CAS - Copyright Alert System

(Taken from )

"Starting next week, most U.S. Internet users will be subject to a new copyright enforcement system that could slow the Internet to a crawl and force violators to take educational courses.

A source with direct knowledge of the Copyright Alert System (CAS), who asked not to be named, has told the Daily Dot that the five participating Internet service providers (ISPs) will start the controversial program Monday.

The ISPs—industry giants AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon—will launch their versions of the CAS on different days throughout the week. Comcast is expected to be the first, on Monday.

The CAS, designed as an "educational" service to combat casual piracy in the U.S., has been criticized as designed purely for corporate interests, at the expense of the average Internet user. While it doesn't require ISPs to cut off Internet access to repeat pirates—as is the case in France and New Zealand—it will issue escalating punishments to suspected pirates, severely reducing their connection speeds after five or six offenses.

Though the system's executive director promised to hire an independent consultant to vet the software that will flag copyright violators, that hasn't happened yet.

The date of the launch isn't yet official—the source expressed surprise that the news has been kept so tightly under wraps—but it's been rumored for several weeks to be at the end of February.

Apparently to mark the launch, the CAS has created a shiny new website. It replaces a drab earlier version, one that would go months without an update and seemed a metaphor for the the system's repeated delays and internal conflicts: Most recently, it was pushed from November to late February, "due to unexpected factors largely stemming from Hurricane Sandy."

The CAS also has a sleek new promotional video, wherein a woman explains the process over smooth jazz."

Suddenly, that home in Switzerland is looking a lot more appealing...

  • Dawn
  • February 22, 2013, 10:00 pm
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  • 3

    K, so basically I constantly have big brother breathing down my neck watching exactly what I'm doing on the internet at all times regardless of whether it's considered legal or not.

    Fantastic. Sounds like breach of privacy to me!

    • Disco
    • February 22, 2013, 10:22 pm
    Usually ISPs only act on piracy issues when notified by the content creator that there has been an issue. After that notification, they can check your use of their service for that download in particular, and act accordingly.

    I don't much like the exact way they are going about this, but it's not like dudes will be staring at a constant feed of your Internet activity.
    - Logos385 March 2, 2013, 12:06 pm
    Good to know. I'd rather they didn't know about my... activities... on the internet... at night
    - Disco March 2, 2013, 5:57 pm
    Wha?! The Internet has shady stuff? : o.
    - Logos385 March 2, 2013, 7:02 pm
  • 2

    Way to go around the government!

  • 1

    As if this will stop much of anything.

  • 1

    The funny thing is, this already happens, but without the nice agreement between holders and ISPs.

    The latest films and music torrents are often downloaded by the content owners themselves, because they can then fetch a list of IPs downloading from that torrent.

    How to stop this? Subscribe to a torrent Block List, a known list of IPs which will do this. This means your client will not talk to that peer, therefore they do not get your IP. Additionally, you can force encrypted connections ONLY which will add a layer of security :)

    Why not just get a vpn?
    - casper667 February 23, 2013, 9:11 am
    That is more secure, but it becomes expensive, and some are slow. I have a good VPN at an alright price (£2.49/5GB, UK or US servers) but if you are torrenting, especially lots of music or films, this will become expensive. It comes down to things like usenet. "Paying to Pirate".
    - SkinnyBill February 24, 2013, 9:31 am
    VPN's are pretty cheap, good ones can be as low as $3 a month for unlimited use. If you're worried about people trying to find your ip while torrenting, $3 a month is pretty justifiable.
    - casper667 February 24, 2013, 1:11 pm
    I'm not worried, because the furthest my country goes to prevent piracy is to take down ThePirateBay only, and do nothing about any of the proxies and mirrors. You're pretty safe in the UK, providing that you only download it and don't distribute it. Those are the real targets in the law.
    - SkinnyBill February 24, 2013, 2:04 pm
    That's pretty much how it is in the US as well, despite all the media attention we've been getting. I don't use a VPN and have had no problems yet.
    - casper667 February 26, 2013, 2:27 pm
    Well, there's not much problem then. Many people will probably find that they will be OK unless they are extreme piraters or pretty stupid people who don't know simple security measures.

    Example A
    "Facebook Wall: Just got the new 1D album from TPB! I'm suuuuch a piratee lol! <3 :')"
    - SkinnyBill March 2, 2013, 7:15 am
    I don't know WHY you'd even pirate music lol. Just grab it from youtube :D
    - casper667 March 2, 2013, 8:15 am
    >Just grab it from youtube
    Do you even 320kbps MP3?

    No seriously. As soon as you listen to youtube music, even at 720p, through decent headphones, your ears will die from the lack of quality.
    - SkinnyBill March 2, 2013, 8:28 am
    Really? I don't notice any difference in youtube quality music than rips from actual cd's. Plus file size is only like 3-4mb per song rather than 6-10 which is better for me since I use my phone as my mp3 player and car stereo.
    - casper667 March 2, 2013, 11:02 am
    Even Mp3 is a sub-par music format, and YouTube runs lower than that. Sound on YouTube is almost always terrible quality.
    - Logos385 March 2, 2013, 2:47 pm
    Reply to your comment, ran out of replies
    There really is. If you have a good pair of headphones, you'll notice that YouTube quality music (or anything < 320kbps MP3) sounds whooshy, watery, or have a lack of clarity at many points in the song.

    Fair point about filesize, but i'd rather have a small collection at a time of high quality music than a huge collection of lower quality.
    - SkinnyBill March 3, 2013, 9:58 am
    What do you mean by sub-par? I find that as long as it's 320kbps, it's as clear as can be. Most people will actually agree in that you cannot tell the difference between 320kbps mp3 and, FLAC for example, or even WAV if you want completely uncompressed.
    - SkinnyBill March 3, 2013, 9:59 am
    It really only matters if you listen to certain types of music, but the entire point of the compression algorithm used in an mp3 is to degrade the sound to decrease file size. Most of this is done outside range of human hearing (infrasound, highs, lows, etc), which is kind of the point. However, sound outside the human range of hearing can still have dramatic effects on the listener, especially psychological and emotional effects. For me, art is all about inspiring emotion, and if the use of infra or ultrasound can do that? I'm game.

    (I.e. I listen to weird music)
    - Logos385 March 3, 2013, 12:19 pm
  • 1

    after all this stuff the gov't is passing i dont think they care much about their own laws, let alone the privacy of their citizens...

    • February 23, 2013, 9:17 am
    We believe the point of this was to bypass the government, as to our understanding it was not really involved at all with CAS (Compared to say, SOPA).
    - Dawn February 23, 2013, 2:06 pm
    ahh, was unsure about that. the way our gov't was going i wasn't sure how many rights they're trying to take away...
    - MIKYTEY February 23, 2013, 11:59 pm
  • 1

    Just another example of the U.S. Government trying to control a worldwide sevice

    Except not.
    - Dawn February 25, 2013, 11:53 am
    Who hath downvoted you?! This injustice shall be righted.
    - arrowdodger7 February 26, 2013, 2:55 am
    And again!
    - 24paperwings February 28, 2013, 12:10 pm
  • 1

    I realize this will be an unpopular opinion, but in my estimation, while this will be done badly initially and hopefully refined later, it's a concept I support. I am pretty vehemently against illegal downloading of copyrighted media, and have always found the "pirate" culture strange in that they feel extremely entitled to all available media for free. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    Furthermore, this service will slow Internet for repeated offenders- that's a pretty low punishment. Rather than do what they've done in the past and make examples of random college kids or single mothers (lawsuits I am also against) by slapping immense, unpayable fines on them, they are just slowing down your internet speed. When you are using their service for illegal activities, I feel as if they should have the right to curtail your abuse.

    I don't really see the big problem with piracy where it's at right now. Not only is it dropping, but companies have more than proved they can survive and thrive even with lots of piracy. I'm sure you've heard all the arguments for when piracy actually helps a company (ex: I am sure Minecraft would not have been as successful as it was without people trying it illegally first), but there are more problems to this than the big companies behind it want to admit. First of all, since it's not a law there can be virtually no due process - you could possibly have your internet speed throttled (which in our generation severely cuts off a lot of your communication and expression) merely because a company/person doesn't like you. Not to mention the many legitimate uses for torrents/file sharing, what's to say your download of the latest WoW patch won't be seen as copyright infringement, after all you're downloading copyrighted material the same way pirates do.

    Here's a vid you might enjoy that can explain the problems much better than I can:
    - casper667 March 6, 2013, 3:07 pm
    Don't have time to watch the video right now (in class), but will respond to the rest. Firstly, for me it isn't about whether companies can survive with piracy, it's about people having rights to created media and content. Whether piracy hurts or helps a company is completely irrelevant in my moral and personal evaluation of piracy.

    Secondly, sure, a company could take advantage of this system, and arbitrarily cut off users' access. However, they can already do that. They are companies, you are paying for their service. They can kick you off of it as they choose, this is just a system that helps them ensure content creators remain in control of their content for as long as the law allows. If they wrongfully reject you from their service? Get mad at them. Sue them, even. Switch internet providers.

    In actually, nothing that you posted does anything to support the idea that piracy is a legitimate avenue to acquiring media. It's still stealing other peoples' work without payment. How is that something that should be protected?
    - Logos385 March 7, 2013, 1:01 pm
    Firstly, I don't think there is any disagreement about whether piracy is moral or not. I think even pirates realize that pirating content is a bad thing.

    In response to your second argument, I don't think suing an ISP over them throttling your speeds would work, especially if it is in some sort of agreement when you sign up. Switching ISP's to one not in this system is not really feasible in a large part of the country, either. Given the amount of piracy and the many different methods used to pirate, I think it's hard to say that this system will be able to accurately deny service to only pirates.

    I think piracy can be a legitimate avenue of acquiring media in a few ways. For example, even if you buy something, you may not want the DRM and certain annoying anti-piracy features (such as limited installs) so you can torrent a version of the software that lacks all of that. It could also be "legitimate" if the content is old and not for sale anymore. Another way that I would say is legitimate is when the payment for such content is not possible. For example, if you can only pay through PayPal and that is not an option, I would say piracy would be OK in those situations. I also think piracy is OK when it is used as a way to demo a product before the customer buys it.

    In a rush right now, will reply w/ more later.
    - casper667 March 7, 2013, 4:35 pm
    If it's a bad thing, why should we protect it?

    I'm not really saying to sue them, just saying that if you are using their service, you have the right to switch from it. And they have the right to have their own terms of service.

    Why not just buy the product without the DRM in the first place? Most have legal ways around that. If a company wants you to have limited installs of a product, you should know that when you purchase the product, and act accordingly. Why would piracy be OK if you aren't willing to sign up for Paypal? That makes no sense. The demo argument is a little more convincing, but still, not the intention of the creator.

    If it's morally wrong, I'd say not doing it is probably the way to go.
    - Logos385 March 8, 2013, 3:10 am
    We should protect it because there are legitimate uses to it, other than to copy things as I have listed.

    PayPal is not available in all countries. For many games and applications, there is no way to download their content without DRM, or else that would defeat the entire purpose of making the DRM in the first place. I am against limited installs. It's a way of punishing the customer who falls on bad luck and has computer problems, or upgrades their computer to a new one. I think most people are under the impression that when you buy something, it is yours. Whereas limited installs, like the feared "no used games" for consoles, is just a way of punishing the consumer to squeeze a bit of extra cash out of the ones who end up needing to buy it more than once.

    Here's a nice post from a game dev about piracy:
    - casper667 March 8, 2013, 8:25 am
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