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Intellectual Property

Copyright Alert System given new life

By Kevin Fisher

It has been reported that the Copyright Alert System (CAS), thought to be DOA, has been given new life and is reported to be in use by at least one participating ISP in the US, with others reported to be implementing the system in the coming days and weeks.  Read The Daily Dot ... Read WebProNews

CAS is a voluntary system that is being implemented in an effort to reduce the massive and growing problem of online piracy. It is intended to be an industry response rather than ISPs being subject to draconian legislation such as the proposed and withdrawn SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) or other legislation intended to address the problem of online piracy. The CAS is intended to target online pirates with a three-tier, six strikes system, with each level consisting of two warnings before escalating to the next level.

The way the levels work is to let the user know that “Big Brother” is watching with the first two warnings being “educational alerts” to direct them to legal content providers, the second two requiring the user to acknowledge they have been caught before being able to reengage their browser and the third level resulting in the ISP reducing bandwidth or blocking access to particular websites. The CAS website has been recently updated with a new video advising what it is and how it works.

There is sure to be lots of pushback from consumers once they start to get notices under this system, which really only targets the more casual pirate behaviour, as more sophisticated users will know how to easily circumvent these measures through proxy servers, VPN accounts, or sites such as the new, which allows users to upload files anonymously. The CAS also relates mostly to file sharing piracy and does not really address the growing issue related to piracy of live streaming.

Critics will decry the CAS as being an unwarranted restraint that gives too much power and authority to content owners with insufficient oversight, but in reality it only offers a Band-Aid to a very serious problem that needs to be addressed through legislation.

Any step that creates a hurdle to users engaging in online piracy is welcome news to content holders. It remains to be seen if any similar steps will be taken by Canadian ISPs to protect content holders.

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