Controversial Anti-Piracy Program Delayed

Dennis Faas's picture

The first program designed to crack down on copyright infringement among American web users has had its launch date delayed. Those behind the program say the effects of Hurricane Sandy have made the delay necessary.

The program's development is being overseen by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), a partnership of major music and movie producers and five of the United States' largest Internet providers.

Together, they believe they can reduce online piracy without relying on government legislation.

Some content producers, particularly those in the adult entertainment industry, still use the United States' legal system to pursue individuals who infringe on their copyrights.

In contrast, the CCI believes it can best help reduce piracy by educating people on the subject rather than taking them to court.

Several countries utilize piracy control systems whereby people suspected of such activity receive formal warnings. If they are accused too many times, their Internet access can be disabled.

Such laws are highly controversial, however. Critics question whether it's right to take such action without proving infringement in court, and whether losing Internet access is a reasonable punishment for all pirates.

Six Warnings, Not Three Strikes

The CCI system will work differently. Alleged offenders will receive a total of six warnings, with the later ones being more severe. Actions to be taken if a user persists after the sixth warning will be up to his or her Internet provider.

Some filesharing experts believe this educational / remedial program won't have much effect on hardcore pirates. Instead, they suggest the planned CCI program is more likely to deter only people who occasionally download a pirated movie or music file. (Source:

Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Testing

The CCI now says the program's introduction has been delayed because of "unexpected factors largely stemming from Hurricane Sandy which have seriously affected our final testing schedules."

As a result, the first warning letters from the new system won't go out until early 2013. The CCI said that "we need to be sure that all of our 'Is' are dotted and 'Ts' crossed before any company begins sending alerts." (Source:

Extended testing may also include adding measures to make sure officials are certain they have the right person when sending out their warnings.

In previous cases, judges have questioned the way firms have tried to prove a particular individual was responsible for downloading a copyrighted file.

Thanks to the impending delay, Internet providers will also have more time to make plans for how they wish to deal with any of their subscribers who ignore the CCI's six warnings.

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