Democracy & Technology Blog Copyright Alert System successfully launches

Over 1.3 million notices of alleged copyright infringement were sent to users of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted material over a ten month period beginning in late February 2013, according to the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).
The Copyright Alert System, a voluntary private sector initiative of the CCI that is “based on the premise that most consumers will take corrective action if alleged copyright infringement involving their Internet account is brought to their attention,” generated the notices.
P2P networks are monitored on behalf of recording artists and music producers, filmmakers, and creators and distributors of movies and television shows, and notices of alleged copyright infringement are generated through the use of publicly available IP address data. This information is shared with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), who then deliver up to six separate alerts (for repeat violations) to the corresponding account holders without sharing any personally-identifiable information about their customers.

Consumer research has shown that most people (62 percent) believe it is never appropriate to engage in copyright infringement, but that almost as many (60 percent) report that they are confused about which online sources are or are not legal. CCI has also found that 79 percent of respondents believe that receiving a copyright alert would influence their online behavior.
The data from the first ten months of operation seem to validate the findings that most people would rather not infringe. More than 70 percent of the alerts were 1st and 2nd notices, and less than 3 percent were a 6th and final notification.
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One critic questioned whether the Copyright Alert System would be able to distinguish actual piracy from legal, non-infringing uses of copyrighted content as well as match IP addresses with a high degree of accuracy. The results indicate that that it does.
An independent review process managed by the American Arbitration Association was accessed by just 265 ISP account holders as a result of over 1.3 million alerts being sent. “Of the review cases filed, there was not one single case in which an invalid notice – or false positive – was identified,” according to CCI.
CCI believes that the 1.3 million alerts sent so far represents a “small percentage” of the copyright infringement believed to be occurring over P2P networks, and the Copyright Alert System is expected to generate at least twice as many notices in the coming year.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.