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04.17.17 by Mel Simburg

Mel Simburg Passes Arbitrator Milestone


Mel Simburg sits on an arbitration panel for copyright infringement appeals handled by the Center for Copyright Information (“CCI”).  Representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., various film and music industry companies and the major Internet Service Providers established the CCI in 2012 as an alternative to court lawsuits for illegal downloads of movies or music. The system notifies consumers of the presence of infringing material on computers using their Internet Address. Each notice gives the consumer an opportunity to remove infringing material, secure wireless routers from unauthorized use and to appeal notices the consumer believes are in error.

Using a web portal and email notification CCI sends consumer appeals and the data records to an Independent Reviewer on its arbitration panel. On the web portal the arbitrator reviews data files, the consumer’s defenses and evidence provided by both sides. The arbitrator issues a decision through the web portal. The arbitrator decides either for the content provider or the subscriber on each of the (usually five) notices and then issues an overall decision based on whether the content provider or the subscriber prevailed on a majority of the instances.

This program has been very effective at educating the public about illegal downloads and how to source music and movies on the Internet in a legal manner.  It has also provided an efficient and low-cost method for both the consuming public and the industry to resolve illegal download controversies without resort to the courts. The system works very efficiently using a secure Web site and administered emails. All appeals are resolved quickly, which means within a few days to at most a few weeks (when the parties provide additional information).