RIAA's Leaked Letter Admits SOPA was "Ineffective", Plots Six-Strikes
July 31, 2012 3:42 PM
Google is also admonished for promoting accountability
"Legislation not likely to have been effective tool for music."
I. RIAA Realized SOPA was Ineffective
Recording Industry Association of America
's take on the fortunately deceased
) and the U.S. Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) (
). 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
and its associates,
-- dated April 2012 -- has leaked onto the web for all to see.
Much of the letter chronicles the
slow death of SOPA
"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. (
). 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,
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 (
), Comcast Corp. (
), and Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (
) and Vodafone Group Plc. (
) -- have all agreed to implement the plan.
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:
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
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
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.
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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