Last week we wrote a story about how the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) had named Stroz Friedberg to be its "impartial and independent technology expert" to review claims of copyright infringement as part of the new "Six Strikes" enforcement rules. The "Six Strikes" system was agreed upon by the MPAA, RIAA, and five major ISPs but one of the core tenets was that it would have an independent body to investigate the validity of claims of copyright infringement against file-sharers. If a person is found to be engaging in such illegal activities they would start receiving notices, warnings, education material. Eventually those warnings would escalate into other more serious actions.
The problem with CCI using Stroz Friedberg as its "impartial and independent technology expert" is that the firm had lobbied for the RIAA in the past – a fact the recording industry lobby did not disclose to the CCI or anyone else. Seeing that this story has generated a lot of negative press and draws into question the validity and fairness of the whole process, the CCI has issued a statement and promises to bring on an additional expert to review the "impartial and independent technology expert's" work.
"Recent reports that a former employee of Stroz Friedberg lobbied several years ago on behalf of RIAA on matters unrelated to CCI have raised questions about the impartiality of Stroz Friedberg," CCI’s Executive Director Jill Lesser said. "We are sensitive to any appearance that Stroz lacks independence, and so CCI has decided to have another expert review Stroz’s initial evaluation of the content community’s processes. We will be selecting the additional expert promptly and will make that information available."
CCI also said that it will make Stroz Friedberg’s initial review available to the general public.
"In addition, we believe that the report Stroz Friedberg has provided to us speaks for itself," Lesser continued. "Therefore, we will be releasing that report this week to enable interested parties to review it for themselves."
We'll have more on this story as it develops. You can read the entire CCI statement here.