ISPs Prepare Alert System to Fight Illegal File-Sharing Among Subscribers

Illegal file-sharers beware: there's a new sheriff in town and its name is whoever your service provider happens to be… AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other Internet service providers are about to launch a copyright alert system to curtail illegal peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material "over the next several weeks," according to Jill Lesser, the executive director of the Center for Copyright Information.

"There are [implementation] dates in draft materials that are not set in stone and we don't want to create any expectations we can't meet, but we're really close and we'll start seeing alerts over the next several weeks," said Jill Lesser, the executive director of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).

The new system will see ISPs send a series of alerts to subscribers whose accounts are tagged as downloading or sharing illegally distributed music, movies or other entertainment content. If the target subscriber ignores the alerts (which consist of educational material on copyrights and the consequences of illegal file-sharing) the provider may throttle their connection, redirect them to an online tutorial or use other "mitigation measures."

"In one case there's a temporary slow down of [Internet] speed, but that doesn't impact access to sites," Lesser said. "That's not the way this works at all. When you're in a walled garden, all you essentially have to do is go through the education [material] and then you're out of the walled garden" she said.

She also claims that receiving alerts will not make subscribers more vulnerable to copyright infringement lawsuits…

Subscribers can also request an independent review if they believe they've received a copyright alert in error, Lesser claims. This part of the system is being developed by the American Arbitration Associates.

This new alert system is the result of an agreement between five major ISPs, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America last summer. The system has been delayed a few times this year already. Lesser emphasizes that subscribers will not have their connections to the Internet terminated as part of the program.

Source: The Hill

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