In a major file-sharing legal case in the United States, a renowned P2P expert has offered his critique of the expert witness report offered by the RIAA. Prof. Johan Pouwelse’s testimony will be a devastating blow to the music industry as he labels RIAA expert Doug Jacobson’s report as “borderline incompetent”.
In file-sharing cases, the prosecution always claims to have irrefutable, cast-iron, even forensic-quality evidence, with which to batter alleged pirates into defeat. Organizations such as the RIAA claim to carry out their investigations using sophisticated equipment and software which, unlike every other piece of equipment and software in the known universe (especially operated by humans) never, ever goes wrong.
In order to prove they ‘got the right guy’, in UMG v Lindor the RIAA offered an expert witness, Dr. Doug Jacobson, a director of the Iowa State University Information Assurance Center. Now, according to Recording Industry vs The People, Marie Lindor is fighting back and has served a report from her own expert, critiquing the RIAA’s witness. Internationally renowned P2P expert “Assistant Professor” Johan Pouwelse, agreed to take on the RIAA expert back in May 2007 having previously been a witness in a high profile case in the Netherlands.
His findings in this case aren’t pretty.
Pouwelse notes that there are certain procedures that need to be taken in order to be certain that a specific computer had been uploading copyright works. These steps were not taken.
He further states the the RIAA’s expert witness’s work lacked “in-depth analysis” and “proper scientific scrutiny” while reports were described as “factually erroneous”. Furthermore, in his report, Jacobson made statements which were contradicted by those in his deposition testimony.
Turning to MediaSentry – the company used to track alleged infringers – Pouwelse says that their systems and techniques have not been properly tested, are “overly simplistic” and “fail the test for accurate peer to peer file sharing measurement”. Additionally, many institutions have received false claims from them, seriously throwing their claimed accuracy into doubt.
Pouwelse states that the subpoena used to identify Ms. Lindor’s account was flawed and that due to the fact that there is no hard drive available to corroborate the ‘evidence’, this “further demonstrates the unfounded nature of Jacobson’s conclusions.”
And he doesn’t stop there in his criticism of Jacobson’s testimony.
He further states that no other alternative explanations were investigated and no tests were carried out to determine a margin of error. Jacobson’s methods are “self-developed”, “unpublished” and not accepted by the scientific community. Jacobson’s investigative process is stated as “unprofessional”.
In conclusion, Dr. Pouwelse’s expert opinion is that Jacobson has shown “borderline incompetence” and that the “allegations of copyright violations are not proven”.
It would be interesting for me to see what Pouwelse makes of the tracking system used by Logistep in Europe. Sadly, at this stage TorrentFreak has learned that lawyers Davenport Lyons are refusing to allow people to see the code and examine the system to check its accuracy. I wonder why?