RIAA Apparently Forgot To Tell Six Strikes Coordinators That The 'Independent' Firm It Hired Used To Lobby For The RIAA

from the with-age,-comes-forgetfulness dept

TorrentFreak broke an unsurprising, but amazing, story this week in uncovering that Stroz Friedberg, the supposedly “independent and impartial tech expert” that was brought on to assist the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) in making sure that the new “six strikes” program BitTorrent monitoring is accurate, used to lobby for the RIAA. Apparently this bit of news took folks at CCI completely by surprise, since the RIAA failed to mention that tidbit of info. Now, CCI is apparently scrambling to make things right — either by finding someone new, or by “opening up” the review that Stroz Friedberg does for the public to review. Either way, it’s pretty incredible that the RIAA thought that no one would notice that the “impartial and independent” expert just happened to be a biased party that lobbied directly for them in the past.

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Companies: cci, riaa, stroz friedberg

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Comments on “RIAA Apparently Forgot To Tell Six Strikes Coordinators That The 'Independent' Firm It Hired Used To Lobby For The RIAA”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Opening the door for competition is not smart. You’ll also be increasing the prices on your consumers and irritating them as well as possibly terminating consumers. If the MAFIAA is all about kicking these people off and its supposedly 70 percent of people as an ISP you have to imagine you’ll be terminating 70% of your userbase.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’ll also be increasing the prices on your consumers

? Price fixing is an agreement among competitors at any level of the economy (manufacturers, distributors, or retailers) to raise, fix, or otherwise maintain the price at which their products or services are sold.

? Price fixing is any agreement among competitors which affects the ultimate price or terms of sale for a product or service.


Source: An Antitrust Primer For Federal Law Enforcement Personel, United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Revised: April 2005

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No no CCI promised that disconnection is off the table, but they still expect ISPs to throttle connections and interfere with your use of the internet until you take an education program.

Plus they can get 6 strikes against someone and then sue them in real courts with their corporate court evidence and scare consumers into accepting their control.

They do not face real competition in as many markets as one might imagine.

So consumers still have to pay full price for a service that will be degraded or manipulated as CCI see’s fit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Your assessment is about right. Throttling will take place for repeat offenders. The most impactful aspect though will be how six strikes feeds into lawsuits. I can envision the courts considering strikes in deciding whether to order ISP’s to turn over the names of accused infringers. Any record of strikes, appeals and “education” courses will probably be persuasive to a judge. I think this program will not only have a significant impact on users but will serve as a vehicle for plaintiff attorneys. The porn plaintiffs are probably counting the money already.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The porn trolls get their money from “settlements”, after they start a lawsuit.
You wouldn’t want your name associated with (insert horrible name here), pay us $3-4 thousand, less than a lawyer would cost you, and this goes away.

The judges need no proof more than a list of IP addresses and an expert statement to issue the subpoenas.
No questions about the experts getting a cut of each settlement, any evidence of the IP capture tech being solid, or any other questions… hell Judges have granted the early discovery in copyright cases where there is no copyright on the material.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

When I open uTorrent for some legal downloading (for example, my Humble Bundle books or a work project), Comcast slows down my internet to the point that I can’t download email to my email client, my security system can’t update its virus database, & I can’t use a browser. It started as a slight but noticeable slow down last year, but recently it’s ramped up to throttling to a stand-still, though oddly enough the downloads themselves are still quick and I seem to be able to seed without a problem. I could almost understand this action on Comcast’s part if the downloading itself was affected, but it’s only everything else internet-related!

I’ve been told not to bother calling Comcast to complain because 1) they won’t stop & 2) they’ll single me out for further harassment as an evil uTorrent-user. I’d switch to another ISP, but Comcast is a monopoly here. Is there a third party can I complain to? Should I call Comcast and complain even though I know it won’t change a thing, just so a voice is heard? I pay a lot for Comcast “services”, and their prices just go up and up.

These days I download and seed in the middle of the night while I’m not using the computer, then reboot when I need to use the internet, but that’s proven inconvenient when I need to get something work-related downloaded.

I’ve never worried about getting a VPN because my downloading is legal, but if it’ll stop this harassment on Comcast’s part, I’m getting one. And then maybe I’d start downloading things that are perhaps not quite so legal to download, just like everyone else.

If Comcast is going to charge $35 per complaint, a VPN could work out to quite a money-saver!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why? The cartels needed only offer better terms to access their content to be used on the ISPs offering to get them to lap it up.

ISPs have defacto monopolies in a majority of the country, and even where there is “competition” it is between cabal membership.

The White House blessed this which means no pesky federal reviews of this crap system.

The Cartels get the ISPs to keep track of the notices, and when people get 6 those will be included with they sue subscribers and use those notices to help create the illusion that they have to be the infringer because there is history.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

You should also mention...

In the source article that TorrentFreak cited (Daily Dot), they mention that Jill Lesser, the executive director of the program is planning to go ahead despite the controversy:

Lesser, who has twice before granted interviews to the Daily Dot to clarify how the CAS works, denied a request to speak about Stroz Friedberg?s involvement. Instead, she issued a statement defending the decision to hire that firm:

“We are confident in the Stroz team’s skill, competency and ability to honestly and fairly review the content community?s methodologies […] The prior, and completely separate, relationship between Stroz Friedberg and RIAA is irrelevant to our choice and our work.?

She added that the CAS would continue to retain Stroz for consulting.

In other words, it’s sticking with Stroz regardless of past history.

Source: http://www.dailydot.com/news/piracy-six-strikes-copyright-alerts-RIAA-lobbyists/

Anonymous Coward says:

This is merely the latest of a constant effort to buy, bribe, influence impartial to no longer be so, change laws in their behalf, scheme to set up takedowns of sites they don’t like, going as far as to pay to have evidence put there, judges in place with a bias on their side, including appeals level, and it is all the same thing. Greed beyond believe to stagger the imagination and belief that it could go so far.

If you ever needed verification on how little moral and ethical behavior means to them, here is a prime example that shows how they are far more than any words they udder.

It’s also a large part of the reason I went on boycott with the start of sue’em all and have never returned to buying major label crap.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It’s also a large part of the reason I went on boycott with the start of sue’em all and have never returned to buying major label crap.”

As long as you don’t stop there. The major movie industry is behind this as well. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve stopped even paying attention to the major game developers. I was just watching a let’s play of a new game called Lucius, after the intro video I thought “If it’s an indi game, it’s mine. If it’s not, then no.”

Anonymous Coward says:

and the key problem is...

the key problem is not if there’s bias in the independent tech expert or not, the problem is the whole six strikes thing and how in hell is that possible that consumers allow this.

So an industry group makes a deal with the ips in order to snoop in your communication data, and if they find that the data that is going thru your computer is presumably illegal copyrighted material, then issue one strike warning, etc.

As a customer I would not accept such a service, and would demand my isp to stay away from such practice. Still I find it incredible, that any 3rd party industry group can interfere so much with my right to private communications, regardless on how they implement their snooping.

that’s the key problem, allowing the six strikes regime.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Sick of being a bridesmaid.

TAC sends Ernesto a tip… Story ensues.
TAC submits tip to BoingBoing… Cory Doctorow posts tip.
TAC writes story for Fightcopyrighttrolls.com… well known for its battles against copyright trolls using IP only accusations to extort money.
CNN covers CCI does puff piece with no research.

Lesser can’t, or won’t, do anything about this. She can’t.
The details of what Stroz did are bound by an NDA that can only be opened if everyone who is a part of the cabal signs off. RIAA is a sitting board member.

The board appointed to watch out for the rights of citizens, apparently is paying less attention to the group they are supposed to be overseeing than random guy online.
Oh we hope we can make sure to protect peoples privacy… but we will turn a blind eye to obvious conflicts of interest.

CCI talks a fun game about the DMCA requiring ISPs to disconnect repeat infringers, but then back pedaled from that requirement in the memorandum of understanding. Maybe because disconnections in the US on mere accusation wouldn’t sit well in the public perception, or maybe because the notices they are submitting are NOT DMCA notices and don’t even have the laughable perjury threats for filing a bad notice. They are using Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policies to create “laws” holding the subscriber responsible for actions happening on their connection… even Federal Courts have ruled that isn’t true… but CCI is better than the Federal Courts, its Corporate Law.

Maybe Ms. Lesser would like to get off her ivory tower and look at my research into Dtecnet. They ran honey pots for AFACT in the case against iiNET, at the request of the MPAA via AFACT they CREATED THE FILESHARING THEY SOUGHT TO PUNISH. You know who does that in the US, Porn Copyright Trolls.

4 fucking years building this system and I know more about the players than the person in charge. Sure this is a fair and balanced system, and monkeys might fly out of of my ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

from torrentfreak:

‘TorrentFreak was informed that behind the scenes a few options have been discussed this week.

The first option that?s being considered is to make Stroz Friedberg?s review of the BitTorrent tracking technology public. This would allow the world to see whether it was done properly, as opposed to taking CCI?s word that everything is in order.

A second option that has been discussed is to hire another independent expert, possibly an academic, to confirm that Stroz Friedberg did a proper review.

Initially some forces at the CCI pushed to deliver a quick response to alleviate the concerns about the impartiality of the review, but things appear to be moving slowly. TorrentFreak is informed that it might take a week or two before the group makes an announcement.’

full article:

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


CCI is hoping they can get ISPs to start, because once they start it, its harder to stop.

I love that they want to examine how Stroz did the review of the tech, but not the tech itself.

Think about that for a minute, that is like making sure that an RIAA funded “study” used acceptable standards in writing the report but not if they were picking and choosing things out of context to push a certain goal.
Why yes the algebraic formula employed was real algebra, but we weren’t allowed to look at the source data to see if they were correctly chosen.

I’d have a stroke if they picked these guys…
but then they’d have to give up on this badly conceived plot.

Anonymous Coward says:


The White House blessed this which means no pesky federal reviews of this crap system.

That may depend on Whitehouse politics. Remember the story of the ?Madison Oil? case?

?The Story of United States v. Socony-Vacuum: Hot Oil and Antitrust in the Two New Deals?


The 27 oil companies and 56 of their employees were shocked to be criminally indicted in Madison, Wisconsin for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act. After all, the misconduct alleged was participating in a petroleum stabilization program that had originated in the highest echelons of the very federal government that was now bringing the indictment.?.?.?.

?.?.?. The very government that prompted the cartel was now calling it a criminal conspiracy. When the jury returned a verdict against the defendant oil companies and executives, the defendants were stunned. An editorial in the New York Times summed up popular sentiment: ?For proceeding to stabilize price conditions in the demoralized crude-petroleum fields under the powerful pressure of one branch of the Roosevelt Administration, thirty oil-company managers now stand as convicted criminals, a result of a prosecution by another branch.?

Supposably, Joe Biden is one of the chief pushers and movers behind this deal. But how dirty did he get his hands, really? The stuff I’ve seen for sure has been Victoria Espinel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I thought that said Sodomy Vacuum Hot Oil.

Standard Oil Company Of New York.


Following the break-up of Standard Oil in 1911, the Standard Oil Company of New York, or Socony, was founded.

In 1931, Socony merged with Vacuum Oil to form Socony-Vacuum.

In 1955, Socony-Vacuum was renamed Socony Mobil Oil Company. In 1963, it changed its trade name from “Mobilgas” to simply “Mobil.”

Anonymous Coward says:


I am hoping that their fucking six strikes program really angers a ton of Normal People.

And what are those ?Normal People? going to actually do? Are they going to complain to the Attorney General?

Dear Attorney General:

Verizon and Comcast are competitors in the provision of internet service in my area. They have agreed among themselves (along with other ISPs) to change their terms of service to include a $35 charge for consumers.

Yours Sincerely,
Normal People

Something like that?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I do not think you understand the $35 portion.
The $35 is a payment required should you not accept that the CSA notice is accurate. To make sure the system isn’t abused (HA!) you have to pay a fee to challenge the notice, by picking an response from a limited list (not based in reality), then the arbitrator decides CCI is perfect and you move on.

The costs for the notice system are being paid, supposedly, 50/50 by CCI and the ISPs… which means we will all see price hikes to make up those losses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

you have to pay a fee to challenge the notice, by picking an response from a limited list

The internet service providers have agreed that consumers will be required to pay the $35 fee to maintain their internet service accounts in good standing.

If the consumer’s internet service account falls out of good standing, the internet service providers will ?throttle? or otherwise reduce the provision of internet bandwidth to the consumer.

Catalano v Target Sales (1980) is a case which answers the question whether an agreement among competitors fixing credit terms is unlawful on its face.


The fact that the $35 will be charged for accused file-sharing which does not amount to copyright infringement (such as for public domain works first published after 1923?like NASA images) definitely takes the agreement away from Broadcast Music. Neither the RIAA nor anyone else has the right to enforce copyright on U.S. government works.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Consumers will have to pay $35 to CCI to challenge the notice, via the arbitrator hired by CCI.
They want to make them feel like the DMCA process, where you can file a counter notice.
CCI claims their tech is perfect, their lobbyist agrees, and they claim they will only be monitoring popular content owned by the **AA’s.

This isn’t use bittorrent and get notices, this is supposedly use bittorrent to download a copyrighted movie, music, or tv show and get the notice.
The system is flawed at its core, but we need to keep focused on what it claims vs what we fear it will be.
There is a segment of people terrified that ISPs will be using Deep Packet Inspection to make this work, watching where people surf and sending notices. That is not what the system is, but in the absence of CCI being forthcoming people have filled in the blanks with the worst case scenario.

Anonymous Coward says:

Try telling them that “$3.6 BILLION was spent lobbying their politicians last year”, and… “Lobbying is only a part of the corruption”, “you have the revolving door and campaign contributions too.”
Tell them that, while the “”media”” ignores/hides it and pretends it’s irrelevant or doesn’t exist.
40% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein did 911…
The “normals” are completely brainwashed.
This is truly about a corrupt political system. That reality is what we need to expose the “normals” to.
Filesharers are not alone. There are hundreds of interest groups with the same fight.
It’s time to band together.
It’s time to show the people the corruption.
It’s time.

The Real Michael says:


Perhaps we should move to enforce Hollywood and the record labels to stop using someone else’s technology for their own financial gain. After all, by their own definition, using someone else’s content for financial gain should be considered theft and that’s precisely what they’re doing anytime they use a computer & software in order to edit, direct, add special effects, et al. Further, let’s force the movie and music industries to pay out of their own back pockets to police themselves so as to enforce this.

fogbugzd (profile) says:


Reportedly they did not have much choice. The story is that Obama administration called in the big ISP’s and gave them a choice. Either negotiate a “voluntary” program or have one legislated or set by the FCC. This was before the SOPA/PIPA defeat and up until then the copyright industry was getting everything they asked of Congress.

SOPA gave the ISP’s an excuse for the delays with a hope of delaying it forever. Now Washington believes that the public has forgotten about SOPA. The ISP’s are afraid they may be right. However, any controversy like this one might be enough excuse to allow some further delays or major modification to the program.

Anonymous Coward says:


The story is that Obama administration called in the big ISP’s and gave them a choice. Either negotiate a “voluntary” program or…

Socony-Vaccum is not one of those obscure supreme court cases that nobody’s ever heard about.

If I were an ISP exec, and Mr Vice President Joe Biden himself came up all swarmy and tried to twist my arm into a price-fixing conspiracy?then?in a heartbeat?I’d be on the phone with DoJ offering to wear a wire to my next meeting at the Whitehouse.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“I think at least a couple of the cartel members have ISP divisions as well, so that made it an easy sale.”

Comcast owns an ownership stake in NBC Universal.


I don’t buy that the ISPs are victims. Comcast got exactly what it wanted and it got it when it wanted it, i.e. right after the purchase of a major content provider.

I still don’t know why it’s legal for an exhibitor to own a content provider in the U.S., given the Paramount decision.


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