Meet the record industry lobbyists who'll be throttling your Internet connection in America's six strikes world

The Center for Copyright Information is the organization behind America's "six strikes" plan, where the major ISPs and phone companies have signed up to voluntarily degrade your Internet connection, and even disconnect your family based on unsubstantiated, guilty-until-proven-innocent accusations of copyright infringement. So, who are the CCI? That Anonymous Coward writes,

CCI is headed by someone from a PR firm used by the RIAA. The review of their tech was done by Stroz Friedberg, a lobbyist given money by the... RIAA. Federal Judges have ruled that an IP address doesn't equal a person, but IP address alone (which can be spoofed) is enough for this system to send notices and even throttle paying customers' connections. And the only recourse is arbitration, because this isn't a real legal system. This is private corporate law. Maybe its time for some AG's to look into this cushy deal and wonder why the system costs the accused money to challenge claims with no real independent review.


    1. Until they hold up how well this is working and try and force more ISPs to comply with this unholy corporate law that was blessed by the Copyright Czar.

  1. I haven’t done any heavy P2P since the mid-to-late 90’s, but, just because of this kind of crap, damn if my mouse finger isn’t ready to fire up a BitTorrent client w/ traffic piped through an IP obfuscation service, and get down to some serious SHARING.

  2. They’re throttling based on IP?  Oy, vey.  I guess they’ve never heard of DHCP.

    Makes me think of the one and only time I lived in rental property.  I never thought I’d get rid of the bill collectors calling for the previous occupant.

    1. No throttling subscribers identified as having an observed filesharing IP assigned to them.

      Blocking their access to popular websites until they take an online educational course.

      Keeping records (with the ISP account records) of every notice sent so if the cartel decides to sue they can pull out these notices and claim you have to be guilty.

      AT&T has pointed out in their paperwork that their TOS says anything that happens on your connection is all on you, pushing the idea that subscribers are responsible for the actions of others.

      1. anything that happens on your connection is all on you

        This is particularly ridiculous considering the matter at hand. For example, let’s consider somebody using an ISP-leased wifi access point. 

        * The customer has no say in the choice of hardware (and increasingly very little say in how it’s actually configured).

        * Assume he’s an uber-geek and locks down his wifi with state-of-the-art techniques.

        * Assume an exploit is found, that will allow attackers to bypass such techniques on that particular hardware, and the exploit is not made public, as it often happens.

        * Now the consumer is basically trapped, with no way to defend himself from accusations of misbehaviour.

        He didn’t choose the castle, he was not told of the secret passage, and yet he will be beheaded if/when jewels get stolen. That’s irrational and unaccountable power right there, straight from the Middle Ages.

        1. Assume they are senior citizens where the connection was setup by the ISPs people, they get a letter from the ISP telling them a lawyer has accused them of stealing a movie.  Then they get a letter telling them they are responsible for downloading Teen Anal Sluts and unless they pay $4000 they are going to court where they will end up paying $150,000 and their name will be made public with that nifty title next to it.
          Thats how copyright trolls roll.

  3. One of the fronts in the “battle” against the plutocracy is the copyright front. While it’s not unfathomable for someone to want to hold rights to what they’ve produced, and self-entitlement isn’t really a reason to get things for free (as much as it isn’t a reason to do anything else, really*), employing fellow wealthy golf buddies to control the issue is as transparent as the back-scratching at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner.

    *Entitlement due to previous historical injustices et al notwithstanding.

    1.  “*Entitlement due to previous historical injustices et al notwithstanding.”

      Some might consider the last 100 years of copyright law to be a historical injustice.

    2. Yeah because when a bunch of labels were caught stealing tracks from their artists without paying them in Canada, if they had faced the same penalties they impose on regular people they should have paid 6 billion.
      They settled for less, and one of the labels sued their insurance provider to force them to pay their portion of the settlement for illegally using those tracks.

        1. But I wonder if anyone checked to see if the labels were still putting artists on the pay them later list that lead to this problem the first time.

      1. You know, I’m not sure but I think something was lost in translation. I’m not arguing against what you’ve brought forward here.
        I’m saying that this is a war the plutocracy is terrified of, so they arrogantly do things like this, and assign themselves as arbiters of “justice” for the wealthy.

        The self-entitlement bit was really just an aside on people who want things for free for reasons other than what you’re talking about.

        (sorry if this is a double-post, chrome is acting a bit funky)

        1. I think it is just amazing that they bemoan the billions they are losing, but spend as little as possible of their own money to secure them.  They shift the costs to everyone else, and we somehow ignore they are actively stealing from the poor artists.

          This is a war to protect a business model that needs to adapt to the new market, and this intrusion into our lives based on smoke and mirrors needs to be stopped.

          Filesharing isn’t caused by people trying to “steal”.  People like to share what they like, people who fileshare often buy more because they “sampled” the content first.  The content cartels have all of these self imposed limits with no basis in current reality that make it harder for people to give them money.

  4. Until there is some sort of legal acknowledgment in the US similar to the European Court of Justice ruling that internet access is a human right, what steps exactly could the AGs take to put a stop to this?

    1. Many of these ISP’s have monopolies given to them by the state, meaning there is no choice for consumers.
      The simple fact the tech is flawed, and punative action is going to be taken on mere accusations calls into question how this is serving the people paying them money.
      The memorandum of understanding these idiots signed to kick this off has a clause, if they get sued they can drop out.
      If the system is perfect why would you build in an escape clause like that?

      This is a power grab by the **AA’s, twisting existing law to be what they think it should be, and I am SURE there is no way there were deals offered for better rates or access to content for the ISPs to sell its customers.
      Antitrust anyone?

    2. I would think this is essentially admitting the ISP isn’t a common carrier and therefore is responsible for the legality of all traffic. The next time any crime can be connected to the use of their network indict the ISP.

    1. You start here…

      Then you go here…

      Then you notice their media contact address involved

      Ooops I missed one…

      “Jill Lesser is a Senior Consultant to the Glover Park Group”

      What else did you think I was wrong about?

      1. Then when you get bored with that, you dig into MarkMonitor who acquired DtecNet.  Then look at their amazing history.

        If this is such a wonderful system, why all the secrecy?
        Why compare their notices to your bank alerting you to possible credit card fraud?
        Why use reports from 2007 with silly claims about imaginary losses?

        Given the RIAA’s amazing history with this sort of tech…

        One would think they would be much more open about it to remove any doubts as to how the system works and how accurate it is.  But instead we have a secret system, pushing different punishments on consumers on mere allegations, and it costs you money to challenge their findings with an arbitrator who I have severe reservations about being able to crawl through code to verify the veracity of statements being made.

        But then these are the same people who wanted to break the internet to protect an outdated business model, have ICE running raids of websites, went after a $10 Million government handout to make sure they could get ICE to do more, wanted police to have the right to search mp3 players and make sure all of the music was licensed, and a bunch of other really stupid stuff.

        Amazingly they have invested no money into making legal alternatives, and insist on using the same distribution patterns they have used since the 1950, still trying to pretend the world is not interconnected.  They cripple their offerings with painful DRM and force you to watch messages telling you to not steal what you purchased.

        They declared war on consumers and forgot that without consumers they get nothing.  Their business is selling content, not licenses where they get to decide forever where, when, and how you can watch what you paid them for.

    2. I understand what you’re hinting at, but your scheme assumes that notices of copyright infringement will be treated equally (or on their own merits). They won’t be. Notices made by corporations will be treated as if they’re the word of God. Notices made by individuals will be summarily ignored.

    3. To make up for my earlier blunder I give you the basis for accusation 1.

      Looks legit to me.

  5. If your service contract says you’re paying for a certain amount of bandwidth each month, your ISP’s throttling would constitute an act of service fraud. If the contract states that the ISP reserves the right to diminish or deny service while the customer must keep up the full payments, you might want to talk to a lawyer. That sounds like grounds to declare the contract terms unreasonable and therefore non-binding. You could stand to make a lot of money off an ISP like that.

    1. Much like the trick of “unlimited” actually having limits, most contracts only offer speeds of “Up To”…

    2. Ever read a telecom provider’s contract? They’re completely one-sided, allow them to change the terms at any time, and specify that disputes go through binding arbitration rather than the court system (you can try to sue in court anyway, but they have a lot more lawyers). At best you won’t have to pay an early termination fee.

  6. Cory sez: “…major ISPs and phone companies have signed up to voluntarily …disconnect your family based on unsubstantiated…accusations of copyright infringement.”

    Jill Lesser sez: “…termination of a consumer’s Internet service is not a part of any ISP’s Copyright Alert System program…. There’s no “strikeout” in this program.”

    Are there conflicting contexts here, or is someone just wrong?

    1. “the Participating ISP may also adopt, in appropriate circumstances, those measures specifically authorized by section 512 of the DMCA and/or actions specifically provided for in the Participating ISP’s AUP and/or TOS including temporary suspension or termination”

      From the Memorandum of Understanding signed to form this unholy cabal.

      And the CAS system can’t cut off or throttle your internet at all, that is all up to each ISP that signed up, they all get to set their own policies.  The memorandum is on the CCI webpage still, one would think they would have cleaned that up if it was outdated.

      Maybe she forgot what the original agreement said, or the fact they are keeping a majority of the details secret could lead to misunderstandings of these nature.  Maybe admitting that they wanted to kick people off the net on mere accusations tested poorly with the focus group.

        1. Well a law professor looked over the plan and was ok with some parts and less than impressed with others.

          A massive problem in my mind is this…
          “CCI has released no information about the technology underlying CAS or the identity of the independent technical expert hired to evaluate that technology. Moreover, the MOU prohibits the independent expert from disclosing any findings of technical inadequacy to third parties without the express written consent of the relevant parties to the MOU.”

          They have now said who the “expert” is, and someone being paid by the RIAA to lobby for them seems like a poor choice.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, we said your guilty and it must be true!

  7. Unlike the CCI site, the Glover Park Group’s website has plenty of contact information. Perhaps the GPG would be a good channel for contacting the CCI directly and conveying our concerns to Ms. Lesser and her organization.

    1. Here I was thinking it made more sense to get our elected leaders and those charged with enforcing the law to point out that these corporations aren’t allowed to make up their own laws.
      “Mitigation Measures” could include having to share their wires with other providers to remove the monopoly control they enjoy in several markets.

  8. Been following this from the UK. Sounds pretty despicable to me. Just hope our bods don’t get wind of it. Can’t see as how they can set themselves up as judge and jury but I suppose if they alter the T & C, customers don’t have a leg to stand on. Accusations are nothing new. Many years ago (long before all this file-sharing and copyright business became big news) my UK ISP took it upon themselves to send me an e-mail accusing me of down-loading (NOT sharing, you note) copyright material and threatened me with cut-off. I told them that it was not their position to police the net and promptly took my business elsewhere.

    1. Its closer than you think.  They did start 3 strikes in Ireland.  Americans are slow so we need 6.
      The systems being employed are much like those used by ACS:Law in their shakedown scheme.

      1. this isn’t new, it’s only codifying behavior that many ISP’s were already involved in.  i know cox was disconnecting peoples internet on a three strikkes plan at least as far back as 5 years ago, insight as well.

        1. This was due to much effort on the part of the copyright cartels via their **AA enforcers to force the DMCA to be used in ways it wasn’t intended to be used against people.  This took much effort and paying money to lawyers to make vague threats to bankrupt providers if they didn’t do what they wanted.
          Its a nice NOC you have here, it would be a shame if anything happened to it…

          CCI is just this system in a much nicer more manageable way, now we send you these notices, they yell at us not you, when they get 5 or 6 you can disconnect them
          oh and you get to keep more records for us to prove their guilty because our notices are perfect.

          This is the copyright cartels taking control of internet access with the blessing of the Government.
          The perception hey are trying to give is you might get 1 or 2 of these notices but no one but bad people would get 5 or 6. 
          Tell that to the Professor who happens to have the last name Usher.  He had nearly everything he ever tried to share with his students taken offline because the word Usher has to belong to his label, and it has to be music.  They signed off on the form saying they verified it was their property and it belonged to them… when is the last time they had to pay up for making a bogus claim other than in bad PR online?
          The law does not apply to corporations, and they wonder why regular people don’t care about it either.

    2. Same happened to me, and they ( actually did disconnect me after receiving vague DMCA notices from American lawyers with no business or understanding of UK law. I promptly moved to another ISP.

      The elephant in the room is that ISPs don’t really like filesharers, because they consume more than their fair share of resources. The ideal ISP client is somebody working elsewhere 9 to 5, going home just to download a few emails and to check the Daily Mail website before going to bed. Unfortunately, “unlimited downloads” is such a good selling point, nobody dares doing away with it, so filesharers and power-users are grudgingly tolerated. This sort of regulation will give them legal cover to do away with “unprofitable customers” without getting too much flack; it’s win-win all around the corporate table, really.

      1. Part of the problem is the US thinking their laws apply everywhere, and then acting like they do.

        The amount of resources argument is pretty empty, its often a red herring used by the industry to explain why their connections suck… because they are taking your share!  Not because we have put no money into expanding our network to meet demand, even getting Government handouts to do so.

        The other reason to keep bandwidth tight is so you don’t sign up for Netflix instead of the crappy offering your ISP has.  Or Skype instead of their crappy VOIP offering.  It is them making excuses to keep better offerings from competing.

  9. I certainly wouldn’t advocate such a thing, but it seems like it would be of interest if massive copyright violations were committed using the spoofed IPs of every major member of Congress, as an object lesson.

    1. Unless they plan on operating like the porn copyright trolls, they cull their lists of police and powerful people to avoid pissing off people who will crush them.
      But in the meantime did you see what was happening on  Shameless I tell you shameless!

  10. I have no particular expertise on this subject matter, I do have some on “lobbying.” It is interesting that The Center for Copyright Information is not registered with the Senate/House of Representatives either as an in-house lobbyist or as having any outside registered lobbyists representing them. The same is true for “Stroz Friedberg”. However RIAA is a “registered lobbyist” with several in-house lobbyists, reporting about $1.2 million for lobbying expenses in the 3rd quarter of 2012. Additionally, RIAA employs about six outside lobbying firms, with total reported expenses for those six firms for the 3rd quarter of 2012 at about $275,000. Those six firms report dozens of lobbyists working for RIAA, and those lobbyists report previous experience coming from diverse positions with the Congress and Executive Branch.

    If interested in the “registered lobbyists” involved in this issue go to;

    and search the Lobbying Database for the “Record Industry Association of America” as a client and 2012 as the reporting period.

    1. CCI was blessed by Victoria Espinel personally and is just a smiling mask as a front for an end run around the law.  It does no lobbying.

      “The joining of Internet service providers and entertainment companies in a cooperative effort to combat online infringement can further this goal and we commend them for reaching this agreement. We believe it will have a significant impact on reducing online piracy,” said U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.

      I provided links showing the RIAA paying both firms for lobbying, it is possible they did not use them at this time to help shore up the illusion it is all impartial and above board.

  11. Suddenlink has already imposed a ‘3 Strike Rule’ .. And we’re at 2 strikes, I’m guessing because one of my kid’s friends decided to download some stuff while spending the night at his party…Not sure who did it, but not me or my kid. Factually, these ‘hits’ are not verifiable and if you Google the subject, you can see articles saying many of these charges are not correct. If any of the software or music companies say you downloaded something, that’s all Suddenlink needs. Get tagged 3 times and they disconnect your service. period!  And there is no way you, the customer, can prove you did not do it. I had Suddenlink send me their printouts…Absolutely ridiculous. Simply says someone from your router downloaded whatever they say it was. This should be illegal, but welcome to 1984, with our warrantless surveillance, Stanfor, Patriot Act, drones flying over the US, and charges you cannot defend against. Double-Ungood!

    1. Your child has been consorting with pirates. It sounds like the plot for a sequel to Reefer Madness.

    2. I’m sorry your having that problem, but your lucky.
      Currently the number of people in the US having been sued on this type of evidence is around 300,000.
      It started with the ‘Hurt Locker’ lawsuit, then Uwe Bolle films, now porn with “lovely” titles.
      They get courts to send out subpoenas on the mere allegation that an “expert” (we don’t know because there is no degree or cert for this work.) recorded the Does IP torrenting a file. 
      It is know at least 1 high profile expert, who now uses multiple names, had a contract that authorized them to run honey pots.  This means THEY put the file online, recorded every IP that hit it, and then can use that “evidence” to get paid.  Unclean hands never gets brought up.
      The Does then get a letter demanding thousands of dollars, but less than mounting a defense, or ELSE.  Your name will be on a lawsuit with a disturbing porn title… but you can make it all go away for a few thousand.  If you claim that you were not the person who did it, they have been trying to demand payment for negligence, because you have a DUTY to protect porn house you’ve never heard of.
      Its extortion with a law degree.  There are falsified copyright filings, sham transfers of the right to sue (Righthaven anyone), copyright cases filed for films without copyright and precluded by law for getting more than “actual” damages, but the courts allow all of these to move forward with the threat of you will have to pay them $150,000.
      All of this based on untested, unreviewed, unvetted secret IP recording systems.
      ^ sound familiar?

      Learn more about copyright trolls from my friends…
      Sophisticated Jane Doe –
      Die Troll Die –
      Both have been referenced by Federal Judges in rulings… so they MIGHT know what they are talking about.  They let me hang out there and pick on trolls too.

      You can thank overzealous DMCA interpretations for Suddenlink’s policies.  The law is so vague and abused it is often just easier for a service provider to cave in to crazy demands.  Given the bogus notice discussed here recently where MS’s agents wanted links on Bing blocked on Google due to craptastic software matching it might be time to make some noise about how this law is being abused against citizens with no recourse offered.

      1. Ohai TAC. Thanks for the shout out. If you visit today at work, make sure your boss or colleagues are looking the other way: I don’t do scandalous post titles every day, but sometimes it is needed. 

  12. Oh crap…  I missed something in my digging.  Ernesto over at found it…

    “Between 2004 and 2009 Stroz Friedberg lobbied extensively in Washington on behalf of the RIAA. This consulting job earned the company more than half a million dollars ($637,000). One of the leading lobbyists on record was Executive Managing Director Beryl Howell, who lobbied U.S. Congress and Senate for copyright laws regarding digital music.”

    This would be the same Judge Howell who ruled Does have no right to fight copyright troll lawsuits, even if they are out of her courts jurisdiction.  She feels that ISPs need to do more to help the poor copyright cartels.  She feels that you have no right to protest a 3rd party demanding your account details from an ISP based on the accusation made by questionable “experts” who claim they saw and IP and that the IP points to the infringer.

    Anyone still think they are not a cartel buying influence and laws?
    It might be time to demand investigations into the dealings of these corporations and their private laws.

Comments are closed.