Friday, March 8, 2013

Six Strikes: Demand Progress

As I am sure many of you are aware, the USA recently introduced its Graduated Response Scheme for copyright infringement by which the major ISPs have agreed with the RIAA and MPAA to issue warning notices and ultimately to throttle accounts based on an accusation of infringement.

The Copyright Alert System commenced on 26 February 2013.The main components of the system are:

  • Alert
  • Acknowledgement
  • Education
  • Mitigation (Throttling/Blocking)
Here is a YouTube clip about it:

While, as a concept, this doesnt seem as bad as the Graduated Response Programs implemented in other countries such as New Zealand which involve only 3 warnings and the ultimate penalty of disconnection, given: the established crudeness of the investigation and detection methodologies and technologies (thus most likely leading to a number of false detections), and the removal of the process from a legitimate legal forum, there remain some serious problems with the concept. Recent reports indicate that all websites will be blocked by some ISPs after the fourth warning. In addition, downloads that could well be covered by the doctrine of fair use could easily be wrongly identified as infringing. Furthermore, some suggest that there will be an impact on internet cafes and others providing public access - Casey Rae of FMC suggests this is untrue with the scheme only relating to private not business accounts.

Interestingly, the IFPI have just released their annual report showing that music sales are up globally to a total of $16.5 billion (although it doesnt give details of the USA position independently) and states that 62% of Internet users access legal services.

Demand Progress have a petition running that is available for any concerned people to sign here. They write:

"With essentially no due process, AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will get on your case if you're accused of violating intellectual property rights -- and eventually even interfere with your ability to access the Internet.  (You can contest accusations -- if you fork over $35.) After the first few supposed violations, they'll alert you that your connection was engaging in behavior that they -- the giant corporations that provide your Internet service -- deem inappropriate. And then it gets really dicey: They can make it difficult for you to access the web, or start throttling down your connection."

A voluntary collective licensing scheme remains  a viable alternative and would see the free flow of culture and reasonable compensation returned to artists.

Further Information
Demand Progress, Tell ISPs: No "Six Strikes" <> at 8 March 2013

ZeroPaid, Music Industry Revenue Is Up (So Are Legal Downloads) (27 February 2013) < > at 8 March 2013

ZeroPaid, “6-Strikes” Copyrights Alert System Goes Live (26 February 2013) < >  at 8 March 2013

Australian Policy Online, IFPI digital music report 2013: engine of a digital world (26 February 2013) < > at 8 March 2013

Billboard, Guest Post: Will the Copyright Alert System Break the Internet (7 March 2013) < > at 8 March 2013

TechDirt, Comcast: We Won't Terminate Your Account Under Six Strikes; We'll Just Block Every Single Website (28 February 2013) < > at 8 March 2013

ArsTechnica, Here’s what an actual “six strikes” copyright alert looks like (28 February 2013) <> at 8 March 2013

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