Following Torrentfreak's publication
of a slide from a confidential RIAA presentation, they've now released another damning slide
, showing (among other things) that the RIAA did not think that SOPA/PIPA would be effective in stopping music infringement:
Of course, they also insist that the opposition was "activated by Google," which is flat out untrue, even though I know the RIAA folks believe it (I had a conversation with an RIAA person a few months ago, and nothing would shake his absolute conviction that the whole thing was a Google plot).
To be honest, this "confession" is not a huge
surprise. While many people often lump the MPAA and RIAA together, SOPA/PIPA was almost entirely driven by the MPAA. The RIAA basically did the least amount required to officially show its support for the bill -- but all of the pushing for the bill was done by the MPAA. I had wondered if it was just a sign that the RIAA is simply running out of steam as its main members are dwindling, but now it seems clear that even they realized SOPA/PIPA was not an effective plan. Of course, when we explained why SOPA/PIPA wouldn't have been effective, supporters claimed we were behind a misinformation campaign. I guess the RIAA was a part of that campaign as well, huh?
But, perhaps even more interesting was another tidbit later in the TorrentFreak post, concerning how the RIAA views the six strikes plan. For some background, while various "three strikes" plans around the globe are focused on taking away internet connections after accumulating three "strikes" (based on accusations, not convictions), when the "voluntary" (with a big shove
from the government) plan was put in place, part of the messaging was that disconnection
However, according to the presentation, it appears that the RIAA has a backdoor plan
to put in place a disconnection regime. Basically, they're noting (accurately) that the DMCA already requires that service providers who wish to retain safe harbors have a "termination policy" in place. That's true. But here's the sneaky part: the RIAA is ready to insist that a reasonable termination plan under the DMCA would require an ISP to terminate a user once they get to those six strikes. In other words, the plan
doesn't require termination -- which was necessary from a PR standpoint -- but the RIAA is going to claim that the law already requires it
. Sneaky, sneaky:
Some ISPs do indeed threaten to disconnect users for infringement based on a TOS violation. However, Sheckler says that the responsibilities of Internet companies go further and as carriers they are governed by legislation.
In order for ISPs to be eligible for safe harbor provision under the DMCA, she writes, they are required to have a “termination policy for repeat infringers” under “appropriate circumstances.”
So, although account disconnections aren’t specifically included in the list of “six strikes” mitigation measures agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding, the RIAA is clearly aware that if they’ve issued infringement notices against an account holder six times, then that user has a good chance of being viewed as a “repeat infringer” by their ISP – at least if prompted to do so by the RIAA.
This is the RIAA I'm used to. Using misdirection and sneaky language to get what it wants while claiming otherwise publicly.
For what it's worth, we've heard that some of the reasons for the delays
in launching the six strikes plan has to do with the ISPs pushing back on RIAA/MPAA desire for disconnections to occur. I don't know how accurate that is, but it would fit with what's stated above -- and certainly suggests we haven't seen the last of this. If anything, it sounds like a lawsuit may eventually have to be filed to see if the RIAA can effectively force an ISP to terminate accounts over the six strikes plan...