Copyright Violators May Lose Internet Privileges Under New Initiative

Major Internet Service Providers and the Center for Copyright Information announced the plan on Monday.

Attention copyright violators: The Center for Copyright Information announced on Monday that (after lengthy delays) a new system is being rolled out that will alert consumers if their Internet Service Provider (ISP) suspects them of illegal downloading. The Copyright Alert System (CAS) was first introduced in 2011, but after a tug-of-war between the entertainment industry and service providers (among others) it took years to be finalized.

Under the CAS, consumers will at first receive an "educational" alert if their ISP suspects they are violating copyright laws. The "alerts" will progress to "mitigation measures" if a user continues to infringe on copyright. These measures include temporary reductions of the subscriber's Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter, or other measures (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter, the Center said.

"As with any innovative system, the process of building the CAS has taken time," the Center said in a blog post. "We appreciate the collaborative engagement from the many organizations, companies and professionals involved in CCI who helped advise us along the way. CCI and its partners have worked hard to meet our goal of implementing a system that educates consumers about copyright and P2P networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, and safeguards customer privacy."

Predictably, not everyone--including presumably law-abiding citizens--is so excited about the new policy. Corynne McSherry, a lawyer and Intellectual Property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Guardian she thinks the policy will be used to unnecessarily snoop on and intimidate people without allowing them to have equal access to information against them. "That kind of backroom deal is not appropriate. It's certainly not how we should be doing copyright policy," she told the newspaper. "And that's what this is, it's a private copyright system and it doesn't have the protections and balances that the public copyright system has." Other obvious problems with the policy, the Guardian points out, come if users share IP addresses or if a consumer's wireless network is hacked.

What do you think about the alert system? Will it work? Or is it an overreach?

[Picture by Flickr user Horia Varlan]

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30 Comments

  • Wade Harman

    One of my friends keeps getting his content republished on another site.  And this guy is no small time blogger either, he's pretty popular!  Can you direct me to a link that will allow me to report people that have copywritten material of someone else's?

  • Willsteal

    So I pay for my internet to run at 10Mb/s and you're telling me that you have the right to slow my speed down or even stop me from using the internet. This is a business deal, not a bill proposed by congress and signed by the president. Not a law designated by an agency of congress. Otherwise this is bullshit. Maybe one day America will look towards the will and good of the people. I'm not a supporter of communism but I don't believe in pure laissez faire economics either. Do I believe copyright infringement is okay? No, but money should not control our government and especially what many would see as our basic human rights in this day and age. The government, THE PEOPLE make the laws. Not some JACKASS CORPORATIONS that think it is okay to control the masses! 

  • nick s

    The Government infringes upon freedom and knowledge of the people, and then they go on to spy on the people AND prosecute them for what exactly? Torrenting? Copyright violations? This is BULL DAVID is correct - "Any law that either limits or removes internet access should be slammed down.Internet access should be a basic human right."

  • Rhymes

    This is troubling at best.  There don't appear to be any protections built into the guidelines providing a remedy to the user if the ISP erroneously takes action against the user.  There also appears to be ample room for abuse by the ISP in the form of hiding poor performance and reduced access speeds by alleging copyright infringement.  This policy seems fundamentally flawed and threatens an increasingly vital service.  This is a poor attempt at an alternative to the court system.

  • vanhellslinger

     Copyright Laws the Old Slave Master

    “Video killed the radio star” and computer and internet killed the copyright star. You Tube announced over 2 years ago they were uploading a 100 years of peoples “whatever stuff” every 10 days and that has to be growing exponentially. Everything we post here including this opinion has a “right” to copyright. Most of us don’t get the legal protection that major studios and producers have and many people really don’t care. Art, music, and literature is taking a new direction.

    For thousands of years only the aristocrats, royalty, and clergy could afford to learn to read, write, and create art with paint and canvas. Up until the seventies racism, slavery, peonage, and all the culture, and legalities that came with class segregation maintained that most recognized creativity came from the upper class.  By rights and to be fair to all people all copyrights existing before the early 1970’s should be put into the public domain. The few minority artists before then were more or less approved by the slavers and should be included because discrimination is wrong.  

    If creativity is infinite and boundless like the proslavery aristocrats like to teach us then why are they so obsessed with protecting their art anyway?  The internet is the greatest gift to mankind and with it we are seeing art manufactured in numbers that cannot be counted by any simple means. Copyright laws are like the dinosaur a fossil and needs to be put down. The aristocracy of the arts that was created in a time when only a few could publish because government strictly controlled all art must be removed and let all people have their say. The new system will still allow artists and authors to profit but not with the protection of the government. The people will overcome as they did in the French Revolution, as we did in the American Civil War, and as we are doing now by widespread civil disobedience to slavery copyright laws that only favor the rich and many of these rich are still profiting from art created without competition from minorities that were “kept down” from the right to compete.

    The perfect example; Would Mickey Mouse have ever made it to the top if minority artists were allowed to compete in the era of the birth of television? If the internet existed that mouse would have had much more competition. Disney profited from segregation and slavery and therefore should not have a copyright. Lets stop maintaining artists and authors as gods of creativity and let the  new generation of internet and computer users have their day. The others ruled for thousands of years and so please put a stop to copyright slavery.

  • Moopy

    to respond to your 'point' re innovation and whatever you seem to think art is, rather than the other issues - 

     how about put a stop to abusing existing copyright laws by, usually, the non artists - the corporates. your solution to put it in the hands of copypasta tech corporates just creates new forms of anticompetitive practices. laws shouldnt be borne from your envy of the talents of others - immitate, inovate even - if you can conceive of such a thing. just dont copypasta. and dont whinge when we come down on you for your copypasta. 

  • Carooooz

    Want to get around this without spying on users and then having to defend against such actions in courts of law?  Open the world up...to the world.  There is no reason in this day and age of technology that someone living in the U.S. shouldn't be able to legally watch television shows or movies produced in Iceland on demand and vice versa.  The fact that these industries limit people to what they have legal access to is what drives the masses to other methods.

  • FS1745

    It's time the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is applied at least to save the U.S. from the insanity and lack of legal principals of this proposal.

  • valmach

    I understand that artists are losing money... through illegal downloads.. but if giving these so called artists millions of dollars to act like idiots.. then I say free music forever.. And if H.Weird.. would make good movies instead of churning out crap thats not even worth the price of a ticket ..then maybe, just maybe there would be more respect for the industry

  • Moopy

    youre wrong.

    lame mainstream 'art' like Gaga only prospers because the other 'real' artists always had to get by on their album and concert sales - not nike sponsorships.
    so when you stopped paying $1 for mp3s then listened to that music on $300 branded Dr Dre headphones, you not only made a mockery of yourself but you also tipped the balance in favour of the acts you don't like.

    again. youre wrong.

  • valmach

    This systems brother has been installed in France.. didn't work.. too many ISP's lost money fighting court battles  due to the high volume of law suits filed against them by consumers.. The French will fight against nearly anything they think is unjust .. I certainly hope Americans take note.. get off their lazy backsides and fight.. 

  • Emmanuel Duran Garcia Rebollo

    This sucks this is pure crap They're sons of bitches fuck you you're bunch of bastards 

  • Terrencehealy

    Musicians are only making money from Concerts and that is the stars that can sell out a stadium. The Industry has been slammed by Illegal downloads. Why buy and Album when you can download the song you like for free. So goes for the software Industry. This is as if you had a store and people are on an honor system to pay for what they take. Does not work.
    If you are an up and coming artist, you have to spend 5 to 10 Million to get in the top ten, mean while thousands of great artists give up. 90 percent of the crap that is out there today was produced. I can take your daughter, buy songs for her to sing, hire producers, dancers and run her voice through a Pitch Corrector and boom a star is born. But take a person that spent their entire life struggling, writing, and perfecting their skills into an artform with amazing talent.
    They are playing local bars and lucky to get 100 dollars a night. The Industry is cut throat.
    When you finally get to the top your ten million dollars in debt. Its not the first three album deal, its the 4 album you produce by yourself that you might get out of debt. I have played guitar for 40 years, and got a real good day job in order to afford to buy the equipment, pay for a place to rehearse and be able to at least play out and enjoy myself. Even in the fact that I am a very good player, I cannot afford to be a full time musician. Doing that would be a life of poverty.
    So remember everytime you download that free song, there is a homeless guy playing his guitar on the corner for something to Eat as a result. Alot of the homeless musicians use to be on tour with great bands.

  • jabberwolf

    Alot more are now streaming online for their own concerts.
    The music industry is suffering from payback.. when they raised the priced of CDs to near 19 bucks from casset tapes around 12 bucks. And the CDs were much much cheaper to make. They raked it in with no complaints, until it came back that people were sharing them over this new thing called the internet.
    The supply and demand took effect and now most people buy the 1 song they wanted for 99 cents. The problem is, that now the industry ( AND APPLE AS USUAL) are raping the artist who gets pennies on the dollar for that download.

    So your essay is BS - because they dont suffer, only the music industry does. And the artists that circumvent the music industry and showing good returns. For instance look up the band WOTE.

  • Moopy

    no you are shovelling the BS.

    Apple pays a fairer amount than the labels did - its 2/3 or 1/3 of that dollar or something like that depending on your costs and structure of your deal.

    you listening to spotify however, is paying artists something like 5 cents every 2 years.

    so you suck.

  • Lee Samuels

    What needs to happen is that we need to demand that anti-trust laws be enforced against the likes of Comcast and AT&T who are likely behind this.  Worried less about copyright infringement than they are about price fixing and guaranteeing copyrighted material providers a captive audience that have no where else to go.

  • Dude

    For them to implement this means your ISP is reading all your internet activity and comparing it to a blacklist. Who's to say this won't be used for political censureship or any other form of thought control.?