On October 18th, CCI provided an important update regarding implementation of the Copyright Alert System. That update was intended to emphasize the hard work we have done to implement this ground breaking partnership of media companies, ISPs and consumer advocates to help users take advantage of the many new ways to experience digital content in a legal and ethical manner. After more than a year of work, we are close to implementing a system that will give consumers the information they need to avoid engaging in illegal file sharing, while showing them ways to find the content they love from the myriad of legal sources now available. We have also included an independent review process to let subscribers challenge an alert if they believe it was sent in error. Each of the elements we have put in place is intended to help address the widespread problem of copyright infringement in a new, cooperative, consumer-friendly manner.
One of the key aspects of the CAS is the implementation of methodologies to ensure that alerts are accurate and sent to the right person. As part of that process, our October 18th announcement noted that we have retained a recognized global technology company, Stroz Friedberg, to evaluate the content community’s system (run by MarkMonitor) for identifying alleged infringement over peer-to-peer networks. 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 has worked hard to set up a program that is accurate, fair and protects consumer interests at every step in the process, including the retention of Stroz Friedberg. We are confident in the Stroz team’s skill and ability to deliver an independent review of the content community’s methodologies as they relate to CCI and the CAS. Any prior representation of RIAA by former employees of Stroz Friedberg does not affect our choice or the work at hand.
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. In addition, we believe that the report Stroz Friedberg has provided to us speaks for itself. Therefore, we will be releasing that report this week to enable interested parties to review it for themselves. As we have previously stated, CCI will periodically review the content community’s methodologies to ensure they operate with the accuracy and quality we expect and that consumers deserve.
Most importantly, we are working to build a system consumers can trust and one that will help reduce online copyright infringement. We believe that this voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative is the best way to address this complex problem and look forward to working with consumers moving forward.