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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 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'.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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