Producers’ Coalition Says Copyright Alert System Has Failed to Stop Piracy

The Expendables 3

A newly formed coalition of small and independent producers — including Millennium Films, Voltage Pictures and FilmNation Entertainment — is taking aim at one of the signature anti-piracy initiatives of Hollywood studios and Internet service providers, characterizing it as ineffective.

A system of copyright alerts was launched in 2013, in which studios and record labels send notices to major Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T if they spot infringing content being shared over peer-to-peer networks. The ISP then sends that notice on to their customer. If a user continues to access the content, they will receive more notices. After the fifth or sixth notice, they are subject to “mitigation measures” such as having their service downgraded or slowed.

The Copyright Alert System, as it is called, is based on the idea that most consumers will stop accessing infringing content after receiving one or two notices, with many users unaware that they are even trying to view or listen to pirated titles.

But the Internet Security Task Force, a coalition of smaller producers launched last month, contends that the copyright alerts are not only ineffective but actually make matters worse. They suggest that the program is too lenient to those who consume pirated content.

Mark Gill, president of Millennium Films, said in a statement that their movie “Expendables 3” — which was pirated even before its release in August — was illegally viewed more than 60 million times but the copyright alert system “allowed 0.3% of our infringement notices through to their customers.”

“The other 99.7% of the time, the notices went in the trash,” he said.

Avi Lerner, chairman of Millennium Films, has blamed the piracy of “Expendables 3” on its lower box office returns compared to its two predecessor titles. The studio said a copy of the movie was stolen and uploaded to the Internet three weeks before its release.

According to the group, the data on “Expendables 3” was from the period of September to November 2014 and collected by CEG-TEK Intl., an Internet security firm.

Other ISPs participating in the program include Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.

Gill challenged the copyright alerts because he says it allows “people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet.”

The ISPs have leeway in which type of mitigation measures they choose to take for repeat infringers. One of the possible measures directed at repeat infringers is that they will not be able to access the Internet until they complete an educational course.

A spokeswoman for the Center for Copyright Information, the group set up to implement the copyright alerts, said of the system, “The first truly voluntary, multi-stakeholder program and Internet and external research about the [Copyright Alert System] has illustrated that a program focused on consumer engagement and education and providing people with tools to find the content they love, can work. It has also shown that voluntary multi-stakeholder solutions can help tackle some of the most challenging technological policy issues.” She added that CCI “believes the program is working as intended and that further analysis will illustrate the program’s effectiveness.”

The CCI issued a progress report about a year ago.

The Internet Security Task Force contends that two Internet providers that are not part of CCI, Charter Communications and Cox Communications, forwarded notices to customers accessing “Expendables 3” and saw a 25.47% decrease in infringements. ISPs participating in the copyright alerts, however, actually saw an increase in infringement in that title.

The task force contends that a better solution is in Canada, where recently enacted legislation compels ISPs to forward a copyright holders’ notices to their customers. According to CEG TEK, clients in Canada have seen piracy of their content drop substantially since the law was enacted.

Nevertheless, in the United States studios and labels have been pursuing voluntary agreements rather than legislation given the political realities in Washington. In 2012, anti-piracy legislation known as the Stop Online Piracy Act was sidelined after a storm of protest from Internet companies and users. The unprecedented outcry — including millions of messages sent to lawmakers — was that the legislation was too restrictive.

As Voltage Pictures did with “Hurt Locker,” Millennium Films has sought to sue individuals who engaged in file sharing of “Expendables 3,” a cumbersome legal process that has been abandoned by the Recording Industry Assn. of America and is not being pursued by the MPAA.

Last month, an unidentified 26-year-old man was arrested by London police in connection with leaking the movie. Two others were arrested last year.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 9

Leave a Reply

9 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. johnston says:

    all you have to do is ban any tech higher than the 1800’s and no one can make a copy of anything , oh wait they can paint pictures of landscapes which is theft of the landscape right? dang, well just shackle us up put gps in all us and give the death penalty if we refuse to buy something because we dont have the money. make it law if you cannot afford it steal the money than but it cuz your going to be executed if you dont then all you have to do is make a tv show about society and force us to but ourselves shackled up and killing to steal money to buy the show

  2. johnston says:

    how can copying ones and zeros without altering the original (a person willingly put up themselves to share) be considered stealing or pirating? this is how disgusting of a world we live in pirates literally stole goods from ships where no one else could have them they hurt people and abused and raped and murdered people. and we have the audacity in this day and age to call the copying of digital ones and zeros from one location to another, pirating? (think sharing recorded cassette tapes of the 90’s and beta and vhs tapes of the 80’s) how is sharing or copying a file someone else willingly put up stealing? if someone copy’s a file they in now way alter the original or stop anyone else from having it . how is it different than recording a cassette tape of a cd and sharing with your friend? movie companies and music industry are not losing money because of so called “pirating” they are losing money because they themselves are obsolete because everyone is a producer and everything is free. is a public libraries a threat to book sales? is the radio theft because your hearing music without purchasing it first? this whole money system greed and wanting to criminalize people because they do the equivalent of making a vhs copy of a movie is a failure . we live in a world where prices are skyrocketing to survive people cannot afford to pay for things when they can get it for free , not everyone has the luxury of paying top dollar for ones and zeros . are we really criminals if we borrow or friend cd and make a cassette copy? the only solution is to ban technology and stop pretending we have any type of freedom at all (key word in freedom being?) just state outright we do not deserve to be treated like a human being , respected or valued unless we have the money to afford living comfortably . by computers all together , put cameras in ever room of ever house and sell the information to the highest bidders and corps . just tell us if we do not have enough money to afford living better than homeless we do not deserve to listen to music at all , watch films or take part in regular day to day things people lucky enough to not be disabled from birth or where born into a rich household do. tell us we are less than human and that only people where the dice rolled in their favor where allowed to have access to better schools households and healthy caring families and friends which contribute to how much money people are allowed to make and spend. if i was born disabled and have no way other than the internet to have any quality of life access to educational information and entertainment like books films and music online for free, because i can never have more money that exact amount to cover cheapest rundown apartment no car and foo stamps to get cheapest food and healthcare because i was born not being able to work , i should only be able to have a quality of life of being a prisoner of a money system board game that restricts my real life and is all just numbers in a bank and pieces of paper with ink on it ? i am a human being . money is paper and ink. yet money should restrict what information in the world i can have? it should restrict entertainment i am allowed to see and hear like movies and music? only the rich that can use 100 dollar bills to wipe their butt can afford to buy the millions of albums that come out each year because the population is 7 billion there are millions of bands in the world . if people can afford the luxury to pay cable and watch a tv show its okay but if they are poor only have internet , it is a crime to download tv shows that are already free? technology is showing us the error of our ways , people deserve to be treated like people not treated like prisoners of their income when we all know it is a fact income is mostly based on blind luck , what about the millions and millions of disabled people that cannot work they already have a quality of life hundreds times less than middle class and what soon they will be put in prison for watching movies and listening music on the internet and not hurting anyone or altering the original that was copied and put up by someone else anyway? this is something to be ashamed about. only the brainwashed can possibly think copying digital bits from one location to another resembles the enormous violence and murder and rape and plunder the pirates did earlier in history.

  3. Davy D says:

    Gill challenged the copyright alerts because he says it allows “people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet.” NO. People get an educational leaflet on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. 5th and 6th time.

  4. J M Elmore says:

    So, they see the problem as being use the viewing public; not their lack of internal security….

  5. TKOTOM says:

    I would like for someone to address the legality of Any entity having the right to know what I am downloading or viewing over the internet. That is as bad as wire tapping ! It should be illegal- be it streaming from Netflix or the unlikely chance of it being a pirated movie !!! This needs to be looked into and stopped !

  6. Muffinz says:

    I find it funny they base the failure of the movie on pirates. Pirates have mostly proven to be one of the highest consumers of legally purchased content. Shitty movies don’t help your situation but piracy has been LITERALLY been proven to help the industry out with the sale of movies, music, and games. If you really want viewers stop trying to bank on several rehashed ideas and MAKE SOMETHING WORTH WATCHING! You really only have yourself to blame when your movie flops.

  7. Andy Coke says:

    Did they ever think that maybe Expendables 3 was a very bad movie and nobody wanted to see it at the theaters, spending on average for an evening out with dinner, movie and, pop, and popcorn. You are looking between $75 to $100. That is a lot of money to go see a flop of a movie.

  8. DaReal says:

    This is a joke…the MPAA already know how to stop ALL bootlegging!

  9. George Clowney says:

    Lol. Keep on suing those kids, unemployed people, and grandmothers, guys. When you go bankrupt from the legal costs, you can always just blame it on those evil pirates!

More Biz News from Variety

Loading