After Critics Cry Foul, CCI Seeking New Expert for ‘Six Strikes’

A video released online recently discusses the so-called “six strikes” anti-piracy system agreed to by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and five major Internet service providers (ISPs). All of these groups helped fund the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), but the CCI’s selection of the digital risk management firm Stroz Friedberg to act as the independent body investigating the validity of claims of copyright infringementagainst file-sharers drew criticism.

“Recent reports that a former employee of Stroz Friedberg lobbied several years ago on behalf of RIAA on matters unrelated to CCI have raised questions about the impartiality of Stroz Friedberg,” CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser wrote in a blog post published on October 30, 2012. “We are, however, sensitive to any appearance that Stroz lacks independence, and so CCI has decided to have another expert review Stroz’s initial evaluation of the content community’s processes. We will be selecting the additional expert promptly and will make that information available.”

Lesser also wrote that CCI would release Stroz Friedberg’s initial report “to enable interested parties to review it for themselves.” In a September 11, 2012, article published by the technology news website Ars Technica, Lesser said the Copyright Alert System “is not a six strikes program,” but an educational program that would educate consumers and “steer online users toward legal content. According to Ars Technica, “the program will be increasing warning levels, requiring users to acknowledge receipt of those warnings and possibly reducing their Internet speed.”

“Each of the ISPs is going to have their own mitigation measure,” Lesser told Ars Technica. “It will always happen after the user has been given an opportunity to conduct an independent review. The ISP has discretion what the mitigation measure is.”

If users reach the fifth or sixth stage, Lesser told Ars Technica that they will be “pushed through to a 10 minute educational video,” and if that does not change their behavior, ISPs will be able to make their own decisions about the next step to take. This may include disconnection or lawsuits filed by rights holders, according to Ars Technica.

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