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Copyright Owners, Leading Internet Service Providers to Implement Copyright Alert System

By William MacDonald*

The Center for Copyright Information will soon implement a subscriber monitoring and alert system in which copyright owners and ISPs will monitor Internet traffic in an attempt to help identify potentially infringing peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material.

The Center for Copyright Information, together with the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and leading ISPs (including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon) will soon implement the Copyright Alert System ("CAS" a/k/a the "Six Strikes" system), a subscriber monitoring and alert system in which copyright owners and ISPs will monitor Internet traffic in an attempt to help identify potentially infringing peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material. The CAS calls for a series of measures when potentially infringing conduct is detected. The measures range from warning notices letting the user know that the ISP has identified potentially infringing conduct to educational notices about copyright infringement to "mitigation measures" for repeat offenders, including "throttling" the subscriber's access to the Internet and/or redirecting users to an educational site before allowing them to access certain web sites. The CAS stops short of calling for subscriber's Internet access to be terminated. The CAS includes a seven day "grace period", meaning that "strikes" will only be counted every seven days. Additionally, subscribers may institute a challenge at any point by paying a small filing fee to have the American Arbitration Association conduct an independent review of the ISP's actions. The CAS, which is backed by the Obama administration, is scheduled to be rolled-out by year end. Given the highly publicized defeat earlier this year of anti-piracy legislation in Congress, the success of this cooperative anti-piracy program will likely be closely watched by industry.

*Mr. MacDonald was formerly a lawyer with Olshan's IP Department.

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