U.S. film, music industries roll out anti-piracy program
Published : 2013-03-03 20:04
Updated : 2013-03-03 20:04
WASHINGTON (AFP) ― A new “copyright alert” system rolled out last week in the United States in an effort to curb online piracy.
The system, informally known as “six strikes,” is a voluntary effort of the music and film industries, with the largest Internet service providers participating.
The program will use warnings and could result in slowed or suspended Internet connections, but users will not lose web access entirely. Still, some civil liberties groups and Internet activists call it too invasive and warn it could unfairly penalize some users.
It is being coordinated by the Center for Copyright Information, created by the music and cinema industries and the five largest broadband Internet firms.
“We hope this cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach will serve as a model for addressing important issues facing all who participate in the digital entertainment ecosystem,” said Jill Lesser, executive director of the center.
Lesser said the program is “meant to educate rather than punish, and direct (consumers) to legal alternatives.”
She added that people who believe they get warnings in error will have “an easy to use process” to appeal, and get an independent review.
Despite the “six strikes” moniker, backers of the system say it is not intended to cut off Internet access for copyright infringers, who will get up to six warnings.
The steps announced by the big Internet firms include pop-ups, which force users to acknowledge warnings, and mechanisms to slow a user’s access to near-dialup speeds.
Some critics say that redirecting users is equivalent to a “browser hijack” while others say innocent users may be snared by the system.
“It’s an elaborate surveillance system,” said Corynne McSherry at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.
“There will be innocent people caught up in this system, it’s inevitable.”
McSherry said another problem is a “lack of transparency” in the system, which is private and cannot be challenged in the same way as a law.
“We have an elaborate private enforcement system for copyright, because they weren’t happy with what they could get from Congress,” she said.