My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecom Providers and Copyright Alert System - Pirates on Stranger Tides experience Pain au chocolat

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Telecom Providers and Copyright Alert System - Pirates on Stranger Tides experience Pain au chocolat

Men, my brothers, men, the workers, ever reaping something new;
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do

Tennyson, Locksley Hall

I have seen stranger News than this, but in my book, this is not only unexpected News but totally caught me off guard. Initially when I read it, I had to do a double take: isn’t this a breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as First Amendment Rights?

But alas it is not. It's the young ‘uns being given fair warning before being banned for life from the Internet, while the American Government seeks to organize the Internet in order to impose Sales Taxes on Online purchases.
The News in question: Triple Play Provider Comcast, Triple Play Provider Time Warner, Telecom Provider AT&T and Telecom Provider Verizon have now signed a pact called the Copyright Alert System to effectively disconnect Copyright infringers as stated in the article “Top ISPs agree to become Copyright cops”, published JULY 7, 2011 8:39 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick.

This after they have committed six (6) distinct infringements of Copyright as detailed in the article “ISPs join the Copyright fight, put broadband on the line”, published July 7, 2011, 10:42am PT By Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM. This is effectively a six (6) strike rule, at which point the owner of the copyrighted material comes into the picture and may request that the Broadband Internet subscriber’s connection be disconnected.

And it has a hint of French too, Pain au chocolat (2000) style, which translated literally mean “Chocolate Pain” as I shall explain further on.

Their joint statement says it all, quote: “Leaders from the movie, television, music and Internet service provider communities today announced a landmark agreement on a common framework for 'Copyright Alerts. [Copyright Alerts] will educate and notify Internet subscribers when their Internet service accounts possibly are being misused for online content theft. This voluntary landmark collaboration will educate subscribers about content theft on their Internet accounts, benefiting consumers and Copyright holders alike”.

To be clear, the six (6) strikes as quoted from Stacey Higginbotham article ad verbatim are as follows:

  1. First Alert: You get an email saying there’s a problem with your account or a user of your account and some educational materials about Copyright infringement.
  2. Second Alert: Another email with educational information and the ISP may escalate you straight to the third alert.
  3. Third Alert: An email that will force the user to click-through to acknowledge that he has received the emails noting the Copyright problems.
  4. Fourth Alert: The subscriber gets another email that forces him to acknowledge that the ISP has flagged the account for Copyright abuse.
  5. Fifth Alert: This is where the ISP can start taking “mitigation measures” that are “reasonably calculated to stop future content theft.” Those include reducing broadband speeds or forcing the consumer to a landing page that directs the user to call the ISP to discuss the content theft. It cannot include disrupting a person’s voice or email connectivity. The ISP doesn’t have to implement any of these.
  6. Sixth Alert: Now the ISP must take some kind of mitigation measure described above. The ISP doesn’t have to cut off service but they could, or the Copyright owner could try to force them to.
Good to note here that this was not without prior warning, as CNET Editor Greg Sandoval had raise the alarm a month prior in his article “Exclusive: Top ISPs poised to adopt graduated response to piracy”, published JUNE 22, 2011 5:27 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) statement, however tows the US Government’s line, quote: “Today’s announcement of a voluntary, cooperative effort to combat online Copyright infringement is a positive development. As the Commission has recognized, Copyright infringement has serious adverse consequences for the economy, and efforts to address this issue can and must co-exist with robust protections for Internet freedom and openness. We look forward to the recommendations of the organization that will be created as part of this effort.”

As before, the News was unexpected and incredibly hard to believe at first, as I thought it was a prank. I would have never expected Telecoms Providers and Triple Play Providers to actually care about what is being uploaded and downloaded over their “dumb pipes”.

Not in a million years!!

Telecoms Providers and Triple Play Providers are in the business of providing access, not regulating content. This News means that they have effectively become enforcers, whether they like that label or not as the article “Should you fear new ISP Copyright enforcers?”, published JULY 7, 2011 1:31 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick.

I knew of the US Government’s efforts to clamp down on Copyright infringements, having made note of the connection to Copyright Piracy and College Students, mostly Millennials [ages 18 to 28] as stated in my blog article entitled ‘UWI and Piracy - The Real Pirate Bay” and the article “UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken”. And for the better too, as it shows that they do have a conscience as it relates to Copyright Infringement of the stakeholders represented by the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association).

A good turn of coat, after their initial resistance to the idea of policing subscriber traffic as stated in the article “One ISP says RIAA must pay for piracy protection”, published DECEMBER 22, 2008 4:00 AM PST by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick and the article “AT&T exec: ISP will never terminate service on RIAA's word”, published MARCH 25, 2009 3:15 PM PDT, by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick.

Maybe it has something to do with the brouhaha that came out of the ISP subpoenas brought to bear against ISP’s by Voltage Pictures, the Producers of the Oscar winning movie The Hurt Locker (2008) as stated in the article “Another ISP bucks 'Hurt Locker' subpoenas”, published AUGUST 27, 2010 3:53 PM PDT AUGUST 27, 2010 3:53 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Media Maverick.

In the past, their concern has only shown itself when people exhibit behavior typical of Data Hogs i.e. constant downloading of large volumes of movies, which affects the user experience of other Internet Broadband users. When pressure was placed on them, they become turncoats.

Threats of more ensuing lawsuits that they might clearly lose would had had a negative fallout on their future customers, Millennials, who may shy away from their services, claiming Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as First Amendment Rights breaches.

So Telecoms Providers and Triple Play Providers chose the middle-ground, not wanting to lose their biggest partners, the claimants represented by the RIAA and the MPAA. But they strike a stake in the ground by putting the Data Hogs….I mean the young un’s on point as to the fact that, plain and simple, they are no way breaching their perceived rights.

Just informing them in six (6) easy steps that DOWNLOADING COPYRIGHT INFRINGING MATERIAL IS WRONG!

But what of my Pain au chocolat (2000) comment? Oh la la.

US Telecoms Providers and Triple Play Providers voluntary implementation of this Copyright Alert System may inspiration from the French as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digital Video and Music Piracy – A Land grab for Taxes on the Internet” as well as my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Piracy - After the Fox and the French Connection”.

If these events and my past blog posts are anything to go by, similar action may be taken by Local Reggae and Dancehall Artiste against Telecom Providers and Triple Play Providers here in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean in a bid to recover revenue lost due to Digital Video and Music Piracy as hinted in my blog article entitled “LTE vs WiMax 4G - Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors”.

This as Telecom Providers and Triple Play Providers are now on an expansionist move as my blog article entitled “LIME and American Tourist Data Avalanche - The US$80 Million Dollar CannonBall Run” and my Geezam blog article entitled “LIME, Digicel and FLOW – Leading the Global 4G Adoption Curve”.

All of this, truth be told, may be a play for votes come US Presidential Elections in 2012AD, the other big ticket event than the London Olympics 2012 in July 27th 2012AD.

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