- Trump admin celebrates Michelle Obama’s birthday by proposing rollback of her signature initiative Today 4:01 PM
- TSA apologizes after agent grabs indigenous woman’s braids, says ‘giddyup’ Today 3:28 PM
- Blue Bell ice cream licker pleads guilty Today 2:54 PM
- 7 fortune-telling sites for when you’re bored Today 2:21 PM
- Governor bans sex puns on free condom wrappers Today 2:16 PM
- Is Justin Bieber’s ‘Yummy’ video secretly about Pizzagate? Today 1:01 PM
- Woah Vicky rips out her hair in botched cultural appropriation attempt Today 12:30 PM
- Here’s an exclusive look at ‘Weathering With You’ Today 11:57 AM
- TikTok dudes are dipping their balls in soy sauce for ‘science’ Today 11:49 AM
- Pete Buttigieg’s denial of fixing bread prices becomes its own meme Today 11:10 AM
- Houston Astros get torched with buzzer memes after new revelation Today 10:41 AM
- Teens are eating cereal out of each other’s mouths for clout Today 10:34 AM
- Did Martha McSally plan her ‘liberal hack’ viral moment? Today 10:32 AM
- Trump adds Jeffrey Epstein’s old attorney to impeachment team Today 10:03 AM
- YouTube star Cameron Dallas gets scathing reviews for his Broadway debut Today 9:58 AM
Comcast may take the copyright alert system into its own hands
Comcast, which owns Universal and NBC, is considering using browser popups to sell pirates on their goods legally.
What if, when caught downloading movies or music online, you weren’t reprimanded? And instead, your service provider redirected you to a place where you could buy that same content legally?
Currently, Comcast, along with the other four biggest Internet service providers in the U.S., is part of the “Six Strikes” program, formally known as the Copyright Alert System (CAS). Under it, users who are thought to be uploading content on a program like BitTorrent receive an escalating series of warnings. By their fifth and sixth one, they face various punishments, including temporary slowing or suspension of their service.
Comcast’s proposed system would seem to overlap quite a bit with the CAS, and possibly conflict with it. But they’re completely separate entities. Jill Lesser, who runs the CAS program through a corporate advocacy group called the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), told the Daily Dot in a statement that “the new Comcast anti-piracy program is not something that was developed through the CCI but we support efforts that further CCI’s mission.”
Lesser added that her organization: “supports efforts to address the important issue of online piracy through programs that are consistent with our core principles of building user awareness about copyright infringement and promoting user education about ways to find and enjoy copyrighted content legally.”
As Ars Technica notes, Comcast, unlike most ISPs, owns several major media outlets, including Universal Pictures and NBC. Presumably, it would have an easier time, and more motivation, to turn potential pirates into paying customers.
Variety reports that this proposed system, like the CAS, will be fully automated and will identify purported pirates by their Internet protocol (IP) addresses. But unlike the CAS, Comcast’s plan would work in real time. Users would see a pop-up message that notices they appear to be pirating files and offers links to get that material legally.
The CAS has received a host of criticism. Its implementation was repeatedly delayed, and its own board members have cited member organizations as not earning the public’s trust. Most damningly, its system to audit itself against falsely flagging innocent users was actually created by a firm that used to lobby for the record industry, which heavily pushed to get the CAS created in the first place.
Susan Jin Davis, Comcast Vice President of Communications (or a remarkably thorough impersonation of her) commented on the Variety story that the CAS “is an effective umbrella approach to address piracy, but we’re open to looking at a variety of ways to address piracy”
Davis, or her weirdly thorough impersonator, added that “Should we decide to go forward with this program, we view it as complementary.”
The confirmed-real Davis didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s calls to her work and cell phones to confirm her online identity.
Illustration by Jason Reed
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.