RIAA’s Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement Wishlist

It might not come as a surprise when we tell you that the RIAA wants to turn the Internet into a virtual police state. Still, it's quite scary to see what their "future Internet" would look like. Let's take a closer look at the RIAA's suggestions for the Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement Wishlist (ACTA).

riaa actaACTA is a big deal, and the entertainment industry is doing all it can to get it implemented as soon as possible. Thus far, they have managed to convince the G8 to push the agreement, and encourage member states to get the agreement ready for implementation by the end of the year.

One of the crucial questions is how “bad” the agreement will turn out to be. We reported earlier that ACTA might allow “competent authorities” to “search iPods” without the need for a complaint from a rights holder. The most absurd ACTA suggestions we’ve seen so far come from the RIAA, with a strong focus on the liability of ISPs.

The RIAA’s wishlist was published several weeks ago, but hasn’t received much press (thanks Brokep). There are several scary suggestions in there though, and if the RIAA could have its way, the Internet would be turned into a virtual police state immediately.

Let’s highlight some of the RIAA’s suggestions regarding online copyright infringement, mostly targeted at ISPs. You can read the document in full at Keionline.

Require internet service providers and other intermediaries to employ readily available measures to inhibit infringement in instances where both legitimate and illegitimate uses were facilitated by their services, including filtering out infringing materials…

The RIAA wants Internet providers to spy on the files that are transferred by their customers and check them against a reference database of “fingerprints” to check whether the files are infringing copyright. The IFPI, RIAA’s international counterpart tried to convince European lawmakers to do the same a few months ago.

Require Internet service providers or other intermediaries to restrict or terminate access to their systems with respect to repeat infringers.

Many countries have looked into the possibility of disconnecting file-sharers from the Internet, often gently pushed by anti-piracy lobbyists. France was the first to present their idiotic “3-strikes” law earlier this year, allowing anti-piracy outfits to police the Internet. The RIAA wants to see such legislation implemented worldwide of course.

“Establish, adequately fund and provide training for a computer crimes investigatory unit.”

A crime unit to track down and bust pirates, sounds like a great idea. The RIAA is vague about what such a unit is supposed to do as they already send thousands of takedown notices a year themselves, even to network printers. Perhaps they will use the funding and education to come up with harvesting techniques that actually work?

Establish liability against internet service providers who, upon receiving notices of infringement from content provides via e­mail, or by telephone in cases of pre-release materials or in other exigent circumstances, fail to remove the infringing content…

It gets even worse for ISPs. The RIAA wants to hold them responsible for the alleged copyright infringements of their customers. They even came up with a 24hour deadline. It’s interesting to see that they focus on pre-release material, the same strategy the IFPI and BPI used to take down OiNK.

…in the absence of proof to the contrary, an Internet service provider shall be considered as knowing that the content it stores is infringing or illegal, and thus subject to liability for copyright infringement…

Guilty until proven innocent, that makes sense. Of course, ISPs should know what files their customers store. The RIAA wants to ditch the “safe harbor” the DCMA created, making them responsible for the copyright infringement of their customers.

There is much more, but we suggest everyone reads the entire list of suggestions, it is entertaining and scary at the same time. Let’s hope that the politicians who are drafting the agreement will use their brains, instead of blindly accepting such proposals.

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