Under the US Copyright Alert System (CAS) brought into force in February 2013, participating ISPs (AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon) provide a ‘graduated response’ to offenders when notified of a wrongdoing. Initially this is a warning, which after up to six warnings (hence the poplar term ‘six-strikes policy’) leads to the implementation of ‘mitigation measures’, such as restricting which websites can visited, or throttling internet speeds.
The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) is the body which overseas CAS, and it yesterday published a report, which it views as a vindication of the system, arguing that the figures show the six strikes scheme is working.
‘We believe that our internal and external research into the impact of the CAS shows great promise in our ability to “move the needle” of user behavior in the U.S. away from copyright infringement and toward the use of the many legal sources of content available in today’s digital marketplace.’
The report shows that of 722,820 account holders who received an initial warning, only 37,456 (8 percent) persisted to the point where ‘mitigation measures’ were considers appropriate (i.e. reached six strikes).
We are very dubious about these figures however, as the recent growth in SSL encrypted traffic suggests that many US downloaders are using services such VPN to hide their real IP addresses when P2P downloading.
The report does however contain a few interesting nuggets of information, such as that most (63 percent) of those who disputed the accusation of copyright infringement and took the matter up with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for review, used unauthorised account use as their defence.
Also interesting is that,
‘The Alert/s and applicable Mitigation Measures were upheld in 77% of the cases. In the remaining cases, 18% were settled in favor of the subscriber based primarily on the demonstration that his or her account had been used without authorization.’
While, as the report suggests, the increasing availability of easy-to-use legal means to consume media content may account for a reduction in piracy, we also think that many internet users are jest better an evading detection.