The record companies have fired their outsource enforcement thugs, MediaSentry (a sleazy outfit that changes its name as often as it changes its testimony). This is part of its new strategy: rather than suing fans, the record industry will confront the 21st century by asking ISPs to voluntarily spy on their customers, throttle their Internet connections, and disconnect people from the Internet on the basis of unproven allegations of infringement.
It's a measure of just how unbelievably stupid the lawsuit campaign was that this new tactic is actually marginally preferable. And, of course, it does mean that plenty of MediaSentry's goons will end up on the breadline, so that's good news.
Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who maintains the Recording Industry vs. the People blog and who has represented more than a dozen clients fighting the RIAA, said he considered the decision to drop MediaSentry a "victory" for his clients. MediaSentry representatives "have been invading the privacy of people. They've been doing very sloppy work," he said.
Mr. Beckerman cites MediaSentry's practice of looking for available songs in people's file-sharing folders, downloading them, and using those downloads in court as evidence of copyright violations. He says MediaSentry couldn't prove defendants had shared their files with anyone other than MediaSentry investigators.