The RIAA does not support this approach in the US, opting instead to back the tradeoffs of the DMCA. That law allows ISPs a "safe harbor" for the content passing through their networks so long as they respond to takedown notices and legal requests in a timely fashion.

But the group welcomes voluntary filtering of the kind promised by AT&T. This is sometimes said to be in the best interests of ISPs because it can help them control bandwidth. Verizon, which has bandwidth to burn, though, has showed no interest in becoming a copyright cop.

Tom Tauke, who heads Verizon's lobbying efforts, said at the same conference that his company had no interest in following AT&T down the yellow brick road to Filtertown. "We don't want to get into the business of inspecting the bits and figuring out what is and is not appropriate traffic," he said, according to CNet.

Tauke also gave voice to the obvious downside of voluntary filtering, one not often mentioned by pro-filtering groups like the RIAA. In addition to obvious worries about customer privacy (and outright anger) at deep packet inspection of all their bits, Verizon understands that becoming a copyright cop carries a high price: it's only a matter of time before the company would face pressure to police other industries. As commerce and leisure activities increasingly go online, such a move could burden ISPs with the need to police all sorts of traffic for all sorts of behaviors.

With its fiber-to-the-home strategy, open network initiative, and opposition to filtering, Verizon seems headed down a different path from AT&T.