Copyright Alert System (CAS)
The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) is the organization that coordinates CAS on behalf of the copyrighted content owners. CCI was formed in September 2011 as part of a collaborative effort between U.S. content creators in the movie and music industries and leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to develop a ground breaking alert system and educational framework intended to inform the public about and deter copyright infringement through direct communication with consumers.
The CAS works like this. The content owners will join peer-to-peer sharing networks. When it detects a user illegal sharing copyrighted materials, it will inform the ISP of that user. The ISP sends an alert to the identified customer. Initial alerts are merely educational according to CCI. The user will be asked to watch an educational video. If the user ignores these alerts and continues to infringe copyright laws, then the ISP is forced to issue alerts in a more forceful tone. The subscriber will be required to acknowledge the alerts sent or watch educational videos again. If the ISP finds that the user still persists to ignore the regulations, then it can resort to three methods of enforcement. It can reduce the internet access speeds of the user temporarily or downgrade the internet service tier or redirect the net to a landing page until the user contacts the ISP. The subscriber can also be made to complete an online educational program.
The CCI maintains that the personal data of the user will never be shared with the content owner. And that, the user can challenge alerts they believe were sent in error. But they must pay $35 and lodge the complaint to the American Arbitration Association within 14 days of receiving the mitigation notice. A total of “six strikes” will be given by the ISPs before it begins mitigation measures.
The CAS will not restrict the subscriber’s ability to use essential VoIP services, disabled subscriber’s services, or home security and medical monitoring services even during the mitigation stage of the program.
The CAS was supposed to be implemented at the end of last year but postponed due to unexpected difficulties arising from Hurricane Sandy.
Public Wi-Fis will not be affected by the program which intends to focus on residential internet accounts.
The ISPs signed in for the program include AT&T Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp., Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc.
There are reports which state that sites with the largest user base like BitTorrent will be the main focus initially. Contents could still be shared on other file-hosting sites like 4Shares and RapidShare. Other ways to circumvent the program include hiding IP addresses using proxy services and Virtual Private Networks. A recent study in Sweden shows that this is a likely response of such copyright enforcement According to TorrentFreak website, the CCI intends only to educate the customer and not do anything major (legally) even if the user violates the “six strikes” program.
The media industry is one of the big contributor to the campaign funds of many politicians. Some estimates put the figure as high as 10% of all active Senator’s campaign cost. And these donations might dry up if the businesses find there are no returns on such investments.