There is now a new system in place in the United States to prevent copyright infringements or, as it's better known, digital piracy.
A joint venture between content companies (i.e. your pals in the entertainment and music business) and internet service providers has resulted in the creation of an entity called the Copyright Alert System. This is being administered by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), lead by such people as Jill Lesser (formerly of AOL), Jerry Berman, Jules Polonetsky (also formerly of AOL) and Gigi Sohn. Members include the RIAA, MPAA and five major internet service providers - AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon meaning that most Americans will be impacted. CCI was created to "educate consumers about the importance of copyright protection and to offer information about online copyright infringement.".
Here's how the Copyright Alert System works:
The Copyright Alert System is also known as the "six strike" system
Copyright Alerts assist us by:
• Making accountholders aware that unlawful content sharing may have happened using their internet account.
• Educating accountholders on how they can prevent copyright infringement from happening again.
• Providing consumers information about ways to access digital content legally.
If you receive an alert and choose to ignore it, your ISP can:
• temporarily reduce your internet speed (i.e. put you in the internet penalty box).
• Redirect you to a landing page for a set period of time, until a subscriber contacts their ISP or completes an online copyright education program. (i.e. they send you back to school where you'll learn that what you did was a bad thing).
Supposedly, when a content owner identifies that their material is being illegally downloaded, the actual identity of the "pirate" is known only to the ISP, at least for the first offences.
Here is a leaked training document from AT&T showing how they will handle "pirates", particularly repeat offenders:
It's not terribly surprising but, according to TorrentFreak, the number of new subscribers from the United States signing up for VPN (Virtual Private Networks) which employ encryption to ensure non-disclosure of personal data, soared recently as users anticipated the implementation of the "six strikes" rules. In case you care, here is a listing of VPN providers and an analysis of whether they live up to their billing of anonymity.
While, right now, it doesn't appear that media owners have legal action against "pirates" on the front burner, the fact that AT&T will turn over personal information to assist in litigation should be of concern to those downloaders who would rather not appear in court.
In other news, revenue from music sales in 2012 were up 0.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, hitting $16.5 billion, the first time revenues have grown since their 1999 peak.