What is the Copyright Alert System?
The Copyright Alert System (“CAS”) was developed to help consumers understand the importance of respecting copyright and to alert them of possible infringing activity that has taken place using their Internet connection. Through the CAS, copyright owners send notices of alleged copyright infringement to participating Internet Service Providers – the companies that provide access to the Internet over both wired and wireless connections – also known as ISPs, who then forward these notices to their Subscribers in the form of Copyright Alerts. The Alerts, include the date, time, time zone and title of the copyrighted content alleged to have been unlawfully distributed through a peer-to-peer or file sharing system on a Subscribers account. Under the CAS, users will be sent a maximum of six Alerts with an increasing degree of seriousness. In general, there are two Educational Alerts, two “Acknowledgement” Alerts that require a response from the Subscriber, and two “Mitigation” Alerts that impose minor consequences to emphasize the seriousness of the problem.
What should I know if I received my first Alert?
A first Alert means that an owner of copyrighted content – like a movie, TV show or a song – has found an instance of alleged copyright infringement using your Internet account and has sent a notice to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP has then generated a Copyright Alert. The Alert will give you information about how to assure no further infringing activity occurs using their account. If no additional infringing activity takes place, no additional Alerts will be sent.
What happens after the first Alert?
If the alleged behavior stops, no additional Alerts will be sent. If the activity continues, you will receive additional Alerts. Those Alerts will be more prominent and will inform you how to address the activity that is causing the Alerts. If you fail to stop the infringing activity, the Alerts will ultimately result in a “Mitigation Measure” – an even more prominent notification and educational activity intended to further deter the behavior.
How long will I continue to receive Copyright Alerts?
Once the alleged behavior stops, no additional Alerts will be sent. If the behavior continues, you may receive up to six Alerts culminating with a Mitigation Measure.
What is a “Mitigation Measure”?
Mitigation Measures are intended to further emphasize the need to cease infringing activity over your Internet connection. The measures differ for each Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) but may, for example, take one of the following forms:
- A temporary reduction of Internet speed;
- Redirection to a landing page until the primary account holder of your account contacts your ISP;
- Redirection to a landing page where the primary account holder must review and respond to educational information.
While the ISPs can modify the Mitigation Measures in a manner consistent with their own policies, ISPs will not use account termination as a Mitigation Measure.
My Internet Connection:
How does a Content Owner identify alleged copyright violations?
CCI’s content partners join peer-to-peer networks in order to locate the music, movies or TV shows they own. Once they see a title being made available, they confirm that it is copyrighted content owned by one of their members by downloading and reviewing the file. In the case of a large video file like a movie, a person watches key portions of it to confirm.
After confirming that a file is being shared illegally, Content Owners identify the Internet Protocol (IP) address assigned to the Internet access account making the file available. Each IP address belongs to an Internet Service Provider (“ISP”)—so Content Owners notify the ISP related to the address, and the ISP then passes a Copyright Alert on to its customer.
Will this program shut down my Internet connection?
No. The Copyright Alert System never requires an ISP to terminate your account. The Mitigation Measures that will be applied if copyright infringement continues will not include termination.
Will I ever be “blacklisted” or have a “record”?
There is no “blacklisting” of Subscribers. Even if you receive multiple Copyright Alerts you will have your record of notices cleared if no notices of alleged infringement are received by their ISP for a continuous 12 month period. CCI built the Copyright Alert System around a commitment to respect a Subscriber’s privacy rights. At no time will ISPs share personal information (name, address, etc.) with anyone else (including the Content Owners or other ISPs) except pursuant to a properly issued subpoena or court order.
Can this system see what sites I visit online?
No. There is no monitoring of any Internet traffic by ISPs. The identification of alleged infringement is done by Content Owners on peer-to-peer networks only. The Copyright Alert System applies only to peer-to-peer networks and not to general Internet use.
Independent Review Program:
If I believe I received an Alert in error is there a process to challenge the Alert?
Yes. The Copyright Alert System includes an opportunity to challenge Alerts once you reach the Mitigation stage, after receiving three, four, or five Alerts depending on their ISP. If you believe you have received one or more Alerts in error you may request an Independent Review administered by the American Arbitration Association within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the Mitigation Alert. There is a $35 filing fee, which may be waived if you meet affordability criteria. The fee will be refunded if your challenge is successful.