|reply to jimbo2150 |
It's not an infringement of the site owner's copyright. What the ISP is monkeying with is the customer's copy, which the customer is entitled to do as he wishes with, and the ISP's "Terms of Service" probably say that the customer gives permission for the ISP to do this.
It's offensive and ought to be prohibited, but not for the copyright reason.
Edit: This is the same principle that allows each of us to run software that filter ads out of pages, or save a local copy and change the font or whatever. The site owner is not entitled to have everyone see it the way he/she intends; the site owner has a right to control what's in the published version, and then the viewer gets a copy and is entitled to do as he wishes with it, other than republishing. The ISP can claim to be acting as the agent of its subscriber in this situation.
There is an indirect wrong against the site owner, but the real evil is that the ISP can require the customer to allow the page alteration as a condition of service. This is what needs to be prohibited by law.
IANAL, but copyright violation is always spoken with respect to distribution. Thus, end users can modify copyrighted works without legal repercussions because they are end users. However, anyone who is retransmitting the copyrighted webpage would be violating copyright if they modify it. And if they're using it to make a money, it's a criminal violation.
Injecting advertisements is definitely illegal for this reason. Injecting status messages is a gray area. Any revenue made from the injection of status messages is likely to be indirect. Hence, while Google can sue for copyright violation, it would be in a civil court, and only for lost revenue, possibly for defamation, defacement, what have you.
Also, there are agreements between providers that prohibit discrimination of data. So if data goes through a certain provider from Google to your ISP before getting to your computer, there's likely a violation of that agreement.
It's not a net neutrality issue per se, but there are still legal issues to consider.