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?

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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

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    goodbye to freedom of speach and hello big brother. May our children slit our throuts.Praise BB.
    They aren't really doing anything new or illegal. Your IP address is readily available when you download something since it is embedded in the outgoing packets, along with the IP address of the server you are getting your content from. I honestly think this is designed for people that are easily swayed - it'll probably scare your average joe, but not much else.
    So how is anybody going know if you download from a site that doesn't have a copyright alert system? There will only be about a million of them. :/
    So... Is this based on the ip of the computer using the site? Or based on the entire household's usage? (such as a router ip or something). I very highly doubt this system will work if it isn't based on individual devices. They can't ban a business or public wifi because a customer pirated using it.
    I'm guessing this is why they've been trying to downplay comments on this being a "six strikes and you're out" system. They are only able to retrieve the IP address of the host making the download request. This address is tied to an account with a name, address, etc but they could never prove that this person was the one behind the computer.
    At least it's a step away from the whole 'You downloaded a song, so we're going to fine you several thousand dollars'.
    I'm so glad we live in the home of the free, where we are constantly getting less freedoms.
    we are getting less freedoms but we never had the right to steal unless your the government.
    Seriously, how stupid ARE these people? First of all, piracy isn't killing the music industry, it's killing ITSELF for signing shit artists that even FANS of the artists only want their hit singles. If anything, piracy is giving exposure and easy access to underground bands whose work you could never find in a cd store. So by trying to "stop" piracy, they're just adding salt to the wounds of record labels. Secondly, even if they are dimwitted enough to want to stop piracy anyway, they should at least realize that they CAN'T. These "warnings" and "bans" are just big words they're using to scare off pirates. There's no way government can truly "police" the Internet; there are millions of sites and servers; they can't possibly control ALL of them. ESPECIALLY not Pirate Bay, who are no longer even attached to a finite number of servers. This is all a bluff; there is simply no way to enforce this.
    Dinosaurs will slowly die and I do believe no one will cry I'm just ****ing glad I'm gonna be there to watch the fall. Prehistoric music industry, three feat in La Brea tar Extinction never felt so good!
    If they didn't charge $20 per CD I might actually try and buy more CDs. That's why I use Spotify as much as possible.
    Who's music have you been listening to, Jesus Christ himself? Best Buy typically prices their CDs in the $10-14 range. iTunes sells most albums at $9.99 (sure, you don't get a physical copy, who cares?? A CD is not like vinyl). Lots of bands put bundled packages on their websites where you can get a CD plus a t-shirt for $20-30, for example. That market is driven by supply and demand... sellers set a price, buyers will buy if they think it's worth it. Clearly you VALUE the music (since you obtain it somehow), but you don't seem to value it at the going price. For that reason, stick to Spotify, that's fine... no need to steal the albums.
    Come on people, go straight. I did now every purchase is a well thought out decision and a valued purchase. If it an't worth having then don't ****ing steal it either...
    The goverment totally sucks you mother****er he goverment totaaally suuucks
    if the internet hadn't been invented, we would all be relying on physical records, and the companies would all be happy. big music companies; the internet is not going anywhere, so stop trying to reverse the direction of progress. were not in the vinyl age any more. find a better solution to your "problems" than this crap.
    Why is music industry in decline? Not only because of file sharing. There are two more important things: 1) no good artists these days. There is no one these days to match the Beatles, The Who, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Soundgarden and so on. Most of the commercial shit nowadays is just a commercial shit - like Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson, who is more notorious for their shocking image and videos than for the music (which isn't anything extraordinary). It's the thing of these days - image is everything (forget the music). 2) the labels do themselves harm releasing mastering the music wrong: too compressed, clipped. Sure, this sound helps get the attention, but people get tired of listening to such a poor mastering - so don't feel like buying the records. I mean, if music is intented to be used like all other disposable consumer products (that is, use it a few weeks and then replace with a new thing), then there's no point in buying it, if you can get it free, because you'll forget about this record in a few weeks and go on to something new. That's how it works these days. If they want people to love music and buy the records, they should master it properly, so that people could enjoy the recording for a long time.
    Couldn't they just get a different computer?
    Not really, an ISP would probably have strikes against your account. For instance, AT&T may never cut off my service completely, but they may reduce its speed for a month or two.
    It's the address that's sent. I.e. the internet connection, not the specific computer. So that would make no difference. It'll probably make average people more wary, but anyone who really wants to...
    If im being honest, this wont make me any friends, but people wouldent be stealing if it was so convienient. And people need to understand that stealing music is ruining some peoples lives. 90% of music owned is illigaly downloaded.
    what statistics lab did you get that number from, your a$$?
    He probably heard it on fox news or somethin. All the sad kids with made up stats love that show.
    I don't have anything against people who pirate, to each his own ... but every time I read one of these articles it makes me glad I buy.
    I know when I download music I usually end up buying the album piracy may help to lose money in sales but makes up for it in gaining publicity for the artist.
    Doesn't anybody remember that article that said people who download actually buy more legal music than people who don't. I've discovered so many new bands through downloading, gone to their shows, actually bought their cds, and what not. The music industry is hurting because there's just too many bands, and too many of those bands are just crap cookie cutter copies of other bands. Technology is so great, any idiot with a computer can record pretty high quality demos now. There's just too much shit out there.
    i hate all laws ever. **** off at and t. **** off governement . just **** yourselves. citizens always win. as long as there is a system in place there will be someone smart enough to beat the system
    The cool kids will buy their music. The people who dont care about music wont. Piracy makes it so I dont have to see those certain people in the music stores I visit. Hooray for piracy. (My theory)
    Like a friend once told me "If it can be written it can be unwritten." Makes sense to me.