A controversial new anti-piracy program has now come to the United States. The Copyright Alert System has been adopted by five of the major Internet service providers. The partipating providers, including Cablevision, AT&T, Time Warner, Comcast, and Verizon,  are all expected to launch the program.

New Anti-Piracy System Comes to the US

So what is it? The new copyright enforcement system has the power to force U.S. Internet users to complete educational programs, or to even slow down their Internet speeds. It was designed to combat “casual” piracy in the United States.  Essentially, when an Internet user is flagged as someone practicing piracy, then the enforcement system will kick in.  At that time, the user will have to complete “education.”  Repeat offenders will have their internet speeds slowed down.  After multiple offenses, internet speed will slow to a crawl.

Some view it as a less severe form of the types of enforcement practiced in other countries such as France or New Zealand, where Internet Service Providers routinely cut off the Internet access of repeat offenders. However, many have criticized the Copyright Alert System as only a means for corporations to protect their interests, possibly at the expense of the average internet user.

People opposed to the new system point out that the system operates without any type of independent oversight.  Other opponents have voiced concerns about the potential for errors and abuse.  Additionally, while there is a system of appeal in place if you feel you have been incorrectly targeted, the user must pay to have arbitration in their claim.  Further, the user cannot appeal the initial educational alert. It has been revealed that the executive director of the Copyright Alert System has indicated that there are plans in place to hire an independent consultant to oversee the implementation of the software that works to flag pirates.  Whether you are for or against the new system, it is clear that it is is the new reality for internet users.

[Image via inforrm]