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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Copyright Independent Expert Lobbied for Music Industry

The Center for Copyright Information was recently created by the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America. The outfits agreed that all the collected data should be checked by an independent 3rd party. However, it turned out that the “independent expert” they chose was RIAA’s ex-lobbying group, which made no sense to regard it as an impartial analysis.

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The content industry promised op all file-sharers that soon all of American Internet traffic will be monitored, according to the treaty signed between the content owners and ISPs. In addition, the industry also decided to hire an independent expert to evaluate the accuracy and security of the gathered information, in frames of the rules of the Memorandum of Understanding.

As such, the CCI retained a well-known technology expert, Stroz Friedberg, to assess the system used by MarkMonitor to identify suspected copyright theft in BitTorrent networks. An initial review is already completed, claiming that the system is accurate and works properly. The only problem is that everyone failed to mention that Stroz Friedberg used to work with the music industry for around 5 years, when it used to lobby for it in Washington. In addition, the person handling the lobbying was Beryl Howell, who is currently a federal judge involved in mass BitTorrent lawsuits and claiming that the Internet service providers fail to do their best to defend the rights of content owners.

Although no-one argues that Stroz Friedberg is a recognized technical expert, the Memorandum of Understanding specifies that the 3rd party company must be really independent and impartial. As we can see from the CCI’s choice, the copyright holders are more interested in choosing someone they trust rather than someone the public can trust. But this is not surprising for the industry observers – the content industry has always been known for protecting their own interests first of all. Although it remains to be seen how the general public will use this data, the web is already full of the opinions saying that the CCI is blatantly rotten to the core and obviously can’t be trusted by neither the general public nor politicians. Not a very good start for the outfit, you know.

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