of copyright infringement complaints.
In an interview with Recode, Donohu said the administration is “coming to grips with what’s going on in the internet.”
The new rules were announced in a memo sent to Congress by Donohua.
The memo outlined the policy in an outline that included “significant changes to the way copyright infringement is dealt with in the digital world.”
The rules are meant to prevent ISPs from blocking sites that are violating the copyright laws, the memo said.
The administration’s new policy “does not require the internet service provider to block content based on the content of another site or site content, including, but not limited to, content hosted by an online service provider or a third party,” Donohuy said in a statement.
“Instead, it requires the internet provider to determine whether the content it serves meets a threshold of copyright protection that must be met before it can remove the content.”
Donohuez also said the new policy would require ISP companies to notify copyright owners and take down content if they believe it infringes their copyright.
“The policy does not require internet providers to take down websites, but does require them to notify owners of the site that they believe has posted content that is infringing the copyrights of others,” he said.
“This will allow ISPs to take action against sites that infringe copyright and take action to prevent the infringement.”
The Trump Administration has not said how many cases will be impacted by the new policies, but it said the policy “is designed to prevent future copyright infringement by ensuring that ISPs treat all copyrighted content as protected work.”
The policy is a departure from the Obama administration, which said ISPs had to be able to block copyrighted content, even if the site owner did not agree with its policies.
But the Trump administration says it will be more lenient, and it will also allow for more “back doors” to circumvent the new rules.
The Obama administration said in 2015 that ISPs could block websites that violate copyright laws by taking down their content.
In June 2016, then-President Obama signed a sweeping anti-piracy bill, which included provisions to prevent websites from blocking access to copyrighted material.
The White House said it would be taking this new approach in response to the Trump Administration’s move to block websites.
“These new guidelines will allow for the removal of infringing content without having to block any site, which is a big step forward in the fight against online copyright infringement,” Donoyes statement said.