Read

Search form

Techtivist Report: New Copyright Alert System to Drive Sharers Underground

Techtivist Report: New Copyright Alert System to Drive Sharers Underground
Wed, 3/6/2013 - by Conrad Jaeger

A new initiative to disrupt Internet access for repeat copyright violators is now live and running with six-steps of severity, from warnings to speed restrictions and finally "re-education."

The Copyright Alert System (CAS), which is backed by the U.S. government and the country’s major ISPs, has been four years in the making and follows on the heels of the ill-fated SOPA. Through a graduated response, suspected copyright criminals will be issued a series of warnings.

After four offenses, a number of "mitigation measures" will come into play that include throttling download speeds. CAS falls short of cutting off Internet access as happens in France and New Zealand.

CAS does not have the force of law and is backed voluntarily by the major ISPs, including Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. It is described as an "educational" service to combat casual piracy but has been heavily criticized for pandering purely to corporate interests at the expense of the average Internet user.

The Center for Copyright Information (CCI), which runs the program, says it will not terminate connection for repeat offenders but CAS does not prevent content owners from suing sharers once identified. The Copyright Act allows damages of up to $150,000 for each infringement.

Offenders will receive alerts that are “meant to educate rather than punish,” says Jill Lesser of CCI, and will be directed to an “educational landing page about infringement.”

Downloading movies and music from peer-to-peer services such as the Pirate Bay is easy to detect, as a user’s IP address clearly shows up. Pirate Bay is already banned in Britain.

However, research by the Pirate Bay and Sweden’s Lund University shows that frequent users already use some form of anonymizing service such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or proxy, and that around 70 percent of users plan to switch to these services once new laws are introduced.

“Some people may stop or share less when they receive warnings,” says Stefan Larsson, author of the reportLaw, Norms, Piracy and Online Anonymity. “But there will also be a group that will respond to the warnings by becoming more anonymous. A third group will try to find other means to share files than BitTorrent.”

In the ongoing game of cat and mouse, many file-sharers use cyberlockers, which include companies like RapidShare, where files are uploaded to a site and then downloaded by anyone with a subscription to the service. Dropbox is also used in the same way and these services are not included in the crackdown.

However, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have been quick to spot files and have them removed.

Any of these services can be used with a secure VPN – effectively a "secret" tunnel where all on-line activities are screened – and this should defeat the tools employed under CAS. Free versions include FreeVPN andProXPN. A popular and fast paid-for option is VrprVPN.

An even better option is to employ a VPN and then make use of the Usenet Newsgroups, which are a bit like bulletin boards where anybody can post on any subject and anybody else can read the messages and download attachments. You need special Newsreader software and a low-cost subscription to the network. It can be installed on any operating system and in most modern devices.

The most popular Usenet Newsreader software is Free Agent, available in both free and paid-for versions. A network subscription costs US$4.99 per month upwards and gives access to an enormous store of digital material going back years, offering a better option than torrents for downloading without drawing attention.

Type the name of an Oscar-winning movie like Argo into a Usenet search engine such as Binsearch.ne and up pop several versions including screeners and BluRays as well as subtitles in dozens of languages.

Usenet – which has been around since 1980 – has been largely ignored by Internet users because it does not have the same glitzy appeal of the World Wide Web but rather resembles an endless list of discussion topics. Usenet is effectively Deep Web in that you need specialist search tools to find what is available.

Usenet can also defeat Deep Packet Inspection because it prevents the ISP from seeing inside the data by using secure 256-bit SSL encryption. Although your ISP can tell if you are accessing Usenet, once you pass beyond the curtain everything you there do is hidden from inspection.

It is difficult to see how these services might be banned under any future law as they have equally legitimate uses. The research at Lund, where 75,000 people were surveyed, shows that Internet users would rather see copyright holders move with the times, not charging so much and making it easier to keep and transfer purchases. Then they might not need Pirate Bay.

Read more by Conrad Jaeger at Techtivist.com and follow him at @conradjaeger.

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

carbon emissions, Pakistan coal plants, Pakistan coal generation, Pakistan energy policy

On its projected track, Pakistan will generate a total capacity of over 23,000 megawatts of electricity from coal in the next few years to overcome its steep energy requirements.

student loans, student debt, college debt, Student Loan Asset Backed Securities, subprime mortgage securities, collateralized debt, Federal Family Education Loan Program, Student Income Loans, Student Income Loans

A crucial difference between the subprime debt bubble and the student debt bubble is that the properties that comprised subprime mortgage securities served as collateral to the mortgage debt.

DiEM25, austerity policies, Brexit, Lexit, Democracy in Europe Movement, Grexit

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis responds to his critics and lays out DiEM25’s plan for resisting within the European Union.

Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo, anti-corruption movement, populist politics, Euro-skeptic party, Italian political corruption, Silvio Berlusconi, Virginia Raggi, Chiara Appendino

The transparency and political openness that helped the 5 Star Movement rise to power must now bring the party's current and future proposals to the forefront if it hopes to achieve any lasting change.

Occupy Wall Street, rising inequality, park occupations, financialization, debt, David Graeber, Occupy legacy, social protests, economic justice, Jeremy Corbyn

Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.

Wells Fargo crimes, Wells Fargo accounts scam, Wells Fargo foreclosures, mortgage-backed securities, subprime loans, Wall Street crimes, John Stumpf

Despite all of the fines paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wells Fargo continues to deny any allegations of wrongdoing. Now a former employee is disputing that claim.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago
blockchain currencies, blockchain technologies, crypto currencies, Bitcoin, Federal Reserve, Bank of England, fractional reserve lending, Central Bank Digital Currency, bank bailouts, bail-ins

Central Bank Digital Currencies could supplant the money now created by private banks.

Posted 5 days 17 hours ago
occupy, activism, creative activism, alt-right, white supremacy, neo-nazi, bigotry, racism, sexism, white nationalism, white genocide, Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Bertrand Spencer, Gabriella Coleman, hacktivism, Anonymous, hacker, whistleblower, digital ac

We're introducing a new segment for all those times you think to yourself, "Wow, that's fucked up." First topic: white supremacists.

Posted 3 days 22 hours ago
carbon emissions, Pakistan coal plants, Pakistan coal generation, Pakistan energy policy

On its projected track, Pakistan will generate a total capacity of over 23,000 megawatts of electricity from coal in the next few years to overcome its steep energy requirements.

Posted 1 day 22 hours ago
Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo, anti-corruption movement, populist politics, Euro-skeptic party, Italian political corruption, Silvio Berlusconi, Virginia Raggi, Chiara Appendino

The transparency and political openness that helped the 5 Star Movement rise to power must now bring the party's current and future proposals to the forefront if it hopes to achieve any lasting change.

Posted 2 days 21 hours ago
Mylan, EpiPen, pharmaceutical industry, Big Pharma, National Institutes of Health, Daraprim, Martin Shkreli, pharmaceutical greed, pharmaceutical lobbying

“Somewhere, right now, a cash-strapped parent or budget-limited patient will skip acquiring an EpiPen. And someday they will need it in a life-threatening situation, and they won’t have it, and they will die.”

DiEM25, austerity policies, Brexit, Lexit, Democracy in Europe Movement, Grexit

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis responds to his critics and lays out DiEM25’s plan for resisting within the European Union.

Occupy Wall Street, rising inequality, park occupations, financialization, debt, David Graeber, Occupy legacy, social protests, economic justice, Jeremy Corbyn

Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.

Wells Fargo crimes, Wells Fargo accounts scam, Wells Fargo foreclosures, mortgage-backed securities, subprime loans, Wall Street crimes, John Stumpf

Despite all of the fines paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wells Fargo continues to deny any allegations of wrongdoing. Now a former employee is disputing that claim.

tax increment financing, TIF agreements, Michael Phelps, Sagamore Development Corporation, Port Covington plan, Baltimore gentrification, Baltimore development

In Baltimore, activists are urging city officials to move beyond "tax increment financing" that privileges billionaires at public expense.