TorrentFreak has posted a supposedly leaked presentation by the RIAA’s chief lawyer that says that it defended SOPA and PIPA even though it knew the censorship legislation wouldn’t be effective against music piracy. Is the RIAA for real or are they just covering their asses, and what does it mean for your freedom going forward?
Massive Internet protests forced the RIAA’s puppets in Washington to back down from SOPA and PIPA, delivering a major blow the the RIAA’s crusade against Internet freedom. The leaked presentation called “￼U.S. Copyright Alert System and Other Voluntary Initiatives” was given in April to industry bigwigs, and it finds RIAA Deputy General Counsel Victoria Sheckler backpeddling from the organization’s legislative attacks on piracy. Just look at this slide. How pathetic:
In other words, the presentation all but admits what opponents of SOPA and PIPA knew all along; that the legislation would be useless. Now remember, this legislation jeopardized free speech on the Internet. If this is posturing, it’s an infuriating stance. It’s inconceivable that the RIAA would support legislation that so blatantly threatened your rights for nothing, but it’s the unfortunate truth.
Since legislating censorship didn’t work, the RIAA has pivoted back to the Copyright Alert System, an anti-privacy initiative it’s been pursuing with ISPs. The new initiative was finally agreed upon last summer after years of debate. It was supposed to launch this month, but it’s been indefinitely delayed because all of the stakeholders—you aren’t one of them, by the way—can’t agree on how to implement it. Under the system, Internet users would be governed by a six strike system. The RIAA (or MPAA) would submit complaints of infringement to ISPs on behalf of copyright holders, after which the ISPs follow up with users using what’s called “graduated response.” In short, infringers are warned and warned again before anyone launches any significant legal action. The emphasis, the RIAA says, is on education. Bullshit.
You should be just as worried about this ISP monitoring as you were about SOPA and PIPA. Instead of bullying the government into restricting your freedom, the RIAA is bullying the ISPs into creating an Internet nanny state to intimidate you into compliance with whatever it wants. As the RIAA points out in the slide above, the only thing legislation would have have accomplished is increased policing by ISPs. With the Copyright Alert System it’s happening anyway. It’s unprecedented. And for what? There’s no evidence it’ll work. The RIAA says it will, but after this leak do you really want to take its word for it? [TorrentFreak via ITWorld via Slashdot]