The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) the coalition representing US content creators and leading ISPs, has appointed longtime technology, consumer protection and copyright expert, Jill Lesser, as its Executive Director. In addition the group has announced the members of its consumer-focused Advisory Board and an agreement with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to implement an independent review process for consumers.
CCI was formed in September 2011 as part of a collaborative effort between US content creators in the movie and music industries and leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to develop a Copyright Alert System (CAS) and educational framework intended to inform the public about and deter copyright infringement through direct communication with consumers. Lesser will help lead the group in its work with the partner ISPs and content owners to implement the CAS, which is focused on the inadvertent or purposeful unauthorised distribution of copyrighted content through peer-to-peer networks.
“Jill has spent her career solving complex problems at the intersection of technology, copyright and consumer rights,” said Thomas Dailey, Chairman of the Executive Board of the CCI and Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Verizon Communications, Inc. “CCI’s mission is to implement the most thoughtful and consumer friendly system to-date for promoting the lawful enjoyment of copyrighted material. Jill’s ability to find solutions that work for content creators, ISPs and their customers will be critical to this task.”
Lesser’s background includes serving as the Deputy Director of Public Policy and Director of the Civic Media Project at People for the American Way and as Senior Vice President for Domestic Public Policy for AOL Time Warner, Inc. She is also a Board Member of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
“I am excited to lead CCI as it begins this constructive effort to reduce and deter online copyright infringement in a way that is centered on education and deterrence, not punishment.” said Lesser. “This unprecedented collaboration demonstrates that when content providers and distributors work together we can protect copyright and empower consumers at the same time.”
CCI also announced the formation and membership of its Advisory Board, which will will actively consult on issues the Executive Board is considering with regards to the design and implementation of the CAS, as well as CCI’s educational framework.
In addition to these appointments, CCI announced the retention of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), a global leader in conflict management. AAA will be the independent entity that manages the programme’s independent review process, including the training of neutral reviewers for situations where a subscriber has received multiple alerts but believes a mitigation measure should not be imposed.
Writing in the CCI blog, Lesser noted that she was intrigued that after two years of negotiation the nation’s largest content companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which they planned to educate consumers about ways to enjoy content legally and avoid the pitfalls of illegal content distribution. “I was intrigued. The stakeholders were coming together voluntarily without legislation or government intervention beyond what the law already provided. Built into the process was not only a progressive system to inform consumers of potentially illegal behaviour, but also an educational platform that would help users understand their rights, secure their networks, and find ways to send and receive content safely and legally. because in setting up the CCI, the signatories to the MOU understood that consumers were entitled to a fair process that includes a way for users to challenge notices of alleged infringement, but also the importance of having an Advisory Board made up of consumer advocates,” she wrote.
“I was intrigued because, despite their divergent interests, these parties were working hard to build a multi-stakeholder solution that would address the needs of consumers and content owners alike, while avoiding government intervention,” she revealed.
“I now have an opportunity to turn that intrigue into action. I am looking forward to working with CCI’s Executive Board, and our newly appointed consumer Advisory Board, to implement the MOU in a way that helps educate consumers about digital copyrights, deters illegal distribution of copyrighted content and sets the stage for a new cooperative dialogue among all interested parties,” she declared.