Verizon puts the brakes on copyright infringement


Verizon puts the brakes on copyright infringement

Verizon plans to reduce the Internet speeds of repeat copyright infringers under a series of anti-piracy measures leaked on January 11.

The US Internet service provider (ISP), which is part of an industry-led piracy crackdown set to launch later this month, will restrict connections for two to three days when it sends fifth and sixth warnings to alleged pirates.

Subscribers can agree to delay this punishment for up to 14 days, or ask the American Arbitration Association to review the validity of the initial notifications, which precede the fifth and sixth warnings, at a cost of $35. If subscribers win, they get their money back.

A Verizon spokesman confirmed to WIPR that the document was a “working draft that was neither final nor public. Verizon will be contacting our customers in the coming weeks to detail our copyright alert system”.

Under the leaked policy, the first and second alerts (email or voicemail) will notify subscribers that their accounts may have been used to infringe copyright. The alerts will offer advice on how to remove file-sharing software, if any exists.

After more alleged infringements, the third and fourth alerts will redirect the Internet user’s browser to a special web page for reviewing and acknowledging the alerts. The page will provide a video about the consequences of copyright infringement. Subscribers have to click a button to acknowledge the message before they can freely browse the Internet.

The reduction of Internet speeds following the receiving fifth and sixth warnings will be the final punishment.

Kristen McCallion, co-chair of the copyright group at Fish & Richardson in New York, said repeated alerts were a good wake-up call for people unaware of their involvement in piracy, and restricting Internet access would be annoying for them.

“It appears that the measures are certainly a step in the right direction and will be effective, at least to a certain extent.”

She said perhaps the most important aspect of the policy was that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which are part of the wider piracy crackdown, are likely to be able to obtain the IP addresses of the alleged downloaders.

“The ability to gain easy access to IP addresses will make it much easier for these associations to building databases of, at the very least, IP addresses that are associated with copyright infringement,” McCallion said.

Verizon, four other ISPs, the MPAA and RIAA joined together in September 2011 to tackle illegal file-sharing, agreeing to implement measures to warn and educate alleged pirates. The programme was supposed to launch in November last year but has been delayed until January. The remaining ISPs are Time Warner, Cablevision, AT&T and Comcast. According to some reports, AT&T may introduce measures such as temporarily blocking users’ Internet access.

This article was first published on 15 January 2013 in World IP Review

verizon, mpaa, riaa, time warner, at&t

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