Up until now, we've only heard about the new six-strikes anti-piracy program from leaked documents and anonymous sources. Now the Center for Copyright Information is finally ready to announce official details of the program that will be going into effect next month.
In a blog post by Jill Lesser, Executive Director at CCI, she lays out the work that the organization has been involved with over the past year in getting the six-strike program set up. The program has been met with a number of delays since its announcement last year. Lesser attributes this to her team wanting to make sure the program "works well for consumers in every way, to ensure accuracy, protect consumer privacy and offer resources that answers consumers' questions."
With all the niceties out of the way, Lesser says that the Copyright Alert System will be launching in the coming weeks. Each ISP participating in the program will be launching their own version of the program over the next two months. AT&T is already rumored to be launching their program on November 28, but other ISPs could launch earlier.
As for the six-strikes themselves, Lesser says those reports are "erroneous." She says there's no strikeout involved with the Copyright Alert System. The alert system will work like this instead: first time offenders will be sent "educational alerts." After those fail to work, the "acknowledgement alerts" will be sent out which require a customer to contact their ISP letting them know they received the notice. If all else fails, Lesser says ISPs can engage in "mitigation measures." By this, she means that ISPs can throttle speeds, but they can not cut off a person's Internet access.
The "mitigation measures" described by Lesser go against the leaked documents that came out of AT&T last week. Those documents, while they mentioned throttled speeds, also said that they would hand over the identities behind IP addresses to copyright holders for litigation. Speaking to Ars Techinca, Lesser says that existing laws concerning copyright litigation have not changed. Repeat offenders will be treated as a lost cause, and the legal system can have their way with them after that.
Beyond the general information presented here, Lesser also goes into the technical details on how the Copyright Alert System works. She says that they will identify "alleged infringement over peer-to-peer networks" using "trained professionals and automated processes." She also says that the system has been built to detect false positives. She also says that their ID system won't expose any personal information to ISPs or copyright holders. The only thing that people will ever see are IP addresses.
That's all well and good, but a few false positives are bound to go through. What happens to the innocent folks who receive copyright alerts? Consumers will have to go through the American Arbitration Association to have the case reviewed. Ars Techinca reports that the appeal will cost consumers $35, but the amount will be refunded if the consumer wins the appeal.
In the end, Lesser sees this as an education initiative. She told Ars Techinca that the program is aimed squarely at "Joe Consumer." They're not going to waste time going after "sophisticated pirates" because "there are laws in place and the content community will continue to fight that problem."
With that being said, copyright holders may want to be consumer friendly towards these "sophisticated pirates" as well. Recent studies have shown that these pirates are the big spenders among media consumers and copyright holders can't afford to lose their support.
We'll be sure to let you know when the Copyright Alert System goes up across each ISP. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.