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America’s Copyright Alert System extended, but only for four months

By | Published on Friday 4 September 2015


The partnership that resulted in America’s Copyright Alert System has been renewed, but for just four months while a full future plan is agreed.

As previously reported, the Copyright Alert System was set up by a partnership involving the US music and movie industries and five of America’s biggest internet service providers, some of which have their own interests in combating online piracy because of their cable TV operations. Although agreed in 2011, the scheme only really started in 2013.

It’s basically a voluntary ‘graduated response’ or ‘three-strikes’ programme, or technically ‘six-strikes’. Rights owners who spot people accessing unlicensed content online can request that that person’s ISP sends them a warning letter, outlining the possible legal action that could result if they continue to infringe. If six such warning letters go unheeded, in theory the net firm might enforce their own sanctions, such as bandwidth throttling.

Opinion is divided on how effective the letter sending has been, with a leaked report from the Motion Picture Association Of America earlier this year admitting that its impact on piracy in the US had been limited. We also know that the MPAA is increasingly of the mind that web-blocking should be introduced in the US, as it has in the UK, as a primary anti-piracy tactic.

Though that is politically challenging Stateside, and meanwhile the music and movie industries in theory remain committed to the Copyright Alert System, hoping that it can achieve more as it evolves, and continuing to criticise those ISPs outside the programme, in particular Cox Communications.

The original agreement between the music, movie and net industries that led to the creation of the Copyright Alert System has now expired, but according to Torrentfreak all parties have agree to a four month extension, to allow time to review the programme and make some amendments. There is also talk of stepping up the accompanying education efforts. Because isn’t there always?

It remains to be seen what the next phase of the Copyright Alert System will look like.