Hey Whatever Happened To Those Andrew Cuomo-Backed, RIAA Agreements With ISPs To Kick People Off The Internet?

from the still-waiting... dept

It’s now been over a year since the infamous announcement, leaked to the Wall Street Journal, that the RIAA was going to effectively drop its strategy of suing individuals in favor of agreements, worked out between the RIAA and ISPs with NY AG Andrew Cuomo adding pressure, to kick people off the internet on a “three strikes” regime. The whole thing sounded pretty ridiculous at the time. Cuomo had absolutely no legal standing to pressure ISPs into such a deal, since the ISPs had every legal right to say no. And, since the “leak” many ISPs have insisted, quite vocally, that they have never made any such agreement with the RIAA and that they would never kick their customers offline in such a manner.

And so Greg Sandoval, over at News.com, smartly realizes that these “preliminary agreements” we were told about last year are still nowhere to be found and goes exploring to find out why. Reading between the lines, it appears the answer is that the RIAA flat out lied (no surprise, but…) and the Wall Street Journal bought it (again, no surprise, but…). Basically, with various record labels hemorrhaging money, they started to cut back on their allowance to the RIAA, such that the legal strategy of suing tons of people was getting too expensive. But they didn’t want to make it look like they were just giving up.

So they concocted a myth: this idea that ISPs would cut people off. It was, in fact, what the RIAA and other international entertainment industry lobbying groups had been pushing for with little success (since then they have had a few wins on that front, but also many losses). But they couldn’t wait for their usual process of pushing through legislation (cough ACTA cough) to complete before they had to cut back on individual lawsuits. So they brought in Andrew Cuomo, because he had successfully threatened ISPs to get them to cut off Usenet, despite no legal basis for doing so. But, that worked because Cuomo threatened (again, despite no legal basis) to shame them for offering access to child porn. When it came to unauthorized access to music, the moral outrage aspect isn’t nearly as strong (not that the RIAA and their lobbyist friends haven’t tried six dozen ways to try to link file sharing to child porn — but most people realize how ridiculous that is).

Given that the ISPs seemed to have little interest (i.e., no interest) in moving forward with this plan, they leaked it to the WSJ, figuring that if ISPs thought others were doing it, then they’d start to sign up, and the whole thing would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Except they failed to account for the simple fact that people protested against any ISP dim enough to think that it’s smart to kick off customers based on accusations (not convictions), and ISPs quickly stepped up to deny any such deal, shedding light on the RIAA’s big lie.

So, here we are today, with no such agreements in place, and the RIAA back to trying to sneak through “three strikes” legislation through international treaties that they write (which the public has no access to). But, shouldn’t someone call them on the fact that they blatantly lied last year? And also, shouldn’t someone ask where the WSJ’s correction is on that story?

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “Hey Whatever Happened To Those Andrew Cuomo-Backed, RIAA Agreements With ISPs To Kick People Off The Internet?”

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Godric says:

Re: Re: Re: Give up customers

You are missing the fact that people that have judgments against them would actually have to pay RIAA or the court.

I don’t know about you, but if I were to be dragged into court and some lame jury decided I owed RIAA 30k+ per song to the tune of say 500k. I would walk over to them and give them a handful of pennies and tell them not to spend it all in one place, because that is all they will ever see.

That would be about the time I fall off the grid and my old identity would be dead. I refuse to be held responsible for their mistakes.

Travis Miller (profile) says:

One ISP is doing this

Insight Communications is doing something like this. When they receive an accusation they immediately “quarantine” a users internet access. All the user can access is an automatic redirect to a page notifying them of their account’s suspension, along with a number to call to get more information and get the “quarantine” removed.

As I understand it, the first three quarantines are just notices, so that they know you have been notified and so that they can talk to you about the dangers of file-sharing and unsecured wireless connections. You call them and listen, then they turn your internet access back on. The fourth accusation results in a thirty day suspension of the customer’s internet access. The fifth accusation MAY result in permanent banning from that ISP. (They use the word “may”, but I don’t know what determines if one is or is not banned.)

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