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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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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.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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