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Old 01-05-12, 22:35   #1
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Default Comcast Praises Voluntary BitTorrent Crackdown Agreement

Comcast Praises Voluntary BitTorrent Crackdown Agreement
by Ernesto

Starting this summer millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be tracked as part of a voluntary agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all the major ISPs. Those who are caught sharing copyrighted works will receive several warning messages and eventual punishment if they continue to infringe. Commenting on the plans, Comcast Vice President Gerard Lewis praised the cooperation as a good model that safeguards privacy, while educating the public.

gerardLast week the Creative Coalition Campaign hosted a conference on anti-piracy measures.

One of the key speakers at the event was Gerard Lewis, Vice President of Internet provider Comcast, who informed participants about the upcoming copyright alerts system that will become active in three months.

The system will be managed by the Center for Copyright Information, and is the result of a voluntary agreement between copyright holders and all major ISPs that was signed last summer.

Under the agreement a third-party company will collect the IP-addresses of alleged infringers on BitTorrent and other public file-sharing networks. The ISPs will then notify these offenders and tell them that their behavior is unacceptable. After six warnings the ISP may then take a variety of repressive measures, which includes the option to cut off the offender’s connection temporarily.

In his talk Comcast’s Vice President explained that the “six-strikes” system is needed because the DMCA law doesn’t work well for P2P infringements. Instead, the copyright holders and ISPs needed a more flexible approach, which culminated in the copyright alerts system and a historic memorandum of understanding.

Lewis went on to emphasize that the deal safeguards the privacy of subscribers, as copyright holders don’t get the personal details of alleged pirates. The warnings are mostly educational, informative, and point people to sources where they can download content legally. Additionally, Lewis said it’s important that the repressive measures don’t disrupt vital services such as phone calls.

He further noted that while ISPs are now playing a valuable role, more anti-piracy work can be done with other parties. Payment processors and search engines could be around the table as well according to Comcast’s Vice President.

Overall, Lewis said that a flexible and voluntary agreement is a good model to follow, but that they are still learning as the system is being rolled out. The effectiveness of the copyright alerts system remains to be seen.

In France a three-strikes warning system is mandated by the Hadopi law, and at the conference Marie-Françoise Marais of the Hadopi office shared some new statistics. Since the law was implemented late 2010 a total of 970,000 warnings have been sent out. 88,600 alleged infringers received a second warning and 270 are on their third strike.

The last group risks a 1,500 euro fine and Internet disconnection of up to a month, should a judge agree.

Marais used the above statistics to argue that relatively few people continue downloading copyrighted material after being warned. But, she also noted that it doesn’t always work, as one person begged to download one more episode of the US TV-show “24.”

The impact of the US “six-strikes” version will become apparent in the months to come.

While Comcast and the other partners are confident that alerts are an effective and reasonable way to deter online piracy, others have their doubts. For one, the monitoring system is relatively easy to bypass through a proxy or VPN.

Secondly, the multi-million dollar plan only covers a few of the many sources of online piracy. The millions of U.S. Internet users who download via cyberlockers and streaming portals are not affected by this agreement at all, as these downloads are impossible for third parties to track legally.

How ‘reasonable’ the “six-strikes” system turns out to be largely depends on what punishments Internet providers intend to hand out. Needless to say, a temporary reduction in bandwidth is less severe than cutting people’s Internet access. More details on this are expected to come out in the near future.

My my, what they leave out. Comcast has other fish in the fire on this one. It's no wonder they support this draconion idea. You see, Comcast owns 51% of NBC Universal Media, formerly known as NBC Universal, Inc. Yeah, the one that makes movies.

Universal is a conglomerate that also owns MCA (Music Corporation of America and Vivendi.

Voluntary was about as willing as holding a gun to someone's head for the ISPs. They didn't have much choice. The Obama administration said do it or we'll make a law.

No wonder the troglodytes want to support it. They are seeing dollar signs in their eyes. Won't do 'em much good though.

You see to start off with, they won't be looking at cyberlockers because that is much harder to prove. They'll be looking at torrents and p2p traffic. Cyberlockers are pretty much one way traffic with the exception of packets for error correction. It doesn't resemble file sharing traffic.

Hadopi, the French version of 3 strikes has been at it a year now. The copywrong forces that pushed it in place have been tooting what a big success it is while hiding a lot of stuff that shows it isn't what they had hoped for. One particularly telling piece of evidence, is that if piracy was the reason for poor sales then ending it would increase music sales. That hasn't happened. Instead, music sales to major labels has went down since the start of Hadopi, indicating it is not piracy that is the problem.

Sweden which is the home of The Pirate Bay has updated it's spying programs to detect file sharing and providing tougher laws against it. As a result, VPN service usage has increased 40%. VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates an encrypted tunnel between the service and the user. That hides the users originating IP and prevents the ISP from knowing exactly what is passing through it's lines. You can't enforce infringement without identification.

This law coming into effect has some serious problems with it. The first is it is based on accusation, not on proof. The next is that until the last two accusations, the customer can't fight it; it's one way blame with no way to prevent false accusations. The first 4 get chalked up to you, with out a method to say they are wrong.

It's gonna cost you to fight it. $35 a claim. If they are wrong, you don't get the money back. You are allowed to claim one time that someone wardrived you. What you can not do is claim public domain. You don't get to explain, you only get to pick from different pre-made defenses. Public domain, open source, and freeware, are not part of them.

All through these copyright enforcement laws, none have ever dealt with public domain, the reason that copyright laws exist. All copyrighted material must return to public domain, "with in a limited time frame".

The article notes that ISPs are playing a valuable role. Well to him I guess it is, they're paying for it.

Proxies and VPN is fixing to see a surge in use avoiding the copyright stalkers. Again showing that the copyright forces really haven't come up to speed yet with the internet generation.

In the end, this will have little effect against file sharing other than by the clueless.

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