Kinder, Gentler Illegal Download Prevention?

Before SOPA and PIPPA’s fifteen minutes of fame, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) was formed last September as an experiment in cooperation between content provider representatives and internet service providers. If it had been fully functional last winter, there might have been a more bipartisan voice on the subject of how to achieve greater copyright enforcement through less drastic measures. But better late than never, CCI announced news this week that holds the possibility that it will provide that voice in the future.

The CCI stated this week that it appointed an executive director with some consumer advocacy background, formed an advisory board including people who were not fans of content provider litigation against consumers, and began a relationship with the American Arbitration Association to come up with a dispute resolution process.

CCI was formed to develop a “Copyright Alert System” in which ISP’s would issue “educational notices” to consumers about copyrights. Although yesterday’s announcement begins by saying it is part of a “continued effort to ensure consumer protection,” the cynical view might be that the consumer protection in question is against being sued by CCI executive board participants Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA). So CCI may only be the velvet glove on the iron fist.

But there is real promise here. Cynicism aside, this is a group where the RIAA and MPAA sit at the same table with Comcast, Viacom and AT&T representatives to develop the consumer early warning system, and that’s a plus. Not what it could be if Google and Facebook were sitting there, but maybe that is coming. Meanwhile, kinder, gentler copyright enforcement through warnings and education is a much more encouraging way to salvage respect for copyright law. (More about a copyright unified field theory coming next.)

About Craig Pinkus

Craig Pinkus is a partner in the Intellectual Property Group. He also is a member of the Litigation and the Sports, Entertainment and Media Groups. He assists clients with a broad range of disputes and transactions involving all areas of intellectual property, entertainment, and other complex business arrangements. He has conducted trials and arbitrations throughout the United States and has argued appeals before the Seventh, Sixth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Indiana appellate courts, and United States Supreme Court.
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