Top MPAA Lawyer, Mastermind Behind Its Plan To Attack The Internet, Arrested On Blackmail And Sexual Assault Charges

from the how-very-ethical dept

A while back, an MPAA whistleblower sent me a big file of internal MPAA documents. I spent many months going through them and trying to track down any actual story in them, but there really wasn’t much there. Most of the documents were quite old and not all that revealing beyond what was already known (or widely assumed) about how the MPAA acted. The only thing that struck me as interesting, was a very old memo, written by lawyer Steven Fabrizio, before he became the MPAA’s General Counsel, when he was still at the MPAA’s favorite law firm, Jenner & Block. The memo outlined a very long list of potential anti-piracy strategies, and whether or not they were legal. Some of them were… quite surprising in what they were even considering (it included things like taking over a pirate site and using it as a honeypot). Many were what I would personally classify as somewhere between sleazy, dishonest and unethical. I never wrote up any details, because there was no evidence that the MPAA ever actually did any of the proposed programs, and a few people I ran questions by pointed out that, as as corporate lawyer, reviewing crazy ideas by clients and giving a legal opinion on them is standard practice.

The Fabrizio connection struck me as interesting on a few levels, though. Beyond being the MPAA’s top legal attack dog for nearly a decade, the Sony Pictures email leak showed that Fabrizio was the mastermind behind Hollywood’s Project Goliath to use MPAA/Hollywood Studio funds to pay for having state Attorney’s General and news media owned by those studios, to attack Google to try to pressure it into some sort of “deal” with the studios. Fabrizio was also formerly the top litigator at the RIAA, and led its charge against Napster. Fabrizio was deeply involved in key copyright lawsuits, including the fights against Grokster, Hotfile, and Aereo. Basically, much of the history of “anti-piracy” litigation and “anti-piracy” efforts regarding the internet, was somehow touched by Steve Fabrizio.

And, of course, the usual line that people would give in supporting these positions is that it was necessary is because “piracy is illegal” and so on.

Anyway, that’s why it’s a bit shocking to discover that Fabrizio has now been arrested in DC (and fired by the MPAA) for alleged sexual assault and blackmail. Variety’s story on the charges is really quite incredible:

According to a police affidavit, Fabrizio is accused of threatening a woman he met on a ?sugar daddy? dating site. The police allege that Fabrizio and the woman had consensual sex once on Aug. 19, after which he paid her $400. After that, she did not want to see him again. According to the affidavit, Fabrizio sent numerous texts insisting on a second meeting, and threatening to expose her if she did not comply.

?I know where you live,? he allegedly wrote. ?I know where you work. Don?t think ? Hospital would be happy to know that it?s young nurses are having sexual for money / Same for your landlord.?

Fabrizio allegedly used those threats to coerce her into having sex again, according to the affidavit. The police allege that he then sent additional texts threatening to tell her parents if she did not continue to have sex with him a couple times a month. The woman called the police. After arranging for another meeting, Fabrizio was arrested outside the woman?s apartment on Friday morning, according to the document.

That is beyond horrifying — especially given that part of Project Goliath was to try to get various state Attorneys General to argue that Google helped enable sex trafficking and other such things. Apparently, Fabrizio decided to “investigate” things a bit more directly.

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Companies: mpaa

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Comments on “Top MPAA Lawyer, Mastermind Behind Its Plan To Attack The Internet, Arrested On Blackmail And Sexual Assault Charges”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Details are important

Good one, however, corporations have no legal need to follow due process. They might have a moral, and because of that PR reasons to do so, but they are not required to.

In employment at will states, and under many contracts, someone may be fired for any reason or no reason at all. Check it out.

In right to work states a reason is needed, and there is some procedure that needs to lead up to that firing, but the concept of due process, as it applies to the government from the Constitution, isn’t it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Details are important

Another ignorant motherfucker who doesn’t understand the difference between a private corporation and the government.

How so? If you work for NATO military and you’re spotted hanging around the Russian or mainland Chinese embassies without explanation, your can lose your security clearance and be drummed out of the corps. No need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

It has to be that way, as someone can pose a risk even if there’s no proof they’re actually guilty. It’s only when deciding whether to throw someone in prison that the higher standard is applied.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Details are important

“If you work for NATO military…”

Yes if you work for the government (especially the military) you are governed by different rules and laws than if you are a private citizen. Good job with civics 101. Not sure why you made that elaborate strawman in order to just agree with me bro.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Details are important

I understand these corporations have been slinking around getting away with genocide in some cases and are the first to bring law enforcement in when something in their business has been violated, but when those poor assholes who have made these corporations wealthier than your limited imagination can fathom, they are treated like the bottom sole of your shoe. No support for someone in their employment and just get rid of them before they befall some stink upon the precious bottom line. So go fuck yourself, motherfff.. maybe you ain’t even old enough to be a motherfucker, but I guess you think its ok for you to call someone an ignorant motherfucker when its you who don’t understand the point being made. Peon.

Summer Heat In Multiple Spots (actual forecast) says:

"beyond horrifying"? -- For a LAWYER in DC? -- C'mon, Maz...

Even you can’t pretend ignorance of Epstein and unnecessary wars of empire that have wrecked entire countries. This is MINOR on the DC scale. — Evidently your adjectives are chosen inversely to scale.

Anyhoo, for sure this was chosen to give your fanboys a little cheer. But there’ll be another LAWYER take over.

And regardless what this LAWYER has done, it doesn’t make the thefts of pirates legal or moral.

I bet you’re feverishly working on the Backpage non-story, which is a brazen attempt to put up a "worse" while admitting they KNEW of prostitution advertised on the site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Were any AGs named? Was any actual evidence mentioned? What about methods employed by them to try to achieve what they wanted? It certainly seems to show tge lengths ee always suspected the MPAA and RIAA would go to just to get there way, even when they knew what they were doing was either illegal, unethical, unwarranted or all three! It’s the same old story, do whatever is needed, right or wrong, just to carry on as for the last 50 years, keep control and able to rip people off!

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not a matter of "deserves". It makes no sense to punish and disincentivize people who violate laws and take the right into their own hands by creating an environment where people are encouraged to violate laws and take the right into their own hands.

If you cannot promote a higher standard, prisons become just training centers for criminals.

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