The Rules Have Changed

by fmhilton

Remember back when the Internet used to be free-wheeling and rather anarchic?

Remember when you could go on You Tube and find all kinds of music videos? Or perhaps another site where you’d find movies to view? (I’m not endorsing piracy, by the way…just commenting on it.)

Ah, the good old days.

They’re gone, now.

Very soon if you have AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon, your usage of their bandwidth will be heavily regulated and monitored. It’s called The Copyrights Alert System, and it’s designed to keep you from illegally sharing files.

If they suspect you have been (according to them) illegally downloading any kind of protected music or movie, these are the steps that they will do:

How does it work?

It’s an automated “graduated response” system, meaning it slowly ramps up your punishments each time it thinks you’re pirating files. The first two times, you just receive an email and a voicemail saying you’ve been caught. The third and fourth times, you’re redirected to some “educational” material, and you’ll have to click that you understood it. The fifth and sixth times, it gets serious: Your Internet connection can be slowed to a crawl for a few days.

Then you graduate from the system, or so you think-until this happens:
Then, well, you’ve “graduated” from the system. No more alerts. Congrats! The CAS won’t hamper you any more. Except the content companies might now try to sue you as a serial pirate. And the fact that you’ve been cited six times already for copyright infringement will likely be used in court against you.

Yes indeed. You’re a suspected pirate by their lights. You pay your Internet provider to finger you as a suspect, then they have the right to do all of the above to you without court orders, because this system is not even government approved:

Is this a new law?

Nope. This whole operation is a private agreement, created and controlled by the corporations involved.

I won’t even mention the possibility that you might get ‘false-flagged’ by the system, or how they’re going to deal with those who have been.

It can be expensive, and while it seems to be a good deal for the companies involved, that does not mean they’re going to actually be able to encourage this. Who the hell wants to have an Internet provider who suspects any time they’re on-line to be pirating something? Who needs your ISP to rat you out?

I don’t know of anyone who would-but the only way out of this trap is to get another ISP and one that is not connected in any manner to those 5 providers.

You can bet your bottom dollar as well that these providers were heavily funded and directed to do this by two other entities: RIAA and MPAA, who have undoubtedly huge stakes in all of the providers. This is a system that is rigged against you from the minute you log onto a potential file-sharing site until you leave.

So, be careful out there-it’s getting very nasty. The free spirit of the internet is gone, replaced with being controlled by corporations that don’t have any legal sanction to do this.

“What about the FCC? Don’t they care about this?”

The FCC couldn’t care less. They probably agreed to look the other way, because they don’t have control over the internet, and even if they did, the big corporations would make sure that they stay out of the fight.

Let’s put it as nicely as possible: The government doesn’t care. The courts gave corporations the right to do anything they want, and believe me, they’re doing it.

This is the result. Sure, SOPA didn’t pass, and a lot of other laws didn’t either in its’ wake-but that doesn’t mean the problem went away.

Just that it’s now in the hands of the people who wanted those laws so badly in the first place. They didn’t get what they wanted from the government, so they created their own laws.

Isn’t democracy nice?