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Internet Providers Will Cease Using The Copyright Alert System, Finding It Ineffective Against Piracy

Andrew Roberts

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The Copyright Alert System is no more. The voluntary agreement between internet service providers, the MPAA, and RIAA debuted in 2013 as a way to combat internet pirates. ISPs would send out notices to offenders in an effort to inform them of their activity and stop them from continuing. After six or more warnings according to Variety, the ISP could curb the internet speed of the offender or another penalty. This did not include shutting off their internet service and it did not take into account that internet pirates would care.

Now the ISPs and their partners are putting an end to the four-year-old program that was seen as a method to stop internet piracy without any congressional action. Their reasoning isn’t clear according to Variety, but the MPAA cites the inability to stop repeat offenders:

“These repeat infringers are the ones who drive ongoing and problematic P2P piracy,” Steven Fabrizio, executive vice president and global general counsel at the MPAA, said in a statement. “In fact, an estimated 981 million movies and TV shows were downloaded in the U.S. last year using P2P. ”

He said that the copyright alert system “was simply not set up to deal with the hard-core repeat infringer problem. Ultimately, these persistent infringers must be addressed by ISPs under their ‘repeat infringer’ policies as provided in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

Engadget also points to the evolving nature of piracy online, moving away from the P2P model that the Copyright Alert System was built around. Now that people can stream films online and listen to music on YouTube, something that is hard to attack when you’re seeking copyright infringers using the CAS.

Even with the program ending, it has many supporters within the copyright community. The Center for Copyright Information issued a statement on Friday that seemed to consider it a success, at least in some aspects:

“The program demonstrated that real progress is possible when content creators, Internet innovators, and consumer advocates come together in a collaborative and consensus-driven process,” the statement said. “CAS succeeded in educating many people about the availability of legal content, as well as about issues associated with online infringement. We want to thank everyone who put in the hard work to develop this program and make it a success, including past and present members of our Advisory Board. While this particular program is ending, the parties remain committed to voluntary and cooperative efforts to address these issues.”

Even with the end of CAS, there is sure to be another program or effort to replace it down the line. The real question is if the copyright holders will be able to advance faster than Internet pirates.

(Via Variety / Engadget)