Worst Kept Secret Now Confirmed: Government Was Very Involved Helping RIAA/MPAA Negotiate Six Strikes
from the well,-duh dept
From the moment the so-called “voluntary” six strikes agreement between the RIAA/MPAA and various ISPs came out, it was obvious that the Obama administration, in the form of VP Joe Biden’s office and IP Czar Victoria Espinel, were involved. We had even discussed that. Now some more details have come out, as Christopher Soghoian received a response to his Freedom of Information Act request, seeking emails from government officials concerning the deal — and, of course, it shows that Biden’s office and Espinel were heavily, heavily involved… and almost exclusively on the side of the RIAA and MPAA. Both of those organizations were regularly in touch with the administration, including planning about how the deal was going to be announced. Amusingly, Biden’s office apparently freaked out when Greg Sandoval at CNET broke the story a few weeks before the deal was official.
The emails note that Espinel did make sure to “involve” two groups who represent consumer interests — CDT and Public Knowledge — but it’s quite clear from the nature of the interactions that those organizations were not really involved in the negotiations, but were shown the details towards the end, to avoid them feeling “taken by surprise” when the deal was announced. None of this is particularly surprising, but it’s pretty silly for everyone to pretend that this was a “voluntary agreement between private entities.” It was clear from the beginning that the White House was heavily involved, and was very much backing the entertainment industry’s viewpoint. In theory, the government should be representing the people, but the cozy nature of the relationship suggests it was exactly the opposite. The government was representing industry against the public interest.