Since joining the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) as its Executive Director, I’ve been fortunate to see firsthand how content creators, Internet leaders and consumer advocates have come together to advance CCI’s novel voluntary, educational and consumer-focused efforts. For those of us who care passionately about ensuring a vibrant, safe and secure Internet, it’s great to see diverse industry players working together to help tackle a tough set of challenges – and doing so in such a comprehensive and consensus-driven way.
In operation for more than two years, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) is proof positive that industry leaders and consumer advocates can work together in an educationally focused way to build voluntary programs that can make a real impact. In addition to overseeing the operation of the CAS, CCI has been helping to develop user-friendly educational resources to help consumers, parents and teachers better understand the importance of copyright protection to content creation and innovation and to provide them with new tools to help navigate the ever-increasing number of options for enjoying the digital content they love.
Still, with all that has been accomplished, there is more work to be done. As we move forward, CCI is as committed as ever to sustaining and improving its flagship CAS. We are also focused on expanding our consumer-focused education efforts, bringing new players to the table and looking even more effectively to better respond to the dynamically changing market for how and where individuals can access and enjoy digital content.
Since education is one of the most effective tools for changing behavior, CCI’s core mission of consumer education will play an even larger role in CCI’s mission going forward in the following ways:
- First and foremost, CCI will continue to provide consumers with meaningful information about what the CAS is, and the simple steps they can take to consume lawfully available content and avoid getting Copyright Alerts. On this front, I am pleased to announce that CCI recently released two new educational videos on our website that are designed to help consumers understand how to better protect against passive online sharing and also how to secure their home WiFi networks.
- Second, because kids are getting online before they even start kindergarten, we will also stay focused on reaching them at these formative stages by providing age-appropriate tools to help teachers educate students about how to create, collaborate and share responsibly online. Building on the foundation we laid last year with the launch of a comprehensive K-6th grade curriculum on ethical sharing of digital content online, CCI is excited to continue our collaboration with iKeepSafe to help complete and launch the next set of curriculum resources for grades 7-12. Just as the K-6 curriculum did, the 7-12th grade curriculum will be designed to help teachers educate students on how to create, collaborate, and share responsibly in the 21st century.
- Third, CCI will continue to help consumers become more aware of the growing number of options for legally accessing the content they love – no matter how, when and where they want. To connect consumers with new tools to find content, CCI will be highlighting some of the many great online tools like Wheretowatch.com and whymusicmatters.com that let consumers simply, safely and legally access content online.
- Fourth, many parents today are finding that in addition to having the dreaded “sex talk” with their kids, they now also need to have a tech talk. However, parents too often lack the knowledge and resources to have an engaging and meaningful conversation with their children. Moving forward, specifically with the addition of Family Online Safety Institute’s Stephen Balkam to CCI’s Consumer Advisory Board, we will be exploring opportunities to empower parents with more age-appropriate resources to help their children become good digital citizens.
With regard to the CAS, we have continued to gather operational data since we issued our initial report last year. We are examining it closely to better assess and predict the program’s impact both on user behavior, as well as on consumers’ attitudes towards copyright infringement. Because we want to reach accurate and meaningful conclusions, which take time, we hope to release a new report with updated data around the end of this year.
As we usher in the next phase of CCI, I am thrilled to be at the helm at this exciting time. CCI and its members continue to believe that we can be a model for addressing challenging technology policy issues through cooperation and collaboration and I am very much looking forward to helping us all live up to that belief.