Major internet service providers (ISPs) in the USA are to introduce a uniform system of ‘Copyright Alerts’ over the initiative designed at preventing consumers from accessing pirated content online.
The move to roll out the concept, which was founded by the Center for Copyright Information (an organisation which was set up last year), sees the ISPs issue warnings to users when it is notified that they have been viewing pirated films, music, or TV shows, under a ‘graduated’ response system that will issue six ‘strikes’ to a content user of developing magnitude, with the final measure potentially resulting in legal action, under a method which bears similarities to the three-strike ‘Hadopi law’ currently in place in France.
The Center for Copyright Information was founded by a consortium of movie studios, music record labels, telecommunications companies, and cable TV channels, who have been working together to create the system (which is based on the idea that many potential ‘offenders’ of copyright law are unaware that they are doing so) since July 2011.
Represented by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the Center for Copyright Information signed the new ‘voluntary arrangement’ with the ISPs involved (a ‘Big 5′ of AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon) following a period of three years worth of negotiations.
The Center for Copyright Information’s executive director Jill Lesser said of the introduction of ‘Copyright Alerts’: ”…as is often the case with highly technical, multi-party programs, designing, testing and refining the (copyright alert system) was, and continues to be, hard work. We are confident the time we invested to get it right has been well worth it. [We have worked to create] a program that is accurate, fair and protects consumer interests at every step of the process.”
The ISPs agreeing to the deal are now obligated to issue tip-offs of alleged copyright infringement cases to content owners, with the first being ‘educational’ for the user, before moving onto ones which require the user to confirm that they have received their message. By the time that a user is deemed worthy of a fifth ‘alert’, they are liable to ‘mitigation measures’, including mandatory viewing of ‘educational materials’ and/or their internet access speed becoming temporarily restricted.
Lesser claims that the system is designed towards giving the consumers some leeway before stopping serious piracy offences, with a system in place agreed by the American Arbitration Association to independently review which consumers may have received their warnings erroneously.
Attempting to get the best out of both sides of the argument against online piracy (although a negative sentiment will still be held by much of the American public against the rights holders after the attempted SOPA/PIPA laws), will ‘Copyright Alerts’ make any progress in clamping down on piracy crimes?