Thursday, July 7, 2011

U.S. Internet Providers To Aid Anti-Piracy Effort


Regarding the new copyright enforcement initiative, Verizon points out that its employees will not be policing the Internet themselves nor will they be invading the privacy of the provider's subscribers. The cooperative effort "is designed to notify and educate customers, not to penalize them," Milch said.

U.S. Internet service Relevant Products/Services providers Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon have agreed to adopt an anti-piracy framework proposed by the music, television and movie industries. Under the new copyright alerts system, Internet account holders based in the United States will be notified whenever their ISP addresses appear to have been involved in the downloading of copyright-protected content from illicit online sources.

The three goals of the new anti-piracy initiative are to effectively alert subscribers that their Internet accounts are engaged in illegal activities, protect copyrighted content and promote access Relevant Products/Services to legal online content, according to the Center for Copyright Information representing the interests of legitimate multimedia content providers.

Verizon believes this is a sensible approach to the problem of online-content theft and, importantly, one that respects the privacy and rights of our subscribers, noted Verizon General Counsel Randal Milch. Hopefully, it will "set a reasonable standard for both copyright owners and ISPs to follow, while informing customers about copyright laws and encouraging them to get content from the many legal sources that exist," Milch said Thursday.

Policing The Internet

Under the new copyright alert system, registered account holders will receive a notification each time copyrighted content from an illicit source has been downloaded from the Internet using their IP addresses. The system offers consumers potential benefits, such as alerting account holders that their home wireless Relevant Products/Services systems have been compromised by one or more individuals engaged in illegal activities.

Moreover, parents previously unaware that their children were engaged in content theft would have an opportunity to take corrective action. The Pew Research Center reports that 88 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 13 are using the Internet, as well as 95 percent of teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17.

Additionally, the new notification system will be used to educate adult account holders about the illegal nature of downloading copyright-protected content from illicit web sites, as well as the financial penalties that U.S. courts may impose on copyright violators.

"We are confident that -- once informed that content theft is taking place on their accounts -- the great majority of broadband subscribers will take steps to stop it," said James Assey, executive vice president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. "That's why the educational nature of this initiative is so critical."

Mitigation Measures

Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon have all agreed to begin sending out copyright infringement alerts later this year or in 2012. However, the four ISPs will continue to refrain from revealing the name, address and other personal information about any specific ISP account holder to others unless ordered to do so by a U.S. court.

Verizon points out that its employees will not be policing the Internet themselves nor will they be invading the privacy of the provider's subscribers. The cooperative effort "is designed to notify and educate customers, not to penalize them," Milch said.

Still, all four U.S. ISPs have agreed to impose "mitigation measures" on the ISP accounts of unrepentant copyright transgressors. These disciplinary actions may include reducing the account's Internet download speeds or redirecting suspected offenders to a landing page containing educational information about copyright law.

On the other hand, such drastic measures will only be taken after the subscriber has received a minimum of five notifications. "Failure to respond to these alerts will lead to additional steps designed to ensure that the account comes into compliance Relevant Products/Services," the Center for Copyright Information advised.

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