Report: Former RIAA Lobbyist Firm Hired as Independent Technical Expert to Review ‘Six Strikes’ System

Next month the "Six Strikes" system to deal with online piracy and illegal file-sharing will be fully operational in the United States. The new rules – mutually agreed on by several major ISP's and trade groups representing intellectual property holders (the RIAA, and the MPAA) required that copyright infringement claims be investigated by an external company. This was one of the sticking points for ISPs and rightsholders seemed to happily comply.

Recently it was revealed that MarkMonitor would be the company investigating claims. After the system was tested it was supposed to be reviewed by an "independent and impartial technical expert" to make sure it offered "accuracy and security."

"We’ve worked hard to set up a program that is accurate, fair and protects consumer interests at every step in the process. For example, we retained a recognized technology expert, Stroz Friedberg, to evaluate the content community’s system (run by MarkMonitor) for identifying alleged infringement over peer-to-peer networks.”

While this may sound like good news, it is actually quite a shocker considering the history of the company retained to safeguard the accuracy of "six-strikes” scheme.

Stroz Friedberg served as the RIAA’s lobbying firm for half a decade 2004 and 2009. During that time the company lobbied extensively in Washington on behalf of the RIAA. The leading lobbyists on record at that time was Executive Managing Director Beryl Howell, who bent the ear of members of the Congress and Senate for copyright laws regarding digital music. Now Howell serves as a federal judge who often rules on mass-BitTorrent lawsuits.

"It’s a disappointing choice, particularly in light of CCI’s professed desire to build public confidence in CAS and the fairness of its processes," said University of Idaho Law Professor Annemarie Bridy. "It would have been refreshing to see an academic computer scientist or some other truly independent party appointed to fill that important role."

"CCI’s choice of a former RIAA lobbying firm makes it clear that the copyright owner parties to the Memorandum of Understanding were more interested in appointing someone they trust than in appointing someone the public can trust," she adds.

Source: Torrent Freak


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