What is a Copyright Alert?

Artists, moviemakers and other owners of content join public peer-2-peer (P2P) networks to see if the music, movies, and TV shows they’ve made available are being shared without permission and in violation of U.S. copyright law. If they notice that a file is being shared illegally, they notify the appropriate Internet Service Provider (ISP) and that ISP, in turn, passes on that notice to their subscriber as a Copyright Alert.

Subscribers are responsible for making sure their Internet account is not used for copyright infringement. Copyright Alerts assist in this process by:

  • Making accountholders aware that unlawful content sharing may have happened using their internet account;
  • Educating accountholders on how they can prevent copyright infringement from happening again and
  • Providing consumers information about ways to access digital content legally.

After receiving one Alert, we believe most consumers will take the appropriate steps to avoid additional Alerts. However, if copyright infringement continues on a subscriber’s account, our member ISPs can take steps that temporarily affect that subscriber’s Internet experience.

Depending on the service provider, the ISP’s range of actions may include:

  • A temporary reduction in Internet speed;
  • A temporary downgrade in Internet service tier or
  • Redirection to a landing page for a set period of time, until a subscriber contacts the ISP or until the subscriber completes an online copyright education program.

Before each Alert is sent, a rigorous process ensures the content identified is definitely protected by copyright and that the notice is forwarded to the right Subscriber. Nonetheless, if a subscriber feels that he or she has received a one or more Alerts in error, CCI has created an Independent Review Process for subscribers to pursue before any additional measures that may impact service are imposed. This process is run by the American Arbitration Association and designed just for the Copyright Alert System.

How Do Content Owners Know About My Activity?

CCI’s content partners – companies that own and develop music, movies and TV shows – join peer-to-peer networks and locate the music, movies or TV shows they have created and own. Once they see a title being made available on the peer-to-peer network, they confirm that it is, in fact, copyrighted content.

After confirming that a file appears to have been shared illegally, content owners identify the Internet Protocol (IP) address used by the computer making the file available. Each IP address belongs to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), so content owners notify the ISP to which the address is assigned and the ISP then passes a Copyright Alert on to its customer.

No personal information about consumers is shared between the content owners and ISPs, and ISPs are not involved in the process of identifying copyrighted content.

For more information about what to do if you’ve received a Copyright Alert please see the video:

The Copyright Alert System is designed to help consumers understand when files may have been shared illegally on peer-to-peer networks through their Internet accounts. Here’s how content owners know what’s being shared and how a Copyright Alert makes its way to subscribers.