Internet Providers To Begin Warning Customers Who Download Illegally

A new type of alert system is being rolled out by AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon which, they are hoping, is going to severely cut down on people who illegally download television shows, movies, and music. The Copyright Alert System was announced last July after four years of development, according to CNN. The system will repeatedly warn users that they are violating copyrights and in the future possibly meet out punishment.

If you use one of the providers listed above and try to illegally download, you will see the warnings start to arrive in less than two months. The ISP’s are going to provide the warnings, but they are going to let the holders of the copyrights pursue the legal means to shut down illegal downloaders.

The system uses a service called MarkMonitor, which combines humans and automated algorithms to detect illegal downloading. The system will make note of the IP addresses of the violators and then send them over to the ISP for verification of ownership and a warning will be sent.

The warnings will start out light, warning the user that they are engaging in illegal behavior and that they should use legal sites to get their content. The warning will include tips on how to legally download content. They will also offer tips on how to properly secure an internet connection so that wireless connections can’t be used by friends and neighbors.

The entire system will be overseen by an organization called the Center for Copyright Information, which includes content owners, such as the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America, as well as individual members including Disney, Sony Pictures, Fox, EMI, and Universal.

The CCI said in its announcement today:

“The progressive series of alerts is designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again.”

After the user has received a few warnings, they will start to be punished, either being forced to read a long brochure against illegal downloads or have their connection bogged down so it takes a long time to download large files.

The ISP’s say that terminating service will not be a punishment.

A customer has the option to appeal the warning if they feel they are being wrongly accused, but the review will cost $35 dollars.