After many years of rumors with plenty of back and forth it looks like The Copyright Alert System has officially started and embraced by the “big five” (AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon) United States ISP’s. If you aren’t familiar with the system or heard about it before, odds are you wont even know what its about, but if you heard about this, then you definitely want to pay close attention because odds are you are a participant. Long story short, the system allows for individuals on their internet connection to receive up to six alert-style notification when the ISP detects that the user is sharing copyrighted content. The key is the alerts will happen after the copyright owner in question complains. The alerts, according to the Copyright Alert System‘s website, will eventually result in a “mitigation measure” or in more common terms, penalties and punishments, mixed with bandwidth throttling.
While this topic certainly doesn’t have any direct correlation to your finances, I have been asked by a few friends about it since I am the quasi-tech-geek and I figured a blog post would do justice here. If you are an individual who shared(s) copyright content, you are probably downloading/uploading things for free. Although you may have been viewing this as a substantial cost savings, such as free music or software, its highly illegal (based on the law, not my opinion) and the recording industry as well as other trade organizations are pushing for better enforcement.
We in the United States are a bit luck as the mitigation measures outlined by this are far less severe in comparison to other nations who have similar systems in place. For example, in France, there is a three strike law that allows an ISP to totally shut off your service. Aside from the throttling I mentioned, the ISP can also force the user to have to contact them to restore service and make a mandatory education session on the topic required to restore the internet services.
One thing to note, the Copyright Alert System wasn’t designed to punish, but rather, the goal is to educate the public about copyright policies in the digital age. The reason being that individuals who are serious and regular offenders of copyright laws will continue to “trick” their ISP’s using VPN’s and proxies in order to conceal their actual internet account and source from the inquiring group.