One Year Later, Copyright Alert System Still Hasn't Broken The Internet

by Juan Carlos Melendez-Torres, Policy Intern

On 28 May, 2014, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) released their report on the Copyright Alert System’s (CAS) first ten months of activity. In direct contrast to the apocalyptic visions conjured up by opponents of the system, privacy wasn’t compromised, the free web didn’t implode and the alert system essentially self-corrected. Echoing the words of our own Casey Rae in Billboard a year ago, the internet didn’t break:

“At this point, many of us are looking for a positive outcome after the contentious battle that was SOPA. For music companies, getting intermediaries like ISPs to take on some responsibilities in addressing user behavior is probably more cost effective and less brand-damaging than other enforcement tactics. For musicians, it comes down to whether the policy helps protect their rights without compromising what they find useful about the internet. With CAS, we’ll probably have to wait-and-see.”

In fact, the system seems to have had some impact on infringement without taking an overly punitive approach.  We’ve waited for over a year now to see results, and it looks as if CAS might actually be working, though success remains a matter of definition. For example, a decrease in piracy may also have a lot to do with an increase in legitimate services where convenience and attractive price points converge. On the other hand, the “educational” focus of CAS may play a role in driving users to licensed platforms.

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