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.

Filed Under: arrest, blackmail, sexual assault, steve fabrizio
Companies: mpaa


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Aug 2019 @ 3:46pm

    Details are important

    "Apparently, Fabrizio decided to "investigate" things a bit more directly."

    Maybe he confused investigate and instigate. Still, his behavior seems to be getting to the bottom of things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:40pm

      Re: Details are important

      I guess he has googl to thank.

      Also, he was fired before he has been convicted of anything. Corporations don't follow the right of due process before passing out judgement and punishment. Another reason they are Anti-American companies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:54pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 5:38pm

        Re: Re: Details are important

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

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 6:43pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 7:49pm

            Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2019 @ 1:10am

            Re: Details are important

            "If you work for NATO military "

            Yes, if you work as an agent of the government you get treated differently to companies that don't. This isn't hard....

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 3:47pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2019 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re: Details are important

        Wow, you know corps aren't the government, right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2019 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Details are important bro

          Except when they are.

          corps
          /kɔː/
          noun
          a main subdivision of an army in the field, consisting of two or more divisions.
          "the 5th Army Corps"
          a branch of an army assigned to a particular kind of work.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 27 Aug 2019 @ 3:56pm

    can any of the cases he litigated by overturned?

    Or did the 'influence peddling in Mississsippi' case just get pushed under the rug?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:02pm

    Is it really that surprising...

    That someone that pushes censorship is trash? Everyone that pushes censorship is trash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:10pm

    Sleezebag acts like sleezebag
    film at 11

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Summer Heat In Multiple Spots (actual forecast), 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:11pm

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:35pm

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

      You more mad then a Russian who just lost Afghanistan lol

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Aug 2019 @ 4:48pm

      Rather than minimize this story with all your baseless complaints, you could express some actual horror or dismay aimed at a lawyer who (allegedly) raped a woman by coercing her into what would clearly be non-consensual sex.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 5:30pm

      Re: "beyond horrifying"? -- For a LAWmon, Maz...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 5:33pm

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

      Yo boy just got arrested and that’s the best deflection you got bro? You are a pathetic shell of your former self. Not to mention an ignorant motherfucker.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 4:21pm

        Re: Re: "beyond horrifying"? -- For a LAWYER in DC? -- C'mon, Ma

        HEY... from one AC to another: Stop being so tempormentally judgemental to every comment. You're starting to be a bummer and not really doing much for us ACs' reputations in general.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2019 @ 7:27am

      Re:

      There once was an out of the blue
      Who hated the process of due
      Each lawyer he'd paid
      Was DMCAed
      And shoved up his ass with a screw

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 5:27pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2019 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      Your questions could be answered by following a link in the article itself, so why did you not follow that link and answer those questions yourself?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 6:26pm

    His troubles aren't over...

    AT&T is suing him for copyright infringement. They claim that he "reached out and touched someone" without paying the requisite licensing fees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 6:45pm

      Re: His troubles aren't over...

      ...and they've likely also trademarked "let your fingers do the walking".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 7:00pm

        Re: Re: His troubles aren't over...

        That was Yellow Pages. The outfit with the walking fingers logo trademark.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: His troubles aren't over...

          Maybe he can trademark, "Don't let your fingers do the walking." and at least have something to show for all this trouble!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2019 @ 7:40pm

    Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the heroes of out_of_the_blue and John Smith!

    Charles Carreon, Paul Hansmeier, Keith Lipscomb, John Steele, Evan Stone, Andrew Crossley, Snæbjörn Steingrímsson, Colette Pelissier, Fox Rothschild, Shiva Ayyadurai... and now this!

    Keep those delicious tears comin'!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 28 Aug 2019 @ 7:50am

    Well deserved...

    If Fabrizio goes to jail for rape, he may well discover what it's like being on the receiving end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Aug 2019 @ 8:30am

      Re: Well deserved...

      Can't say as I'm a fan of glib references to prison rape. Brutality in our prisons is not something to celebrate, even if it harms people who are brutes themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 4:04pm

        Re: Re: Well deserved...

        Providing a safehaven for all these rapists to do what they love.. there's got to be a law against that!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Aug 2019 @ 9:09am

      No one deserves to be raped — not even a rapist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 28 Aug 2019 @ 11:42pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2019 @ 7:15pm

        Re:

        "No one deserves to be raped--not even a rapist."

        That made me laugh! !!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 28 Aug 2019 @ 9:18am

    MPAA, lawyer, sexual assault

    maybe if I recite "correlation is not causation" a few thousand times I'll convince myself there's no connection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 28 Aug 2019 @ 10:30am

      Re: MPAA, lawyer, sexual assault

      Inb4 His copyright maximalism was all a setup to try to claim copyright takedowns on any public evidence of his pedophilia.

      (He wouldn't be the first to try that)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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