ISPs and Rightsholders Extend “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Scheme

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The six-strikes Copyright Alert System will remain in place. The MPAA, RIAA and five large U.S. Internet providers have unanimously agreed to extend the program. The parties are currently negotiating if and how they can improve the warning system in the hope that it will eventually change people's attitudes toward piracy.

pirate-runningDuring the summer of 2011 the MPAA and RIAA teamed up with five major Internet providers in the United States, announcing their a plan to “educate” BitTorrent pirates.

The parties launched the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) and agreed on a system through which Internet account holders are warned if their connections are used to download pirated content. After five or six warnings ISPs take a variety of repressive measures, including bandwidth throttling and temporary disconnections.

Initially the first ISPs were expected to start sending out “Copyright Alerts” by the end of 2011, but due to several delaying factors it took until 2013 before the system went live.

A few weeks ago the original agreement (pdf) quietly expired, but that doesn’t mean that warnings are off the table. Behind the scenes, copyright holders and ISPs have agreed to extend the original agreement for four more months while they work on several changes and improvements.

According to a document seen by TF the parties opted for the short extension because more time is needed to reach a new agreement. The yearly volume of notices is likely to be one of the key issues up for discussion.

An insider informed TF that CCI is committed to keeping the flagship Copyright Alert program alive. In addition, the group is working on an expansion of its consumer education efforts in an effort to direct people to legal services.

While warnings are at the center of the Copyright Alert System, the ultimate goal of CCI is to “shift social norms and behavior.”

At the moment it remains unclear how effective the alerts have been thus far. Some initial statistics were released early 2014 but TF was told that no new figures will be made public before next year.

While CCI remains positive about the program, there has also been critique from copyright holders. A few months ago several independent movies studios called for an end to the “six strikes” scheme, describing it as an ineffective “sham”.

According to the movie studios the copyright alerts are highly ineffective because only a small fraction of the piracy notices are forwarded to the Internet providers.

Time will tell whether any of the upcoming changes will address these concerns.

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