ISPs to Begin Policing Copyright Infringement July 1

WASHINGTON — The record industry in July will start sending ISPs offending IP addresses for "graduated" responses in piracy cases.

During a panel discussion before a gathering of U.S. publishers today, Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, said most of the participating ISPs are on track to begin implementing the program by July 1.

The ISPs that have joined up with the RIAA are Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon,  AT&T, Cablevision and Comcast.

The program requires that ISPs send out one or two "educational notices" to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally.

If the customer doesn't put a halt to the practice, the ISP is then asked to send out "confirmation notices" asking that they confirm they have received notice.

Could the adult entertainment business do the same with its content, which has faced the same piracy battles? Adult industry attorney Gill Sperlein said "yes."

"But it will require the cooperation of the ISPs," Sperlein told XBIZ. "If the ISPs and box office Hollywood invite the adult industry to the tale it will benefit all content owners by discovering and therefore discouraging more serial infringement."

Attendees at XBIZ LA in January heard about the program in detail at an anti-piracy seminar featuring legal expert Doug Lichtman, a UCLA law professor who specializes in patent and copyright law and telecommunications regulation.

At the session hosted by Pink Visual's Allison Vivas, Lichtman told XBIZ LA attendees that he had been involved in negotiating a deal to create a framework for “copyright alerts."

Calling them "warm 'nastygrams,'" Lichtman told seminar attendees that the adult industry, in groups or as a whole, should put this type of system on its radar.

"It's not heavy handed," he said. "The idea is to win hearts and minds to the issue of piracy. The goal isn't to stop piracy completely ... some of the piracy is motivated by other things, such as convenience."

At XBIZ LA, Lichtman went on to say that the consuming pirate may be your best customer in the future, and that the content and technology industries realize that "with technology, it's always a cat-and-mouse game, where there's always going to be somebody who out-smarts the system in place."

"Most people who used such file-sharing systems, such as Grokster in the past, did so because the music industry didn't even offer music online 12 years ago," Lichtman said. "The game plan is to keep the peace."