Something really interesting to watch: the movie and recording industry's compact with big ISPs to police peer to peer file sharing behavior and degrade or cut off service to suspected copyright infringers - all without involving the courts or any legal process - looks like it is about to launch.
The compact involves the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), member companies of those groups, and ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner.
Though we have previously flagged the extra-judicial nature of the content industry's policing system, we don't keep up with the story of the system's implementation. Ars Technica and TechDirt cover the topic regularly and well.
But one thing we do regularly on this blog - one of its raisons d'être - is publish or link to publicly available documents that say more than what news organizations pull from them.
The content industry's policing system will likely yield many such opportunities.
Case in point: the entity organized by the big media companies to administer the policing system - or at least the public communication aspects of it - commissioned a purportedly independent study to assess the efficacy and accuracy of the program.
That independent study, "Independent Expert Assessment of MarkMonitor AntiPiracy Methodologies" from Stroz Friedberg, LLC, is available online in a heavily redacted form. The illustration shown here is from the report, and one of only two illustrations in the report that were not redacted (there appear to have been seven others that have been removed).
Here's some copy from the report, as redacted, that gives you some sense of what's hidden:
"To identify infringing works, MarkMonitor personnel search for [potentially offending files] and add the results to a [database] that captures relevant metadata about each file, including its name, hash values, and size. This identified content is next reviewed manually or with automated fingerprinting technology to determine if it is an actual infringing copy of the protected work. Once the work has been reviewed, its status is updated in a [database] to indicate that it has been confirmed as an actual infringing work.
"Concurrently, identified infringing searches and torrents are deployed to [collection mechanisms]. The [collection mechanism] is a custom-built software application that runs on servers deployed in datacenters geographically spread [REDACTED]. MarkMonitor has designed the [collection mechanisms] to specifically target [REDACTED]. The [collection mechanisms] search for, download portions of, and create evidence packages or 'cases'of infringing works including (among other data points) IP address, port, time/date, size, PeerID, and hash values.
"[REDACTED] [S]cripts run to verify that the collected evidence is in fact a verified infringing work and meets all program requirements."
Even more absurdly, the report's recommendations for improving the policing system have all been redacted. See this partial screenshot of page 11 from the report.
To their credit, the RIAA, MPAA and ISPs have posted their compact online. Links to it and amendments that have been made available, just below. This looks like the makings of administrative law without the involvement of any elected government.