Internet Tech News

The Six Strikes Anti-Piracy Initiative Is Dead

Dave Parrack 31-01-2017

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 New Google Play Music Knows You Secretly Love Nickelback Google has given Google Play Music a bit of a makeover, and this one is more than skin deep. Machine learning means the new Google Play Music knows you better than you know yourself. Read More .

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 4 Reasons You Don't Need to Be a Pirate Anymore While some people are always going to pirate, for most, there is now less reason than ever to do so. Read More 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

Related topics: Copyright, ISP, Law, Software Piracy.

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  1. likefunbutnot
    February 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Now that he FCC in the USA is about to be turned directly over to telecom providers and media companies, I fully expect the replacement to be much more far-reaching and punitive. Make sure your international VPN has a kill switch, folks.

  2. Khubik
    February 1, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Pirating!!! ?

  3. Jon
    January 31, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Content creators and sellers need to recognize that digital media are like air, and nobody charges for air. If people can play nearly any song, movie, or TV show on one of the many streaming services for free or a cheap subscription that they pay for anyway, why in the world would they pay $10 or more, just so they can download it, play it once, and never play it again? Subscription services really are the best payment model right now, until someone comes up with a better one (Taylor Swift notwithstanding). People want endless choices in their content with the convenience of a single monthly subscription payment. Even software publishers have jumped on the subscription service bandwagon. The MPAA and RIAA just need to embrace it.

    • Phil N
      February 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Honestly I was recently looking to watch Battlestar Galactica (the new one) again and I looked all over Netflix, Prime Video, and FiOS On-demand with no luck.