Internet pirates to be contacted through warning system
BY ANNE FLAHERTY Associated Press
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2/27/13 at 3:11 AM
WASHINGTON - Internet users who illegally share music, movies or TV shows online may soon get warning notices from their service providers that they are violating copyright law. Ignore the notices, and violators could face an Internet slow-down for 48 hours.
For the first time since a spate of aggressive and unpopular lawsuits almost a decade ago, the music and movie industries are going after Internet users they accuse of swapping copyrighted files online. But unlike the lawsuits from the mid-2000s - which swept up everyone from young kids to the elderly with sometimes ruinous financial penalties and court costs - the latest effort is aimed at educating casual Internet pirates and persuading them to stop.
The Copyright Alert System was put into effect this week by the nation's five biggest Internet service providers - Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cablevision - and the two major associations representing industry - the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Under the new program, the industry will monitor "peer-to-peer" software services for evidence of copyrighted files being shared. Each complaint will prompt a customer's Internet provider to notify the customer that their Internet address has been detected as sharing files illegally.
Depending on the service provider, the first couple of alerts will likely be an email warning. Subsequent alerts might require a person to acknowledge receipt or review educational materials. If a final warning is ignored, a person could be subject to speed-throttling for 48 hours or another similar "mitigation measure." After five or six "strikes," however, the person won't face any repercussions under the program and is likely to be ignored.
Bartees Cox, a spokesman for the consumer watchdog group Public Knowledge, says it will be watching to ensure the program doesn't evolve into imposing harsher punishments by Internet providers, such as terminating a person's Internet access altogether if they are accused of being a prolific violator.
If a person believes they've been wrongly accused, they will have multiple chances to delete the material and move on without any repercussion. If the problem is chronic, they can pay $35 to appeal - a charge intended to deter frivolous appeals but also one that can be waived.
Original Print Headline: Web pirating focus of new alert system