Copyright Alert System: ISPs Now Control User Access to Content on the Internet


Susanne Posel

This week, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) will launch the 6 strikes Copyright Alert System (CAS) that has major participants such as AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon.

Intnernet Service Providers (ISPs) will collaborate to monitor the internet for users who download copyrighted material from websites such as BitTorrent.

Once a user is identified, the ISP will send a warning. There is a 3 tier system of warnings with two per tier. After 6 warnings the user is blocked.

Copyright Alert System ISPs Now Control User Access to Content on the Internet

Categorizing the first two warnings as “educational alters”, the user will be informed that their online activity was logged.

Next come the “acknowledgement alerts” that will take over the user’s browser. A message will be displayed that outlines the user was “caught” wherein the user must acknowledge that they have received this warning.

Finally, the last 2 warning are called “mitigation measures” because the ISP will withhold bandwidth from the user and/or block access to certain websites. The ISP cannot disable the internet completely; however the user’s ability to freely choose to go to any website will be severely impaired.

The CCI portrays itself as benign and assisting small internet businesses in keeping their right to monetarily benefit from copyrighted material.

CCI said: “Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers. Most consumers will never receive Alerts under the program. Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive Alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives.”

Jill Lesser, executive director for the CCI explained: “Implementation marks the culmination of many months of work on this groundbreaking and collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows. The CAS marks a new way to reach consumers who may be engaging in peer-to-peer (P2P) piracy.”

Lesser goes on to say that she hopes “this cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach will serve as a model for addressing important issues facing all who participate in the digital entertainment ecosystem.”

As copyrighted material is better protected, there will be a collective understanding that “we all benefit from a better understanding of the choices available and the rights and responsibilities that come with using digital content, thereby helping to drive investment in content creation and innovative services that offer exciting ways to enjoy music, video and all digital content.”

Lesser is a former employee of AOL/Time Warner “serving as a lead advisor on technology, intellectual property and telecommunications issues as well as other issues affecting the media industry.” Serving on the US Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (USCICA), Lesser lobbied for the necessities of copyright enforcement on the internet for the sake of protecting consumer, intellectual property, and corporate expression on the internet.

As cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SOPA and PIPA came together to create the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which “effectively creates a ‘cybersecurity’ exemption to all existing laws”. This big brother legislation would have given the power to the corporations to allege copyright infringement which would empower them to spy on users online activity, personal data, ISPs, search engines, social networks, text messages, phone calls, emails and all other digital correspondence.

CISPA inspired protests across the nation while over 3 million corporations in the domestic US supported the bill.

In August of 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was central in the taking of domain names for websites without due process or explanation – simply using the blanket claim of copyright infringement. US Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano received correspondence from several members of the House of Representatives who were in protest of the domain name seizures, citing that the copyright claims were questionable and that the websites were clearly being censored for alternative reasons.

The letter stated that: “Our concern centers on your Department’s methods, and the process given, when seizing the domain names of websites whose actions and content are presumed to be lawful, protected speech.”

The EFF have reported on copyright trolls that experiment with claiming copyright infringement to “extract settlements from individuals.” These trolls “try to grow businesses out of suing Internet users.”

Professional trolls litter the court system with frivolous lawsuits based on wild accusations of copyright infringement in order to wear down the victim as well as hoping to squeeze monetary restitution for fraudulent claims. The members of the alternative media as well as readers need to be aware of these individuals who are cloaked in truth yet rife with disinformation. Their intention is to cut off the free flow of information on the internet and stifle voices that are exposing truth for their own selfish gains.

In a White House statement, the Obama administration seeks to incorporate America with Canada and the other TPP countries in a “next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment.” The press release explains that trans-pacific partnership (TPP) will build upon “the commitments of NAFTA.”

The TPP defines intellectual property as:

• Copyright
• Trademarks
• Patents
• Geopolitical indicators

The leaked document drafted as the TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter clearly states that negotiators for Obama are actively pushing for the adaptation of copyright measures that further restrict that is outlined in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and other similar international treaties.

There is an initiative to control global IP enforcement by the UN under signatory treaty wherein nations will be mandated to enact domestic laws that have been worded to reflect the provisions in the TPP agreement.

In June of 2012, Senators Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Robert Menendez wrote to the Obama administration requesting transparency regarding the TPP talks. In the correspondence, the Senators conveyed: “Groups essential to the success and legitimacy of any agreements are not being provided the opportunity to provide meaningful input on negotiations that have broad policy ramifications. If Congress and the broader public are not informed of the exact terms of the agreement until the conclusion of the process, then the opportunity for meaningful input is lost. The lack of transparency and input makes passage of trade agreements more contentious and controversial.”

Susanne Posel’s Website is Occupy Corporatism.

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