U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell laid down a landmark verdict that will make it easy for copyright holders to send cash demands to people they suspect of copyright infringement. Despite opposition from ISPs and consumer rights groups who described the tactics as “extortion,” Howell decided in favor of the copyright holders.
Howell helped with the drafting of several prominent intellectual property protection laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Deterrence Act and the No Electronic Theft Act.
Until 2009 she also held the position of Executive Managing Director and General Counsel at Stroz Friedberg
, a consulting firm that specializes in the management of digital crimes. Stroz Friedberg is very familiar with the technology required to hunt down file sharers. In recent years Stroz Friedberg has lobbied extensively in Washington on behalf of the RIAA. This consulting job earned
the company more than half a million dollars. One of the leading lobbyists on record was Beryl Howell, who was paid
$415,000 between 2004 and 2008.
After her investiture ceremony as a judge, Howell opened the door for copyright holders to send out settlements to tens of thousands of alleged file-sharers without first having evidence against them tested in court.
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Keywords: bittorrent, copyroght laws, corruption, dmca, p2p, torrent