Copyright Alert System is a Model for Voluntary Enforcement

February 25, 2013

WASHINGTON - (February 25, 2013) Digital piracy is a serious and widespread problem, which inhibits digital innovation and content development. The Copyright Alert System, which goes into effect this week, is a unique industry partnership that seeks to better inform the public on copyright use while reducing opportunities for theft.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which has long been a proponent of enhanced enforcement to address copyright infringement, praised the system as a model for addressing digital property rights without unduly inhibiting Internet use and innovation.

"Piracy enables the unauthorized distribution of music, movies, television programs, software and other content to the detriment of creative artists, legitimate rights holders and the digital economy as a whole," says Richard Bennett, Senior Research Fellow with ITIF. "The Copyright Alert System seeks to address the problem at its source by allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to directly inform their customers when they are using broadband networks for unlawful purposes."

The voluntary program, also referred to as "Six Strikes," is a cooperative effort between ISPs and content providers such as the Recording Industry Association of America. ISPs will inform users when they are unlawfully downloading copyrighted content and provide information on how to obtain content through legal means. Users who continue to utilize Internet services to download illegal material will get escalating warnings and following the sixth notice could face reduced network speeds or be blocked from using popular websites until they take an online training course.

ITIF does note that, while the Copyright Alert System is an important effort, this does not diminish the need for the U.S. government to pursue additional policies and enforcement actions to address digital piracy, including large-scale, cross-border piracy.


"As digital piracy continues to adapt to new file sharing services such as cyberlockers, it is important that policies designed to prevent piracy adapt as well," adds Daniel Castro, senior analyst at ITIF.



The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at