A consortium of motion picture companies called The Internet Security Task Force (ISTS) is calling for American ISPs to abandon the “ineffective” Copyright Alert System (CAS), which sends up to six warnings to ISP users identified as sharing copyrighted works via BitTorrent and other means, before potentially taking sterner action against the end-user.
The CAS system was enacted in 2011 by the Center for Copyright Information following three years of initial research into an approach to online movie piracy, though it was not taken up by ISPs until 2013. ISTS claims that the system is ineffective, and cites a growth of 160% in piracy of movies, TV shows, software, video games and music over the last two years, and an assertion that such piracy accounts for 24% of global internet usage.
“We’ve always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective,” said Mark Gill, ISTF chairman and President of member company Millennium films “as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it’s a sham,”
In fact the ‘six strikes’ arrangement of CAS provides for rather sterner punishment, including bandwidth throttling on the customer, a downgrade in Internet Service Tier, or even redirection to a landing page until the customer contacts their ISP, or completes “an online copyright education program”.
The carriers participating in CAS are Cablevision, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Verizon FiOs, who in combination represent 71% of internet throughput in the United States.
Voltage CEO and ISTF member Nicolas Chartier says “These alarming numbers show that the CAS is little more than talking point utilized to suggest these five ISPs are doing something to combat piracy when in actuality, their customers are free to continue pirating content with absolutely no consequences,”
The ISTF has sent a letter to the primary participants in the voluntary CAS scheme asking that CAS be allowed to expire in July, and that it be replaced with more uncompromising measures based on Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act, which came into effect in January of this year. Under CCMA there is no limit on the number of notifications that must legally be forwarded to ‘offending’ ISP customers, which has led to a 69.6% reduction in infringements at Bell Canada, with Rogers, TekSavvy, Telus and Shaw all reporting notable reductions in piracy (or, theoretically, greater uptake of VPNs).
The incendiary acts behind the move appears to be the wide-spread pirating of 2014 action blockbuster The Expendables 3, about which Mark Gill comments that it “has been illegally viewed more than 60 million times, the CAS only allowed 0.3% of our infringement notices through to their customers. The other 99.7% of the time, the notices went in the trash,”