ISP piracy alert system now expecting early-2013 launch

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The rollout of a piracy alert system backed by several major internet service providers (ISPs) has been pushed back to early next year.  

On Wednesday, Jill Lesser, executive director of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), announced that the Copyright Alert System (CAS), which would punish users for repeated piracy offenses, was not ready to launch due to final testing schedule issues – apparently thrown off due to “factors largely stemming from Hurricane Sandy.”

Previously, CAS was expected to go into effect by the end of the year, with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon and AT&T among the participating ISPs. The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America were also expected to help enforce the system by representing content owners wishing to notify ISPs of copyright misuse.  

Under the alert system, which was announced in 2011 by CCI, a six-step notification process would ensue for customers downloading illegal content. Notices from ISPs would being with “educational alerts” and then progress to companies causing slower web surfing speeds. In some cases, users could be suspended.

In October, Time Warner Cable confirmed with SCMagazine.com that it may temporarily halt users' accounts under its version of the alert system.

Subscribers wishing to contest copyright infringement alleged by ISPs will have to pay a $35 filing fee, which would be waived if an independent review body dismisses the complaint, according to CCI.

Lesser made the announcement of the postponement in a Wednesday blog post, saying the center needed to adequately prepare before companies begin sending alerts to consumers.

“Our goal has always been to implement the program in a manner that educates consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, safeguards customer privacy, and provides an easy-to-use independent review program for consumers to challenge alerts they believe they've received in error,” she wrote.

Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesman, said in a Thursday email that the company would keep in line with plans to hold off on the new system.

“We have not introduced the CAS to our customers yet, but plan to do so in the near future,” Douglas told SCMagazine.com.

“It will be done transparently and in a similar fashion to how other ISPs have described their efforts.”

An AT&T spokeswoman also emailed that the company would follow timing set by the CCI. Time Warner Cable has not announced a launch date, according to a company spokesman.

Prior to the postponement, Verizon had planned to begin notifying customers by the end of November about the alert system, spokesman Ed McFadden said.

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