Together with four other internet providers in the United States, Comcast has started sending copyright alerts to customers who use BitTorrent and other P2P networks to pirate movies, TV-shows and music. Those who are “caught” will receive a browser notification, a voice-mail message and an email with details on the file that was allegedly shared. We have a copy of one of the first emails that went out on Tuesday.
Earlier this week the six strikes anti-piracy system finally launched more than a year later than initially planned.
One of the things that stood out most was the lack of information released through official channels.
On launch day the Center for Copyright Information, who are in charge of the operation, were unable to tell us what measures the ISPs have in store for persistent pirates and none of the providers listed any detailed information on their websites.
Luckily, more and more details were published in the days that followed, but many questions remained.
For example, several Comcast consumers complained that the pop-up notification shown in the help section doesn’t include any details on the allegedly infringed files. How can people take action if they don’t know what they did wrong, people wondered.
Vague alerts shared in Comcast help section
This and other questions could have easily been avoided by clearly explaining how the “copyright alerts” are sent and what information people can expect.
TorrentFreak talked to one of the first recipients of a copyright alert and he tells us that in addition to the browser notification, he also received an email and a voice-mail message. The email (see below) briefly explains why the customer received this alert and also lists the alleged unauthorized download. The voice-mail carries the same information.
As expected the copyright alert is carefully worded. Comcast makes it clear that the notice comes from a copyright holder, to avoid the suggestion that they might be monitoring users’ Internet connections.
“A copyright owner has sent Comcast a notice claiming your Internet service from Comcast was used to copy or share copyrighted content like a movie, television program or song improperly,” the email starts.
The email further points out where people can download movies and music legitimately, and notes that the copyright alerts are supposed to educate consumers.
Interestingly, the email doesn’t inform recipients that after four warnings they will be unable to browse the Internet. Nor is it mentioned that the notice can be appealed. Subscribers will have to learn about the looming browser hijack and other details in the Comcast help section.
The infringement details at the bottom of the email are pretty much identical to the ones that were already sent out under the DMCA. It lists the title of the pirated file, a time-stamp, the protocol and IP-address.
While it’s helpful to see what accused downloaders can expect, the email doesn’t provide any new details. Again, what stands out is the lack of information, especially with regard to the option to appeal a “strike”.
The full email Comcast sent for their first strike is shown below. Have you received one yourself? If so, please let us know.
CENTER FOR COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
Alert #1: Potentially Improper Use of Copyrighted Material
Incident Number: 65XX
Report Date/Time: Tuesday, 26-Feb-2013, XX:XX:XX AM EST
Dear Internet Subscriber:
A copyright owner has sent Comcast a notice claiming your Internet service from Comcast was used to copy or share copyrighted content like a movie, television program or song improperly. The content owner who sent us the notice has determined that Comcast is your Internet service provider and provided us with the information summarized below. Comcast used this information to identify your Internet account as the one referenced in the copyright owner’s notice. We also used this information to display the in-browser notification you may have seen on your computer and to send you this e-mail. You can view the notice Comcast received by going to Users and Preferences in MyAccount at http://customer.comcast.com/ and logging in with your primary account holder credentials. Comcast has not provided your name and address or other identifying information to the copyright owner as part of this notice and alert process.
Major Internet Service Providers, record labels and movie and TV studios have joined the non-profit Center for Copyright Information at www.copyrightinformation.org to let consumers like you know when copyrighted content might have been improperly copied or shared. The goal of this effort is to help educate consumers about the proper use of copyrighted content and provide assistance in identifying possible sources or causes of any activity that led to this Copyright Alert. Comcast encourages you to find and enjoy content online from the many legitimate sources available. For a better way to find Movies, TV, and Music please visit http://www.copyrightinformation.org/a-better-way-to-find-movies-tv-music. To learn more about these Alerts from Comcast, please visit http://www.comcast.com/copyrightalerts.
For more information please review Comcast’s Acceptable Use Policy and Terms of Service.
Comcast Customer Security Assurance
Copyrighted work(s) identified in the notification from the Center for Copyright Information:
Infringing Work:TAKE CARE
Filename:Drake – Take Care (Deluxe Version)
Infringement Date:Tue Feb 26 XX:XX:XX EST 2013
Reporting Party Case ID:222716XXXXX
Reporting Party FAQ:null