Yesterday, the Copyright Alert System was launched in America. If you’re a normal person and consume your music via Spotify, Pandora, YouTube or sites like this one, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And even if you still illegally download music, you don’t have that much to worry about yet, but consider yourself on notice. Launched by the Center for Copyright Information and its record label and movie studio partners, the system seems a lot less harsh and more reasonable than the RIAA suing its customers or Nuclear Blast going after All Shall Perish fans via a third party.
The way the Copyright Alert System works is that content owners (aka the labels) can send infringement notices to offenders via their Internet Service Providers (ISP), with AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon on board. The first notice someone gets will be just that, a notice stating that they’ve been found downloading copyrighted material. A subsequent offense will require the infringer to acknowledge receipt of the notices. If you continue to infringe, you might have to watch an educational video or your internet service may be slowed. It’s not a “three strikes” program, which means if you, for example, have your internet slowed for a few days and don’t download anything illegally, it’ll eventually return to normal.
The Copyright Alert System won’t do anything to persecute you. There are no criminal penalties or fines for any of this. However, according to the Daily Dot, the content companies may try to sue you as a serial pirate after you’ve been cited six times or more. And that definitely seems like something that could be used against you in court. With all the ways to listen to music for free, it’s hard to imagine that there’s still that much file sharing going on. This likely has more implications for people that illegally download movies or TV shows.