Now the Internet Service Providers in the U.S. are playing “Big Brother Online” with their customers by monitoring the flow of information on their PC under the claim that they are trying to prevent copyright infringements. It been long time coming, the copyright surveillance machine is now here and it is called Copyright Alert System (CAS).
This alert system is an agreement between big Internet Service Providers and big content producers to monitor peer to peer networks to make sure those allegedly infringing copyright laws are targeted. Those targeted will be sent “educational” alert or worse their internet speed might be slowed down as warning.
With this new system in place, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) has revamped its website as it is going to administer this program. The revamped website has been designed to help educate internet users about copyright and how the system works. But according to Corynne McSherry of infowars, there are warning signs showing that this campaign is not going to do well.
On the site it is explained that before any “educational” alert is sent to any internet subscriber, it is ensured through a rigorous process that the content identified is indeed protected by copyright laws and the alert will only be sent to the infringing subscriber.
McSherry of infowars added that in reality there is no law making sharing of copyrighted content illegal. It could be the way that content is used that may be illegal but not the sharing of it. For that matter it would be necessary to have a truly independent entity that will vet a process that will go through a public review.
Aside that, there are statements on the website that seem to discourage sharing of Wi-Fi. For example CCI encourages internet users to secure their network if they receive notifications of Copyright infringement. We all know how open wireless has turned out to be really useful to the public. Now the CCI is undermining the open Wi-Fi movement. But according to CCI internet subscribers are to make sure that nobody downloads copyrighted content from their network. According to the article on infowars, this implies that every average user is now forced to turn himself into some sort of online police to make sure that none of the people with whom he might share his network downloads anything infringing copyright laws.
On the CCI website one can see another bold statement addressed to students and teens claiming that whenever they create something like a song, a poem or story, they own it and that implies no one else can use it if the permission is not asked first. That is not accurate. Under the fair use doctrine people are free to use the work of others in a variety of way and that is what fosters creativity and innovation.
To McSherry, it is equally worrisome that the CCI sites directs users to the Copyright Alliance for them to read more about the history of copyright. Let’s not forget the the Copyright Alliance was a leader in the battle to pass SOPA.
It is quite disappointing that big Internet Service providers are taking part in this deal: Cablevision, Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T. So from today on whenever you subscribe to those network bear in mind that you are accepting to be monitored online.
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