MPAA-Backed Copyright Alert System Unveiled

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A long-awaited online piracy monitoring system championed by the Motion Picture Association of America was rolled out Monday.

The Copyright Alert System, which has been about two years in the making, is meant to monitor file-sharing networks and educate consumers on illegal activity with an eye to curbing future piracy. If it’s successful, that could lead to more robust residual checks for performers in the long run.

The system, which is in an “implementation stage,” was created by the Center for Copyright Information, an organization backed by the MPAA, the five major Internet service providers, and industry groups like the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM).

For now, it’s just another tool the entertainment industry is deploying in its fight against piracy, although it’s not quite a big stick. There’s no enforcement action or punitive consequences to the CAS. The system does have mitigation measures, but those too are educational, such as a user being redirected to a video. And those measures will only occur once a subscriber has already received half a dozen alerts.

“For those consumers who believe they received Alerts in error, an easy to use process will be in place for them to seek independent review of the Alerts they received,” Jill Lesser, CCI’s executive director, wrote in a blog post Monday.

“From content creators and owners to distributors to consumers, we all benefit from a better understanding of the choices available and the rights and responsibilities that come with using digital content, thereby helping to drive investment in content creation and innovative services that offer exciting ways to enjoy music, video and all digital content.”

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