Digital freedom

Six strikes: copyright trolling without courts

The Center for Copyright Information. Sounds good doesn’t it? A place where you can get information about Copyright. But it isn’t. This unholy alliance between the copyright cartels and ISPs, is trying to create laws they control.

The plan

A third party company is going to monitor torrents of popular files, record IP addresses, and submit those matching member ISPs to the ISP. The ISP then sends a Copyright Alert System notice to the person who pays the bill. They want you to think of them as helpful notices, like when the bank alerts you to possible fraud on your account. When you get your 4th, 5th or 6th notice… things change. The ISPs each get to pick their own methods of “Mitigation Methods”, while there is no common system of these in place, they can include:

  • throttling down your speed;
  • sending you a scary message that the cartels can sue you and they will gleefully hand over your details if a court orders it;
  • blocking popular websites until you complete an educational program about copyright.

They claim disconnection is not a possible option.

Now if you think you got one of these notices in error, you can challenge the notice. You have to pay $35 to them, and pick one of a few limited responses they allowed you. This is then reviewed by an Arbitrator, who decided if the notice is legit or not.

Lets go over some of the problems here

The company gathering the information is MarkMonitor who acquired DtecNet. Lets then look at their amazing history:

If this is such a wonderful system, why all the secrecy? Given the RIAA’s wonderful 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But then these are the same people who wanted to break the Internet to protect an outdated business model, have ICE running raids of websites, went after a $10 Million government handout to make sure they could get ICE to do more, wanted police to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.

Here is the really sick thing…

The IP gathering here is the same as what the trolls are doing now. Except the cartels don’t have to pay $350 to file a case.
They don’t have to even prove any uploading or downloading happened. (Not that they could as IP spoofings been around since the first time the RIAA sued everyone on the Internet.)

They don’t have to send out a DMCA notice affirming the facts.
They just have to say your subscriber did it… and you get a black mark against your name.
Doesn’t matter if your Wi-Fi was open or hacked, you are at fault.
Doesn’t matter if it was the neighbors’ kid visiting, you are at fault.
Doesn’t matter… you are always at fault because the ISP’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policies are the “law.”
This also allows them to avoid having to prove who did it, and get bogged down in justice and fairness.

But wait, TAC, where is the Government stopping this obvious antitrust case?

“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.

They picked a “board” to help them deal with privacy issues and such, and they are very clear that the cartels never know the names… except they are ignoring some of what the board is saying and the board is rubber stamping this monstrosity.

But wait, TAC, they had experts look over their system and prove it was accurate!

Yeah.. about that “expert”… Ernesto at followed a tip I submitted about them formerly being lobbyists for the RIAA. And he uncovered something I had missed…

Stroz Friedberg is indeed a technology expert, but the group was also the RIAA’s lobbying firm for half a decade.

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.

Now if you follow copyright trolls you know the name Beryl Howell and curse it like the rest of us do. She believes that an IP address is a proof of infringement, that ISPs aren’t doing enough to stop “piracy,” and that people don’t have the right to fight against copyright trolls getting their names to try and extort money.

So the promised review of the tech… done by a company who the RIAA pays well… Not the guys who tore apart IP monitoring at the University, but people who stand to lose a client.

Yep… seems legit to me.

What can we do?

So it might be time to reach out to those morons you voted for, and ask them why corporations get to make their own laws now.
Copyright law and the overreach with it has gotten stupid… but this one this takes the cake.
Why are we letting them slip SOPA into being the law of the internet?
Why are we allowing accusations to be taken as fact?
Why are we paying billions to fund companies who are supposed to be supplying the digital super highway, who instead are going to become the private enforcer of the copyright cartels?

They call the program “6 strikes,” because Americans would riot if they tried 3 strikes here. They quickly claimed disconnection was off the table, yet the words still exist in the memorandum of understanding they signed to form this.

Take a look at 3 strikes around the globe, and see the abject failure it has become.

  • The French are going to abandon their vaunted program after taking one customer to court… who had to pay for his wife downloading music… because it was his connection. He didn’t know, wasn’t involved, but he was punished as if he had done it.
  • In New Zealand they just dropped their first case after turning it into a giant clusterfuck. The young lady who’s name is on the bill and claims innocence is left hanging after wasting time, effort and money to defend her good name against a claim that suddenly wasn’t 100% perfect. But they did manage to compute damages she should pay… except those were nowhere in the law allowing their 3 strikes program and it was an arbitrary inflated number… sort of like a copyright trolls “win” where they talk about the huge amount they won on paper to scare other people into settling the case for less.

A copyright troll can capture an IP address, but then they have to go to court, file a lawsuit and have the case tried on the merits. (Well, in a perfect world.)

Why are we allowing the cartels to make allegations, based on secret methods, and get the ISPs to do anything all? Corporations do not get to make laws and force them on people, they have to do it the old fashioned way… they have to bribe the Congress. Remind your congresscritter today that the elections are coming and if they don’t act to stop this… maybe their replacement will.

I’m TAC… I think this is fucking horrible, and if you agree you will tell friends, family, and your congresscritter this is wrong and needs to be stopped. Some of these ISPs are the only game in town in many areas, so we can’t vote with our wallets.

End the cartels reign of terror, or learn to accept only what the cartels decide your allowed to access on the net.

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45 responses to ‘Six strikes: copyright trolling without courts

  1. I sound so gloomy sometimes….
    Why can’t we have nice stories about copyright?!?
    Oh, right, because its controlled by a bunch of greedy assholes.
    My bad.

    Ernestos coverage deserves a look.
    And even Cory Doctorow thought my little tip was worth posting on Boingboing.

    This is seriously bad news campers.
    This isn’t a copyright troll you can stare down and win… this is a full on attack on consumers.

    • Good stuff man, and a note on the DMCA notice. All they have to have to actually send that out is “good faith” that the content in question is unauthorized. That to me is ri-goddamn-diculous.

      • Ah… but here is the rub, the autogenerated you are guilty notices, are NOT DMCA notices.
        But in the next breath, the Memorandum of Understanding is demanding that the ISPs behave like they are and pursue terminating repeat abusers.
        They are picking the parts that make them happy to frankenstein a law they think they deserve.
        You can send 100 DMCA notices about seeing an IP address allegedly doing something, it still can’t prove who was using the connection… which is why they need the Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy to assign blame to the person who pays the bill… it was your connection and even if you didn’t do the crime we punish you because its your fault.

          • It is a tried and true method in the porn copyright troll cases. It was very popular for a while for them to claim that the IP address pointed directly at the infringer. After Judges started ruling that IP address doesn’t equal a person they modified the attack they used. CCI gets to skip that by turning TOS and AUP into inviolate laws.

  2. Oh Joy, the Internet which has generated millions of jobs, billions in revenue and fostered regime change across the globe is about to be bureaucratized because of corporate greed. Once again, dinosaurs are missing opportunities to reinvent themselves. I cannot wait to see how quick the work arounds develop

      • is it sad that the first thing i thought was that someone(s) will find every congress person’s ip, post them and the start spoofing like crazy. i do not agree with this method, but i am sure i am not the only one who is capable of thinking it. if they all get hit with 6 strikes fast they will have to listen to the cries of the masses. i would bet that the companies would not issue warnings against certain classes of people. just the middle of the roaders that are the general public. this would beg on a discrimination lawsuit like crazy. i wounder if this is not he easiest angle for a lawsuit….

        • If you read the Memorandum of Understanding, that triggers an escape clause if someone sues them in real court. CCI talks up their arbitration system and only lightly touches on real courts.

  3. This is a major problem and conflict of interest. This is just the beginning. The government, big business, and lobbyists want to control this country. They are starting with the common people. Telling us how to live. What we can and cannot do. Are we really the land of the free anymore? One day, all hell will break loose. All because of money loving, power control freaks wanting to run the show. People will have enough one day and stand up and fight. This program is wrong! Nothing good about it whatsoever. Why don’t these people understand that file sharing will never be stopped. We are in the age of technology that advances everyday. They are wasting time and money over something so small in copyright. Yes, the owners have their rights. But this way is all wrong. The bigger and more important issues should come first. The last several years has been hard on this country. People losing their homes, jobs is the major concern. Not a f’n movie copyright (porn or mainstream). These people, in their positions, that have money to throw around, need to live in our shoes. See what it’s like to live from paycheck to paycheck. Barely making rent or car payment. Barely having any money for food, if any. Struggling to pay their bills. Actually have to WORK for their money. Not sit on their ass in their office making up rules and laws that people have to abide by, with exceptions of themselves and their ‘friends’. I’m talking about going to work everyday putting in their 8 to 10 (or more) hours, getting dirty, getting hurt, waking up sore, lacking sleep and not having enough time with their families. This is what I do every single day. Struggle. Just like many other people here on this blog and the country do. I don’t bitch about it. But damn, after working my ass off everyday, I want to come home and relax and look at whatever I want to look at, and not be told what to look at. Our rights are very slowly being taken away.

    Sorry for this rant. I am not happy with this program. If I said anything wrong and out of line, forgive me. I let my emotions get the best of me.

    • @ITH, you said in words what I could only express in emotion. Good for you, and I am there with you. This whole thing simply makes my blood boil, if only because I believe laws are passed in our republic, and any attempt to bypass Congress or the U.S. Constitution makes me just mad.

    • *stares*
      Have you read many of my posts? I am the last one to complain about anyone ranting.
      This system is bullshit.
      This is corporations making their own laws and enforcement with the tacit blessing of the Government.
      I think its time the regular people make their voices heard again.

      • HAHA OBVIOUSLY I SHARE YOUR OPINION AND I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU TOO! Great article. My wife and I spent a considerable amount of time discussing it yesterday. We’re both disgusted with the program.

        • The question you have to ask yourself is, what bar exam do you have to take to be able to practice in the corporate courts.

        • The focus on the boy seems a little bit better to me for some reason…since the boy should be the “target” and not the gun. But I’m weird, so don’t take it too seriously.

        • I agree. The picture is certainly ironic — a boy listening to headphones larger than his head. But then… out comes the copyright gun… AIMED AT A CHILD! (noting that the parent [ISP subscriber / account holder] ends up being the one sued).

          The reason I agree that it is better to blur the gun is that your focus is on the boy [and his family]. If the gun was in-focus, then it would look as if you are the copyright troll yourself taking a first person (FPS) view of the boy who you are about to shoot.

  4. One more thing I forgot to touch on, the $35 payment option. Really?! Do they think the American people are stupid and that some of us will not see right through that? Honestly now, if anybody decided to fight a notice, are they going to actually win that argument and get their notice taken away?? What a about a reimbursement for their ‘win’ if it went in their favor?. No. Like it said in the post, YOU ARE GUILTY NO MATTER WHAT! This is nothing more than a blatant slap to the face.

    • No its $35 to contest the notice, to make sure that people are serious in contesting it.
      You get to pick 1 of a limited set of answers and then the arbitrator looks at it and makes an “impartial” decision.
      Their list of answers claims nothing made since 1929 can be in the public domain.

      They leave so many questions and dark corners in the system, if this was all sunshine and ponies and they weren’t stacking the deck they would put everything out on the table.

  5. Gee this story is gaining some ground online… maybe some people will actually poke a congresscritter into action over it.

    • Its an election year after all which is always an opportune time to get in a politicos face. They all pretend to listen but whether they receive is another matter.

  6. Are there any firms that are sueing copyright trolls in class action lawsuits that we can sign up for? There must be something we can get these trolls on. Horrible due process, false accusations via IP address or other unidentifiable connection. Im sure there’s some way to rack up fraud charges on these jackasses? Some petition for class action suits? ANyone knows of such a thing shoot me an email ASAP please.

    • Not for 6 strikes… yet.
      On the upside after refusing to comment, the head of CCI has said they will be getting an expert to verify the review done by Stroz was accurate. Not heard who has been selected yet, but CCI trying to downplay a firm paid $600,000+ to lobby for the RIAA as being able to remain impartial was funny. What they didn’t want to cover is that Stroz was going to be kept on and paid to keep checking the system is working “properly”.

      • Well of course they’ll keep Stroz on the payroll, LOL. They’ll loose face otherwise. Problem is with elections around the corner they’re hard pressed to find political backing. That and the fact that they’ve lost profits isn’t good for them. If the CCI and RIAA have another large flop like SOPA, and Im sure they will LOL….they’re’s gonna be a blood bath and the firms will scatter! LMFAO. And yeah you saw it! – “they’re’s” – Have you ever seen a more creatiful backwoods hick slang word in your life!? LMFAO Well I like this website alot and I feel like Im staying very informed about these trollers since my last 2 “threat emails” from Charter, lol.

        • Just make sure with Charter your actually dealing with Charter and not them forwarding a DMCA notice from another group. There is a lawfirm who send sout DMCA notices, offers to settle for a small amount and if you TRY to settle then they threaten a massive $150,000 lawsuit that they are willing to settle for a few thousand.

          The sad thing is they contracted with Stroz to vette the system as being accurate, and to keep monitoring it. So to fire Stroz would result in a lawsuit from Stroz even thou material facts were kept from the people signing (supposedly).

  7. Well it’s still laughable, because one day Stroz will get ahold of the wrong guy, or girl.. and have a REAL lawsuit on his hands. Next step, class action on Charter, and uh….yeah chalk up another bankruptcy boys. Can’t believe they’re still around after 2 of those!

    • Stroz is not doing the IP capture, they are just saying the system is perfect and infallible.
      This entire system is setup to allow the **AA’s and the ISPs to act as their own little extrajudical system… while wrapping it up as an “education program” it is wholesale corporations making laws and giving out punishments on nothing but accusations with no hearings, courts, or having to provide evidence.

  8. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your internet site.

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