WASHINGTON (AP) — Internet users who illegally share music, movies or television shows online could soon receive warning notices from the nation's five major Internet service providers.
The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software.
Under the new system, complaints will prompt an Internet service provider — such as Verizon or AT&T — to notify a customer whose Internet address has been detected sharing files illegally. A person will be given up to six opportunities to stop before the Internet provider will take more drastic steps, such as temporarily slowing their connection, or redirecting Internet traffic until they acknowledge they received a notice or review educational materials about copyright law.
Consumers who maintain they have been wrongly accused would be forced to pay $35 to appeal the decision. The fee would be reimbursed if they prevail.
Proponents say the focus is on deterring the average consumer rather than chronic violators. The director of the organization behind the system, Jill Lesser of the Center for Copyright Infringement, said in a blog post Monday that the program is "meant to educate rather than punish, and direct (users) to legal alternatives."