×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Internet Service Providers, Studios and Record Labels Call It Quits on Copyright Alert System

Major internet providers are ending a four-year-old system in which consumers received “copyright alerts” when they viewed peer-to-peer pirated content.

The ISPs, studios, and record labels did not extend a pact that implemented the voluntary program, viewed as a way to fight piracy without the need for congressional legislation. When it debuted in 2013, it was viewed as a major new initiative to fight piracy, with Internet users subject to repeated notices if they continued to access infringing content. Those who ignored six or more multiple warnings faced possible penalties, including the slowing down of their Internet delivery, although the set of possible measures did not include having their Internet service cut off.

Although no reason was given for ending the program, the MPAA, in a statement from its general counsel, indicated frustration at the inability to stop repeat infringers.

“These repeat infringers are the ones who drive ongoing and problematic P2P piracy,” Steven Fabrizio, executive vice president and global general counsel at the MPAA, said in a statement. “In fact, an estimated 981 million movies and TV shows were downloaded in the U.S. last year using P2P. “

He said that the copyright alert system “was simply not set up to deal with the hard-core repeat infringer problem. Ultimately, these persistent infringers must be addressed by ISPs under their ‘repeat infringer’ policies as provided in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

Years in the making, the copyright alerts were the result of a voluntary agreement between Internet providers — including Altice, Comcast and AT&T, Charter Communications and Verizon — and the MPAA and the Recording Industry Assn. of America. It was seen as a way to fight piracy via voluntary agreements rather than congressional legislation.

But forging an agreement took years, as ISPs had significant concerns over liability issues, as they would be in the position of penalizing some of their customers who failed to stop viewing pirated material.

So as part of the ultimate agreement, the industry groups set up the Center for Copyright Information to administer the program, also set up a way for those who received notices to challenge them in a review by the American Arbitration Association.

On Friday, the Center for Copyright Information issued a joint statement saying that “after four years of extensive consumer education and engagement, the Copyright Alert System will conclude its work.”

“The program demonstrated that real progress is possible when content creators, Internet innovators, and consumer advocates come together in a collaborative and consensus-driven process,” the statement said. “CAS succeeded in educating many people about the availability of legal content, as well as about issues associated with online infringement. We want to thank everyone who put in the hard work to develop this program and make it a success, including past and present members of our Advisory Board. While this particular program is ending, the parties remain committed to voluntary and cooperative efforts to address these issues.”

The system was based on the notion that many consumers are unaware that they are accessing infringing material, and would stop once they are informed.

Fabrizio said that the copyright alert system did demonstrate that a “significant number” of users stopped accessing the pirated content, but said that “a persistent group of hard-core, repeat infringers are unlikely to change their behavior.”

Another challenge was that the system applied only to P2P piracy, while the nature of copyright infringement has morphed into other areas like online streaming.

 

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Plex

    Plex Signs Up Lionsgate for Upcoming Ad-Supported Video Service

    Media center app maker Plex has struck a deal with Lionsgate to add some of the studio’s movies and TV shows to its upcoming ad-supported video service. The news comes just weeks after Plex announced a similar deal with Warner Bros. “Lionsgate is one of the biggest names in the business and we know our [...]

  • Comcast Xfinity Flex

    Comcast Drops $5 Monthly Fee for Xfinity Flex Video-Streaming Set-Top for Broadband Customers

    Comcast will hand out one free set-top box for broadband subscribers to access Xfinity Flex, its video-streaming product for internet-only customers, as it looks to punch up the value of its high-speed internet business. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, announced the new strategy at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference Wednesday in New York. “One of [...]

  • Facebook Portal TV

    Facebook Announces $149 Portal TV Device, 2 New Portal Smart Displays

    Facebook wants you to put a camera into your living room: The company officially unveiled its Portal TV device Wednesday that brings video chatting, augmented reality (AR) and Facebook Watch to any TV set. In addition, the company also unveiled two new Portal smart display devices that are aggressively priced to grow the company’s home [...]

  • Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South

    Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

    Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. “We knew we needed to [...]

  • Google Assistant example

    How Google Found Its Voice

    A few years back, Google was actively exploring whether it should launch a male counterpart to Amazon’s female Alexa voice assistant. “When we first launched the Google Assistant, we intended to use a male voice, just to be different,” Google Assistant product manager Brant Ward recently recalled. However, at the time, text-to-speech technology was still [...]

  • Podium Publishing Taps Scott P. Dickey

    Podium Publishing Taps Scott P. Dickey as Chief Executive Officer

    Independent audiobook publisher Podium Publishing has selected veteran media executive Scott P. Dickey as chief executive officer. Greg Lawrence, former CEO and co-founder,  remains as Podium’s publisher and a member of the board of directors. As CEO, Dickey will set and implement the day-to-day and long-term marketing, production and business strategy for the company as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content