US Copyright Alert System Confirmed

The 'six-strikes' system has been offically confirmed, but the authorities prefer to call it the Copyright Alert System which instead issues "educational" alerts. Is the game up for music pirates?

Ultimate Guitar

A national Copyright Alert System has been confirmed for the US in an attempt to combat piracy and file-sharing.

The news follows a leaked document which revealed plans by AT&T to launch a new copyright warning system from November 28.

Within two months, internet service providers (ISPs) will use the system to warn customers of copyright infringement, starting with so-called "educational" alerts followed by "acknowledgement" alerts which require a reply to confirm they have been read, according to Music Ally.

Pirates who continue to break copyright law will then face "mitigation measures", which could include reduced internet speeds or potentially an outright ban, and will be decided by the ISP.

Previous reports described it as a six-strikes system, but Jill Lesser from the US Center for Copyright Information is keen to dampen such rumors.

Contrary to many erroneous reports, this is not a six-strikes-and-you're-out' system that would result in termination, writes Lesser in a blog post. "There's no strikeout' in this program."

Lesser writes that consumers who are wrongly targeted by the letters will have a means to dispute them via an independent organisation.

It looks like ISPs finally have a sensible system to combat piracy in the US but will pirates find a way to evade the warnings? Let us know what you think in the comments.

95 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    I wish we'd spend more time fixing our busted-ass economy than protecting the huge media companies. Besides, a recent study showed that file-sharers buy 30% more music than their non-file-sharing counterparts. It's all a huge waste of time.
    Yes I will agree with you. The economy is a far bigger issue than record companies whining about things
    huge media companies are not always the ones being hurt by piracy; in fact I would argue that much more often it is the independent record labels, from the smallest DIY labels to bigger ones like Sub Pop. The huge media conglomerates (like RCA, which represents your boys in Three Days Grace and which is owned by Sony) have the means to market the shit out of their records to make sure their records get sold. Labels like Hopeless Records, which put out big name records like A7X and Yellowcard but are still independent are the kind of labels that need protecting from piracy.
    And to that I would argue that from the admittedly little that I know, the independent record companies do a lot more to embrace the progression of technology instead of acting like the big studios and trying to keep us all in the '90s. I mean, the big guys may have the money to try to keep piracy at bay, but the little guys have the intelligence to use piracy for promotion and stuff. At least that's how it seems to me.
    Big thumbs up to this. I believe you and all, but do you have a link to where you read that? People that download are just playing it safe. Who wants to drop $15 on a CD that they might not even like? This whole process is a hopeless cause.
    Well I for one have definitely purchased more music after I discovered downloading than before I's all about finding new music and caring about it and sharing's a whole different system. And yes, also playing it safe with my hard-earned dollars...who knows, I may have actually paid for the new Muse album! (not to hate on Muse, but I dislike the album greatly)
    I agree with threedaysgrace9's post, but don't pull that "How will I know if I like it?" card. You have so many resources at your disposal that you can use to demo an entire album, before you buy it. The most obvious being YouTube.
    Legislation like this is too little too late in the US anyways. The popularity of Spotify and Pandora are really starting to phase out music piracy in my eyes, I know that I stopped downloading and starting buying more music once I started using Spotify.
    Problem with Spotify and other online sources is the tiny amount it gives the artist. Even selling sources like iTunes takes a considerable percent of the income just for hosting the music. Sure it's legal but it still only benefits the highest artist that get a million plays a week anyways and leaves the unknown musicians struggling. I think we're slowly getting to a good system with stuff like bandcamp that gives a higher chunk of the pay, and directly at that. But it's still slow, and the big labels trying to push us backwards with shit like this so they can keep their 50%+ share isn't helping.
    I wish that I would've given you the medal myself. If the economy keeps falling, we won't be able to afford to pay for those albums.
    Anti-piracy isn't just for major labels, what are we going to do in 50 years time when everyone pirates all of their music, how are indie musicians even going to get off the ground?
    mtv popstars and american idol (or other worldwide versions) prepaid and polished bands. It is already happening. Except in 50 years it'll be all we get
    FWIW, this study has been rejected by some quarters following deeper analysis. If you looked at just 'music fans', file sharers buy less.
    Of course they'll find a way to evade them. Really, just give up with trying to stop pirating. It's not gonna happen, people will always find a way.
    The record companies came up with a scheme to get people to spend millions of dollars replacing their vynil and cassettes when they came out with Cd's and made everything else obsolete. When their scheme backfired, by allowing people to download files to their computer and distribute them, they started targeting the people they tried to cheat out of their money. They get no sympathy from me.
    Yes, those record companies and their scheme to put out a product with more storage capacity, higher quality and more portability
    Yeah piracy is the new weed.
    Steaming is a PRIME example. Any album/song put up for streaming can just be recorded onto a device through a cable for as little as $20. I've always found it quite stupid for artists to put their album for stream on their websites. Samples, I can understand. But full songs? You're letting them listen to it for FREE. You don't really benefit THAT much from it.
    I wonder if the artists would rather us listening to lower quality versions of their songs through youtube or pirating higher quality versions?
    A) you can upload/listen to music in 'HD' on youtube, and if it's music uploaded by artists themselves, they probably uploaded it in high resolutions; B) if you're not talking about music uploaded by artists themselves, youtube and 'pirating higher quality versions' are both piracy anyway; C) I think the artists would, believe it or not, rather get compensated for the investment they put into making their music.
    Its all free shit so it doesnt matter to the consumer, distribution is distribution. And the artist doesnt get shit off of CD sales anyway, they get penies off of CDs sold. They are in contract with the record companies who take nearly all the money. No artists are hurt, only record industries with monopolies churning shit music
    Artists don't get much off CDs, they make most of their money off touring, but record sales, and how much the record company makes of the artist impacts how much they are willing to fund the tour. Cheaping out and downloading still hurts the artist.
    Exactly. Labels fund tours/everything with record royalties. Also, when are we as a society going to evolve past the excuse, "Artists don't make much money off record royalties, so we might as well ensure they get nothing." For the vast majority, artists are struggling individuals without much money to their names in the first place, so why cut off one limb and say they can still tour with the other three? No part of this industry is independent of the rest.
    I think they should leave youtube alone because it let's us try bands out.I would not like half of the bands that I do if it wasent for youtube.If I like them I buy their albums and play them loud and head bang all day long.
    But the reasons people pirate is because it's easier than paying for it, ask anyone who pirates and that's the main reason. Make it more difficult than paying, and a lot of people will convert. Why are people so against people making money from their own work? I'm not talking about millionaires necessarily here. Artists deserve money for their work, why do people not understand this?
    Outright ban? Like the ISPs are really gonna do that, that's gonna lose them quite a bit of money.
    Depends how the costs weigh up between banning X users or opening investigations in response to court orders for X users. The fact that they have gone with 6 strikes rather than the favoured 2 or 3 (I believe) of NZ and France suggests they are trying to make sure they can avoid as many bans as possible.
    Lets all start downloading the whole internet before they get us!
    Guys, it's really important to ban internet piracy, it's gonna kill the musics like other piracies! Remember how radio, bootlegs, home taping and CDs killed the music industry, just like the very nice and unselfish people at the record labels warned us they would?
    The music industry was also complaining that counterfeit sheet music from Canada was killing the industry... in the 1800's
    Have you even looked at any statistics? In the past 10 years, profits from music sales (digital and physical) have halved here in Australia, and I'm guessing it's the same around the world. What has gained in popularity immensely in the past 10 years? File-sharing. Make the connection.
    "but will pirates find a way to evade the warnings" Its called a VPN through a foreign country. Bittorrent sites have advertised ones that claim not to keep any logs for years. Many people use them to like stream UK only stuff to the states and vice-versa.
    I much prefer internet access being threatened than being sued out the ass, but maybe that's just me.
    Agreed. At least this kind of system does show some kind of mercy.