Leaders from the movie, television, music and Internet service provider communities today announced an agreement on a common framework for "Copyright Alerts" - a system that will notify Internet subscribers when their Internet service accounts are being used for online content theft.
Today, many U.S. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) forward to subscribers notifications that they receive from content owners about alleged content theft - generally by email. Until now, however, there has been no common framework to effectively alert subscribers.
According to the "Center for Copyright Information", a collaboration established jointly by the film, music, and television industries, in partnership with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the "Copyright Alert System"
"will focus on educating the public about the importance of copyright protection and lawful ways to obtain movies, television shows and music online."
The Center will also help to develop and confirm "best-practices" for a new system of Copyright Alerts, similar to credit card fraud alerts, which will alert internet service subscribers when potential content theft is identified on their Internet accounts.
The Copyright Alert System addresses online piracy problems with a series of early alerts -- up to six -- in electronic form, notifying the subscriber that his or her account may have been misused for online content theft of film, TV shows or music. It will also put in place a system of "mitigation measures" intended to stop online content theft on those accounts that appear persistently to fail to respond to repeated Copyright Alerts. The system will also provide subscribers the opportunity for an independent review to determine whether a consumer's online activity in question is lawful or if their account was identified in error.
This program is unlike the so-called "three strikes" as it creates no new laws or formal legal procedures, nor does this system require account suspension or termination. In addition, ISPs will not provide their subscribers' names to rights' holders under this agreement, except pursuant to a properly issued subpoena or court order.
Both the Center for Copyright Information and the Copyright Alert System are voluntary collaborations between the entertainment and broadband business communities. Participating ISPs will begin implementing Copyright Alerts in 2011 and 2012.
The companies and associations collaborating on the framework include:
- MPAA and MPAA members: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
- RIAA and RIAA members: Universal Music Group Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music North America.
- ISPs: AT&T, Cablevision Systems Corp., Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.
- IFTA: representing the Independent Producers & Distributors of Film & Television Programming.
- A2IM: representing their 283 music label members, small and medium sized businesses located across the United States representing many different musical genres reflective of the cultural diversity of our country.
Description of Copyright Alerts
Copyright Alerts will be progressive, in the sense that successive alerts will reinforce the seriousness of content theft and inform the recipient how to address the activity that is precipitating the alerts. For users who repeatedly fail to respond to alerts, the alerts will inform them of steps that will be taken to mitigate the ongoing content theft.
Under this system, an ISP, in response to a notice from a copyright holder, will send an alert to a subscriber notifying the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for online content theft, that content theft is illegal and a violation of the Terms of Service (TOS), Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or other policies of their ISP (hereinafter referred to as "published policies"), and that consequences could result from any such conduct.
Subsequent alerts may include notifications in the form of pop-ups or redirection to a special page displaying the alert. Failure to respond to these alerts will lead to additional steps designed to ensure that the account comes into compliance. These steps, referred to as "Mitigation Measures," might include, for example: temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter. These steps will only be taken after multiple alerts and a failure by the subscriber to respond. This system consists of at least five alerts.