The Copyright Alert System, better known as the “six strikes and you’re out” program, is dead. The Center for Copyright Information killed it while maintaining it was a success. Which, given the amount of piracy that’s still happening, sounds more like wishful thinking than the truth.
After years of flailing around trying to gently persuade people not to pirate stuff, various industry bodies and ISPs teamed up to form the Center for Copyright Information. Its job was to educate the general public about copyright laws, and why downloading the latest Nickelback album without paying for it was wrong. I mean besides the fact that Nickelback are terrible.
The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) duly invented the Copyright Alert System (CAS). ISPs would send out up to six warning letters to users suspected of downloading copyrighted content. The first two letters were meant to be educational, the next two required a response, and the last two meant users could have their internet speeds throttled or accounts terminated.
CAS was rolled out in February 2013, with support from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and various ISPs. And now, after four years of no one really taking any notice of these warnings, CAS is no more.
Six Strikes and You’re… OK
The CCI issued a statement suggesting that CAS “demonstrated that real progress is possible when content creators, Internet innovators and consumer advocates come together in a collaborative and consensus-driven process”. Furthermore, CAS “succeeded in educating many people about the availability of legal content, as well as about issues associated with online infringement”.
If it was such a success then why kill it? Could it be because in the four years CAS was operational, no one faced any serious consequences for their actions? It appears plenty of people received six strikes, and then… nothing. They weren’t cut off, they weren’t sued, and they weren’t arrested. So they just carried on pirating anything and everything they could.
Pirates Are Going to Pirate
Surprisingly, CCI has killed CAS without any plans to replace it with a more robust system that may actually work. Which suggests that the RIAA, MPAA, and their clients are admitting defeat on piracy. Have they finally realized that pirates are going to pirate, and there’s very little anyone can do about that?
In the end whether you download copyrighted content or not comes down to your own personal morals. We’re against piracy here at MakeUseOf, and we believe there’s really no justification for piracy these days. However, nothing we say will change anyone’s opinion on the issue.
Did you ever receive a warning letter from your ISP regarding piracy? How many strikes did you notch up? Did the warning(s) change your behavior? Or your attitude to piracy? What effect do you think it had on attitudes overall? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Funk Dooby via Flickr