The entertainment industry is teaming with five major Internet service providers to this week launch a new Copyright Alert System that will first warn online pirates and then start to strangle bandwidth of repeat offenders.
Dubbed “Six Strikes,” the new system began roll out Monday, putting consumers on notice that content owners would be monitoring for illegal downloading or uploading of copyrighted movies, music and televsion shows and notifying participating ISPs such actvitity is detected.
The content owners will join P2P networks and use tools to detect the IP address of whomever is uploading or accessing bootlegged copies of a file and notify that user’s ISP. The coalition behind the new plan hired online brand protection company MarkMonitor to identify alleged infringement.
First will come a warning from the ISP to “educate” the user that unauthorized file sharing was detected on their account. It will direct them to legitimate sources for that content. If that notice is ignored, on the next attempt the alert will be attached to a receipt that must be confirmed to continue browsing. On the fifth or sixth detected infringement, “mitigation measures” kick in, which include redirecting a person’s browsing to an anti-piracy page and video to the most severe – cutting back Internet speed to as slow as 256 kb per second for up to 48 hours, which essentially renders a computer or Web-enabled device unusable by today’s Internet standards.
“I think at the time you have received this is your fifth copyright alert, you have acknowledged two of them and you are still engaging in copyright infringement, then that person might need an extra ‘You know,you really need to stop,’” said Jill Lesser, executive director of the group behind the new system, the Center for Copyright Information. Lesser made her comment earlier this month on the radio program On the Media.
The organization is a joint effort by some of the largest U.S. Internet service providers: AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. It also includes four trade associations representing major and independent film and music companies.
The Copyright Alert System promises personal information is not detected or shared, just IP addresses. There’s also an independent review system for those recipients who believe the alerts were sent in error. The appeal involves a $35 filing fee that is waived in some cases and refunded to those who win the appeal.
The scope of the Copyright Alert system is limited. For instance, ISPs cannot be forced to shut off Web service to repeat offenders regardless of how many strikes they accrue. And by the eighth or ninth suspected violation, the alert system will stop the contacts and bandwidth throttling.
There also is no subscriber “blacklisting,” the group maintains. “Even if you receive multiple Copyright Alerts you will have your record of notices cleared if no notices of alleged infringement are received by their ISP for a continuous 12-month period.”
Lesser admits that there are a number of ways to get around the detection system, such as using VPNs. But the group believes that the new alert system will have an impact.
“For us, it is reaching the casual infringer, which is a large percentage of peer-to-peer piracy,” she said.