CCI’s Independent Expert Used To Lobby For The RIAA
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
After successfully putting together the Center For Copyright Information (CCI), both the MPAA and the RIAA agreed that all the gathered information should be scrutinized by an impartial third party. As it turns out, this “independent expert” is actually RIAA’s former lobbying group, thus voiding the whole idea of an equidistant analysis.
It’s not long until all of US’ internet traffic will be monitored, under an agreement signed between the industries and America’s internet providers. Furthermore, the involved parties also decided to hire an “independent and impartial technical expert” to oversee the “accuracy and security” of the collected data, as part of the rules stated in the Memorandum of Understanding.
Last week, the CCI released an official statement:
“We’ve worked hard to set up a program that is accurate, fair and protects consumer interests at every step in the process. For example, we retained a recognized technology expert, Stroz Friedberg, to evaluate the content community’s system (run by MarkMonitor) for identifying alleged infringement over peer-to-peer networks.”
“Stroz Friedberg has completed its initial review of MarkMonitor’s methodologies and found that the system is accurate and works properly.”
However, what they failed to expose is that Stroz Friedberg used to work with the RIAA for quite some time – specifically between 2004 and 2009, when it used to lobby (for the RIAA) in Washington. Even more interesting is that one of those handling the lobbying was Executive Managing Director Beryl Howell. Why is that of interest, you ask?
Well, Howell is currently a federal judge involved in mass-BitTorrent lawsuits; moreover, a recent ruling of hers stated that ISPs are not doing their best to protect copyrighted works.
While no one argues that Stroz Friedberg is good at what they’re supposed to do, the Memorandum of Understanding clearly states that the overseeing company must be “independent and impartial”.
“It’s a disappointing choice, particularly in light of CCI’s professed desire to build public confidence in CAS and the fairness of its processes. It would have been refreshing to see an academic computer scientist or some other truly independent party appointed to fill that important role,” University of Idaho Law Professor Annemarie Bridy told TorrentFreak.
“CCI’s choice of a former RIAA lobbying firm makes it clear that the copyright owner parties to the Memorandum of Understanding were more interested in appointing someone they trust than in appointing someone the public can trust.”
Are we surprised by this? Not really. It was actually expected for the RIAA and the MPAA to protect their interests; after all, we’re talking about big bucks here, not some shakedown spare change. How will the general public use this information remains to be seen, but here’s an opinion that caught my eye while reading some of the comments on this subject:
“This so-called Center for CopyWrong Information are blatantly rotten to the core, cannot be trusted by the general public or politicians, and MUST be disbanded immediately for their attempted corruption and perverting the course of justice.
In fact everyone involved in and with the CCI should be charged and taken to Court.
This is no way to run a democratic, free Nation in which law-abiding citizens have confidence in law enforcement agencies.”
And you’re goddam right, sir!