Yesterday, the United States of America began implementing an anti-piracy system under which users will receive a notice from their internet service providers (ISP) when sharing illegally downloaded content. After six such notices received, action by the ISP is to follow.
The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is supposed to “inform” American users when they are engaging in possibly infringing online behaviour.
Through the CAS, copyright owners will send notices of copyright infringement to ISPs participating in the scheme, who will then forward these notices to their subscribers in the form of Copyright Alerts. These Alerts will provide information about how to assure no further infringing activity occurs.
Participating the system are five major USA internet service providers: Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner. Involved are also the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Independent Film and Television Alliance.
Possibility of limited Internet access
Infringing users will be sent a maximum of six Alerts with an increasing degree of seriousness.
After the sixth and last one, should the illegal sharing not stop, a ‘Mitigation Measure’ is to be introduced in order to “further emphasize the need to cease infringing activity over [the] Internet connection”.
The Mitigation Measure is to differ for each ISP provider, but can include “A temporary reduction of Internet speed; Redirection to a landing page until the primary account holder of your account contacts your ISP; or Redirection to a landing page where the primary account holder must review and respond to educational information.”
The account of the user cannot be terminated as a Mitigation Measure.
Problematic and a major privacy issue
The Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) in charge of the project claims that CAS “applies only to peer-to-peer networks and not to general Internet use” and that there will be “no monitoring of any Internet traffic by ISPs”.
CCI also claims it will not give out customer information, and that programme does not represent a threat to public Wi-Fi networks, as only residential customers are to be included in the programme.
You can find out more about CAS in the CCI-produced video below.
Critics of the system remain wary and warn it is problematic and a major privacy issue.
“Subscribers will be losing their expectation of privacy from their own service providers,” warn opponents of the system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation adds that the definition of copyright as applied in CAS is problematic and “maximalistic”.
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