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Google is also admonished for promoting accountability

"Legislation not likely to have been effective tool for music."

I. RIAA Realized SOPA was Ineffective

That's the Recording Industry Association of America's take on the fortunately deceased "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and the U.S. Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) (S.968).  In other words, even one of the world's most notoriously belligerent and aggressive copyright wachdogs thought that SOPA was ineffective.

That's an important admission to consider as similar legislation is spewed up once more.

Of course the RIAA never intended for the public to glimpse that statement or others in a letter from RIAA Deputy General Counsel Victoria Sheckler to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).  But thanks to TorrentFreak and its associates, the letter -- dated April 2012 -- has leaked onto the web for all to see.

Much of the letter chronicles the slow death of SOPA due to "viral" grassroots campaign.  The letter expresses concerns regarding "anti-SOPA sentiment in “netizens” being used by opponents to oppose other copyright protection measures."

For all its punitive provisions, even the RIAA admits SOPA would have been "ineffective" at fighting piracy. [Image Source: Realising Designs]

The RIAA makes it clear in the letter that it's still at odds with some of SOPA's key corporate opponents -- including Google, Inc. (GOOG).  It vows to "keep pushing" Google to change policy, such as offering an unlimited number of link takedown requests, remarking, "Google has resisted voluntary best practices."
Of course the "best practices" as the RIAA sees them would essentially mean Google handing it a blank check for internet censorship.  The RIAA is upset that Google wishes to independently review requests for integrity, viewing such accountability as "resistance" to its anti-piracy edicts.

II. Six-Strikes Plan Sneaks in Internet Disconnections

As previously stated, the RIAA appears to have viewed SOPA as an ineffective instrument -- well, behind closed doors, at least.  But it did offer praise to SOPA for elevating the "important principle regarding intermediary responsibility."

"Intermediary responsibility" is the term the RIAA uses to describe policing by internet service providers, either by warning file-sharing users or by blocking pro-infringement sites, such as The Pirate Bay.

Following the death of SOPA, the RIAA is pushing for a "six strikes" plan voluntarily adopted by ISPs.  

Thus far Time Warner Cable (TWC), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), and Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- have all agreed to implement the plan.

You're out
The RIAA wants to subject Americans to a "six-strikes" plan. [Image Source: Ed Zurga/AP]

Under the scheme, the ISP partners would send warnings to users caught file-sharing.  As users received progressively more warnings they would face consequences, including:
  • throttling (temporary)
  • service tier downgrade (temporary)
  • redirection to landing page until subscriber contacts ISP
  • restriction of Internet access (temporary)
  • redirection until subscriber completes meaningful education on copyright
Booting file-sharing users off the internet -- a controversial provision of many "strikes" plans -- is not listed as a current pillar of the plan, but it is included in a sneaky manner.

While the Memorandum of Understanding does not call for terminations, the letter mentions that ISPs in the U.S. must have a "termination policy for repeat infringers" in order to receive Safe Harbor protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [PDF], which modified Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

In other words the RIAA says that it's not asking to disconnect users, though it casually mentions that the law requires that.  Likewise the ISPs can say they aren't bowing to RIAA request, but rather to U.S. Code.  Of course the RIAA was a key lobbying force in passing that change to the U.S. Code, so at the end of the day the RIAA rhetoric is nothing more than a clever public relations ploy.

The RIAA sneaks the idea of disconnecting users into its six-strikes plan.
[Image Source: The 1709 Blog]

Under the six-strikes plan the RIAA would graciously allow users to pay $35 to receive a review that would look at whether the infringing file could have been protected due to "fair use" rules, "pre-1923" (public domain) status, or account misidentification/hijacking incidents.

Sources: Bay Files, TorrentFreak

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This seems backwards
By Masospaghetti on 7/31/2012 3:59:12 PM , Rating: 5
The RIAA would graciously allow users to pay $35 to receive a review that would look at whether the infringing file could have been protected due to "fair use" rules, "pre-1923" (public domain) status, or account misidentification/hijacking incidents.

Instead of being proved guilty, you have to pay to prove your innocence? Anyone else see something wrong here?

RE: This seems backwards
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/2012 4:02:24 PM , Rating: 5
There's a whole lot wrong here. Since when did the RIAA become a Government law making body anyway?

RE: This seems backwards
By JasonMick on 7/31/2012 4:24:36 PM , Rating: 5
There's a whole lot wrong here. Since when did the RIAA become a Government law making body anyway?
The train of "progress" has more or less been...

1. RIAA lobbies the gov't to "reform" the law (as in gives Congress people from both parties large sums of cash to buy their way into office)

2. DMCA gets passed under Bill Clinton in 1999.

3. Big media starts to sue individuals and sending them threat letters, empowered by the new U.S. Code.

4. Big media extorts millions in out of court threats, but spends far more, and generates an enormous amount of public ill will.

5. Big media realizes this is not sustainable, so they seek a new tactic, using the law they bought.

6. Big media switches to threatening to sue ISPs if they don't comply (kind of like suing a gun maker for their product being misused in a crime, eh?).

7. ISPs resist, but at a point realize some policing may be cheaper than fighting suits.

8. Guilty until proven innocent policy takes hold. Big media can scapegoat ISPs for the enforcement.

Again the gov't played an intimate role in all of this, as your comment alluded to.

Big media lobbyists bought and paid for favorable laws, creating artificial liability among telecoms and giving big media a means to force telecom companies to harm their consumers.

And ironically there's a lot of evidence that for all the harm they have nothing good to show for it -- pirating users have been shown in numerous studies to buy more content LEGALLY than their peers who do not pirate. And there's much evidence that industry revenues have not suffered from piracy.

But consumers and ISPs most definitely suffer from these efforts.

RE: This seems backwards
By Karim Temple on 7/31/2012 11:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
pirating users have been shown in numerous studies to buy more content LEGALLY than their peers who do not pirate.

We've heard this a lot over the past couple of years Jason, but I'm curious about the methodology in these studies. First of all, who the hell are these people who don't pirate? What planet are they from? Oh, I know, the planet where computers haven't been invented yet.

As far as I can figure, these people have to be one of two groups: 1) people who only consume the kind of music/video/gaming that wasn't on sale in the first place or 2) people who pretty much hardly ever (or never) consume digital content.

I mean, if they're spending less AND they don't pirate, as suggested by said studies, they probably just aren't very interested in digital media. That would pretty much mean the methodology of these studies is fallacious.

RE: This seems backwards
By DalisMoustache on 8/1/2012 2:49:19 AM , Rating: 4
Why would the outcome of the study mean the methodology (the manner in which the study was conducted) was flawed?
The flaws I see are in your argument which seem to presuppose a lot of things: a) that anyone who doesn't pirate must be from another planet, b) that everyone with a computer is a pirate, c) that piracy only affects digital content, d) and the entire main premise that non-pirates are not interested in digital content.
A flaw would be trying to extrapolate one statement into any conclusion at all except perhaps the simple one that is stated and its inverse, which is that non-pirating users buy less content legally than their peer pirating users. For instance, perhaps pirates are better informed where to LEGALLY purchase content cheaper. This would mean for equivalent amounts spent by pirates and non-pirates the pirate is able to acquire MORE content. Interest may not equal informed. Or perhaps pirates are simply better barterers. Or perhaps the flaw is in misinterpreting what exactly "peers" means in the studies' contexts.
Or perhaps, by way of example, if studies show that Ferrari buyers typically speed, perhaps Ferrari shouldn't, in their best business interest, call speeders worthless scum who should pay millions of dollars in fines for every infraction and misrepresent their actions as "attempted murder". Just sayin'.

RE: This seems backwards
By Samus on 8/1/2012 3:07:13 AM , Rating: 5
Hey RIAA\MPAA, here are some ideas to win back customers:

Make cinema tickets $5 again. (after all, 80% of theatre profits are from concessions)

Make downloadable music DRM free at studio quality for $0.99

Stop alienating your customers.

Stop lobbying politicians to pass unconstitutional legislation.

Lift the restrictions on satellite radio broadcast quality (96kbit)

Give artists more than 10% of the profits.

Anybody in upper-management takes a paycut and distributes it back to the artists that actually did something.

RE: This seems backwards
By JNo on 8/1/2012 7:31:07 AM , Rating: 3
But... but... I thought America was the land of FREEDOM compared to all the other stinky degenerate backwards countries in the world.


I'm not actually trying to bash Americans, just highlight a few things to those who have been brainwashed into thinking it the absolute flagship of democracy and freedom.

RE: This seems backwards
By leviathan05 on 8/1/2012 9:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
I believe most of the contributors on this site are aware that we have been on a slippery slope of diminishing personal freedom for awhile. This news isn't even close to some of the more infringing policies that have been passed in the past 20 years.

As to the topic of the article, I have no problem with the RIAA trying to protect their members' property, but their execution has proven that they may be as inept as the politicians that they have bought.

RE: This seems backwards
By dgingerich on 7/31/2012 4:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it's backwards. The music and movie people don't want it to come out of their pockets. It has to come out of ours.

This is the reason I want to coordinate a full 2013 boycott of all music and movies. (Yes, I'm aware the next Star Trek movie is coming out in 2013. I will be very sorry to miss it, but this must be done.) This means buying no BluRays, DVDs, CDs, movie tickets, or concert tickets for all of 2013.

Make them realize that we are the ones who have the power, not them. We make the decisions on what we spend money on, not them. They do not deserve our money just because they made some crappy movie or music. Let the crappy music and movies die. The only way we are going to make these self-entitled, arrogant a-----es realize this is through their wallets. Hit them where it hurts.

Who's with me?

RE: This seems backwards
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/2012 4:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
Not going to work because, well it's not very realistic to expect everyone to do this. And if they did, the RIAA would just cite this as proof that piracy was hurting their profits.

If anything we should increase their profits by like 300 percent and prove that piracy is NOT an issue. Somehow.

RE: This seems backwards
By anti-painkilla on 7/31/2012 5:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
Or they could make great movies that smash box office records rather than the crap they usually make that noone wants to buy.

The Avengers??? The Dark Knight Rises???

Make good movies and people will pay. Hell, if I could afford it I would rewatch The Dark Knight Rises to make sure it gets to number 1.

The RIAA is never going to admit that piracy doesn't affect their profits.

RE: This seems backwards
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/12, Rating: 0
RE: This seems backwards
By Karim Temple on 7/31/2012 11:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair though, you haven't seen Total Recall (2012) yet.

RE: This seems backwards
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2012 1:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
I don't need to see it. Trust me, it's terrible. The very concept makes it bad. You cannot remake some movies, you just can't.

Was the new Conan better than the original or even good? No.

Hollywood can catch lightning in a bottle once in a while, but trying to re-catch the same bolt never works.

RE: This seems backwards
By ShaolinSoccer on 7/31/2012 9:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
The Avengers???

The Avengers was awesome. VERY highly entertaining. Quit acting like a spoiled brat.

RE: This seems backwards
By StevoLincolnite on 8/1/2012 10:22:30 AM , Rating: 3
The Avengers was average at best.
The story was cliched' and done to death where New York gets invaded, we saw that same premise with so many movies in the past. - Do Americans actually have any other cities?

But where it did shine was it's special effects and explosions, making it good popcorn fun.

RE: This seems backwards
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2012 3:01:35 PM , Rating: 2

If you think about it, that movie had a very high chance of being terrible. I don't know if there's ever been an attempt to make a movie that ties 10 or so different movies and story lines together, while also incorporating every single star from those separate movies seamlessly.

The Avengers was incredibly well written, directed, and executed. Not the greatest movie ever, but certainly ABOVE average.

RE: This seems backwards
By Ben6821 on 8/3/2012 2:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
To begin with, the RIAA has some high moral ground regardless of whether they are the scum of the earth or not. Any marginally non-stupid person will admit that producers of content are entitled to be rewarded for their effort, and they are entitled to decide how to go about selling their product, and they do not have to offer it for free if they don't want to, and no studies suggesting piracy doesn't affect revenues can abridge the rights of the artist to make money as she/he sees fit, even if their approach is stupid, outdated, or greedy.

That being said, and knowing (as apparently everyone seems to) that the RIAA are a bunch of money grubbing holes in the ground, can you please explain carefully and clearly why the RIAA would fight piracy so hard if they knew it was increasing their revenue. Now don't be lazy here. Avoid the dumb points. For example, the RIAA could have a token battle if they knew they were making money off of piracy and not really fight it that hard (but in fact they are fighting that hard). They could be hiding their heads in the sand and avoiding the truth (at the cost of their profits, which is odd since we "know" how greedy they are). They could be be fighting for the principle of it (which again doesn't make them greedy). So again, I ask, why would a company whose sole and overwhelming priority be money do something that loses them money and yet still be justifiably accused of being greedy? Is anyone here clear thinking enough to tackle this?

RE: This seems backwards
By Denigrate on 7/31/2012 5:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
The jackholes would still scream that piracy kept their profit from increasing to 400%.

RE: This seems backwards
By Karim Temple on 8/1/2012 12:04:40 AM , Rating: 1
I think this is half right-on-the-mark and half missing the point. On one hand, yes, the entertainment industry in the beginning enjoyed unadulterated, unmitigated prosperity and is spoiled by that. But on the other hand that was due to, aside from human nature's affinity for entertainment, extreme difficulty in piracy.

To wit, "extreme difficulty" by today's standards; from the 20's to the 80's it ranged from "next-to-impossible" to "too-annoying-to-really-bother." From the 90's to now it went from "feasible" to "effortless." They probably have a point about it cutting into their profits. Like, hardcore.

RE: This seems backwards
By dgingerich on 7/31/2012 5:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds like an awful lazy response to me. "it won't work." We're never going to get anything to work if we don't try. Have a significant impact on their sales, and they might just sit up and listen. If they don't, hit them again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, until they respond. If I have to cease buying music and movies from now until I'm 80 to get them to listen, I'll do it. Anything to get those arrogant idiots to quit trying to rob me blind.

RE: This seems backwards
By PitViper007 on 7/31/2012 4:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
Who's with me?

Not that I'm not with you, but I haven't been able to do or buy any of those things in the last year or so anyway. As to a boycott working, I don't think so. I just don't think that there will be enough people out there that actually CARE that their rights are being taken away to actually participate.

RE: This seems backwards
By NellyFromMA on 7/31/2012 4:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
If you weren't buying their products to being with, they aren't going to hurt from your lack of buying from them becuase you already weren't.

Alternatively, if you were somehow paying for the content, it's definitely not going to be felt by them if you don't. Unless, you buy like upwards up probably 10's to 100's of thousands of dollars worth of content.

RE: This seems backwards
By DiscoWade on 7/31/2012 7:43:02 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting idea, to boycott the RIAA and MPAA. But it won't work. No matter what, the RIAA, MPAA, and its memebers will always blame their problems on anybody or anything, but never themselves. If there were any legitimate competition for their work, they would have been out of business a long time ago.

RE: This seems backwards
By TSS on 7/31/2012 5:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
Well the 99% wanted to be the 1% now they are. They pay to prove their innocence all the time.

Personally i think we've long since crossed wrong in that sentance at "1923". The hell is ANYBODY who wrote any music in 1924 still benifitting from it?!

You do realise Justin Bieber will get paid for his crap until 2100?

Wrong? It's batshit insane. I still haven't figured out how i'm going to explain all this to my children and grand children, presuming i'll ever get any (i don't know many of my age that even want to have kids, like, ever. I can't blame em really).

RE: This seems backwards
By Solandri on 7/31/2012 10:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Ever wonder why when restaurant staff wish you a happy birthday, they sing some weird song you've never heard of before? It's because Happy Birthday To You (melody written in 1893, words in 1918, copyrighted in 1935) is still under copyright.

Basically, the stuff you'll see falling into the public domain when you're old and in a nursing home is (assuming they don't extend copyright again) stuff that was new when your grandparents were kids. It is insane.

RE: This seems backwards
By gorehound on 8/1/2012 4:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
RIAA,MPAA, and Big Content can all go to hell.They are all forever CENSORED from my wallet.
Support & Purchase INDIE & Local Art instead please.

Good luck with that.
By zero2dash on 7/31/2012 10:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
*throttling (temporary)
*service tier downgrade (temporary)
*redirection to landing page until subscriber contacts ISP
*restriction of Internet access (temporary)

So infuriating customers causing them to harass their ISP, possibly cancel service and/or threaten to sue or start a class action turn making ISP's lose money either by reduced subscriber numbers or court costs?

Yeah....I'm sure everyone's going to be onboard this one.

RIAA, you fail at life, every single one of you. Idiots.

You still can't prove anything based on an IP address let alone a username. But good luck with that. Please continue wasting what little money that you have; eventually you'll run out and the courts won't want anything to do with you anymore and you can truly GTFO.

RE: Good luck with that.
By jRaskell on 8/1/2012 11:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
You still can't prove anything based on an IP address let alone a username.

This is why the RIAA is vehemently pushing for a guilty till proven innocent scenario. You'll have to pay them $35 for the chance to prove that it wasn't you. Of course, since you can't prove anything either way, it'll just be a method of raping even more money from consumers.

By PaFromFL on 8/2/2012 8:38:37 AM , Rating: 3
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act should be used to take down the RIAA and the thieving recording industry executives. All it will take is for one politician to need votes more than bribes.

By Ammohunt on 8/2/2012 2:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
Under the scheme, the ISP partners would send warnings to users caught file-sharing.

How are they going to know? simple encryption such as an IPSEC tunnel will stop any snooping by ISP's.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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