Copyright Alert System Launches Monday, Will Punish Internet Piracy With No Initial Oversight

Five ISPs will launch the Copyright Alert System (CAS) on Monday. The new service is a digital piracy platform that monitors for internet users who even “casually” pirate material while punishing those users for their infringements.

The five participating ISPs to initially enroll in CAS includeAT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon.

Comcast will be the first to launch the program on Monday with the other ISPs rolling out the privacy breaching software throughout the week.

While ISPs and government officials have called the Copyright Alert System nothing more than an “educational” service, critics have attack it for being a corporate interest platform meant to stifle internet advances.

An ISP is not required to cut off internet access completely to infringing parties (a practice observed in New Zealand and France); however, they will punish users. For example, Comcast could limit a user’s internet speeds upon a single infraction. By cutting down internet speeds, ISPs save on data infrastructure costs while punishing users. Infringing parties could also be forced to read materials and watch videos before their internet access to fully restored.

In the most troubling sign for the program, the system’s executive director has promised to hire an outside consultant to monitor the system and examine how it flags content. The outside auditor has not been hired at this time, raising huge concerns over the program’s reach and flexibility.

The Copyright Alert System has been marred by repeated internal conflicts, which initially pushed its launch from November to the end of February.

In a laughable attempt to showcase the system’s merits, CAS officials released a video in which a female announcer explains the system over a slow jazz tune:

Are you worried about how the Copyright Alert System will be implemented, especially with no initial oversight from outside auditors?