The Copyright Alert System: What Consumers Should Know

By Hilda Scott , Feb 25, 2013 04:27 PM EST

The Center of Copyright Information (CCI) announced the start of the Copyright Alert System on Monday, Feb.25. The CCI formed an alliance with five major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help enforce and protect copyright laws.

A series of alerts known as the Copyright Alert System (CAS) will make customers aware of illegal downloading activity that occurred over their Internet accounts.  

"I am pleased to announce that today marks the beginning of the implementation phase of the Copyright Alert System (CAS). Implementation marks the culmination of many months of work on this groundbreaking and collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows," said Jill Lesser, executive director of CCI, in its company blog post.

The purpose of the Copyright Alert System is to educate people how to prevent the activity from reoccurring and making people aware of other ways to legally access digital content. The plan ensures protection of copyrighted works. Content owners will notify ISPs about illegally shared content on peer-to-peer (PSP) networks and the ISP will contact the subscriber with a notice through a Copyright Alert. Subscribers are identified by ISPs using the Internet Protocol address (IP) which is connected to the customer's computer and billing information.  

"Over the course of the next several days our participating ISPs will begin rolling out the system. Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers," said Lesser.

When one alert is received from the ISP, consumers must ensure to take the appropriate measures to avoid additional alerts. If infringement continues in connection to a subscriber's account, the ISP may take action that will lead to the temporary reduction in Internet speed, a downgrade of Internet service or redirection to a landing page for an indefinite period of time. From that point on, the subscriber must contact the ISP or complete an online educational program about copyright laws.

 The CCI prides itself on its effort to educate consumers about copyright laws in relation to peer-to peer-networks, similar to Kim Dotcom's "Mega" site promoting legal alternatives to access copyrighted material. 

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