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Center for Copyright Information is consumer hostile - Alan De Smet [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Alan De Smet

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Center for Copyright Information is consumer hostile [Apr. 4th, 2012|08:06 pm]
Alan De Smet

So the Center for Copyright Information is buying Twitter ads. Probably a good start, since if you're going to selling leeches as medical care you better have a good marketing campaign.

I checked out their site and quickly found a variety of things to anger up the blood. Some highlights follow. This isn't terribly well organized and is just ranting; the Electronic Frontiers Foundation has a more formal, more carefully researched response to the CCI.

From "From Where I Sit" (Backup link), the page their Twitter ad links to:

Last July, I learned that after two years of negotiation the nation’s largest content companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which they planned to educate consumers about ways to enjoy content legally and avoid the pitfalls of illegal content distribution.


I was intrigued because, despite their divergent interests, these parties were working hard to build a multi-stakeholder solution that would address the needs of consumers and content owners alike, while avoiding government intervention.

If this is designed to address the needs of consumers and content owners alike, why weren't consumers at the negotiating table for these last two years. Also, how do the nation's largest content companies have "divergent interests?" They all pretty much want the same thing: the most draconian copyright laws they can get. Negotiating didn't take two years because they disagreed, it took two years to figure out what they could get away with.

From "Frequently Asked Questions" (Backup link):

The alerts will also inform consumers of the potential dangers of illegal file sharing, including their increased risk of exposure to computer viruses, spyware and other malware, and identity theft.

You know what has pretty much the exact same risk? Browsing the web. Apparently CCI is taking plays from the conservative anti-sex anti-abortion playbook, implying that rare events represent serious threats and demanding abstinence where simple protections are highly effective.

These alerts will be similar to current credit card fraud alerts. Today, when fraud is detected on a consumer’s credit card account, the credit card company notifies the consumer by an email, a text message or a phone call. Like credit card fraud alerts, Copyright Alerts are intended to be educational for consumers.

A credit card fraud alert is hardly "educational." By that standard your car alarm going off is "educational." Copyright alerts are threats.

Under this system copyright holders will notify a participating ISP when they believe their copyrights are being misused online by a specific computer (identified by its Internet Protocol (“IP”) address which indicates the connection to the Internet).

An IP address identifies a specific computer in much the same way that a street address to a building identifies a specific person inside. Sure, maybe only one person lives there, but it could be shared by several people. Heck an entire apartment building with hundreds of occupants might be sharing a street address and an IP address.

Alerts will be non-punitive but progressive in scale. ... For subscribers who repeatedly fail to respond to alerts, the alerts will inform them of steps that will be taken to mitigate the ongoing distribution of copyrighted content.


Once a consumer has failed to respond, mitigation measures might include temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to educational information about copyright, or other measures that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter. These steps will only be taken after multiple alerts and a failure by the subscriber to respond. This system consists of 4-6 alerts, at the discretion of each ISP.

It's non-punitive, they may just cut off your ability to browse the web.

Also, who is paying for your internet service? Is it the CCI? I doubt it. No, you do. So why can the CCI have your service restricted? There is no legal obligation from internet service providers to do this. Any ISP that agrees to this has decided that a third party is more important than their very own customers.

...some subscribers may not realize that their home network is insufficiently secured, so facilitating neighbors or other unauthorized users to access it and use it for these purposes.

The CCI has essentially declared having an open wireless network (which is legal and very convenient for guests) can get your internet crippled.

No. This alert system does not, in any circumstance, require the ISP to terminate a subscriber account. This alert system is intended to notify and educate the subscriber.

If the goal is just to notify and educate, why the mitigation measures. Are you saying that I can simply call the ISP, say, "Yup, I know what's going on and don't care" and they'll turn off the internet restrictions? HA!

Before a Mitigation Measure is imposed, a subscriber may request independent review. To request an independent review, there is a $35 filing fee, which is waivable by the independent review body. This is a non-exclusive procedure, and any subscriber may choose to challenge any action in a court of law.

If you feel you've been unfairly or unreasonably targetted, don't worry about it, you can just spend more money to get the internet service you thought you were paying for in the first place.

Since most subscribers do not download or upload pirated content, the vast majority of subscribers likely will never see a Copyright Alert.


This might be true if you ignore the "download" part. It's actually a bit odd they mentioned it, since if you just download something with absolutely no uploads, you are simultaneously very hard to detect and even harder to sue; all of the file sharing lawsuits to date have been about uploading, not downloading.

But, anyway, if you've ever watched a video on YouTube that violated copyright, maybe a few minute clip a television show, that angry Hitler clip from Downfall, or been Rick'rolled congratulations, you've downloaded pirated content! Try to find someone who uses the internet who hasn't done any of those things.

19. Isn’t this just about ISPs trying to reduce online traffic?

No. The fastest-growing segment of web traffic is legal online content, and the CAS will encourage subscribers to experience it.

Notice what they didn't say that legal online content was the largest share of traffic, just that legal content is the fastest growing. It could very well be that 95.0% of all traffic is copyright infringement and that legal content is growing 0.5% a year, faster than anything else. That's an unlikely situation, but their avoidance of actual traffic numbers makes me suspicious.

20. Isn’t the distribution of copyrighted content driven by the fact that consumers can’t get legal movies and music online?

There are many legitimate options for consumers who want their movies, TV shows and music online and on the go.

So where exactly can I watch Game of Thrones again?. Kiss my ass.

In addition to exposure from violating copyright law and published policies, viruses, malware and spyware described above, the use of P2P applications can expose a consumer’s bank account numbers, tax returns, and sensitive health information to other P2P users.

Of course you can also expose that information to other people using applications like your email client or your web browser. In related news, I assume the CCI wants to ban automobiles, since their use can and does kill people.

From their front page (backup link):

Content Theft Costs America: More than 373,000 Jobs

Copyright infringement is so terrible absolutely nobody works in the content creation industries (jump to 2:52 in the video)

Content Theft Costs America:


  • Some $16 Billion in Lost Wages
  • $2.6 Billion in Lost Taxes

$2.6B in lost taxes. $16B in lost wages. So people working in the content industries pay about 16.25% in taxes. I wish my tax rate was that low.

From "The Facts About Copyright Infringement":

According to Congressional testimony, the number of hackers searching for sensitive records rose by nearly 60 percent in one year and, of the consumers who had inadvertently disclosed sensitive information over P2P networks, unauthorized third parties had accessed that information in nearly 87 percent of cases.

This is the equivalent to reporting that thieves checking for unlocked cars rose by 60% in one year, and that 87% of people who left their cars unlocked had things stolen from them. Sounds scary, but if only 0.00001% of people leave their cars unlocked, this is a non-problem.


Ultimately, if viruses, identity theft, and legal damages were serious threats, oneline copyright infringement would have dried up. The only reason the industry is so keen on the CCI is because the risks are incredibly low. The CCI isn't offering balance. They're don't care about helping consumers. The CCI wants to scare people. They want the ISP you pay for to work for them, not you. They want to stop people from legally sharing the internet service they pay for. The CCI is willing to conspire against you and spread falsehoods to accomplish this. That's not honest or ethical.


[User Picture]From: NomanIngme
2012-04-09 12:47 pm (UTC)
Very good, Alan. I for one was severely pissed off to find out that there had been "a cooperative dialogue among all interested parties," and apparently I wasn't invited. I've tried to start a dialogue with @Copyrightinfo, but they don't allow comments from the public at their site, and of three tweets sent they've deleted one, and so far have ignored the other two.

Jill Lesser, if you are reading this (and I'd bet you are the sort to have a google notification for new pages mentioning you), ignoring and silencing people is no way to start a dialogue. Don't follow the RIAA / MPAA playbook, wherein they harrassed and insulted the tech sector to the point that they made enemies out of Google and others, then after getting their asses handed to them on SOPA they humiliated themselves by begging the tech sector to come help them. I'm 40 years old, and I'm confident that I will live to see the abolishment of copyrights within my lifetime. The day will come when all you'll have left of your current business plan is the goodwill of the public. And how much goodwill be left for you on that day is something you are deciding right now.
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