Since the dawn of the digital age in the 1990s, illegal downloading of information, music, movies, software, and content has become an issue leading to major shifting in the way these industries do business. It’s been hard to contain this issue of illegal downloading, but the latest attempt, the Copyright Alert System, looks promising.
For the entertainment industry, the results of illegal downloads have been devastating. The music industry has debatably taken the greatest hit from illegal downloads, as music sales in the United States have dropped 47 percent, resulting in losses of $12.5 billion since 1999.
Prior tactics to contain the widespread use of illegally downloaded content have been relatively ineffective. The previous model has been a warning issued to abusers, followed by a prompt and extremely expensive lawsuit. This method only caught a few abusers, and targeted scaring all of their friends out of thinking about stealing files from the Internet.
According to its website, “the Copyright Alert System (CAS) is designed to help consumers understand when files may have been shared illegally on peer-to-peer networks through their Internet accounts.” The site claims that most people who enjoy illegally downloaded files don’t know that they’ve acquired these files illegally.
The idea behind the system is that copyright holders and groups are pinged at the illegal use of their files, and in turn report violations directly to the Internet service provider of the abuser. From there, users of illegally downloaded files get notified six times before any serious consequences occur. However, action may be taken before the sixth and final warning, like making the user acknowledge their fault, watching educational videos, or dramatically decreasing bandwidth speed; a threat that may be even more effective than a lawsuit for many people. After six warnings, that user’s Internet service provider will stop servicing them, which may be a devastating consequence depending on price and availability of other providers.
The Copyright Alert System was launched in February 2013, and so far, AT&T, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast have all agreed to participate in an effort to downplay illegal file sharing. Unfortunately, since its implementation, officials involved have admitted that it’s unlikely to catch the biggest violators of copyright infringement, saying that there are ways to disguise an IP address, use a neighbor’s unlocked connection, or use public wireless connections (offered on coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.) that won’t be monitored. However, these officials are hopeful that the widespread use of illegally downloaded files will be thwarted by this system.
As a business manager, you can be liable for your employees, and what they are doing during work hours. Are your employees illegally downloading files on your company’s network? With the new Copyright Alert System, you’ll be given six chances to solve the issue with your employees before your business suffers any consequence. This is a much better solution for your business than the previous one-warning lawsuit model. If you are concerned about this new system, or want to learn more about how to protect your network from illegally downloaded files, call TMS at 1 (626) 737-2960 today!