Copyright Alert System Gets a Who’s Who of Advisors from Advocacy Groups

The Center for Copyright Information, an organization that was created to oversee a new anti-piracy regime negotiated by content providers and internet service providers last summer, has begun to take shape and some of its key leaders are surprising. The organization announced on Monday that the names of its executive director and several members of its advisory board. At face value, the choices to serve as the architects of the "Copyright Alert" system could strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and the rights of users.

Jill Lesser has been named at the organization’s executive director. This is an interesting choice because Lesser has worked for the People for the American Way and has served as an executive at AOL Time Warner. In a statement, issued Monday Lesser pledged to focus on "education and deterrence, not punishment." This is definitely a good sign.

Jerry Berman, founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology (where Lesser also serves as a board member) will advise the organization, as will Marsali Hancock of and Jules Polenetsky of the Future of Privacy Forum.

Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge, will also serve on the advisory board. This is a good thing for internet users, because Sohn has been a vocal critic of companies that have lobbied hard to get stricter laws like SOPA and PIPA passed.

While Sohn said Monday that that she still had some concerns about the way the "Copyright Alert" system works, she added that serving on the CCI's advisory board will allow her to strongly "advocate for the rights of Internet users and to provide transparency."

"If implemented reasonably, the Copyright Alert System should alleviate the push for government intervention and excessive litigation and ultimately be a net positive," Sohn said. Sohn praised Lesser as "a person of great intelligence and integrity."

While the advisory board has little direct authority over the Copyright Alerts system, having an entire group offering advice to the Board of Directors has the potential to change the way the whole system works and to influence how rights holders perceive and deal with copyright issues.

In case you didn't know, the Copyright Alerts system will provide users with an opportunity to appeal "alerts" to an independent entity, which will be overseen by the American Arbitration Association. The AAA will train independent reviewers who will hear appeals by individual users.

Source: Ars Technica

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